Lumintop FW4X adjustible tint first impressions

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Firelight2
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Lumintop FW4X adjustible tint first impressions

Received my FW4X adjustable tint light today.

Here are my first impressions:

  • Build quality is about the same as an FW3A. Looks fine.
  • Beam pattern is floody but looks good. Optic is frosted, but a standard clear Carclo from an Emisar D4 fits fine and gives better throw. I prefer the smooth optic. Beam pattern is artifact-free and excellent with either optic.
  • Tailcap had the overly soft FW3A switch. Easily fixed via an o-ring mod.
  • Clip is the same as an FW3A, however it did not slip onto pants as easily due to the lip of the clip following much closer to the curve of the head. I found that unlike with the FW3A I had to manually lift the tip of the clip to get it onto sweat pants.

The UI is absolutely horrible.

  • The most commonly used functions in a light are Min, Max, On and Off. A well designed UI should have all of these accessible with a shortcut. These are the basics. It is critical to have a good UI for the basics.
  • On and Off should always be accessible with a single-click.
  • A good way to handle Min and Max is long-press from off for Min, double-click at any time for Max.
  • This is how Olight does their UI. It’s also how Anduril works.
  • One other feature people especially like is infinitely ramping output. Again present in Anduril.

In making the FW4X’s UI, Lumintop prioritized ramping tint at the expense of the basics.

  • Double-click from off activates the ramping tint configuration mode. Tint can be changed via a stepped or ramping UI. Double-click exits this mode.

And here is where Lumintop screwed up the UI:

  • There is no infinitely variable output. Stepped only. A single-click from off turns the light on. Single-clicking from on goes to the next step up in output.
  • Double-click from ON activates turbo. This is ok, but it would be better to have a shortcut to this from off.
  • Click-and-hold from on for 1 second to turn off. This is a gigantic blunder. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from all my years on BLF it’s that click-and-hold for ON or OFF sucks. Why Lumintop, why??????
  • There is no moonlight mode… low only. Long press from off is the only way to access low mode. This is ok, but it really should have been moonlight.
  • Like Anduril, it takes 4 clicks to lock/unlock the light. However, unlike Anduril, holding the button down during lockout activates medium mode rather than moonlight. While this won’t burn a hole through your pocket I could easily see someone pulling the light out of their pocket only to find the battery dead due to accidental pocket activation. Dumb!
  • The spacing between medium modes sucks. There are several medium output modes but all are sorta similar in output. Cycling through them doesn’t give a large difference in output.
  • Even worse, because this UI is so different from other lights its very easy to accidentally double-click from off expecting turbo and instead find yourself in the tint-ramping UI.

I don’t see why Lumintop created this awful UI when they could have just used Anduril 2.

  • Anduril 2 supports tint-ramping in a much more intuitive way: with Anduril 2 all the basics function normally, but with the addition of tint-ramping accessed via 3H.
  • Anduril 2 is good, because even in a light with an unusual feature like tint-ramping the basics are toggled a lot more than tint ramping is.

Sofirn’s IF25 has an enormously better UI than the FW4X. I’m pretty disappointed in how Lumintop executed this, especially given how they already had access to and experience with Anduril.

I wonder if it is possible to flash the FW4X to Anduril 2 and if so, would the tint ramping function still work.

Edited by: Firelight2 on 08/04/2021 - 02:58
jasontheguitarist
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I’m surprised anyone here even bought that thing. I took one look at that UI and noped out.

stephenk
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It does seem odd that a light that requires one of Anduril’s special features doesn’t use it. Also, high CRI warm and cool options would have been more preferable such as LH351D 2700k and 5700k.

Firelight2
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Some additional observations:

There is no way to modify the tint without starting from scratch.

  • In the Sofirn IF25, changing the tint is easy. You just do a click+click-hold and then the tint goes up. Release to set the tint. Repeat to ramp down. It’s as easy as ramping output in an Emisar D4, except for tint.
  • In the FW4X, if you double-click from off you activate the tint-setting interface. Activating this interface always sets the tint to 3000K. You can the single click or click-and-hold to raise the tint from there.
  • This means that in the FW4X, there is no good way to make small adjustments in tint. You can’t be at a tint that is almost right and then slightly raise or lower it. Instead, if you want a slightly warmer or cooler tint you’ll have to try to remember where you were at as you set the tint from scratch.
  • Basically the FW4X’s tint UI is clunky to use and allow much less fine tuning than in the IF25. And that doesn’t even account for Lumintop breaking the “basic” functions of the light to make room for the tint control UI.

Emitter choice:

  • The FW4X uses 2x XPL HI cool white and 2x Nichia 219C 3000K warm white.
  • At first it seemed like a questionable choice using 2 different emitters with different beam profiles, but the end result actually works quite well. The beam pattern, tint and CRI all look quite good especially at 4000K and 4500K.
  • The range of tints available isn’t as good as the SST-20s in the IF25 however. When comparing the warmest tints on both lights, the output of the IF25 is noticeably warmer.

I’m a bit bummed that Lumintop screwed up the interface on what could have been a great light.

  • The emitters chosen look great.
  • The beam pattern is nice.
  • The body is much more conveniently sized for EDC than the IF25. And the FW4X is also compatible with 18500 and 18350 tubes for the FW3A.

So far, no manufacturer has come out with the “perfect” variable tint light.

  • Personally, I think my choice would be an Emisar D4V2 blue with lighted switch, variable tint with SST-20s and Anduril 2, but with Sofirn’s 1H shortcut to tint ramping instead of Anduril2’s 3H.
  • A titanium FW4X with an 18500 tube would be a close second choice if it also had a modified Anduril interface as described above.
  • It’s really too bad the driver board on the IF25 is too large to fit into an Emisar D4. If they were the same size I’d attempt that mod.
  • The IF25 is a much better light, but I like pocket EDC lights and I consider it far too large for pocket EDC.