Review: Uniquefire 3900 triple XM-L from lightmalls, possible groupbuy inside.

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2100
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Review: Uniquefire 3900 triple XM-L from lightmalls, possible groupbuy inside.

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MEASUREMENTS

Uniquefire 3900 lux output drop (drop-in wrapped with aluminum foil for assisted heat transfer in addition to the threads at the bezel. Note that other drop-ins other than the Trustfire TF-3T6 do not have those bezel thread to screw in).

Time 0 minutes, varying.

1st min = 298 lux

2nd min = 294 - 1.3%

3rd min = 291 - 2.3%

4th min = 289 - 3%

5th min = 287 - 3.7%

6th min = 284 - 4.7%

Trustfire TF-3T6  Time 0 minute = nil as it's varying. 1st min = 327 lux, 6th min = 316 lux  Drop = 3.4%  (NB. Trustfire 3T6 threads have been applied with heatsink compound to assist in heat transfer)  <- pls do not compare this 316 lux figure to the Uniquefire's 284 lux at the end of 6 minutes.

 

Reflected ceiling bounce lux = 132 lux for Uniquefire 3900.

Trustfire TF-3T6 = 130

Sky Ray 3800 = 160

Tailcap current = 2.29A with XTAR 2600 fully charged 4.2V.  2.15A with Sanyo 2600 unprotected.

LED tint, it is not the slight bluish type of output of the Sky Ray/DRY (1A tint) which is at 6700-7000k. Slightly warmer, same as the Trustfire 3T6. Prob around 6000k from the camera.

 

Edited by: sb56637 on 08/26/2014 - 17:22
2100
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It came in a pretty good somewhat sturdy box (at least not just an envelope) and wrapped in 4 layers of bubble wrap. The built is pretty good, as you can see from the photos everything is pretty THICK.   You may feel that there are some minor nicks in the finishing from the photos but let me assure you that those are dust, and upon close inspection there are no nicks.  Perhaps just 2 extremely minor flakes in the finishing at the edges if you hold it just 6 inches from your eyes.

The anodising is really smooth, significantly smoother than the Trustfire or Skyray (no contest) and is actually 95% on par in smoothness as my Fenix TK70. You can say that it is on par with the Shadow TC6.

As you can see from the above, no issue with the heat dissipation.  The above results are obtained with wrapping the drop in with kitchen aluminum foil (no heat sink compound).  The drop-in does screw into the SS bezel. The alu foil assists in the transmission of the heat from the lower part of the drop-in to the silver coloured part of the host. It does not equal to the TF-3T6, but also bear in mind that i have applied heatsink compound to my Trustfire TF-3T6 so both can be said to be slightly modified.  Unless you are gunning in > 10 minutes in tropics 30 deg C heat in the night, there shouldn't be any issue.

2100
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Bill Zeng of lightmalls told me that he can lower the price by a bit if more people can get it. I don't know how much....but anyway the price is inclusive of registered shipping.  I ordered on 17th, it got sent out on the 18th and reached me on 24th, 7 days or 5 working days shipping from China.  (it went out via Singapore post from Shanghai so that's why it's so fast for me, not sure how that's different from China Post) 

 http://www.lightmalls.com/uniquefire-3900-3t6-3xcree-xml-t6-3800-lumens-5-modes-stainless-steel-led-flashlight-2-18650

Think you can email him about this on any special BLF pricing esp if more expresses interest.

Hikelite
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Hey thanks 2100.

Always posting about the newest lights with useful comparisons.

2100
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Hikelite wrote:

Hey thanks 2100.

Always posting about the newest lights with useful comparisons.

No problem at all.  This light is easily the most beautiful one amongst all my 2 x 18650, single XM-L or triple.  As beautiful as the Balder BD-4 (in another way, and IMO of course) but of course built quality is better in the Balder.

The GITD rubber cap needs to go though, change with a black one.

Not sure if the driver is the same as the TF-3T6. Same PWM freq of 124Hz, same drive levels measured at the tail end.

sb56637
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Thanks a lot for the detailed review 2100. Frontpage'd and Sticky'd.

Yes, this is by far the best looking 3 * XM-L light so far.

But, what about brightness compared to the TF-3T6? The TF-3T6 reportedly pulls around 2.7A whereas this one only does 2.29.

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Langcjl
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Thanks for the nice review.

Piers said " ....but who wants enough light, when you have the option for far too much "

how2
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This is the only 3x XML light I would consider.

I think it's the best in terms of design, build quality and price.

2100 can you post some pic of the Trustfire and Uniquefire side by side please.

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Id definitely grab one of these for 45$ shipped if they'd go that low....how's the throw with this light?
2100
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sb56637 wrote:

But, what about brightness compared to the TF-3T6? The TF-3T6 reportedly pulls around 2.7A whereas this one only does 2.29.

Current draw depends on too many factors which must be stated.  Anyway that is why i also provide reflected ceiling bounce test. 

Reflected ceiling bounce lux = 132 lux for Uniquefire 3900.

Trustfire TF-3T6 = 130

Sky Ray 3800 = 160

DRY = 250 (capable of doing 270-300 in cold to extremely cold countries)

2100
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08CivicSi wrote:
Id definitely grab one of these for 45$ shipped if they'd go that low....how's the throw with this light?

Standard, just decently ok.  If i remember correctly it is about 14k cd.

Will not reach $45, it's a very high quality good-built by budgetlights standards....but i guess if many order it he could do $50.  Why not someone email Bill and see what he can do, and then start another thread about this. Need to get the ball rolling.   Though the heat disspation to host is not as good as the Trustfire, it is still decent.

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So here's the million dollar question for 2100: If you could only buy one, which would it be? Skyray, Trustfire, or Uniquefire? (I personally don't like the styling or the price of the DRY, so that one's already out. Smile )

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2100
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It would be the uniquefire 3900.   But personally i dig the Sky Ray 850's colour and looks, just that it's too expensive at $70 shipped with registered shipping.  I wouldn't mind spending $85 for the 5 x XM-L, so i'll wait and see when will the others come out and drive the price down (plus driven harder).

 

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Can this thing tailstand? Probably a bit too top-heavy even if the switch is recessed.

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2100
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Yes, this thing can tailstand.

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Thanks for the info 2100!

Well, I took the plunge. I just ordered a 3900 from Manafont...

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Any idea yet if the driver might be the same as the Trustfire 3T6? Any relative strengths/weaknesses of the driver compared to other triple XM-Ls?

Thanks!

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2100
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Don't really know if the drivers are the same.  The PWM freq and output are like the same though.  I don't have a stock Sky Ray to measure the PWM freq also.

When I have time i'll try to measure the current with the same batteries and see if they are the same.

ledoman
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We are going to have discussion about some prommising driver in this thread soon. Stay tuned....

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2100 so do you think this will soak up the heat as well as the TR-3T6 for long constant runs, im not sure a few alloy threads into stainless will soak up the heat well and the TR-3T6 has about an inch of threads on the middle and 3 contact points of the head for heat soak.

I think this is a nice looking, i like it and priced well but im not conviced it will handle the heat for long night time bush walks as well as the TR-3T6 due to less contact area with the screw in, its the same as my TR-1200 in the way the 3900 screw-in contacts the head but the TR-1200 bezel is alloy not stainless steel so one would thing the alloy bezel would soak the heat up quicker and thats why alloy is used in electrical items not stainless.

the TR-1200 screw-in at 1.7 amps gets hotter then my TR-3T6 screw-in at 2.7 amps when you run them for the same amount of time, since this 3900 is the same style of scew in it makes my wonder if it would handle the heat for long runs, remember i live in australia not ice country.

nice torch nice review as always, please dont take my question the wrong way.

2100
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benckie wrote:
I think this is a nice looking, i like it and priced well but im not conviced it will handle the heat for long night time bush walks as well as the TR-3T6 due to less contact area with the screw in, its the same as my TR-1200 in the way the 3900 screw-in contacts the head but the TR-1200 bezel is alloy not stainless steel so one would thing the alloy bezel would soak the heat up quicker and thats why alloy is used in electrical items not stainless.

I did a measurement run, with the drop-in wrapped with foil and so lends a helping hand to the threads.  It just lags a wee bit behind my TF-3T6 which is also aided by thermal compound on the threads.  The results are in the first thread.  (its 4.7% drop in out[ut versus 3.4% for the TF-3T6)

The run was only 6 mins though.  But i am already past those full 1hr runs, coz i killed my SR3800 that way.   Dead short in the mostfet, if i were using unprotected cells it would have vented or rather exploded, no doubt about that. Well maybe not, coz i was using the NCR18650 2900s, maybe still stand a chance of not venting.  The NCR18650CH (Callie Kustoms 2100s) can do dead shorts and not vent and so would the NCR18650A 3100s.

benckie
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i would be intrested in the same test around 30 mins i think the TR-3T6 would hold up better with or with out thermal past as i dont use thermal past on mine, i do have artic silver past for my cpu,s and gpu,s but ive been testing the torch in stock forum, i think your test would of been better with out the foil to give an true idea of how it runs out of the box.

you can realy compare the fry ray to the TR-3T6 as the sky rays where poorly driven and scaled way to high with use hence the burn out,s, ive proven the TR-3T6 will not do this and will stay with in its regulation till it drops out and dimm,s once the batteries are to low, so i dont think there is a problem with venting or death if you use the TR-3T6 past 6 mins to 60 mins.

maybe i think diffrent to you about torches as i use mine for bush walking and camping and so on they need to be able to run so i think it is improtant to be able to run for extented use as to me its a waste of money if i cant actualy use it, this is why i have not brought a dry, its like having a 6 speed transmision in your car but never getting out of 3rd gear to me.

the reason behind this thoughts and questions is my usage of the torches my location australia its a hot place for people who do not know and my old man wants me to buy another 3 x xm-l for him, i see all the cheaper copies and i like the look of this one but i think the best option is the TR-3T6 imo.

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Well, I just received Uniquefire 3900 in the mail from Manafont in RECORD time, just barely over 10 days, and that was with a week long suspension of postal service for a national holiday.

Here's what I can say for initial observations and testing with two freshly charged XTAR 18700 cells:

Pros:

  • Appears to be at least twice as bright as an Ultrafire P60 3-mode XM-L
  • 7 minute test run on high @ ~24°C and high humidity, almost no noticeable battery or aluminum body temperature increase, only the stainless steel bezel
  • Rather attractive design
  • Solid, heavy construction
  • Fast, logical mode memory
  • Nice neutral beam color
  • Nice smooth beam with no rings or holes
  • Nice threads
  • Low mode produces hardly any heat

Cons

  • Terrible finishing. Countless nicks and pits on both the aluminum body and SS bezel. Debris inside the mirror finish under the lens. Major machining mistake on inside bezel diameter next to lens, about 30% is flawed by a sort chamfer instead of a clean diameter.
  • Stainless steel bezel takes the brunt of the heat dissipation. Uncomfortably hot to touch after about 5 minutes on high
  • Tailstanding capability does not seem to be a functional specification but rather by chance. Mine exhibited a bit of rocking on the slight amount of protrusion of the rubber switch boot. I slightly un-threaded the switch module to raise it up and it's better now. But I imagine some units will tailstand, and some won't.
  • Chintzy, short lanyard

I would be very interested to compare this with the Trustfire 3T6, but I can't stand the aesthetics of the Trustfire... Silly Yes, I know it doesn't matter, but then again, these lights aren't cheap. Overall, I am fairly satisfied with the purchase, but I am rather irritated by the finishing nightmare.

Complete review in upcoming weeks.

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2100
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Hmm...that's funny....my copy's finishing is not 100% flawless of course like a Jetbeam/Fenix but there are no major pits/nicks.  Maybe lightmall hand picked them.  LOL!   In fact i purchased this light solely for aesthetics/shelf queen coz it's SS and grey gunmetal.  My pictures are a bit small but i'll see if i can update with some detailed pix soon.

sb, you are supposed to wrap it up....it's supposed to be a drop-in.  LOL!  The few threads help, but aided with foil there really is no problem, i'll see if i can do longer for 20 mins as benckie requested.  Anyway if i have time i shall sand down the anodising on the SS bezel - body thread, it will help.

BTW it's always 30 deg C here in the early part of the night.  Longer runs i shall need to try in air-conditioned room to match your guys' avg summer temperature nights of about 20-24 deg C. 

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Hey 2100, would you be so kind as to show me how you wrap it in foil? I'm a bit of a doofus with my hands... :Sp

I don't mind the fact that the bezel gets hot, I wouldn't normally touch it. In fact the rest of the body is admirably cool. I just don't know how much heat those emitters can handle and I didn't want to fry it straight out of the package.

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2100
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For me i just wrap a folded and very compressed alu foil, and then wrap the drop-in.  You will feel quite a bit of resistance when putting the bezel + drop-in in.

Effect is that the aluminum host gets very nearly as hot as the bezel. That means you are doing things right.

2100
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Ok, 20 mins run results : All figures are directly comparable because they are ceiling bounce at the exact same spot. Cells voltage are the same, flashlights are fully current regulated.

Temperature : 30.8 deg C, 15 kph wind blowing at the flashlights.

Trustfire TF-3T6  (4.1% drop after 20 mins)

40 seconds - 57.7

2 mins - 56.9

13 mins - 55.5

20 min - 55.4

 

Uniquefire 3900 : (6.7% drop after 20 mins)

40s - 61.8

2 mins - 60.4

13 min - 58.0

20 min - 57.9

 

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HI 2100

 

Was that test done with out foil added to the 3900 ?

2100
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Benckie, that's done with foil added, though i just took like 3-4 minutes to fold and stuff it in, so not too good a job there but i guess it works. It's somewhat tight though so i guess not too bad overall. It was pretty warm last night (literally no wind!) so heat was like stuck in the room. 15 kph probably is equivalent to maybe 10-15 deg C without wind? The fry rays are definitely warmer from my memory.
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Thanks mate I was just wondering still unsure what 3 x Xm-l to get my old man I'm going to go with the good old faithful TR-3T6 I think

2100
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If you want something that still has reports with failures during operation, then go with the TF-3T6.

I use that one for day-to-day ops, coz it is not designated as a shelf queen.

Damn, one day really must find time to solder the 3-mode direct drive DRY driver into the Fry Ray 3800.  LOL!   It has only 1 mdoe now, ie Direct Drive.   Then i really can play around with it and whack the living daylights out of it.....i have too many spare drivers.  (I am using the Trustfire 1 x 18650 extension with it so that it does 3x18650)

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