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ThruNite Archer Pro review
ThruNite Archer Pro specs
|Brand & Model||ThruNite Archer Pro|
|Flashlight category||EDC flashlight|
|LED||Cree XP-L2 cool white, neutral white|
|Max. output||1022 lumens|
|Max. beam distance||134 meters|
|Max. beam intensity||4500 cd|
|Review publication date||April 2023|
ThruNite recently released a new addition to their Archer EDC line, the Archer Pro. Instead of using AA batteries like previous Archer models have, the Pro uses a 14500 lithium-ion battery for additional output… but it’s sealed in. It also comes in cool white and neutral white, which is nice as you don’t always get to choose. Read on for more details!
The Archer Pro comes in one of ThruNite’s new minimalist white boxes. Aside from making it hard to photograph on a white background, this new type of box is sealed with a glued down tear away flap. I was sent four lights to review (CW and NW variations of the Archer Pro and Mini) and not a single one opened cleanly. The tear strip, which was glued down, doesn’t have a plastic strip behind it like mailing envelopes do, so it was impossible to rip it all the way off without it tearing into pieces. Not that it’s the end of the world, but it doesn’t appeal to me.
The contents of the box include:
- ThruNite Archer Pro with clip attached and 14500 battery inside
- USB-C charging cable
- Instruction manual
Flashlight in use
Getting started with the Archer Pro is pretty simple; just stick it in your pocket and go. The battery is already inside (for good), the clip is already attached, and there aren’t any other accessories to fiddle with. To use just click the electronic tail switch on or off.
The Archer Pro’s clip carries fairly deep, but since the tail switch is pronounced and not shrouded like many tail switches are, it can be easy to accidentally activate with a bump. Thankfully, there is a lockout mode which you can engage by holding the switch until it turns on into firefly (moonlight) mode, then holding again until it turns off. Hold again to deactivate lockout mode. Hold to lockout isn’t foolproof, but it’s better than not having any lockout with that pronounced of a switch. The pocket clip is also two-way, so you could easily clip this to a ball cap for headlamp-like use, though either lip is pretty small, so it makes it a little challenging to get it to clip onto whatever you’re trying to clip it onto.
All the regular holds apply here, though I find the cigar hold to be the easiest to grip since the body of the Archer Pro is smaller than the head and tail, and also has ringed knurling interspersed with cuts parallel to the body. In the standard hold it’s kind of slippery because the head doesn’t have any texture to speak of, though the knurling does help, however, your thumb and forefinger will mostly be on the head. Overhand hold is fine too, since you’re basically holding the entire light in your fist.
That pronounced, domed switch also prevents tail standing, but you could headstand it if you want. If you took the removable clip off and laid it down on a table, it would likely roll right off, so best to leave the clip on, too.
The Archer Pro seems best used for daily pocket carry, given the simplicity, good clip, and USB-C charging. This is a light I’d imagine using if I needed something close by to quickly pull out and illuminate something briefly as part of a job. It’s pretty general purpose, though, and can be used wherever you want.
Build Quality and Warranty
The Archer Pro only comes in black anodized aluminum, but the body is strong and flawless. Since the head and tail are both glued down, I can’t get inside and report on any of that, but it should be up to ThruNite’s quality standards. The only threads you can use are the ones on the part of the head which unscrews to reveal the hidden USB-C port. These don’t come lubed, probably to avoid the user grabbing the light with the head unscrewed and getting a handful of grease, and scrape when you tighten or loosen it. I think I’d rather have them lubed, since there’s plenty of light to grab onto when opening it up for USB-C charging. The base of the head slips over an o-ring, which should help it attain that IPX8 waterproof rating ThruNite claims.
The clip has long arms which wrap 75% of the way around the body of the light and squeeze tightly. I’m glad it comes attached, as it would be tough to put it on later. You can rotate the clip, and in doing so, I haven’t seen any scratching to the anodization underneath.
One tiny issue I have with this light is that the switch’s cover is a little wobbly. I can’t tell, but it may be plastic rather than the aluminum of the rest of the light. It clicks fine, it’s just kind of mushy.
ThruNite’s standard warranty applies to the Archer Pro. Below is copied from the manual; see their Customer Service page for full details.
1. 2-years free replacement: We will offer free replacement within 2 years of
purchase if problems develop with normal use.
2. 30-days refund by Amazon: You may return most new, unopened items sold
and fulfilled by Amazon within 30 days of delivery for a full refund.
3. Lifetime limited maintenance: As to those exceed 2 years of the purchase
date, we will still provide with maintenance service, but the cost of parts will be
charged and freight should be paid by customers.
LED, Lens, Bezel, Beam, and Reflector
For the Archer Pro, ThruNite used a Cree XP-L2 emitter in either cool white (about 5700K) or neutral white (about 4500K), paired it with an orange peel reflector, and put it all behind an anti-reflective coated glass lens. The bezel is flat, so head standing doesn’t allow any light through.
Both options feature Cree’s “fried egg” beam pattern of a yellow and greenish hotspot with white spill that can be blueish on higher settings. Of course, this is the most prominent on white surfaces, but it really does affect the color of what you’re illuminating. The green tint fades as the power increases, but even on turbo the DUV is well above BBL.
My Opple Light Master Pro showed, as expected, the XM-L2 has low CRI, but the flicker from PWM is low enough not to be noticeable.
|Mode, Cool White||CCT||CRI Ra||DUV||Flicker|
|Bottom of the ramp||5304K||63.8||0.0123||9846 Hz|
|Top of the ramp||5589K||65.8||0.0093||33,618 Hz|
|Mode, Neutral White||CCT||CRI Ra||DUV||Flicker|
|Bottom of the ramp||4515K||65.8||0.0109||9385 Hz|
|Top of the ramp||4670K||67.4||0.0079||30,525 Hz|
Dimensions and its competition
|Length||97 mm||3.8 in|
|Head diameter||21 mm||0.8 in|
|Body diameter||18 mm||0.7 in|
Dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter, and to the nearest tenth of an Inch.
|Weight in grams||Weight in oz|
|With battery||65 g||2.3 oz|
Weight is rounded to the nearest gram, and to the nearest tenth of an Oz.
Flashlight size comparison with its competition:
Group 1: ThruNite Archer Mini, ThruNite Archer Pro, ThruNite Thrower, ThruNite TN12 Pro, ThruNite TT20
Group 2: Emisar D4V2, ThruNite Archer Pro, Convoy S2+
Group 3: ThruNite Archer Pro, Skilhunt M150 v2, Lumintop FW1AA, Lumintop FWAA, Wurkkos TS10
ThruNite Archer Pro UI: User Interface and Driver
The Archer Pro features smooth ramping, which they refer to as “stepless dimming,” so you can choose essentially any light level you want instead of being limited to a certain stepped number of levels.
- Smooth ramping
Available blinky modes:
- Press and hold: Firefly mode
- Single click: On to last used ramp level
- Double click: Turbo
- 3 fast clicks: Strobe
- Press and hold: Ramp up/down
- 1 click: Off
- Double click: Turbo
- 3 fast clicks: Strobe
- The Archer Pro will remember the last used level on the ramp, but will not memorize firefly or turbo.
- To Low (firefly): Hold from off
- To Turbo: Double-click from any mode
- To Strobe: Triple-click from any mode
Low voltage warning:
- The light will blink when voltage is low.
- The Archer Pro has one strobe, activated by triple-clicking
- From off, hold for 2 seconds to get into firefly mode, then hold again for 3 seconds to lock the light out. Hold again for 3 seconds to unlock to firefly mode.
- Not visible to the naked eye or phone camera.
Additional/summary info on the UI:
- Ramping takes 5-6 seconds to go from top to bottom and will immediately start ramping in the opposite direction if you continue to hold the switch after it blinks, indicating it has reached either end.
- Once you ramp in one direction, holding the switch again will cause it to ramp in the opposite direction regardless if it’s at the end of the ramp or not.
ThruNite Archer Pro Charging and batteries
The Archer Pro comes with a 1000mAh ThruNite 14500 battery and integrated USB-C charging, which is welcome and very convenient. Where we run into a problem is that the battery is sealed inside the light. This means that there is a definite end of life for this light. Now, lithium-ion batteries can last ~500 charges (depending on a number of things such as usage patterns, environment, and charging patterns), but once you hit that, that’s basically it. You could test out ThruNite’s after sales support (or warranty, if it’s within 2 years of purchase), but you shouldn’t have to.
That said, the tail cap is probably only glued on, and you could probably wrench it off with some muscle and plenty of heat to loosen the glue (voiding any warranty in the process). Still, the point is that the ~$5 battery should be more easily accessible and replaceable and not the main point of failure.
The USB-C charging is about the only thing I can comment on, not being able to access the battery at all, and it does a fine job. In my testing, it took about an hour and a half to charge the 1000mAh battery, meaning it charged at a bit over 500mAh, ever so slightly high, but acceptable. The USB-C plug really locks in there, so you’ll have to pull to get it out. At least it won’t fall out on its own.
While charging, there’s a tiny indicator light opposite the USB-C port that remains red until it’s finished charging, at which point it turns blue. Charging works with the included USB-A to USB-C cable, or USB-C to USB-C. You can use the light while it’s plugged in, but only at the bottom of the ramp.
To obtain these numbers, I used a very rudimentary integrated shoebox and ceilingbounce on my Samsung Galaxy S10. Measurements have been calibrated using a standardized calibration light provided by 1Lumen.
Lumen measurements (for each mode)
Good thing we take measurements at turn on, too, because that’s what matches up with ThruNite’s specifications for the Archer Pro. By 30 seconds, turbo and the top of the ramp have dropped below those numbers, but by 10 minutes it’s only putting out +/- 200 lumens.
It’s also interesting to note that the neutral white version outperforms the cool white version; usually it’s the other way around because cool white light is more efficient to create. My guess is that the battery in the cool white version might not be as powerful as the one in the neutral white one, though there’s no way to test that.
|Mode – Cool White||Specs||@turn on||@30 sec||@10 minutes|
|Mode – Neutral White||Specs||@turn on||@30 sec||@10 minutes|
Due to the nature of the battery configuration, it is not possible to measure current.
Battery Life: Runtime graphs
Runtime is very close to specified values, which is nice. You can also see that it’s regulated after step down.
|Mode – Cool White||Specified runtime||Measured runtime ANSI||Time till shut off|
|Ramp top||2h 31min||2h 25min||2h 25min|
|Turbo||2h 26min||2h 10min||2h 25min|
|Mode – Neutral White||Specified runtime||Measured runtime ANSI||Time till shut off|
|Ramp top||2h 31min||2h 23min||2h 26min|
|Turbo||2h 26min||2h 11min||2h 29min|
About ANSI FL1 standards: The runtime is measured until the light drops to 10% of its initial output (30 seconds after turning 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
The numbers for candela were obtained with a UNI-T UT383S luxmeter at 5 and 15 meters, then averaged
Neither firefly nor ramp bottom registered even at 5m, so they are omitted here. Again, the ANSI specified 30 second measurements are well below ThruNite’s claims; even down to 50% of them! Yikes! I was surprised by this, so I took multiple measurements, but they were all about the same.
|Mode – Cool White||Specs||Candela measured||Meters||Yards|
|Ramp top||–||1316 cd||73 m||80 yd|
|Turbo||4500 cd||2280 cd||95 m||104 yd|
|Turbo @ on||–||5323 cd||146 m||160 yd|
|Mode – Neutral White||Specs||Candela measured||Meters||Yards|
|Ramp top||–||1350 cd||73 m||80 yd|
|Turbo||4500 cd||2115 cd||92 m||101 yd|
|Turbo @ on||–||5100 cd||143 m||156 yd|
About peak beam intensity: 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). The columns ‘Meters’ and ‘Yards’ use rounded numbers.
These were taken with a Samsung Galaxy S22+ using pro mode and the following settings:
- WB 5000K
- ISO 200
- Speed 0.5
Distance to the other end of the playing field is 100 meters.
Beamshots of the following flashlights compared:
- Lumintop GT Nano Pro
- Lumintop FW1AA
Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to me for review at no cost by ThruNite. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.
- Ramping on such a small light
- Includes battery and USB-C charging
- Regulated output, after it drops to ~200 lumens
- Offers cool white or neutral white
- Specs appear to be measured at turn on, not the ANSI 30 second standard
- Built-in battery means it has an end of life
- Serious drop off; only sustains about 200 lumens
- Can’t tail stand
Explanation on star ratings:
1: Avoid: a match 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
3 stars: ★★★
The Archer Pro is supposed to be Pro because of the 14500 lithium-ion battery, but it only really takes advantage of the higher output of a Li-Ion for less than 30 seconds before it steps down to 200 lumens, give or take. According to our review of the Archer 2A v3, that 2 AA light puts out 250 lumens for almost as long as the Pro gives you 200!
The Archer Pro seems like it’s marketed/designed for an average flashlight user, not an enthusiast or even someone in the hobby. I struggle to come up with anything that sticks out about the Archer Pro: The beam is greenish yellow, sustained output is low, the battery is sealed in, etc. It’s usable, but I can’t really recommend it.
For that, I rate the ThruNite Archer Pro 3 stars. It’s functionally sound, but the negatives outweigh the positives.