Ultrafire C3 Stainless 5 mode AA [ 14500 ]
Description from Flashlight Heaven .
- Full Stainless steel
- CREE Q5 LED module
- 190-lumen output on high mode
- Runs on 1x AA or 1x 14500 cell
- 5 mode memory - arranged Hi > Med > Low > Strobe > SOS
- Quoted 40min runtime on constant high output mode
- Glow in the dark tail cap
- 93mm long, 21mm wide, ~91g
- Carry strap included
First Impressions :
I have to say its a very nice little light [ ok its not that little ] , and being stainless steel there is a little weight to it [ not unduly heavy - just enough to notice ] and just to get it out of the way , the tailcap for me wants to cross thread . Probably a combination of the fine threads and just a little generosity on the tolerances at the very beginning of screwing the tailcap on . Once its started all is fine , but it is something that fine threads tend to suffer from generally speaking .
The two tests : Test Methodology !
The horizontal test :
This test consists of me lying down and watching music video's [ also listening ] and as I do so I play with the light [ Test ! ] turning it on and off , changing modes and seeing if there are any problems , how the clicky feels and functions , looking for any problems .
Im glad to report there were no issues , the light has mode memory and it kicks in some 5 seconds after the light is turned of , there is some noticeable PWM in Low and Medium though on the faster side . The clicky is very smooth , and works very well , not being mushy or difficult to use , very nice . Now the body is a little generous on the internal diameter , and if you like to shake the light there is some noticeable battery rattle , but I could not get the light to change modes , no matter how vigorously I shook the light , and I was surprised that with a smooth reflector , the beam was as nice as it was .
The vertical test :
This test consists of taking the light for a walk , to see how it travels as an EDC light . What is it they say , never judge a light until you have walked a mile with it in your pocket ! So thats what this test is about , walking a mile with the light in my pocket .
Being stainless steel , there is a little weight to the light , and the light never really vanishes into your pocket , its there and you notice it as you walk along gently slapping your leg as you walk .. At first it was very noticeable , but towards the end of the walk , it was far less prominent , but you knew it was still there . Choosing where to put the light to minimize its presence , like a back pocket , where there will be less motion could help make it comfortable to carry . I have to admit , small lights like the Maratac AAA made from alloy , after a minute or two , you have to check to make sure its till there , so its somewhat personal , do you want the light to go un-noticed or the the reassuring feeling of the lights presence ? when carrying .
Now I did , a) Tighten the retaining ring on the tailcap ,
b) Remove the pill , and cut some groves into the side of the rim for my needle nosed pliers so I could tighten the pill properly + remove it should I want to in the future , the groves in the pill are a standard mod I do to lights if the groves are not factory cut .
The emitter base is not glued down , and there is no thermal compound , but with an AA battery , I dont see a problem , especially with the pill tightened down properly .
On a 14500 , you may wish to correct the situation if you can to improve heat transfer away from the emitter .
Recyko High = 2.16A / 126L , Medium = 0.72A / 42L , Low = 0.12A / 6L
Vapex High = 1.93A / 99L , Medium = 0.62A / 31L , Low = 0.1A / 5L
Eneloop High = 2.16A / 125L , Medium = 0.72A / 41L , Low = 0.12A / 6L
AccuEvolution High = 2.17A / 131L , Medium = 0.77A / 44L , Low = 0.12A / 6L
Since I had some sitting around ...
PowerGenix @ 1.81v [ resting ] High = 1.75A / 143L , Medium = 0.58A / 46L , Low = 0.1A / 7L
Then moving up to the 14500
High = 1.09A / 224L , Medium = 0.33A / 76L , Low = 0.05A / 10L
Top line is AA and for comparison bottom line of beams is 14500
PWM [ on the fast side of noticeable ]
Small amount of battery slop if you shake the light with vigour
Well cut threads [ Clean and well cut ] , maybe too fine ?
Good output on an AA [ even better on a 14500 ]
Very long run time on Low [ 14500 ]
Throws well for such a small light [ do you buy such a light for throw ? ]
Beam is nice , very nice for an XR-E , very usable , just works well .
An interesting and surprising light , I went for a walk past the park tonight [ after dark ] and was pleasantly surprised by how well the light performed , I did have it stocked with AA batteries , and it performed very well . Threw out a usable amount of light to about 75 meters , it reached further out than that , but for seeing stuff reasonably well , I would draw the line at 75 . It caries easily when walking at night , is easy to use , and performed well .
Keeping in mind this is a budget light , it performed better than expected . Ok not everyone likes stainless steel , and I cant argue that , but if your looking for a car - house - bedside light , then the C3 should perform such duties with ease , and the stainless steel should offer a rugged light that can take some knocks and not coming out looking second best .
Would I buy the light : [ Many have wanted this included in reviews - especially with sponsored reviews ]
It would depend on what function I would want the light to perform :
For a car - boat - caravan - home/bedside light - toolbox , any scenario were the light was not EDC , yes I would seriously consider the Ultrafire C3 Stainless , especially if you were seeking a multi mode single AA flashlight , reasonably good output , some throw , and 14500 compatibility . [ And more importantly = Hind sight , and having one to test ]
And this sample has performed better than quite a few AA lights in my collection , and I would give it 8 out of 10 if your looking for a score .. [ out of 10 ]
Why 8 out of 10 ? = Dated emitter [ its still good ] , battery slop , and the tailcap wants to cross thread , all very small insignificant things but when added together I feel 8 out of 10 is as honest a score I can give .