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Tank007 PTL01 review: LEP flashlight
Tank007 PTL01 specifications
|Flashlight category||LEP / long-range|
|LEP||Shine through module|
|Max. output||500 lm|
|Max. beam distance||1400 meters|
|Max. beam intensity||N/A|
|Review date||October 2022|
If you’re into flashlights for a couple of yours, you probably know Tank007, a rather unique sounding brand name. They have been in this industry for a very long time, 20+ years as they say.
Back in the day when Dealextreme was still ‘The” place to go for budget flashlights, many flashoholics owned the Tank007 E09. It was the brightest AAA flashlight we could possibly get.
Even though Tank007 has been operating as a flashlight manufacturer for a long time, we don’t see them mention often on the flashlight platforms like BLF, CPF, and Reddit. I think the reason is just simple: tank007 is not active on those forums, nor on the socials.
If they were, we would probably see them mentioned more often.
They reached out to us, and we decided to start with a review of their one and only LEP flashlight. It’s named: Tank007 PTL01. And even before I dive into the review, I really hope they’ll add more LEPs to their lineup.
The PTL01 was shipped in a simple hard carton box, with the following packed inside:
- The flashlight: Tank007 PTL01
- USB-C charging cable
- 21700 battery
They also have some optional accessories like a gun mount. The manual says it has 3 modes, High, Medium and Strobe.. but that’s incorrect. It has 3 modes (including a low mode) + strobe.
Flashlight in use
The PTL01 is not a tactical flashlight for overhand use, but essentially you could, because it doesn’t have mode memory. Besides a tail switch, there’s a side switch located at the neck of the flashlight. And in the center of that little switch, there’s a battery indicator that will show how much juice is left in the battery. It also helps to find the side switch, because it will be lit, when you power it on with the rear switch.
But having the side switch makes it very practical to use since you don’t have to switch hand positions to change modes. Unfortunately, or fortunately, the light still needs to be switched on/off with the rear switch. It has no standby mode (off) that can be accessed by the side switch.
It’s easy to hold and operate, and it’s the longest single 21700 LEP (with a small head) I currently own.
The body doesn’t have any of the traditional knurling but deep and wide horizontal and vertical grooves on the battery tube.
This light is definitely more useful for medium to long-range distances. The beam is too narrow for most closeup work. It would be great to use around the farm, or while hiking and highlighting a specific spot/structure etc.
Tank007 also has a specific gun mount built for the PTL01, but I haven’t seen it for sale anywhere yet.
Build Quality, and Warranty
Tank007 has been making flashlights for a very long time, so they know how to build good flashlights. And the Tank007 PTL01 is definitely built okay. But not not that super high-quality as you would expect for the price. On AliExpress it was selling for about $350 with shipping to the USA… for EU customers it was every above $400.
For that price, I would have expected a bit more. I’m not saying that the build quality is subpar in any way.
The machining is nice and defect-free. There are no sharp edges, not even on the crenelated bezel.
The coating (anodization) on this light is black and a bit shiny. That makes it look a bit less classy. The threads on the tail end are not anodized, but covered with lots of lubrication, and protected with 1 black o-ring.
One other thing that makes it look a bit less classy is the way they printed the Laser warning near the bezel, as well as the small print near the tailcap, that says: on/off. The warning is not printed straight onto the body but printed at a slight angle.
The switch uses a black rubber boot which is just a tad longer than the 2 ridges around it. These ridges would make the PTL01 tailstand, but not very stable.
Inside the tailcap, there is a thin spring with a copper/gold-looking coating.
Warranty, according to their website:
15-day free-replacement warranty: Within 15 days since Tank007 led flashlight and products are sold, at normal use, if the quality problem of led flashlight occurs, customers can ask to replace the old flashlight with a new one (the same model with same specs) or request repair service. If the led flashlight model which needs to be replaced has not been in production, customers can request same brand led flashlight with similar features(not worse than the replaced model).
2-year guarantee: Within 2 years since Tank007 led flashlights are sold, at normal use, if quality problem occurs, customers can request free repair service
Lifetime paid repair: If the flashlights are out of warranty, Tank007 provides paid repair service. Customers need to pay for the replaced the led flashlight parts but not for the labor.
If customers contact distributors with the Quality Warranty Card, invoice, or receipts, after-sale services are provided by the distributors, and Tank007 will provide the distributors with support. TANK007 brand provide high quality rechargeable led flashlights and Service guarantee.
LEP, Lens, Bezel, Beam, and Reflector
The Tank007 PTL01 uses a shine-through LEP module. This means that the laser sits behind a translucent layer of phosphor instead of using a mirror to shine the laser beam onto the phosphor layer. This type of LEPs tend to perform a bit less in terms of maximum intensity, but they do a lot better in terms of beam quality.
My copy of the PLT01 has the least tint shift of all LEPs I own.. And the beam is quite smooth, and it’s almost unlike any other ‘white laser flashlight‘. Even at a close distance, the beam has no tint shift. I don’t see any blue or green or purple that you would normally see. This is one of the nicest beams I’ve seen on LEP flashlights so far.. So, that’s a good thing.
Tank007 also added a protective lens at the front, to protect the convex lens inside. Some of the earlier LEP flashlights were missing this ‘protection lens’, and were more prone to damaging the convex lens, which is the most important lens of the flashlight. If you damage it, it could be hard to find a replacement. It’s much easier to replace a normal flat lens than a convex lens with the right dimensions.
The bezel then protects the lenses and it has 3 little iron balls on the flat parts. These are definitely made for tactical use, like breaking a glass window etc.
Dimensions and size comparison
|Head diameter||35 mm||1.4″|
|Body diameter||27 mm||1 “|
Measurements are rounded to the nearest millimeter, and to the nearest tenth of an Inch
|Weight in grams||Weight in oz.|
|Without battery:||163 grams||5.7 oz|
|With battery||236 grams||8.3 oz|
Weight is rounded to the nearest gram, and to the nearest tenth of an Oz.
LEP Flashlights comparison
Size compared to other, single-cell, small LEP flashlights
Group 1, from left to right: Weltool W3 PRO, Olight Odin Turbo, Jetbeam RRT M2S Raptor, Tank007 PTL01, Nextorch T10L, Fenix TK30, Jetbeam M2S WP-RX, Acebeam W10 gen2.
Driver & User Interface:
The UI is pretty straightforward. The rear switch (reverse clicky) is used for power and the side switch is for changing modes. What I do like about this UI, is that you can click as well as press-and-hold for changing modes.
Available main modes:
- Low, Medium, High (and stand by)
Available special modes (blinkies):
- Single-click rear switch: activates the light (turns on, without mode memory)
- Single-click side switch: nothing
- Single-click rear switch: turns off (it doesn’t change modes if you tap)
- Single-click side switch: run through the modes from High to Low
- Double click side switch: strobe
- Triple-click side switch: strobe
- 4 clicks side switch: standby mode (the light will turn off)
- Press and hold: runs through the modes, just like clicking!
- There are no real shortcuts. It will always start on High
- Nope, it doesn’t have mode memory.
Blinky modes menu:
- There is strobe mode, which is accessed by 2 and 3 quick clicks with the side switch
Low battery warning:
- Battery indicator built into the side switch
- Battery level 75% or more: green solid
- Battery level between 40-75%: green blinking
- Battery level between 10-40%: red solid
- Battery level 10% or below: red blinking
Lock-out mode/standby mode
- The PTL01 doesn’t have a usual lockout mode, but it has a standby mode.
- I have never seen this on an LEP yet, or actually not on most dual-switch flashlights.
- 4 clicks with the side switch will enter standby mode
- Not visible by eye, not even when shaking the light.
Firmware / UI Conclusion:
The dual-switch setup is nice because you can use the mechanical rear switch to turn the light off, and have no parasitic drain. The standby mode is also very useful, especially if you don’t want to keep switching hand positions.
Batteries & Charging
Unlike the battery pictured in the AliExpress listing, mine arrived with a generic looking, gray 21700 battery with a USB-C port. When it arrived I measured it at 3.57V. This is a great Voltage for long term storage and shipping.
The battery has a white plastic disc around the positive terminal with a little hole. That little hole is made to see the battery charge indicator LED. Unfortunately, the hole doesn’t line up with the LED, so the light is a bit hard to see from a certain angle.
There’s a piece of metal going from the rear to the front, underneath the battery wrapper. This means there’s a protection board built in. What kind of protection it uses is unsure, but it’s likely over-discharge protection… and over-charge protection?
Charging goes with a USB-C cable, and you can use USB-A to USB-C as well as USB-C to USB-C cables. I tested with both, and they both worked. There’s a little red light visible while charging, which turns green when the battery is fully charged. And like I just mentioned above mine isn’t perfectly lining up with the hole in the white washer, so it’s a bit hard to see. The charging current is about 1.3A max, and a full battery charge took me 4 hours and 14 minutes. When the battery finished charging (for a while) I measured 4.16Volts.
The flashlight has a spring on the driver’s side as well as in the tailcap, so you got plenty of room for this long battery, but easily accepts non-protected, flat top 21700 batteries as well.
The output measurements in this review are based on my homemade integrating spheres, each equipped with an Extech SDL400 Lux Meter. For consistency and accuracy, a calibration light (Convoy S2+ with 249lm and a Convoy S2+ with 261lm) is measured prior to each set of lumen measurements.
For high-output lights, one of the lux meters uses an ND camera filter to prevent the lux meter to max out. This is either the Kenko PRO1D ND16 up till about 80,000 lumens or Gobe ND32 for anything above.
All of my readings were taken from a fully-charged 21700 that came with the flashlight.
The measurements were taken manually at turn on and 30 seconds. The 10-minute numbers are taken from the runtime graph.
|Mode||Specs||at turn on||At 30 seconds||At 10 minutes|
|Low||60||68 lm||68 lm||64 lm|
|Med||200||141 lm||139 lm||132 lm|
|High||500 lm||452v||441 lm||181 lm|
These numbers are pretty good, but lumens aren’t a very important factor for LEP flashlights. You can’t really compare a 400-lumen LEP to a 400-lumen LED flashlight.
- Doesn’t have a parasitic drain if you use the rear switch. But the standby mode (4 clicks with side switch) does draw some parasitic drain. It’s a bit difficult to measure because the light will always start in High mode before you can get it to standby mode.. High mode draws too much current with the micro/uA setting.
Tank007 PTL01 battery life and runtime graphs
The runtime tests were done in the 50cm home made integrating sphere, combined with the Extech SDL400 data logging Lux Meter.
|Mode||Specified runtime||Measured runtime (ANSI FL1)||Time till shut off|
|Low||8.5h||9h 46min||9h 46min|
|Med||6h||6h 18min||6h 18min|
|High||4h||4h 55min||4h 55min|
ANSI FL1 standards: The runtime is measured until the light drops to 10% of its initial output (30 seconds after turning it on). This does not mean that the flashlight is not usable anymore. The last column shows how long the light actually works till it shuts off. If there is a + symbol, it means that the test was stopped at that particular point, but the light was actually still running. This happens on certain occasions, with certain drivers, firmware, or batteries.
Peak beam intensity and beam distance measurements
Measurements were taken outdoors at 20 meters with a Hagner E4-X Lux Meter. The measurements were noted 30 seconds after turn on.
|High||1400 meters||390,400 cd||1250 meters||1367 yards|
Mine didn’t reach the claimed 1400 meters, in high mode.
Extra info: Peak beam distance according to ANSI FL1 standards: The calculated value of distance in meters at which the flashlight produces a light intensity of 0.25 lux. (0.25 lux is about the brightness of a full moon shining on an object).
Tank007 PTL01 vs Weltool, Acebeam, Nextorch, Olight etc.
Here’s the performance comparison between all the small head LEP flashlights. The dark blue line is the Tank007 PTL01. The output drops very quick, and its performance is right in the middle. Better than the Nextorch T7L, Jetbeam M2S Raptor, Lumintop Thor 1.
For the tower (450 meters/492 yards distance) beamshots, I used a Canon EOS 5D mk2 with a 100mm lens. Manual settings: ISO1600, 0.5sec, F4, 5000K
For the reflective fence beamshots, I used a Canon EOS 5D Mk2 with a 50mm lens. Manual settings: ISO1600, 1/4sec, F4, 5000K. The fence is about 200 meters away.
Compared to the following LEP flashlights:
- Tank007 PTL01
- Jetbeam RRT M2S Raptor
- Lumintop Thor 1
- Fenix TK30
- Nextorch T7L
- Nextorch T10L
- Amutorch BT35
- Weltool W3 PRO
Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to me for review at no cost by Tank007. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.
- No tint shifts in the beam (One of the nicest clean tint beams I have seen on an LEP)
- Dual switch setup, with a handy standby mode
- Glass breaking bezel
- Accepts long and short 21700 batteries, protected and non-protected
- No parasitic drain with the mechanical rear switch
- A double-click for Strobe activates a little too easily when changing modes
- Not reaching claimed intensity/distance
- Longest 21700 LEP flashlight I own
Explanation on star ratings:
1: Avoid: my phone flashlight would be a better choice – 2: Poor: significant defect or issues; almost unusable – 3: Average: some defects or issues; but still usable 4: Good: recommended (minor issues) – 5: Great: highly recommended
4 stars: ★★★★
I’ll start by saying that the PTL01 has a lot of competition in its price range, even competing on price with the bigger LEPs. That makes it a tough sell, and costs a half star rating.
Of all the LEPs I own, the PTL01 is at the top of the best beams list. It doesn’t have any tint shifts, as I can’t see any blue, purple, or orange artifacts. That’s a real pro. Besides the nice tint, there is another thing I really like about the PTL01, and that’s the dual switch setup, combined with a standby mode. This means that you can turn the light off temporarily by clicking the side switch 4 times.
Tank007 includes a USB-C rechargeable 21700 battery and a charging cable, so you get a ready-to-go package.