Acebeam T36 Flashlight Review

Today I have in for review a light by Acebeam.  This is a 21700 tube light, with on-board charging via USB-C (yay!), a dual switch interface, and a CREE XHP-35 HI emitter.  It’s an interesting complete package light, so read on for more info!


Official Specs and Features

Here’s a link to the official product page.

Versions

There is only one version of the T36.  This T36 is available in two tints though, 5000K and 6500K.  I have the 6500K.

Price

I have moved the price section to The Big Table, and I’ve moved The Big Table up to nearly the top.  So now all (or “more of”) the info is available near the top of the review!  (And this is the last time you’ll see the “Price” heading, most likely).


Short Review

This is a nice, capable light, which comfortably meets the manufacturer’s claims, and charges the included cell very quickly.  My only real issue with the light is the overall length, which is quite long.

Long Review

The Big Table

Acebeam T36
Emitter: Cree XHP35 HI (6500K)
Price in USD at publication time: $125.40 (buy it for less at BestLight.io!
Cell: 21700
Turbo Runtime High Runtime
LVP? Yes
Switch Type: Both
Quiescent Current (A): 0.0002
On-Board Charging? Yes
Chargetime
Power off Charge Port with no Cell? 3 modes (all modes on USB-C with cell in)
Claimed Lumens (lm) 2000
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 1935 (96.8% of claim)*
Claimed Throw (m) 303
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 1935lux @ 821m = 24619cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 313.8 (103.6% of claim)*
All my Acebeam reviews!

* Measurement disclaimer:  I am an amateur flashlight reviewer.  I don’t have $10,000 or even $1,000 worth of testing equipment.  I test output and such in PVC tubes!!  Please consider claims within 10% of what I measure to be perfectly reasonable (accurate, even).

I moved The Big Table up to the top for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that now you should have easy access to nearly everything interesting about the light.  If there’s another item you’d like here, I can add it to the table too.  For example, would you like the “Tint vs” link in this table too?  I think it’d be useful (and is in every. single. flashlight. review. too).

What’s Included

  • Acebeam T36 Flashlight
  • Acebeam 5100mAh 21700 cell
  • Lanyard
  • Nylon pouch
  • Charge cable (USB to USB-C)
  • Adapter tube (21700 to 18650)
  • Spare o-rings (3)
  • Spare clicky cover
  • Manual and papers

Package and Manual

Typical Acebeam package!

And here’s the manual.  Sorry it looks a bit fuzzy, but it’s legible.  Who needs the manual anyway!  Let’s do this live.

Build Quality and Disassembly

Just like the other two fairly similar Acebeams I reviewed (the L16 and EC65), the T36 is very well built.

One of the main things you might notice is that silver strike bezel.  It’s easily removable, and reversible, and really a neat little attachment!  The second thing you might notice is that the tailcap is quite thick!  Has to do with all the electronics allowing charging, but yeah, in use it’s noticeably thicker.

Here’s the bezel reversed.  It doesn’t screw down all that far, but in this setup makes for an interesting display when placed on it’s head, and on.

There’s a bunch of stuff going on in the electronics, since this is a charging light.  Both the tail and head have big beefy springs, but also little finger connectors, which allow charging.  (They also really complicate taking current readings for all the modes!)

A double wall cell tube is also required for charging.

Unfortunately the bezel can’t be removed seamlessly – it’ll come off completely, but you’re left with some fairly fine threads exposed.  The lens or reflector will not fall out, however.

Size and Comps

Officially:
Size: 145mm (Length) x 30mm (Head Dia.) x 25.4mm (Body Dia.)
Weight: 113g without battery

It’s a long light!

Retention and Carry

Included is a nylon pouch, which this tube light will easily fit into bezel up or down.

Also included and attached from the factory is a friction fit pocket (or belt) clip.  It’s very snug.

And finally, the lanyard attachment point, which is on the tactical ring.  The tactical rings does come off, and is not threaded.

Power and Runtime

Primarily the T36 will be powered by the included 5100mAh 21700 liion cell.  Also included to allow some versatility is an adapter to allow 18650 cells.

The springs on both ends inside should mean that any cell type will work fine.

Here’s a runtime on Turbo.  The stepdown is fairly quick, and possibly temperature based (but per the spec sheets, more likely timed, at 1.5m).  The light steps down dramatically, to 800 lumens (tested at more like 600).

Output on High is not is unusually not all that similar to Turbo.  The light should be stepping down (per the spec sheet) at around 10 minutes, but I don’t see that in my test.  This is much better behavior, but it’s never good for product documentation to be incorrect.  I tend to wonder based specifically on this run but also the above Turbo test, if the stepdown is temperature based if the temperature gets too high.  And if it doesn’t, then the light will stay at maximum (for the level) output.

In either case, the runtime on High is actually vastly shorter than the Turbo, because High didn’t step down at all.

At the end of the runtimes, the light’s main emitter flickers on and off, and the light does shut off with a cell voltage of around 2.9.  That’s fairly good behavior, and certainly good for the cell.  (Less good if you’re in a tactical situation and must have light, though.)

The T36 has on-board charging, via a nicely covered USB-C port.  A cable is included, seen below.

The charge port is on the head, and covered by a press-in rubber boot.

The charge port is opposite the e-switch in the head.  Just near the e-switch is a status indicator, that seems to indicate nothing more than charge status.  If the light is charging, the indicator is red.  If charge is finished and the light is connected to power, the indicator is green.  Unfortunately this seems to be all the indicator does!!

Charging is quite quick, at a max of 2A (at the USB source, so the light is seeing a bit more).  The two tests were essentially identical.

Modes and Currents

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Measured Lumens Tailcap Amps
Turbo 2000/800 1.5m/2.5h 1935 ?*
High 1350/650 10m/3h 1228 ?*
Med 500 5h 204 0.83
Low 200 12h 458 0.34
Ultra Low 2 672h ~ ~

* Because of the circuitry of this light, I couldn’t test the current on the higher modes.  Not really sure why? but it wouldn’t work.

PWM

No PWM, which is great!

For reference, here’s a baseline shot, with all the room lights off and almost nothing hitting the sensor.  And here’s the worst PWM light I have ever owned.  Also one of the very first lights I ordered directly from China!

User Interface and Operation

There are two switches on the T36.  There’s a metal switch like is on the EC65, in the center of the head. It’s a very flush button, and very positively clicky (but not loud).  I like this switch a lot.

Also included is a “mechanical” switch on the tail cap, just like on the L16.  Because of how the light actually works, I’m not willing to call this a mechanical switch.  I think it might be an e-switch disguised as a mechanical.  But it lacks many of the niceties of an e-switch.

 

Here’s a UI table!

State Action Result
Off Click Side Switch (SS) On (Mode Memory)
Any Click Tail Switch (TS) (Even during Lockout) Turbo (Steady) (and precludes Side Switch use)
Any Tap TS (Even during Lockout) Momentary Turbo
On Double Click SS Turbo
On (Non strobe) Hold SS Mode advance (LMH)
Any Triple Click SS Strobe
Strobe Click SS Off
Strobe Hold SS Low
Off Hold SS Firefly
Off Hold SS >3s Lockout (Signified by two flashes of Moonlight)
Lockout Hold SS <3s Unlock to Moonlight (one flash of Moonlight, then steady Moonlight)

LED and Beam

Acebeam has a Cree XHP35 HI in the T36.  The reflector is small and fairly shallow.

These beamshots are always with the following settings:  f8, ISO100, 0.3s shutter, and manual 5000K exposure.

Tint vs BLF-348 (Killzone 219b version)

I compare everything to the Killzone 219b BLF-348, because it’s inexpensive and has the best tint!

Random Comparisons and Competitive Options….

Here’s a link to a relevantly filtered page on parametrek.com.  I use that site a lot!

There are a few competitors in this category, half of which are made by Acebeam.  Interestingly, they all also included on-board charging!  Depending on what you need, either the EC65, T36, or L16 are both great choices for their respective classes.

Conclusion

What I like

  • Great full package setup
  • Build quality is great
  • Meets specs on throw and output
  • Available in 5000K
  • USB-C charging! (with a very snug charge cover)

What I don’t like

  • Strange stepdowns in practice vs the manual
  • I think the tailswitch is underutilized
  • Indicator near e-switch is definitely under utilized

Notes

  • This light was provided by BestLight.io for review. I was not paid to write this review.
  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.org.  Please visit there for the best experience!
  • Whether or not I have a coupon for this light, I do have a bunch of coupons!!  Have a look at my spreadsheet for those coupons. It’s possible to subscribe and get notifications when the sheet is edited!!

Author: zeroair

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