Review: UltraFire C3 SS 5 mode CREE Q5 1xAA or 1x14500 li-ion

UltraFire C3 SS 5-mode CREE Q5

Reviewer's Overall Rating: ★★★★★


Battery: 1x AA or 1x14500 li-ion
Switch: reverse clicky
Lens: glass not coated
Tailstands: yes, perfectly
Price Payed: 0$ - won in lightake promotion (13,49USD)
Date Ordered: * 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.

Summary: ★★★★★

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.

The SS ones are almost completely different. No assembly from the SS C3 will fit in the aluminium C3, or vice versa. Only problem with my one is that it burns my hands after 4 minutes on high with a 14500. It is very, very bright though.

Great review, thanks Budgeteer. I felt my SS C3 was dimmer than Skyray with a NiMH AA battery and tried a 14500 with it. It was brighter but there was no turning back to AA's as the driver seemed to have burnt the boost circuitry.

Some time ago got this light from DX. It was supposed to be a present and i wanted it to be 1 mode. Unexpectedly pill from 1-mode Uniquefire S10 screwed in easy (got defective S10 from DX, so it was taken apart). 6-mode pill was put in S10 head, and then attached to early UF C3 extended body (it fits). Flashlight LEGO . As for me, 6-mode pill produced medium light on HI with 2x fresh alkalines (close, or maybe same as on 1xAA). May be it's just increased runtime, not light flux

upd. sorry, i've mistaken, not 6-mode, but 5-mode pill

Very nice, balanced review Budgeteer, thanks a lot! Please send me a PM when you have the battery life verdict and I'll send it frontpage.

So, it's brighter than your Mrlite BLF AA-Y4E? That's a surprise, because my BLF special is far brighter than anything else I own. I own the newer, less-loved "98mm" version of the C3 SS, and it's reasonably bright but can't touch the BLF special. And by the way yours is the 93mm length version of the C3 SS? I would be very interested in knowing if they all tailstand, and I'd like to know about the low mode battery life. Although I own the less-loved newer, longer version from DX, I still really like it and have no major complaints except for the fact that it doesn't tailstand. Mine has a rather nice low mode. I think it lasted around 20 to 24 hours on low, which is one of the best lows in this price range.

Nice review, Budgeteer...and congrats again on getting a nice light!

Welcome to BLF Glassboy. Yup, gotta love lights that are "lego-able" (guess that's a word now). As to wondering about your results of 2aa vs 1aa, that sounds about right. There's a marginal increase in output, but the payoff is increased runtime. The only way you'll get a big output increase is by dropping a 14500 in there forcing the driver into direct drive mode.

I needed a "good" excuse to stretch myself a bit and go purchase a new 9V cell. I carefully run to the counter as soon i had the right battery in hand to avoid buying other nonsense.

Thanks again Budgeteer! You're frontpage and sticky now.

Which is why I can't go into book- or tool-shops.

It costs way too much.

Awesome review Budgeteer!

And why does Budgeteer have a spam level of -1?

Did you piss someone off Budgeteer? Laughing

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Not aware of and surely not intentionally.

Maybe someone disliked the hello kitty pen with nail clipper i posted in the off-topic chatter...

Or i did a sarcastic observation to someone who did not took it well which is rare but still happens.

Anyway i would like to know the reason if possible. If it's my mistake i will try to avoid that in future.

I wouldn't worry about it - it might well have been done by mistake. Mr. Admin will sort it out in due course.

Not to worry Budgeteer, you're always polite! Your SPAM level is fixed now.

Thanks Mr.Admin, my SPAM level also seems to have turned into zero again. I guess I had earnt that -1 when I said "So more we spam more we have the luck" in Lightake's competition. :)

Budgeteer your such a spammer, all these threads about lights you post, If I didn't know better someone would think that this site was for Torches. LOL


It try my best fo you all. In the future i look to add lumens and other fetures to my reviews. So far my reviews are pretty basic but should give a good idea what is like. Many times a review made me purchase a light i would not consider otherwise.

I managed to get almost decent pictures lately with my pocket camera. At least reasonable i may say.

I have bougt 6 of these flashlights at DX and gave 5 away as newyears gift in january 2010.

Exept for one (that was dropped on the floor) all of them are still working perfect.

I use a Trustfire 14500 900mAh protected (blue, from DX) in this flashlight, the other lights are all used with a low selfischarge battery.

Current Draw on a 14500 at 4,06V:

High: 0,92A

Mid: 0,34A

Low: 0,08A

(i hope i'm doing this right, i am new on this forum. If the spelling is not correct, it is because i am not used to write in english...)

Welcome to BLF Hobbyfotograaf

Good to have you here.

Your English is much better than my French or Flemish!

Pretty decent, no worries. But... if i must... :P

It's selfdischarge instead of selfischarge. A selfis(h)Charge would be very nice indeed but defying the laws of physics. :D

On BLF we often use the acronym LSD (low self discharge) you may use it if you like it better.

At close to 1000mA the light must get very hot in minutes i guess.

It does! I can only hold mine for just over 4 minutes on high before the pain becomes too great. I hate to think how hot it gets without a hand cooling it. I did the 14500 high runtime with the light wrapped in wet cloths and a fan pointed at it.