Acebeam TK16 (Luminus SST20 Edition) Flashlight Review

Today I have in for review a light that has been highly anticipated, and well regarded, and one I’ve been extremely excited about reviewing.  Originally released in copper as a limited edition, the wider release of aluminum at a lower cost makes this an even more appealing light.

This will be a “two part” review, in that I’m posting two reviews today – the first will be the Acebeam TK16 AL Osram edition, and later the Acebeam TK16 AL Luminus SST20 edition.  As such, much of the text will be identical, since they’re functionally identical, with no differences at all, except those mentioned in the review.  I could do them as one review, but I can make sense of it better doing them separately, and I prefer to have the information encapsulated this way.  Hope you agree!


Official Specs and Features

Here’s a link to the official product page.

Versions

There are a number of versions.  First the emitters.  There’s a Luminus SST20 High CRI edition (seen in this review).  There’s an Osram edition.  And there’s an option with Cree XP-G3.

There are also body options.  What I have here is the aluminum version, which is anodized black.  Also available is copper.  Possibly down the road other materials will be available too (for example, titanium is mentioned on the box).


Short Review

 

Long Review

The Big Table

Acebeam TK16
Emitter: LUMINUS SST-20 (CRI95)
Price in USD at publication time: $54.99
Buy yours at KillzoneFlashlights.com!
Cell: 16340 (included)
Power Turbo Runtime Eco Turbo Runtime
LVP? Yes
Switch Type: E-Switch
Quiescent Current (A): ?
On-Board Charging? No
Claimed Lumens (lm) 1250
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 1042 (83.4% of claim)*
Claimed Throw (m) 118
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 370lux @ 4.765m = 8401cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 183.3 (155.3% 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).

What’s Included

  • Acebeam TK16 Flashlight
  • Acebeam 550mAh High Drain 16340
  • Spare rubber boot
  • Spare o-rings (2)
  • Manual and warranty card

Package and Manual

The light ships in a nice white package, with a serial number sticker on the back.  I don’t know how to associate this serial with any specific LED option, but the side of the box has that info, seen below.

The manual is very nice.  Two languages are included.  The manual is specific for each emitter type.

Build Quality and Disassembly

The build on the TK16 is quite nice, with nothing glaringly bad to mention.

The light is a bit unusual with the big knurling squares on the body.  These are grippy enough, but cause the light to have a bit of a texture overall that I just wish was…. regular knurling.  If this was regular knurling, with the same diameter of light, I bet there’s an extra mm lost that would have allowed for 18350 cells.  Food for thought.

Though subtle, the tailcap actually has a little lip, which can be unscrewed.  That’s how to replace the rubber boot.  It’s very simple (with no pieces to lose).

The head has some decorative fins but they should do a decent job of cooling, too.

The threads are highly lubed, square cut, and anodized.  Also note in the picture below, the serial number which you can correspond to your box, which also has the LED information.

The inside of the light:

The tail has a spring, and also due to the electronic switch in the tail, some electronic components, too.  The head has a thin spring, and also what looks like potting, but this seems to be more of a protective sticker than potting or conformal coating.  It’s quite thick – around 1mm, and very flexible.

Despite the bezel unscrewing readily, the optic doesn’t fall out, nor come out easily with persuasion.

The body has an “inner sleeve,” a necessity with the e-switch.  This sleeve does not come out, at least not without completely disassembling the tail of the light.

My only complaint with this light regarding build quality is that the head is just a bit difficult to thread on to the body with the clip in place.

Size and Comps

Officially:
66.5mm long, 23mm wide (head), and 22mm wide (tail).
Weight: 37.3g

It’s a small light, indeed!

Retention and Carry

The only option for carry (aside from naked deep carry) is the included pocket clip.  It’s a friction fit clip, and quite snug.  Technically reversible but in reality it doesn’t sit properly in the orientation not seen below.  So this is the “right way.”  The mouth isn’t quite as big as I’d like and the bit of the clip that’s attached to the body blocks pockets a little.  It does need that added material some of these type clips have.  (Sorry, there’s really not a name for it.)

The orientation seen above is bezel up, and not all that deep carry.  Ultimately the clip could be better.

Power and Runtime

The TK16 (all models) are powered by a single 16340 cell.  Acebeam includes a cell, which is a 550mAh.  It’s not specifically labeled as high drain, but I suspect it is.

The cell is a button top.

Here’s the way to put the cell in the light – as usual, the head gets the positive terminal.

The UI is interesting in that there are two mode groups – “Power” and “Eco.”  They differ in the output on Turbo, but also (inexplicably) in the runtimes on a lower mode or two.  I did an extra runtime for this light – both Turbos, and the High mode (which is the same output for both groups).

In every case, the light exhibited LVP.  The differences in voltage at shutoff can be attributed to the operator not stopping the test immediately at shutoff, and allowing the cell to bounce back (sometimes a little, sometimes a lot.)

High is fairly respectably flat, but for only around 25 minutes.  Then the stepdown is dramatic (as on both Turbos.)

The LVP is 2.7V or so.  Note before the massive stepdown, the light flickers warning that the voltage is low.

Modes and Currents

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Measured Lumens
POWER Turbo 1250 45m 1042
ECO Turbo 750 45m 668
High 450 1h (1h15m ECO) 406
Mid 80 3h 64
Low 13 12h 16
Moonlight 0.5 6d ~

PWM

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

The switch on the TK16 is a tail e-switch, and has a rubber cover.

The switch is surrounded by a screw down bezel-like piece, which allows easy replacement of the cover.

Here’s a UI table!

State Action Result
Off Click On (Mode Memory)
Off Hold Moonlight
Off Long Hold Moonlight then Lockout (Triple flash to confirm)
Lockout Long Hold Unlock to Moonlight
Lockout Click 10x Switch Mode Groups between Power and ECO*
Any Double Click Turbo
Any Triple Click Strobe
On Hold Mode Cycle (LMH) (No Moonlight, Turbo, or Strobe)
Special Group (Turbo or Strobe) Hold Low^
On Click Off

* Power Group is indicated by a low flash then high flash, then off.  ECO group is indicated by a high flash then a low flash.  The light remains locked even after group change.
^ Manual has this wrong – seems to say it’ll go back to the memorized mode, but it in fact goes to low.

LED and Beam

In this copy of the TK16, I have the Luminus SST-20 4000K High CRI emitters.  There are three of them, and they’re behind a clear optic.

Below have a look at the two copies I have – on the left is this Osram emitter light, and on the right is the Luminus SST20 option.

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

The first 5 modes are all of the outputs of the Power group.  The last (right most) is ECO Turbo, so should be (and is) lower than Power Turbo.

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 other Luminus-containing lights, but I’m fairly sure they’re all SST40 lights.

Conclusion

What I like

  • Output is good (doesn’t quite hit specification, but reasonably close)
  • Grossly overperforms throw specification
  • UI is quite versatile, and allows access to low easily
  • Multiple groups, allowing better power management
  • Size and shape
  • Love the warm Luminus SST20
  • Love the High CRI option!

What I don’t like

  • Pocket clip isn’t fantastic
  • It’s not an 18350 light
  • Switching between groups is a bit fiddly

Notes

  • This light was provided by KillzoneFlashlights.com for review. I was not paid to write this review.  Buy yours at KillzoneFlashlights.com!
  • 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 BangGood and GearBest coupons. Please subscribe and get notifications when the sheet is edited!!

Author: zeroair

2 thoughts on “Acebeam TK16 (Luminus SST20 Edition) Flashlight Review

  1. Lovely flashlight and another awesome review! Will you post it on BLF?
    I guess many of use were/are curious about this light.
    Once it was released in aluminium, I may give it a try, as the UI doesn’t seem to compromise that much for and EDC light!

    BTW, did you try it yet with the Vapcells?
    And another question, sorry if I missed it, can you enter the “regular modes” after getting into Moonlight? Or is ML a separate mode at all?

    Thanks again, good work!

    1. Sorry I missed this comment til today!

      > Will you post it on BLF?

      I can – I don’t usually/always, but if there’s interest, sure!

      > did you try it yet with the Vapcells?

      I can’t recall putting one of the Vapcells in it. Sorry!

      > can you enter the “regular modes” after getting into Moonlight?

      If I recall correctly, Moonlight is sort of playing in its own sandbox here. I’ll check when I get home. Normally I have this light with me (in a bag) but I didn’t bring my bag today!

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