[Review] ReyLight Gemini (Triple SST-20, 18350, 304 Stainless Steel)

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liquidretro
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[Review] ReyLight Gemini (Triple SST-20, 18350, 304 Stainless Steel)

Reylight has a new more budget entry to their existing line of Triple LED EDC style flashlights, the Reylight Gemini. The Gemini makes a few design and material changes over the Dawn and Krystal models to reduce cost to make this a more affordable light. Full disclosure, Rey at Reylight is a friend and send me this light to evaluate and review. I will do my best to remain impartial and give an honest review.

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Packaging
Packaging consisted of an unbranded plastic case that clamps on all 3 sides, with an oring in the lid, and with foam inserts to keep everything from moving during transport. The light comes with a pocket clip attached and 3 GITD tail cap boots that are currently shipping, make sure to check my social media and I will post a picture when they arrive.


I do think Reylight should consider including a paper manual with the lights they sell or at least a link on the website to the UI. Even though it’s a pretty common UI (Bistro) a lot of first timers end up asking questions in the Reylight Facebook group that could be answered with the manual.

Construction
The Gemini is made from 304 Stainless Steel. This isn’t a super common material used on flashlights. In talking with Rey he liked the solid and cool feel of steel, and how it can take a high polish. The downside is that it does weight a bit more, I will cover that in the size and weight section.


The Gemini uses a forward clicky switch with a textured silicone boot over the button. It’s pretty deeply recessed which allows the light to tail stand without and issue. While there isn’t any place on the tail for a tritium vial like all of the previous reylights, I really like how this button feels when used, without any slop like you sometimes see on metal buttons. It’s a nice touch to come with 3 additional colors (Green, Orange, Blue) to add some personalization. The only negative I see with this design is it does collect some dust around the boot of the light and wall.

The walls of the Gemini are pretty thick in diameter, I think this is one thing where the light could be made a bit smaller in diameter while still feeling good in the hand and it would reduce weight. The body tube has a large diamond pattern milled in using what looks to be a round nose ball mill. The edges of the diamond are not chamfered over so this provides some grip without being too aggressive.


The head is mostly smooth. There are 4 larger teardrops with circles to give the light some design. You can see some millig marks inside these. The head has a non removable bezel that 4 semi circles cut into it to give a little relief and allow light to escape.The lens in use is a sapphire lens which provides superior scratch resistance and is surprising at this price point. A green glow oring is a nice touch too.

Stock clip is the same design that was on the Reylight Dawn but made of a relatively thick stainless steel that’s been nicely tumbled. Retention out of the package was quite good and I don’t think people will have a big issue here with clips getting caught or bent on things. There is plenty of room at the top for various thicknesses of pants. It does like to hold onto your parents a bit more than normal and i think this is because the clip touches the body at a place where it grows in diameter. The screw pattern is also “standard” so other clips on the market such as steel flame will fit if you want to replace the clip or personalize your light further.

Last thing I will mention is that since this light is made of steel my advice would be to put a light coat of oil on it just for preventative measures to prevent rust. If you are a knife guy, most pocket knives are made of stainless steel and depending on the alloy used some can pit and rust even if they are “stainless”. This light is the same, depending on how much you use it, your sweat, and climate it’s possible you could see a little rust. I noticed just a tiny spot on mine, that has basically disappeared after a very light coat of Ballistol.

Size & Weight/Comparisons
When I first heard this light was going to be made of stainless steel, I was worried about the weight. Stainless steel isn’t a lightweight metal but I was surprised that it’s lighter than copper and brass by 12.45% and 8.05% respectively. That said Titanium blows it out of the water with it being 54% lighter. The weight I measured the stainless steel gemini was 133.9g without the battery.

Size wise this is pretty similar to a lot of triple LED lights on the market that take 18350 batteries. I measured it at 80mm. This is very close to the dawn at 82mm. Maximum diameter at 25mm, minimum at 23.5mm. In the photos below I compare it to the Reylight Dawn in copper, and the Emmisar D4 with the 18350 tube installed.

LED/Beamshot/Runtime/Heat
The LED in use in my Gemini is SST-20 in 4000k in high CRI. Also available is the Cree XPL-HI in 6000k. While I am a big fan of the Nichia 219 B/C that Reylight typically offers, it’s not the most efficient or cost effective LED in the market any longer. The high CRI version of the SST-20 is 95.


Reylight claims 2000 lumens on turbo mode with the SST-20 LED’s and 3000 lumens with the XPL-HI LED’s.

Heat
This light does get hot pretty quickly on higher output modes. This is pretty common on triples. This light does thermal cycle pretty fast within about 1.5 minutes on turbo output, and if you keep pushing it it gets too hot to hold. Unfortunately my infrared thermometer doesn’t like the highly reflective steel here so I didn’t get a good reading on an actual number.

Beamshot
The beamshot is fairly even for a triple. Nothing perfect but nothing glaring either. The opic in use here is the same size as a carclo 10507, but a Chinese version.

For my runtimes I did both a standard uncooled test and a cooled test where I had a fan blow across the light. In both I used a Keeppower 1200mAh battery.

For the cooled runtime test the light had a seesaw output as it delt with heat for 25 minutes while still providing the most output it can as the battery declines in voltage.. For me the amount it decreases by is just a little too much too often. My advice would be to use the least amount of light to get your task done with this light rather then maximum output to conserve power and keep the light output as stable as possible. Total useful output time was 45 minutes, but 25 minutes of that saw the highest output and seesaw outputs.

Uncooled runtimes were actually longer due to the light ramping down due to heat and staying lower to manage the heat, thus using less overall power and more runtime.

We saw similar output patterns with the Reylight Dawn in Titanium, but my Reylight Dawn in Copper was better about this because its ability to dissipate heat to the environment is much better. The good news here is since the light is running a modified Bistro the firmware parameters can be modified to change the runtime behavior. It isn’t all that uncommon for Triple LED lights to reduce output in an extreme to manage heat, but most stay lower, requiring the user to bump up when they need more output. Low voltage protection kicked in at 2.904v.

To show this ramping down and up due to heat I shot a 6 minute video of this happening and sped it up https://youtu.be/jTCe-K_ZHOI?t=785

UI
The light uses a modified Bistro firmware, with 23 total modes. Pretty standard with lots of configurable options if you like. Chances are you probably own a light with Bistro already here, so nothing new to learn.

In the default mode you get 5 brightness modes in a pretty linear outputs, starting low and going high. In the default configuration memory mode is turned on.

I will leave some links to where you can see more about the firmware and a helpful diagram if your going to change anything on the light such as thermal controls. Or mode groups

http://budgetlightforum.com/node/54621

Pro

  • Pretty affordable.
  • Good LED choices available in nice tint’s and a high CRI option available.
  • Nice build quality for the price.
  • Sapphire Lens – Superior scratch resistance and a great value at this price.
  • Standard Clip screw pattern.

Con

  • No tritium slots on this light, that’s something ReyLights have been known for. But it would increase cost of production.
  • Bistro in the default settings is pretty temperature sensitive and this light cycles from very bright to dim when it gets hot. This can be improved in the UI by changing the temp threshold.
  • Stainless steel conducts heat well so when it’s hot, it’s HOT!

Conclusion
For the price point of around $100 this is a pretty affordable high value light. Stainless steel wouldn’t be my first choice for material for a flashlight but it does work here. It’s a bit heavy but I like the overall design. If you are used to carrying a copper light, stainless steel won’t be much different in wait. I could see future version getting a little thinner maybe, and other materials being used too. I think a brass or bronze here would be neat. I like the diamond pattern on the body, and that it’s aggressive but not too much so far. Retention is very strong on the light. It’s a little disappointing that there are no tritium slots as that’s something Reylight has been known for. If you are looking to dip your toes into the semi custom flashlight market this would be a good place to start at an affordable price point.

Check out the Gemini on Reylights website at http://bit.ly/335LAEd

pinkpanda3310
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Nice light Love Maybe a little fat for my personal preferences for edc but still good Thumbs Up