“Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you?” – Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back.
Just as Yoda proved that mighty things can come in small packages, the ThruNite Ti3 doesn’t let its diminutive nature get in the way of it packing a punch.
In some ways, the Ti3 is a bit of an odd beast. It’s slightly too big to be a true keychain flashlight, and slightly too small to be an EDC flashlight. It’s just about strong enough to use tactically to disorient a would-be attacker, but too small and light to be of much use as an improvised strike weapon.
In fact, you could be forgiven at first glance for thinking that the Ti3 falls awkwardly and unsuccessfully between categories.
But you’d be wrong. What ThruNite have managed to engineer is a truly useful flashlight in a stunningly small package. It’s something of a marvel, when you stop to consider it properly.
First up, take the output. Despite only being powered by a single AAA battery, the Ti3 can pump out a frankly astonishing 120 lumens. The first time you turn this baby on to full power in the dark, you’ll be amazed at how bright it is. The downside of the small battery, of course, is an unimpressive runtime – you can use 120 lumens for about 30 minutes.
In practice, I don’t think that’ll be a problem for most people. If you’re looking for a flashlight with high output and a long runtime, an AAA model isn’t what you should be spending your money on. If you’re looking for an ultra-compact flashlight with the ability to put out 120 lumens, your search might just be over.
To conserve that precious battery life, the Ti3 doesn’t default to high mode but to a frugal 0.04 lumens firefly mode, which can keep shining for 115 hours. It’s useful for helping you find a keyhole, or for leaving on a small light as a marker to come back to in the dark, but that’s about it. On the other hand, it won’t do much to spoil your night-adjusted vision, that’s a plus.
The Low mode is a much handier 12 lumens, with a useful runtime of 6.3 hours. I suspect that this is the output level that most people will find themselves using most often – I know I do.
Switching between the output modes is straightforward. The Ti3 has a twist-to-illuminate switch, defaulting to firefly mode on initial use. Turn it off and on again within two seconds, and the power ramps up to Low. Repeat the process, and you’re in High mode.
Cycling through the modes like this is easy to remember, and it’s sensible that the power starts off at the firefly setting rather than in High mode. However, since Low is probably the mode that’s going to get the most use, it would have been nice to have an option to set this as the default. That’s not possible, unfortunately.
Perhaps the biggest surprise in the small package is that the Ti3 comes with a strobe mode – not something I’d have expected to see. Accessing strobe mode is a little on the fiddly side. You have to turn the flashlight on and off six times in succession, so you’re out of luck if you’re trying to get to the strobe in a tremendous hurry.
The strobe itself blasts out at the full 120 lumens, so it’s a genuinely useful strobe. Again, though, it’s limited by the battery size, so it’ll only keep going for 60 minutes. But if you’re going to be in a situation where you might need a strobe to last all night (being stranded on a mountaintop, perhaps), then take a more suitable flashlight with you. The idea of the Ti3 is that you’ll have it everywhere with you without pausing for thought – it’s not a replacement for a specialist flashlight for outdoor expeditions.
And the size and weight of the Ti3 genuinely do lend themselves to being carried literally everywhere. At 2.75 inches long, and a miserly 0.4 ounces in weight without the battery, it’s not going to be a burden for anyone. The body is made of tough aircraft grade aluminum, while the whole package is rated IPX-8 water-resistant to 2 meters.
Other useful features include a pocket clip, which can reverse and attach to the mid point of the barrel so you can clip the Ti3 to your hat brim. You’re genuinely not going to notice the extra weight, so you can do this without any discomfort whatsoever. The clip also allows the flashlight to lie horizontally on a flat surface without rolling away, while the flat tail cap means it will stand vertically too.
Finally, there’s a chain and clip for attaching it to your keys or belt loop. The actual clip is great – strong without being hard to use. The connection point for the chain to the flashlight itself isn’t so successful, however. Basically, you close the links of the chain into the connection hook. There’s a risk that sooner or later the link will loosen, so I’d suggest keeping an eye on it. Some kind of swivel connector and a small split ring would have been a better solution, I think.
There are two bulb options available, Cool White and Neutral White, and the Cree XP-G2 R5 LED is rated for 20+ years of runtime.
There was a danger with the Ti3 that it might be seen as a Jack of All Trades / Master of None. In reality, it packs in a lot of useful features to a really tiny package, and that’s an impressive feat.
- Small enough to carry everywhere
- Powerful output
- Strobe mode
- Useful clip
- Easy switching between modes
- Chain could attach more securely
- Runtime is short in High mode
ThruNite Ti3 EDC Cree XP-G2 R5 AAA LED Flashlight, Cool White
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