Review: Thrunite TH20 Neutral White (1xAA/14500)

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stephenk
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Review: Thrunite TH20 Neutral White (1xAA/14500)

Disclaimer

This flashlight was kindly sent to me for review by Gearbest.
Product page – http://www.gearbest.com/headlights/pp_368127.html

Introduction

Traditionally, many headlamps use multiple AA or AAA cells, making the light unnecessarily bulky and heavy. Due to improving driver and emitter technology, more manufacturers are selling headlamps that use a single AA or 14500 battery to cut down on size and weight. The Thrunite TH20 is Thrunite’s answer to the single AA/14500 market, and is available in cool white (5500-6500k) and neutral white (4500-5500k) versions. This review is of the neutral white version.

Manufacturer Product Description

  • A high output headlamp with max output of 520 lumens in turbo mode powered by one Li-ion 14500 750mAh battery.
  • The logarithmic scale brightness adjustment system allows any brightness from 1.6 lumens to 250 lumens. Furthermore, the TH20 features a built-in SOS signaling mode which is important when roaming out in the wild or confronting dangerous situations.
  • Unlike other light-weight headlamps which are made with plastic, the TH20 is made with aircraft grade aluminum which gives it exceptional durability and excellent heat dissipation allowing it to maintain high output for extended periods of time.
  • The advanced design gives the TH20 a light weight of 96g (battery excluded).
  • The TH20 can also use an easy to get AA battery which makes it a great choice for daily reading, camping and a tool light when you want your hands free.
    Manufacturer Specifications
  • LED: CREE XP-L V6 LED with a lifespan of 20+ years of run time.
  • Mode & Runtime (Tested by one Eneloop AA 2450mAh NIMH rechargeable battery): 
  • -Firefly (0.3 lumens, 14 days)
  • -Infinity Low (1.6 lumens, 21 hours)
  • -Infinity High (230 lumens, 95 minutes )
  • -Turbo (250 lumens, 93 minutes) 
  • Batteries Applicable: 1x AA battery, 1x 14500 battery.
  • Working voltage: 0.9-4.2 V.
  • Reflector: Orange Peel.
  • Peak Beam Intensity: 1120 cd
  • Beam Distance: 67 m (max.)
  • Dimensions: 70 mm * 24.5mm
  • Weight: 96 g (without battery).
  • Waterproof: IPX-8 (1.5 m)
  • Impact Resistance: 2 m.
  • Material: Aircraft grade aluminum body with premium type III hard anodized anti-abrasive finish.
  • Accessories included: O ring, spare rubber slot.

Packaging

The light came in a small cardboard box, with foam padding. Accessories include 2 spare O-rings, a spare holder, warranty card, and instructions.

Ergonomics

The Thrunite TH20 has a single strap headband which I much prefer over the two strap (around and over the head) type. The holder for the light is soft and flexible. This is comfortable to wear, makes it easy to change the angle of the light, and also holds the light at the chosen angle whilst running. This headlamp is solidly built, but is heavier than many of its peers. The threads are smooth, though there is quite a bit of resistance when screwing in protected 14500s.

It is IPX-8 rated, and survived a shower during testing. Emitter is well centred, and the light works as expected.

The LED is centrally located, which I prefer over L shaped headlamps.

Operation & Beam

From off, a long press goes to firefly (initially), or the last brightness level from memory. A further long press ramps the output from low (1.6 lumens) to high (230 lumens), and then high to low, and so on. The light flashes twice at each end of the ramp. Memory will remember the (ramping mode) brightness the light was last left at.

The ramping mode will polarise opinions on this light. On the good side, you can finely adjust the brightness (logarithmic increase or decreases) to suit your task rather than relying on a selection of predefined brightnesses. On the downside, as there are no predefined outputs, you could loose track of remaining runtime. The more I use this light, I am increasingly liking the ramping user interface. However if using the light for periods longer than runtime on high in the wilderness, I would advise taking spare batteries or a backup light just in case (which I do anyway).

A double click from any mode will go to turbo (520 lumens with 14500 and 250 lumens with AA), and another double click will go to SOS.

There appears to be no automatic step down from turbo, and this care needs to be taken to manually step down when the light gets very hot which only takes a few minutes. In high (ramping) mode the heat is managed well with the light remaining warm, but not hot.

The existence of low voltage cut off is not advertised, though appeared to function during the li-ion runtime test (the cell’s resting voltage was 3.5V when placed in the Lii-500 charger 2 hours later). Reverse polarity detection was tested and worked.

Due to the very wide beam angle, I could not accurately test output via ceiling bounce tests (I was getting very high readings). The manufacturer output specifications are for the cool white version, and I would estimate that the output is slightly less than the published figures due to use of a neutral white emitter. For a single AA and 14500, the output is impressive!

Runtimes on high (ramping mode) were as follows:
- 14500 (2015 Keeppower 840mAh protected) – rapid output decline and light cut off at 105 minutes
- NiMH AA (4th gen FDK Eneloop) – noticeable output decline from 70 minutes, 85 minutes until output reached ‘moonlight’ output. At 105 minutes output was at ‘firefly’ output and still going.
- Alkaline AA (Varta Longlife) – noticeable output decline from 55 minutes, 70 minutes until output reached ‘moonlight’ output. At 120 minutes output was still at ‘moonlight’ output and still going.

The beam has a diffused hotspot, and smooth floody wide angle spill beam. This is a very useful beam for a headlamp, with a good compromise between throw and flood.

This light has a neutral tint, and appears to be around 4800-5000k. As this is a neutral tint, it is quite yellow(ish) with a small hint of lime. Whilst this is not a dedicated high-CRI emitter, the neutral white tint allows for a good CRI, with colour rending good enough for most purposes. Using a neutral tint for night running and other uses is quite a revelation after using a headlamp with a cool white emitter for many years. Colours are rendered so much better, which can be critical when making sure you don’t step on something you shouldn’t at night! Thrunite need to be commended for having neutral white versions of most of their lights, something which more manufacturers should do.

CRI Test

PWM was tested by using video on an iPhone. PWM effect could only been seen during brightness ramping, but no PWM was detected once the brightness level was selected.

Conclusion

The Thrunite TH20 is an impressive single AA/14500 head lamp with a relatively low price ($29.35 at Gearbest at the time of review). It is well built and comfortable to wear, if a little bit heavy. For practical usage, the neutral white emitter, floody beam, firefly mode, and ramping brightness make this headlamp a great choice. This light will now be my preferred headlamp for longer night runs (>6k), night adventure races, urban exploring, camping, and light painting. I expect that Thrunite will have a success on their hands with this light.

Edited by: stephenk on 07/24/2016 - 06:37
stephenk
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Update 24/7/16 – addition of AA alkaline runtime test to review.

Ragsy
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Nice review!
So far it’s on the top of my headlamp list when I’m ready for one

I just recommended this to one of my work colleagues who loves his mountain biking and night trailing and also to look down kegs for his home beer brewing

He said he’d lend it to me for a play when it arrives – can’t wait

Better? Better get a bucket

stephenk
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I’ve added the video review:

stephenk
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Beam shots from the Thrunite HL20 NW now added below.
Both taken at 20secs, f/8, ISO400.

teacher
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Very nice review! Very thorough………. Thumbs Up

I have one of each tint. As far as I am concerned the Thrunite TH20 ranks right up there with my favorite, the Nitecore HC50.

      You never know how a horse will pull until you hook him up to a heavy load. / Paul "Bear" Bryant ~/~\~ "Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast"

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finges
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Why does it need to be that heavy?? The Zebralight H52 is a third the weight. Otherwise it is a very interesting light.

stephenk
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finges wrote:
Why does it need to be that heavy?? The Zebralight H52 is a third the weight. Otherwise it is a very interesting light.

I accidentally dropped (well it was flicked out of my camera bag) my TH20 more than 2m onto concrete last night. It still works fine, and just has 2 minor marks on the anodizing. Now I understand why it is built so solid!
marsalla
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I have been using mine for night time running and so far I like the beam pattern and battery life. The weight is not an issue but I but it is clearly heavier than my zebralight; but not as heavily built. I am running olight 14500 battery.  

 

 

The verdict is that I would recommend this light to anyone.

 

Update: I have been running with the keeppower 14500  800mah cells. on a 40 minute run they go thought about half their power. I will test against black eneloops next time.

stephenk
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marsalla wrote:

I have been using mine for night time running and so far I like the beam pattern and battery life. The weight is not an issue but I but it is clearly heavier than my zebralight; but not as heavily built. I am running olight 14500 battery.  


 


 


The verdict is that I would recommend this light to anyone.

I quite often wear my TH20 for longer night runs, and when urban exploring. It does have a bit of a “bounce” though sometimes when running. I can see it meeting my headlamp requirements for many years.

For shorter night runs I use the smaller, much lighter, but less bright Fenix HL10.

marsalla
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I am going to try a zebra light with a frosted lens  and will get back with the forum. I ran 4.5 miles this morning with my TH20. I ran it on high for about 50 minutes with the olight battery. when I go back voltage was 3.47.

 

I concur with stated run times from above. I achieved 1.5 hours of usable run time on black amazon basics 2500mha battery and similar performance with a keeppower 14500.  

 

Not too bad.

Gunga
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I like it but mine is too green. Anyone open theirs?

stephenk
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Gunga wrote:
I like it but mine is too green. Anyone open theirs?

As per my above review, my NW version is yellowish with a hint of lime.