ThruNite TN35 Tactical/Search Flashlight (Cree MT-G2/3*18650)

ThruNite TN35 Tactical/Search Flashlight

PROS:

  • Currently one of the brightest single emitter flashlights on the market
  • Great tint thanks to the MT-G2 emitter
  • Very good balance between output and throw
  • Very good mode spacing with simple and intuitive
  • Excellent machining and finish
  • Good feel from both tail and rotary switches
  • Wonderful AR coating on thick, clear lens
  • Great knurling
  • Forward switch for momentary on in any of the 6 modes as well as physical lockout
  • Compact format for a light of this output and performance

CONS:

  • My sample was not quite up to the claimed output but still very impressive for a single LED (2349 OTF after 30 seconds)

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Manufacturer’s Copy:

Key Features:

– Improved UI for more lumens

– Ultra-clear tempered glass lens with anti-reflective coating.

– Momentary forward click tactical switch.

– Strobe mode for tactical and emergency use.

– Smooth reflector for max light output.

– Highly focused beam for maximum distance

– Tactical knurling for firm grip.

– Streamlined body design.

– Mechanical reversed polarity protection design for battery carrier.

– Intelligent highly efficient circuit board design for max performance and long run time.

– Specially designed for Military, Law Enforcement, Self-defense, Hunting, Search & Rescue and Outdoor activities.

– Intelligent temperature controlled light output for user safety.

Key Features:

– Improved UI for more lumens

– Ultra-clear tempered glass lens with anti-reflective coating.

– Momentary forward click tactical switch.

– Strobe mode for tactical and emergency use.

– Smooth reflector for max light output.

– Highly focused beam for maximum distance

– Tactical knurling for firm grip.

– Streamlined body design.

– Mechanical reversed polarity protection design for battery carrier.

– Intelligent highly efficient circuit board design for max performance and long run time.

– Specially designed for Military, Law Enforcement, Self-defense, Hunting, Search & Rescue and Outdoor activities.

– Intelligent temperature controlled light output for user safety.

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INITIAL IMPRESSIONS:

In a word…impressive.  From the lovely case and internal packaging to the light itself the first time I slid it from the rugged holster, I was impressed.  Frankly, every time I open one of the large ThruNite TN3x they never fails to impress me.  With the TN35 the first time I looked into the wide head past the AR coated lens and deep into the beautiful reflector I was wowed by the site of that huge, single Cree MT-G2 emitter sitting where I am used to seeing an XM-L series emitter.  The promise of massive amounts of light exploding from the front of the TN35 was delivered after loading the cells into the light and turning it on high for the first time.  Seeing the beautiful tint that it seems all the MT-G2 emitters are endowed with was very satisfying as well.

ThruNite markets the TN35 as a perfect compromise between the flood of the TN30 (3*XM-L2) and the dedicated throw of TN31 (1*XM-L2). I have to say that it certainly does live up to its copy.  Output modes range from a wonderfully low 0.42 OTF lumens all the way to 2366 OTF lumens (2425 @ 0s) and hammers that light 510+ meters down range.  Build quality is up top the same high standards that all of the TN3x series lights meet.  It was good to see that the chromed brass pill of the TN32 did not make it onto the TN35.  The pill of the TN35 is identical to that of the TN31 which has earned legendary status for handling over 6.5A for sustained periods.  The TN35 should have no problem handling any heat that the 5.5A driven MT-G2 emitter will create.

CONSTRUCTION:

The TN35 is a high-end light in every way.  From the perfect machining with zero nicks or blemishes, the smooth threads and perfect O-rings, the fantastic knurling, and its phenomenal performance, the TN35 is truly, IMHO, well worth it’s $180 price tag.  If I could only own one light, or take just one light on a camping trip, this just might be the one I’d want.  All O-rings seal tightly.  All threads are amply lubricated with a nyogel type silicone grease.  Fit and finish is very precise and well designed.  The anodised finish is evenly applied and all components match perfectly in color and feel.  The knurling is aggressive without being too rough and is easy to grip and hold onto in spite of the width of the body/battery tube.

The lens is thick and has a nice AR coating.  It is held in place with a carefully designed system of O-rings and L-rings that protect it from shock at all angles and keeps moisture and dust from entering at the front of the light.  The large, beautiful SMO reflector is made of aluminum and fits perfectly in the head.

The large Cree MT-G2 emitter is mounted to a direct thermal path solid copper MCPCB which in turn is held onto the solid aluminum pill with two screws.  All soldering of the electrical components is top-notch and all of the components are unmolested by sanding.  Wiring is heavy and all PCBs are held in place with machine screws.  Output modes are selected by rotating the magnetic control ring just behind the head and ahead of the pill.

The battery carriage is well made and is protected from being installed backwards thanks to its design that allows it to work properly no matter which end is inserted first into the battery tube.  The switch is a forward clicky design with very good feel.

RECORDED MEASUREMENTS:

Head Diameter: 78.85mm
Body Diameter: 49mm
Total Length: 202mm
Driver Diameter: 44mm
Lens Diameter * Thickness: 72.41mm * 3mm
Lens O-ring Diameter * Thickness: 72mm * 2mm
Reflector O.D.*I.D.*Depth 69.65mm*66mm*65mm
Tailcap Diameter: 16mm
Maximum Cell Length: 69mm
Switch Type: Forward-clicky
PWM in any of the modes? No
Waterproof to 2m Yes
Beam angle / Spill angle 7 degrees / 54 degrees

PERFORMANCE:

The TN35 is like a decathlon player.  While not the best at any one task, such as throw or flood, it manages to perform all tasks better than most lights that are dedicated can do.  Need a tent light while camping that can run on sub-lumen output so you can negotiate sleeping bags without disturbing anyone?  Check.  Need a light that can sweep a large area for predators or things that go bump in the back 40?  Check.  Need a light that can reach out and touch something 500 yds or more away?  Check.  Need a light to walk the dog comfortably without disturbing the whole neighborhood?  Check.  Need a light that…well, you get the idea.  The simple fact is, as long as you have a belt to hang its holster from, you could truly have it as your one and only light and still perform any tasks better than most lights designed for a single task.  Heck, I’d feel fine going to a meetup of flashaholics with no other light than the TN35 and know that I can run with the big dogs no matter what the challenge.  Fact is, it throws farther than most dedicated throwers with 510-520 ANSI meters.  It floods with great spill with anywhere between 2350-2750 lumens depending on the particular MT-G2 emitter you have.

Output is fully regulated. and PWM is non-existent or at least unnoticeable.  I spoke with the owner of ThruNite and the output of the 10-20 samples they tested ranged from a low of 2600 OTF to 2750 OTF with the majority of them at 2700 OTF lumens.  My example only pulls 2425 peak OTF lumens no matter what cells I use but since my numbers on the TN30 and TN32 jive with ThruNite’s numbers for those models I have no reason to not believe that my lower output with the TN35 is due to variance in individual Cree emitters.  I just happened to get an MT-G2 that is on the bottom of the output range.  Sometimes you get a light that, all things being equal, is brighter than all the others you own and sometimes you get one that is lower than the rest.  Mine is one of the latter.  That said, it is still very damned impressive!  The tint is simply gorgeous and the spill is smooth as silk with a large, tasty hotspot and a blindingly bright corona surrounding it.

As you can see from the beamshots below, the reflector in the TN35 does a great job of focusing the large MT-G2 emitter’s output.  The TN32, an XM-L2 1700 lumen monster, is on the left while the TN35, our MT-G2 2400 lumen monster is on the right in each of the two photos below.

This first photo is with the exposure value in my camera turned all the way down so you can see through the glare to the hotspots lurking somewhere in the middle of the beams.  The TN32 (left) seems to have a brighter hotspot, little if any corona and is definitely far better focused than the TN35 (right).  The hotspot on the TN35 seems to actually be a touch smaller than that of the TN32 but the overwhelming output of the TN35 makes for a huge yet smooth corona surrounding it.  You an also see the lovely tint that the MT-G2 gives.  In real life the TN32’s XM-L2 beam tint is not even remotely the bluish tint that you see in my pics.  The MT-G2 is even warmer.

In this next pic you can see just how wonderfully smooth the beams are on both of the large ThruNite torches.  You can also see just how large the hotspot is on the TN35.  When sweeping a large field or far buildings, it really lights up a huge area while still providing plenty of spill for walking but not so much that your close vision is ruined by backscatter.

The 6 output modes vary from the high of 2400 lumens all the way down to a battery sipping and surprisingly useful low of just 0.42 OTF lumens that can stay running continuously for up to 46 days straight.  You can actually look directly at the huge MT-G2 emitter in the lowest mode and see all of the fine details of the emitter surface and it doesn’t feel uncomfortable at all.

The modes are fairly evenly spaced and very useful.  The largest jump in output occurs between modes 2 and 3 where the output jumps from 24.7 lumens up to 367.9 lumens.  After that the output nearly doubles with each mode.  In between the highest mode (6) and strobe is a standby mode where you can keep the tail switch on while turning the light off with quick and easy access to either Turbo or strobe with a slight twist of the control ring.  The strobe is a one that cycles between a fast and slow strobe so that an attacker is kept disoriented and unable to compensate.

PWM is non-existent or completely unnoticeable with the naked eye.  The forward clicky switch in the tail allows you to use momentary on in any of the 7 modes  as determined by the position of the magnetic control ring.  The Control ring itself rotates easily and snicks nicely into each of the 8 settings.

Let’s have a look at my test numbers for the TN35.  All of my OTF lumen figures were done in my calibrated 16″ Integrated Sphere.

MODE OTF LUMENS
Mode 1 0.42
Mode 2 24.7
Mode 3 367.9
Mode 4 906.2
Mode 5 1522.3
Mode 6 @ 0 seconds 2425.7
Mode 6 @ 30 seconds 2366.5

Lux and Throw

ANSI lux measurements (to 0.25 lux) were taken at 8.8 meters and converted back to 1 meter

ANSI Lux @ 1m 65,025cd
Throw distance in meters
510 meters

DETAILS & PHOTOS

For those of you who, like me,  enjoy lots of detailed pics this next section is for you.  I believe that photos show nearly all you need and are the most objective way to view a light when you can’t hold it in your own hands.  As always, clicking on a pic will open the original size in a new window/tab.

The TN35 comes in a beautiful and sturdy case custom fitted for the light.

Inside the case is an egg crate foam lined lid and a very dense closed cell foam in the main body of the case.  The foam in the base is cut out to tight tolerances to firmly hold the light in its holster.

All included accessories are below the light in the bottom of the case.

In addition to the light and holster you will find a warranty card, a user manual, a very strong and versatile lanyard, two spare O-rings, and a spare tail switch boot.

The user manual provides all the needed information to get the most from your light.

 

The holster is made from very thick and durable nylon and the stiff structure fits the light securely and keeps it safely at your side.

Inside the holster you will find the TN35 with a clear plastic sleeve over the head further protecting the light by keeping it clean and free from any scratches.

The large 79mm head is a treat for the eyes.

 

The lightly crenelated stainless steel bezel is nicely machined and, like the rest of the light, has no sharp edges.

Plenty of cuts in the inside of the bezel for easy removal of the bezel with common long nose pliers or other appropriate tools.  It actually comes off nicely with just a firm hand grip.

Looking into the clear, thick, heavily AR coated lens you can see the deep and wide reflector with the huge, perfectly centered Cree MT-G2 emitter at the very base.

Thermal fins grace the base of the head to help dissipate the heat generated by the 5.5A driven emitter.

The magnetic control ring surrounds the pill.  Position is indicated by a small arrow laser etched into the ring.  Laser etching in the base of the pill show output levels.  Rotating the control ring clock-wise increases output in 8 defined levels from a moon low all the way through to maximum followed by a standby mode and finally strobe.

Here you can see the “Stand by” and “Strobe” markings.

All laser etching is super sharp and clear.  The knurling is the usual standard of wonderful that I am used to finding in all of ThruNite’s products.

The wide base is surrounded by a thick and durable ring with three finger grooves cut out for easy access to the switch while allowing stable tail standing.  Large lanyard holes are in abundance allowing for many 550 paracord positions or attachment clip positions.  All edges and openings have chamfered edges so that nothing can cut your cord or cause premature wear.

The light is designed to unthread in the middle to allow for changing of the cells.  All threads are smooth with very little slop.  Lots of  nyogel coats all threads to keep the threads turning smoothly and further aid in water proofing.

Focusing now on the head of the TN35, we see the same exact construction found in the TN31 and TN32 models.  A large, thick contact plate covers the base of the driver.  At the center of the contact plate is a hole for the positive contact spring.  A press fit black nylon insert insulates the positive spring from making contact with the negative charge of the contact ring.

At the front of the light is the large bezel.  Removing it reveals a groove in the rear of the stainless steel bezel that holds a large silicon O-ring.

That O-ring presses against and seals the glass while also adding shock protection for the glass lens.

Fully anodized threads at the lip of the head are smooth and perfectly machined.  The lens sits inside of a thick silicon L-ring.  Between the bezel O-ring and the lens L-ring, the lens if protected from shock and moisture access from all directions.

Here we see the 3mm thick lens.

And here you can see the AR coating.

The reflector itself is nearly identical to the TN31/32 reflectors with the obvious difference of the opening for the emitter at the base.

 

Here is the whole internal assembly of the head.  The bezel and it’s O-ring at the base followed by the lens and it’s L-ring.  The reflector sits on the L-ring.  Once everything is tightened the L-ring presses against the inside of the head sealing it completely from moisture and water entry.

The Cree MT-G2 emitter is mounted on a solid copper MCPCB with direct thermal contact between the emitter and copper base.  The MCPCB is held tightly against the solid one-piece pill with 2 screws and a thin layer of thermal grease between the two.  A white nylon centering ring keeps the emitter perfectly centered in the reflector while providing electrical insulation for the aluminum reflector.

Here is a better look at the MT-G2 emitter surface.  It’s a huge at nearly 9mm square.

Back to the rear of the head.  The contact plate and driver board are held to the pill with 3 screws.

The driver provides roughly 5.5A to the LED.  All components are professionally soldered and retain their markings.  No mystery components with their markings sanded off here!  The driver sits on a wide ledge machined in the inside of the pill.  Thick wires carry the current to the LED.

Looking at the main body we see the battery carrier which we will take a closer look at later.

With the cartridge removed we see down the body tube to the tail springs.  Due to the reversible design of the carrier, both negative (outer) and positive (inner) springs sit on the switch PCB.

The tail piece unthreads from the tail of the body revealing more deep and clean threads and a stout O-ring.  In the center of the tailcap is a threaded retaining disk that holds in the replaceable switch boot.

The main power switch is a forward-clicky design and is mounted directly to the same PCB as the tail springs.  Switch feel is great.

With the switch PCB removed you can see the clean inside of the main body tube.

All springs are thick and appear to be silver coated but I would have to confirm with ThruNite about that.  The soldering joints are flawless and heavy for maximum current conductivity.  These won’t come loose if the light is dropped.

Back to the battery carrier, we see the reversed polarity protected design that holds the three 18650 cells.  The design will accomodate protected cells up to 69mm.

The carrier is very sturdy and all springs are heavy and well soldered.  The brass positive contacts are thick and durable.

Here is the TN35 along with its TN32 & TN30 brethren.  The TN35 and TN32 share identical bodies except for the pill material.  Where the TN32 used a heavier brass pill, the TN35 went with the same aluminum pill used in the TN31.

On a side note, while shooting my ceiling beam shots with the TN32 and TN35 with both lights on high for several minutes, I hit both lights with my IR thermometer and the pills on both were within 1 degree fahrenheit of each other.  The TN32 was actually the cooler of the two and drives its emitter at 6.5A compared to the 5.5A of the TN35.  I truly believe that all the complaints and fears of the chrome plated brass pill of the TN32 are unfounded.

A front view of the same three lights.  You can see the difference in temperature between the TN35 and Tn32.  It’s quite obvious how much warmer the big MT-G2 is compared to the TN32’s XM-L2 emitter.

A closer look at the two big TNs next to each other.

THE VERDICT

The perfect high performance flashlight for all around use.  I’ve seen other MT-G2 lights on the market but I don’t believe any of them patch the sheer output and throw of the TN35.  Superb build quality should provide years of service.  I can recommend the ThruNite TN35 without any reservations.  Based on my example I highly doubt anyone would regret this purchase.

*The flashlight reviewed was provided courtesy of ThruNite-Store.com

Be sure to visit The Flashlight Forum to leave comment or ask questions about this review!

BAM3!JMR

3 thoughts on “ThruNite TN35 Tactical/Search Flashlight (Cree MT-G2/3*18650)

  1. Pingback: ThruNite TN35 with MT-G2 emitter has arrived! | Johnny Mac Reviews

  2. Being a relatively new Flashaholic i consider you are streaks ahead with your down to earth practical approach.
    I struggle with the abbreviations and terminology at times…. but that’s what happens when you get bitten by a new hobby… !
    I already have the TN32 + a few (quite a few) others.
    The TN35 is next on the shopping list when they become available on Ebay.

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