UltraFire C3 5 Mode Review
UltraFire C3 5 Mode
The emitter is slightly misaligned with the reflector due to the fact that there is some play between the reflector and the head. There is no threading for the reflector to be screwed in the head, it's just a drop in style. It's probably possible to get perfect alignment by unscrewing the emitter module a little, re-align the reflector and tightening back the emitter module. Most people wouldn't bother because the alignment isn't really that bad as you can see from the fine black gap around the emitter's silver ring. The textured aluminum reflector used in the C3 is pretty much the same as in most of UltraFire's lights, texture is a medium orange peel and is very well polished. The lens is made of plain glass, no scratches or marks on it, all nice and clean.
Overall the build quality of the C3 is very good. Type 2 anodized coating is even throughout the entire exterior except for the tail cap which had a couple of blemish streaks. The head come in one piece, there's no removable bezel or the like. It's a plain and clean design with no cosmetic machining. The battery tube has a similar design to the larger sized UltraFire lights, it is also much slimmer than other single AA lights out there. This might not be apparent from looking from the pictures alone, but you can really tell the difference when you're holding it in hand. The slimmer body also helps when holding the light in a cigar grip. At the front and rear threads you will find 2 orange rubber o-rings, makes for a very contrasting look. Both came very well lubricated, no complaints here. The threads themselves are also very nice and smooth, both the head and tail cap screw on and off without and rough grinding or cross-threading. One thing to note if you are planning to use 14500 cells in this light, protected cells will not fit. Even my Eneloop AA cells are a snug fit for it's battery tube. Well, at least that means less battery rattle.
The tail cap houses a standard reverse clicky. Checkered texture on all around help with grip for battery changes and there are 2 slots big enough to fit lanyards and key rings too. The switch gives a very firm and tactile clicking feel, I really like it. The rubber cap used has a medium stippled texture and protrudes out from the tail cap which means it's easy to turn on but will not be able to tail stand. One problem I encountered was that the switch module was a little loose and caused the light to work intermittently and sometimes will get stuck in the on position. If you encounter this problem, simply make sure that both the black switch retainer cap and the brass colored switch retainer are tightly screwed in. You will need very sharp needle nose pliers for this as the holes on it are very small.
Compared to the original UltraFire C3, this updated C3 has 5 modes and comes with an additional 2x AA extension tube. Cycling between modes is done by half-pressing the switch. The mode switching does have a slight hitch though, because there is no buffer time for mode switching. For example, if you turn off the light on high mode, the next time you turn on the light, even if it's an hour later will turn on strobe mode. running on a single AA cell isn't very bright, in fact it's significantly dimmer than the single mode C3. The tint is very nice on my sample, no blue or yellow tinting could be detected when shinning against a white wall. There's the dark ring around the hotspot in this light, which is quite common among XR-E based lights. Luckily, it's only obvious within about 1 meter.
The operating modes are as follows;
Off > Low > Medium > High > Strobe > S.O.S.
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The lower levels are controlled by PWM which is noticeable when waving the light around, but doesn't affect practical usage. I could only take control shots on the high mode since the PWM affects my camera. As you can see from the graphs below, the circuit in this C3 is not particularly efficient when running on 2x AA cells. When comparing the total area below each of the runtime graphs, I calculated that the C3 runs about 95% more efficient on 1x AA than 2x AA cells.
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The Good - Pretty good value for the money, a good choice if you are looking for a 5 mode AA light with bright output. Fit and finish is well done.
The Bad - The battery tube is very narrow. AA NiMH cells which are slightly wider than the standard may not fit. Isn't very efficient running on 2x AA cells.
The Relative - Uses a reverse push button. Has the option to run on 1x AA or 2x AA cells.
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