Collected Thoughts About Brands

oh i am gonna enjoy this thread of mine hehe. whoever, particularly myself for self-entertainment, wants to share his biased thoughts and opinions on brands, the way how we see them and their overall work, is welcome to do so and express oneself as subjectively as wanted .. if you dont like a brand only because of its shi**y name, then say so that's fine. it's plain interesting to learn how we think about certain brands. Typically, per post i would address 1 brand only and update/edit the post if additional thoughts come up. It may well be that this thread ends up in a diary-like collection of cryshil posts only .. ;)

for fast reference, you can retrieve this thread per shortcut: [quote] [/quote]


  • garnered considerable publicity thru 1 particular youtube video (131,000 views)
  • old company with a long tradition, has its own large factory, real manufacturer who has stood the test of time and will continue to exist in future
  • old catalog, no new models, no updated models/LEDs; some dealer-manufacturers offer custom updated/upgraded models, which is interesting per se
  • has 1 handful of goodies in the program (RC-G2, RC-29, RC-N3, "C8", ..)
  • great sounding/looking name, very likable and attractive :love:
  • well-constructed products with original designs
  • overall exemplary build quality in the budget light section
  • good reputation in the community, well-received, ~300 youtube hits
  • anodization may not be the hardest
  • not the cheapest in price, XXXFire is cheaper
  • high availability on Chinese retail and wholesale websites
  • one of the very few budget brands which made it into the sales program of some reputable international dealers (i, ii, iii, iv, ..)
  • company contacts: unknown

I’m sold on Fenix flashlights. They look good, feel good, and work great.


I’ve got hold of a couple of their lights now.

The keygos m10

Well built well sized light, accepts a few different cell types depending on what you have available - it can use both 26650 cells and 18650 cells with the supplied adapter and if you have a 4 AAA series holder it will use 4 AAA.

Robust, good threads, well fitting o rings, nice smooth Ali reflector, nice switch. It needs no attention out of the box, at least the two models I have recieved, months apart worked fine. Good lanyard its one of my favorite lights.

Keygos ke-5

Now, I’ve got this from another member, he recieved a replacement as he got one of the ones with the bum driver, he’d already pulled the driver and sent it to me as a host to do with as I will. I intend to fit one of my 4a ramping drivers.

As such I can only comment on the host, again well built, nicely threaded, handsome looking light. Aside from the afford said driver issues that affect a batch earlier in the year, this was one of blf’s favorites, reports have come in that the issues are sorted now, so again I would suggest this is another good purchase.

To be fair, I’ve read little to fault any of the keygos range and I feel they are one of the nicer budget ranges. They also seem to try to look after their customers, I would suggest buy with confidence.


  • old company with a long tradition, real manufacturer who has stood the test of time
  • has its own factory and also an (expensive) webshop, most of their official dealings go thru alibaba
  • questionable name, why not simply "Tank" instead of "Tank007"? ~400 youtube hits
  • memorable forum editions of popular models on this and other flashlight forums
  • old large catalog with few new annual additions
  • old models dont get updated or improved; no model upgrading
  • broad selection of AAA flashlights, all of very good quality and at very low cost, and also quite popular incl. their 3xAAA zoomies
  • their E09 keychain flashlight was the bomb, presumably the company's best-seller ever and continues to sell well as one of the most-produced AAA keychain light since its market release besides the iterations of Thrunite Ti, ITP A3/Olight i3, and Fenix LD01
  • their E10 follow-up model with a stainless steel clicky was a commercial flop, although it's my favorite body to host Protected 10440's and to lego so many fitting heads (A3|i3|Worm|E09|E11|LD01|RA01|ETC)
  • Tank007 designs look original, sometimes exotic, tank-ish, up to appalling
  • they keep up with technological developments but much of their efforts doesnt get noticed
  • overall exemplary build quality in the budget light section en par with Romisen
  • threads are often sealed with green loctite, a modder's nightmare
  • select models have been adopted by international flashlight dealers (i, ii, iii, iv, v, vi, vii, ..)
  • company contacts: LeeAn, Lily, Linky, Jane, John, William, Sweety, Selena, ..


An amazing qualty
Great modes
Compact and lot's of lumens


  • venerable pseudo budget brand fully owned, produced and marketed by Olight
  • had their own website (, now dissolved, discontinued
  • notable series were the Eluma and the EOS series
  • next to Fenix maybe the most widely available China-made non-budget brand back at that time and a bunch of dealers all over the world still carry old unsold stock of the less popular models, ~160 youtube hits
  • their ITP A3 ("EOS" WTF) flashlight remains the most legendary flashlight of its kind; a bad-regulated but bright, nice, affordable, unexplicably attractive designed 1xAAA keychain flashlight. the Olight company did the right thing, held on to this super successful model and released upgraded models (ITP A3 Upgraded, Olight i3, Olight i3S)
  • since ITP lights were designed and manufactured by Olight, they are no doubt of high quality
  • nowadays this brand has become irrelevant and superseded so i wouldnt bother buying remaining stock from low volume dealers. you'd probably get a retail box covered with 3 years old dust lmao
  • company contacts: Olight


  • small family owned business located at DFW, Irving, Dallas, Texas, USA., tel: (972) 757-7712 and (972) 929-7213
  • made its first notable appearance in early 2007 ("the very first Zebralight model ever produced – the 1xAA H50 (XR-E)" was reviewed by selfbuilt in April 2008) and for a long time regarded primarily as specialist producer of headlamps. although they sport 1 headlamp only albeit for different single cells, ZL is considered the technology leading manufacturer in this field
  • ZL flashlights are incredible small and compact, which allows you to overlook their questionable esthetic design. on enlarged webpage photos ugly lights look fugly, nice lights look nicer, in reality the two condense to disillusionment and indifference about the looks. what remains is your amazement about the compact size. other manufacturers are getting there too, top brightness and efficiency in a compact form factor and with better looks
  • Made in China warez, small Chinese manufacturing site with very low volume of production output, makes ZL products a limited product with every dealer. Late dealers get first part of their ordered quantities only several(!) months after order date/market release when the small circle of flashlight enthusiasts got their samples already from somewhere else. This makes getting into the ZL gamble a little risky for dealers. For some reason ZL plans to open up a (bigger sized?) factory in Las Colinas, Irving, Dallas, Texas, USA.
  • for a serious professional manufacturer their annual production output has to be ridiculously low compared to the very copious factories by Olight, Fenix, Nitecore a.o.; not surprisingly a range of dealers who sell gear, flashlights, guns and stuff, never heard of Zebralight but do know Fenix, Olight or Nitecore. For flashies ZL is an important big player, a scene leader (although ZL is stuck with one single driver/UI product design, go figure!) but in terms of production volume and sales figures ZL is still an underachiever and exotic outsider: a company which is small and stays small.
  • most ZL dealers are importers, directly importing from China (factory) or from USA (home) depending on dealer's location. despite the non-existent distribution network the dealer's cost price is comparatively high and follows an extremely closefisted discounting scheme making the products expensive for dealers to import and price fixing or MAP's beyond concern. US-dealers charge more, e.g. 69.99 instead of 63.99, and international dealers (UK, GER) much more because of the limited stock everyone is getting and them trying to build their own margin. Importing ZL warez doesnt leave much of a margin and when you're a small dealer with very limited stock (of say SC600 and SC51) and accustomed to high margins of Nitecore, Klarus, Fenix, Sunwayman retail sales then it is a natural thing to jack up the local prices by exactly the same percentage you're used to. US dealers cant do this because of competition thru ZL Co.'s website. If ZL Co. stopped selling thru their own website, US dealers would begin jacking up the prices similarly to UK/GER dealers in order to earn the same margin they're used to with other China-made premium brands. For fair EU-prices incl. FREE EU shipping check out French dealers such as NeoLumen.
  • among aficionados has the #1 industry's top reputation regarding max circuitry efficiency/brightness/runtimes, reduced weight/dimensions and sophisticated features
  • ZL ANSI lumens specs are inflated and don't compare with ANSI lumens specs published by serious brands such as Rofis, Fenix, or Eagletac. clearly, a Fenix flashlight rated 200 ANSI lumens by Fenix Co. is much brighter than a ZL flashlight rated 200 ANSI lumens by ZL Co.; to this end it is appropriate to drop the term "ANSI lumens" altogether and introduce the terms "ZebraBuilt lumens" coined by reppans versus "Fenix lumens" such that we can establish the true relationship (the operator ">" means "is visually brighter than"): 200 Fenix lumens > 200 ZebraBuilt lumens.
  • the highly optimized single-cell lights share the same unique UI/electronic switch and are therefore in essence the same light tbh
  • extremely small catalog: 1 headlamp H-series (H31/H51/H502/H600) and 1 handheld SC-series (SC31/SC52/SC80/SC600), the main difference being the battery type, 1xAA, 1xCR123 or 1x18650.
  • their main work consist in evolving, improving, updating these 2 existing series, slowly iterating one model after the other
  • S6330 is totally new creation, only few other new creations planned
  • few products, high anticipation and excitement after announcements, pre-order craze despite expensive prices, fanboys in never-ending threads, this reminds me of the smartphone market
  • ~400 youtube hits
  • website and marketing is poor, packaging/accessories is poor, no holsters ni nada, only techies or fanboys who get a thrill out of reading webpage specs would also feel drawn to these naked products. discard the webpage and you're left with little attractive about the product as a a whole. wanna gift it or impress? non-flashaholics will have a hard time to appreciate and see the value of the light. and the value of the light is, i.e. the real reason why flashies discuss ZL all the time instead of beautiful Sunwayman: the specs from the ZL webpage! Yes, specs are important, to flashies at least, and ZL is all about specs. and nothing else. if the specs were meager or mediocre, who would care about ZL? we'd have a glance at the website, see the 2 series (of practically the same light, see Xeno), lol and move on. i would.
  • as with other China-made flashlights, some unlucky buyers report about bad centered emitters, machining irregularities, dying circuitry, poor tint performance, flickering, switch issues, accidental activation, high drainage, etc. meaning: only because one pays premium Zebralight price doesnt mean one gets superior tint, build quality, longevity, ruggedness, longer warranty. in fact, warranty is 12.0 months only, and ZL service and turnaround time was questioned and criticized repeatedly.
  • company contacts: George Yao, Ling Yao, Lillian Xu


  • besides Fenix, one of the oldest known premium brands in town. a true brand with its own manufacturing site deep in China land
  • seriously overpriced
  • company contacts: David Chow, Christina, Charlie Zheng, ..

(.. post in progress ..)

Nice analysis Kreisler. One thing that strikes me about ZL is that, whilst they may have a small catalogue in terms of two main series, they still produce a reasonably large number of different model versionsthat dealers must stock.

So, for example, The H51 has 8 different models - fr, r, rc, fw, w etc etc. This must be a pain for dealers to hold so much stock, although, as you say, in Europe and the UK the very high prices versus the US maybe makes this a bit more bearable.

I had to think twice before I started dropping brand names on this thread, but, in the end, I went with Nitecore.
Ever since Nitecore’s marital estrangement with Jetbeam, it seems to be bending over backward to please every market niche.
In the last year Nitecore has filled market slots for innovative UIs like the SENS line and rock solid blue-collar workers like the MT series.
Now they seem to be on a fast and furious pace to fill every market demand from rechargeable (MTH) to electronic side switch (Explorerer) 4XAA (EA4) and now the new EC25, which seems to be the venerable MT26 souped up with a side switch.
Nitrcore seems to be paying very close attention to market desires by offering their latest models with the much in demand neutral option.
This company seems to be telling us that they’re open for business, and moving forward.


Just basing my opinion on the only model I own, a 7G2CS.

  • Great machining and construction quality. A pleasure to hold and look at.
  • Type II ano on a $50 light? Not when the competition has Type III for the same price.
  • Horrible thermal management. run on high and left tail standing it doesn't even get warm. LED must be getting fried.
  • Specially designed reflector for optimum throw using XM-L U2 sucks. Barely throws 100 yards. My micromag with 20mm TIR throws farther.
  • Worst user interface I've ever seen or used. Long travel forward tail switch. Slow ramping from side switch for variable brightness. Once you lock it in it's the only mode you can use. Once you turn it off at the tail it loses the user selected brightness and defaults to high.
  • Need another brightness level? Hold the side switch and wait some more. What a total PITA.
  • QC on lanyards is horrible. Main lanyard sliding lock assembled wrong and useless.
  • Cheapest lanyard split ring I've ever seen on any light. Unforgivable on a high end light. Super thin soft metal and only 520 degrees around. One good snag and it will open up and you'll lose your light.

Needless to say I will never own or buy another Crelant, especially a "CS" model. GARBAGE!

Whoa, that’s just saved me a bundle cheers johnnymac. :beer:

That sucks. I hope the v31a comes better quality than I’m hearing. The 7g2cs is either getting traded or sold to get another light I’d rather have.


Maglite is the only flashlight company that is still 100% made in the USA, that I know of. Mag Instrument, owned and operated by Anthony Maglica, was incorporated in 1974. The first production Maglites were made in 1979 and were targeted at the public safety sector (Police & Fire).

  • Probably the most well known brand in the US and in many other countries. When you say Maglite, most everyone has one or has seen one.
  • Still produced in the USA, in Ontario CA. (I promote US made products, as we are loosing so much manufacturing to other countries).
  • Produces both Incandescent and LED lights, from 2AAA up to 6D. Maglites came out when Alkaline batteries were the only thing out there, that were everywhere and could be gotten off the shelf just about anywhere. They immediately became popular, since they were about the only heavy duty Aluminum light made in any quantity.
  • Maglite has not kept up with the times. I can relate to that. Anthony Maglica made a household name and I'm sure it's hard to let go of that. Maglite has gone into the LED market, with several offerings, including the Mag-Tach, XL series, ML series and Pro series. Maglite still opts for long run times over high power and still promotes use of Alkalines, although they have gone to CR123 with the Mag-Tach line.
  • Maglite is the number one light for a modder. More mods have been done with Maglites than the sum of all other companies out there. The Maglite "D" series lights lend themselves to modding batter than any other light. It's the only light that has after market parts strictly for modding, that have been made by many machine shops and even by Chinese companies. (Kaidomain still carries aluminum reflectors and lenses for the D Mag).

Personally, I use them for modding, because the are inexpensive, (Incans) and because of their versatility. Quality has always been good with Maglite, but I have seen it slipping here lately. The Anodizing is not nearly as good as it used to be. Much thinner layers. There are machining errors and shortcutting of steps, which are resulting in parts that are visually defective (to me). I am disappointed that the times are such, that Maglite has to resort to letting low quality go out, just to stay in business, but it is the way of most all US manufacturing, when times get hard. Time after time companies don't seem to realize that the only reason for buying from them, versus Chinese junk, is the consistent quality. Once that is gone, they might as well go to China to have them made.

* Interest link "Amazing Maglite Stories"


  • old company with a long tradition, real manufacturer who has stood the test of time
  • has its own factory (Zhongwin Technology Development Co., Ltd.)
  • non-budget China brand recognized for top build quality produce incl fine accessories
  • very limited product portfolio with little to zilch diversity
  • we all know Xeno, and most of us owned a Xeno, and when we talk Xeno then we of course mean the Xeno E03 and its earlier iterations. among the 1xAA lights it is a classic, similar to the ITP A3 among the 1xAAA lights. with either model one doesnt need to fear build quality issues. not the cheapest of their kind but one does get solid build quality, commendable construction, well centered emitters, perfect machining and strict tolerances, good anodization, quality threads. tint lottery is less part of the game because of the tint options.
  • some people liked the E03 so much that they bought another Xeno, hmm. when comparing all of their models i dont see major differences. it appears that they all have the same (type of) driver, same primitive UI, same reverse clicky switch, same LED/options. F7/F8/G5/G10 seem similar twins, F42/G42 the bigger headed brother, E03/E15 differ by an extension tube, then there is some weird leftover: S3A/cube/E06. omg i am not impressed, to say the least. zero innovation. zeeeeero.
  • i heard that the Xeno throwers were really bright and throwy at the time of their market release. that was yesterday.
  • i have seen the E03 .. and somehow i have the feeling that i have seen enough of Xeno.
  • Xeno's are a safe buy, okok the clicky switch is a bit cheapy, and i am sure that the E03 still sells okay but somehow something's missing. excitement. innovation.
  • is Xeno's technology manager asleep or on sabbatical or whassa?
  • company contacts: Kevin


  • still a young brand, made their first and questionable appearance in late 2010 with the Mi10, a Preon Revo clone design
  • the scene believes that Klarus was entertaining double-dealing business relations which lead 4Sevens to terminate the cooperative relationship; people called them liars and thieves
  • known for top-notch build quality, strict machining tolerances, rich anodization comparable to Jetbeam or Sunwayman
  • some models/parts were manufactured and assembled in the same factory where Jetbeam lights were produced (P1A vs BA10, P2A vs BA20, ..); and wasnt the producer of Jetbeam lights the Niteye factory? it is a fair assumption that Klarus doesnt possess their own Klarus-branded manufacturing site which exclusively produces Klarus products. small flashlight companies such as Klarus, Rofis, Sunwayman, etc. they all do outsourcing to an extended degree
  • very small catalog with few series, and they keep it compact: unsuccessful models are discontinued fast and removed from website (ST10, ST20, NT10, NT20, MiX5, Au-models of Mi-series). so far the Klarus core offerings are the XT- and the Mi-series, their models got reiterated a few times
  • the style of XT-, P-, RS-series and discontinued ST-, NT-series caters primarily to police/leo/military/professional users not homeys haha: well-built compact portable flashlights for serious applications
  • Mi-series is extraordinary and maybe the industry leading keychain series; Klarus exploited it with numerous variations (Al, SS, Ti, Au, 1xAAA, 1xAAAA). The main model, MiX6, a pretty dim light, has the smoothest beam pattern, the purest white tint with no tint variation across the beam profile, and one of the best brightness stabilizing drivers with longest runtimes on the entire keychain flashlight market. And is arguably the most elegant, best looking. Its design was copied by a handful of other brands and companies.
  • lots of Chinese wholesale websites and mega-retailers sell Klarus products, at times heavily discounted, contrary to the concept of premium flashlight brand vs. authorized dealers; thru this intentional(?) sales strategy and growing recognition among international dealers and shoppers Klarus has won some market share
  • no doubt, Klarus has already become an established, well known, respectable brand name and since they seem to sell more or less well, i dont expect them to go out of business in the foreseeable future
  • retail packaging is cheap, included accessories poor or absent, often no holster included wtf
  • good selection of optional accessory items available except for holsters
  • Klarus designers regard themselves as circuit efficiency technology leader lol; however neither selfbuilt nor cryshil could ever reproduce their lumens claims and stated runtime specs. in RL tests the measured data were off by 30-50% what a joke. my personal advice: dont trust Klarus specs!, or, if specs are really important to you, wait for selfbuilt (you trust his "independent work", dont you? ;=) to review the new flashlight you're interested in
  • they do come up with interesting innovative creative ideas, little technological inventions, the audience doesnt pick everything up though
  • company contacts: Daniel, Nina, Hedy
  • personal rating:

Is it taboo to mention SF on BLF? :~

Of course not !

We all love SolarForce .

No, you can talk about whatever brands you want. Most of us prefer more budget lights/more reliable ones but it is up to you. (Everyone says they are reliable, but my G2X has failed so many times)