Lumintop TD16-XPL Tactical 18650 Flashlight

Lumintop asked me to review their new TD16 tactical light.  The TD16 is an 18650 torch available in 2 models, the TD16-XML with a Cree XM-L2 LED and the TD16 XPL with a Cree XP-L HI LED.  Both versions have 6 output modes (3 regular plus 3 hidden).  I will be reviewing the TD16-XPL version and am pretty glad of it. While the other version is a capable light, the increased performance of the TD16-XPL makes me wonder why the TD16-XML is even produced.  It’s not a perfect light but it is most impressive and, IMHO, worthy of consideration for anyone looking for a high performance tactical light with amazing throw.

Let’s take a quick look at the TD16 then have a look at Lumintop’s marketing copy and claimed specs.

^ The TD16 has a familiar tactical flashlight appearance and profile.

^ A stainless steel crenelated bezel and large electronic side-switch up front.

^ A rubber tactical grip ring, stainless tail cap bezel, and large forward-clicky switch grace the tail end.

MANUFACTURER’S COPY:

“LUMINTOP TD16 is the upgrade edition of the popular tactical flashlight TD15X, it has the classic stylish design, and you will be marveled at its newly designed full-size front side button switch and consistent silo integrated structure. Designed for convenience and ease-of-use, the push-button tactical tail switch allows momentary-on, while a simple press on the big side switch provides one-handed operation and easy access to 6 light modes (Low-Mid-High-Strobe-Flash-Slow Flash), which cover from daily use to outdoor and professional use all you need. Not only that but the intelligent memory function will memory the last mode before you turn off the light. Its consistent silo integrated structure ensures the best heat dissipation structure cylinder head multi-channel heatsink cooling effect. Dual spring-loaded impact absorption mechanism with reverse polarity protection design, and can be equipped with optional multifunction remote switch, weapon mount and color filters for guns, all these make TD16 become the best weapon flashlight.”

MY FIRST IMPRESSIONS

As you can see from Lumintop’s specs, they are claiming some pretty big numbers from this little light.  The good thing is that they understated the performance of this little giant killer, at least from my measurements.  I’ll get into the performance aspect in a bit as soon as we have a look at the more physical aspects of the TD16.

Here is a list quick measurements and notes on the light that I recorded.

Materials
Body: Aluminum
Head and Tail Bezels: Stainless Steel
Anodizing: HAIII Mil-Spec
Emitter: Cree XP-L HI
Lens: Anti-Rreflective coated (both sides) Ultra Clear Glass
MCPCB: Aluminum
Driver & Tail Springs: Silver plated
Tactical Grip Ring: Hard Rubber
Physical Measurements
Overall Length: 153.6mm
Head Diameter: 38.54mm
Battery tube Diameter: 25mm
Tail Cap Diameter: 26mm
Reflector OD: 34.72mm
Reflector ID: 31.5mm
Reflector Depth: 22.86mm
Lens: 35.3mm * 2mm
MCPCB: 20mm
Switch Boot Diameter: 13mm
Performance My Measurement Lumintop Claimed
Low Mode Output: 46.5 OTF lumens  20 OTF lumens
Medium Mode Output:  207.8 OTF lumens  160 OTF lumens
High Mode Output @ 0s:  1049 OTF lumens N/A
High Mode Output @ 30s:  1026 OTF lumens  920 OTF lumens
Lux @ 1m 70,729 50,800
Throw Distance 532 meters 450 meters
Temps after 10 minutes on High
Ambient Temp: 72.8f
LED: 149f
Bezel: 109f
Head: 107f
Battery Tube: 98f
Additional Info
Number of Modes 6 (3 main + Strobe, Slow Flash, and Beacon)
Tail Switch: Forward-Clicky with Momentary
Waterproof: IPX-8 (2 m)
Reverse Polarity Protection: Yes
Tail Stand: Yes
Pocket Clip: Yes (removable)
Tactical Grip Ring: Yes (removable)
Weapon Mountable: Yes
Accessories Included: Holster, Lanyard, Spare Switch Boot, 2 Spare O-rings
Retail Price: $128.98
Street Price: $99 – $120

PROS & CONS

Pros

  • Superb machining and finish
  • Great anodising
  • Crazy throw!
  • Comfortable to hold
  • Current control with zero PWM
  • Strong, removable pocket clip
  • Excellent tactical grip ring
  • Double-sided AR on ultraclear lens
  • Fantastic SMO reflector
  • Large, easy to find, side switch
  • Simple, effective UI
  • Momentary On
  • SS Bezels on both ends
  • Excellent thermal management
  • Womderful, smooth threads
  • Excellent solder joints
  • Heavy, low-resistance, silver plated contact springs
  • Excellent grip and feel thanks to the rubber tactical grip ring
  • Excellent packaging

Cons

  • MCPCB should really be copper DTP, not plain aluminum.
  • Tail cap bezel spins too easily once loosened
  • No Moon or Low Low mode
  • Pretty much useless holster that doesn’t fit the light with or without the tactical grip ring.  At this price point there is no excuse for a holster that won’t fit the light.
  • On the pricey side with a $100 street price

So what does all this look like?

^ Nice, sturdy, manilla colored box

^ Inside is a nice cut-out foam interior that holds the TD16 and holster nicely.  Accessories are inside the holster.

^ Three companion materials are included as well – instructions, Warranty and maintenance, and customer service cards.

^ Above is the TD16 itself, the holster, lanyard, extra switch boot, and 2 spare O-rings.

TD16 and lanyard.  The included lanyard is plenty big for large, gloved hands.

^ The holster is a standrd style with a main belt loop, quick detach loop, and “D” ring.  It looks like a good holster but…

^ With the rubber tactical ring installed, the light doesn’t fit far enough into the holster to close the velcro flap.  What if we remove the tactical ring?

^ Without the tactical ring it’s still pretty useless.  The light drops so far down into the holster that it is ridiculous.  Barely enough of the head is exposed to grab onto to pull the light out.  Of course, the massive empty space looks like the light isn’t even in the holster.  Lumintop needs to redesign this holster to properly fit this light.  As is it serves no use and may as well not be included.

^ The host itself is beautiful.  The Lumintop logo is nicely etched into the side of the battery tube.  Edges are crisp and etching is a deep and consistent white.

^ The face of the light starts with a nicely machined stainless steel bezel with no sharp edges.  Behind that is a double-sided AR coated ultra-clear glass lens.  The SMO reflector is nicely polished and clean with only the faintest machining marks/grooves in its surface.  At the base of the reflector is a perfectly centered Cree XP-L HI emitter.  For those not familiar with the XP-L HI emitter, it differs from the regular XP-L emitters in that it has no dome, or curved lens, bonded to the emitter.  Instead of the curved/domed lens, the HI has a flat layer bonded to the emitter.  This allows the light to be emitted equally in all directions which allows more light to hit the sides of the reflector and be focused by the reflector for longer lighting distance.

^ The TypeIII anodizing on the TD16 is beautiful.  It is free of any imperfections and is a nice satin-matte finish.  Super attractive and durable!  The circumference of the head has a row of gripping grooves machined into it very well.

^ The majority of the head is covered with nicely machined fins free of sharp edges.

^ The large button on the electronic switch is easy to find by feel.  The switch itself is surrounded by a very nice SS bezel.

^ Along with the switch cutout in the fins of the head are 4 other “thumb” cut-outs machined into the head fins.

^ Head assembly is standard fare.  Everything fits properly and goes together perfectly.

^ The Cree XP-L HI emitter is mounted on a standard aluminum MCPCB with a white thermal paste under it.  The reflector base presses the MCPCB to the ‘unibody’ emitter shelf.  The plastic centering ring ensures the LED is perfectly centered.  Solder joints are well done but the wiring, while adequate based on performance, looks to be on the thin side IMO.  Even with an aluminum non-DTP (direct thermal path) MCPCB, thermal management is really good as there is very little thermal sag in the TD16.  I can only think how much better it had been had they used a copper DTP MCPCB and heavier gauge wires.

^ The anode spring on the driver PCB is nice and stiff along with being silver plated for less electrical resistance and better performance.  The driver retaining ring is stainless steel.  I was unable to remove the retaining ring to take photos of the driver because it was cranked down extremely tight from the factory.

^  Here we see the very nice, clean, square threads that hold the battery tube to the head.

^ The threads on the battery tube are square cut and extremely smooth.  Like other Lumintop lights I’ve examined, these threads are some of the nicest in the flashlight industry.  Also, the O-ring seals snugly with the base of the head and the threads and O-ring are lightly lubricated from the factory.

^ Moving to the back of the TD16 we can see the wonderfully machined tail cap with removable SS bezel.  The lanyard hole is chamfered and free of sharp edges that can cut into the lanyard.  Thumb cutouts allow easy access to the forward-clicky momentary on switch.  My only complaint about the tail cap is that the threads on the SS bezel, while smooth, are not machined with the same tolerances used elsewhere in the light.  The bezel can come loose and spin too freely which can result in possible loss of the bezel.  If you crank down on it hard it will stick pretty tenaciously but if jarred loose can turn too easily, at least on my sample.

^ The 14mm switch boot has zero play or mushiness to it’s feel.  The molded knurling gives good feel and grip, even with gloved hands.  With the bezel installed the TD16 will tail stand.

The SS tail bezel is removable if you prefer a more monochrome, tactical look.  It also gives even easier access to the momentary-on forward clicky switch when removed.  The TD16 will not tail stand with the bezel removed.

^ The hard silicone tactical ring is easily removed if you don’t care for it.  The pocket clip is also removable but very secure when attached.  A notch in the battery tube end keeps the pocket clip in one position.  Tail cap threads are extremely nice, like those on the other end, and the O-ring seals nicely with the tail cap.

^ The rubber tactical ring feels great in the hand and doubles as an anti-roll device.  While one might think the lack of knurling on the battery tube would make the light less grippy, the rubber tactical grip ring makes the TD16 extremely secure in the hand.

^ Shown in the battery tube is an unprotected IMR 18650 cell that is 65mm in length.  There is plenty of room for any protected 18650 based cell you may have.  Front and rear contact springs ensure consistent contact between the cell and flashlight even with heavy impact or vibration.

^ A look at the tail cap with it’s removable SS bezel.

^ The switch and/or switch boot can quickly be changed by unthreading the retaining ring.  Threading is smooth and square cut and just as nice as the threads at the head.

^  Here is a shot of the disassembled tail cap.  The cathode spring on the switch PCB is heavy gauge and silver plated just like the anode spring on the driver end.

^ The switch boot is a non-standard 13mm in diameter.

PERFORMANCE

Performance is where the TD16 really shines (pun intended!) and for a premium priced light it had better.  Build quality is definitely there but how much performance does it have?  Pretty much, especially in the throw department.  I expected decent throw with the XP-L HI emitter and figured it might perform as well as claimed.

What I didn’t expect was how much it exceeded Lumintop’s output claims.  OTF lumens were 100 more than claimed and throw was 200 meters farther than claimed.  TWO HUNDRED more!  The chart I made below shows how my measurements compared to the manufacturer’s claims.

Just 2-3 years ago this light would have been solidly in the middle of the best factory throwers – lights 2-4 times larger.  The fact that this very compact tactical light can reach out well over 500 meters is testament to Lumintop’s reflector design when coupled with the new XP-L HI.  I thought the new Kronos X6, with it’s 59kcd (486m), was the king throw in a light this size but the TD16 with roughly 250 less maximum OTF lumens blasts right past it.  Kudos to you, Lumintop, I’m impressed!

^ The animated gif above shows the 3 regular output modes on the TD16:  Low – 46 lumens, Medium – 208 lumens, and High – 1026 lumens



^ Mode spacing is actually pretty good.  I generally prefer my lowest mode to be far lower (moon low) but the low on this is tolerable, especially on a tactical light, and I think most people this light is targeted to will be quite happy with it.  Medium mode is extremely useful for most situations.  When maximum output is needed the highest mode really delivers with a super focused hot spot (one of the most focused I’ve ever seen) with a small corona and super smooth, even spill.

Great thermal management in spite of the aluminum MCPCB.  Thermal sag on High was minimal and temps while tail standing on High never exceeded 109f for me even after 10 minutes in an ambient room temp of 72.9f.

User Interface (UI)

The UI of the TD16 is very simple and easy to use, even with its 3 hidden (secondary mode group) blinky modes.

From OFF:

  • Half-press the tail switch for momentary ON
  • Full-press (click) the tail switch for contimuous ON
  • The TD16 will start in whichever mode was last used including hidden modes

From ON:

  • Long press the electronic side switch to change between regular and blinky mode groups.
    • Switching to previous group will return to last used mode within that group.
  • In Group 1 (regular) a quick click will cycle through Low, Medium, and High modes.
  • In Group 2 (blinky) a quick click will cycle through Fast Strobe, Slow strobe( 1 second on, 1 second off…), and Beacon.
    • All  blinky modes are in High output.

That’s all there is to the UI.  Easy-peasy and effective.

An integral part of performance is how it works in the hand.  Lumintop did things right here as well.

^ The large side switch falls perfectly under my thumb and is easy to locate without looking.  It will work well with gloved hands, too.

^ The main, momentary on, forward-clicky switch is easy to press in a tactical grip.  The rubber tactical ring is super comfortable and makes it secure in the hand.  Thumb cut-outs in the tail bezel allow for extra comfort as well as room for a gloved thumb.

COMPARISONS

Size-wise, the TD16 falls right in the middle with some of my other tactical lights.

From left to right: ThruNite T30S, Lumintop TD16-XPL, ThruNite TN11S, and Convoy L4

^ The reflector in the TD16 is a hair larger than the ThruNite T30S but is smaller than that of the TN11S and much smaller than the Convoy L4 reflector.  It throws much better than any of them due, in large part, to its XP-L HI emmitter.

CONCLUSION

I really like the TD16.  REALLY like it.  Yes, it’s a bit pricey depending on what you are used to spending for a tactical offering but it’s right there with the pricing on other big name Chinese brands.  While Lumintop is not as well known as Fenix, Olight,  Nitecore, or ThruNite, the quality of most of their lights meets or exceeds most of those brands, IMO.  THe TD16 is no exception to this.  It’s a great light with great performance and great build quality.  It could use some tweaking (haven’t met a light that couldn’t), like a copper DTP and a hidden but quick;y accessed moon low, but overall it needs very little and will fit the needs of most users just like it is.  My biggest complaint about the TD16 is the ill-fitting (at best!) holster.  For the $128 list price they are asking, the holster should be tailored to fit the TD16, not just a holster used on a similar sized light they make.

As long as the TD16 is in your budget, I give it a solid “Mac Approved” rating.

Mac Approved!

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One thought on “Lumintop TD16-XPL Tactical 18650 Flashlight

  1. Pingback: Flashlight Reviews Update 3-18-16 MecArmy PT1, Nitecore EF1, Thrunite Ti Hi | FlashLight Packs.com

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