[Review] MHVAST TG20 Flashlight - 1x18650 / 2xCR123

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WalkIntoTheLight
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[Review] MHVAST TG20 Flashlight - 1x18650 / 2xCR123

This is a review of the MHVAST TG20 flashlight. This is a bright, general-purpose light, which can run on either one 18650 rechargeable battery, or two CR123 primary batteries. It has optional built-in micro USB recharging, and is built to IPx8 waterproof standards.

There is a video review of the light I put up on youtube, here:


I recommend watching the video for night shots of this light, as I will not post many beam shots in this written review.

This light was provided by Banggood for review purposes, but I receive no other form of compensation. You can find out more details of the light on their site here:

https://goo.gl/F9L7XV

Use discount code 3034f8 to bring the price of the light down to $34.99.



Overview:

The MHVAST TG20 flashlight is a sturdy light that is best used for lighting up your yard, or taking on walks where you might need a lot of light. It has a maximum output of 1150 lumens for the 5000K neutral white version, or 1250 lumens for the 6500K cool white version. It is somewhat larger than most 1×18650 every-day-carry lights, but that is because it includes built-in recharging. You can also charge separately, if you wish.


User Interface:

The light can use two different methods to control it. It has a forward-clicky tail switch, which is optimal for tactical use when you just want a brief period of light on a target. Half-press the switch for instant light, and release to turn it off. Depress fully to turn the light on fully, and depress again to shut the light off.

It also has an electronic side switch to change output levels and access hidden strobes. The side switch has a lighted LED to indicate the battery charge level (green=good, red=low, flashing=charge soon).


Modes:

I measure the output levels of the neutral-white version as follows:

High: 1150 lumens
Medium: 500 lumens
Low: 230 lumens
Moonlight: 2 lumens

Moonlight can be accessed via a long-press of the side switch. Strobes are accessed with a double-click. You have the usual annoying selection: fast, SOS, blinking.

You will note that all the main modes are fairly high output. This light also has decent throw, so it is probably not the best choice if you just want a modest, floody output for casual use around the house. It is great for outdoor use, though, especially on trails and in the open.

A smooth reflector gives this light quite a bit of throw, with a range of 230 meters.


The light can be programmed with mode memory on or off. With it off, the light will always come on in high, which is useful if using it for tactical purposes. Personally, I prefer to use it with mode memory, because I’m a very untactical guy. See my video for a demonstration of how to program mode memory on or off, because a picture is worth a thousand words so a video must be worth a million words, and I can’t type that many words.


Regulation:

The MHVAST TG20 claims a constant-current driver for efficient, regulated run-times. In practise, I find it will drop output over time, but very gradually. When the batteries are down to 50% charged (3.75v), the output has dropped approximately 20% compared to a full 4.2v charge. That still gives almost 1000 lumens. The light is efficient, and takes a long time to deplete the battery.

There is no step-down on the MHVAST TG20. If you use the light on high, it will stay on high. While this is nice in many ways, it also means that the light could get very hot if used in a warm room or summer night. During my use outside, the light did not get anywhere near warm, however the outside temperature was near the freezing point. In that case, it is nice not to have a timed step-down.


Charging:

The micro USB charging port is uncovered by partially unscrewing the head of the light. It is well-protected by o-rings, and completely waterproof. You can charge a 18650 battery by simply plugging any USB cable (the light comes with one) into the port, and making sure the tail switch is clicked “on”. The side switch will flash while charging, and turn solid green when done.


Lock out:

The light can be mechanically locked out by slightly unscrewing the tail cap. You probably don’t need to do this, as the tail switch is protected from accidental activation by raised ridges around it. This also serves to allow it to tail-stand.


Batteries:

The MHVAST TG20 can take two different battery chemistries. It can run off a single 18650 rechargeable lithium-ion cell. Or, it can run off two CR123 disposable cells. The working voltage of the light is from 2.7v to 6.0v.

There is no explicit low-voltage protection, though you will be warned by the side switch LED when the battery starts getting low. Make sure to recharge the 18650 battery when the switch LED goes red or flashing-red, or recycle the CR123 batteries if you choose to use them instead.

I would recommend using a protected 18650 cell if you are going to regularly use the built-in charging, since you will likely not be checking voltage levels like you should do when you use regular chargers. (You do check voltages, right???)

I personally prefer to always use rechargeable batteries whenever possible. But I can see the benefit of using CR123 cells in this light if you want to store it in the car’s glovebox on cold winter nights. CR123 will work down to -40 degrees, and have a very long shelf-life.


Specifications:

Construction: Black anodized aluminum. Good solid build. Good grip on body. Threads and o-rings came well lubricated. IPx8 waterproof to 2 meters.

Modes: 3 main modes, 1 moonlight, and hidden strobes. See prior discussion.

LED: Cree XP-L.

Tint: 5000K neutral white (or 6500K cool white). There is a hint of green in the corona of the beam and purplish spill, which is normal with XP-L emitters. It is not noticeable in normal use.

Lens: Glass with anti-reflection coating.

Size: 141mm long, 25mm diameter.

Weight: 98g + battery.

Battery type: 1 × 18650 lithium-ion, flat or button top. Also 2 x CR123 cells.

Output: 2-1200 lumens (1150 neutral white, 1250 cool white).

Beam pattern: Mostly a traditional EDC floody beam, but the smooth reflector gives decent throw.

Low voltage protection: No, but the switch LED will give plenty of warning. Working voltage is 2.7v – 6.0v.

Reverse polarity protection: Unknown.

Stand-by drain: None (you can completely turn off the light using the tail switch).

Heat: The light will get hot on maximum, and there is no step-down.

Tail-stands: Yes.

Package contents: Flashlight, cardboard box, spare o-ring, lanyard, micro-USB cable, spare switch cover, manual. Note: the manual says it comes with a “body clip”, but I did not find any clip.


My impressions:

Pros:

- Feels solid and well built. Lens is well protected by bezel. This should stand up well to abuse.
- Bright, with decent constant output control. Better efficiency than lights with a FET driver.
- Forward clicky + “tactical mode” makes this a good tactical flashlight if you choose to program it that way.
- Built in USB recharging, with the micro-USB port well protected from water.
- Available in cool white and neutral white tints.
- Can use either 1×18650 or 2xCR123 batteries.
- Tail-stands, which is surprising, considering it has a forward clicky switch.
- Does not step down from maximum. I’m not sure if this should be a pro, or a con, since it will get hot at room temperatures. But many people will appreciate the lack of a step-down.

Cons:

- I don’t know what would happen if you tried to recharge the light if it has CR123 batteries installed. Probably best just not to try!
- No low-voltage protection, however, the switch LED gives you plenty of warning the batteries are low. If using CR123, the lack of LVP may actually be a benefit.
- My personal preference is that the “low” mode should be lower.


BLF A6 vs MHVAST TG20:

Here is a picture contrasting the BLF A6, which is a popular 1×18650 every day carry light.


This picture shows the beam profile of both lights. The BLF A6 is on the left, and the MHVAST TG0 is on the right. The TG20 does have more throw, which shows up in this picture. However, the maximum output of both lights is about the same, with the A6 being a more floody beam.


Summary:

I find this a quality flashlight that would be good for both general use and tactical applications. The user interface is easy, and the optional built-in charging is a benefit for people that either don’t have easy access to their charger, or choose to charge it like they do their other devices.

It is a little big for a pants pocket, and perhaps that is why a pocket-clip is not included. Most clips from other lights, such as the BLF A6, will fit the MHVAST TG20. But it’s small enough to easily carry in a jacket pocket. Store in in the car with CR123 batteries for extreme cold, or use it around the house and outside with a rechargeable 18650 battery.


That’s all for now. Thank you for reading.

lfjgdhn
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The MHVAST TG20 I bought contains a clip. What about your clip?

WalkIntoTheLight
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lfjgdhn wrote:
The MHVAST TG20 I bought contains a clip. What about your clip?

Okay, that’s good. The manual says it has a clip, so it’s good they supply one. Mine must have been a review model they sent me, so didn’t contain everything.

beam0
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WalkIntoTheLight wrote:
lfjgdhn wrote:
The MHVAST TG20 I bought contains a clip. What about your clip?

Okay, that’s good. The manual says it has a clip, so it’s good they supply one. Mine must have been a review model they sent me, so didn’t contain everything.

Thanks for the great review!

And thanks lfjgdhn for posting about the clip because that’s why I found this light today.

I’m always on the lookout for a good dual-switch tactical light in this size / form factor, and this looks like a good one.

My requirements are that it always starts on HIGH every time you turn it on with the tail switch (no memory)
There are VERY FEW (If any!) that actually work this way, most have memory that cannot be toggled on/off. A forward switch is icing on the cake.

I’d rather not have the USB feature if it adds length/width, but at least this one has a very nice feature to cover the port (I dislike those rubber covers)

The knurling looks excellent on this, to bad they didn’t continue that knurling on the tail cap, it would have made for a more uniform appearance and better grip for screwing it on/off when changing cells. I also like the stainless bezel ring.

The switch and knurling are suspiciously reminiscent of Thrunite/Wowtac, I have to wonder if these are made by the same factory, which would be great. Their other lights look familiar as well but resemble a different brand altogether, however I can’t recall which it at the moment.

$45 is a bit high for me right now but I’m sure it’s worth it, hopefully I’ll eventually see this on sale and will grab one for sure.

EDIT: Not sure how I missed it but now I see the discount code! However it’s out of stock now, hopefully the code will still work when they are restocked?

Or… were these ever in stock yet? Seems odd they’d be sold out already since this review was posted only about 20 days ago.

 

lfjgdhn
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Smile There are regular sales, can consult dealers, you can continue to focus on the MHVAST brand, quality and workmanship is excellent.
lfjgdhn
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The USB charging design is great and doesn’t have ugly rubber gaskets.