Convoy 4x18A flashlight review
In this review, we will discuss the Convoy 4x18A , a 4×18650 cell-sized flashlight with an output of 4300 Lumens, and a USB-C charging port.
First thoughts? The light is larger than expected, I was expecting a BLF Q8 sized light, also often referred to as Soda can size light.
This is a rather large and heavy flashlight. It looks very classy because of its clean lines and smooth stainless steel bezel.
It feels like a premium flashlight, mainly by its design, size, and weight, but it really fits into the Convoy family.
The knurling, the tail-cap, the anodization are all well done and they look very familiar to the rest of the Convoy lineup.
The flashlight arrived in a sturdy brown cardboard box. The only thing that reveals there is a flashlight inside the box, is the small adhesive label placed on the outside of the box with the Type and selected tint configuration of the light printed on it.
After opening the box, you will find the light well protected with soft laser-cut grey foam which surrounds the light, snugly fits and protects the light nicely. There are 2 slots cut into the foam next to the tube, to take out the light.
So I took out the light to see what accessories are included and came to a surprising result
The accessories which are included:
- None !
Yes, you read that correctly, None! There’s not even a manual!
Specifications Convoy 4x18A
|Brand / Model||Convoy 4x18A|
|Lumens||Max 4300 Lm|
|Review date||January 2020|
Handling of the light
The handling of the light is very good, despite its size.
The light provides more than enough grip, as we are used by Convoy. The knurling is according to the well-known Convoy style, which is knurled and milled into squares.
The head has flats on the side which prevents that the light will roll, something that happens a lot with straight regular round-shaped lights, so a welcome feature.
Also, the position of the side switch on the light is placed well. It gives enough feedback while operating the switch and it is very easy to operate when holding the light, the only thing it is not lighted during standby, this would have been a welcome feature.
Since the tailcap has a flat surface, it does tail stand very well, so all features for handling this light are very well thought through and designed.
Because this is a traditional reflector-shaped light, the beam is as expected; it gives a nice hotspot with a lot of usable spill. This seems to be a nice all-rounder!
Build Quality, knurling, threads and anodization
Anodizing quality of the light is good, as said earlier, it has the typical convoy design with the squares that are knurled. I could not find any damage and some slight abuse did not leave any scratches or marks on the light. The matte type Convoy anodizing feels good and provides an excellent grip. A thick rubber O-ring is placed below the AR-coated glass lens. Two rubber O rings are placed on both ends of the body tube.
The body tube can be unscrewed easily, as well as the tail cap, and the tailcap end of the tube comes anodized. There is no need to unscrew the tail-cap since there is an MCPCB placed with springs in parallel for the negative ends of the cells.
The threads are square-cut and came lubed, also the tail cap screws on very easily.
As I have mentioned in previous reviews, the way how difficult it is for a flashlight to screw on the tail cap or head and the mechanical ‘feel’ is one of the best indications of the build quality of a flashlight. It is different for each light, but the test of the 4x18A shows the threads of the Convoy 4x18A are machined well, finished and lubed. Convoy is well known for high quality, durable rectangular-shaped threads.
LEDs, Lens, Bezel and Reflector
- LED Cree XHP70.2 5000K
- CRI Unknown
- Stainless steel bezel
- Smooth reflector
- AR coated glass
The Convoy 4x18A comes with a Cree XHP70.2 LED on a copper DTP base with the choice of 4 tint options, it is offered in 3000 Kelvin, 4000K 5000K and 6000K. I have received the 5000K option which is nice, because it’s not too warm and not too cool, (Personally I don’t like Cold white since it often ends up in angry blue light), but the 5000K seems to be a good choice!
The beam is surprisingly good, because of its large quad die, it gives a very usable beam with enough throw and enough flood.
The depth of the reflector is less than the Convoy L6 reflector, so you’d expect a wider beam, but the beam is actually very comparable with the Convoy L6, maybe a tad less throwy.
The beam shots show the light against the L6 in an open field with the trees according to Google maps distance measurement at 400m
The lens is made of AR coated glass and the nice smooth bezel is made of Stainless steel. The lens is quite thick and really helps the light giving its robust build quality.
Opening the head is very easy by unscrewing the stainless steel bezel, after taking out the lens, O ring, and reflector, the DTP can be seen mounted on a 20mm copper DTP, screwed onto the shelf of the light. This makes the LED easy to swap and modification friendly
The side switch has a clear switch cover, but unfortunately, this is not lighted during standby and use. It is only used as a charging indicator, it never lights up apart from when charging the cells using the USB-C connection port on the light.
More details about the USB connection in the section batteries and charging.
- Head diameter: 69mm
- Battery tube Diameter: 50mm
- Flashlight length: 153mm
- Empty: 458g
- With battery: 641g
See below for a comparison between some popular flashlights, from left to right: Convoy L6, Convoy 4x18A, BLF Q8, and Convoy C8.
Driver & User Interface:
The light distinguishes 3 clicks:
- Standard (short click)
- Quick double click
- Press and hold
- Mechanical, by unscrewing the tube
- While charging, the red indicator light will be lit continuously. When the light turns blue continuously, the battery is fully charged.
- 1% mode 300CD 34 m
- 10% mode 6600CD 162 m
- 40% mode 22000CD 296 m
- 100% mode 54000CD 464 m
- Press and Hold: after 0,5 sec, Low mode will be enabled,
- HOLD cycle through modes
- Single-click: ON (last used memory)
- Double click: turbo
- Press and Hold: will automatically cycle through modes (LMHT -LMHT)
- Single-click: OFF
- Double click: activates Turbo mode
- The light features mode memory, by switching on the light it always goes to the last used level.
Low voltage warning:
- The light features Low voltage warning, it steps down to a lower level and completely shuts off below LVP level (3.0 V).
- The light does not have any strobe modes (and I am happy with that, who uses them anyway?)
- Mechanical Lockout is possible by unscrewing the tube from the head.
- I could not detect any PWM.
Batteries and USB-C charging:
The only accessory that came with the Convoy 4x18A is found inside the battery tube, and it’s a very useful accessory, it’s a 4×18650 flat top to button top adapter! I haven’t used it while testing the light since I used cells with a soldered top, but I am actually using it with my BLF Q8, since it fits exactly!
(This might be a hit, Simon, could you list it in your AliExpress store?)
Inserting batteries requires a little experience, one of the things which could be improved is the fact that the battery cutouts do not support the whole cell, so when you insert batteries horizontally, they will fall down! As shown in the picture, next to a BLF Q8 battery tube, where the whole cell is supported and does not fall down.
The flattop adapter (or button top cells in this test) give their power to the driver using a thick brass ring on the driver which makes it a very durable design.
The Convoy 4x18A comes with a USB-C charging port which makes it easy to charge. The rubber flap feels very robust, and it can be slid and rotated to be able to use the USB-C connector.
A USB cable was not included, so I decided to use some of my own cables and chargers to charge and test the light.
I did find out that the light actually does support USB-C PD! Wow, this is one of the first light which supports USB-C as it should!
Good job Convoy!
My USB current meter does only support a USB-A connector, so I could not test the current draw of the USB-C connection. Charging 4 empty (2,9V) cells up to 4,2V took about 4 hours, which does give the impression USB-C PD charging works as intended.
Using a 5V 2,4A Ipad charger ended up in about a charging current of about 2 Amps.
A huge benefit for this light is the 18650 form factor, but with 4 cells in parallel, it has enough power to sustain high output for quite some time.
Lux readings are done with a UNI-T UT 383 S lux meter, temperature readings are recorded with an infrared Noncontact thermometer, type Benetech GM-320. Current readings are done with a Yokogawa 734-02 Digital Multimeter and with a UNI-T 210E Digital Clamp Meter
In the test, I used a set of 4x Samsung 30Q’cells, fresh off the charger.
Note, For the Lumen/runtime results a deviation of +- 10% should be taken into account since I am using an integrating Lumen tube which is not officially calibrated, it is calibrated against lights with a known Lumen output.
Lumen measurements (for each mode)
The results should be taken with a grain of salt, since I am using an integrating Lumen tube which is not officially calibrated, so take into account a deviation of +- 10%
The Convoy 4x18A is claimed for a throw of 54000CD which equals 464 meters.
- 1% mode 300 cd / 34 m
- 10% mode 6600 cd / 162 m
- 40% mode 22,000 cd / 296 m
- 100% mode 54,000 cd / 464 meters
The results I have measured @5 m are:
- 1% 35 Lx ≈ 875 cd
- 10% 378 Lx ≈ 9450 cd
- 40% 1185 Lx ≈ 29625 cd
- 100% 2999 Lx ≈ 75,000 cd = 548 meters
So this light performs rather well!
Disclaimer: The flashlight was provided by the manufacturer for reviewing.
- Excellent quality, machining, and finish
- Big, solid, sturdy light
- Good output
- Proper USB-C charging
- Good mode spacing
- Easy straightforward UI
- No option to manually set any option. This light screams for Anduril, so we can set the side switch on or off, set temperature stepdown level, and all the lovely other features of Anduril firmware.
- Battery tube does not hold a single cell in place horizontally
Overall Rating: very good
With the 4x18A Convoy has released a very nice, well-built solid light.
It is designed very well, built very well, it’s built like a tank but looks very classy and the USB-C charging port is the first one in a flashlight that I know of that works with and properly supports USB-C PD (Power Delivery)The looks are good in line with the knurling, design, and finish of other Convoy lights, (the tail-cap looks identical to an L6, the only difference is the size) I really like the looks and the smooth Stainless steel bezel, which gives it an excellent quality finish, well-done Convoy!
Another welcome surprise is the battery flat-top adapter, really neat. But there are some downsides and things which could be improved; One of the downsides is, the batteries fall down if you insert them horizontally, they are not held in place since the cutout is just too large, (unlike the BLF Q8, Sofirn Sp36 or Lantern)There is a lighted side switch, but this only works as a charging indicator, it does not work while turning the light on or offA said, this light would be even better when it has Narsil or Anduril firmware, where it is possible to customize these levels and settings. The last negative thing is that it lacks any accessories, it would be nice to have even a brief manual or such, and some spare O rings or anything.As much as I like the light and really would like to give it 5 stars, I have to subtract some points for those shortcomings, therefore I rate it 4 stars out of five.