Thorfire TK18 Review. Ramping UI for the Win?

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cellguy
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Thorfire TK18 Review. Ramping UI for the Win?

*Sorry, I did not have a chance to take any pictures but they are easily found on other reviews.  I can add them later if necessary.  Thorfire provided this light for free in exchange for my review.  They did not make any demands on the content or tone of this review.*

Thorfire TK18 Review

The single 18650 cigar style flashlight segment is loaded with choices and price ranges.  The budget end of the spectrum is dominated by the likes of the Convoy S2+ and the BLF A6.  Thorfire, however, has been making inroads to the market with its popular VG15S.  It has now introduced the TK18, a more premium model with some attractive features.  But it is worth the extra cost?

TK18 MSRP: $29.80

Highlights:

  • CREE XPL2 LED; Up to 1200 Lumens on Turbo
  • Requires a quality 18650 battery such the Samsung 30Q (not included)
  • Memory mode
  • Ramping UI

INITIAL THOUGHTS

The specs on the TK18 are very attractive. 1200 lumens, dual switches, ramping and traditional UI, battery level indicator, and mode memory.  All for under $30 dollars, including Prime shipping from Amazon.

Build

The build quality is ok.  For $30 I did expect more.  The light looks cheaper than it should.  I prefer the S2+ and A6 machining and finishes.  The TK18 looks cheaply painted.  The tail switch is crisp with a satisfying amount of travel and click.  I found the electronic side switch to be mushy and unappealing.

User Interface

I hate the UI on the TK18.  The ramping UI on the BLF Q8 is such a pleasure to use.  Smooth and lively, letting you move up or down with ease.  The ramping UI on the TK18 is terribly slow taking several long seconds to max out.  Switching to the traditional click through mode requires 4 presses of the electronic switch.  On my review unit, each press was not always recognized making switching UI’s far too cumbersome.  The memory mode is much appreciated.  Waiting for the light to ramp up each would be a deal breaker on ever using this light.

Tint

Cool White only, 5300-5500k

Performance

The TK118 is also a bit of a dud here too.  The 1200 lumen turbo steps down you are left with a rather pedestrian 500 lumen high mode.

WOULD I BUY IT?

In short, no.  I had high expectation for the ramping UI and was totally let down.  If Thorfire can bring it in line with the Q8, the TK18 would be more attractive.  But even with that improvement, the BLF A6 is a much better buy in my opinion.  For the same $30 you get a robust UI, tint choice, easy modding and a Samsung 30Q battery. 

EDIT:  I would like to clarify I did not mean to imply the TK18 was hard to or could not be modded.  Just that the A6 was a known commodity for those wishing to do so.

Current Favorites:

BLF Q8, Thrunite TC20, Convoy L6

 

 

 

Edited by: cellguy on 05/16/2018 - 22:45
Azza
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Great review. Honest & straightforward. With practical expectations that probably many will agree with.

Looking forward to more such reviews.

Speed4goal
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Thanks for the review, I think manufactures should give us a option to disable thermal control. Like most haikelite models do. If I’m using turbo it’s for a reason and I need it and I’ll step it down. Or at least put a 5 minute timer on it where it can be bumped back up. 30 to 60 seconds is to short. Like the bistro firmware enables it to be disabled.
That’s the reason I never bought the a6, because of the 45 second turbo timer. I don’t mind the eagle eye x6 driver with the 3 min turbo. And it only drops from 1200 lumens to 900 lumens.

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Firelight2
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Speed4goal wrote:
Thanks for the review, I think manufactures should give us a option to disable thermal control. Like most haikelite models do. If I’m using turbo it’s for a reason and I need it and I’ll step it down. Or at least put a 5 minute timer on it where it can be bumped back up. 30 to 60 seconds is to short. Like the bistro firmware enables it to be disabled.
That’s the reason I never bought the a6, because of the 45 second turbo timer. I don’t mind the eagle eye x6 driver with the 3 min turbo. And it only drops from 1200 lumens to 900 lumens.
The best thermal control override I’ve seen is on the Nitecore Concept 1.

The Concept 1 is an expensive 1×18650 tube-shaped sideswitch light. Due to its lack of heatsink fins it heats up fast and and can rampdown fast. However, you can override the thermal rampdown at any time simply by holding the sideswitch down. While the button is held down, the light stays at maximum turbo. When you release it the thermal stepdown is reset and it will rampdown rapidly if hot.

Speed4goal
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With the haikelite mt07s you can turn it off with a few clicks and then when you disconnect the battery it resets. So if you want to let someone borrow the light there isn’t some advanced configuration to go into. Just unscrew the tail cap some and retighten.

I don’t think I would like having to hold the button down like a momentary switch. I get the idea KS it. When it gets to hot you’ll let the button go.

I’m fine with some thermal control as long as its set high. Like 70c to 80c I have rough calloused hands from working with metal and what burns other people takes longer to burn me. And when a light is scorching by the head a lot of the time by the tailcap it’s cool enough to hold.

2/9 Fox Co (2009-2015) Semper Fi 0311/0331 Rifleman/Machine Gunner
Blf has changed a lot since I've been here. Lots of snow flakes and easily offended over nothing. When the forum use to be great and people joked around and could take a joke. It's a forum it's not that serious. Let's make BLF great again!

wle
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i also hated the 2-switch implementation. too different from a ‘normal’ light.
and i hated the slow ramping (which changes speeds, at times i could never anticipate)

wle

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cellguy
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Thorfire is offering 30% off the TK18 bringing it around $20. That makes is light more appealing I should think. Here is the link to the Thorfire Deal Thread.

Current Favorites:

BLF Q8, Thrunite TC20, Convoy L6

 

 

 

Pete7874
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Based on your review, I dont think I’d want this light even at $20.

cellguy
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Pete7874 wrote:
Based on your review, I dont think I’d want this light even at $20.

Thanks, lol. I just thought I would mention it in case anyone was on the fence.

Current Favorites:

BLF Q8, Thrunite TC20, Convoy L6

 

 

 

Azza
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That’s what makes this review so useful. Many a time we are looking for comparative reasons which flashlights don’t quite cut it for us.

T.H.Cone
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The TK18 is a decent enough light, especially for people who are not as jaded as most of us.

Personally, I think it really shines- no pun intended- as a single mode light for someone who prefers single mode, but wants the option to be able pick and choose the output when necessary.

What I mean is, since you can operate the light just fine (On, Off, and Momentary) with just the tail switch, and because of mode memory, you can pick a light output that suits your needs (for example, a couple 100 lumens generally bright enough for EDC with long runtimes) and be quite satisfied. Some people just want the simplicity of a single mode light.

Then, if the need arises, you have the option to get more or less lumens without too much hassle.

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Pete7874
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cellguy wrote:
Pete7874 wrote:
Based on your review, I dont think I’d want this light even at $20.

Thanks, lol. I just thought I would mention it in case anyone was on the fence.


Thanks. I’ve fallen off the fence after reading this thread. Smile

I bought a TK15 recently for $10, and even that was too much, I think. The UI is OK, but the green tint outside of the hotspot area is very nasty. How’s the tint on the TK18?

Firelight2
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I really like the feel of my Thorfire TK-05 in the hand. The output, tint and interface aren’t great, but as a mod host it has great potential.

The TK-18 looks intriguing as it has the same body style in 18650 format. It’s long though… possibly too long for me. For 18650 pocket EDC lights I prefer as short as possible and with the dual-switch arrangement this one looks too long for me.

RobertB
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Wow, I don’t get that impression at all. Very good build quality. Way better than any of the 3 A6’s I have. Heck, for quite some time, you couldn’t get the battery tube threads to match up on the A6, and I still think they have troubles with the 350 tubes. Button is not mushy, and incredibly easy to mod with a different emitter. (I dislike XPL domed, and the XHP .2 emitters anyway) Took a hole part of 10 minutes to swap out a noctigon with a NW XPL-HI.

The ramping UI is slow compared to the Q8, but not excruciatingly slow. And mine clicks in and out of the ramping to static modes very well without skipping a beat. The battery indicator works well also.

cellguy
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Pete7874 wrote:
cellguy wrote:
Pete7874 wrote:
Based on your review, I dont think I’d want this light even at $20.

Thanks, lol. I just thought I would mention it in case anyone was on the fence.


Thanks. I’ve fallen off the fence after reading this thread. Smile

I bought a TK15 recently for $10, and even that was too much, I think. The UI is OK, but the green tint outside of the hotspot area is very nasty. How’s the tint on the TK18?

I did not feel there were any glaring issues…;)

Current Favorites:

BLF Q8, Thrunite TC20, Convoy L6

 

 

 

cellguy
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RobertB wrote:
Wow, I don’t get that impression at all. Very good build quality. Way better than any of the 3 A6’s I have. Heck, for quite some time, you couldn’t get the battery tube threads to match up on the A6, and I still think they have troubles with the 350 tubes. Button is not mushy, and incredibly easy to mod with a different emitter. (I dislike XPL domed, and the XHP .2 emitters anyway) Took a hole part of 10 minutes to swap out a noctigon with a NW XPL-HI.

The ramping UI is slow compared to the Q8, but not excruciatingly slow. And mine clicks in and out of the ramping to static modes very well without skipping a beat. The battery indicator works well also.

Maybe I just got a dud? We can probably agree to disagree on the aesthetics. I cannot speak to the ease of modding the TK18 and I did not mean to imply it could not be modded, just that the A6 has a rich history of modding. I cannot promise to have time but I will try and revisit mine and give it some more service time. I am glad you got a good one. I truely like Thorfire products and want to see them succeed.

Current Favorites:

BLF Q8, Thrunite TC20, Convoy L6