Laulima Metal Craft Hoku Flashlight Review
The Laulima Metal Craft Hoku is a titanium (or your choice!) flashlight that runs on a single 10440 cell. It’s twisty operation and options!
Official Specs and Features
Here’s a link to the Laulima Metal Craft Hoku flashlight product page.
So many versions! Not only are there metal versions, but there are also different size options as well, all within the Hoku lineup. Here’s the current sampling (some of which are available for purchase.)
What you see there are these options:
Short clipless body with mule bezel
Short clipless body with reflector bezel
Short clip body with mule bezel
Short clip body with reflector bezel
Extended body with mule bezel
Extended body with reflector bezel
The model seen in this review is specifically number 9 in the photo, which is the “Extended body with reflector bezel” Hoku. It’s literally the longest Hoku available.
The pre-configured options range in price from $265 to $425. I have on good authority that Laulima is extremely responsive, and if you wished for something within the bounds of a Hoku, but not specifically seen here, it could probably be arranged.
Pleasantly surprised are the proper first words for me to lead with here. I don’t typically love twisty flashlights, but the operation on the Hoku is so buttery smooth that it’s hard to not love. The build quality is excellent, and the options are plentiful too.
The Big Table
|Laulima Metal Works Hoku (Extended body with reflector bezel)|
|Emitter:||Nichia 219c (4000K)|
|Price in USD at publication time:||$295.00|
|100% Runtime Graph||40% Runtime Graph|
|Claimed Lumens (lm)||–|
|Measured Lumens (at 30s)||198|
|Candela per Lumen||4.4|
|Claimed Throw (m)||–|
|Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s)||107lux @ 3.177m = 1080cd|
|Throw (Calculated) (m)||65.7|
|Item provided for review by:||On loan from u/barry_baltimore.|
|All my Laulima Metal Works 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).
- Laulima Metal Craft Hoku flashlight
- Certificate of authenticity card
- Carry pouch by Dragon Cut Design
Package and Manual
There is no manual for the Laulima Metal Craft Hoku flashlight.
Build Quality and Disassembly
You might wonder why a twisty 10440 flashlight, even one made of select materials like this Hoku, commands $300. This is a collector-level flashlight. I’m not going to try to sway you. If you’re not already “there” then you won’t leave this post saying “hmm yeah, I totally get that price.” What I can say, is that the build quality here is exceptional. The Laulima Hoku flashlight just oozes quality.
In particular, and as you can see best below, the stonewashed finish sets the titanium off just right.
Here’s the top-down view!
What you see below is the Hoku “base model” tailcap. There are some options for the tailcap to have both dimples and tritium slots – technically that Hoku gets an upgraded name, too: Hoku Vial. (The Vial edition has tritium slots in the side of the tail, too.)
On the very front of the (titanium) bezel are a few ridges. These don’t really serve as “cooling fins” and are thus more decorative in nature. The copper midsection does more for heat management, of course.
Here you can see the threads that interface the body/cell tube with the copper engine and head. These threads are what you’ll twist on to operate the flashlight.
This specific Laulima Metal Craft Hoku flashlight is a loaner and has been used by the owner and by me. The threads show a bit of age but more importantly are still absolutely buttery smooth. In some sense, it’s probably better to have the engine be copper so that you’re not twisting titanium on titanium. This does make a smoother experience.
While the head has only the PCB contact points, the tail end has a spring.
The bezel is not threadlocked to the engine – it’s as easy as unscrewing the parts to remove them. In side the bezel is a reflector and a lens too.
Size and Comps
Bezel diameter – 0.63″
Tail diameter – 0.70″
Short clipless body with mule bezel – 2.83″
Short clipless body with reflector bezel – 3.10″
Short clip body with mule bezel – 3.00″
Short clip body with reflector bezel – 3.25″
Extended body with mule bezel – 3.5″
Extended body with reflector bezel – 3.77″
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).
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.
I’m inclined to say that this light is “very long.” And I don’t think that’s wrong but it’s surprisingly perfect in hand, and usability because of this length is off the charts.
Retention and Carry
A pocket clip is provided with the Hoku. It has the signature dimples, which are echoed on the copper midsection.
This is a screw-in clip and is very secure.
You might wonder why this 10440 flashlight is “so long” (or a better way to ask that is: how are there different lengths of this light which all use a 10440 cell?) The answer to that is in the pocket clip. This is a standard size pocket clip, so if you wish to throw on your favorite SteelFlame skull clip, you’ll be good to go, if you have the extended body. As far as I can tell, clip compatibility is specifically the reason for a longer body Hoku. (To wit: if you don’t wish to ever replace the clip, then you could reasonably only consider the “short clip body.”)
Another means for carrying the Hoku is this cloth pouch. It’s a very soft pouch, and great for carrying the light in a bag or whatever. I’m also fairly sure the inside is microfiber, so this provides ancillary cleaning of the light while carried.
I don’t really love the pouch, but I appreciate it. I do like the very soft inside though. There’s plenty of room for other or bigger lights, too.
Power and Runtime
The Hoku is powered by a single lithium-ion cell. The cell tube fits only one 10440 cell. An AAA cell will not work.
The documentation specifies a “flat-top” but I see no reason a button-top wouldn’t work. I did test only with the flat top Efest which is seen above.
Looking at the photo below and bearing in mind that the cell is “resting” on the spring, you can see just how much … “spare” titanium is used in the tail end of the Hoku, to allow use of accessory pocket clips. I would estimate that it’s probably around 1.25″ of titanium – that is, the bottom 1.25″ of this light is solid titanium. That’s cool; that doesn’t bother me. It adds a very nice bit of heft to the body, and this length is what makes the light so perfect in hand.
That said, it is a bunch of titanium, and when I buy my own (since I know that I love the shorty clip that Laulima Metal Craft makes), I’ll definitely buy the short body.
Here are three runtimes, which represent the highest three modes. These modes aren’t the default setting of the driver; you’ll have to reprogram the driver. I’ll cover that later but can tell you that it’s very easy. For the record, I’m using Group 18, which has 6 output levels and no memory.
Output on 100% is FET output and will depend upon the cell being used. Most 10440 cells won’t be able to hold very high discharge currents for very long, and I think that’s what we’re seeing here. After only 15 seconds or so, the light shifts down to the 40% output level. We don’t see low voltage protection either, but that’s by the design of the driver. Specifically:
Low voltage protection: With 1S cells (non-zener mod) the light will begin to step down output at around 2.8v under load. The light will not shut completely off, but will continue to run at a moonlight level.
Modes and Currents
|Mode||Mode Claimed Output (lm)||Claimed Runtime||Measured Lumens||Tailcap Amps|
|100%||–||–||198||Cell Max (FET)|
Pulse Width Modulation
The driver (known as “guppydrv”) does use PWM for all but the highest mode. We’d expect no PWM on the highest mode because as the product page for guppydrv says, it’s FET output. I find this PWM (seen on the lower modes) to be acceptably fast. As stated above, I’m using Group 18, which has 6 output levels and no memory.
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). 10ms. 5ms. 2ms. 1ms. 0.5ms. 0.2ms. 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
The Laulima Metal Craft Hoku flashlight is a twisty flashlight. Grip the head as seen below and tighten to turn the light on.
Based on how the light sits in my hand, it’s the titanium bezel part I’m most often holding while twisting. This is a smooth action, and can easily be done with one hand. I’m less certain that this would be possible with the shorter variants – the length really helps here.
Here’s a UI table!
|Off||Tighten the head||On^|
|On||Loosen the head||Off|
|Off||Tighten/loosen quickly 8x (and leave in an “on” state)||Enters programming for User Selectable Groups|
|Waiting for programming (light will be flashing lower and higher (but not off))||Turn light on (twist on and off) for the desired group number (ending in the “on” state) ^^||Light will enter the first output level of the newly selected Group|
|Waiting for programming (light will be flashing lower and higher (but not off))||No action||Light will exit programming and go to the previous mode|
|Waiting for programming (light will be flashing lower and higher (but not off))||Tighten/loosen quickly 30x (and leave in an “on” state)||Output will be 100% and begin heating up. When heat is at an acceptable level, turn the light off. Turbo timer is set.|
^ It’s possible to turn off or on mode memory. So your memory settings will specify which mode you land in. It’ll also depend on which of the many (24) selectable groups are selected.
^^ Here are the User Selectable Groups for guppydrv Rev.1 (with a relevant number for entering):
Guppydrv Rev.1 User Selectable Groups:
- 1% – 25% – 100% | Memory
- 1% – 25% – 100% | No Memory
- 100% – 25% – 1% | No Memory
- 1% – 25% – 100% – Strobe | No Memory
- 1% – 25% – 100% – Strobe | Memory
- 10% – 100% | Memory
- 10% – 100% | No Memory
- 100% – 10% | No Memory
- 100% – Strobe | No Memory
- Strobe – 100% | No Memory
- ML – 2% – 25% – 100% | Memory
- ML – 2% – 25% – 100% – Strobe – Beacon | No Memory
- ML – 100% | No Memory
- 100% – ML | No Memory
- ML – 100% | Memory
- ML – 1% – 5% – 15% – 40% – 100% | Memory
- ML – 1% – 5% – 15% – 40% – 100% | No Memory
- 100% – 40% – 15% – 5% – 1% – ML | No Memory
- 100% – 40% – 15% – 5% – 1% – ML | Memory
- 1% – 5% – 15% – 40% – 100% | Memory
- 1% – 5% – 15% – 40% – 100% | No Memory
- 100% – 40% – 15% – 5% – 1% | No Memory
- 100% – 40% – 15% – 5% – 1% | Memory
LED and Beam
In this edition (and possibly all Hokus, based on the product page) is a Nichia 219c emitter, at 4000K CCT.
This version of the Hoku has a reflector. There are other versions, including a mule (which doesn’t have any reflector or anything, other than a mineral glass lens).
There is no TIR version of the HOKU. It’s mule or reflector only. The mule version is noticeably shorter than the reflector version.
Emitter access is very easy – the titanium bezel unscrews right off of the copper engine.
LED Color Report (CRI and CCT)
As stated above, I’m using Group 18, which has 6 output levels and no memory. The lowest mode is first, highest is last.
While 4000K is specified (and is accurate), CRI isn’t. On average this looks to be around 90CRI, which is good. Not sure that specifically qualifies as “High CRI” anymore (but probably, yes). The Duv is positive, which means (and we can see below) that the output will tend toward yellow/green and not pink/rosy.
These beamshots are always with the following settings: f8, ISO100, 0.3s shutter, and manual 5000K exposure. As stated above, I’m using Group 18, which has 6 output levels and no memory.
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. As stated above, I’m using Group 18, which has 6 output levels and no memory.
I compare everything to the KillzoneFlashlights.com 219b BLF-348 because it’s inexpensive and has the best tint!
What I like
- Great build quality
- Excellent in-hand and usage characteristics
- Guppydrv has plenty of output groups
- Nichia 219c is a good all-around choice.
- Tons of size options
- Customized “short clip” on some models is a great feature
- Hoku Vial variant offers an accessible version for adornment with tritium
What I don’t like
- General lack of ability in the 10440 cell size
- Doesn’t run on AAA cells as well
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