Review: APEX GT01 Gas Tin CREE XP-G R5 1xCR123A/16340 Natural HA EDC Flashlight

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JohnnyMac
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Review: APEX GT01 Gas Tin CREE XP-G R5 1xCR123A/16340 Natural HA EDC Flashlight

 

This is the Apex GT01 that I purchased from CQNG for $25 shipped during a recent group buy held by Ric. Normal price for this light is $27 + shipping.

  • Dimension:  Head diameter 22mm, Body diameter 22mm, length 65mm

  • Cree XP-G R5 LED

  • 3 Modes---Hi>Mid>Lo ; 600mA>130mA>18mA; Memory; Current Regulation

  • Switching: Twisty

  • Material: Aircraft Aluminum Alloy T6061 

  • Net Weight: 32g (without battery)

  • Waterproof to IPX-8 standard 

  • Battery: single CR123A or 16340

  • Lens: Glass (uncoated)

  • Reflector: Aluminum

  • O-rings: 4 (lens *1, bezel *1, body *2)

  • Tail Stands:  Yes

  • Price: $27 + shipping

Initial Impressions:
As you can see in the pics, this torch is crazy small! It's also incredibly well machined to very tight tolerances. In fact, you can feel the accuracy when doing simple things like inserting the battery (can feel the air being pushed out from around the battery as it's inserted) and separating the tail from the head (suction and "pop" when clearing the inner o-ring).  The first thing I noticed (besides the incredibly small size) is that changing modes could be easier. The outer body almost entirely encloses the tail/battery tube with just the very end of the tail end sticking out.  Due to the rounded tail and smooth finish it's very hard to grip with only the "handle" at the very end giving any gripping point.  Once you work it a few times, however, it seems to improve greatly.  It may be that I grew used to it but I don't think that is all of it. The fit and finish on the light is incredible and the output is very nice for it's size.
 
Construction:
The HAIII anodizing and machining is impeccable. All threads are smooth and anodized and came lubricated. Machining inside is just as impressive as it is on the outside. The only thing I can find to criticize is the screen printing on the name & model is a little thin and blotchy in spots. Power is not on until the front of the battery tube makes contact with a ridge onto which the driver sits.  This means that using a QTC pill in this torch won't work and is a shame because I really was hoping I could.
 
The bezel unscrews from the body and the reflector comes out easily exposing the emitter and pill.  The pill is removed through the front by unscrewing it. The emitter is perfectly centered and cleanly soldered. The emitter base appears to be bonded to the pill with just enough thermal epoxy. Unlike most Chinese torches, this one appears to have been assembled by a skilled worker that knows how to properly torch components.
 
Properly sized o-rings are used throughout the torch. One in front of the lens, one at the base of the bezel threads on the head, and 2 on the battery tube.  They fit so perfectly that when separating the tail from the head you can feel the suction and hear the "pop" of the vacuum being broken.  I've never felt that in any torch before.  This baby is definitely water proof, not just water resistant. When threading the main body parts there is just enough resistance (without being too stiff) from the o-rings letting you know that the light won't come on in your pocket on it's own.
 
Performance:
CNQG rates the three power modes (Hi/Med/Low) as 600mA/130mA/18mA with current regulation. I am unable to detect any PWM with this light. BLF user "_the_" tested his GT01 with a 16340 battery @ 3.74V and got the following results that closely match the claimed outputs:
  • High: 570mA
  • Medium: 120mA
  • Low: 20mA
My calculations based on his results show that output is 226L/47L/8L from the R5. The GT01 should run for about an hour on High, 12 hrs on Med, and up to 30 hrs on Low based on a decent 16340 Li-Ion producing 600mAh.
 
Mode memory is extremely quick.  You have to be quick about changing modes but more than a half second it seems to be locked onto what you want.
 
The tint on my example is on the neutral end of cool white and is very pleasing to my eyes.  There is a nice concentrated hotspot of roughly 7" from 1 meter and the rest is a butter smooth yet immense flood with ZERO rings. If not for the intense hotspot in the center of the beam you would almost think you were looking at the output from an Ultrafire UF-H2/H3).  The shallow reflector was definitely well designed and not just some random offering conjured up from some universal parts bin.
 
Positives:
  • This torch has a love it or hate it design.  I happen to love it but then again, I appreciate unusual designs. 
  • Crazy small!  Compact lights don't really get much more compact than this one.  If you were to grind off the "handle" & "valve" from the rear of it it would only be 6cm long but then you'd have almost no way to grip it to turn it on/off or change modes.
  • Output is phenomenal especially considering it's diminutive size.
  • Fit and finish is superb.
  • Quality to price ratio is outstanding.
  • One hell of a "WOW!" light and a great conversation piece.
Negatives:
  • This torch has a love it or hate it design. Some hate it. Not me.
  • Almost too small to grip well when changing modes or turning on/off. I did get used to it very quickly though.
  • Have to be quick when changing modes.  Change window is very small (0.5 seconds?) and until you get used to it, the small size can make it difficult.
  • The inner body o-ring on mine was torn when I got mine.  Fortunately I had the exact size in my bin to replace it. Light did not come with any spare o-rings or lanyard.  I can live without the crappy lanyards we usually get but a couple spare o-rings would have been nice.
Conclusion:
A great little torch that I am happy I bought and can recommend with confidence to anyone that finds it's appearance enjoyable! In the mean time, enjoy the pics I took below.  Lighting could be better but they're not too terrible either. The lanyard in the pics was added by me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by: sb56637 on 09/02/2017 - 12:01
Chicago X
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Great review, and spot-on with my own impressions.

http://wardogsmakingithome.org/index.html

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JohnnyMac
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Wow! 68 reads and only one comment! Either I must write the worst reviews and take the worst pictures ever or Chicago X and I are the only ones who like this light. LOL! Wink

If it's me then suck it up people, I'm going to make more reviews anyway. Tongue Out

_the_
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JohnnyMac wrote:

Chicago X and I are the only ones who like this light. LOL! Wink

Count me in. Big Smile

Good review and photos! And nice work with the lanyard. Maybe I should try the same..

=the=

 

Tecmo
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Nice review and nice light!  Didn't realize how small it was, makes me wish I'd have ordered one.

Don
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Preliminary numbers with a cheap and nasty RCR123. 

  Lightbox luxLightbox luxLightbox luxEst. LumensEst. LumensEst. Lumens
LightBatteryTurn-on30 secs2 MinutesSwitch-on30 secs2 Minutes
Gas can HighRCR123109010431034196187185
MedRCR123264253251474545
LowRCR123363535666

 

The numbers from my light tests are always to be found here.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0ApkFM37n_QnRdDU5MDNzOURjYllmZHI...

how2
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Nice review but it's still under powered.

jacktheclipper
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Thanks for the review , Johnny Mac .

Nice job on the lanyard .Smile

Chicago X
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how2 wrote:

Nice review but it's still under powered.

Not if you want an hour of runtime....

http://wardogsmakingithome.org/index.html

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edc
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Great review. Can't wait for mine. Don't have any 16340's (damn). Anyone recommend a good battery?

 

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Don
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Trustfire flames work for most folks. But there are fake ones out there. I've not heard any complaints about the ones DX sells.

These work for me but mine have a relatively low cutoff current on the protection circuit. This is an issue with the Ultrafire RL-118 but I use IMR cells in it.

 

If these fit you'll get a bit more runtime. I don't have any of those but will try putting an 18650 version in to see if the tube has enough diameter to take the width - which I doubt. 

 

It doesn't. Even a 17mm cell won't fit, I tried a 17670 to see. Some of the fatter protected 16340's might not fit.

 

The numbers from my light tests are always to be found here.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0ApkFM37n_QnRdDU5MDNzOURjYllmZHI...

edc
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Might have to try the Flames

 

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how2
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Chicago X wrote:

how2 wrote:

Nice review but it's still under powered.

Not if you want an hour of runtime....

That's why you get Med and LowLaughing

JohnnyMac
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jacktheclipper wrote:

Thanks for the review , Johnny Mac .

Nice job on the lanyard .

 

_the_ wrote:

And nice work with the lanyard. Maybe I should try the same.

Thanks, guys! I like it too...clean, simple and elegant. I wish more lights had lanyard holes that would allow this type of lanyard. I did it on this one to keep metal on metal scratches in the finish from occurring due to split rings or snap hooks.

yavi
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It tempted me a lot, but I have now three different Lithium batteries and I did not want to get an extra one.

Very good review, and very good loonking flashlight and finishes.

I believe underdriven is under what the manufacturer states as the maximum recomended, I find your answer  a bit tricky Chicago X.

Chicago X
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yavi wrote:
I believe underdriven is under what the manufacturer states as the maximum recomended, I find your answer  a bit tricky Chicago X.

The torch is rated at 600ma on high. User _the_ measured 570ma. That's 95% of the stated draw, well within the margin of error. 

That current draw will provide roughly one hour of use at the highest setting, without self-destructing or setting something on fire. 

To state that is is under-powered is one of pure opinion, rather than fact. 

I fail to see how the facts are tricky...

http://wardogsmakingithome.org/index.html

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yavi
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It is underdriven according to the LED manufacturer, not the flashlight one, we were talking about different things I see.

Chicago X
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The LED manufacturer rates the XP-G at 350ma for 100% output. 

600ma is ~150% of the rated luminous flux. 

Technically, you could correctly say that this torch is OVERdriven. Smile

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yavi
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The manufacturer states the max current is 1.5A anything under that is under-driven in my opinion.

peteybaby
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Chicago X wrote:

The LED manufacturer rates the XP-G at 350ma for 100% output. 

600ma is ~150% of the rated luminous flux. 

Technically, you could correctly say that this torch is OVERdriven. Smile

Chicago X, I think you're misinterpreting the charts in the data sheet.  They're not saying that the XP-G produces 100% of its output at 350 mA.  They're saying that "if we arbitrarily select the 350 mA current level as being 100%, then...".  It's like a baseline.  It's similar to if we arbitrarily select "normal driving speed" to be 50 km/h, and take measurements at that speed, then we have a baseline for comparing with measurements taken at other speeds.

In fact, you can see from the flux vs. current chart that the xp-g can easily produce WAY more output than the 350 mA level, just like a car can go way faster than 50 km/h.

And even the 1.5 A "maximum" specified by Cree is not really a maximum, because the LED will not fail at 1.50001 A if it did not fail at 1.5 A.  For example, Cree specifies the maximum current for their XM-L as being 3 A, but BLF member Match did a great test, running the current up to 4 A and beyond (with a huge heat sink).  The LED will probably deteriorate faster at currents above "maximum", but even at 1.49 A or lower, if you don't heatsink the LED well it will deteriorate faster.  If you were to try using an xp-g or xm-l with no heat sink at all, it would fail at a current much lower than its rated maximum.

Chicago X
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I understand the charts, but thanks for the detailed reply !!! 

My point was that 'under-' or 'over-driven' can be a bit subjective.  Smile

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yavi
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That is why I said it was a bit tricky Wink

Chicago X
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You are 100% correct - it's a tricky business balancing runtime with output.

Since it's a fairly linear relationship between the two, it is the torch designer's choice where to land on the matrix.

For the size of the cell, an approximate 1C current draw seems to be a good practical starting point for an EDC.  (<----- 100% opinion.)

Bumping the current up 2.5 times to 1500ma will yield less than twice the lumen output while dropping runtime to 20 min or less.

Since the perception of brightness is not linear, the trade would seem like a poor one.

http://wardogsmakingithome.org/index.html

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yavi
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It is more like the taste of each one in that case, having modes, I would like a turbo,high or whatever we call it at 1A at least, and the choice of the manufacturer is something some will like, other will dislike and others will not bother.

Being fair, when we got high modes like that, with batteries like this one, we (or at least me) might tend to abuse of that mode reducing runtime, but even having said this, I would prefer it, I might be lumenholic hehe.

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That is a really neat looking light.  Thanks for the review.  I have to say that I agree that they could probably bump the output to 1 Amp though on high.  Its nice having an extended low though.

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Great review!  I would certainly buy one if I didn't already have an iTP A1 EOS.

JohnnyMac
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joe1512 wrote:

That is a really neat looking light.  Thanks for the review.  I have to say that I agree that they could probably bump the output to 1 Amp though on high.  Its nice having an extended low though.

Actually it's much brighter than the numbers would lead you to think and it lights up a dark room easily which is it's true purpose anyway. Torches this size aren't meant to be throwers or light a whole back yard and little pocket rockets (I own a few) are basically sub-compact cars with a big block motor stuffed in them. Fun to show off in and smoke the tires but horrible for day to day use and regular commuting.
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Tecmo wrote:

Nice review and nice light!  Didn't realize how small it was, makes me wish I'd have ordered one.

You do realize that you can still order one, don't you?  Just PM Ric_CN and I'm sure he'll hook you up.
edc
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I got mine today. I noticed the package was opened by customs. Maybe they didn't believe it was a flashlight. I stuck in a new cr123a. Dim light. Ok it is 3 mode. Twisiting no change. Pulled out battery, yes fully charged. Tried again, bright light.Must be one mode, kept twisting, low mode, 5 more twists, medium, 6 more high, two more low,4 more medium, 6 more high, 7 more low, 3 more medium. I think I have a problem with mine.

Update: It has memory you idiot

 

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_the_
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Had similar kind of problem with CR123A, seems to be a bit short for this light. Works much better with 16340.

Maybe lengthening the spring would help?

=the=

 

edc
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On further inspection I was not changing modes fast enough and a few times the battery pushed too far down and the light won't work. I am using a 4 7s cr123a and it is a tight fit. I hope my tf flames fit (whenever they show up) I like that it has memory.

 

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