Manker T01 EDC Preproduction Sample
*Flashlight provided for review courtesy of
Take a look at the compact EDC lights below. Tell me which one is not like the others? Tell me which one just doesn’t belong…
In the line up of CR123A/16340 lights, did you guess the 4th light in from the left? Did you guess the new Manker AA light that is smaller than many compact CR123A lights? The light with the wide, deep reflector that can out throw nearly any factory AA light on the market? The only AA light than can produce an honest 500 OTF lumens while running on a single Eneloop NiMH cell and over 800 lumens on a 4500 Li-Ion cell?
When Manker contacted me and asked if I would like to test and review a preproduction sample of their newest AA EDC light, the T01, I readily accepted their offer. Man, am I glad I did! It’s not often that I gush over a new light but this little monster from them grabbed my attention in the photos they showed me but once I got it in my hands I couldn’t put it down for more than a day (except to sleep and shower).
On an Eneloop LSD NiMH cell it produces every bit of their claimed 500 OTF lumens making it the brightest AA sized light currently on the market (or about to be!). On a 14500 cell they claimed 800 OTF lumens for my pre-production sample and it lived up to that promise as well. They have just updated their website and it appears that the production version has upped the output to a claimed 900 lumens. Once I receive a review sample of the production version I will test and confirm.
My recorded Specifications and notes:
|Anodizing:||HAIII (Mil Spec)|
|Emitter:||Cree XP-L HI|
|Number of modes:||4 main + 3 hidden blinky|
|Mode memory:||Yes (last mode)|
|Weight without cell:||N/A (can’t find my scale)|
|Power supply:||14500 (Li-Ion) /AA (Alkaline/NiMH)|
|Lens Diameter * Thickness:||25.77mm*1.05mm|
|Reflector Inner Diameter*Depth:||24mm * 18.5|
|Switch type and placement:||Electronic/Side|
|Pocket clip:||Yes (very deep carry)|
When I first opened the sturdy Manker box and saw the new T01 sample nestled in a form fitting foam insert I was blown away by it’s small size and gorgeous looks. This preproduction sample has the quality look and feel of anything made by Zebralight. The wonderful machining, the natural, undyed hard anodized exterior, the firm electronic side switch. What really blew me away was the size of the perfect reflector and how it absolutely fills the head of the T01 and promises to give unrivaled throw in a compact pocket light.
I inserted an Eneloop and I giggled like a school girl when I turned on the T01 for the first time. Holy crap! This thing looks brighter than many of my 18650 XM-L2 lights. The perfect focus of the XP-L HI emitter guaranteed incredible throw for a pocket EDC light and the smooth, artifact free and ringless spill guaranteed it’d be a wonderful EDC light as well. It feels amazing in the hand with excellent grip and ergonomics.
The Manker T01 makes, AFAIK, more OTF lumens than any other factory flashlight on the market when powered by a 1.5V AA cell. The output is truly amazing and even when run with an Eneloop AA cell I am more than happy with the level of brightness this tiny light produces. Throw is great for it’s size and brightness and meets or exceeds most EDC ‘pants pocket’ torches much larger and brighter than the T01. It’s a genuine little power house!
Output is PWM/PFM modulated which surprised me as I assumed it was current controlled due to it’s smooth output and zero visible PWM flicker or whine in any of the modes. A benefit of this over current controlled output is that in the lower modes there is no tint shift that makes many lights appear to have a green tint in their lower output levels.
All OTF (Out The Front) lumen measurements were taken on my Integration Sphere which has been calibrated against many proven ANSI tested flashlights and other lights with known output levels. Testing done at ANSI standard of 30 seconds of on time. All Lux and Throw measurements are taken at either 3m or 9m distance then converted back to 1m distance for greater accuracy. Both Lux and throw measured at 30 seconds. Throw distance is measured to distance at which light level is 0.25 lumens.
Cell(s) used: Eneloop AA/TF 14500 Li-Ion
Testing voltage of cell(s): 1.49V (AA) / 4.18V (14500)
|Manker T01||JMR Measured
|Turbo @ 0s||503.6||899||N/A|
|Turbo @ 30s (ANSI)||500.7||825.4||500/800|
|Lux 1m @ 30s||15,533.9||21,420||N/A|
|Throw distance to 0.25candela (ANSI)||249.27||292.7||N/A|
Here is an run time graph provided by Manker. It jives with what I’ve seen so far in my testing. One of my contacts assured me that the T01 is not current controlled but that is uses PWM/PFM to control output. Based on the run time graph you could have fooled me. Looks like current control but I am waiting for a response to my questions from Manker just to make sure. Anyway, here it is:
There is a very smooth, gradual step-down in output when in Turbo mode that goes into effect around the 90 second mark and stops at the 120 second mark. On an AA cell output drops to 264 lumens and stops. On a 14500 cell the output drops to 473 lumens and levels off. It is still technically in Turbo mode at this point so to return to full turbo you have to click back through the modes to Turbo.
At maximum output on an AA cell the draw on the cell is pretty hard so the timed output does help reduce the stress on the cell. When running a 14500 it does keep the light from getting too hot. The T01 warms up fast but doesn’t get so hot you can’t hold it. If you kept renewing Turbo mode for max output every time the light stepped down it might get pretty hot but I think as long as it is held in the hand it wouldn’t get too extreme.
The Manker T01 utilizes a simple and effective UI with 4 main modes and 3 hidden blinky modes plus last mode memory.
Turning On and OFF:
- From Off: Long press (0.5 second) to turn On
- From On: Long press (0.5 second) to turn Off
- The T01 will turn On in the last mode used when turned Off.
- Main Modes: When On a simple quick click of the switch will cycle to the next output level in rotation from Lowest to Highest.
- Hidden Blinky Modes: From any mode a quick double-click will engage the hidden menu.
- Cycle through the blinky modes with a single-click just like the main modes. Hidden modes are Strobe, SOS, and Beacon.
- Exit hidden modes and return to last main mode used with a quick double-click.
Detailed and Up-Close View:
^ IMO the T01 is beautiful from just about every possible angle! I have a thing for large headed flashlights and this T01 is a 10/10 in my book.
^ A really nice thumb shaped recess holds the rubber switch boot in just the right ergonomic position.
^ Fantastic knurling is machined into the rear half of the Manker T01 exactly where it is needed when held in the hand for a good, non-slip grip. The head and battery tube are CNC machined from a single block of aluminum alloy.
^ The attractive tail cap is flat for perfect tail standing. The deep carry pocket clip sits flush with the tail of the light making it practically disappear in the front pocket of your jeans. The clip is removable and is springy but strong and allows for easy one-handed clipping inside my jeans pocket.
^ A nice, fat GITD O-ring sits between the lip of the aluminum bezel and lens for a perfect watertight seal. Square threads are smooth and thread easily without looseness.
^ Smooth, square threading and another O-ring to seal the bezel threads grace the front of the head itself. Everything seals tightly and fits perfectly.
^ The remarkably smooth and well shaped reflector sits directly on the MCPCB centering itself exactly over the Cree XP-L HI emitter for perfect focus.
^ Finning on the head of the T01 help it shed heat from the emitter and driver.
^ The silicon rubber switch boot is embossed with the Manker logo. It is thick and provides a good, durable and tactile feel to the pleasantly stiff electronic switch. The switch button is easy to locate compared to many other small lights that have electronic side switches.
^ The Manker name and model are laser etched neatly and deeply into one of the three flats machined into the battery tube.
^ Threading on the rear of the light for the tail cap are clean, square, and well machined. A thick O-ring seals the tail section from water ingress. The tail cap threads on easily with no cross threading.
^ A look inside the battery tube at the rear of the driver shows a heavy brass contact plate corrosion free electrical conduction.
^ Another quick look at the tail cap with it’s flat base and heavy knurling.
^ Inside the tail cap we can see something I’ve not seen done before in a light – dual cathode springs on the cathode PCB. The main spring is super thick for optimum electrical conduction. A second, thinner spring rides just inside it for increased flow of electricity. Think of it as having a factory spring mod. Both appear to be gold plated.
^ Both springs are nicely soldered to the rear of the switch PCB. You can also see the well machined square threads inside the tail cap.
In the beginning of the thread I showed you the T01 along side several CR123A/16340/18350 lights. Let’s take a look at it along side other AA lights this time.
^ Remarkably, considering the size and depth of its reflector, the T01 is only a hair over 4mm longer than the ZL SC51!
^ Pretty how much extra flashlight can be squeezed into nearly the same miniscule length. 😉
^ Along side the BLF K6 prototype. Here is some great news…Manker will be redesigning the K6 to use the same reflector and emitter setup as the awesome new T01!
Beam Profile and Examples
While taking my photos outside in full daylight I also took a couple shots at the wall to give an idea how bright and focused this bugger is.
With the T01 a couple feet from the wall in daylight. Look at how tight and focused that beam is!!
^ With the brightness and contrast turned down in the upper pic you can see just how tight and defined the focus is with the XP-L HI hot spot.
Trying to find a light with similar output and reflector size for some comparison whitewall shots, I settled on the Convoy M2. The M2 is an 18650 powered compact light with 100 more lumens than the T01 and a reflector that is actually quite a bit bigger and deeper than that in the T01.
The T01 actually kills it even though it is a smaller light. Who says good things can’t come in a small package? Just don’t take stock in the blue tint of these two ceiling shots. It’s all in the camera settings and IRL it is a nice creamy white with no green or blue tint to it.
Reducing the exposure in my cell phone camera lets the photo show the actual difference in the two hotspots. Pretty impressive performance, IMO.
^ While at a friend’s home the other night I decided to take a couple beam shots with my phone while we were enjoying the camp fire. The above pic is aimed at a tree in the yard a couple houses over. You can see the nice tight beam.
^ This next one is aimed at our friend’s garage. You can see her son shielding his eyes from the tiny photon canon.
Pros and Cons
- Excellent build quality! Every bit the equal to a Zebralight and this is only a preproduction sample.
- Probably the brightest 1.5V light on the market. An honest 500 OTF lumens! A few other manufacturers are claiming to have 400-450 lumens from an AA light but theirs is emitter lumens, not OTF lumens. Simply incredible!
- Large head with a beautiful reflector and XP-L HI emitter.
- Excellent thermal properties. Warms quickly but sheds the heat
- Ultraclear AR coated lens.
- Real HAIII anodizing.
- Perfect threading throughout the light.
- Excellent deep carry pocket clip.
- Great switch feel and little chance of accidental turn on.
- Good mode spacing.
- Hidden flashy modes.
- Super designed tail springs for minimum electrical resistance.
- Great color anodizing.
- Wonderful etching.
- Super comfortable in the hand.
- Excellent throw and brightness.
- No lanyard attachment point.
- Lowest mode could be a true moon low at around 0.5 lumens, IMO. The Lowest mode is tolerable for navigating the bedroom but only because the reflector keeps the beam tight for very little intrusive spill.
I don’t gush over lights too often, especially these days. In the beginning of my flashlight hobby and reviewing I was wowed a lot more easily. These days I’ve reviewed so many great lights with ever increasing output levels that I’ve become quite jaded. Many lights today can be admittedly great but just lack that wow factor and excitement level I used to get. The Manker T01 wowed me instantly and the “WOW” factor increased the more I explored and used it. It’s been in my pocket and, more often than not, in my hands ever since it arrived. It is easily my most favorite light ever and if it only had a lower “true” moon low it would be the perfect light.
That it gives such amazing performance when powered by a 1.5v cell is truly incredible. It is the perfect light for the flashaholic who prefers NiMH cells over Li-Ion cells. It’s also the perfect gift a flashaholic could give to a family member so they can experience a quality, high performance flashlight without worrying about them caring for Li-Ion cells. Right now Manker hasn’t announced the retail price on the T01 but as long as the price of the light is $60 or less I’d be very happy.
Manker has hit it out of the ball park for an instant home run! With a true Moon low I would consider it the perfect EDC light instead of merely the best EDC light I’ve had yet. Hopefully it’s not too late for them to get the lowest output on NiMH cells down to a sub-lumen level. But lack of a true Moon low aside, it’s “Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!!”. The Manker T01 gets an enthusiastic “Mac Approved” rating!