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Skilhunt E2A AA Flashlight Review
Skilhunt E2A specifications
|Lumens||600 Lumens (on 14500 lithium ion)|
|Beam intensity||4100 cd (on 14500)|
|Battery config.||1*AA alkaline, Nimh, Nicad, or 14500 lithium ion|
|Review date||January 2021|
Skilhunt is a name I don’t hear as much as I do Convoy, Astrolux, or Sofirn. However, the brand has been around a while, and when I was asked to review a new Skilhunt light, I was all in for a chance to get my hands on one. Not only is the name really cool, they are reputed to make a good flashlight. Most folks know Skilhunt for the Skilhunt M150 and M300, or the innovative H series L-shaped headlamps but turns out they tried their hand at making small EDC lights also. Enter the brand new E2A AA-size multi-chemistry flashlight. This is the AA version of the AAA E3A. It comes with the venerable Luminus SST20 LED in various tints (including a high CRI version) and sports a TIR instead of a reflector. This is my first Skilhunt light, so I’m excited to try it out and see if Skilhunt has more going for it than just a cool name.
Okay, Mom always told me not to judge a book by its cover, but I do have a soft spot for nice packages. The E2A comes presented in a really nice retail package. I really like the contrasting yellow and white colors highlighted by matte and glossy accents. There’s a window in the front that shows the light inside. Inside the box (it opens from the bottom) there’s a thin plastic molded carrier holding the light with a small area containing two baggies and a very simple manual. Inside the baggies are a lanyard, 2 o-rings, and a pocket clip. More and more I’m amazed how much can fit into a small box!
What You’ll Get:
- Skilhunt E2A
- Two spare o-rings
- Pocket clip
- AA alkaline battery (in the flashlight)
Time to be honest: the E2A has the nicest lanyard of any flashlight I’ve had so far. It has the soft padded strap and an adjustable cinch that actually works! The pocket clip seems nice also, albeit a little small. When I unscrewed the head, surprise! There was an alkaline battery hiding in the tube with an isolator. A really nice addition, but I don’t recommend alkaline batteries for long-term use. More on that later. For a cheap light, you get everything you need to turn it on and go.
Handling of the light
I was expecting the E2A to be small, and it is, but it feels really nice to hold and the knurling on the battery tube combined with grooves cut into the head and tailcap lends a lot of grip..
There’s a rear-mounted reverse clicky (light turns on after the click) that’s stiff and requires some force to actuate, but seems high quality. Two sides of the tailcap have relief cuts for reaching the switch and I had no trouble with finding the button. The only issue I had is that I have big hands so the light got kind of lost in there and I found (for me) the best way to get to the switch was to hold it like a cigarette, but it’s equally easy to manipulate and use with an underhand grip also.
The pocket clip is removable and it takes some force to attach. It also doesn’t rotate in the tube very easily because the end of the clip gets hung up on the knurling. Without the clip, the light will roll around all over. Speaking of knurling, the E2A has very effective and cool-looking cross-cut grooves on the battery tube. Reminds me of the M150’s knurling.
The light can tail stand, but it’s a bit wobbly due to the cutouts on either end of the tailcap. There are 4 lanyard attachment holes in the tailcap.
Build Quality, and Warranty
I wasn’t expecting uber quality with an affordable light, but I was pleasantly surprised because the Skilhunt E2A is a really nice light with fantastic quality. Skilhunt offers a 2-year replacement warranty, and a lifetime limited warranty with free labor for repairs, but they charge for parts.
All the contacts are gold-plated and it feels like a solidly built light that should be more expensive than it is. The matte finish anodizing is close to Acebeam, which is one of my favorites. It’s type III hard anodizing with no defects, thin areas, or blemishes. The titanium/gunmetal color looks awesome. Skilhunt says the E2A is good for IPX8, so no worries if it goes for a swim.
The machining is perfect. No tool marks, burrs, or defects, and the parts fit together perfectly with no gaps or rattles. All the edges are chamfered smooth with no sharp edges. The grooves for gripping on the head and tail are interesting with micro cross cuts that add traction. I really like that and they help with gripping a lot.
The light disassembles into 3 parts: the head, battery tube, and tail cap. Batteries are inserted from the head end, and although you can insert batteries from the tail cap, it’s hard to unscrew and there’s a compression washer between the switch PCB and the battery tube to hold the switch in place. The threads are square cut and on the finer side, but still sturdy. Both ends of the battery tube are sealed with a single o-ring, but neither had any lubrication so the threads were gritty and rough. I added some SuperLube and that helped. Can we get some lube please Skilhunt?
LED, Lens, Bezel, and Reflector
You can get any LED you want as long as it’s the Luminus SST20, and thankfully it comes in three tints: 6500k, 5000k, and there is a 4000k 95 CRI option as well. My test light came with the high CRI SST20.
The edge around the optic has shallow crenulations and instead of a reflector, the E2A uses a pebbled TIR recessed about 1 mm under the edge of the bezel to protect it from drops. It produces a large hotspot with minimal spill, and seems to be about what I get from a similar size OP reflector with something like a Cree XP-L. At any distance over 5 meters it becomes a large wall of nice, warm high CRI light with no transition between spill and hotspot. Overall the beam is very useful for general purpose use, and it throws pretty well for being so small. The high CRI is nice also for reproducing reds and browns.
- Length: 8.5 cm / 3.34 inches
- Head diameter: 1.9 cm / 0.74 inches
- Without battery: 25 gr / .88 oz. With Shockli 14500 47.1 gr. With IKEA Ladda 2450 mah 57.2 gr.
EDC flashlight comparison
1st group left to right: Skilhunt E2A, Sofirn SP10S, Sofirn SC01, Thorfire TG06.
2nd group left to right: Thorfire TG06, Sofirn SP10S, Skilhunt E2A, Sofirn SC01.
3rd group left to right: Acebeam L18, E2A, 14500.
Driver & User Interface:
The UI is about as simple as it gets. Andruil? Nope. Narsil? Nowhere to be found. It’s click on, click off with three extremely well spaced modes. You get a low, medium, and high mode. It does have memory. There are no blinkies either.
- Press and Hold: N/A
- Single click: Turn on. Half press to change to next mode
- Double click: N/A
- Triple click: N/A
- 4x click: N/A
- Press and Hold: N/A
- Single click: Turn off. Half press to change to next mode
- Double click: N/A
- Triple click: N/A
- 4 clicks: N/A
Low voltage warning:
- Yes for the 14500 only
- I could not detect any PWM by eye, but it is present with the cell phone camera as very fast PWM
Additional info: Sadly there’s no moonlight mode, but I digress because this is a great UI and perfectly suited to this light. You can gift it or loan it to someone and not have them complain to you later that they can’t turn it on (or off) or change brightness. For memory to work, turn the light off on the mode you want, wait 5 seconds, and it will remember the last mode when turned on. To lock out the light you can unscrew the tailcap slightly, or the head.
Batteries & Charging
The E2A has a boost driver and can use 1.2, 1.5, and 3.7 volt batteries. This is a good thing because if your rechargeable lithium or Nimh battery goes flat you can just pop in an alkaline. However, this should be for emergencies only as alkaline batteries can leak and cause a lot of corrosion inside the flashlight which can ruin it (ask me how I know this!). In addition, you won’t get the full output with alkaline or Nimh. For max output, use a high discharge 14500 cell.
A flat top 14500 will work since the driver’s positive contact is a button and the spring in the tail is pretty long and stout (it actually dented the bottom of my 14500 button top). The light doesn’t have built-in charging, so you need an external charger for rechargeable batteries.
Skilhunt advertises the E2A at a max of 600 lumens on a 14500, which is great for a small flashlight. I have some Shockli Black 1000 mah 5 amp rated 14500’s on hand so I will test that. I will also test the performance on NiMH with some IKEA Ladda 2450 mAh batteries.
For the amp measurement, I used my Radio Shack T-RMS multimeter with short 16 gauge wires inserted directly into the meter. I use the multimeter if I know the current will be under 9 amps.
I used the fully charged 14500 cell for my current tests, but I’m throwing in the NiMH figures as well.
|Low||48 mA||48 mA|
|Medium||305 mA||285 mA|
|High||1.55 A||1.78 A|
The runtime test was done in my home made 30 cm integrating sphere with a DigiSense data logging lux meter. The sphere was calibrated using a light of known output. I tested 2 modes with the 14500 and IKEA Ladda 2450 Nimh battery. I didn’t test low because it would run for a couple days straight.
On the high mode with the 14500, the step down happened at 60 seconds (as expected per Skilhunt) to 262 lumens, and over the next 10 seconds stepped down to 131 lumens where it was very stable for another 5 minutes then another decrease to 124 lumens. It was a series of gradual step downs over the next 90 minutes until the 1 hr. 57 minute mark when the LVP activated and the light blinked very quickly for 20 seconds before stepping to a low level for a few seconds then turning off. This is not much of a warning, so if you see the blinking, grab a battery quick! Skilhunt specs 90 minutes total runtime with an 800 mAh battery, so no surprise my time is longer. It managed the heat very well, with the head getting up to a max of 49 C.
The medium mode with the lithium battery had good performance also. The total runtime was 4 hrs. 40 minutes with great consistency over the whole runtime. The step down on medium was very gradual, going down to about 30 lumens before LVP hit and the light shut off, with the same indicator as the high test, about 20 seconds of blinks then off. Skilhunt specs 200 minutes for the medium runtime, again not surprising I did better due to the battery. After the test, the battery read 3 volts.
Switching to the Nimh battery, it’s the same situation as the 14500 with an abrupt step down around 60 seconds followed by gradual steps. I noticed some strange behavior near the end of the test. It stepped down to around 2 lumens, but started flickering rapidly. Is this some kind of LVP warning? I think it’s due to low voltage causing some issues with the driver MCU since it needs 5 volts to operate and the battery may have been too flat to supply it. Total runtime was 3 hrs. 27 minutes. Skilhunt specs 1+150 minutes, which is odd since they used a 2500 mAh Nimh in their test.
For medium, it looks similar to the 14500, but runs longer. A nice gradual decrease in output, so good regulation from the driver. Total time was 8 hrs. 20 minutes. Skilhunt specs 470 minutes or 7 hrs. 49 minutes.
Overall this is great performance. The boost driver seems to work with good efficiency paired with the SST20. I observed good regulation and long runtimes with decent sustained output.
Lumen measurements (for each mode)
Output figures are relative to my 30 cm integrating sphere calibrated with a light of verified output. Lumen measurements are taken at 30 seconds with a Digi-Sense 20250-00 data logging luxmeter. Batteries used were a Shockli 14500 and IKEA Ladda 2450 Nimh cell.
From the numbers, we’re coming well under the 600 lumen figure that Skilhunt advertises for the 14500. For the Nimh it’s slightly under the 200 advertised. I suspect Skilhunt is advertising the lumen figures for the 6500k SST20, not the warm white high CRI. Warmer tint LEDs with high CRI typically have lower output.
|Low||9.49 lumens (15 advertised)||3.65 lumens (5 advertised)|
|Medium||67.16 lumens (120 advertised)||25.5 lumens (40 advertised)|
|High||321.2 lumens, 328.5 at turn on (600 advertised)||116.07 lumens,116.8 at turn on (200 advertised)|
Throw was measured indoors at 5 meters with the fully charged 14500 cell and the Uni-t UT 383S lux meter at 30 seconds. My numbers don’t quite match Skilhunts, but are somewhat close. Again, this is probably due to the different LED being used for the advertised specs. Skilhunt’s advertised numbers in the right column.
|Low||50 cd, 14.14 m||95 cd, 19 m|
|Medium||650 cd, 50.9 m||820 cd, 57 m|
|High||3425 cd, 117.04 m||4100 cd, 128 m|
- White wall beamshot 1 meter from wall: Thorfire TG06, Sofirn SP10S, Skilhunt E2A. The TG06 has a warm white XP-L, the SP10S has a Samsung LH351D 5000k 90 CRI.
- Medium distance shots outside. The tan building is about 25 meters away. Indoors, looking at my cuckoo clock, the high CRI shows how well the E2A renders colors.
Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to me for review at no cost by Skilhunt. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.
- Nice beam and high CRI
- Great build quality and anodizing
- Good regulation and runtime
- Great UI with even mode spacing
- No visible PWM
- Uses standard AA and 14500 batteries
- No moonlight
- Abrupt LVP cut off
4.5 stars: ★★★★★⋆
The AA/14500 segment is crowded with some good lights like the Sofirn SP10S, Skilhunt’s own M150, Lumintop Tool AA, and Thrunite T10 to name a few. Is there room for another AA/14500 light? I think so because the E2A has a solid build, simple UI with great mode spacing, and great quality. For the money, it’s about as good as it gets in this price bracket. I’d gladly carry this around while walking, camping, or toss it in my glovebox as an emergency light. The icing on the cake is the high CRI and well-designed optic. It’s missing moonlight mode and I feel duped by the 600 lumen claim (no fault of the light), but if you want higher output, get the 6500k version. Overall, this is a well-designed, high quality, and easy to use EDC light. Definitely a winner for Skilhunt. 4.5 stars for this one!