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  • Stephen Knight

Flashlight Review: Wurkkos TD03

Updated: Feb 3

The Wurkkos TD03 flashlight/torch is one of many recent additions to Wurkkos' TD range of budget, tail switch flashlights. This 18650 battery light has a "throwy" SFT-40 5000k LED, and is claimed to reach 1800 lumens.


Disclaimer


The Wurkkos TD03 was sent to me for a review by Wurkkos. This review does not contain any affiliate links to Wurkkos. This flashlight is reviewed from the perspective of a light painting photographer and flashlight enthusiast.


Wurkkos TD03 "Tactical" Flashlight
Wurkkos TD03 "Tactical" Flashlight

Construction and Design


Wurkkos are one of the most well known budget flashlight manufacturers. The TD03 is one of 4 lights (at the time of writing) in Wurkkos's TD range of tail switch "tactical" flashlights .It is an 18650 battery tube format flashlight, with a rotary and push button based tail switch, a head diameter of 28mm, length of 160mm, and weight of 78g (excl. battery). The light uses a powerful Luminus SFT-40 LED, unusually available in neutral white 5000k, and claimed to reach 1800 lumens. The retail price at the time of writing was just US$31 without battery, and US$34 including a 18650 Li-ion battery.


The light was delivered to Australia within 10 days from being dispatched. The TD03 arrived in basic but adequate branded packaging. Included accessories were a conventional side clip, USB-A to USB-C charging cable, lanyard, spare O-rings, and instructions. The light has an IP68 rating, and is designed to be drop proof to 1.5m.


A high quality button top unprotected 3000mAh 18650 Li-ion battery is optional, and I would highly recommend purchasing this as an option. This light was tested with the optional battery. As usual, the +ve end of the battery is at the head end of the flashlight. The head unscrews from the tube only. The tail cap end is fixed. There are springs at both end of the battery tube. The flashlight has internal USB-C charging, with the port on the side of the flashlight head. Charge was measured to terminate at 4.17V which is acceptable. Charge rate was estimated at 2A.


This flashlight is compatible with Light Painting Brushes (Universal Connector), Light Painting Paradise, and most T8 tube based (Light Painting Tubes, Luminosify, Light Painting King) light painting systems. It fits U-shaped or clamp tripod mounts.


Wurkkos TD03 packaging and accessories.
Wurkkos TD03 packaging and accessories.

Wurkkos TD03 flashlight head and USB-C charging port.
Wurkkos TD03 flashlight head and USB-C charging port.

L to R - Convoy S2+, Wurkkos TD02, Wurkkos TD03.
Size Comparison L to R - Convoy S2+, Wurkkos TD02, Wurkkos TD03.

User Interface


The Wurkkos TD03 has an interesting user interface (UI) that combines a rotary selector switch, and push button tail switch.


The rotary selector switch has 3 settings, with the following UI using the tail switch for each setting.

  • Off - Off by default. Momentary Strobe when switch depressed.

  • Daily Mode - No off state, always on. Short press cycles Low>Med>High>Turbo>Low with last mode memory. Long press to access Strobe mode. (Last mode memory will reset if the head is unscrewed).

  • Tactical Mode - No off state, always on. Turbo by default. Short press cycles Turbo>Medium>Turbo. Long press to access Strobe mode.

It is excellent to see Wurkkos design a UI that is different to what other manufacturers are doing. There are too many flashlights with almost identical UIs, so it is good to see something different. This UI is clearly designed for the "tactical" crowd, and I think some will love it, and other won't love it. I like that there is a momentary Strobe mode (more on that below), and last mode memory in Daily Mode, but there isn't a proper momentary Turbo. It is however possible to use to rotary switch to quickly move between Off or any chosen brightness mode in Daily Mode, to Turbo. This can be done by one hand, but not easily. It is also possible to move between any brightness level and Strobe mode, and back again on the fly.


Some "tactical" users may prefer the side and tail switch Wurkkos TD04 UI, which has both momentary Strobe and Turbo. It should be noted that the TD04 has more maximum lumens, but less throw.


I had hopes that this light might be useful for light painting photography, especially with momentary Strobe mode, and ability to move between Turbo and Strobe on the fly. Unfortunately, the Strobe mode is an alternating frequency strobe, which isn't useful for light painting photography. Please manufacturers, bring back constant frequency strobes! I personally think that a fast constant frequency strobe (e.g. 20Hz) is far more annoying to a potential attacker than alternating frequency, and thus a better option for both "tactical" and light painting use. Having to use the rotary switch to turn the light on and off isn't optimal for light painting either.


There is no remote pressure switch available. The light can be mechanically locked out by slightly unscrewing the head.


The Wurkkos TD03 has a rotary and push button tail switch.
The Wurkkos TD03 has a rotary and push button tail switch.

The Wurkkos TD03 has a rotary and push button tail switch.
The Wurkkos TD03 has a rotary and push button tail switch.

Beam, Output, and Runtime


The Wurkkos TD03 has a Luminus SFT-40 5000k LED, in a deep smooth reflector. The throwy optics creates a beam with a very good throw/lumen ratio. The spill beam has a hard edge at 80 degrees, so the beam is more useful for medium distance illumination such as "tactical" use. Measurements in this section used an Opple Light Master Pro 3.


Claimed/Measured Brightness:

  • Turbo - 1800/1535 lumens (brightness step down from 30 seconds).

  • High - 1000/765 lumens (brightness step down from 120 seconds).

  • Medium - 350/230 lumens.

  • Low - 50/20 lumens.

  • Strobe - 1800/1535 lumens (estimated).

These brightness levels are fairly well spaced, though not as well spaced as the TD02. Turbo brightness was lower than specification at 1535 lumens. Step down on Turbo mode was very rapid, with a drop in brightness to 720 lumens between 30 and 45 seconds, and a second drop to 365 lumens at 120 seconds. The latter (timed?) step down at 120 seconds also occurred on High mode. The LED driver is unregulated, and the brightness continues to slowly decline with decreasing battery voltage. This mediocre performance is the differentiator between a budget light such as this, and more expensive lights from brands such as Olight and Acebeam.


Claimed/Measured Runtimes:

  • Turbo - 2h/ANSI FL1 runtime 1h55min, remained above Low mode until shutoff at 3h10min.

  • High - 3h/ANSI FL1 runtime 2h05min, remained above Low mode until shutoff at 3hr20min.

  • Medium - 7h/not measured.

  • Low - 34h/not measured.


Claimed/Measured Peak Beam Intensity (Throw):

  • Turbo - 31,125cd (353m)/43,522cd (417m).

  • High - 15,900cd (252m)/21,737cd (294m).

  • Medium - 4,675cd (137m)/6,548cd (162m).

  • Low - 700cd (53m)/572cd (47m).

Peak beam intensity is very impressive for an 18650 tube format light with a head diameter of just 28mm. This is helped by the SFT-40 LED and smooth optics. My measurements taken at 1m are usually slightly higher than specification, but in this case I measured significantly higher than specification on both High and Turbo modes. Measurements taken at 2m also correlated. The light has a relatively throwy "tactical" beam, and is also highly suitable for use with longer light painting tools such as T8 tubes, rods, sabers, etc.


Hotspot correlated colour temperature (CCT), colour rending (CRI Ra), and tint (DUV):

  • Turbo - CCT 5397k, CRI 65 Ra CRI, Tint +0.0057 DUV.

  • High - CCT 5061k, CRI 63.8 Ra CRI, Tint +0.0065 DUV.

  • Medium - CCT 4819k, CRI 62.6 Ra, Tint +0.0081 DUV.

  • Low - CCT 4636k , CRI 61.0 Ra, Tint +0.0109 DUV.

It is fantastic to see Wurkkos use a neutral white 5000k LED instead of the usual cool white 6500k LEDs. Whilst not high CRI, a neutral white beam is usually far more pleasant to illuminate things compared "washed out" cool white. This sets the TD03 apart from it's peers. However, I would like to see a cool white 6500k option made available as well. For a "70 CRI" LED, the CRI is is one of the worst I've tested at between 61 to 65 Ra, and it is thus more of a case of "washed out" neutral white. The tint, as usual for a SFT-40 emitter has a very slight green tint at maximum brightness, and increasingly green tint as the brightness decreases. I doubt that most of the primary target audience of this light will be concerned about the CRI or tint.


No Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) was detected visually, or by my phone camera, so it is likely to be at a very fast frequency.


Wurkkos TD03 Optics
Wurkkos TD03 Optics

Wurkkos TD03 flashlight beam profile.
Wurkkos TD03 flashlight beam profile.

Wurkkos TD03 outdoor beam shot
Wurkkos TD03 outdoor beam shot


Conclusion


Positives:

  • Good value for money - just US$34 including battery.

  • Impressive throw/size.

  • Momentary Strobe mode.

  • Last mode memory for all brightness modes in Daily Mode.

  • USB-C internal charging.

  • Side clip.

  • No visible PWM.

  • Compatible with most light painting systems.

Negatives:

  • Rapid brightness stepdown.

  • No true momentary Turbo.

  • Rotary switch required to turn the light on and off (except for Strobe mode).

  • Alternating frequency strobe.

  • No Moonlight mode.

  • CRI and tint are sub-optimal.

  • No remote pressure switch.

The Wurkkos TD03 is a well designed, budget "tactical" flashlight, with impressive throw for its size. Kudos to Wurkkos for using a neutral white LED, and having a very different "tactical" user interface to many of its peers. Some users will love the UI, and others won't. Personally, I would prefer a light that uses the Wurkkos TD04's UI, Wurkkos TD03's optics, and of course a constant frequency strobe!


For light painting photography (creating light trails) there are better options than the Wurkkos TD03. The recently reviewed Wurkkos TD02 is a better choice for continuous (non-strobe) light trails with 5 brightness modes, last mode memory, and Turbo sustained for longer.




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