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Fenix LD20 Vs. DealExtreme flashlights

This entry was posted by on Friday, 22 July, 2011 at

After buying a Fenix LD20 for just about 60 dollars, I wondered if there were more affordable flashlights out there. So I bought 60-dollars-worth of flashlights at DealExtreme, which got me… four lights. Now let’s see how they stack up.

Tank007, Ultrafire C3, and Sipik SK68

My criteria were simple: Single or dual AA battery flashlights at dirt-cheap prices. Here’s what it got me:

TK-566 Tank 007 – $11,66

I bought two packages of these, the double AA and the single AA ($11,66, sold as TK-506)). Later I found out the double AA is actually the single AA, with an expansion tube screwed in between. Go for the double AA version, it is a better deal – although I cannot find it at DX anymore.

The name ‘Tank’ suggest it is ruggedly built. This is true indeed, as it is made out of anodised aluminium and has decent rubber rings for waterproofing.

The 007 has only one mode: on. The clicky is good and the amount of light is astounding for such a small thing – even in just single AA configuration. It is rated at 95 lumen in single AA mode.

Ultrafire C3 – $11,82

Similar in construction to the Tank 007, this light can also be used in single and double mode. In dual mode it seems unstable, as if the power regulator cannot handle the voltage. It also runs hot rather quickly (and then I mean QUITE hot, like burning-your-fingers). In single AA mode it is a decent light, but has by far not the light intensity of the Tank 007. It also does not feel as well-built- it is lighter, the tube’s walls are thinner.

SIPIK SK68 3W 1AA – $8,99

Unlike the other two, this light is not anodised (although later models are)- it is just bare metal with a heatsink around the light. Whereas the other two lights (and the LD20) just have a reflector and plain glass, this light actually has a lens. And that’s not all – the housing of the lens can slide back and forth, changing the beam from wide to narrow.

This light has some excellent workmanship, as the finishing is of good quality. The closure seems solid and water resistant, with a rubber ring like all the others. It is a bit thicker than the other lights, but fits perfectly in a pistol mag pouch (as it comes without pouch, like the other lights).

The light, when compared to the Tank, the Ultrafire and even the LD20, is astounding. It has only one mode, on, but whereas the other lights have a clear bright spot surrounded by a large area of lesser illumination, the SIPIK has just one wide solid beam (with some halos around it). And this beam is more intense than the other lights, produced by a 3 Watt Cree light rated at 120 lumens.

The sliding focus allows to really focus the beam, and it disperses little light outside the beam. When fully focussed to a narrow beam, you can clearly see the shape of the LED chip, as the beam becomes square. Needles to say, the beam reaches quite far.

Tank007, Ultrafire C3, and Sipik SK68 in Wide and Zoom

The picture shows the three lights tested at 50cm from the wall. These are four pictures pasted together, so it could be the camera changed its shuttertime so don’t pay too much attention to relative brightness. Note how the SIPIK in ‘wide’ actually has a narrower beam than the other two, but does not have the bright focal point.

Up against the LD20

In these experiments, all lights are at the same distance to the wall (30cm).

Tank007, Ultrafire C3, Fenix LD20 'low' and Sipik SK68 in Wide

Note how the Tank and SIPIK provide more light than the LD20 in ‘low’ mode, which in turn still lights better than the Ultrafire.

Tank007, Ultrafire C3, Fenix LD20 'high' and Sipik SK68 in Wide

When we switch the LD20 to Turbo mode, the Tank is dwarfed and the Ultrafire reduced to a tiny blob. Only the Sipik can compete.

Conclusion

I’ve reviewed and compared the lights above, here’s a little summary.
Tank 007 – a good buy, cheap and solid light.
Ultrafire C3 – hmm, I got my doubts about this one. It is weak in single AA mode and unstable in double AA mode. I would not recommend it.
SIPIK really surprised me by making a flashlight which actually outperforms the LD20, even though it has only a single AA. The ‘zoom’ of the light beam is actually a feature I found to be very helpful when out-and-about, more so than the four intensity modes and the two ‘party’ modes on the LD20, and its three accessories. And for the price of one LD20, you can buy nearly SEVEN SIPIKs, and have DX’s free shipping.

Bottom line: the SIPIK SK68 rocks.

Afterthoughts:

  • Too bad SIPIK has no larger model using the same technology – that would definitely be a killer-light.
  • It seems the charge of the battery has great impact on the light intensity, as some of these lights really draw a lot of power. Maybe the Ultrafire’s battery was lower than the others (you can never tell how ‘full’ a new battery is) or maybe I just had a bad specimen.
  • The SIPIK also runs on 14500 batteries. These are 3.7 volts and look like AA’s. When running the SIPIK on 14500’s, it immediately becomes clear that the yellow “laser” warning sticker which was on it had a reason to be there.

3 Responses to “Fenix LD20 Vs. DealExtreme flashlights”

  1. The test is done with the tank007 in single AA mode.

  2. Chris Cull

    When you carried out the tests, were you running the tank007 with 2xAA or 1xAA?

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