[Review] Lumintop Tool AA 2.0: Small, simple and superb!

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GeraldL
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[Review] Lumintop Tool AA 2.0: Small, simple and superb!

Note: I received this light from Lumintop for an unbiased review after 1 month of usage.

Introduction
The Lumintop Tool AA 2.0 is an update from the Tool AA, and the bigger ‘brother’ of the massively popular Tool AAA (and also my favourite pocket EDC). With a single 14500, its max output is a whopping 650 lumens. Most of the times, I don’t even use Turbo. I typically keep it on Low or Medium. Good enough when I took it on a holiday to Hongkong, Macau and Guangzhou. I handed it over to my family to use sometimes and I like that it is so intuitive I don’t have to give them instructions. Click the tailcap clicky for on and off. (Non-flashaholics don’t think about soft clicking for changing modes or even accessing the hidden strobe, which is perfect in my opinion)

What do I love about it?

  • Very portable/pocketable
  • I’d put it in the sunglasses pouch in my 5.11 Rush 12 when on the plane, but once I’m in the hotel, I’d take it out and either put it in my jacket pocket or my little tactical sling pouch for faster access when I’m out.
  • Uses a common battery type
  • The default battery is a 14500 but I know that I can easily pop in a AA non-rechargeable if I need to, and those are easy to find
  • Broad, floody beam with decent throw
  • The XPL HD LED illuminates a wide area, good for walking in dimly lit areas
  • Simple UI
  • Low-Med-High-Turbo (with hidden strobe mode well-hidden)
  • Comes with a free diffuser
  • Works really well, and great for softening the beam, especially indoors
  • Optional accessory: Magnetic tailcap!
  • Nice compact packaging, great for gifting


The Lumintop came in a very nice, white box with the “QC Passed” sticker as an as assurance of its quality checking! I like this box – looks perfect for gifting.


Inside the box, you get: the light, 2 spare O rings, instruction manual, diffuser, and the warranty card. Note: the magnetic tail cap is an optional accessory, but I would highly recommend it.


This is the light with the diffuser on it. The diffuser is made of soft rubber so don’t worry about it getting cracked. Great fit – it doesn’t come off easily.


The diffuser is also made of glow in the dark material so you can easily find it after using it. I must say that this is such a brilliant idea and the glow is just so bright and beautiful in the dark.


While it isn’t the smallest 1 x AA light, it is still very small. Small enough for your pants/jacket pocket.

Specs
Dimensions:
Weight: 23.5g / 0.82oz
Length: 89.5mm / 3.52in
Diameter: 18.5mm / 0.72in

Material
Made of aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, premium type Ⅲ hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish, toughened and wear-resistant

MSRP
$17.99 USD from Amazon but they do have discounts occasionally, bringing the price down to $14.99 USD

LED
XPL-HD LED (CW option only)

Reflector
Smooth reflector

Battery
1 x AA/14500 battery (You need a 14500 for the Turbo mode putting out 650 lumens)

Modes/Output
[Alkaline AA]
Low: 3.7 lumens (60 hours)
Medium: 28 lumens (11.9 hours)
High: 140 lumens (49 mins)
Turbo: 220 lumens (21 mins)
Strobe: 140 lumens

[Ni-MH]
Low: 3.7 lumens (60 hours)
Medium: 28 lumens (12.5 hours)
High: 140 lumens (2.5 hours)
Turbo: 270 lumens (43 mins)
Strobe: 140 lumens

[14500]
Low: 16 lumens (37 hours)
Medium: 85 lumens (6h 9 mins)
High: 360 lumens (1h 19 mins)
Turbo: 650 lumens (33 mins)
Strobe: 360 lumens

Max Range/Throw
Turbo mode: 127m

Mode Memory
Yes (other than Strobe)

Waterproof
IPX8 (waterproof up till 2m, for 30 mins)

Lockout
Untwist tailcap for lockout

Tailstand
Yes

Lanyard Attachment
Yes

Reversible Pocket Clip
Yes


From left: Lumintop 14500 LiON, Imren 18650 LiON, Olight S1A Baton, Lumintop Tool AA


Looking straight at the XPL LED and you can see the glow in the dark O ring around the inner bezel.

Quality
My first Lumintop was a Tool AAA and it’s been in my pocket as my EDC for 3.5 years now. I love that the quality is top notch. Even though the anodising has rubbed off in certain areas, I have never needed to change the O rings, and the light works like it did on the first day. I have trust in the build quality of Lumintops. After 1 month using the Tool AA 2.0, I can tell that this is a quality light. My only gripe will be the thin barrel but it is by no means, weak or soft. I guess it helps to keep the light lightweight (haha geddit?)

Right out of the box, the light has:

  • Responsive tail switch that requires a substantial click before turning on. Also, it lies flush with the portion for lanyard attachment. These prevents most accidental turn ons and in all the time I’ve carried it, it has never turned on, unlike the Olight S1A with its protruding side switch.
  • Strong clip (for you to clip onto your bag/pouch/cap/pocket)
  • Reasonable knurling for extra grip, especially around the head and tail area for you to unscrew the light with ease
  • Glow in the dark O ring around the inner bezel of the head. It’s a tiny thing but it just goes to show how much Lumintop thinks about the end user. In complete darkness, this tiny ring of green helps you locate your light.


Perfect anodising right out of the box.


A close up look of the finishing and the printing


A close up look of the head, and the glow in the dark O ring around the inner bezel.


A close up of the clip and the threads


_Another view of the clip and the threads. Love the matte finish on the body. _


This is the light with the magnetic base. It’s definitely much shorter, and you twist-untwist to turn on/off and change modes.

UI
The flashlight has 5 modes (including a hidden Strobe).
Hard press to turn it on/off. Soft press to change modes.
Low → Medium → High → Turbo → Low → Medium → Strobe (only if you click 6 times in quick succession)
_*Since it has mode memory, it will come on in whichever mode you left it on (except Strobe). _

Dead simple. I love it. However, I personally don’t like lights with mode memory. I can never remember which mode I left it on, and sometimes in the dark, I blast myself with 650 lumens of cool white light. Not good for my eyes. Give me a light with no mode memory. I will click through to the desired output if

Beamshots
This time round, I tried to get some outdoor beamshots for you guys for a more realistic view of the illumination levels. This was a dimly lit path in Hong Kong (almost pitch dark in certain areas) so I took out my light for my sister while I snapped the photos.
Taken on a Samsung Galaxy S8.


Low Mode


Medium Mode


High Mode


Turbo Mode

Use Cases

  • Left in the car: When caught in an emergency situation, the strobe will be helpful for warning oncoming vehicles/emergency personnel. The optional magnetic tailcap is a good add on because you can ‘stick’ it to your car.

  • In an EDC pouch: This is how I will carry the light – as a secondary light when I need more output than my Lumintop Tool AAA.
  • On the shoulder strap of my 5.11 backpack: I can clip it and let it light up the area in front of me, without the need for me to use my hands, leaving my 2 hands free.


Back view of the light clipped to my bag. Hands free!

__
_Front view!
_

Clipped onto the Molle webbing for downward illumination.

Pros & Cons
Pros

  • Small form factor
  • AA batteries are easily available
  • 650 lumens on 14500!
  • Fantastic finish
  • Grippy knurling
  • Simple UI
  • Nice diffuser
  • Strong, reversible clip
  • Good price point

Cons

  • Coronas in the beam pattern up close
  • Only CW option
  • Lacking a moonlight mode, which is essential in every light, in my opinion
  • The light gets hot pretty fast on Turbo mode but that’s expected given the small size
  • The grease on the threads were a little thin, but all good once I slathered some silicon grease over it

Conclusion
In conclusion, Lumintop is still one of my favourite flashlight brands. Despite the prominence of budget-friendly flashlight brands popping up, I trust in the build quality of Lumintop, and would gladly pay a little bit more for quality. This light is small and lightweight, good for trips where you don’t want to add to the bulk of whatever you are carrying. Also, this will be the light I reach out for when one of my non-flashaholic friends ask for a light. Hard click for on and off. Soft click for changing modes. It cannot get easier than that. Pair that with the diffuser and they have a nice tent light. I love it, and my friends are going to love it more.

Edited by: GeraldL on 01/17/2019 - 21:00
djozz
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Thanks for the nice review Gerald.
One question: do you notice the PWM on the low modes: do you see obvious flicker when you wave the flashlight on low before your eyes? The first version of the ToolAA had very low frequency flicker (I thin kit was 200 Hz or so) on the lower modes, I hope that they improved that.

Anthon
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I have two units and both make 360lm at start with NIMH, it’s a beast! and it gets very hot because there isn’t any stepdown

dealgrabber2002
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is it a typo that the output and runtime of Nimh is the same as 14500?

GeraldL
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dealgrabber2002 wrote:
is it a typo that the output and runtime of Nimh is the same as 14500?

Good catch! Thanks for pointing that out. I’ve made the necessary edits now. Thank you.

GeraldL
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djozz wrote:
Thanks for the nice review Gerald. One question: do you notice the PWM on the low modes: do you see obvious flicker when you wave the flashlight on low before your eyes? The first version of the ToolAA had very low frequency flicker (I thin kit was 200 Hz or so) on the lower modes, I hope that they improved that.

Thanks for the kind words! I don’t see any visible PWM Smile

bucky
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I really like this light but the pocket clip is awful, does not work at all

hank
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Quote:
I don’t see any visible PWM

Try pointing it at a spinning fan blade

EyeballFryer
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I originally thought My Lumintop Tool AA 2.0 had no PWM either, even looking at some fan blades. But my phone camera is showing some kind of flickering on low, med, and high. Whatever’s happening must be very ultra high frequency PWM, or the driver isn’t fully turning off the LED. Whatever it’s doing is way better and almost undetectable compared to the 1st AA Tool, which had horrible PWM.

ZoomieFan
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I’m a 18650, 21700 and 26650 freak but decided to buy the AA and AAA versions. I must say I’m pleasantly surprised. I only have the lights for less than a day so can’t say much yet.
Indoors they give more light than I would expect.
I also like the diffuser caps. A very smooth light, I don’t like hotspots of any kind. With the cap it’s zero

Yesterday I took my annual bath in pitch dark and read a book using the AA light with a cap standing about a yard away and a feet above me.
Must say it worked well. Very well.
Just as well as my regular 100 Watt bulb that’s positioned wrong for reading.

So if you take a bath once in a while and like reading get the light! Smile
(a spark of insanity my be required for this kind of use,,,,)

Chargers: 1xBasen BD01 5/5, 1x Gyrfalcon All-88, LiitoKala: 3x100 4/5, 2x202 5/5, 1x402 3/5., MiBoxer C4-12 3/5.
Flashlights: BLF Q8 4/5, DQG Tiny III 26650 5/5, FiTorch MR35 3/5, Haikelite SC26 HD 3/5, Lumintop Tool AA/AAA 4/5, Nitecore LA10, Sofirn C01 BLF 3200k/5600k, Zebralight H600Fc 3/5.
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Waiting for: (DQG Tiny) 21700 EDCs. Xtar powerbank that (also) takes 20700, 21700, 26650

Robert Barr
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Best place to buy? (Probably a matter of opinion, but…)

I have the first version, and there’s nothing I dislike about it. Since this one’s an improvement over an already excellent little product, perhaps I should have one just to compare. (For scientific reasons only, you understand).

lightboks
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Too bad I missed the ultratac a1. This has no mode memory. For small edc lights with 14500 power and no shortcuts, I always prefer no mode memory now.

For the money I also prefer the convoy t2, which is available in warm white.

Both of these have the same mediocre clip as well. I guess I pass on the AA tool. I just bought a copper Tool AA which I kinda like. Except I also had to take of the clip. Also it is not CW.

Will the mode memory on the tool remember that it sits one position before strobe, or will strobe alwaysstay hidden behind 6 clicks?

djozz
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D#rn, mode memory Tired I just bought one and for some reason assumed it has no memory. Ok then, this one will get no use, I hate brightness lottery.

GeraldL
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bucky wrote:
I really like this light but the pocket clip is awful, does not work at all

Why is it awful? Hope to hear from you, and pass your feedback back to Lumintop Smile

GeraldL
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EyeballFryer wrote:
I originally thought My Lumintop Tool AA 2.0 had no PWM either, even looking at some fan blades. But my phone camera is showing some kind of flickering on low, med, and high. Whatever’s happening must be very ultra high frequency PWM, or the driver isn’t fully turning off the LED. Whatever it’s doing is way better and almost undetectable compared to the 1st AA Tool, which had horrible PWM.

Same! I did both and just couldn’t notice it with my eyes. However, I could notice PWM on the Tool AAA on low mode. The Tool AA must have very unnoticeable PWM if it has it.

-X3-
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GeraldL wrote:
bucky wrote:
I really like this light but the pocket clip is awful, does not work at all

Why is it awful? Hope to hear from you, and pass your feedback back to Lumintop Smile


Way too thin IMO. The clip is easily detachable from the flashlight, plus it’s too narrow so it won’t accept a jeans pocket for example.
Here is what I’ve done to mine :

"-X3-, is there any place in your house without a flashlight ?" 

My Flashlight public album (mods, emitter swaps, eye candy)

My reviews channel (French language, Olight, Thorfire, Sofirn, Lumintop : 60+ lights tested)

My personal channel (including Olight SR mini, S1, S2, S1A and S-mini disassembly)

M4DM4X blog, saves you $$$ 

GeraldL
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ZoomieFan wrote:
I’m a 18650, 21700 and 26650 freak but decided to buy the AA and AAA versions. I must say I’m pleasantly surprised. I only have the lights for less than a day so can’t say much yet.
Indoors they give more light than I would expect.
I also like the diffuser caps. A very smooth light, I don’t like hotspots of any kind. With the cap it’s zero

Yesterday I took my annual bath in pitch dark and read a book using the AA light with a cap standing about a yard away and a feet above me.
Must say it worked well. Very well.
Just as well as my regular 100 Watt bulb that’s positioned wrong for reading.

So if you take a bath once in a while and like reading get the light! Smile
(a spark of insanity my be required for this kind of use,,,,)

Yep, I love the soft white light that the diffuser gives out. Although I use it more frequently than an annual bath Big Smile

GeraldL
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Robert Barr wrote:
Best place to buy? (Probably a matter of opinion, but…)

I have the first version, and there’s nothing I dislike about it. Since this one’s an improvement over an already excellent little product, perhaps I should have one just to compare. (For scientific reasons only, you understand).

Amazon or AliExpress but that’s dependent on a lot of factors.

I think we can all understand that you need to have the updated version for scientific comparison purposes. Go forth!

GeraldL
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lightboks wrote:
Too bad I missed the ultratac a1. This has no mode memory. For small edc lights with 14500 power and no shortcuts, I always prefer no mode memory now.

For the money I also prefer the convoy t2, which is available in warm white.

Both of these have the same mediocre clip as well. I guess I pass on the AA tool. I just bought a copper Tool AA which I kinda like. Except I also had to take of the clip. Also it is not CW.

Will the mode memory on the tool remember that it sits one position before strobe, or will strobe alwaysstay hidden behind 6 clicks?

Thanks for your comments! Seems like the clip is an issue for quite a number of people. I put it in my jeans pocket and it fits fine and hasn’t come off once.

I also don’t like mode memory (I wonder what’s the logic behind manufacturers including it??) but thankfully, strobe is properly hidden and will not be memorised.

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I’ve got one coming and need to get a couple of high mAh protected batteries for it. Any fit problem when using a protected 14500, like the Orbtronic or Keeppower 840 mAh?

chadvone
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Thanks for doing this review. I have a version 1 on the way.

GeraldL
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duvallite wrote:
I’ve got one coming and need to get a couple of high mAh protected batteries for it. Any fit problem when using a protected 14500, like the Orbtronic or Keeppower 840 mAh?

Hey hi, I cannot say for sure because I don’t have those exact batteries to test it out but I believe the Lumintop 14500 that was sent together for the purpose of this review is protected so I believe you won’t have a problem with protected cells.

GeraldL
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chadvone wrote:
Thanks for doing this review. I have a version 1 on the way.

Thanks for dropping by and for your kind words! I hope you enjoy version 1 enough to get a version 2 Big Smile

GeraldL
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djozz wrote:
D#rn, mode memory Tired I just bought one and for some reason assumed it has no memory. Ok then, this one will get no use, I hate brightness lottery.

I totally agree! Why do manufacturers put mode memory…

GeraldL
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X3 wrote:
GeraldL wrote:
bucky wrote:
I really like this light but the pocket clip is awful, does not work at all

Why is it awful? Hope to hear from you, and pass your feedback back to Lumintop Smile


Way too thin IMO. The clip is easily detachable from the flashlight, plus it’s too narrow so it won’t accept a jeans pocket for example.
Here is what I’ve done to mine :

Wow that’s a mean looking clip! Now I can understand why you said the default clip is too thin and not strong enough. I’ll feedback this to Lumintop. They’re very accepting of users’ feedback and improving their lights based on feedback

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duvallite wrote:
I’ve got one coming and need to get a couple of high mAh protected batteries for it. Any fit problem when using a protected 14500, like the Orbtronic or Keeppower 840 mAh?

I use Fenix & AW protected cells in mine.
lightboks
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Yeah. Tell them we want proper deep carry clips. Too many lights with the same crappy clips

lightboks
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Yeah. Tell them we want proper deep carry clips. Too many lights with the same crappy clips. Clips can make a difference

GeraldL
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Nev wrote:
duvallite wrote:
I’ve got one coming and need to get a couple of high mAh protected batteries for it. Any fit problem when using a protected 14500, like the Orbtronic or Keeppower 840 mAh?
I use Fenix & AW protected cells in mine.

Thanks for chiming in, Nev! I love AW batteries too Smile

GeraldL
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lightboks wrote:
Yeah. Tell them we want proper deep carry clips. Too many lights with the same crappy clips. Clips can make a difference

I hear you! And I will pass on the message Smile

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X3 wrote:
Way too thin IMO. The clip is easily detachable from the flashlight, plus it’s too narrow so it won’t accept a jeans pocket for example. Here is what I’ve done to mine :

Hum, any info on how did you this X3?
Any specific drill thickness? Did you use bolt and nut?

I am thinking about getting a new Tool AA 2.0 and the clip is always the headache in this light Facepalm
Not sure if I will be doing something similar to what you’ve done, but I appreciate any info on this Innocent

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