Review: Uniquefire AA-S1 OSRAM 1xAA

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sb56637
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Review: Uniquefire AA-S1 OSRAM 1xAA

 

Uniquefire AA-S1

Reviewer's Overall Rating: ★★☆

 

Summary:

Battery: Single AA or Single 14500
Switch: Reverse Clicky
Modes: 1
LED Type: OSRAM WC
Lens: Glass
Tailstands: Yes
Price Payed: $10.48
From: Kaidomain

 

Pros:

  • Beautiful, expensive-feeling design
  • High-quality machining
  • OSRAM LED produces brilliant, smooth beam
  • Very affordable

Cons:

  • Poor runtime

 

Features / Value: ★★☆

The Uniquefire AA-S1 is a simple, straightforward, single-mode, single-AA LED flashlight.  It'll set you back around $10.00 depending where you buy it from.  It is sold at DealExtreme for $9.99 and at Kaidomain for $10.48.  While I normally don't like super-bright, single-mode flashlights, I do love the body style and price of this light.  So I decided to try out Kaidomain for the first time with the purchase of this attractive flashlight.  It should be noted that Kaidomain's website incorrectly labels this light as UniqueFire S1OSRAM.  But a month later a beautiful flashlight arrived in the mail, clearly labelled as Uniquefire on one side and AA-S1 on the other.  The only reason that I'm not giving this light a full 5-star rating for Features / Value is its lack of a low mode.  But aside from that, it's a really impressive design.  The tail switch and the internal O-rings at the head and lens all glow in the dark.  The afterglow that emanates from the O-ring around the lens after shutoff is very cool.  The light looks and feels much more expensive than it is, so the Value rating is much higher than average.

 

Build Quality: ★★★

The Uniquefire AA-S1 easily deserves a 5-star rating for Build Quality.  This light should make the likes of Nitecore and Fenix tremble, because for about $10.00 the quality of the AA-S1 should impress even the most exacting flashlight aficionados.  It is an outstanding example of the quality that budget Chinese manufacturers can produce, and together with the Akoray K-106 will be the standard against which I will compare all other flashlights.  I mention the Akoray K-106 because its body style and quality are almost identical to those of the Uniquefire AA-S1.  The AA-S1 is a beautiful silver cylinder, slightly more silvery than the gunmetal color of the Akoray K-106.  The reflector is lightly textured like an orange peel.  The lens is supposed to be glass.  There is just a tiny filament of lint on the inside of the lens that doesn't affect performance in any way.  It has a slightly flimsy but functional clip in leu of a wrist strap.  I attached a spare lanyard to the clip, and it works out great for me.  About 70% of the body sports a very nice knurl, and there are two small flat surfaces opposed by 180 degrees for labeling, one side says HWA/WYS Uniquefire and the other says AA-S1.  The finish is flawless.  It is supposedly HA-II hardened, but I won't be trying to scratch this beauty.  The tail switch feels like it will last a long time.  It is a bit small and very recessed, so it has the advantage of being almost impossible to bump on by accident, but rather difficult for a large man's thumb.  The light tailstands perfectly.  It's about 1mm shorter than the otherwise identical Akoray K-106.  The body unscrews about 3cm below the head.  The threads are beautifully slick, long, lubricated, and well sealed with a glow-in-the-dark O-ring.  Why glow-in-the-dark O-rings on an inner diameter that never sees light?  Well, what are tonsils good for?

 

Battery Life: ★☆☆☆

Here is the Achilles heal of the Uniquefire AA-S1.  The OSRAM LED is probably not as efficient as a modern Cree LED, according to what I've read.  And it appears that the battery is driven quite hard.  These two factors combine to produce a less than impressive battery life.  I used a very cheap AA alkaline battery, and it produced very strong output for several hours, after which it started to fade rapidly.  After about three hours it shut off.  The specifications on DealExtreme claim 0.8~4.2, 4.2V max voltage input for the circuitry, which produces Digital Regulated 700mA output, which I can not confirm or dispute.  If there are any Chinese flashlight engineers reading this review, please give us a multi-mode version of this light for about $11, and it will dominate the world.

 

Light Output: ★★★

The OSRAM LED may not be as efficient as other LEDs, but it produces incredibly beautiful, smooth, pleasant light.  The lumens output is very impressive, up there with my brightest AA lights.  The sites claim between 100 and 160 lumens, which sounds realistic.  But better yet, the light has virtually no hotspot or rings or shadows.  The beam is smooth as butter, producing warm, detailed, usable light from the center all the way out to the edges of the aura.  The emitter is very tiny.  The light did get quite hot after about 5 to 10 minutes of use, albeit not enough to burn your hand.  This seems normal because the designers cranked up the output so high.  But I would have to say that OSRAM produces a world class LED and gives Cree a hard run for the money.

 

Summary: ★★☆

This light earns a very solid 4-star rating, and if it had a low mode it would be 5-stars.  The Uniquefire AA-S1 is a shining example of the high quality, affordable products that the Chinese manufacturers can produce, and I heartily recommend it as the first choice for anyone who is looking for a single-mode single-AA LED light.

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Edited by: sb56637 on 08/26/2014 - 17:06
Don
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I don't need a huge runtime normally. In the 20 years I've lived here, the power has only been out twice, once for about 3 minutes and once for 25 minutes when someone got (terminally) careless with a backhoe. So a charger is never far away. My first bright light had a runtime of 12 minutes on high. 

 

I got 1hr 8 minutes to 50% on an Eneloop - it ran to about 1:30 before shutting down. It may have had an alkaline in it once but I tend not to put them in lights - I own rather a lot of NiMH AAs.

 

And a few chargers. I've been buying chargers and rechargeable batteries since the 80's and still own most of them.

 

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

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

charlestt
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Those Osram leds are the same Audi use in their DRLs

 

 

 

 http://i776.photobucket.com/albums/yy41/charlestt225/Sig/A1200023-1.jpg" width="159" he

sb56637
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Is that right?  So OSRAM really is a German LED manufacturer?  Or is it German design manufactured in China?

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Don
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They have a chip fab in Regensburg which has a long history of high tech - many of Germany's wartime aircraft were made there and they were exceedingly high tech for their time. In 2009 Osram opened their second fab in Malaysia, having expanded and upgraded the German fab in 2008

 

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

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

charlestt
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From their website

Company profile of OSRAM Opto Semiconductors
Innovation driver for the future of light

Winning the 2007 German Future Prize was the latest highlight in the research history of OSRAM Opto Semiconductors, which stretches back almost thirty years. The company has long been one of the most innovative outfits in Germany. As one of the world's leading manufacturers of optoelectronic semiconductors for the lighting, sensor and visualization sectors, OSRAM Opto Semiconductors regularly launches new technologies and products that make a lasting difference to these sectors.

More than three decades of experience in the development and manufacture of optoelectronic semiconductor components have made OSRAM Opto Semiconductors one of the most significant innovation and technology drivers in Germany. With its solid platform of experience and know-how, OSRAM Opto Semiconductors is not only a manufacturer of optoelectronic semiconductor components but also as a reliable partner for semiconductor technologies in a wide range of lighting applications. The extensive product portfolio of OSRAM Opto Semiconductors includes above all high-brightness high-power LEDs in the visible range.

With its headquarters in Regensburg (Germany), Sunnyvale (USA) for North America and Hong Kong for Asia, production sites in Regensburg (Germany) and Penang (Malaysia) and a global network of sales and marketing centers, OSRAM Opto Semiconductors is in an excellent position to meet the challenges faced by a global high-tech company.

 

 

 

 http://i776.photobucket.com/albums/yy41/charlestt225/Sig/A1200023-1.jpg" width="159" he

sb56637
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Huh, interesting.  I would really like to see this LED in more lights.  It seems to be a high-quality affordable option.

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charlestt
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sb56637 wrote:

Huh, interesting.  I would really like to see this LED in more lights.  It seems to be a high-quality affordable option.

 

Someone should start modding thier exisitng lights with these...

You can get them from here

 

http://www.led1.de/shop/product_info.php?pName=osram-golden-dragon-plus-...

 

 

 

 http://i776.photobucket.com/albums/yy41/charlestt225/Sig/A1200023-1.jpg" width="159" he

alfreddajero
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Now this was a very nice and informative review....great job Mr. Admin. 

With Darkness, there will always be Light.

 

 

Stan
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I bought an AA- S1 when they first landed at DX, took a while to arrive but it was worth the wait.

 

I fitted it out with an Energizer Lithium AA and have given it to my wife as her handbag light. She works in a rural area with a poorly lit car park facility and this light has proved to be invaluable. A worthy replacement for the Romisen RC- G2 that was her previous EDC.

 

The light output is slightly higher than my original Nkoray K106 5 mode torch (my EDC) and performs well on the Lithium AA. The beam pattern is much more even than the K106, as the Admin has suggested.

 

The AA- S1 will spend at least six months of the year unused, hence the choice of Energizer Lithium for this type of usage.

 

I’ll check the light every few months to make sure the contacts haven’t oxidised, but other than that it should be pretty low maintenance.

 

A good light and a fine review!

sb56637
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Thanks!  It was fun to write.

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Nautic
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Have anyone tried using 14500 batteries in this light? Should be OK according to specs.

Seen somewhere that it will destroy the pill in the long run.

Cheap quality is good - Expensive crap isn´t

Don
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It will run happily enough on a 14500 but watch out for the emitter going blue - if it turns blue it is killing off the phosphor. All white LEDs are blue LEDs with a phosphor to give you white light. If you burn that you have a very bright blue LED. If you switch it off immediately the light starts to go blue it is recoverable. Because of the heavy current draw from a 14500 - mine is up to 1.3A, runtimes are not enormous - I'd guess at about 30-40 minutes. It gives 1 hr 9 min to 50% with an NiMH cell. It is more than twice as bright with a 14500 and is what mine routinely runs on.

 

It doesn't seem to get fearsomely hot either unlike some AA/14500 lights.

 

There's another review of it here

 

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

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

alfreddajero
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Learn something new everyday.....didnt know about the phospher. 

With Darkness, there will always be Light.

 

 

Nautic
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I dont worry to much about runtime, as I nearly always carry a spare battery.

Thanks for the information about the pill turning blue,i´ll look after that.

 

If It happens are there any place where I can buy a new pill and mod the light?

I know how to use a soldering iron.

Cheap quality is good - Expensive crap isn´t

Don
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If it's the LED that's fried, then you just need to swap it out. If it won't light, there are three possibilities.

 

1) Bad contacts somewhere. This is the most common reason for a light not to come on.

 

2) Fried LED. Easy enough to test though you need a steady hand. Take a 3V (ish) battery and a couple of wires and apply directly to the leads of the LED. I usually use a CR123 and some stripped Cat-5 cable. Observe the polarity markings on the LED. If it has gone horribly blue and then died it is possible that the LED has died but it is always worth checking as I find that cause 3 is more common.

 

3) Fried driver. If the LED is working and there are no contact issues, the driver is borked and needs to be replaced. DX and KD stock quite a lot of them. It is fiddly swapping a driver but perfectly feasible. Just check the height and diameter of the dead one and get one that is the same size that gives you the desired current to the LED. Remember the harder you drive the LED, the hotter things get so attention should be paid to heatsinking the LED and driver. 

 

If you're replacing an LED, remember that the reflector is designed to give best results with the LED originally fitted. So it is best to stick to the same family of LEDs. I'd go looking for the most efficient (Which is usually also the brightest) one possible from the same family when replacing an LED. In this case it is some sort of Osram Golden Dragon so I'd look for the brightest of the Dragon family if I were doing a replacement. If you are in the EU, this place, http://www.dotlight.de is pretty good. I'd have no idea where to look in the US or Asia.

 

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

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

Nautic
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Thanks Don. I´ll look at dotlight.de if it becomes nesessary.

Cheap quality is good - Expensive crap isn´t

Don
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It shouldn't. I hope the light works well for you. I've had exactly no trouble from mine.

 

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

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

charlestt
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 Hi are these lights the same color from each supplier as the one from  Kaidomain looks more silver than the one from deal extreme

 

 

 

 

 http://i776.photobucket.com/albums/yy41/charlestt225/Sig/A1200023-1.jpg" width="159" he

Don
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At a guess, it just isn't a very good picture for the KD one. There will be slight variations in colour. Mr Admin will no doubt let us know when he gets his Internet access back.

 

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

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

sb56637
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Hello there, yes, the KD picture is just bad.  The DX pictures look almost identical to my sample from KD.  Compared with the Akoray K-106, the AA-S1 is a tiny bit more silvery in color.

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sb56637
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I have been using this light again with my new rechargeable batteries.  Let me just reiterate once again that the beam quality of this light is absolutely top-notch.  Wonderfully smooth, warm, usable light from the center all the way out to the edge of the aura.  It really doesn't even have a hotspot to speak of, just a large, amazingly uniform blotch of warm, inviting, very bright light.  Just a pity that they don't offer a multi-mode version.  If they made a 3-mode version of the AA-S1 with a nice low moonlight mode I would have no need for any other flashlight.  Hats off to OSRAM for a great product, and a poke in the ribs to Uniquefire to please give us a multi-mode version that doesn't sap the batteries so much.

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alfreddajero
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Now are'nt you glad that you went the rechargeable route......nice to know that you leave the house with a fresh charge and not have to guess when using alkies.

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 Always remember , the easiest thing in the world to do , is to expel hot air from your lungs and through some vocal chords ..
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fran82
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Hi guys! I need urgent info!

 

The contacts to the battery of the AA-S1 is like the akoray k-106 3 mode, which has a plastic with a metal dot in the middle (positive contact) or is like the F20?

Is easy to change driver or is epoxied inside the pill?

 

An image is more then 1000 words.

 

The AA-S1 is like the LEFT or like the RIGHT?

 

http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/2051/img5231medium.jpg

 

Thanks!

 

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Nautic
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Mine is like the left in the image

Cheap quality is good - Expensive crap isn´t

fran82
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Thanks nautic! and the other owners... are the same? specially the firsts batches?

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Don
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I have a first batch one at home and will check it tonight. Ordered on the day DX announced it - the order was at the end of October 2009.

 

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

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

Don
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The usual two blobs of solder handling conduction duties, same as the left-hand on in the picture. The pill is made of very light aluminium in my one so you'll need to take care not to crush it. The LED is recessed - like you say a picture is worth more than a thousand words, so...

 

The Pill

Lightweight aluminium pill

 

Front of the pill and LED. Makes me wonder how well an R5 would work with that reflector...

Front - LED deeply recessed

 

To show how deep inside the structure the LED is

Recessed LED

 

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

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

fran82
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Thanks Don!

The pil is exactly the same than TF F20. So the driver must be 15mm diammeter...

Also the Q5 in the F20 is very deep. Also it uses a black star for the Osram, equal than the F20 for the Q5

And as I can see, the board is not epoxied inside the plastic thing as the akoray k-106 3 mode. Very good, is easy replaceable

 

I have ordered one AA-S1, hope this time is in stock. I ordered in June-July but had to cancel after 15 days waiting. DX told me that no stock available and they dont knew when will be available. Now I see another stock arrived, but probably sold out too. And less quality than earlier batches......

 

Thanks a lot Don!

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agenthex
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I don't know if it's lower quality, mine is quite decent.

 

The main problem with the light is that the the reflector is obviously for a cree or something and te emitter pcb has no mechanical guide for centering. So combine a wrong pattern with an somewhat offset one and the beam is just dispersed.

 

I tried to buy a different smooth reflector on DX, but as usual the sku 05960 I got is different from the pics and no way it's fitting.

Reading this makes you smarter: http://lesswrong.com/

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