UltraFire C3 SS 5-mode CREE Q5
Reviewer's Overall Rating: ★★★★★
|1x AA or 1x14500 li-ion
|glass not coated
|0$ - won in lightake promotion (13,49USD)
|* sent around end of december 2010
- Well made and stainless steel
- Glass lens
- Good threads, no cross threading
- Very bright, the most bright 1x AA i own
- Decent orings and it seems very waterproof
- Good mode memory
- Switch seems good but quite loud if someone care
- AA batteries does not rattle, not prefectly bored for AA's but the tail spring keep the battery from moving
- Would have liked the SS tailcap button
- Once you remove the lanyard, fitting one require disassebmling the tailcap
- SOS and STROBE modes which are unneeded, at least from my point of view
- The low setting is still quite bright, would have preferred a much lower low
Dry and not lubed anywhere. Not even on subatomic level. Easily fixable if you don't like the squeeeeeeek when unscrewing the tailcap.
Features / Value: ★★★★★
About features and value it is a solid 4,5 rather than 5 stars. For what you get at 13,5USD in stainless steel is a true bargain. 5 mode with 2 blinky's that are unneded. The standard cheap lanyard is bundled with the flashlight but i removed it the second it got in my hand. I dislike them. The High and medium brightness is very good and well spaced. I can't say that for low which is a more dimmer medium. I would prefer the low was about half as it currently is. Still not bad. I have no 14500 li-ion's so i cannot say anything about it. Just noticed a faint whine in low mode. It can be heard if you put the flashlight near the ear.
Design / Build Quality: ★★★★☆
The design is well tought for a SS flashlight. It is decently built and above average for that price range. Good threads in both tail and head. Very decent orings and it seems decently waterproof (not gonna try). The finish could be better. It's a rather matte SS finish. I would love something a bit more shiny. It's a matter of preference. The driver is soldered quite above average which is a good thing. Inside walls are a bit rough but will not eat the battery insualtion. The lens is glass and no sign of any coating apart from fingerprints. A thick oring between the "bezel" and the lens is also present. all are GITD green variant. It is a very elegant minimalistic design with no assault bezels which i dislike if very agressive.
The refelctor is a standard orange peel type and due to the light beam pattern a SMO would be perhaps preferred. Those are generally quite rare in XR-E emitter based flashlights if not dedicated throwers.
Battery Life: ★★★★☆
The current draw is as expected (at tailcap) using a freshly charged eneloop AA:
High - 2200mA (but stabilizes at 2003mA in 12seconds)
Med - 1007mA
Low - 400mA
So, runtime on high should be around 1 hour and a bit more if considering the lower draw as battery voltage drops. It is common for such lights to do 1,5h on a good alkaline with the obvious lumen drop with time.
Low mode should be around the 5h mark by simple math and not taking in account anything else. My eneloops are all 2000+mAh if discharged at 350mA.
As usual i dont' provide current draw for disco modes as those require a different approach to be measured reliably.
Light Output: ★★★★★
The light output is by far the best on any single AA flashlight i had so far. Much brighter than skyray, the BLF Mr.lite and others i had. Those were not known as very bright on AA but for the sake of comparing to something it would do.
Its more thrower than flooder and it has very little side spill. Useable but faint. Definitely not for those who like a floodier beam. The beam pattern is actually very nice and one of the most smooth iv'e seen from a XR-E led so far.
The artifacts are almost nonexisting. Will update with beamshots if i get my hands on a decent camera. It s a stardard Q5 white on a colder side but not so much i happen to see so far. It's leaning toward neutral to me but still cold. I like it tho.
Dealer Experience: ★★★☆☆
In the past my experience with LT was mixed. They honored a RMA wihout having to send back a solarforce l2 body (fake, but good) that arrived in a poor condition. I suspect that complaining on BLF did the trick. The customer support could be alot better. Engrish is a staple with their replies. They were never unpolite but i often got replies non relevant to the questions asked. Those usually take a day or two. There is alot room for improvement. Ocassionaly there was a huge delay before the orders were actually shipped. Packaging was decent but nothing outstanding. They have a good selection of flashlights an a few at very competitive prices. This C3 SS is one of those. Without znmzxd (Daniel) here on BLF saving their occasional mistakes LT would be probably had a lower reputation here on BLF.
Since the light was won and did not cost me a penny i still feel the need to be as objective as possible. So i tried my best to expose the pros and cons about it. I would reccomend it easily for those who look a AA flashlight in SS and not looking for a floody beam pattern. This one will be one of the few AA flashlights i would keep and most certainly would be one of the best for quite some time. It would be prefect if it had Hi-med-lo only. In the few days of extensive testing i found no quirks or hiccups about it. Seems quite reliable althrough C3's were not very known as. Perhaps the SS versions are made better. I Leave the delaer experience out of the total rating since the talk is about the flashlight. So a five star seems appropriate even if i would rather give it a still good 4,5.