Review: Akoray K-106 Cree Q5-WC 1xAA 3-mode Programmable

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sb56637
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Review: Akoray K-106 Cree Q5-WC 1xAA 3-mode Programmable

 

Akoray K-106 (3-mode programmable)

Reviewer's Overall Rating: ★★

 

 

Summary:

Battery: Single AA or 14500
Switch: Reverse Clicky
Modes: 3 programmable w/ memory
LED Type: Cree XR-E Q5-WC
Lens: Glass
Tailstands: Yes
Price Payed: $19.13
From: DealExtreme

 

Pros:

  • Superb build quality
  • Flexibility of 3 programmable modes
  • Good battery life on low mode
  • Bright, usable beam from modern Cree XR-E Q5 LED
  • Functional mode memory
  • Attractive design
  • Tailstands

Cons:

  • Identity crisis- programmable and non-programmable versions exist with same name
  • Tail switch is not glow-in-the-dark.

 

 

Features / Value: ★★☆

The Akoray K-106 is the flashlight that convinced me that Chinese "budget" lights are worth it.  This is a highly competitive flashlight that competes with the best brand names out there for a mere fraction of the cost.  The K-106 is a single AA or single 14500 model, featuring 3 programmable modes, discussed later.  Programmable output is quite a rare feature on flashlights in any price range, and as far as I know is unique to the Akoray amongst the budget manufacturers.  Although the programmable modes are the major selling point of this light, it also features many other niceties, such as a lightly textured "orange peel" reflector, a recessed switch that permits tailstanding, and a sturdy clip in leu of a lanyard.  The lens is supposedly coated glass to resist scratching.  I wish it had a glow-in-the-dark tail switch, it's really a useful feature to locate the light in unexpected power outages.  The K-106 also has an optional feature to shut off before draining a rechargeable battery to the point of damaging it.  I think that this is quite competitive for a package that costs $19.13.  If it cost a few dollars less I would give it a full 5-stars for features and value.  However, a major marketing error has inflicted serious damage to the Akoray brand.  While it is only natural to create cheaper versions of a popular product, the other versions should never have the same model name as the original product.  Unfortunately this mistake has been committed by creating at least two visually identical versions of the Akoray K-106, both of which do not have the coveted programmable modes feature.  As a matter of fact, DealExtreme, which used to be the most popular dealer of the 3-mode programmable version actually advertises it as having 6-mode memory.  However, DealExtreme used to consistently ship the 3-mode programmable version of the K-106 instead.  But now, most of the customers comment that they are receiving the 6-mode version as advertised.  So I would NOT recommend DealExtreme as a source of the programmable version; although you might receive it you will most likely receive a 6-mode version that is not programmable.  Rather, I would recommend that you buy this light from Kaidomain, where it is actually avertised as having Low/High/Strobe + Infinite Brightness Adjustment.  I surely hope that some dealer continues to sell the programmable version of this high-quality flashlight.

 

Build Quality: ★★★★★

The K-106 has stellar build quality.  The whole design feels tight, smooth, and expensive.  The flashlight body only unscrews about 3cm below the head, and the threads are long, square, and silky smooth, with two nice red O-rings for water resistance.  On the other end, the smallish clicky switch is very recessed into the tail, making it almost impossible to bump by accident in a pocket or backpack.  Unfortunately it also makes it a bit difficult for a large man's thumb to click it on.  Yet is a very stable tailstander.  As mentioned before, a glow-in-the-dark tailswitch is becoming a standard feature these days and would be a welcome addition to the K-106.  The pocket clip is very sturdy, and does not wiggle like the one on my Uniquefire AA-S1.  About 70% of the body sports an attractive diamond knurl, my favorite design.  The color could be described as gunmetal grey, another aesthetic perk of this attractive instrument.  The lens is supposedly coated glass.  A meticulous scrutiny of all the outer surfaces reveals not a single scratch or nick.  The LED and reflector are also free of manufacturing lint and grime.  For barely $19, the quality of the K-106 is absolutely shockingly good, and speaks very highly of the capabilities of the Chinese manufacturers.

 

Battery Life: ★★★★

Thanks to the programmable modes, the battery life on the lowest setting is very good.  Undoubtedly the modern and efficient Cree XR-E Q5 LED is part of the secret to its efficiency.  Compared with my 1xAA Powerlight, the K-106 seems to be a bit more power hungry, but it still manages almost 24 hours of very usable light on an alkaline AA.  This could possibly be extended by playing more with the mode programming.  The mode programming is explained in detail here.  To summarize, mode programming is initiated by half-clicking the switch five times.  The light will blink once to indicate that you are programming the first mode.  It then proceeds to start dim and very quickly ramp up to the brightest level.  You half-click the switch to set the level of brightness that you want.  Then it proceeds to modes two and three.  My only complaint is that the level increases too quickly to set the lowest level.  I have read that if you half-click the switch after the mode number confirmation blink but before the light comes on to begin ramping, you can set the very lowest level.  I haven't had much success with this trick on my light, but it may work.  If you don't half-click it during the ramp-up, it will then proceed to strobe and SOS modes, and even the strobe frequency is programmable.  I personally have mine set to low, medium, and high modes, and I don't use the strobe or SOS.  Those who prefer a single-mode light can even program all the modes to the same level, and effectively create a single-mode light.  It's very flexible and extremely well done on the whole.  The light also has perfect mode memory.  It comes on in the last mode that was used.

 

Light Output: ★★

The combination of the Cree XR-E Q5 emitter with the light "orange-peel" reflector creates a very nice, usable beam.  A bit of shadow is noticeable around the hotspot, but it doesn't impede indoor usage.  The lowest mode is perfect for a indoor activities, and the highest mode produces a piercing beam that cuts through the night and illuminates distant objects.  The light color is very nice, I would describe it as "warm".  Most sites claim more than 200 lumens of output from this light, which might be a bit of a stretch.  Compared with my Tank007 TK-566-5, the K-106 seems a bit less bright, but the beam is much smoother and more usable.

 

Summary: ★★

Well, here it is, my first 5-star overall rating for a flashlight.  This one is well earned.  The Akoray K-106 is a precise, well engineered, well thought-out, and well executed instrument that I would heartily recommend to enthusiasts, beginners, and experts alike.  I would love to see an official, reliable source for buying the programmable version of this light, and I sincerely hope that the Chinese manufacturers leverage this light's well earned reputation to sell their flagship products.  It competes with the best of the best for less than $20, and it deserves a spot in any practical person's pocket.  Highly-recommended.

Update: See brted's review here for more details and many excellent photographs.

 

If you own the Akoray K-106 (3-mode programmable version), please rate it below!

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Edited by: sb56637 on 08/26/2014 - 17:06 Reason: sb56637 replaced budgetlightforum.cz.cc with budgetlightforum.com via Scanner Search and Replace module.
brted
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Nice review! I should be getting mine soon from KD and I'll let you know if there are any differences. Have you had yours for a while or did you luck up and get a 3-mode instead of a 6-mode from DX lately? That's crazy they can't keep that straight. And with the 5-mode at $13, I'd be pretty p.o.'d if I paid $6 more for one more silly mode.


They must have sold tons of these programmable ones. It makes you wonder why they wouldn't make others with that driver or even advertise it as programmable. It sounds like you got a good one. It seems like it they have been very inconsistent in terms of beam tint and how hard the LED is driven, not to mention the 5-mode/6-mode stuff.

sb56637
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Hey, cool, please do let us know how the KD purchase turns out, in fact a full review might be nice for comparison.  I also have the $13.99 5-mode Trustfire F20 on order, and I'm very interested to see how the quality and lowest mode level compares to the 3-mode programmable Akoray.

 

I ordered my programmable K-106 on 11/17/2009, and I received it about a month after that in the end of December, 2009.  That was right about when they started to make the switch over to the 6-mode non-programmable version.  But what happened was that I didn't realize that the 5-mode Nkoray K-106 (now Akoray K-106) wasn't programmable, and I had ordered it at first.  Then I realized my mistake, and I sent a CSE request to upgrade it to sku.16607.  I think I mentioned in my request that I wanted the 3-mode programmable version, and that's what they sent me.  I agree that it's surprising that they haven't capitalized on the popularity of the programmable feature and made a million more versions.  This light is so good that it was even generally recommended by many enthusiasts on CPF, who usually scorn the Chinese brands.

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alfreddajero
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Awesome review Mr. Admin.  Would you be able to post up some beamshots if you can.....i know that you say that your camera isnt much.

With Darkness, there will always be Light.

 

 

sb56637
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alfreddajero wrote:

Awesome review Mr. Admin.  Would you be able to post up some beamshots if you can.....i know that you say that your camera isnt much.

 

Hey there, well, I can try, but basically my beamshots will be proof that the flashlight produces light, and nothing else.  It will look like an amber blotch on a sea of brown... 

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Don
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And they are different exactly how? :) Smile :smile:" />

 

They were not done with a cheap camera but I really must get around to reading its manual so I can do things like lock the white balance.

 

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

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

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Don wrote:

And they are different exactly how? :) Smile :smile:" />

 

You'll see tonight!  

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alfreddajero
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Cool cant wait........

With Darkness, there will always be Light.

 

 

sb56637
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OK, you asked for it!  This camera cost me only $40.00 -- 5 years ago!  So you can only imagine the high-quality optics that it has...

 

Duracell Alkaline, Highest setting, about 1 meter away from white wall

 

 

Duracell Alkaline, Highest setting, about 15 cm away from white wall

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alfreddajero
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Hey Mr. Admin the pics came out okay......nice shots.

With Darkness, there will always be Light.

 

 

sb56637
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The shots actually make the beam look even better than it is.  It does have a bit of a shadow around the hotspot, as I mentioned before, but nothing major.

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juhi81
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What about this version in lightake: http://www.lightake.com/detail.do/sku.AKOray_K106_Flashlight-27971

 

Is it same as the KD version ?

 

Current flashlights: Mrlite KC-05  -  Ultrafire C3  -  Ultrafire C3 Stainless Steel  -  Romisen MXDL RC-G2  -  AKOray K-106  -  Fenix LD10 R4  -  X2000  -  Trustfire WF-502B MC-E&nbs

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juhi81 wrote:

What about this version in lightake: http://www.lightake.com/detail.do/sku.AKOray_K106_Flashlight-27971

 

Is it same as the KD version ?

 

No, this is the cheaper version of the K-106 with 5 fixed modes. Assuming it's the same as the Trustfire F20, which I own, it's actually a very nice light by its own rights though.

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fran82
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No no no Akoray K106 and TrustFire F20 are not the same flashlight.

Externally the body is exact the same, only changing the logo of the manufacturer.

The LED and the DRIVER are different. Specially the DRIVER. On the F20, PWM can not be seen. On Akoray 106 pwm CAN be seen, and the light output of the K106 is less than F20

Also the Akoray k106 has more failure rates than F20

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Don
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In DX today there is another light with this body - and it is only $13.40

http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.44169

 

It says 3 mode so this one might just be the programmable driver from the K-106. It is also pink.

 

Very pink!

 

Anyone secure enough in his masculinity to get one and find out?

Picture grabbed from DX and cropped.

Pinkness!!!!!!

 

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

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

midieval10
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It would look very sexy on you Don! Tongue out

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Aside from the pinkness, there is one obvious design change in the pink Aurora that could be problematic. Notice how the rubber button boot is much bigger than the small, recessed one in the original K-106 and its clones. Unfortunately, these bigger buttons, which appear to be made to sit just a mm short of flush to the rim of the tailcap, are subject to loose tolerance variations and many of them end up protruding slightly, thus preventing the light from tailstanding. In fact the switch looks almost identical to the one on my Ultrafire C3 SS model. Most C3 SS samples tailstand according to most reviews, but mine suffers from this variation and doesn't tailstand well due to about 1mm of protrusion.

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Tido
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Don wrote:

Anyone secure enough in his masculinity to get one and find out?

I just ordered one to give to my sister when I'll go visiting her next month. I just hope it will arrive in time, otherwise I'll be stuck with it for a few months. Tido
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Hello all.

 

The akoray is the light that proved to me that "serious budget lights" exist. Apart from the technical issues (an AA with programmable variable output is AWSOME) the light is very useful and the three I bought (two of them over a year old and all 3 running all the time on 14500) are working perfectly. There are several minor changes from light to light (tint, time it takes to change mode, time it takes to memorize mode, ramping speed) but all of them are very nice.

 

Word of advice - I ordered the fouth one at kaidomain (I have already given two as gifts) and the order was refunded 10 days ago. Has anyone received a "real" Akoray 106 recently?

 

Thanks,

Roberto.

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newbie74 wrote:

Word of advice - I ordered the fouth one at kaidomain (I have already given two as gifts) and the order was refunded 10 days ago. Has anyone received a "real" Akoray 106 recently?

Uh-oh. That's not good. Nuts, they were our last source of this excellent light.

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Mr Frugal
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I have one coming, should be here next week hopefully.  Tracking says its in the US anyway.

I'll post if it is indeed still the same light.  Same price and description so hopefully I didnt pay 20 bucks for a nonprogrammable one!

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Yep, it's still the programmable light!  Looks exacting the same as in the reviews, square anodized threads and all.  It took 25 days to me.  I really like this light and its brighter than I was expecting on a nimh AA. The programming took a little to get use to but now I have it down pretty good.  One thing I was doing was half clicking after setting the 3rd mode when you need to just completely turn it off after setting the 3rd mode.

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Mr Frugal wrote:

Yep, it's still the programmable light!  Looks exacting the same as in the reviews, square anodized threads and all.  It took 25 days to me.  I really like this light and its brighter than I was expecting on a nimh AA. The programming took a little to get use to but now I have it down pretty good.  One thing I was doing was half clicking after setting the 3rd mode when you need to just completely turn it off after setting the 3rd mode.

Great! This is good news that it's still available. Would you be so kind as to post a direct link to the product you bought? Thanks!

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mitro
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I've been meaning to buy one for a very long time. I'll buy two if I know its the right one!

fran82
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Link to the product please!!!!

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http://kaidomain.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductId=6974

I think its actually the only one they carry.   The description says 3.7 to 4.2 volts and only lists the battery as 14500 but the light says .7 to 4.5 volts right on it and you can even see it in their pics of it.

Mr Frugal
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http://kaidomain.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductId=10320

They also have it in a kit with two 14500 batteries, charger and case for 14 more bucks.  I passed on that and just got the light by itself.

mitro
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Two ordered. Smile

BlueBeam
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I'm getting into RCR123 torches now and I think I'm about to order the programable K109A from KD.

http://www.kaidomain.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductId=6975

They also have this one that's programable and takes multiple battery types. Although it is sold out right now, hopefully not forever!

http://www.kaidomain.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductId=6671

 

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Yeah , have the Ak-16 , great light , AA-14500 , RCR123A 

 Always remember , the easiest thing in the world to do , is to expel hot air from your lungs and through some vocal chords ..
The resulting sound may , or may not be worth listening too ….

 

mitro
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Got my two K-106s today. (3/13 to 3/29 - not bad) I'm quite impressed. The tint is less than ideal, but the quality is outstanding.

The one thing I have noticed, that I haven't seen mentioned before, is that my two examples appear to have EZ900 die XR-Es, so they have a hotspot that is quite small.

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