Wuben A21 Apollo flashlight review:
Table of contents
The Wuben A21 might be a flashlight you never heard of. And I get that because to my knowledge Wuben is still a relatively new player on the flashlight market. But that doesn’t mean it can’t produce high-class flashlights.
The A21 is my first Wuben and I’m quite excited to try it out. Before we dive into the nitty-gritty details, first a quick overview of what you get when buying the Wuben A21.
What you’ll get:
- Wuben A21
- 21700 battery (4800mAh)
- battery adapter for 18650 batteries
- Spare O-rings
- Belt clip
- USB-C charging cable
- Manual in English, Chinese, Japanese and German
- Warranty card
|Beam intensity||12,854 cd|
|Blinkies||Strobe + SOS|
|Review date:||January 2019|
Handling of the light
Before I start talking about the light I just wanted to let you know that their packaging is rather gorgeous. It reminded me directly of the cardboard box of the Fireflies ROT66. It is very sturdy, and it has a magnetic flip-open lid. The A21 screams quality, and I am quite surprised that such a new flashlight manufacturer starts off with this kind of flashlight. Since it uses a 21700 battery, the body has a nicer diameter than a 18650 flashlight. I will go more into detail below.
Build Quality and Anodizing
As I had just said, the Wuben A21 screams quality. It is almost unbelievable to see such a new brand with this kind of flashlight. I almost think they are a sister company of another ‘famous’ brand. How else would they be able to produce this kind of flashlight?
Anyway, the build quality is top-notch. The anodizing is like any other premium manufacturer. The stainless steel bezel makes it look even better.
You’ll probably only see them once! Why am I saying this? Well, because the tailcap is very difficult to unscrew. That is probably for a reason. The battery should be charged inside the flashlight! Once it unscrewed it’s easier to put it back on again, but the first time it is really, really hard to unscrew. I mean really hard. The threads are square-cut, and no anodizing is missing.
LED, Lens Bezel and Reflector
I already touched upon the bezel which is made of stainless steel and has a slight crenelation. The reflector is likely to be made of aluminum. It looks like everything is glued, so its impossible to open without heating.
The Orange Peel reflector will smoothen the edges on the beam profile, and at the same time gives it a less distinct hot spot.
The Wuben A21 includes a strike-bezel that, according to their explanation, can break windows and help as a self-defense ‘weapon’.
The Wuben A21 uses the CREE Xlamp XHP70.2 led. The XHP70 LED is a 6V/12V LED so it uses a booster driver in order to provide enough Voltage to the LED.
Dimensions and weight:
- Length: 135 mm
- Diameter head: 42 mm
- Weight empty: 147grams
Since the A21 only has 1 switch, it is used for power and mode switching.
Ultralow – Low – Medium – High – Turbo
From the OFF position:
- 1 click: On (mode memory)
- 2 clicks: Ramping mode (press and hold from here to ramp up and ramp down)
- 3 clicks: Lock-out mode
- 4,5,6 clicks: nothing
- 1 click: changes output
- 2 clicks: Strobe and another double click for SOS
- Long press: Off
- 3-6 clicks: nothing
- The A21 has a hidden ramping mode. From the OFF position, you have to do a double click to enter ramping mode. Press and hold the switch to ramp output up and down.
- Yes. The last used mode will be memorized.
- Yes. from OFF: use a triple click to enter Lock-out mode. Another triple-click to leave lock-out mode.
- Not that I could detect
Batteries and charging:
The Wuben A21 was provided with a 21700 battery (4800mAh) and I would suggest keeping the battery inside the flashlight at all time. Why? Because the tailcap is really hard to unscrew, and the battery doesn’t fit 99% of the available chargers. I use the SkyRC MC3000 charger analyzer, but it doesn’t fit! The battery is too long.
The other reason is the built-in charger. The Wuben A21 uses a USB-C type port and cable. The specifications say it can charge at 2 A. I tested mine with an Xtar Vi01 USB current/voltage detector, and it showed 1.8Amps max charge current. That is in my opinion definitely good enough! Also, the USB C plug makes it easier to charge since you don’t have to worry if the plug is upside-down or not. So that is another big plus.
One thing that I am a little worried about is the parasitic drain. Parasitic battery drain is a continuous slow discharge of the battery because the circuit is active. Usually, the electronics inside the flashlight use a very small amount of energy. This will result in a faster discharge of the battery.
I measured 56uA, which is 0.06 mA
These readings were done using a Fluke 77III DMM with solid 3mm copper wires. The Wuben A21 was using the included 4800mAh (ABD4800) 21700 lithium-ion battery. All measurements were taken from the tailcap.
- 0.06 A for Ultralow
- 0.21 A for Low
- 0.50 A for Medium
- 1.54 A for High
- 2.37 A for Turbo
The Turbo measurement seems a little odd. While less than 1 Amp more than High, the Lumens are more than double. This is probably an error on my side.
Tested with the included 21700 battery. During the runtime test, I kept hearing little sounds from the flashlight. Very, very short high-pitch sounds. Like a squeak. Maybe it’s the metal parts moving making that noise because of the heat? The App I used for the runtime graph is the Ceiling Bounce App. NO COOLING
From 1 minute onwards the light decreased in output to 35% output.. This decreases in output to about 2 minutes.
After almost 3 hours I couldn’t see much light, but it was still 180 lumens or so. So I just stopped the test. So its roughly 3 hours of runtime, but at very low output.
Measured with the included battery in my homebuilt integrating sphere. The website of the manufacturer (Wuben) claims the A21 to be 4200 lumens. My measurements were pretty close! So their output claims are trustworthy!
|Wuben A21||Ultralow||8 Lumens||5|
|wuben abd4800 red bl||low||128 Lumens||130|
Low Voltage warning:
When the voltage reaches 15% the small LED behind the side switch starts blinking.
This time I used the Samsung INR21700 40T. The reason for using this battery is simply because the included battery was almost empty when I wanted to measure the throw. LOL. That happens a lot.. Just at the time, I feel like I want to do a runtime test, or a throw test, the battery is not fully charged.. Anyway. This time it was measured outdoors at 10 meters distance with the Skytronic LX101 Lux Meter.
- 10 meters: 30000 cd
This is a little bit shocking, and I don’t really understand why it’s so high…. I really don’t know, but the manufacturer says it’s 12,584cd…
After I came back home I found out that my camera settings were wrong. Instead of using a quarter of a second, I used a shutter speed of a 40th of a second, which is too fast, and therefore darker than my previous beamshots, unfortunately. So they can’t be compared. Instead of 1/4 I used 1/40.
Camera settings: Canon EOS 5D markII 50mm, ISO 1600, F4, 1/40 shutter speed, 5000K
Final conclusion of the Wuben A21
- High quality flashlight and materials
- Trustworthy Lumen claims
- Built-in USB-C charging
- Including a 21700 battery
- Turbo mode is rather short
- The tailcap is very hard to unscrew (at the same time that is safe around children)
- The battery is too long for most battery chargers, including the SKYRC MC3000
Rating: 5 stars
In the past few months, I have come across a few new flashlight manufacturers that provide some high-quality flashlights, and this is one of them. The UI isn’t exactly my favorite, but I understand this is just my personal opinion. If you want a good flashlight with a built-in charge system, this is probably the way to go. The included battery is too long to charge in a normal charger anyway.
Disclaimer: The Wuben A21 was provided by the manufacturer for review.