Wowtac A1S Flashlight Review

Wowtac sent this new A1S for review.  It’s a Cree XP-L HD dual switch light, most notable for it’s low price.  To wit, it’s not breaking new ground, but it’s inexpensive!  Read on for testing!


Official Specs and Features

Here’s a link to the official product page.

Versions

There are two emitter options:  CW and NW.  I have the CW here.  There’s only one body type.

Price

This one is currently going for $35.95 on Wowtac’s site.  However on amazon it’s much less – $25.99 with cell (referral link)!


Short Review

Like I said above, this one doesn’t do anything exceptional, but at $26 it’s a good deal for certain.  The build quality makes it a very good deal in fact.

Long Review

The Big Table

Wowtac A1S
Emitter: Cree XP-L HD (CW)
Price in USD at publication time: $35.95
Cell: 1×18650
Turbo Runtime High Runtime
LVP? Yes
Switch Type: Dual
On-Board Charging? Yes
Chargetime
Power off Charge Port with no Cell?
Claimed Lumens (lm) 1150
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 872 (75.8% of claim)*
Claimed Throw (m) 277
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 395lux @ 5.804m = 13306cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 230.7 (83.3% of claim)*
All my Wowtac 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

  • Wowtac A1S Flashlight
  • Wowtac 18650 with built-in charging
  • Charge cable (USB to micro-USB)
  • Spare o-ring (2)
  • Pocket clip
  • Manual

Package and Manual

Typical Wowtac and Thrunite packages.  Same with the manual.

Build Quality and Disassembly

The build quality is good.  Especially when considering the low price.

I like the knurling, and it’s in needful places.

The head doesn’t have a bunch of cooling fins but generally doesn’t need a ton.

It’s possible to tailstand the A1s, but with the tailcap design, it’s not terribly stable.

The cell tube removes completely from the head and tail, and is in fact reversible.  More on that later.

The threads are nice and thick square cut and also anodized.  This means aside from the lockout of the mechanical switch, it’s possible to lightly twist the tail to lock it out more surely.

There’s a long thickish spring on both the head and tail.  The tailcap has an aluminum retaining ring, so if your mechanical switch needs maintenance, it’s possible.

Size and Comps

Officially:
Dimension:137.5mm*25.4mm
Weight:87g (Battery Excluded)

Fairly long.

When seen beside the S2+ you might even be wan to call it very long.

Retention and Carry

A pocket clip is included but not attached.  It’s a friction fit clip, and doesn’t really attach in a “deep carry” way.

Mine’s also a little crooked, but these clips are thin enough that it could probably be bent correct very easily.

As I said above, the cell tube is reversible.  That means that while the clip goes on only one spot in the body, since the tube is reversible, the clip effectively is.  That said, if the clip is on the head end, around half of the light will stick over the shoulder of the clip, which is not ideal.  But it works.

There is no lanyard included, but if you have one (hundred) laying around like I do, you could attach it in the tailcap.

Since the clip can be reversed by means of the body, it’s probably possible to use this as a hatlight, if you’re extremely determined to.

 

Power and Runtime

The A1A runs on a single 18650, and one is included.  It’s a protected button (ish) top cell (not really a proper button top, despite looking like one below).

Here are a couple of runtimes.  Cooled, highest two modes as usual.  My light just didn’t hit the output it was supposed to hit… not sure what’s going on but even at startup it’s not hitting 1150 lumens, much less at 30s, when it’s only at 872 lumens.

On bench power (and in the runtimes as you can see) there’s an emitter warning – it flashes on and off.  This is a low voltage warning, and happens at around 2.9V.

The included cell has built-in charging via micro-USB.  I am not a fan of this feature but in this class light it’s probably not a bad idea….  And there’s no special or proprietary requirement that this feature binds on the light itself.  If you wish to use your own cell, you’re very free to do so.

Wowtac includes a charge cable, too.  It’s USB to micro-USB.

Charging is very slow, at around half an amp.

Modes and Currents

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Measured Lumens Tailcap Amps
Turbo 1150 3h 3.13
High 460 5h 0.83
Medium 140 18h 0.18
Low 24 6d 0.02

PWM

There’s notable PWM on all but the highest mode.

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 A1S.  First there’s the mechanical tail clicky.

Then there’s an e-switch in the head.

The tail switch is for electrical connection – if it’s off there is no circuit, and the side switch will do nothing.

Here’s a UI table!

State Action Result
Off Click Tail Switch (TS) On to last mode*
Off Press TS Momentary On last mode*
TS On Click Side Switch (SS) Mode Advance (LMHT SOS)^
TS On Hold SS Strobe
On Click TS Off

* Strobe and SOS register as “Turbo” in memory.
^ Once the light has been on for 2s, the next SS click will be Low.

If the TS is on, the light will have output (period).

LED and Beam

The emitter here is a Cree XP-L HD, and my sample is CW.  There’s a NW available though, so obviously buy that one instead.

The reflector is very smooth, and provides a beam with a good hotspot, and not much spill til the highest two modes.

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!  This category has a ton of entries, but I think the A1S is probably the least expensive, making it a very compelling option.

Conclusion

What I like

  • Complete package with cell for low price
  • Good build quality

What I don’t like

  • Didn’t hit output specs
  • Very long

Notes

  • This light was provided by Wowtac for review. I was not paid to write this review.
  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.org.  Please visit there for the best experience!
  • Shop my amazon.com store for the best lights!
  • 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

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