Wowtac has released another 18650 light. This time it’s a dual switch Cree XP-L HI light, with an indicating switch and on-board (micro-USB) charging. Read on for some testing!
If you haven’t checked out Wowtac, you definitely should!
Official Specs and Features
Usually Wowtac will offer NW and CW variants, but in this case there seems to be only the Cool White available. (Note, this does seem to basically be a HI version of the Wowtac A1s, which would be the HD version).
Price and Coupon
These go for $29.99, but I have a 15% off coupon, good til Feb 18! Buy it on amazon, from my referral link! That code is 15A7ZEROAIR. Enjoy!
This is a well rounded light, capable on the claims made, and all for a very low cost – especially since the cell is included and there’s charging built in. This would make a great starter light, too!
The Big Table
|Emitter:||Cree XP-L HI (CW)|
|Price in USD at publication time:||$29.99 on amazon!
Even less with this 15% off coupon:
|Turbo Runtime||High Runtime|
|Power off Charge Port with no Cell?||Lowest two modes|
|Claimed Lumens (lm)||1047|
|Measured Lumens (at 30s)||1021 (97.5% of claim)*|
|Candela per Lumen||20.1|
|Claimed Throw (m)||268|
|Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s)||896lux @ 4.954m = 21990cd|
|Throw (Calculated) (m)||296.6 (110.7% 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).
- Wowtac A7 Flashlight
- Wowtac 2600mAh 18650
- Charge cable (USB to micro-USB)
- Pocket clip
- Spare o-rings (2)
- Spare charge port cover
Package and Manual
Typical Wowtac package. A NW option is mentioned on the box here, but not on the Wowtac site.
Here’s the manual:
Build Quality and Disassembly
Build quality is good, with knurling just a shade more aggressive than I like.
The head has a brass button, and the tail has a spring. The cell tube is not reversible.
The spring on the tail is nice and thick.
The button on the head is quite long, and will allow use of any type 18650.
Fins for cooling are minimal – a timed stepdown makes this level of passive cooling acceptable despite drawing 3.5A on turbo.
The bezel is also crenelated, which seems appropriate for this light.
The tailcap has ample knurling too, and it’s pointy.
The threads on both head and tail end are very nice threads. Square cut, anodized, lubed appropriately…
Size and Comps
Officially 117mm long, 26.5mm (thickest), 23.5mm (thinnest).
It’s as long as a Convoy S2+, but adds a side e-switch, and charging.
Retention and Carry
Primarily the A7 will be carried by the pocket clip. It’s not a deep carry clip, and not reversible (bezel down only) but since the light is so long, it’ll be balanced fine in the pocket.
Also noteworthy for carry is the possibility of a lanyard through the tailcap. A lanyard is not included.
Power and Runtime
The A7 is powered by a single 18650 cell. An appropriate cell is included, too. But the light will work fine with any type 18650, because of the spring in the tailcap and the unshrouded brass button on the head.
The included cell is a button top.
Here are two runtimes. Turbo and High. If you follow the Wowtac brand, these won’t surprise you. Output tracks cell voltage downward, and eventually the light shuts off. When testing with bench power, the light is completely (electrically) off at 2.5V, but in practice I think it’ll shut off a little higher than that. 2.5V isn’t all that fantastic for 18650 (ie it’s a bit too low), but it could be worse. The switch does indicate when the cell voltage is low, by turning red.
The A7 also has built in charging, via micro-USB in the head. This port is opposite the e-switch. The cover press fits in nice and securely.
An appropriate cable is included.
Charging looks good, at around 1A. Note that to charge the cell in the A7, the mechanical tail-switch must be in the on position. Interestingly, two modes are available while charging, though – the lowest two. Also while charging, the indicating switch will be red. When charging is complete, the switch will be blue. When charging is abnormal, the switch will be purple.
Modes and Currents
|Mode||Mode Claimed Output (lm)||Claimed Runtime||Measured Lumens||Tailcap Amps|
The three middle modes have PWM, but it’s fast enough that I don’t really detect it by eye.
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 A7. First there’s the mechanical tail clicky.
Then there’s an indicating 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 (including charging!)
Here’s a UI table!
|Off||Click Tail Switch (TS)||On (last used mode)|
|Off||Click Side Switch (SS)||No Action|
|On||Click SS||Mode advance (FLMHT)|
|On few seconds||Click SS||Firefly|
LED and Beam
Wowtac put a Cree XP-L HI emitter in this light, behind a smooth reflector. There’s a centering ring, too. The HI emitter is of the CW variety.
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 is not a light that suffers from a lack of competition. However, with coupon and even at the regular price, this light is hard to beat!
What I like
- Low price
- Complete package
- Indicating switch
- Good charging
What I don’t like
- NW not available first
- This light was provided by Wowtac for review. I was not paid to write this review.
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