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Wuben D1 Review: EDC Flashlight
Wuben D1 specifications
|LED||Cree XP-L HI|
|Max. Lumens||1,100 lm|
|Max. Beam intensity||? cd|
|Onboard charging||No (but battery has USB port)|
|Review date||January 2022|
Fresh off my review of the very nice Wuben C2, another Wuben was offered for review, and I’m a sucker for flashlights, so I couldn’t resist. This one’s a bit of a different animal than the C2 though, but shares some similarities we’ll dive into later. Wuben really needs no introduction, other than they’ve been cranking out flashlights and flashlight accessories (no, not propane, sorry Hank Hill) for over 30 years, starting as an OEM and then becoming an actual brand in 2016. They produce lights for every application to appeal to a diverse consumer base, so if you need an EDC flashlight, searchlight, tactical-use light, or accessory, Wuben has you covered. Moreover, they’ve endeavored themselves to diversifying their brand and innovation over the years, and this is good for consumers. Today, I’ll be taking a look at a product of that diversification, the D1. This is part of Wuben’s new D-series lights. Fun fact, the D1 is the first model in the series (and the only one so far). Looking over the specs, the D1 promises a lot of the same functionality of the C2 and a unique TIR optic with a focus on flood. Let’s take a look.
Wuben’s packaging features a retail-friendly package with a hang tag and bright graphics with the familiar blue and white color scheme, with a picture of the light up front and a simple layout of feature blurbs and specs. The inside of the package is unique, with a fold-open ‘lid’ that opens to expose the lanyard, o-rings, and manual. It’s Olight-like in that respect. The light is sitting in a paper divider, wrapped in a bag with the multifunction USB cable alongside. There’s bog-standard accessories in here, and nothing too special:
- Wuben D1
- Wuben ABE3400T battery (mounted in the light)
- 2 Spare o-rings
- Multifunction USB type C charging cable
Like most mainstream lights, the Wuben D1 comes ready to go out of the box, although you may need to charge the battery since mine came discharged to just 3.2 volts, a little low even for storage voltage, but there was a plastic isolator between the negative terminal to keep it from completely draining during storage. The accessories are nothing special, but everything’s here except a USB type A to C cable. Well, there is one, but it’s woefully useless for charging the battery. More on that later.
Flashlight in use
First off, the D1 is a lot smaller than I imagined, barely bigger than the 18650 sitting inside and a little bit larger than the Sofirn SP10v3 AA-size light. Even though it’s diminutive, handling is easy and intuitive, with the properly-large e-switch up front very close to the bezel like I’m used to on the Emisar D4 style lights and situated in a raised section, which made it easy to find by feel. The battery tube has a unique pattern milled into it that’s by all means identical to the C2 (only smaller), with circumferential micro groove reeding and deep channels for a positive grip. I had no trouble hanging on to the D1. The e-switch has a very grippy switch boot sporting the characteristic W with an indicator LED underneath. It’s illuminated for 5 seconds when the light is switched on to show the battery state. There is an option for a ‘breathing’ indicator when the light is off so you can find it in the dark. The switch action is very nice, with a short action and positive clicks with great feedback.
The tailcap has the same horizontal reeding as the tube for grip, and it has an adequately-sized lanyard hole. The blackened deep carry pocket clip is a 2-way type, so you can carry the D1 bezel up or down without removing and switching the clip, and it can be clipped to the bill of a hat or other surface for hands-free illumination. The clip itself is mounted in a semi-circular groove in the head that positions the front of the clip nearly flush with the bezel. The clip looks removable, but like the C2’s clip, it’s really secure, and I actually removed pieces of anodizing getting it off. Oops! The wide flat tail is fantastic for tail standing, and it’s really stable. The D1 adds a magnet in the tailcap so it can stick to ferrous surfaces. It’s a pretty strong magnet, and easily held the D1 at a 90-degree angle, so this would be super handy for duty as a worklight. As an EDC? I generally don’t like magnetic tailcaps on pocket lights since they tend to collect metal objects that find their way into my pockets, and standing too close to a metal object causes the light to pull outwards, but I can live with it.
Build Quality, and Warranty
It’s no secret budget lights are getting better and better, and there’s a lot of really nice affordable lights gracing the market, some that offer the same features and quality of much more expensive lights. Wuben is positioning the D1 in the highly competitive EDC category, which has tons of very nice affordable options. Pricing is very important here, so I was surprised they set the price around $50 US because this is more expensive than a Lumintop FW3A, FWAA, Thrunite T1S, and approaching Emisar D4V2 prices. Aside from the power bank and floody optic, the D1 doesn’t really represent a better alternative at its current pricing. You can get coupons to bring the price down, but you can get those for the competition also. Maybe bring the price down a bit, Wuben?
Quality is overall very good. The D1 is milled from 6061-T6 aluminum, and the build quality is just fine. Though not sporting the same quality as a more expensive brand like Fenix or Olight, I didn’t see any anomalous gaps or misaligned parts. The machining is nicely done with no blemishes or tool marks, and it’s nice to see most of the edges chamfered and smoothed. The edges of the lanyard hole, battery tube grooves, and pocket clip groove are a bit abrupt, but not sharp like the edges on some Sofirn lights. The finish is nothing to write home about, bit it’s a nice semi-gloss type III HA anodizing which I like, and it wasn’t blemished this time like the C2 I reviewed
The light is sealed up well, with the rear of the battery tube sporting a single decently-sized o-ring. The rear triangular cut threads are well-lubed and a bit on the thin side, but smooth removal and replacement of the tailcap. Wuben gives the D1 a very generous IP68 rating, and I’m used to seeing that on more expensive lights. This is a pretty high ingress-protection rating, so a dunk in the hot tub (or toilet) is no problem for the D1. Ever wonder what those 2 numbers and letters mean? Check this out IP Ratings Explained. There’s 2 springs on the D1; a decent-sized gold-plated spring at the driver and a nice gold-plated one on the tailcap held in with a retaining ring. These are great for durability and aid in shock absorption if dropped. I suspect the magnet is under the spring and could possibly be removed, but I didn’t try.
Wuben’s warranty is excellent and they have a lot to say about that, so I’ll let them break it down for you: 30 days money back guarantee: Within 30 days from the date of purchase, if the product has quality problems, customers can request full refund. 30 days replacement: Within 30 days from the date of purchase, if the product has quality problems, customers can request free replacement. 1 year warranty: Within 1 year from the date of purchase, if the product has quality problems, WUBEN will offer free repair. Battery warranty: WUBEN offers a 1-year warranty for the rechargeable batteries but other included accessories are not covered by the warranty. 5 Years product warranty: Within 5 years from the date of purchase, if the product(for battery-removable flashlights, accessories excluded) has quality problems, WUBEN will offer free repair for WUBEN registered customers(Support-Product registration). Lifetime maintenance: From the date of purchase, if the product has a problem after 1 year, WUBEN will offer paid repair for WUBEN registered customers.
LED, Lens, Bezel, Beam, and Reflector
Wuben doesn’t cloak their LED choices (or specs) in ambiguity and that’s nice if one cares about such things. I suspect the majority of D1 buyers probably won’t, but as an enthusiast, I do, so thanks Wuben! The D1 comes with just one LED choice, and it’s a good one, the Cree XP-L HI (high intensity). This is the factory de domed version of the 3535-size XP-L HD (high density), so you get higher cd/mm2 for more throw. It’s only available in cool white, so 6200-6500K CCT and 70 CRI. I tested the photometry with the Opple Lightmaster Pro using High mode with the light sensor about 0.8 meters from the light source. Results showed 6577K and 71.6 CRI with a DUV of 0.0006, so very close to the BBL and a very nice CW tint profile.
The D1 chucks the reflector for a unique TIR optic. For those who don’t know, a TIR (Total Internal Reflection) optic works on the principle of light reflection and refraction. Ever look upwards when underwater and notice you can see your reflection? Yep, TIR in action. There’s a lot more complicated math and physics that go into making TIRs work, so I’ll let an attractive expert explain it: Total Internal Reflection.
The D1’s TIR is a unique design with an almost fresnel lens-like center and a textured outer periphery. Per Wuben, this produces a very wide beam angle of 175 degrees (vs about 110 for a pretty floody reflector light), so it should be very floody for an otherwise-throwy LED.
The nicely-finished smooth bezel seems press-fit and could be made of stainless steel or aluminum (not specified). Unfortunately, there’s no glass protecting the optic and that’s an issue since it sits nearly flush with the bezel. A bezel-first drop could damage it quite easily and replacing it yourself might be impossible. The beam is actually very nice and not too floody, but has a nice balance of flood and throw. There is a small diffuse hotspot surrounded by diffuse spill that blends very nicely with no artifacts, tint shift, or chromatic aberrations. There is a lot of side illumination as well. I tested it alongside a pretty floody light, the Thrunite TC20 V2. On a large piece of paper, with the lights elevated the same height from the surface of the paper, the D1 has slightly more side illumination. Although the tint is pretty cool, it’s not annoyingly so, and on higher settings turns bright white and much nicer than current-gen Cree emitters (XP-G3, XHP50.2, XP-L2).
Dimensions and size comparison
- Length: 10.50 cm / 4.13 inches
- Body diameter: 2.35 cm / 0.93 inches
- Without cells: 62.7 grams / 2.21 oz.
- With cells:116.4 grams / 4.10 oz.
Flashlight size comparison
The D1 is compact for an 18650 light and makes my other 18650 size lights look huge. The D1 is almost the same size as the old Sunwayman RA10 14500 size light!
Group 1 left to right: Thrunite BSS V4, Fenix PD35 V3, Sofirn SC31T, Wuben D1, Acebeam P15 Defender
Group 2 left to right: Wuben D1, Wuben C2
Group 3 left to right: Wildtrail WT3M, Lumintop FWAA, Wuben D1, Sofirn SP10v3
Driver & User Interface:
Wuben doesn’t say what kind of driver the D1 is sporting, and I can’t open the light to take a peek either. The runtime test will tell though!
The UI is simple and very easy to use. It’s 4 modes with mode memory, variable Strobe, and SOS. It’s easy to operate as well, with one click on, one click off, with press and hold for mode switching like Thrunites UI. It’s pretty simplistic without sacrificing utility or usability, and I like the mode spacing and intuitive shortcuts to the blinkies and Moonlight mode. Wuben also includes clever ‘breathing’ switch LED to easily locate the switch in the dark, and electronic lockout.
Available modes: Moon, Low, Medium, High + Strobe, and SOS.
- Press and hold: Moon. Continuing to hold for 2 seconds will default to standard mode switching
- Single click: Turns on in last mode
- Double click: Strobe. Double click again for SOS
- Triple click: Activates or deactivates the breathing switch indicator
- Quad click: Electronic lockout
- Single click: Turns off
- Press and hold: Switches modes M-L-M-H-M
- Double click: Strobe, double click again for SOS
- Triple click:N/A
- Quad click: N/A
- Yes, recalls last used mode for all modes except Strobe, SOS and Turbo
- Double clicking from off activates Strobe. Press and hold from off activates Moon. Double clicking from on defaults to Strobe.
Low voltage warning:
- The switch indicator shows battery status, but nothing is mentioned about a visual LVP notification. Solid blue indicator >90%, blinking blue 90% to 40%, solid red 40% to 15%, blinking red 15% or less.
- Variable Strobe, S.O.S..
- Clicking 4 times from off activates the lockout, confirmed by 3 blinks. The switch indicator will blink 3 times when pressed if locked. Repeat to unlock, and the light turns on in Eco mode. The light can also be locked out by unscrewing the the tailcap 1/8th turn
- Yes, but fast PWM not visible with the naked eye.
Additional info on the UI:
- If you thought this UI is similar to the C2’s, well, you’d be right. Aside from missing Turbo, the D1 is sporting a nearly identical version of the C2 UI, and that’s awesome because I liked that UI. The mode spacing is really good with no huge jumps between modes and everything is implemented well. The mode switching is adequately fast, but Moon mode doesn’t seem to be sub lumen though. Having two ways to lockout is also useful, and I like that you can turn on or off the breathing switch LED function. There’s no mention of temperature regulation in the manual, but I suspect it’s there.
Batteries & Charging
The D1 is an 18650 light, and comes with Wuben’s button top ABE3400T 18650 cell. This is a 3400 mAh cell with built-in USB type C charging, protection circuit, and power bank functionality. The battery is about 4 mm longer than a standard 18650, but the D1 happily digested all my 18650s, button and flat tops (although flat tops did rattle a bit in the tube).
Wuben includes a multifunction USB cable contraption (almost like a dongle) for charging and the power bank. On one end it’s a USB type C plug on a very short (like 4 inch) lead connected to a hub connector with a pair of USB type A connectors: a male end for plugging into a charger, and a female connector for plugging in a USB cable for the power bank. Acebeam includes this same setup with their power bank-capable batteries as well and I am not fond of it. The lead is way too short to be useful for charging the battery, and with type C to type C cables available, it’s a bit redundant. Worse, Wuben doesn’t even include a proper USB A to type C charging cable which is a bit unacceptable on a light this expensive. I did try a type C to type C cable, and it worked on my PD charger (just not with PD).
The battery positive terminal is surrounded by a translucent ring with LED indicators underneath for charge/discharge status: blinking red for charging, solid red for charged, and solid blue for discharge when using the power bank. Wuben says the charge rate is 1 amp so expect the cell to fully charge in about 4 hours. The switch LED is red for charging and turns blue when finished. For the power bank, the output is also 1 amp, and on a 2.1 amp wall wart, My USB tester showed 1 amp on the nose for charging, and 1.36 amps maximum for the power bank functionality.
The voltage did go a bit low though (down to 4.74 volts) at that higher current though. The battery was charged to 4.16 volts so it will give years of good service. I am really liking power bank functionality on flashlights since it’s so useful. You won’t be able to fully charge a cell phone with the ABE3400T battery, but you will be able to juice up any device that needs a charge in an emergency (provided you have a cable).
Lumen measurements (for each mode)
Lumens were measured using my home made 30 cm integrating sphere that’s been calibrated with several lights of known output including a Makkua-calibrated Convoy S2+. I use a Digi-Sense 20250-00 datalogging luxmeter. I used the included fully charged battery for the test. Amps were measured using my Radio Shack T-RMS multimeter with 16 gauge wires inserted in the meter for currents under 8 amps. I used the included battery for the tests.
|Mode||Amps at start||Specs||Lumens @turn on||Lumens @30 sec||Lumens @ 10 min|
|High||3.2 A||1100 lm||1100 lm||437 lm||423|
- (switch LED off) 2.0 µA
I tested the light in my 30 cm integrating sphere calibrated using several lights including a Makkua S2+ with the Digi-Sense 20250-00 datalogging luxmeter with the included 3400 mAh battery. I tested High and Medium modes.
High started at the factory-spec’d Lumens, and it was all over within about 10 seconds, rapidly dropping to under 800 Lumens by 15 seconds, and steadily dropping over the next 30 seconds before stabilizing at 439 Lumens. The output was pretty stable, only deviating about 60 Lumens over the next 30 minutes until bottoming out at 398 Lumens. From there, the output doesn’t drop below 300 Lumens until the 3 hour 15 second mark, followed by a gradual decrease over the next 14 minutes until an abrupt shutdown. Total runtime was 3 hours 14 minutes, 25 seconds. Wuben’s spec for the High runtime is 2 hours 30 minutes and 30 seconds. I’m wayyyy over that, but I’ll take it. The thermals were more than acceptable: The body was always cool enough to touch during the test, with the max temp hitting 51.3 C at 50 minutes in.
Medium was rock-solid, just like the bigger Wuben C2 I tested. The output started a bit higher than the factory spec at 365 Lumens, and was very stable throughout the runtime, holding better than 350 Lumens for almost 4 minutes, with indiscernible step downs over the next 4 hours. It wasn’t until 4 hours and 7 minutes in that the output dropped below 200 Lumens, and from there it was all downhill, with a hard shut down at the 4 hour 15 minute mark. Wuben says it’s supposed to run for 5 hours, so it’s close enough. Heat wasn’t an issue, with the highest reading barely cresting 40 C.
Going over the data makes me think there’s a fully regulated driver somewhere in there, possibly a buck driver? The nice, linear outputs sure look like it. Either way, this is very good performance from the diminutive D1. There’s great regulation throughout the runtimes, with consistent brightness, and the only noticeable changes happened on High during the first 30 seconds, which Wuben mentions in the spec sheet (30 seconds + 2.5 hours). Despite being a small light with limited heatsinking, it managed the heat well. Yah, yah, I know it’s only being driven to about 1.5 amps after the step down on High, but still, that’s plenty of light for most tasks. Medium mode is great as well. Any time I get nice linear output from a budget light makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.
I measured the throw with the Uni-T UT383S luxmeter indoors at 5 meters. I used the fully charged included battery. Readings recorded at 30 seconds.
|High||?||2725 cd (6550 cd at start)||104 (162)||114 (177)|
Eco mode was too low to read at 5 meters. Wuben doesn’t list any candela figures for the D1, only a maximum distance of 130 meters. I wasn’t expecting a lot of throw, so no surprises here!
I compared the D1 with some lights of similar output, and since the D1 has an optic, I mixed it up with optic lights and reflector lights as well: Olight Odin Mini (TIR 1250 Lumens), The Sofirn SP10v3 (OP reflector about 900 Lumens), SFT40 equipped Fenix PD35 V3 (SMO reflector 1750 Lumens), and the D1’s bigger sibling the C2 (2000 Lumens SMO reflector SST40).
Indoor pictures: The end of the hallway is about 12 meters away. I ran the D1 alongside the Sofirn SP10S V3 and Olight Odin Mini for comparison. The D1 is indeed floody with lots of side illumination, so it would be great for walking or general purpose outdoor activities.
Outdoor pictures: The fence is about 40 meters away.
Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to me for review at no cost by Wuben. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.
- Solid build quality
- Compact and lightweight
- Simple UI
- Power bank function delivers 1 amp+
- Well-regulated driver
- Great beam for general purpose
- Abrupt shut down for LVP
- Optic is unprotected
- Missing a proper USB charging cable
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
4.5 stars: ★★★★⋆
Budget light manufacturers have made great strides with quality and performance enhancements over the last couple years, so much so that you don’t need to spend $80 or even $60 to get a really nice, reliable flashlight. Wuben is one such manufacturer, and throughout the course of my testing the D1 has proven to be a highly versatile and functional light that does more than just light stuff up. If your phone needs a charge to keep reading flashlight reviews, binge-watching episodes of Star Trek the Next Generation on Netflix (or YouTube videos of rabbits eating dandelions), the D1 will happily donate some electrons. It’s this kind of extra usefulness I really love to see becoming more and more prevalent on flashlights.
Aside from the power bank, this is a good flashlight. It’s compact, lightweight, easy to handle, and the magnetic tailcap, although annoying at times, adds a ton of usefulness. As an emergency or work light it’s fantastic since you can stick it to magnetic things. The UI is very intuitive and user-friendly enough that anyone could master it quickly. The dual-position pocket clip can be clipped to a hat or sleeve for hands-free lighting. The nicely floody TIR is about as good as it gets for a general purpose beam (as long as you don’t need more than 100 m of throw) and is great for walking at night. There’s no external water ingress points, so it will be pretty waterproof. No, it’s not an ultra-high output light, and don’t expect it to sustain high output, but for what it is, it’s fine, with decent runtimes and great regulated output.
There are few things I’m not fond of, like the abrupt LVP shut down, the unprotected optic, and I really don’t like the included USB charge-thingy (Wuben, please, just give us a type C to type C cable). It’s a bit expensive, but remember, you’re getting a high capacity battery, a nice driver, and power bank functionality so I won’t knock it too bad. A great first effort for Wuben’s D-series, and I hope there’s more to come! 4.5 stars for the D1.
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