REAL WORLD REVIEWS – ThorFire TG06S (UPDATE… SEE END OF REVIEW)
A brief opening note about the "Real World Reviews"
At this point many fellow "flashaholics" have developed very sophisticated and detailed methods for measuring nearly every conceivable technical aspect of the illumination products on the market. The "Real World Reviews" acknowledge the existence of the detailed technical reviews (and I'll link to them below if I can) but will not re-hash all of that tech data. Instead the focus of the "Real World Reviews" is to take that "laboratory" information out into real world conditions to give the reader an idea of how the numbers translate into actual use.
Technical Review (done by someone else):
Due to form factor and power source, I consider this light to be a “sibling” to the Thorfire TK05
Reviewed here: http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...-ThorFire-TK05
Intended Use: Small Pocket, Every Day Carry (EDC)
Power Source: 1xAA or 1x14500 Li-Ion (REVIEW done with 14500 battery)
Average Cost: $17.00 (USD)
What you get:
· Plain but nicely laid out Packaging
· ThorFire TG06S with pocket clip
· Spare “O” rings
This light is small and looks a lot more svelte than it’s sibling light the TK05 this is because the light is just slightly thinner and just slightly longer giving the illusion of a smaller light.
When I first started reviewing ThorFire lights I knew almost nothing about the company or its products. Now I’ve handled enough that I have some fairly high expectations as to the quality of the designs, machining, and finish of their products. My sample of the TG06S lives up expectations and the machining and anodizing are just beautiful. Since all of my lights are ordered from the “A” place and then ThorFire reimburses me on order confirmation I know that there is no possibility that I’m getting “cherry picked” lights so I have a fairly high degree of confidence that their overall production is consistent and they are doing an acceptable job of quality control though they do seem to have an issue with leaving anodizing powder inside their body tubes (more on that later).
The attached pocket clip is very nice with no burrs or sharp edges and the raised fins on the tailcap allow you to install a lanyard, but still tail-stand the light if you want to do so. Since I tend to prefer a lanyard and am not so fond of pocket clips I was disappointed that no wrist lanyard was included but that seems to be the standard with this tier of lights from ThorFire.
My light had an initial flicker and I thought I might have a bad switch, but when I opened up the light I discovered a fair amount of anodizing powder stuck to the innards. After spending some time with compressed air and wiping everything down with rubbing alcohol, the light started working perfectly when re-assembled.
The interface is a single tail-cap mounted reverse clicky. Technically this would mean that you could use it to signal, but since half-clicking is used to change modes you really can’t signal. The switch itself has a nice feel and a good bit of tactile feedback in use. It is also raised enough that you can find it by feel even with gloves. I suspect that it might also be a bit susceptible to accidental activation in the pocket, but a simple 1/5 turn of the tail-cap provides a mechanical lockout.
In operation the light cycles High-to-Low. I have been told that some samples return to HIGH/Turbo every time you turn it off. Mine does not do that, mine comes on in the –next- mode every time you turn it off. This is EXTREMELY ANNOYING and I will be contacting ThorFire to find out if this is normal operation or a malfunction.
The beam is wide and bright with a good throw. The XP-G2 and smooth reflector create a fairly intense hotspot that drops abruptly into a very usable wide spill. The beam color on my sample is creamy white with a hint of yellow and I like it a lot.
Output (Per manufacturer):
Mode 1 (1 Lumens/72hr*): suitable for in house use or close up map reading.
Mode 2 (50 Lumens/3hr*): suitable for near outdoors work and in house work.
Mode 3 (200 Lumens/1hr 15min*): suitable for "general" indoor/outdoor flashlight.
Mode 4 (500 Lumens/35min*): suitable for "general" indoor and outdoor use at medium distances.
Note: For heat control purposes, Mode 4 is time limited to 3 minutes after which it will step down to Mode 3.
*Measurements when running with a 14500 battery. Light has lower output modes when running on an AA alkaline.
The “Standard evening walk” begins with illuminating 3” circular reflectors and then seeing if I can make out the trees to which they are attached (neutral brown bark). Part Two then takes place over either a 1.5 or a 2.5 mile loop on an unlit and mostly open grassy area with a few trees, and then ends going through a short, steep, uphill/downhill gravel trail surrounded by trees and heavy undergrowth which I call the "confidence course".
Target 1: 30ft [10yd/09M].......... Illuminated in Mode 2+
Target 2: 60ft [20yd/18M].......... Dimly illuminated in mode 2, well illuminated in Mode3+
Target 3: 120ft [40yd/36M]......... Illuminated in Mode 3+
Target 4: 180ft [60yd/54M]......... illuminated in Mode 3+
Target 5: 300ft [100yd/91M]........ Illuminated in Mode 3+
Target 6: 450ft [150yd/137M]...... Beyond design capabilities
Target 7: 600ft [200yd/182M]...... Beyond design capabilities
Target 8: 750ft [250yd/228M]...... Beyond design capabilities
The night was a very cold 17 degrees F with a light breeze and it was absolutely pitch black. This was a gloves only night walk.
Let me begin by noting that I had a bad case of “glove fumble” during this walk and unintentionally dropped the light THREE times. Once on asphalt, once in soft dirt, and once on a gravel/sand mix. As a result I put some scratches on the edge of the bezel, the tail-cap, and scuffed up one side of the pocket clip pretty well. This also coated the whole light in sand and grit including the switch and head. However the deeply set lens was protected and the entire light continued to function without issue for the remainder of the walk. Also, the light stayed illuminated when dropped, it did not go out at any point.
The nicely set up beam meant that Mode 2 (50 Lumens/3hr*) was enough for walking the smooth paved path though my eyes seemed to catch a bit of the PWM used to dim the light to this level. The frequency is –very- high and it didn’t bother me but I did notice it sometimes. Bumping up to Mode 3 (200 Lumens/1hr 15min) gave very nice illumination for any part of the walk. The intensity of the hotspot caused a bit of the “follow the bouncing ball” effect when used close in but it wasn’t bad enough to bother.
Much like its sibling, and like the Jetbeam E10R, taking the light to Mode 4 (500 Lumens/35min*) provided tons of “punch” to see through shrubs and off into the distance. It is a ThorFire standard that “TURBO” mode(s) will step down after a timed 3 minutes. I think this is a wise choice in this small form factor because although things stayed cold walking around at temperatures in the teens, when I repeated the experiment indoors the head of the light started to get pretty hot.
After the walk I went into my garage and opened the hood of my car and just “looked around” doing the sort of normal checks and work you’d often use an EDC light for. 500 lumens is PLENTY of light to see everything, even oil and grime blackened areas. I also used it to peek into a computer case and also for the “look down the length of the heating duct” test. The light was handy and very functional for all of these tasks.
The lowest setting Mode 1 (1 Lumens/72hr) is right where it needs to be for night time “bathroom runs” and the spill has enough control that you aren’t accidentally waking up the spouse or dog. Also a neat feature I nearly missed is that the “O” ring in the head is glow-in-the-dark meaning that every time you turn the light off you get this neat little glowing ring that makes the light easier to find in the dark. I love it!
· No lanyard included
· Light jumps to the next “mode” every time you turn it off [This was a correctable malfunction, not the proper operation]
· Light came dirty with anodizing powder contaminating the contacts
· Detectable PWM in some modes
· Very well executed construction.
· Strong pocket clip
· Battery capacity is well balanced with the light modes for its intended use, especially with a 14500 cell.
· Glow in the dark “O” ring in head
· Easy/intuitive interface with an easy to use lockout methodology.
· Excellent range of light levels for the intended use.
· Excellent value for the price.
Even in today’s era of mondo-powerful lights, 500 lumens is nothing to sneeze at and when it’s coming out of a form factor this small it is especially impressive but there is a heat penalty to be paid and this light can get HOT. It is therefore very good that there is a 3 minute timed step down. On the whole this is a good light with a lot going for it, unfortunately the one thing I cannot quite get past is the mode-jump every time you turn the light off. It is extremely unpleasant to have the light in “moonlight”, turn it off, and have it unexpectedly come on in HIGH/TURBO. If the light had a last-setting memory I would like it a LOT more. As it stands I would recommend the TK05 over this light.
4 of 5 Photons (Pretty good overall).
(I recommend also looking at the ThorFire TK05 or the Jet beam E10R)
Disclaimer: This review may be revised depending on ThorFires answers to the mode question.
After speaking with Thorfire I was assured that this light is always supposed to turn in in HIGH.
I went back and disassembled the light and very carefully re-cleaned all the contacts and mating surfaces with rubbing alcohol, and blew it all out again with filtered compressed air and THIS time when I re-assembled the light it gave the expected UI behavior.
I tested for a few days and it continues to function as it was intended now. I can only assume that there was some grit or something still inside that was causing the strange UI behavior.
I have therefore raised the rating of this light.