Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Vollsion MK-S Miniature flashlight(XP-G2,TIR lens,130Lm,Li-Ion 10180) REVIEW

The miniature EDC flashlights became very popular in 2016. The so small and easy to carry lights can be found from different brands in very similar design. About a year ago,I had the chance to test a flashlight from one of the first manufacturers producing this type lights and maybe the original designer of the Coyoo shape.I tested the MecArmy Illuminex1 in its titanium version.   
A brand called Vollsion is also offering an interesting version of the miniature light-the MK-S.
It is a 43mm long and 13mm diameter flashlight made of durable stainless steel. As the other flashlights of this type it offers built-in charging port/circuit and included in the set rechargeable battery.
A new feature here is the added magnet in the tailcap. This feature could be a big plus allowing you to mount the flashlight on different metal surfaces,having a hands free illumination.

Size comparison-
AAA(10440)battery, 10180 battery, Vollsion MK-S, MecArmy Illuminex1,Fenix E99Ti, Fenix HL10, Bronte BT01
Dimensions: 43mm long,13mm head diameter, 22gr weight with the battery.

Here the MK-S is in my hand. The small flashlight is not hard to hold stably,but rotating the head may take some time to get used and find the most comfortable grip to do it.


Similar to most of the other micro flashlights with a similar design,the MK-S relies on acrylic TIR reflector + Cree XP-G2 LED for the most important part of a flashlight-the beam.
The LED is not well centered on my sample,but it is not better on my Mecarmy copy.


Most of the edges are well rounded.Only the edges of the lanyard/keyring hole may feel a little bit sharper than needed.Yet,this should not cause serious discomfort in the hand,but it is good to mention it.
Something that differentiates the Vollsion MK-S from the most of the micro flashlights ids the mounted in the tailcap magnet. The magnet is not extremely strong,but still may be a good idea to keep magnetically sensitive devices in a different pocket.  (I don't know yet if there is an option for taking out the magnet).


Below is the flashlight disassembled on its base three parts. You can see also the 10180 battery.
Vollsion MK-S has two brightness levels-Low and High.
Switching between Low and High mode is possible thanks to the metal plate which acts as a momentary tactile switch. When you tighten the head,the metal pin on the middle part/battery tube is pressing the plate closing the electrical circuit. When you tighten the head further,the plate changes its contact with the board on which it is mounted-resulting in mode change.
A simple but effective method for mode selecting which does not require many elements and complex user interface.

As we got used to see in many of the flashlights lately,the machine work is excellent.
There are no serious dents or scratches.
The O-rings are thinner than these in similar lights like the Mecarmy Illuminex1.
I found the tail O-ring to not stay on its place and go to the threads,which may cut it after some time.
Actually there is no well defined channel for the O-ring.

Both threads(head and tail) are thick square-cut.This improves the stability of the small,thin construction and durability of the threads.

Close up of the microUSB port on the picture below-you can compare it to any other microUSB ports to see actually how small is the flashlight.
The small flashlight has as much grooves as needed for stable handling. They also provide some anti-roll functionality.
Twisting the head to turn the light On/Off does not cause troubles.

Very close look at the surface of both flashlights.
Note that the Illuminex is in its Titanium allow version,while the MK-S is made of stainless steel.

The built-in charging circuit is charging the miniature battery with maximum of 130mA current.
Charging the battery takes maximum 1 hour. If the battery is not completely empty,the charging process will take less time,30-40 minutes.Charging termination voltage is 4.17V;
The battery is 100mAh according to its marking.

Vollsion MK-S comes with everything needed to star using it,right out of the package.
Rechargeable Li-Ion battery of 10180 size is included.
More interesting is to find a good microUSB cable is also included.
These are the accessories and spare parts- three small O-rings,small keyring and a fine chain for carrying the flashlight on the neck.
The chain does not go through the lanyard hole and can be attached only via split ring.

Looking at the reflector comparison picture Vollsion MK-S/ Mecarmy Illuminex1,we can clearly see the difference in the LED's color. The MK-S produces warmer white light compared to the Illuminex1.
It is yet Cool white light,but with better color rendition,which is preferable for EDC use.
Looking at the position of the LED though,it seems not on the needed distance from the reflector resulting in not entirely covered reflective surface(the not yellow shape around the LED).
This affects the beam making it not so well focused,having zones with different brightness and various artifacts. A better centering ring(if there is such/I did not disassemble the head) could fix the problem.

Beam profile


Vollsion MK-S High and Low mode
1 meter distance to a white wall






 

Run time performance
Below is a graph illustrating  the moment brightness during the time of continuous use on High mode.
The 10180 batteries are too small for some serious capacity and we can not expect impressive runtimes even on outputs of about 100 lumens. The included Li-Ion battery has capacity of 100mAh according to its marking. As we can see from the graph,the MK-S has a hard time to maintain the maximum brightness.
Once the battery voltage is lower,the brightness also gets lower.
In real world situations output differences of 10 or 20 lumens may be not so noticeable. Even the not very consistent output the light from such a small flashlight with built-in charging circuit is still impressive and gives you useful light in every day use.
My Lumen Measurements of the Vollsion MK-S:
High mode 109Lm initial, 95Lm 30sec after activation
Low mode 12Lm

Only two modes do not give much choice for different situations,but the way of operating the so small flashlight is easy to understand,remember and use every day,so the compromise in most cases worth it.
The Low mode may be too bright in full darkness,depending on what you are trying to illuminate.
While the LED is pretty well selected,it needs better centering to allow optimal performance of the TIR lens.
Run times are somewhat limited,but it is hard to expect greater results from a 100mAh battery.
Overall the Vollsion MK-S is a good offer on the micro flashlight market and should serve quite well as a EDC light.

Thanks for reading!
I hope you found the review informative and interesting.

Thanks to Vollsion for providing the MK-S for test and review!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Upcoming Manker U11 Review (1x18650,XP-L,Rechargeable)

Manker U11 review in progress.


The review sample was provided by TMART.com
Check out their Black Friday deals- http://www.tmart.com/promotion/2016-black-friday.html
http://www.tmart.com/promotion/2016-black-friday-coupon.html

Size comparison :
18650 battery, Manker U11, Olight S30, Fenix RC11, Nitecore HC30, Thorfire VG15