(Review) Wuben LT35 (Zoom)

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Tahts-a-dats-ago
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(Review) Wuben LT35 (Zoom)

I think just about everyone on the planet has seen those over-the-top television commercials pushing some miracle flashlight. Perhaps you’ve wondered through a local chain store and seen the same flashlight in the “As Seen on TV” display? Regardless of the brand name chosen, for those flashlights; they’re all pretty much the exact same product. They’ve sold a ton of them due to the hype, absurd claims and outright lies – mostly to people who fell for the marketing spiel and didn’t realize the fact that they could buy a far superior flashlight for just a couple more dollars.

Amazon is relatively flooded with the same product (under various product names) – complete with glowing testimonials written by people who almost certainly haven’t owned a real quality led flashlight. Average users see the praise, and figure all those happy owners can’t be wrong. A few months later, and they’re stuck with a useless hunk of aluminum that doesn’t work and an email address (for warranty claims) that nobody answers.

A friend (of mine) fell for the gimmick and practically begged me to get her one for her Christmas present. She was specific and wanted the “As Seen on TV” version – the kind that zooms IN/OUT by pushing or pulling the head in or out. I complied with her request and gifted her the very item she desired. As her friend, I therefore had access to try the item out for myself. To say I was not impressed would be an understatement: the head had a horrible wobble (in any position) and wouldn’t stay in the selected location. The light output was less than half of what the claimed output was – even when using an 18650 battery – and much lower than that when using three AAA batteries. To make matters worse, a few months after she received the gift, the flashlight stopped working completely and all emails sent went unanswered.

Fast forward a year and it is mid-December of 2017. I’ve got the Wuben LT35 sitting on my desk, and I’m putting my thoughts to paper… er word processor. All similarities, between the Wuben LT35 and the “As Seen on TV” product, end after the fact that they’re both zoom flashlights. It’s a night and day difference: one is a non-working pile of over-hyped nonsense, while the other is a very high quality, warrantied for 5 years, made by a company that has been in business since 1981, very functional flashlight (that works as it should).

The Wuben LT35 is a zoom flashlight, but not a push-pull version; instead it zooms in/out by twisting the head. It’s a tube within a tube build – giving the T35 stability in any position (it doesn’t creep, or wobble) and helping the LT35 maintain its IPX-8 rating (waterproof to 2 meters). The zoom function can be operated one-handed, though it does take a bit of practice to do so.

Zoomed fully in, the LT35 measures a mere 5.82 inches (zoomed out it measures 6.4 inches in length). I consider the T35 to be on the outer edge of pocket-able carry – in part thanks to its 1.53 inch head diameter. With larger pockets, carrying the T35 in a pocket is no problem.

The body (of the LT35) features diamond shaped knurling, for great grip, on sections of the tail, body, and head. There are deeper, cylindrical grooves cut into the head (to aid cooling) and smaller cylindrical grooves cut into the body and tail. The flashlight is expertly anodized, and feels very good in the hand. It is well balanced, and very well made.

The removable tail-cap has the lone switch (ON/OFF and Mode changes). Opposite the switch is the USB port, which is well covered by a rubber cap. The cap fits snugly to prevent dust/moisture intrusion. In between the two, and off to the side, is an led that does double duty (charging status indicator, and low battery indicator). The extended sides (on the tail-cap) allow the LT35 to tail-stand; that ability is further enhanced by the attachment method for the (included) lanyard.

The tail-cap screws on/off smoothly, with no hint of obstruction. The threads are well cut and square, but not anodized. Inside are two stiff springs; one on each end (head and tail).

On the head of the flashlight is a stainless steel bezel. It is crenelated and doesn’t not seem to be removable. The crenellations are fairly deep, but not sharp to the touch. My guess would be that they would be very effective when it comes to smashing through a window (should that need ever arise).

The lens is aspherical glass (curved outwards to magnify the beam). The reflector is quite deep and appears to have a white coating.

In the Box

LT35 Flashlight
Wuben branded 18650 battery (2600 mAh)
lanyard
USB cord (very nice quality)
Spare O-rings
Owner’s Manual
Warranty Card

Specs

Length (zoomed in) – 5.82 inches
Length (zoomed out) – 6.4 inches
Head diameter – 1.53 inches
Weight – 128 grams (without battery)

LED – Cree XP-L2
Maximum Lumens – 1200 (per Wuben)
Maximum distance – 320 meters

Features

Low battery warning
Charging status indicator
Thermal protection
Luminous O-ring in the head of the flashlight (aids in finding the flashlight in darkness)

IPX-8 waterproof to 2 meters
Impact resistant to 1 meter

The tail-cap led will flash red (three times) when the battery is depleted to 30 minutes (or less) of run time. It will continue to flash red (three times) every 5 minutes – until battery is completely depleted, or battery is recharged.

While charging, the tail-cap led glows red. The tail-cap led glows green when fully charged. If the tail-cap led flashes (either red, green, or a combination of the two) there is an issue (bad connection, flashlight left on, etc..) and the issue must be resolved before the battery can be charged.

With extended use, the LT35 will step down the brightness level (to protect from overheating). The flashlight can become warm with extended use. In practice I have not noticed the flashlight stepping down. The LT35 has become warm, but not uncomfortably so (actually, it feels quite good when the outside temperatures are colder).

When the LT35 is shut off, the inside of the head glows (somewhat faintly) a pale green. The length of time (that it glows) seems to be dependent upon how long the flashlight was in use, but doesn’t seem to last more than several minutes. It is a pretty cool feature – it looks cool anyway – and can help you locate the flashlight in very dark conditions, but only within several minutes of using the flashlight. It does not last for hours at a time.

Modes/User Interface

Press/release the switch to turn the flashlight ON/OFF. Once on, half-press (it is a light half-press) to change modes. The LT35 always comes on in Low mode; from there the modes cycle – low, medium, high, SOS, Eco, low… etc..

There is no momentary on. There is no mode memory. The only way to get to Eco mode is to cycle through the modes.

Low Mode – 72 Lumens, will run for up to 15 hours
Medium Mode – 360 Lumens, will run for up to 3 hours
High Mode – 1200 Lumens, will run for up to 1.8 hours
SOS Mode
Eco Mode – 4.8 Lumens, will run for up to 219 hours

Beam

On high, the LT35 is very bright – but it probably isn’t actually 1200 Lumens. It’s close though, as Cree rates the output to a maximum of 1175 Lumens (for the XP-L2 chip). I don’t have the equipment to measure the output, but can say that it seems a bit brighter than some of the 1000 Lumen flashlights that I do own.

There is a decent amount of usable spill on both ends of the two extremes (flood vs spot) – something that surprised me quite a bit as most zoom flashlights have zero usable spill when zoomed out fully. Another pleasant surprise is the fact that the spot beam is not square – it’s round. I can’t really give a good answer for not liking the square beams, but I don’t.

The beam is on the cool side of white, but very effective at lighting up objects for an impressive distance. For most purposes, I find the flood beam to be more useful, but did use the spot beam to observe multiple animals during the night. I didn’t measure distances, but my guess would be that the LT35 will effectively illuminate objects out to 200 yards or slightly better (spot beam). The flood beam would be considerably less, but still pretty impressive.

Conclusions

At a price of $24 the LT35 is only a few dollars more than the over-hyped garbage that has flooded the market and captured so many people’s attention. Factor in the fact that Wuben includes a quality, rechargeable, battery and that tiny price advantage disappears as well – making the LT35 a better bargain, as well as a vastly superior flashlight.

While I would prefer a few changes to the LT35 – momentary on, memory mode, and easy access to both the high and Eco modes – the fact remains that this is a very well made flashlight, with an excellent warranty, and the backing of a company with 36 years in business.

I’m a bit torn on whether I should give the LT35 a 5 star rating, or lower it a bit to a 4 star rating. I do think the missing features are important, but on the other hand I can’t overlook the fact that Wuben put an excellent product out, at a very attractive price point. Were it a 10 point scale, I’d give the LT35 an 8.5 and a very strong recommendation.

For the average flashlight user, I think the LT35 is an excellent choice; it is very well made, functions well and gets the job done. It offers the choice between a flood beam and a spot beam – or anything in between the two – and it is easy to carry. I believe it would make an excellent ‘keep it in the vehicle’ flashlight, or household flashlight for walking the dog and those times when the power goes out.

Mine will be given to my friend so she can finally experience what it is like to own a quality flashlight. I have no doubts that she’ll be extremely pleased with it, or that she’ll get many years of service out of it.

Wuben Website

Wuben Amazon Store

Rusty Joe
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Thanks for the review.

I love the looks and beam profile of the light, but if a tactical light has no momentary-on, has to step down in output, or has no regulation, then in my book, it’s a POS. Why in the world would someone NOT want and expect those features in a light (assuming we aren’t talking about a pocket-rocket mod project toy)? We have gotten away from expecting more from our lights these days. That bothers me.

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d_t_a
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Any idea if this flashlight uses PWM for the lower modes?

d_t_a
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Got hold of a Wuben LT35.

I can’t seem to notice PWM by shining the flashlight (at lower brightness modes) onto the fan blades of a small portable fan, so maybe it has very fast PWM.

Also tried the USB charging mechanism with a power-bank-pulled 18650 that registers around 2300mAh discharge capacity with an MC3000.
EBD-USB+ to monitor charging.

When LT35 indicates green (full), I immediately took out the 18650 and checked voltage in the MC3000 and my MS8229 tester. MC3000 reads 4.14v while MS8229 reads 4.16v (my tester is always around 0.02-0.03v higher than the MC3000 reading: not sure if my tester or my MC3000 is more accurate though; at the moment I don’t have access to any calibration equipment..)

In any case, it seems the LT35 charges to just slightly less than full (which is beneficial for life cycle). Capacity charged is 2181mAh, not including some possible slight losses for the charger, but it definitely is not yet fully-charged (as mentioned MC3000 charges this battery at around 2300+mAh). (although the battery was at 3.20v resting voltage when I started the charging in the Wuben LT35; whereas I in the MC3000, I think I used 2.80v cut-off for C>D>C Refresh test cycle)

1.40A max charging current, ending current at 0.80A (that seems quite high). Also, the drops are probably the LT35’s charger pausing the charging to measure voltage??

beam0
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Thanks, great photos. The knurling looks WAY better than on the company website.

I could do without the SOS in the mode cycle though.

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