Review: TangsPower CREE XML-T6 18W 3LED 3800LM 5-Modes White Light Flashlight Black

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JohnnyMac
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Review: TangsPower CREE XML-T6 18W 3LED 3800LM 5-Modes White Light Flashlight Black

 TangsPower CREE XML-T6 18W 3LED 3800LM 5-Modes White Light Flashlight Black

*Flashlight provided for review by Tmart.com

INTRODUCTION

I was contacted by Louis Huang from Tmart asking if I would review this light if they sent it to me.  Apparently there had been mixed opinions of it on Tmarts site posted by a reviewer/owner and Tmart wanted me to offer my opinion of the light.  I will say that for an off-brand like Tangspower it is a surprisingly well constructed light.  It's design renders it suitable for outdoor use more than anything since it's lowest mode is 555 lumens OTF.  Considering the small size of the individual reflectors, the beam is amazingly tight with a relatively small hotspot.  This light is a larger, XM-L clone of the Fenix TK45 which is an XP-G light.  While nowhere as refined as the TK45, you could consider it the TK45's larger, redneck cousin. Let's take a look at the Pros & Cons as I see them.

PROS

  • Flawless finish.  No nicks or scratches on my example.
  • Alloy used in it is very good quality.  Huge difference in the feel of the metal and sound of it when struck compared to lights with known lesser aluminum like the HD2010.  The alloy in this feels very hard and durable.
  • Bright, focused hot spot considering the size of the reflectors.
  • No PWM in any mode.
  • Fantastic knurling on the body is non aggressive compared to rhombic knurling that is more commonly used but is super grippy, especially with wet hands.
  • Clean, deep, nearly square threading used throughout  much of the light.  Not much play in any of the threads but the heavy components spin together with a twist very easily.
  • Solid tail standing.
  • Perfect lanyard mounting position.
  • Good thermal management and excellent heat sinking.  Warms up quickly but doesn't get too hot.
  • Solid, well made driver with quality components.

CONS

  • O-rings a little too thin to provide good seal against water intrusion if submerged.  You can feel resistance in them but it's not as tight as they should be  Should be ok in the rain.  A quick drop in the creek shouldn't hurt anything as long as it is pulled out right away.
  • Switch PCB is quite loose in the tailcap.  Could be a larger diameter for a more stable fit.  Once the retaining ring is tight it is fine.
  • Opening in tail for the switch boot is a mm or 2 too large for the switch boot.  The boot lip still seals the opening but it could be a touch better fitting.
  • No real low mode.  Each LED is always driven at full 2A output.  High mode means all 3 are lit, medium means two are lit and low is a single LED lit at 2A.

FLASHLIGHT SPECIFICATIONS

ManufacturerTangsPower
Seller Tmart.com
Purchase Price$52.93 USD

Manufacturer Specifications

Emitter TypeXML-T6
Lumens3800 Lumens
Power18W
Bulb Quantity3
Light ColorWhite
Lightbulb Lifespan100000 hours
Modes5
Mode ArrangementHi> Mi > Low > Strobe > SOS
Lighting DistanceAbout 400 m
Battery Configuration2 x 18650/26650 Battery (not included)
Input Voltage7.4 V
Runtime2-3 hours
Switch TypeClicky
Switch LocationTail Button
LensCoated Glass Lens
ReflectorAluminum Smooth/SMO Reflector
MaterialAluminum alloy
ColorBlack
Dimensions( 9.96 x 1.93 x 1.50 )" / ( 25.3 x 4.9 x 3.8 )cm / (L x Head Dia. x Body Dia)
Weight16.54 oz / 469 g
LanyardYes

Package Includes

  • 1 x TangsPower CREE XML-T6 18W 3LED 3800LM 5-Modes White Light Flashlight Black (7.4V)
  • 1 x 18650 Adapter Tube
  • 1 x Lanyard

Additional Specs and Measurements

*These specifications were measured by me and should prove useful for sourcing replacement parts and for modding.

Driver O.D.32mm
LED MCPCB diameter15mm
Reflector (WxD)21mm x 15mm
Lens (WxD)21mm x 1mm
Switch boot16mm
Switch PCB20mm
Switch typeForward clicky
Main Head diameter (widest)54.25mm
Ind. Head diameter24mm
Body diameter35.5mm
Tail diameter38mm
Battery tube I.D.26.95mm
18650 adapter I.D.19.01mm
Tail standsYes (solidly)
Water resistanceRain Proof

 

PERFORMANCE

The following performance specifications were measured by me using my calibrated IS, lux meter, DMM, and IR thermometer.  All output measurements taken after 30 seconds. 

Output (Lumens OTF) 
High1479
Medium990
Low555
Total Amperage on High6A (18W)
Amperage at tail (2*26650) 
High2.94A   (1.96A per LED)
Medium1.81A   (1.81A per LED)
Low1.01A   (2.04A per LED)
Calculated run time on high1.4 hours
Calculated runtime on low4.2 hours
Lux @ 1m (measured at 2m)13,760
Throw Distance234.6m
Temperatures in Farenheit after 15 minutes on High (ambient temp 72 degrees)
Bezel tip121.1° F
Bezel @ pill height125.6° F
Main head110° F
Head/body junction102° F
Body96.8° F
Tail88° F

This light is really like having 3 compact single-mode 18650 lights bundled together.  3 output levels being 1 to 3 emitters lit simultaneously.  While this gives output levels of 100%, 66% and 33%, there is zero PWM visible as each LED is driven at full power.  The hot spot is very focused and the spill free from artifacts.  The beam is basically composed of 3 parts - a central hotspot followed by a second zone which blends smoothly into a third lesser zone before cleanly ending with a defined edge of spill.  There is none of the usual beam effects one sees with most multi-emitter lights.  Looking at just the beam and spill one would not know this was a multi-emitter light.  The beam is CW but is not blue or purple and a pretty nice tint of white.

Defnitely not suited for indoor use, except for tailstanding and ceiling bounce room illumination, it is more of an outdoor light.  Visible difference between modes is not that obvious except for between high and low but still not really as obvious as most lights.  With spacing of 100%, 66% & 33%, this light is most useful for hiking or bicycling where medium mode would be plenty for most uses and high for longer range viewing.  I observed no flickering when struck and there is no battery rattle using my Trustfire Flame 26650 protected cells.  It's mass is very substancial and so is it's ability to manage the heat from the emitters. 

Tailstanding on high in a 72° room saw the heat level off at 125.6 at the hottest area which was at the pill on each of the small head barrels.  The handle was not uncomfortable to hold but the head itself definitely was but still nowhere near hot enough to cause any damage to the internal components.  The wiring from the driver to the emitters could have been a heavier gauge but since the light is not driven that hard to start with I doubt a heavier gauge wire would have made much difference in output.

 

CONSTRUCTION

The first thing I noticed after taking the light out of the box was that it was heavy and solidly built.  The finish was immaculate with no dings or scratches.  The anodization is a glossier kind, most likely type II, but it is consistently applied on all components and the colors match well.  The aluminum alloy in it is actually a very good graade.  It doesn't feel remote soft like the HD2010 and when you tap it and feel it you can tell that it is a hard alloy and should prove very durable.  The threads are all deeply and smoothly cut with a mixture of anodized and unanodized threads in various area.  Most of the threads are very nearly square and all are very smooth.  There is not a lot of play in the threads like in other budget lights.  The threads were very lightly lubed but with an application of light machine oil on the threads they pretty much allow things like the tailcap to spin right on with just a firm flick.  I won't go further into details except to comment on the pictures I've taken for you.  Why don't we just start right in with them next?

The light arrived with a fully anodized 18650 battery adapter that threads into the main battery tube for no rattling and a super high quality feel.  Threading on this part is flawless and fits the main body very well.  A lanyard is included but it is pretty much worthless as the cord is very thin and cheap feeling and makes the hardware feel like it is grossly oversized.  The lobster claw is smaller though and fits very nicely into the lanyard attachment hole in the head of the light.

The TANGSPOWER logo is extremely white, clean edged and well etched into the finish of the head.

The head itself is very heavy and triangular shaped.  Each of the three emitters is contained within a seperate, smaller head with it's own seperate pill, reflector and lens.

"CAUTION:HOTSURFACE" is cleanly etched into one of the facets of the head.  Notice the lack of spaces between words.  I didn't even notice that until just now looking at the picture I took. LOL.

The neck of the head where it joins the main body/battery tube is knurled with the same unique siped block knurling as the main body.

The lanyard mounting hole is in the head (where I feel they should always be in a light of this size) and the look of it is reminiscent of the switch location in the Fenix TK45 from which the light gets it's inspiration.

The large hole will allow one to string 550 paracord through it or to directly attach a lobster claw like on the included lanyard.

If you remove an individual bezel from the head you will see the pill and emitter inside.  There is an o-ring in the base of the pill to seal out moisture.  Each MCPCB is fujik'd into place for better thermal transfer.

If we take a closer look at the bezel we removed we will find an SMO reflector, a glass lens (which does appear to be coated but not with the usual coating that can be seen as purple at the right angle), and an o-ring which seals the lens from moisture.

We can see the clean, anodized threading in the bezel where it threads onto the individual pill. The reflectors are free of blemishes and came very clean and decently polished.

Here you can see the emitter mounted in it's pill.  The mounting base of the pills are solid and the star is mounted with thermal epoxy similar to Fujik.

Each besel has square crenelations but with no sharp edges and no exposed aluminum or thin areas in the anodization.  No fingerprints or dust in any or gthe reflectors or inside of the lenses.

The head itself is comprised of two parts.  The o-ring here is the correct size and seals tightly with the front half of the head.

Here you can see the backside of the front of the head.  Each individual pill is threaded into the main head.

Threading on the front and rear halves of the head is perfectly machined and anodized.  You can see part of the threading which the pills screw into in the pill below.

This is what the rear of the head looks like.  There is a solid retaining ring that threads against the driver for the ground contact.  In the center of this ring is a nylon bushing that is press fit into the retaining ring.  In the center of that is a brass contact post for battery positive contact.

You can see the clean, very fine, nearly squared threads used in this light.

Behind that retaining ring is the 32mm driver.

It is a solid, double stack driver which is essentially three seperate drivers combined into one.

Behind the driver is a large pill cavity should one decide to upgrade the driver to one more powerful.

The body is covered with a unique knurling that really works well.  Very non-aggressive in look and feel yet it provides amazing grip with it's small, clean siping in each of the rectangular blocks.  It privides great traction when wet or dry.

Here is the joint at the head end of the battery tube.  Fine square threading.

Here is a look at the tail end of the battery tube.  Same great threads as everywhere else.

Thick walled and smoothly machined throughout.  The inside of the tube is evenly anodized.

The tailcap is a solid heaving chunk of aluminum.  Square crenelations are here to match the ones in the bezels up front.  It provides good tailstanding and easier finger access to the switch.  The boot is thick and provides good feel.  The switch action is solid.

 

The tailcap with the components removed.  It's a nice piece of machining here, too.

THe switch with all it's components removed.  Nothing unusual here at all.  Standard reverse clicky switch.

Protected Trustfire Flame 26650 cells fit nicely.  The light should take all brands of 26650 in both protected and unprotected.

Here is the one-piece 18650 adapter tube.  This slides into the battery tube from the head end and threads into the main tube for a rattle free fitment.  Machining on this piece is very well executed and is fully anodixed.  Smae quality feeling alloy used here as well.  Threads are extremely nice and smooth.  It also adds extra mass and thermal path when used.

You can just see the threading in the main tube where the adapter threads in.

It drops into the head like so.  Insert a finger into the adapter and spin the outer tube and...

You end up with this.

Perfect fit for the 18650 cell.

OUTPUT SHOTS

I will provide outdoor beamshots in a day or two.  I will also recharge the cells and take new throw measurements.  I did not measure throw when I was taking the other output measurements and have used the light a fair amount since then prior to the lux readings.  I'll redo lux and throw calculations tomorrow.

Here is the Tangspower in high mode.

Medium mode is merely 2 of the emitters fully driven.

Maturally, Low mode is just one emitter driven fully.  The nice thing about this is a lack of PWM.  The un-nice thing is that low mode is still pushing 555 OTF lumens!

Here you can see the 3 zones of output.  The focused hotspot, middle spill ring, and outer spill ring with clean edge of spill.  many prefer a smooth even fade in spill while some prefer a zoned spill like this.  The choice is yours if you like spill like this.  One thing that amazed me is that just lookig at this spill one would never guess that there are 3 seperate emitters making it.  It looks like a large, single emitter reflector is producing it.  The light is exactly 1 meter from the wall in the following pics.  This will give you an idea of the beam and spill angles.

With the exposure reduced you can see the size of the central hot spot.

Here is the included lanyard attached to the light.

An in hand shot for those of you who like this stuff.  Here we have the foregrip...

Tail grip...

And a tactical grip.  It would have been so much better in a light this size to have placed the switch up in the head but it is what it is.

Here is a size comparison against a couple other multi-emitter standards.  The SRK, the Tangspower, and the Terminator.  The Tangspower really looks small compared to these lights when viewed head on.

It's large size in readily apparent when viewed from the side.

Here it is next to a standard P60 torch, the Solarforce L2T

And a full side shot between the L2T and my Olight S10 Baton

CONCLUSION

It's really not a bad light, nor is it a great light.  It's looks will only appeal to Fenix TK45 fans or fans of the movie Prometheus. It would make a great bike light and a great hiking light.  With around 235m of throw it's not an exceptional thrower but it is a decent mid-range light.  As a backyard sweeper it would excel and it's solid construction means it should last a good long time and still look good.  It's a solid, well machined light moderately driven that unfortunately does nothing spectacularly.  It really comes down to it's looks,.  If you love the style then I'd say get it.  If you aren't thrilled with the looks, I can guarantee you won't be thrilled with the output when compared to other lights like the SRK that can be had for far less money.

 

 

Edited by: sb56637 on 09/02/2017 - 11:54
jacktheclipper
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Cool

What I do

 

Chicken Drumstick
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Thanks for the review.

Personally I really like how the modes work on this light, it just seems logical common sense to turn off an LED to lower output. And based on the size of the torch I see no reason why it really needs a lower low.

That said, shame on the price and a shame it’s not an AA light as per the original TK45.

18sixfifty
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Thanks for the review.

I think it needs three De-domed XP-G2’s.

I’m a junky, I mod lights so I can sell lights so I can buy more light to mod so I can sell lights to buy more lights to mod.

Toph
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You were Lucky you got one from them that Worked. They sent mine out D.O.A, they still haven’t Replaced it. My review would be, think twice before ordering one from them, “Regardless”.
Cheers

Damn Addictions

djozz
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Thanks for the review. It seems a good light although  I like a shorty better, and with just 18650 batteries. I am still  waiting for a compact SRK, there's too much air and alu in that light.

blueb8llz
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thanks awesome review as usual

Nightbird95
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Thanx for this review.

Its now clearer to me what I might be getting on your 7000th post giveaway. :bigsmile:

sb56637
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Thanks a lot for the review! Frontpage’d and Sticky’d.

Budget Light Forum ...where Frugal meets with Flashlight!

JaffoAZ
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Just found this. Very very nice review, Johnny Mac – enjoyable and thorough as usual with beautiful photos. I bought this light before anyone else on BLF it seems, and was impressed with all the things you were. I’d asked around a bit about it, but no one had yet gotten the Tangspower, much less done a JM review, so I really appreciate this review for that reason. Makes me love my light even more. Smile

It really is a beast, and so well made I always forgive it for not being the powerhouse we’d want from a multi-emitter torch. After maybe over a year of owning it, it’s too large for frequent use, but it is still solid and one of my favorite lights in terms of novelty and design, at least.

Thanks again.

JAFFO

JohnnyMac
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JaffoAZ wrote:
Just found this. Very very nice review, Johnny Mac - enjoyable and thorough as usual with beautiful photos. I bought this light before anyone else on BLF it seems, and was impressed with all the things you were. I'd asked around a bit about it, but no one had yet gotten the Tangspower, much less done a JM review, so I really appreciate this review for that reason. Makes me love my light even more. Smile It really is a beast, and so well made I always forgive it for not being the powerhouse we'd want from a multi-emitter torch. After maybe over a year of owning it, it's too large for frequent use, but it is still solid and one of my favorite lights in terms of novelty and design, at least. Thanks again.
That's awesome, Jaffo!  Thank you! Smile
cortesman
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I really like this torch

but

one battery is not enough to power 3 LED?

I’m French and don’t fully master English, so thank you for your patience.

Gj
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cortesman wrote:
I really like this torch but one battery is not enough to power 3 LED?

2 x 26650

JaffoAZ
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JohnnyMac: the other day when I was once again playing with this light and raving about it enough to thank you for the review, I noticed that one of the LEDs of the three no longer fires up, regardless of what mode I’m in.

Preliminary observation didn’t give me much clue to the problem, and the leads all look solid and anchored with solder as they are supposed to, and the LED in question doesn’t appear to have burned out. I know it won’t be specific to this model, but I haven’t had to troubleshoot my torches much up til now, and given the unique construction and circuitry of this torch, would you have any recommendation of where to start looking to fix this issue? I could probably solder in new leads for the emitter that isn’t powering up I suppose, in case the nature of the construction has possible wound up the wires one too many times…

Now that some time has passed and more people have this Tangspower (I’m assuming) I’m curious if anyone else has had this problem.

JAFFO

xevious
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How well is this light holding up, reliability and durability wise? TMart still has it for sale at a good price as of this writing ($41.53). I know, 4 emitter designs are all the rage these days for massive throw, but something about the 3 emitter design appeals to me (looks less bulky).

JaffoAZ
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It’s an awesome light, and the build is fantastic I think. But it isn’t the most efficient thing for the size. You really have to dig the design to want and appreciate this hulking thing. LOL. I really do. 2 * 18650s runs the three XM-Ls just fine, just not as long.

I haven’t fixed my one bad emitter yet, but it could easily just be a short in the wiring, as the leads are really small gauge.

One thing I’d definitely recommend is to be VERY careful upon disassembly of the head unit. The wiring will twist up inside if you unscrew the top end without freeing the driver in the base part first. This is how I may have knocked out power to one of the three LEDs.

If you never disassemble that far (yeah, right) you won’t have to worry about it. LOL.

JAFFO