Manker MK38 Satellite Flashlight Review

Manker MK38 Satellite Flashlight Review

Manker has released a couple of versions of the MK38 Satellite flashlight. The one seen here has a built-in battery and a fandle! Read on!


Official Specs and Features

Here’s a link to the Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight product page.

Versions

There are actually quite a number of versions worth mentioning here. First, there is the battery difference. You can get a built-in battery (and a host of other features), as I have here. Or you can opt for the replaceable-cell version, which uses three 21700 cells. There are emitter options too. Two Cree options: XHP70.2 6500K or 5000K, and one Luminus option: SFT40 6500K (seen here).

And finally, there are body color options. There’s black (seen here), white, and grey.

Price

Price varies, but this built-in battery version goes for $374. If you go for the MK38 without the battery, you’ll pay $314, but then need to source your own cells. Black is the “default price” but the other two colors add $25 to the price (no matter what battery setup you pick. Also, either Cree emitter options adds $40 to the price, too.  Basically, the max price with all the highest options looks to be $439.


Short Review

This flashlight is exactly as fun as you think it will be and has great performance. These Luminus SFT40 emitters, while maybe not what I’d have picked if I was picking, are really quite great. They’re cool at 6500K but they throw very nicely.  The handle is great. The switches on the handle: great. That the handle has a fan: great. Many mode options: great. Powerbank performance: great. Really, this is a very high-level-of-greatness flashlight!

Long Review

The Big Table

Manker MK38 Satellite Flashlight
Emitter: Luminus SFT40 (6500K)
Price in USD at publication time: $314.00
Cell: 3×21700
Turbo Runtime Graph High Runtime Graph
LVP? Yes
Switch Type: E-Switch
Quiescent Current (mA): ?
On-Board Charging? Yes
Charge Port Type: USB-C
Charge Graph (at 20V)
Power off Charge Port All modes
Claimed Lumens (lm) 20000
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 12029 (60.1% of claim)^
Candela per Lumen 27.5
Claimed Throw (m) 1200
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 8040lux @ 6.105m = 299659cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 1094.8 (91.2% of claim)^
Claimed CCT 6500
Measured CCT Range (K) 7100-7700 Kelvin
Item provided for review by: Manker
All my Manker 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

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight what's included

  • Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight
  • Wall Wart (USB-C output)
  • Charging cable (USB-C to USB-C)
  • Lanyard
  • Handle (already attached)
  • Batteries (built-in)
  • Spare o-rings (2)
  • Tool for handle removal

Package and Manual

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight box Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight box

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight manual

Build Quality and Disassembly

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight

This is safely considered a “soda can” light but there are “just” three 21700 cells inside. That means it’s probably a bit slimmer than you’d normally consider a can light, which is fine.

In case you’re wondering from the photos above, yes, that handle is just a little bit misaligned. That’s my fault, and easily correctable. I didn’t even notice it during photos, and just confirmed that it’s easy to straighten.

This is considered a “strike bezel” and not only does it look awesome, it has some nice teeth. They aren’t sharp, but they could strike well. This bezel is stainless steel, too! There are stainless accents all over the light, in fact, including the actual e-switch itself.

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight bezel

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight cooling fin area

I did not disassemble the tail end of the light (the cell housing). These look to be Torx screws, and there are three.

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight tailcap

One thing that can be “disassembled” is this handle – it comes off fairly easily.

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight handle connection

In fact, Manker includes a tool for fandle (fan + handle) removal. You’ll want to keep this around, but a flathead screwdriver will work fine too. This tool just has “softer” edges.

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight handle disconnection

You’ll have to do this fairly precisely – the tool can go in too far and strike the light, preventing rotation. So you’ll have to back the tool out just a bit in order to get good rotation. It’s somewhat fiddly.

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight removing handle

I’ve removed the fandle so that you don’t have to. But here we see how the power gets to these two switches and the fan, too. There’s an electrical connection here! This is how I always thought Imalent should have done those “heat shield” lights.

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight handle off Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight handle electrical details

What’s neat about this little screw-in handle-holder is that the electrical plug where the fandle connects can also be plugged by this threaded part. So you can run the light safely without the fandle as long as you cover that port with this part. It’s a clever design.

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight handle off

This also doubles as a lanyard attachment point, even when the handle (which also has a lanyard attachment point) is off! More cleverness.

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight handle off

But 80% of why you buy this light is the handle, right? Right.

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight handle balance

Size and Comps

Length: 139mm
Diameter (at bezel): 80mm
Diameter (at tail): 57mm
Diameter (including fandle): 113mm
Weight (with built-in battery and handle): 887.5g
Weight (with built-in battery and without handle): 764g

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).

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight 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.

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight beside torchlab boss 35 Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight beside torchlab boss 35

Retention and Carry

I covered a whole bunch of aspects of the handle above, including removal.  Removal of the handle is possible and the light functions safely (and waterproofly) without the handle.

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight with fandle

But full operation is possible through the handle, so it’d be a rare case to want to remove it (I think? or it’s just me?)

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight uising handle

If you DO decide to remove the handle, be prepared to fight to get it back on. Here’s a pro-tip. Hold the light as you see below. You can squeeze down the handle and squeeze down the handle holder separately, and you’ll really need to. Note that there is not a hole through the handle that allows access for a screwdriver or whatever to screw down this screw. That would be very convenient, though.

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight reinstalling handle

Aside from the handle, there’s a hole in the handle end that allows connection of the included lanyard.

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight handle lanyard connection

Connecting the lanyard here is great for doubling-up retention while using the handle. Wrap this around your wrist and you’re very unlikely to drop this light to the ground.

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight lanyard attached to handle Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight lanyard attached to handle

Of course, as I mentioned above, with the handle off (or even with it on, I suppose) you can attach the lanyard to the screw-in handle holder. This would be a more balanced place for the lanyard, really, if you don’t intend to also use the handle.

Power and Runtime

My copy of the Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight is powered by a built-in battery. This battery is three 21700 cells that are not user-serviceable. Also available (as covered above) is an option that runs on three 21700 cell that you can supply. I don’t know the electronic details of that one, so I can’t give advice on what cells you’ll need, etc. What I can say is that on a big and high output light like this, with cells that are probably in series, I’m happy for the manufacturer to build these cells in. And in this case you get some accessory functions too, like on-board charging (obviously) but also a powerbank feature. The version where you supply your own cells does not offer either of those features.

So here are some runtime tests.  Worth noting is that I didn’t use my fan for any of these tests. If cooling was used, it was only from the fandle fan.  Below you can see that fan in action.

runtime graph runtime graph runtime graph runtime graph runtime graph

Charging

As stated, this Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight has built-in charging. That charging is by way of a USB-C port on the base of the light. This port is covered by a press-in, branded cover, and I’d call it “quite secure.”

There’s a charging indicator just beside the charge port. This indicator lights red while charging and turns off when charging is complete.

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight usb-c charging port

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight usb-c charging port

Manker includes a wall wart for charging this light. It’s a 65W USB-C wall wart and can do all the usual voltages: 5V, 9V, 12V, 15V, and 20V. When charging this light with this power supply, the voltage used is 20V.

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight wall wart Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight wall wart

Manker also includes a USB-C to USB-C charging cable.

Charging this light at 20V really blazes – it’s charging at “just” 1.5A (ish) but that’s really 30W charging! So C to C is the way to go!

charging graph

But the light will also charge with USB-A to C charging. In that case, you’ll see much higher current, but a much slower overall charge time. At 5V, 3.5A is still just 17.5W, and good luck finding a USB-A port that will supply 3.5A! (I mean, I have one, you may too, but they’re less common.)

Powerbank

Not just will the Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight work with fast on-board charging, that USB-C port can also serve as a powerbank!

I tested one full discharge cycle. What we’d normally see is that the current would drop off as the cells deplete. But with the MK38 powerbank feature, they seem to dispense the full current possibility for the duration of output!

Modes and Currents

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Measured Lumens
Turbo 20000 2h 14720 (initial)
12029 (at 30s)
High 10000 2h15m 7575
Mid3 5000 2h30m 3974
Mid2 2500 3h 2150
Mid1 1300 6h 1139
Low 650 12h 680
L4 350 22h 307
L3 160 33h 158
L2 80 50h 80
L1 40 66h 38

Pulse Width Modulation

None of the 10 modes display PWM. This set of photos as well as the sets below all are in lowest to highest output levels order.

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

Two switches are available for controlling the Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight. First is this stainless-steel switch which has an indicating feature in the center. This is the “main” switch. It’s a very good switch (you might know that I love metal-covered switches.)

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight e-switch

The action is fairly low and positive.

This main switch has an indicating function. Only in blue, though.

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight e-switch blue indicator

There are two other switches on the MK38. These are handle switches. Below, you can see them – the top switch (which is the “bezel side” switch) is only for controlling the fan. The other switch, the one with a power symbol, has all the same functions at the main switch (without also being an indicating switch.)

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight handle e-switches

Pleasantly, when operating the handle switch for power, the indicating main switch also indicates in the same way as if it was being used.

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight handle e-switch actuation

Here’s a UI table! I won’t differentiate between the handle power switch and the main power switch. Anything one can do, the other can also do.

State Action Result
Any (except lockout) Click Fan switch on handle Iterate fan (on or off)
Off Click General modes mode memory
Off Hold ECO modes mode memory
Any (except lockout) Double Click Turbo
On Click Off
On Hold Mode advance
Off Click 4x Lockout
Lockout Click 4x Unlock (to “On”)
On Hold Mode advance
Eco Modes: L1>L2>L3>L4^
General Modes (Or Turbo): L>M1>M2>M3>High^
Special modes: Strobe>Beacon>SOS
Any (except lockout) Click 3x Special modes (Strobe first)
Off Hold 3s Eco mode memory then off then switch “breathing” mode
Breathing mode Any action Breathing mode off

^ Modes will advance to the extreme level and stop. If you release then hold again, the modes will travel in the other direction to the extreme and stop. So it’s not a ramp up or down, really. Big ol asterisk here is that the direction is remembered!!! So if you were traveling up last time, and turn the light off and on again (anytime, right away, or much later) you’ll be traveling in the other direction.

LED and Beam

On my copy of the MK38 are eight (8) Luminus SFT40 emitters. These are rated to be 6500K, and because they have no dome, they should be quite throwy.

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight emitter array Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight emitter array

These eight emitters are coupled with surprisingly deep reflectors with a bit of texture.

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight reflectors

The strike bezel allows a good bit of light to escape while headstanding.

Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight bezel shape Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight orange peel reflectors Manker MK38 Satellite flashlight beamshots

I’m quite pleased with the throw beam profile on this light.

LED Color Report (CRI and CCT)

The tests I did seem to corroborate the 6500K claim. The lower modes see well below 6500K and by Turbo we’re seeing well over 7500K – so on average, around 6500K is right. The CRI is around 70, which is probably about what we should expect here, and the dUV is positive.

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

  • Great build quality
  • Many features
  • Powerbank really works well
  • USB-C to USB-C charging at 20V (30W!) gets charging done quickly
  • Very throwy output
  • Handle includes a fan!
  • Handle has e-switches to control the light
  • Handle doesn’t block the other e-switch
  • Lower modes are actually lower
  • No PWM
  • Stainless steel parts are both functional and attractive

What I don’t like

  • Maybe there are too many modes overall
  • Wish a 5000K Luminus SFT40 was available (maybe it doesn’t even exist – that’s not Manker’s fault)
  • Price – with cells and most expensive color and emitters is quite expensive
  • Output was measured to be a bit below specification

Notes

  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.org.  Please visit there for the best experience!
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4 thoughts on “Manker MK38 Satellite Flashlight Review”

  1. MankerLightUSA has the worst customer service. They do not honor their warranty on their flashlights,even with a receipt. I returned my E02 to them,they kept it. They completely ignore the US mail,email,and phone. It’s a shame,I like their lights. I have ordered lights from all over. Manker is the only one I have had this problem with. I won’t be ordering from them again. Thanks. David

    1. Ah, sorry you had that experience! I hope you’ve found a brand you like and trust.

  2. Thanks. Yeah,I really like Convoy lights…no problems. Nothing on you. Thanks for the good reviews!

  3. ZA! Have been eyeing this one for awhile. Wish the CREEs had better range. This is why the SFT40 is an attractive option here though under powered.

    What can you recommend as a super flood WITH great reach? Preferably 1000m+? And what are your thoughts on Imalent’s new MS12 Mini?

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