review: Manker U23

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Narmattaru
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review: Manker U23

26650 power, type-C charge with good amperage, good throw and warm light – all this, together, potentially makes the flashlight quite interesting. But in reality, how? Let’s get a look.

Manker is quite a good company, and at one time they loudly declared themselves, with some (I forgot, U11 or 21) model giving a good flexible UI and a small price tag for the whole set of characteristics.

the flashlight was provided by FASTTECH for review (my version is in neutral, in fact this is the most warm light)

SPECS

  • Emitter: CREE XHP-50.2
    Maximum output: 2000 lumens
    Power by 1× 5000mAh 26650 battery (Batery included)
    Type-C USB Charging function
    Maximum beam intensity: 20000CD,
    Maximum beam distance: 282 meters.
    Working voltage: 2.8V-4.35V (Over discharge protection)
    Driver: Most efficiency constant current circuit
    Material: Aircraft-grade aluminum body
    Surface treatment: Premium Type III hard-anodized antiabrasive
    finish
    Lens: Toughened ultra-clear glass lens with anti-reflective
    coating
    Water proof: IPX-8 (2 meter under water)
    Tail stand
    Length: 128mm / Diameter: 46mm
    Weight: 189g (without battery)
    Accessories: O-ring * 1, Lanyard * 1, Type C USB cable * 1, Manker 5000mAh rechargeable 26650 battery * 1

Package and appearance

Package does not make much of an impression. So-so, shortly speaking. There is a modest design boxes that make it clear that this modesty is a conscious intention, and they looks appropriate and good. This design is from the category of “well, at least something.”

It seems that though everything is not bad, it looks worse than the packages of most competitors. There is a lot of empty space in the box and during transportation it was pretty much crumpled. When you buy U23 for yourself and are going to throw the packaging away, it would not matter. But if you take as a gift, then this moment must be taken into account and you otta asked to pack everything neater.

The package includes everything you need except holster: a flashlight, battery, lanyard, o-ring, instruction and charging cable. No holster…strange.


To be honest, we passed all the negative and that`s time to see good things.
The flashlight itself looks definitely good. Relatively small body, just 128mm long, looks quite decent, and then I definitely can not find any cons of appearance. See for yourself.


The traditional comparison with the well-known S2 +. Manker U23, of course, is much thicker, but it fits well with the usual dimensions for 26650 flaslight.

there is a deep groove on the tailcap. if needed U23 can tailstand.

The springs on both sides of the flashlight are thick enough, everything is fine here. On the tail, it is even double.

threads are well lubricated.

And although there are not any specific knurling, the grip is very strong due to the fact that along the flashlight are deep longitudinal grooves and there is one concentric one right in the middle.



Grip very comfortable, I repeat.

Traditionally , the button and the charge port are at the opposide sides

The cover of the latter is very good – thick, opens moderately easily. The charging connector pleases – here, after all, Type-C , so you`ll not to poke blindly.

The button is wide, located in a small recess (thanks to this, the button does not protrude, which reduces the chances of accidental activation) and the finger finds it without problems. Backlight indication also helps with this. Medium move with a clear click. There is nothing to complain about.

The cooling fins are numerous and deep, again, all is well.

Broad bezel, twisted with reflector inside. Here, which is unusual, there is also internal threads in the head.


At the bottom – XHP50.2. All the insides look quite neat.

Well, of course, a smooth reflector. Everything is as usual on glass – Toughened ultra-clear glass lens with anti-reflective coating



UI

Despite it looks oversaturated , the control is quite simple and you can get comfortable with it quickly.

on-off by long press (which for many minus) with memory modes

switch modes on click.

a short flick from off launches moonlight

Double-click to start the turbo and the following group of special modes.

Battery Indicator:
1. Blue: more than 70% 2. Violet: 50% 3. Red: less than 20%

Lock is tricky:
1-2-3 click sequence. also unlocking.

Engineering mode (setting the level of moonlight):
press and hold the button, the indicator will light up. then quickly click 4 times to access the engineering mode. there on click you select the desired level and with a long press fix it.

Flashlight performance

There are versions with cold and neutral (read warm) light. I have a second. PWM blinking is not visible in any of the modes.

light distribution is expected for mid rang light. Despite quite large and deep SMO reflector here, LED is not small and not dedomed, so light is not classic “piercer”, there are some sidelight.
And here for the first time I ran into the fact that in the very center a bluish spot is visible. Found a discussion on the BLF, apparently this is something like a projection of the crosshair dividing LEDs into 4 parts of lines. With a textured reflector this would not seem to be.

Technically, you may get used to it, but the eyes of flashaholics may cry with blood. With XHP35 placed instead of XHP50.2 , then this would not have happened. Actually, the choice of XHP50.2 for this model is rather strange, I rarely see such a LED now. For high brightness use XHP70, and for long-range mentioned XHP35.

Well, for comparison, the Manker U23 is in high \ turbo with a well-known standard of readers – S2 + XML-2 6500K
more will be clearer.

Charging current is very good, 1.8A, everything is alright here.

There are no questions to stabilization. In the turbo, the flashlight warms up quickly enough, but with its dimensions the brightness is still not big enough to make the grip uncomfortable due to overheating.

The remaining modes are very, very good in terms of brightness and work.



As for performance itself, the flashlight proved to be quite decent. He does not demonstrate any wonders of the throw as his older brother, the MK35, and similar ones, but for its size the Manker U23 has sufficient penetrating power for maximum needs.

Here, watch live.

15m even Low is ok here, not to mention the 8-hours Mid.

50m – no problem

compare with s2+

75m, I also see no problems. but Mid seems to lack power here. High\turbo only

150m – Turbo gives enough light

400m is already at the limit of the useful distance. it will be possible to tell one big thing from another, but many factors will begin to influence at a distance: parasitic illumination (the darker around, the more contrast and better the light from the flashlight can be seen), air purity, size of the illuminated object and visual acuity. IMHO at such a distance to the naked eye can only distinguish T-34 from Pantera.

Look here, on the video you can still see what a flashlight is capable of. there is alive performance at the beginning and at the end of review.

General impressions

In general, they are positive. And if the cold light option is clearly less competitive (there are other decent 26650\21700 throwers on the market with the same size and price), then the WW option almost totally left for U23 and may be Acebeam T30 (which is, technically, not 26650).

Other manufacturers even offer almost no neutral color, it should be looked for in either larger or smaller flashlights. And then immediately warm … In fact, the only obvious jamb is the blueness in the center. Obvious, but I think that it is not so significant for those to whom the warm light is important. And, again, I don’t have to choose here because I can’t call something similar in the market.

+ good capacious battery
+ charging current
+ type-c
+ brightness and range
+ management
+ price tag adequate to competitors

- spot in the center. I asked Tony Chen from Manker at fb about this, but he ignored me.

djozz
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There is nothing to ask about that blue spot, a XHP50.2 with a smooth reflector will produce that faint spot, an annoyance for the flashoholic, no problem at all for practical use. It is a choice they made.

Thanks for the review, looks like a well-designed solid and useful flashlight, and I like the styling, which I can not say for all Manker lights.

MascaratumB
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Sweet light and very nice review as ever!! Thumbs Up
It is a pitty that Manker doesn’t improve this UI a little bit, like instead of going ML>L>M>H>M>L>ML, add the possibility to go up and down in modes, “ramping style” (ex: ML < > L < >M < > H < > ML) , but with their spaced output levels (that I am fond of because they are well spaced!
Do this Manker and your flashlights will be even better!! My simple opinion Beer

REVIEWS: AMUTORCH: S3 / S3 vs 219c / AM30 / AX1 / VG10 /// SOFIRN: SF14 & SP10A / SP32A / SP10B /// NITEFOX: UT20 / ES10K / K3 /// ODEPRO: KL52 / B018 /// ACEBEAM: H20 /// BLITZWOLF: BlitzWolf BW-ET1 /// DQG: AA Slim Ti /// HC-LIGHTS: SS AAA /// XTAR: PB2 Charger /// OLIGHT: M2R Warrior /// WUBEN: TO10R / E05 / T70 /// ON THE ROAD: M1 / i3 / M3 Pro /// ROVYVON: A2 & A5R / E300S / A8 /// KLARUS: XT1C 

Tricks: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8  TIR Lenses: 1 / 2   Others: Biscotti 3 & 1*7135     Triple TIR & XP-G2

GIVEAWAY - 1

80T
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Just got mine this morning, although I've already knew about the blue spot in the center and the UI - thanks to your review that is Wink

I thought I wouldn't mind the UI too much and the blue spot could go away with some shims. But.. When I'm switching to any other light with a nicer UI, it just bugs me a great deal.. Sad

Also tried some playing around with the reflector's height and while it does I would say.. blur out the center blueish spot, or at least get it out of focus, there goes the whole beam pattern along with it.. LOL

Also I don't think it would be related to the XHP fine "cross" separating the 4 dies, as it's an XHP50.2, not a plain XHP50, thus very hard to notice the said space between the emitter dies.. even less when lit up Flat Stare

So, not really regretting the purchase, I still would've bought it anyways, but it still bugs me.. I would've much preferred a more classic Click to turn On/Off, Hold for ML, Double-Click for Turbo (at least they've got this one right) Triple-Click for disco modes - Hold to cycle, click to return to normal modes. Oh well and why not, maybe even ramping instead of discrete brightness levels - apparently the driver itself supports ramping as it does fade in/out of most light modes.. Flat Stare Maybe a "strike" bezel as well, just so I can see when the light is turned on while sitting bezel down.. ?

Other than the flaws, the flashlight looks nice, very nice actually. Beam profile is useful, I like the inclusion of an adjustment for the ML level (more flashlights should have this - or at least a ML level at all to begin with.. )

Another thing that I like about this driver and found quite interesting and unexpected, is that it keeps the last mode memory even after a physical lockout, Yay!..

This means that if you were to have a tail-cap with a clicky, you could use that for momentary On - "tactical" even, should the clicky be the forward activation type. Although, there's some 0.5s delay, so, at least, no "manual strobe" - but imo, still potentially useful if that would've been the case, for quickly lighting up whatever have you.

 

EDIT:

Just realized some another small nags.. the MCPCB.. is Aluminum, not Copper Flat Stare (and the configuration for the emitter is 12V) The last mode after using Turbo is not properly remembered - it advances one or two levels..

And since I've opened it up (thank God for NO threadlocker! on the bezel) I couldn't leave it as is was and tried further to improve the blueish hotspot - one gasket with some raised border around the emitter and a cardboard (?) insulation washer later did took away a bit of the cold center spot without noticeably messing up with the beam if at all. Still not perfect, but it's an improvement. I'd say in practice you wouldn't even realize that it's still there to some extent, quite happy with the result (for now.. )

Not really a perfect representation in this picture, in person of course the blueish cold center spot looks more visible, but it does look better than it was originally.

Pavlo
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Very tempted by this light to use with a Nichia 144am. Would probably need to add DC fix on the lens.
The Manker build quality and efficient drivers make them very well priced. I agree on the Hold for off is annoying. I think Manker lights would sell better if they updated their UI’s.

80T
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I wish some company would eventually come up with a programmable flashlight and maybe a PC program with an user friendly (noob) UI to manage the firmware setup..

I mean, the USB port is already present on enough flashlights to this date. It wouldn't be crazy to imagine that there would be enough room to add an USB interface chip on board.

80T
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80T wrote:

Also I don't think it would be related to the XHP fine "cross" separating the 4 dies, as it's an XHP50.2, not a plain XHP50, thus very hard to notice the said space between the emitter dies.. even less when lit up Flat Stare

 

Aha! So it does actually have to do with the emitter itself, "cross" or no "cross" regardless - nothing a small piece of sandpaper couldn't handle Wink Just carefully sanded the whole surface of the dome and.. Voila!

Well, idk how much luminance I might've lost, if any, but at least the blueish dot is completely gone! That and a perfectly smooth corona - as in rotating the flashlight you wouldn't notice the beam rotating on the wall.

I guess this method, (new to me) if not wasting any luminance (I would imagine not.. ) might be a better alternative to using a "DC-Fix", as it's not messing up with the optics, but just the emitter surface area.. ?

 

Really don't know how to use this phone's camera for some decent results if even possible, but this is the best I could do for now.. also, this time, the beam actually looks better in person and also no banding.

That's only the corona and the hotspot, the spill is not visible at this level (Low - 50LM) against the ceiling lamp (had to keep it near a similarly bright light source, because of my phone's camera narrow levels range.. )

Also there seems to be a heavy magenta tinge overall (judging by the ceiling, which it's quite white.. ) and the tint shift in the corona it's exaggerated towards a light teal, when in fact it's more like a creamy yellow and less pronounced.. The tint shift in the corona seems to be a bit washed out compared to the original, before sanding the dome, that must be just a side effect of the whole emitter surface area being better "blended", with no sharp contrast and defined shapes, basically, just your "average Gaussian blur" effect.

 

Tried my best to take some pics of the emitter at the lowest set ML mode (should be 1LM according to specs.. )

Wish I'd had a small fine sandblaster.. ^^ Or maybe is the dome getting foggy if wiped with Acetone.. ?? Like some plastics are.. ? I'd imagine not Flat Stare