Lumintop FWAA (Nichia) Flashlight Review

Lumintop FWAA (Nichia) Flashlight Review

When you were sitting around thinking about flashlights, one thing you thought was that there were no possible other combinations of the Lumintop FW series of lights.  Well, you were wrong – Lumintop has released a 14500 version, the FWAA flashlight!  Read on for some photos and testing.


Official Specs and Features of the Lumintop FWAA 14500 Flashlight

Here’s a link to the Lumintop FWAA 14500 flashlight product page.

Lumintop FWAA 14500 Flashlight Versions

As of right now, there’s just one body of the Lumintop FWAA 14500 flashlight.  We can expect others though (that’s not insider information, that’s just knowing how Lumintop did the other FW series lights.)  In this one body you can have quite a few emitter options:  Cree XP-G3 (6500K), Nichia 219c (3000K, 4000K, 5000K), and Luminus SST-20 (4000K).

Lumintop FWAA 14500 Flashlight Price

The going rate for the Lumintop FWAA 14500 flashlight at NealsGadgets.com is $45.95.  That’s a referral link.


Short Review

Ok, I thought “eh, great another FW light.”  But this little light is absolutely fantastic.  You should note up front that it’s absolutely floody.  If you’re ok with floody, then just stop reading and go buy one.  If you’re only marginally ok with floody, then read on and see why I recommend the SST-20 version.

Long Review

The Big Table

Lumintop FWAA 14500 Flashlight
Emitter: Nichia 219c (5000K)
Price in USD at publication time: $45.95
Cell: 1×14500
Turbo (Highest of Advanced UI) Runtime Graph High Runtime Graph
LVP?
Switch Type: E-Switch
Quiescent Current (mA): ?
On-Board Charging? No
Claimed Lumens (lm) 1200
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 866 (72.2% of claim)^ (see graph)
Candela per Lumen 2.1
Claimed Throw (m) 95
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 142lux @ 3.14m = 1400cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 74.8 (78.7% of claim)^
All my Lumintop 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

what's included

My package is not a production version, but you’ll certainly get everything seen here, and probably more (likely a manual).

  • Lumintop FWAA 14500 Flashlight
  • Tactical ring (installed)
  • Pocket clip (two way)
  • Lanyard
  • Spare o-ring

Package and Manual

package

Again, my package is not a production version, but you’ll certainly get everything seen here, and probably more (likely a manual).

I was able to get a pdf manual, which you can see here.  This is Andúril2!!

manual

Build Quality and Disassembly

feature photo

This little Lumintop FWAA 14500 flashlight feels like a very refined product.  It should, there are so many other versions.  But it just feels “right” – it’s a nicely finished flashlight.

Here’s the way the light ships – with the tactical ring installed.  I only call it “the tactical ring” because that’s what it looks most like.  I don’t think you’d really use this light tactically.  But you do you?

Top-down!  Yeah, we go top-down.

top down views top down views top down views top down views

I’m really digging the knurling on this light.  It’s extremely well done, and the anodizing on it is also perfect.

knurling

You might be inclined to think (as I very much was) that that white ring there is a glowing ring.  It is not a glowing ring.  It doesn’t glow no matter how much you want it to, or how much charge you give it or with what you charge it… It doesn’t glow.  You’ll have to just stick with your personality for all the glow you need.

tail body

Notably, this really looks like an FW series light.  In fact, in early photos (even until I actually had one in my hands) I didn’t realize the scale of this.  Later in this post, you’ll see it better, I hope, and have all your questions answered.

head knurling

Inside it’s a pretty typical FW light.  There’s an inner sleeve, which provides signal to the tail-e-switch.  The threads are square-cut and unanodized.

head threads

Both head and tail have springs.  Neither are particularly robust.

contact points in head and tail

Other users more knowledgeable than I am about drivers say that what Lumintop has about this is inaccurate.  Lumintop says it’s a “FET+7+1 driver.”  But users who have disassembled (and in fact emitter swapped) this light say it’s a FET+1.

spring

By taking off the head is likely the way you’ll want to swap the cells.

inner sleeve

This is just a historical way; in early FW lights the tailcap parts could fall out when the tailcap was removed.  But on this model (and really, most other FW’s), that’s fixed.  So you could swap the cell through the tail end, but you run into other issues, possibly.

inner sleeve

Namely, if you remove the tailcap (which you can see below) to swap the cells, you’ll still need to back the head off (loosen it), then tighten the tailcap fully (fully), then tighten the head.  This is the right order.

tailcap spring

One minor complaint about this light is just how easy the bezel unscrews.  It’s not lose, but if you aren’t careful, when removing the head you’ll also loosen the bezel.  You’ll be able to avoid that with some practice, and I’d much rather have the bezel removable than threadlocked, so it’s still ok.

bezel removed

The optic sits atop the front edge of the body.

proud optic

 

17mm optic removed

Optic edge to edge – and remember, this sits over the body.

optic size optic depth

The inner diameter of the body:

inner diameter of light

Size and Comps

Weight:  Approximately 30.5 g without cells
Size:      20.5 mm Ø head x 70.9 mm length.

If the flashlight will headstand, I’ll show it here (usually the third photo).  If the flashlight will tailstand, I’ll show that here, too (usually the fourth photo).

in hand

Here’s the test light with the venerable Convoy S2+.  Mine’s a custom “baked” edition Nichia 219b triple.  A very nice 18650 light.

And here’s the light beside my custom engraved TorchLAB BOSS 35, an 18350 light.  I reviewed the aluminum version of that light in both 35 and 70 formats.

beside torchlab boss 35

Here’s the Lumintop FWAA 14500 flashlight beside the other most comparable light.  I wanted to compare the FWAA to another gray but the only 3 I could find were all single emitters, and I thought less comparable.  So I went with this beautiful brass (which I love).  I reviewed that one here: Lumintop FW3C Brass.

And a couple of in-hand photos.  The FWAA really is smaller, despite non-scaled photos indicating otherwise.

Retention and Carry

Shipped installed on the Lumintop FWAA 14500 flashlight is this “tactical” plastic ring.  It’s on the tail end (and only on the tail end), and has two lanyard holes on both sides.

tactical ring

This ring spins more or less freely but is absolutely excellent for a place to grab for thumb pressing the switch.  The rings are where you’d likely want to attach the included lanyard, too.

Also included is this two-way pocket clip.  This replaces the tactical ring, and the two can’t be used concurrently.

At least… they can’t be used concurrently on the tail end.  The pocket clip can actually fit between the knurling and the bezel, and in that case, the tactical ring can be used at the same time.

two-way pocket clip

You can see that the clip is a two-way clip, and absolutely not my favorite kind.  But it’s a collar clip, which I do like.  All in all, it’s a wash I guess.  Collar clips are so much more reliable (they’d have to break in order to come off).  The clip has at least a couple of places to mount the lanyard too.

two-way pocket clip

I don’t know that the “bezel side” is the best place for the pocket clip, but it really fits well there.  That setup provides better “hatlight” usage, too.

Power and Runtime

The Lumintop FWAA flashlight is powered by a single lithium-ion cell.  The size is 14500.  I found that both my button top and flat tops worked fine but I really only had the gold Vapcell you see below in flat/button formats.  So really the same cell.  This light does not support 1.5V cells!

with 14500 cell

Put the cell in the normal way – positive toward head.

with 14500 cell installed

Flat or button, Lumintop does specify a max cell length:  50.5mm.

Here are a bunch of runtimes.  There are a couple of user interfaces.  More on that later but the light ships in “Simple UI” so I tested that with one runtime.  Also, that’s the default UI, so that’s what I’m showing first.  In the Lumintop manual, this output level is described as the “highest level” (for Simple UI).  I think ToyKeeper describes this more clearly, calling it the “Ceiling Level.”  I think this is the highest level that doesn’t incorporate the FET output.

I have these graphs labeled at 4000K, but I believe the light is actually 5000K.  (There was no label on the package to indicate.)

simple runtime graph

There’s also an Advanced UI.  If you’re reading this, then you’ll likely have already switched your FWAA 14500 flashlight to the Advanced UI. Here are some runtimes from that.  I tested the stepped levels.  Also yes the max level here is 1831 lumens and on the Simple UI the max is over 1900 lumens – don’t think there’s really any difference here.  This is probably the difference in using a different cell for the test (I have a number of these Vapcell button tops that were used.)

We know Andúril2 has low voltage protection, but the output switches to very low and I stopped the test at that point.  Output will maintain for a while (but would really skew the graphs and so it’s not a worthwhile exercise to show.)

Pulse Width Modulation

I’ve done mostly the same thing here that I do with other Andúril lights – the lowest mode (far left) is the lowest of ramping.  Because that’s much lower than the lowest stepped mode (annoying!).  Then from second photo to the far right is each of the stepped modes (with the far right being the “double click to turbo” mode).  All modes except the highest have PWM (again, not a surprise for Andúril, and doesn’t look to have been sped up for Andúril2.

For reference, here’s a baseline shot, with all the room lights off and almost nothing hitting the sensor.  Also, here’s the light with the worst PWM I could find.  I’m adding multiple timescales, so it’ll be easier to compare to the test light.  Unfortunately, the PWM on this light is so bad that it doesn’t even work with my normal scale, with is 50 microseconds (50us).  10ms5ms2ms1ms0.5ms0.2ms.  In a display faster than 0.2ms or so, the on/off cycle is more than one screen, so it’d just (very incorrectly) look like a flat line.  I wrote more about this Ultrafire WF-602C flashlight and explained a little about PWM too.

User Interface and Operation

There’s a single switch for interacting with the Lumintop FWAA 14500 flashlight.  It’s an e-switch, with a big metal button.

e-switch

Reminder of this photo from above:

beside lumintop fw3a brass

I didn’t get my calipers to exactly measure these, but practically speaking the button on the FWAA is the same size as the button on the FW3C (aka all the FW lights).  That’s really pretty much a coup for button size – that makes the button very easy to get at, easy to use, and prominent without being proud.  I love it.

Anyway, Andúril2.  I love it, I think it’s an improvement over the first iteration(s).  There are some things some users might not love about it, but I think overall it’s much more approachable.  I will note though that the nomenclature might be a bit confusing – the light (all lights with Andúril2) ships in Simple UI.  This is not Muggle Mode.  You may think “well duh” and by now you’ve already seen the blistering runtime on turbo of Simple, so you get it.  But just be aware, don’t hand this light to the uninitiated thinking they won’t set their hand on fire while using Simple UI.  Here is where I’d tell you how to switch to muggle mode.  There is no muggle mode.

The action is very low, and if you have problems with the other FW – well the action here is the same.

First let me remind you of the manual provided by Lumintop:

manual

This may really be your jam.  I find it almost useful.  But….

Here’s a UI table!  This table is directly from ToyKeeper’s Andúril2 manual, which you can view here:

http://toykeeper.net/torches/fsm/anduril2/anduril-manual.txt

I am putting this in a table here with ToyKeeper’s permission.  Thanks TK!  This is so much better than me writing it, because it’s more reliable, and I completely trust it’s accuracy (at least, if I can paste accurately).  I’m breaking it up a little differently than ToyKeeper did, though I certainly understand why it was done her way originally.

First, the table for Either User Interface.  These actions work whether you’re in Simple or Advanced UI.

State Action Result
Off 1C On (ramp mode, memorized level)
Off 1H On (ramp mode, floor level)
Off 2C On (ramp mode, ceiling level)
Off 3C Battcheck mode
Off 4C Lockout mode
Off 13H Factory reset (on some lights)
Off 15+C Version check (202019270312 on this light)
Ramp 1C Off
Ramp 1H Ramp (up, with reversing)
Ramp 2H Ramp (down)
Ramp 3H Tint ramping (on some lights)
Ramp 3H Momentary turbo (on lights without tint ramping)
Ramp 4C Lockout mode
Lockout 1C/1H Momentary moon (lowest floor)
Lockout 2C/2H Momentary moon (highest floor, or manual mem level)
Lockout 4C On (ramp mode, memorized level)
Lockout 4H On (ramp mode, floor level)
Lockout 5C On (ramp mode, ceiling level)
Batt check 1C Off

A table for only Simple User Interface:

State Action Result
Off 2H On (momentary ceiling level)
Off 10H Disable Simple UI
Ramp 2C Go to/from ceiling

A table for only Advanced (aka “Full”) User Interface:

State Action Result
Off 2H On (momentary turbo)
Off 3H Strobe mode (whichever was used last)
Off 5C Momentary mode
Off 7C Aux LEDs: Next pattern
Off 7H Aux LEDs: Next color
Off 10C Enable Simple UI
Off 10H Simple UI ramp config menu (1: floor, 2: ceiling, [3: steps])
Ramp 2C Go to/from ceiling (or turbo if at ceil already)
Ramp 3C Change ramp style (smooth / stepped)
Ramp 5C Momentary mode
Ramp 5H Sunset timer on, and add 5 minutes
Ramp 7H Ramp config menu (1: floor, 2: ceiling, [3: steps])
Ramp 10C Turn on manual memory and save current brightness
Ramp 10H Manual memory config menu (1: off, 2: set timeout)
Lockout 7C Aux LEDs: Next pattern
Lockout 7H Aux LEDs: Next color
Lockout 10H Auto-lock config menu (1: set timeout)
Strobe (any) 1C Off
Strobe (any) 2C Next strobe mode
Strobe (any) 3H Tint ramping (on some lights)
Strobe (any) 5C Momentary mode (using current strobe)
Candle 1H/2H Brighter / dimmer
Candle 5H Sunset timer on, add 5 minutes
Party strobe 1H/2H Faster / slower
Tactical strobe 1H/2H Faster / slower
Biking 1H/2H Brighter / dimmer
Lightning 1H Interrupt current flash or start new one
Batt check 2C Next blinky mode (Temp check, Beacon, SOS)
Batt check 7H Voltage config menu
Temp check 1C Off
Temp check 2C Next blinky mode (Beacon, SOS, Batt check)
Temp check 7H Thermal config menu
Beacon 1C Off
Beacon 1H Configure beacon timing
Beacon 2C Next blinky mode (SOS, Batt check, Temp check)
SOS 1C Off
SOS 2C Next blinky mode (Batt check, Temp check, Beacon)
Momentary Any On (until button is released)
Momentary Disconnect power Exit Momentary mode
Config menus Hold Skip current item with no changes
Config menus Release Configure current item
Number entry Click Add 1 to value for current item

To be completely honest, I’m not entirely sure yet what’s the best way to tell if you’re in Simple UI or Advanced UI.  Based on what I see here and with the light in hand, I think the fewest-clicks way will be 3 clicks from on (technically “Ramp” in the table, but I think “On” is accurate.)  This action – 3C from Ramp – in Advanced UI will iterate smooth or stepped.  In Simple UI, this action will do nothing.  There are other ways, though.  For example double clicking from the top of the ramp will either do nothing or go to Turbo.  If it does nothing, then you’re in Simple.  If it goes to 11, then you’re in Advanced.

LED and Beam

This is a triple emitter light – there are three emitters.  Mine is a Nichia version, but I wasn’t told what Kelvin was shipped (and there was no package, so the package didn’t say).  Based on having another FWAA that is labeled as 4000K, this is almost certainly 5000K.

emitters

The optic is around 17mm, and I couldn’t find a single replacement anywhere for it.  It’s a very floody optic (see the table up top for cd/lm).  Very floody.

emitters on

flush bezel

optic

It’s so floody in fact, that I’d recommend the Luminus SST-20 (4000K) emitters just because they’ll throw better.  Might just be “marginally better” but if you’re on the fence about your choices, this is your answer.

on low

Here are these Nichia 219c emitters exposed.  But that’s not what this photo is actually about…. check out just how thick that mcpcb is.  I would guess that’s probably 3mm depth of copper!

emitters

LED Color Report (CRI and CCT)

Beamshots

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

Tint vs BLF-348 (KillzoneFlashlights.com 219b version) (affiliate link)

I keep the test flashlight on the left, and the BLF-348 reference flashlight on the right.

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

Conclusion

What I like

  • It’s a small FW series light!
  • Works with Button and Flat top 14500 cells
  • Output is really massive
  • Pocket clip can go on the head as well as the tail
  • Collar clips are great!
  • Nichia emitter options
  • Warm emitter options
  • Andúril2!!

What I don’t like

  • Steps down before the official specs can be met (though I don’t really think that’s necessarily a bad thing – there’d be a lot of heat to manage…. (so lower the specs)).
  • Two-way pocket clip
  • Very floody, and no narrow 17mm optic replacements available
  • PWM
  • Doesn’t support AA (1.5V) cells.  I can kind of allow this, but it’s worth mentioning.

Notes

  • This light was provided by NealsGadgets.com for review. I was not paid to write this review.
  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.org.  Please visit there for the best experience!
  • For flashlight-related patches, stickers, and gear, head over to PhotonPhreaks.com!
  • Use my amazon.com referral link if you’re willing to help support making more reviews like this one!
  • I invite you to support me on Patreon.  Feeding all these lights is expensive!  And funding Fun Fund Friday even more so.  I deeply appreciate your support!
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6 thoughts on “Lumintop FWAA (Nichia) Flashlight Review”

  1. Excellent review as always. Regarding the battery, did you test with only unprotected cells or with protected cells as well? I’m interested in knowing if protected cells work.

  2. When they make the copper one…Nice review! And you were not kidding about the floody.

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  5. Pingback: Lumintop FWAA 14500 Nichia Flashlight Review - ZeroAir Reviews

  6. I don’t understand how this tiny light can sustain a much higher output than the FW3A…

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