[REVIEW] Maeerxu DF03 Ti - 1*14500 titanium triple, 2000lm

Here is my review of the Maeerxu DF03 Titanium

Pictured above: Maeerxu DF03 with a 14500 cell, and next to an Emisar D4V2 with 18500 battery tube.

The DF03 is relatively large triple-emitter flashlight that runs off a single 14500 cell. I did not open the head, but the optic appears to be a standard Carclo 10507 under a glass lens. Mine has three XPL-HI 5,000K emitters and green aux LEDs.

Here are my impressions:

  • This light is extremely heavily built. More so than any other Titanium light I own. With a 14500 cell inside mine weighs 148g. It’s about the same length and width as a Lumintop FW3A with 18650 tube, but without the narrower body tube the FW3A has. The body tube on the DF03 is a few mm thick titanium followed by the same thickness of brass on the inner tube. It’s built like a tank! Chunky!
  • The heavy build is apparent in all exterior features. It has an extra-thick steel clip securely held in with thicker screws than are used on the Jetbeam RRT-01.
  • That said, chunky isn’t necessarily bad. This isn’t a practical tiny 14500 light like an Eagletac D3A, but as “pocket jewelry” it looks very distinctive and impressive. This feels more like what you would expect from an expensive custom titanium light on CPF, than the typical compact pocket rockets we’re used to.
  • The light feels good in the hand. The cuts in the body tube act as knurling and provide secure grip. They also have chamfered edges and are not too sharp.
  • The light tailstands securely.
  • The beam pattern is fine. It looks the same as any other triple XPL-HI flashlight under Carclo 10507 optics. Relatively throwy with a bright white low-CRI beam.
  • Output is impressive as expected, especially with a Vapcell H10 cell inside. This is a heavily driven triple. On Turbo, the light appears to be pulling the maximum possible current the cell can provide. This is consistent with a FET driver. However, I did not disassemble the head so do not know if the driver has a FET or if it uses something more exotic like the Acebeam TK17’s boost driver.
  • Threads and o-rings came well-lubed. Build quality seems good with good attention to detail.
  • Comes with the hex wrench needed to remove the clip.
  • The battery tube has springs at both ends. The light accepts both flat and button top batteries.
  • Once you get past the awful manual, the UI is actually pretty good for a clicky switch light. It has a shortcut to turbo that works well. That said, this is a clicky switch light. Like all clickies, the interface isn’t as intuitive as what is possible with an electronic switch. But on the upside, there’s also no parasitic drain.
  • Price - I got this titanium light for $58 shipped during Amazon’s Black Friday sale. That’s an incredibly cheap price for a titanium triple with this much mass.

However, it’s not perfect:

  • The almost ludicrously heavy build is inefficient. This light is bigger than some 18650 lights yet runs on a 14500. If the decorative inner brass tube were omitted or removed there’s room for an 18500 with the twice the capacity of a 14500.
  • The inner tube itself is decorative only. This is a tail-clicky light, not an e-switch light.
  • The clip is ludicrously tight and because the steel used on it is so thick, it has almost no flexibility. In stock configuration I couldn’t get anything under it, so it’s only use is as an anti-roll device. It can be made somewhat usable as a clip with pliers, but because the steel is so thick, getting enough leverage to bend it is tough. The clip can also be made usable by loosening the screws, but that creates the risk they might fall out unless you use threadlocker.
  • The tip of the clip isn’t angled up enough. It’s difficult to hook the clip onto anything without 2-hands.
  • There are deep cuts in the titanium to the inner tube right under the clip. So even if you do manage to hook the clip to your pants pocket, it might damage clothing. The cuts are chamfered, but there’s enough pressure from the clip I wouldn’t be surprised pants might eventually shred.
  • This light features a Ti button in a Ti housing. If you don’t press the button right in the center the button tends to tilt and bind. I don’t consider this a big problem as it is common to other lights that also feature Ti on Ti, and the button works fine if you press it in the center.
  • The manual is a single 8 1/2x11 piece of paper with double-spaced text covering the page. It looks like an amateur printed it out on their home computer. Even worse, it is riddled with non-standard terms and a couple outright errors. This makes trying to figure out the UI difficult.

The UI

  • While the light is off click once to turn the light on to memorized brightness.

While on (note this is a clicky light, not an e-switch. So when I refer to “click”, I really mean “half-click”):

  • 1 click - cycle between 5 preset brightness settings. After selecting a new brightness setting you can memorize it with 3 clicks.
  • 2 clicks - turbo
  • 3 clicks - moonlight.
  • 4 clicks - special modes (strobe, etc.)
  • 5 clicks - stepless dimming. Click anytime in this mode to stop the ramp. And triple-click to memorize the chosen brightness.
  • 6 clicks - activate aux leds. Mine came with green aux leds. There are three brightness settings for them, but all 3 are fairly bright. This appears to be the only way to activate the aux leds. They don’t stay on when you turn the light off either… you have to click 6x to turn them back on. Basically, think of the aux leds as more like the red led that some lights have as an auxiliary light source. These aren’t meant to be used as a locator when the light is off like on an Emisar.
  • 7 clicks - blink modes for the aux leds. (I didn’t try this)
  • 8 clicks - temp sensor setup (I didn’t try this)
  • 9 clicks - battery voltage meter (I didn’t try this).
  • 10 clicks - factory reset

I can’t emphasize enough how bad the manual actually is.

  • It refers to “startup mode”, “basic mode” and “full power mode”. What they really meant was “memorized mode”, “while the light is on” and “turbo”.
  • Here’s an example of some extremely poorly written text in the manual: “(3) enter ’full light mode’ under ’startup mode,’click to exit ’full light mode and return to startup mode’”. This sentence was missing key information because they forgot to say “double-click” at the start of the sentence, even though preceding and subsequent sentences did tell you how many clicks to press. Also the use of “full light mode” and “startup mode” are non standard terms and extremely confusing. They could have replaced the entire sentence with “while the light is on, double-click for max power”.
  • The manual says “five double-clicks” to activate ramping. That is an error. It’s actually 5 single-clicks.

Overall: an interesting light for the price. It looks distinctive and impressive, but is not the most practical light.

Thank you for this review. I couldn’t figure out the attached manual and I just click around until I figure out the brightness I needed.

Your welcome. :laughing:

The manual is one of the worst I’ve ever seen ship with a flashlight. It’s truly awful.

148 gram :open_mouth:
It looks cool, it even has the 3 andreas crosses of my city, but a fat 148 gram light that runs on a 14500 is not my kind of light.
Thanks for the review! :slight_smile:

I just tried some of the settings, I would add that you have to click really fast. There cannot be any pauses during the half clicks. The AUX light is indeed pointless. I was hoping for it be on while light is off or something. The UI is too weird.

The ramping feature is also pointless and useless. It seems the UI originator copied features from a UI for electronic switches, some modes just don’t work as they should with a mechanical clicky. They claimed 6000lm for my 18650 DF01 and 4500lm for the 14500/16340 DF03 then revised the DF01 output down to 4800lm when I commented. After testing it actually seems to be about 2000lm. Where did the 2000lm figure come from on your DF03?, seems high for a 14500 light ( but not as ludicrous as 4500lm). I think they need to actually test the lights instead of making up figures.

When ramping mode is activated it starts at max power then ramps down to minimum over a period of maybe 2 seconds. If you half-click during the ramp it stops at that setting.

In my opinion, the “ramping” feature is too cumbersome to use for anything except maybe for a one-time selection of a custom memorized mode for the light to start in. Supposedly clicking 3x after that should memorize it, though I didn’t test that feature.