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Thrunite TN50 Review: High Power Flashlight
Thrunite TN50 specifications
|4 x Cree XHP70.2
|Built-in 4 x 21700
Every once in a while I have to stop and ask myself why I got into this hobby, and every time I arrive at the same conclusion. It’s because of flashlights like the WildTrail WT90, Astrolux FT02S, and Imalent R30C. Although we’re used to names like Imalent, Haikelite, and Lumintop gracing us with lights producing tens of thousands of Lumens, Thrunite, the elder statesman of flashlight manufacturers (in business since 2009) also makes some high output lights as well. Today I have the honor to be taking a look at their flagship TN50. This is Thrunite’s top of the line model and it has some top of the line specs: Over 16,000 Lumens, 410 meters of throw, and a huge, built-in 21700 battery pack. The last high output light I tested was the Wurkkos DL70 which produced over 10,000 Lumens. The TN50 promises quite a bit more than that in a much more compact package, and has my favorite emitters (Cree XHP70.2s) onboard. I’m super excited to test it out, and Thrunite is well known for meeting their advertised specs, so I know it will be good.
Thrunite has a continuity model for their packaging going, and honestly, they make one of the nicest, boring packages around. The Thrunite TN50 came in a large, unassuming, and pretty plain box like other Thrunites I’ve tested, featuring the brand name on top, and some feature blurbs on the side with a spec sticker that has the emitter tint and model name. This is a nice, functional, and utilitarian package for sure, and I think it’s befitting the flagship status of this light. The lid flips open and exposes some white foam housing the goodies, each in its own compartment cut in the foam. Everything’s nicely presented and protected. Here’s what you get:
- ThruNite TN50 flashlight with built-in battery
- Split ring
- Charging brick and power cord
- User manual
- 2 spare charge port covers
- Spare switch boot
This is a complete kit with everything needed to summon noonday sunshine-like brightness. The battery pack is built into the light, and the light itself was packaged inside the holster. There’s no lanyard, and I think it would have been a nice addition especially for a light this expensive. Thrunite did include a pretty big split ring for attaching a lanyard, carabiner, etc, and some spare charge port covers and a switch boot in the event you’d ever need those.
Flashlight in use
The Thrunite TN50 is a soda can style light like the Astrolux MF01S, Sofirn BLF Q8, and any of the countless SkyRay King/Kung clones out there. This style of light is short and stubby with a very wide body that’s nearly the diameter of the head. That said, the TN50 is nicely proportioned, with the body being 10 mm smaller than the head. I think holster carry or retention is going to be the main and most practical modus of carry, but you can drop it in a big enough pocket if you wanted since it’s small enough for a large coat or cargo pants pocket. It’s nicely balanced, with the center of gravity in the middle. There’s a single e-switch located about 30 mm from the bezel, and this is a good position since it’s easy to reach and contributes to easy handling without too much hand or forearm fatigue. It sits in a flat spot with a nice ridge for your thumb or finger to rest on to keep from sliding off. This is also good for finding it in the dark.
The switch is very nice and made from matte finish aluminum with a central LED indicator for charge and battery state. It’s only illuminated when the switch is activated or during charging and is similar to the switch on the Thrunite TC20 V2 I tested. Although it sits flush with the switch bezel, I didn’t have trouble finding it by feel in the dark. The action is great with nice snappy clicks and great feedback, but it doesn’t have much resistance to overcome like some switches, so it’s a little easy to press. That could be an issue if you forget to activate the electronic lockout since accidental activation on this light can be…hazardous as it throws out a lot of heat. The knurling helps with a good purchase on the body, but guys or gals with smaller hands will find the TN50 a handful. Although there’s no lanyard, Thrunite included a nice holster with a sturdy plastic D-ring on the back for clipping to a carabiner. There’s also a belt loop with a Velcro closure so you can remove the holster without taking off your belt. It’s bezel-up carry only, but that’s fine. Although the kit didn’t include a lanyard, there’s a mounting point on the tailcap for attaching one, or the included split ring. I ended up borrowing the clip-on lanyard from the FireFlies E07 and it works fantastic. Unfortunately, there’s no anti-roll features, so you’d need to install the split ring or a lanyard to keep the TN50 from becoming a rolling stone. The ability to tail stand on a light like this is extremely important for area/emergency lighting, and I’m happy to report it’s super-stable with the TN50.
Build Quality, and Warranty
Every Thrunite light I’ve ever handled or tested has been very high quality, with excellent fit and finish. The TN50 is no exception, but this level of performance and quality will cost you, and the TN50 is neither budget or cheap, coming in at around $260 US. This still isn’t a bad deal, as just the emitters are running about $60, and you are getting a premium light. It’s made from 6061-T6 aluminum, and the build quality is very, very good with smooth, chamfered edges all around. Save for the charging port, the light is completely sealed, and I couldn’t unscrew anything. This is good for water resistance, but bad for modding or maintenance, especially for the battery (more on that later). Thrunite advertises an IPX8 rating good for 2 meters of temporary immersion, and I believe it since the bezel is sealed with an o-ring (and probably glued).
As expected, the machining is absolutely perfect with no tool marks, blemishes, or defects, and every part mates together just fine with no anomalous gaps. The finish is type III mil spec hard anodizing, and it’s a nice balance of gloss and matte like the TC20 V2 I tested, not the nice matte finish of Acebeam or Convoy. Coverage is fantastic with no bare or thin areas or blemishes as I expected from Thrunite. The knurling is precisely-cut, and the silkscreening text is perfectly done and crisp. The 4 deep heat sink fins run the circumference of the head, interrupted only by the charge port and cover. The rubber cover is decently robust and should last a long time, but Thrunite includes some spares in the event it gets broken or wears out.
Thrunite’s warranty is very generous, and up there with the best, with some caveats: You get a 30 day free return/refund if purchased through the Amazon store, 2 year free replacement for factory defects or failures during normal use (does not cover abuse or misuse), and a lifetime limited warranty that covers the cost of repairs after 2 years, but the customer is responsible for parts and shipping. Although shipping the TN50 will be expensive (along with replacing the expensive battery when it fails), it should give years of trouble-free service.
LED, Lens, Bezel, Beam, and Reflector
Like other uber-power lights, the Thrunite TN50 uses four Cree XHP70.2 emitters. This is a familiar staple in high output lights, since they make a lot of light at relatively low drive currents, and this lends itself well to multi-emitter arrangements. The XHP70.2 is the 2nd generation of the XHP70 (eXtreme High Power) LED and for those unaware, these are domed flip-chips with 4 individual dies on a single 7×7 mm phosphor-coated substrate. This is a 6 or 12 volt emitter, so running it in a flashlight presents some challenges (series cells, boost, or buck drivers), but it’s one of my favorite emitters. It’s efficient with very good Lumens per watt, and Thrunite offers the TN50 in either cool white 6000-6500K or 5000K neutral white. The review light came with the neutral white emitters, measured by the Opple Lightmaster 3 around 4600K and 64 CRI on Medium.
The LEDs are arranged in a familiar cloverleaf quad reflector design, with each LED perfectly centered in its own orange peel reflector. The OP reflector helps to mitigate the tint shift common to the XHP70.2 and is topped by a dual AR coated mineral glass lens. The bead blast finish stainless steel bezel is pretty substantial, and the lens is recessed about 7 mm from the edge of the bezel so it should be very well protected. The beam is expectedly a huge wall of light. I’ve seen bright lights before, but nothing like this. Clicking into Turbo pretty much drops a noonday sun down in your midst. It consists of a huge, highly diffuse hotspot with tons of bright spill. Although it’s mostly flood, there’s also some good throw to it, and more than enough for everything but long-distance searching. The tint is good, and actually pretty pleasant, and although the tint shift is still present, it’s not really noticeable with normal outdoor use. The beam is very clean and artifact-free.
Dimensions and size comparison
- Length: 134.5 mm / 5.29 inches
- Head diameter: 68 mm / 2.67 inches
- Body diameter: 58 mm / 2.2 inches
- With built-in battery pack: 650 grams / 22.98 oz. / 1.4 lbs. / 0.65 kg.
Flashlight size comparison
Group 1 left to right: Sofirn SP36 Pro, 12 oz. soda can, Thrunite TN50, SkyRay Kung.
Group 2 left to right: Convoy L21B, Nightwach NI03 Valkyrie, Thrunite TN50, Astrolux FT02S
Reflector shots left to right: Sofirn SP36 Pro, Thrunite TN50, SRK, Astrolux FT02S
I also compared it to the single XHP70.2 Thrunite TC20 V2.
Driver & User Interface:
I can’t open the TN50 to identify the driver, but since this light runs on a 4S battery pack (4 21700s in series for 16.8 volts), I bet it’s a buck driver of some kind in there. It’s going to be a fully regulated driver for laminar output, unlike an FET or direct driver where output is proportional to battery voltage.
The UI is a familiar one present on other Thrunite lights (the TC20 V2’s is similar). It’s one click on, one click off, with press and hold to cycle through the modes: L-M-H-Turbo. There’s a Firefly mode, accessed with a press and hold from off, and a Turbo S mode (reminds me of a Porsche 911 Turbo S), accessed with a double-click from on or off. Strobe is accessed with a triple click. Thrunite also incorporated an important safety feature in the UI, explained later.
Available modes: Firefly, Low, Medium, High, Turbo. Double-click for Turbo-S, and triple-click for Strobe.
- Single click: Turns on in last mode
- Press and hold: Firefly
- Double-click: Turbo S
- Triple click: Strobe
- Single click: Turns off
- Press and hold: Cycles through modes L-M-H-Turbo-L
- Double click: Turbo S
- Triple click: Strobe
- Yes,the UI recalls the last mode, but as a safety feature, it will only recall the last mode within 60 seconds of power off to prevent activation in a higher mode if pocketed or holstered. If powered on after 60 seconds, the light defaults to Low mode. Firefly and Turbo S are not memorized.
- Double-clicking activates Turbo S, triple-click for Strobe, and press and hold for Firefly mode
Low voltage warning:
- Yes, the indicator switch will flash red when the battery hits 11 volts or less. When the battery reaches 10.7 volts, the light shuts off.
- Single Strobe
- Yes. Electronic lockout available by pressing and holding the switch from off for 5 seconds. The switch indicator will flash blue and the light is locked. Repeat to unlock and the light starts in Firefly mode.
Additional info on the UI:
I really like the TN50’s UI and it’s very similar to the TC20 V2 I tested a while back. It’s simple, easy to learn, and straightforward enough that anyone could pick up the TN50 and not have to ask, “Hey, how do I turn it on?”. It’s interesting how they included two Turbo modes, and the mode spacing is actually really good for a super bright light. I liked the mode cycling speed as well, but I found myself wanting it to go just a tad bit faster at times (Anduril’s mode switching speed has spoiled me). The UI also incorporates an important safety feature with the Low mode start after 60 seconds of off time. This is important because if you pocket or holster the TN50 without locking it and it unintentionally turns on in a pocket or while holstered, it could potentially cause a fire since it gets crazy hot on higher modes. The UI also includes the obligatory thermal management with Thrunite’s ITC combined with timed step downs for Turbo S, Turbo, and High modes. Lastly, there’s a ‘soft step’ feature that does a slight ramp down from Turbo when switching to Low mode. I didn’t really appreciate this until I switched from Turbo and Turbo S to Low since my eyes really appreciated the slightly less abrupt brightness change. Thanks, Thrunite!
Batteries & Charging
Thrunite departs from the pack a bit with their power source. The battery is a fairly conventional 4S configuration of four 5000 mAh 21700s in series for 14.4 volts nominal and 16.8 volts fully charged. Here’s where I find the one major fault with the TN50 because the battery is not user-serviceable, which means unless you send the light back to Thrunite and pay them to service the battery when it goes flat, your TN50 becomes an expensive paperweight (or doorstop).
The battery is charged through an unconventional 5.5×2.1 mm barrel jack directly opposite the switch and I’m glad it’s not a proprietary connector. It’s protected by a rubber cover that’s fairly robust and does a good job sealing the port. The external charging duties are handled by a dual voltage (240/110) switch-mode power supply that looks like a laptop charger brick. Made by Shenzen Hexinyu Technology Co., it has a detachable input power cable with the output side terminating in a barrel jack that plugs into the light.
The charge current is pegged at 3 amps for 50.4 watts output, which is pretty high and should charge the battery in about 2 hours. I don’t know if this is a better option than a USB type C PD arrangement since you’re essentially stuck with this setup as a charging solution. The power supply, although it seems to be okay quality with a UL, RoHs, and CE certification, is sort of an uncommon voltage and current combination (16.8 volts, 3 amps), so finding a suitable replacement locally might be a challenge.
My integrating sphere is too small for the TN50, so I measured Lumens using my integrating tube setup. It’s made from a 4 inch to 3 inch closet elbow with 2 street-90’s and an end cap with a Digi-Sense 20250-00 data logging lux meter. It’s been calibrated with several lights of known output. Tests were conducted using a fully charged built-in battery. No current measurements this time since the light is sealed up tighter than Mr. Burns bank account.
|Amps at start
- N/A can’t measure
Runtime tests were conducted using the integrating tube with the Digi-Sense 20250-00 data logging lux meter calibrated using several lights of known output. I used the fully charged internal battery for each test and tested Medium, High, Turbo, and Turbo S modes.
Turbo S started at a little over 18,000 Lumens, and surprisingly held that for about 6 seconds before a slight step down to 17,920 Lumens by 10 seconds. The output didn’t change much until the 1 minute 15 second mark when the output dropped to 12,040 Lumens. You’d think the light would be roasting at this point, but it didn’t heat up as much as I expected. At 10 seconds the head was 33 C (from 22 ambient), and by 30 seconds it was 41.6 C. At the first step down, I measured 54.4 C at the head. By 2 minutes, the output has settled at a little over 3000 Lumens, and the head has heated up to 54 C and stayed pretty consistent. The output didn’t change again until the 53 minute mark, when it stepped down to 2800 Lumens. By this time, the light is heat saturated and pretty warm at 60 C, but the body is still bare-hand friendly at 46 C. The output held at 2800 Lumens for the next hour and 40 minutes until LVP kicks in and drops the output. The output drops off the luxmeter scale at 3 hours 46 minutes and I ended the test. The light was too hot to hold by the 1 hour 30 minute mark. Thrunite’s runtime spec for Turbo S is 80 seconds+230 minutes or 3 hours 51 minutes total, so I’m pretty close.
Turbo started at 8008 Lumens, and didn’t drop below 7000 Lumens until almost 6 minutes in. Impressive! By 6 minutes 30 seconds the output has settled at a hair over 2900 Lumens, and dwells there for the next 27 minutes, then steps down to 2884 Lumens where it sits until LVP pulls the output way back and drops off the luxmeter scale. I ended the test at the 3 hour 46 minute and 25 second mark, only 25 seconds off the Turbo S time. The temperature regulation is similar to Turbo S as well and the light was still bare-handable after 5 minutes (45 C), but after that, the light is too hot to handle at 60 C by the 1 hour mark. Thrunite specs 195 seconds+235 minutes for the runtime, or about 3 hours 58 minutes.
High was very impressive. Starting at 3780 Lumens, it held better than 3700 Lumens until a slight drop to 3444 by 1 minute 30 seconds. The output didn’t drop below 3000 Lumens until the 33 minute mark to 2996 Lumens, and it held that for another 20 minutes before stepping down slightly to 2884 Lumens. by 52 minutes. The output was steady for the next 2 hours and 30 minutes, until LVP dropped the output off the luxmeter scale by 3 hours 53 minutes and I ended the test. Like the other modes, even after 20 minutes, the light was cool enough to be hand held, but by 1 hour in, the temps are 60 C on the head and 53 C on the body. Thrunite’s runtime spec for High is 12 minutes+235 minutes, or 4 hours, 7 minutes.
Medium was pretty boring, and I expected as much. About as interesting as watching paint dry, but not nearly as exciting as waiting for water to boil. The test started at 1288 Lumens, and held that for 30 seconds before an imperceptible drop to 1260, then down to 1232 Lumens by 10 minutes. The output doesn’t drop below 1200 Lumens until 1 hour in, down to 1176 Lumens. The output doesn’t drop below 1100 Lumens for the rest of the test when the output dropped off the luxmeter scale by 10 hours 44 minutes in. Again, there’s no LVP notification other than the blinking switch LED. Thrunite’s spec of 11 hours for this runtime is again, pretty close! Heat wasn’t an issue here. At 10 minutes in, I recorded 27.5 C at the head, or a few degrees above ambient.
I was expecting my results to be consistent with Thrunite’s figures, and no surprises. I’m impressed with this performance and it goes to show how a well-designed thermal path coupled with a well regulated driver contributes to sustainability and high output. The fact that the TN50 stays cool enough to be hand held for as long as it does is very nice, and although I probably don’t need to sustain 7000 Lumens for 6 minutes, it’s still nice to know it can. I didn’t have a way to measure the battery voltage, but Thrunite says LVP happens at 11 volts with the blinking switch LED. Thrunite’s Intelligent Temperature Control is also very good, and the light never got over 62 C, even on Turbo S. That might seem a bit high, but the light has excellent heat sinking and a lot of thermal mass, so it heats up slow. It’s results like these that really helps justify the price premium of these lights.
Throw was measured at 5 meters indoors using the Uni-t UT383S lux meter. I used the fully charged internal battery for the test. Readings were recorded at 30 seconds.
|N/A too low to measure
Thunite doesn’t list throw figures for each mode, other than the single 42,000 cd figure and 410 meters, probably on Turbo S. At 30 seconds, I beat Thrunite’s figure, and at turn-on, I almost eclipsed 50,000 cd. This is good throw for a shallow reflector light with LEDs like the XHP70.2 which aren’t known for throw.
I tested the TN50 against the most powerful lights I own: Wurkkos DL70 (4x XHP50.2, 13,000 Lumens), Astrolux FT02S (4 x XHP50.2, 12,000 Lumens), Astrolux EC03 (3x SST40 5100 Lumens), Imalent R30C (3x SST70, 9000 Lumens), Thrunite TC20 V2 (1x XHP70.2 4068 Lumens), Nightwatch NI03 (SFN55.2 7800 Lumens).
Outdoor shots: The fence is 40 meters away. We can see that obviously the TN50 is much brighter than the others, and throws very well also.
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.
- Well regulated driver
- Excellent build quality
- Maintains high output
- Simple UI
- Versatile beam
- Onboard non-proprietary charging
- Sealed battery is not user-serviceable
- No lanyard?
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
5 stars: ★★★★★
Okay folks, what did we learn here, (other than four XHP70.2s are better than one)? Although it’s not too difficult to make 16,000 or even 20,000 Lumens with modern emitters and FET drivers, the end result is usually crazy brightness followed by a steep step down to a few hundred Lumens, hot hands, and not much else. The Thrunite TN50 on the other hand not only manages to produce huge amounts of light, but does it reliably and while sustaining high brightness for a surprisingly long time. Yah, it’s expensive, but comparatively, it’s a great value considering the level of quality and performance you get.
This is a well-designed, high quality flashlight and there’s a lot that I like about it. Aside from the great performance, the UI is well thought out and works great in managing all those photons. The thermal characteristics are also very good, and Thrunite’s ITC does its job seamlessly. It’s nice to see a non-proprietary charging setup on here as well. Although folks with small hands may find the TN50 a handful, I found it to be very easy to handle and maneuver for a chubby light. The output was also very well-regulated. 3,000 Lumens is great output for any light, but to get it after 10 minutes of runtime is fantastic.
Faults? Honestly, I had to dig deep to find anything wrong with it to the point of being nitpicky. I didn’t like that when the battery goes flat, you either send the light back to Thrunite for replacement or attempt opening the light yourself to get to the battery. The other annoyance was although Thrunite did include a split ring, to not include a lanyard on a $250+ light is a bit miserly. I would have liked a visual LVP notification as well to compliment the blinking switch LED.
I felt like the FT02S was bright…until the first time I clicked the TN50 into Turbo S and enjoyed 18,000+ Lumens for over a minute. It was even better on Turbo with 7000 Lumens for almost 6 minutes. The TN50 is further proof you can make a high output, versatile, and practical high output soda can light, and the reason I got into this hobby!. 5 stars for the Thrunite TN50.