TaoTronics ThorLite TT-TF01
Manufacturer’s link: www.taotronics.com
- Phenominal build quality
- Type III hard anodization.
- No blinky modes
- Reversable/removeable pocket clip
- Multiple cell configurations. Runs in single or double cell modes
- Tailstands solidly
- Truly waterproof
- Decent output on 2*AA or 14500 (AA/NiMH,/Li-Ion compatability)
- Comes with smooth and crenelated bezels
- Excellent packaging with manual, holster, good lanyard, extra bezel, spare o-rings, spare switch boot
- Price a little higher than most budget lights
- Output not great on single AA/NiMH
- Tail switch can be weak but is easily replaced.
•Super bright Cree XM-L T6 LED with an average 50,000 hours lifespan.
•Replaceable stainless steel strike bezel for personal protection.
•Tail standing / Candle mode.
•Three modes fits multiple environment requirements.
•Premium Type Ⅲ hard-anodized anti-abrasive finished.
•Tactical switch with momentary-on function.
•Compatible with multiple batteries，both AA & 14500 battery.
•Practical body clip made from durable steel for convenient carrying.
•Waterproof rating IPX-8 (up to 2 meters /30minutes)..
•Anti-reverse protection and low voltage protection circuit.
•Full orange peel reflector with flawless wide beam.
Material: Aircraft Aluminum alloy T6061
Dimension: 159mm (L) x 24mm (D)
Weight: 90g (exclude battery)
LED: Cree XM-L T6
Battery Type: 2 x AA , 1 x AA or 1 x 14500 battery
Reflector: Orange peel
Switch: Tactical switch in tail cap
Beam shot Intensity: 200m
When using double AA batteries
Low: 16 Lumens (45 hours)
Mid: 50 Lumens (8 hours)
High: 180 Lumens (2 hours)
When using single AA batteries
Low: 9 Lumens (20 hours)
Mid: 46 Lumens (4 hours)
High: 168 Lumens (1 hour)
When using 1x 14500 battery cell
Low: 13 Lumens (50 hours)
Mid: 159 Lumens (4 hours)
High: 325 Lumens (1 hour)
(Please do not use more than 1x 14500 battery cell, as the high voltage will damage the Cree LED.)
•Half press (no click) the button at the tail cap, the flashlight will be temporarily on at high mode.
•Half press (no click) the button again, the flashlight will be temporarily on at next mode.
•Full press (click) the button, the flashlight turned on and the mode will be confirmed.
I was contacted by a representative of TaoTronics by the name of Heather who asked if I would mind reviewing a couple of their lights. I was sent this light, the Thorlite TF-01 (the light being reviewed here) as well as the TT-TF03 (which will be reviewed soon). I recognized them both as rebadged Balder flashlights. This one in particular is the rebadged Balder BD-1P which is not a bad thing to at all to be. Having never owned a Balder light, I was was very eager to give these the shakedown as I’ve heard nothing but good things about them overall. It appears that TaoTronics has changed nothing in these except for their lasered logo being on it instead of Balder’s. I also prefer the location for TaoTronic’s logo better than Balder’s.
Pretty much we all know that Balder makes a quality light. The only I’ve heard of them is that they are a little pricier than the competition. I am happy to say that while these lights are a couple years old, they still hold up well to the standards of more recent lights. While not excelling in output, they are competitive with other 2*AA flashlights like the Shiningbeam Caveman (290 lumens) and the Fenix LD20 (only 170 lumens) when it comes to performance but where the TT-TF01 really surpasses them is in quality of construction and finish as well as in versatility.
This little light will work on any AA sized cell( you can stick in it, which is something the Caveman and LD20 cannot do. Want a small 2*AA light that pumps out 265 OTF lumens? You got it!
Like the idea of being able to run 2*AA cells in an emergency but prefer a single 14500 light for your EDC duty? You got it along with 417 OTF lumens to boot!
What about emergencies when the power goes out and you need batteries for your light? Only one AA cell you could find in the junk drawer? No worries there, either. The TT-TF01 runs fine off a single AA cell, too.
Prefer to clip your lights inside your pocket for EDC? The TT-TF01 has a nice little clip.
Need your hands free to work on stuff but the pocket clip is mounted to the tailcap? No worries! The clip on the TT-TF01 is reversible and, BTW, you needn’t worry about scratching up the finish moving the clip from one end to the other and back. The finish on this thing is tougher than nails. Stick the pocket clip onto the head and clip it to the brim of your ball cap. BAM!
Hate pocket clips all together? Take it the hell off!
I kind of figured the TT-TF01 wouldn’t fair so well against the competition in it’s price range when it came to performance. I’m happy to report that it held it’s ground pretty well. First, let me say that the beam on the light is extremely nice. The reflector is OP Which gives it a smooth, creamy spill with a nice hotspot in the middle. The main beam concentration has about a 15 degree spread with the overall spill at 60 degrees. It’s a nice all around beam.
On 2*AA it managed 265 OTF lumens in my Integrated Sphere. On a single 14500 it pushes 417 OTF lumens. This is after 30 seconds runtime. Performance on a single AA/NiMH is nothing to brag about but it gets the job done and in a pinch when you are scrounging for batteries to run the light and you can only find a single AA in the junk drawer it will still give you 81 OTF lumens to work with. Let’s take a look at all the numbers.
Lux after 1 minute
TaoTronics also states that the TF-01 is IPX-8 (2m/30 minutes) and I have no problem believing it. I left my sample in a bowl of water turned on and promptly forgot about it until 1.5 hours later when I suddenly remembered I left it submerged. It was fine. Not a spec of moisture got into the light. This light is tight as a frog’s arsehole.
Aside from a few specs I noted during my teardown, I will simply allow my photos to do most of the talking. I will only narrate when necessary to elaborate on what you may be seeing.
LED MCPCB diameter: 16 mm
Switch diameter: 9.5 mm
Lens diameter & thickness: 20 mm x 1.89 mm
Lens o-ring diameter and thickness: 20 mm x 1 mm
Reflector diameter & depth: 18 mm x 16.35 mm
I received my TF-01 in the tasteful package below. I’ve seen this packaging before on milling bits I’ve purchased. I think it’s a great idea to use them for flashlights.
Squeezed into that little plastic box is the light, it’s holster, a very nice paracord lanyard, a smooth bezel, a couple spare o-rings, and a spare switch boot along with a very nice manual.
Here is the light with battery extension and stainless steel crenelated bezel installed.
Here is the light with the smooth anodized aluminum bezel installed.
A few glamour shots of the light from various angles. The machining on this light is top notch and rather exceptional. All knurling is just right, the threads are immaculate, and the anodizing is flawless. HAIII on this light is top notch. I’ve removed and replaced the clip a dozen times on each end and it shows no sign of wear or scratching. Anything you see in the pics is dust or dirt as the body and finish is turly flawless.
Here we get a pretty fair representation of theanodizing on the TT-TF01. Really nice! The rubber on the switch boot is thick and sturdy while still giving good feel from the switch.
Laser etching is clean and heavy. Looks great!
The wide tail cap is wide for tail standing stability yet notched for easy finger access to the tail switch.
Knurling on the head is a perfect combination of agressiveness while still being smooth and easy on the pocket.
Here it is in single cell “shorty” configuration. One off the nicest looking AA light I’ve ever seen. I’ve always loved the look of the Balder BD-1 and obviously, the TT-TF01 has the same great looks.
Mild OP reflector gives a super smooth, useful beam.
Another shot of the TT-TF01 in shorty mode along with the extension tube. When the extension is not on there are no indicators on the light as to the manufacturer’s name.
Clean ribbing on the main body give great feel.
A look at the TT-TF01 in shorty mode with the pocker clip on the tail…
Another with the clip mounted to the head…
And for those of you who detest clips, here it is without one.
The bezel is easily removed to swap out without effecting the lens and it’s seal. Threading throughout the light is not square but nearly so. All of it deep, clean and smooth.
The lens and reflector are installed from the rear. If you had to you could use the TT-TF01 without any bezel at all but I wouldn’t recommend it.
Both bezels are included. Some folks like stealth and others prefer a little flash.
The pocket clip is of course removable. The crenelated bezel is not aggressive and is easy on the pocket.
With the head removed we can see the rear of the reflector. The reflector threads into the head to press against the lens and o-ring.
The “run” you see here is from the chroming process. The part of the reflector that matters is perfectly finished.
Here is a view of the reflector removed from the head.
Head internals layed out…
Clean threading all the way though.
The XM-L is protected from shorting to the reflector thanks to this nylon isolator ring.
The entire silver part of the head is the pill. It is anodized aluminum.
With the pill removed we can see a nylon bushing holding a nice brass anode connector for the battery.
Removing this bushing we can see the backside of it where there is a spring that pressed against the positive contact of the driver. When installed and tightened, the spring is full compressed against the driver. I doubt it’s even needed except as a safegaurd to ensure connection if it should work loose.
Here we have a little better look at the threading where the body meets the extension tube/tailcap. The anodized threads at the rear of the body allow lockout if needed so the light can’t accidentally be turned on. All o-rings fit tight and are perfectly sized for their duties. All threads were lightly lubed from the factory as well.
Here we see the back of the driver.
All the extra “flaps” on the pill act as finning for increased surface area and cooling ability while keeping the light non-aggressive/tactical looking.
Body tube is thick and sturdy at all threaded joints. The front of the body tube, where it joins with the pill/head is unanodized for greater electrical contact area. Also, since the driver is shielded with the nylon ring, all current is passed through the threads themselves instead of the face of the body tube.
A better look at the extension battery tube.
Thick walls and flawless machining throughout.
Anodized threads for lock-out ability.
Very thick tube walls for strength.
The inside of the tailcap is protected by another nylon bushing that threads into the tail. Once removed you can see the solid piece that threads into the tailcap. This piece holds the small switch itself. The nylon ring itself holds the ground contacts of the switch against the body of the switch housing.
Here the switch housing is removed and you can see ow thick this piece is.
With the switch housing removed we can see the backend of it along with the switch button showing. We can now push on the switch button and push the switch itself out of the housing…
Revealing the switch itself. I see the switch itself as the only Achillles heel of this light. It is easily replaced, however, with a standard 9.5mm switch that is available from several sources, one of which is CNQG.
Here are all the tail components together. You can see the deep threading throughout.
A shot of the tailcap closeup. No rough edges anywhere and no missing ano either.
A peek inside from the back.
Here is a beam profile pic. The center hot spot is about 15 degrees and the total spill is 60 degrees.
Beamshot from 1 meter. Yardstick on the wall for scale.
Can’t claim it’s waterproof without testing it. Initial dunking and it’s a go…
1.5 hours later and still going strong! Not a trace of water anywhere inside. As tight as I figured it was.
Mac Approved! Highly recommended if you want a quality light and aren’t afraid to spend $45 or so (street price). Build quality is superb and output is competitive with other lights in it’s class. Overall I have to say this light, while not exactly a budget light, is a very good value. It’s versatility sets it apart from most of it’s competitors.
I would give it 4 of 5 stars with only it’s price and it’s potentially weak switch keeping it from getting 5 stars.