Please explain "budget" in regards to chinese brands like Sunwayman and Nitecore


I have been reading a lot on forums about flashlights because I am about to get few better quality multiple AA-14500 flashlights. However I (noob here) don’t understand the following: I was under the impression that Nitecore is a real brand, although most usa/eu brands are also manufactured in china, but it is a step up from a brand like Sunwayman……or am I completely wrong??
Because 85 euro for the Sunwayman D40A is not really “budget”, I might as well go for the Nitecore EA41 costing 65 euro. So I am a bit confused at what is considered “budget” by most members on this forum? I would appreciate some advice at what pricepoint(example models?) are crap, what are decent, and what is really good quality?

And last, which chinese shops do you buy mostly from like Banggood, Aliexpress, DX….and which ones to avoid?

The brands you mentionned and everything costing less are crap, get yourself a Surefire, get it bored to accept 18650, change the led for something with a decent tint and flux bin, while you’re at it change the driver for something to your liking, best 650$ you’ll ever spend.

Oops, automated CPF response, sry.

I would consider SWM and Nitecore to be very much in direct competition for the same markets.They are both premium brands,like Jetbeam , Nitecore’s alter ego.Oh , and welcome to BLF :slight_smile: .
Talking of CPF , check out some of TurboBB’s reviews of SWM/Nitecore.

What we’ve seen recently with the X6 and the ZeusRay is a pattern I’ve read about in book on Chinese business generally —-
The first few built for inspection are excellent, the first small lots are excellent, then *when people start placing larger orders — the product changes.

Somewhere here at BLF a few years ago, someone posted about that as a typical frustrating pattern he found working in China for a European company.

I wish i could find that again. It was really cautionary. He said something like since there would always be another customer, in their huge economy, they never needed to build longterm brand loyalty.
I suspect we may actually be seeing why brands with longterm good reputations cost more —- some of the cost is in quality control and scrutiny of every supplier every time.

The ZeusRay for example, turned to crap after a while, and the people we’re hearing from said there was no problem because they were told nothing had changed.
They hadn’t opened up the lights themselves (if they ever even see the physical product). They just had found they had a surprisingly popular light, widely recommended, and ordered more — and got crap.

The lesson I’ve learned is a mildly expensive one — when I find something I think is really good, I buy several of them while they’re available.
With hardware (“lobster claw clips”) for example, that often pays off — after a year or so nobody is selling the product any longer, and the alternatives are cheap crap.

With electronics — including flashlights — that doesn’t work so well, which is why we modify them — always putting in better emitters and drivers.

Budget versus value. It’s your decision. Most brands have different price points. Some have different quality. Some of the clones are outright deals. Some are great hosts for a custom modification.

If I can buy a new flashlight equivalent of a Chevy Corvette in a group buy for 50% of the wholesale price and shipped with tracking… That’s budget.

Thanks for the replies. Makes more sense now. I don’t want to spend too much time finding out by trial and error with orders from chinese webshops. This forum has good reviews from members, so best thing to do is check those some more and go with well known brand/model that get good reviews………and save me some headache. :slight_smile:

This is a post of mine from EDCF in response to a member there named Amatuerlife who was having issues with Eagletac. While not a direct answer to your question, I think it may provide some grist for the mill.

> If you are a person who only has a few lights, I’m talking, say, less than three, I’d save my money and buy from …

I’d add to that

— if you’re not inclined to and able to replace the emitter and driver (right away if something’s dead, or eventually after blinkie-frustration)
— if you’re not relaxed about dealing with Chinese customer service — it can be amusing as a hobby, it’s often a source of amusement and an exercise in patience, and it’s sometimes rewarding, as a human contact and as a warranty/service response. But a problem will drain your time. If time is money, don’t go there. As a hobby — enjoy!

If that’s the situation — and if you’re in the US —- I’d say go to mtnelectronics or one of the other flashlight sellers with a track record here.

Pure personal opinion; recently, for myself I’ve bought from all over, but as a hobby.

Emphatically, I wouldn’t expect something I bought from China to arrive promptly and work right out of the box and go on working.
Mind you I’d complain early and in detail and in public about fixable problems (it’s part of the hobby)

But if I were a purchasing agent for a business, say, my track record for purchases from China would convince me not to go on doing that.

——- purely a ramble aside ——

Personally, I think China needs something the USA had for a while and lost — unions.
They weren’t/aren’t near perfect. But training and competence rested with the workers decades ago.
“Union Made” on something you bought said the workers who made the thing likely knew what they were doing.

It’s not just manufacturing where this was done — there used to be Grange Halls, as local institutions with shared principles.
The signs would include the promise: “Every hand a field hand.”

Workers who take on the means of production, take pride in improving the work, and manage their profession.


Nowadays, the people who make the flashlights we buy from China could — almost — be right here talking with us. We’re — almost — local.
And when the people who buy things know the people who make things — which used to be possibly only locally — interesting improvements happen.

Cone and Hank, Thank you very much for this extensive information, it’s very much appreciated! I can see this is great forum already!

You’re welcome, Dooku. We all have our own philosophies on such things. A year from know, after buying some lights that were hits or misses and experiencing some companies CS, you’ll have your own thoughts on such things as equally valid as any of ours.

Oh, and Dooku, I forgot to say welcome to the forum before, so… Welcome to the forum.

Extensive and interesting comments, many by China expats, and followed by the guy who originally told the story, appear here:

Remember, this is not about you.