Convoy M3 Flashlight Review

BangGood sent a light from probably the most popular, inexpensive enthusiast brands: Convoy.  This is the Convoy M3, a “wall of light” 26650 cell light, and one that’s been discussed excitedly recently.  Here’s my testing and thoughts; hope you enjoy!


Official Specs and Features

Here’s a link to the official product page at BangGood.

Versions

There’s just one body style of the M3, but it’s available in four different temperatures: 3000K, 4200K, 5000K (seen here), and 6500K.


Short Review

This is an impressive, inexpensive light.  It doesn’t quite hit the specifications, but max output will be largely cell dependent anyway.  Still a great fun light, and well built.

Long Review

The Big Table

Convoy M3
Emitter: Cree XHP70.2 (5000K)
Price in USD at publication time: $33.99
Buy yours at BangGood!!
Cell: 1×26650
Turbo Runtime High Runtime
LVP? Yes
Switch Type: E-Switch
Quiescent Current (A): 0.00017
On-Board Charging? No
Claimed Lumens (lm) 4300
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 3389 (78.8% of claim)*
Claimed Throw (m)
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 1754lux @ 4.319m = 32719cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 361.8
All my Convoy 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

  • Convoy M3
  • 26650 to 18650 adapters (not pictured)

Package and Manual

The box I received was a bit beat up, and I didn’t get any manual.

Build Quality and Disassembly

This is a chunky light, with Convoy-typical anodizing, and otherwise very good build quality.

The anodizing is a bit chalky, but not as chalky as Armytek, for example.

The knurling is bit and beefy, and probably technically not really even knurling.  It provides a little grip.

The head has some cooling fins, which help as the light draws over 8A on Turbo!

Note below that the tailspring is already bypassed, for great high current performance.  There’s no switch or anything in there – the brass retaining ring holds a small pcb with no electronics.  The back of this pcb has two pads that pass the current through to the tailcap.  This seems a bit overly complicated, but there’s probably a great reason for doing it this way (Probably easier to build this way!)

The threads on the tail end are big thick square cut anodized threads, with an appropriate amount of lube.

The mcpcb is also held in place by a brass retaining ring, and the spring on this end is also bypassed.

The cell tube is not reversible.  The head end has unanodized threads, and is also larger in diameter than the tail end.

Here are the two o-ring adapters for 26650 to 18650.  I quite like this solution.

The big bezel unscrews easily, and reveals the emitter, reflector, and lens.

Size and Comps

Officially:
Diameter(head/body/tail):  48.1mm/35.6mm/38.1mm
Weight: 290g

This is not really a small light.

Most notably in the head area – the reflector is fairly deep, so the head is quite long.

Retention and Carry

There’s not anything included to facilitate carry of the M3, but the tailcap does have two large holes where a lanyard could be attached.  There is no pocket clip nor is there an area to attach a pocket clip.

Power and Runtime

The M3 is designed to run on a single 26650, but with the included o-ring adapters, also works well with a single 18650.

Since I have grossly more 18650 cells, and they’re of known higher quality (since I’ve tested most of them up to 20A), I tested the M3 with the Sony/Murata VTC5D 18650, seen below (and reviewed yesterday).  That cell is rated to 35A, and I tested to 20A.  So it should be plenty for testing the M3.

The fit with the adaptor o-rings is absolutely perfect – better than many of the other adapters I’ve used, in fact.

Here’s a runtime on Turbo.  There’s a stepdown to approximately High after just over 2 minutes.  The M3 claims to be temperature controlled, so that could be a temperature triggered stepdown, even though I’m seeing only 37°C or so on the external.  Output at 30s of 3450 lumens is well short (80%) of the claimed 4300 lumens.  Even at 0s, the output is only around 3500 lumens, which is well short of the claim.  Still, 3500 lumens isn’t a bad output.

The output on High is very well regulated until the point the light shuts off (52 minutes).

In both cases, the light exhibited LVP, which seems to kick in around 3.2V.

Modes and Currents

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Measured Lumens Tailcap Amps
100% 3389 8.81
40% 1434 2.38
10% 425 0.62
1% 19 0.03

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

There’s a single switch on the Convoy M3.  It’s on the head, and it’s a very clicky e-switch.  The cover is black, and it is not translucent.

The UI is surprisingly simple, especially since Convoy has at their disposal quite sophisticated UIs.  But simple is appreciated.

Here’s a UI table!

State Action Result
Off Click On (Mode Memory)
On Click Off
On Hold Mode Advance (LMHT)
Off Double Click Turbo
Off Hold Low (“1%”)

There is no direct access to turbo once the light is on.  There are no strobe modes.  There is nothing more to the UI than that.

LED and Beam

The emitter is a Cree XHP70.2, and in my case, the temperature is 5000K.  The reflector is quite deep, solid aluminum, and lightly orange peeled.  There’s a white centering ring, too.

The lens has some antireflective coating.

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 some compelling competitors to this light, but even the cheapest among them is nearly 3 times the price of this convoy.  The Thrunite TC20 reviewed well, but lacks the throw of the M3.

Conclusion

What I like

  • Good build quality
  • Includes 18650 adapters, and works well with high drain 18650
  • Good mix of throw, output, and price
  • Low price
  • Nice choice of emitter temperatures

What I don’t like

  • Doesn’t hit output specs
  • Quite long

Notes

  • This light was provided by BangGood 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 BangGood and GearBest coupons. Please subscribe and get notifications when the sheet is edited!!

Author: zeroair

9 thoughts on “Convoy M3 Flashlight Review

  1. Don’t you think it would “hit output specs” if tested with a good 26650 though? Should that be counted against it when testing with an 18650? Just thinking out loud.

    1. I should just throw it on the ‘sphere’ with my bench power (which can supply 8.5A at 4.2V indefinitely), and see what happens.

      I call that “perfect power” and I’ve considered it being a part of some reviews….

      The truth is that the VTC5D should power the light just fine, though. But I’ll test it a bit with my best (only? I’m not sure, I don’t have many 26650s) 26650, and see how it looks.

    2. I did some tests with both my best 26650 cells (a Liitokala, as pictured above, and a Vappower). The performance with both of those was less than with the VTC5D.

      Maybe a *very good* 26650 would be better, but it is also possible that I don’t have any *very good* 26650 cells….

  2. Only problem is that Convoy does not include the IMR26650. That raises the price a bit. And then other lights come also into view, like the SP36 with their excellent NarsilM or Anduril drivers. Or even the Q8.

    Ok, Convoy is a very good flashlight. But is it the best??

    Carel

    1. The best? Probably not. But it’s certainly compelling, and still performs very capably with 18650 cells, which probably most people reading here already have.

      1. And that 3000K is perfect. Very natural. Ok, a good 18650 like you used will do fine. But we are talking 4300Lm. The runtime will be a bit short. In a powerful light like this one needs a bowerhouse like a IMR26650.

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