Flashlight Reviews  By old4570
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Sunwayman Dolphin C15A  

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Tmart has sent me the Sunwayman Dolphin C15A for review.

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Manufacturers Product Page :

Manufacturers Specs :


    ● CREE XM-L2 LED, with a lifetime of up to 50,000 hours;
    ● Soft-contact Side Switch:
     Three modes constant output, hidden Strobe and SOS
     Three constant output modes: 193Lumens (1.2hrs) – 34Lumens (10hrs) – 3Lumens (70hrs)
     Strobe: 193Lumens
    ● Constant current circuit, constant output
    ● Effective range of 117 meters
    ● Uses one AA (Alkaline, Ni-MH, Lithium) battery
    ● Working voltage: 0.9~4.2V
    ● High quality metal reflector maintains great throw distance and spread with an ideal beam pattern
    ● Dimensions: 93mm (length) x  25mm (head diameter)
    ● Weight: 76g(battery excluded)
    ● Aerospace-grade aluminum alloy
    ● Military Specification Type III- hard anodized body
    ● Waterproof, in accordance with IPX-8 standard
    ● Ultra-clear tempered glass lens resists scratches and impacts
    ● Tail stand capable- can be used as a candle
    ● Accessories: O-ring,  lanyard, holster

First Thoughts :

Wow, this is such a well made light and I don't have a negative thing to say about my initial thoughts on this light ( I write this before taking measurements ) , its very simply superb. From the square cut threads that join the two body halves, to the natural fit in the hand, and the hidden modes ( strobe and SOS ), I have been so impressed by the C15A, I can't help but feel that this little flashlight has just become my No1 EDC. I would almost go so far as to say I feel almost guilty for being given the opportunity to review this light, well ? almost. The build quality is top notch, as is the anodizing and the lanyard plug, what a nice touch. This flash light oozes quality where ever you look, and I'm going to really try hard to show you guys why you might want one.

Using The Light :

Pop in a battery, and screw the body back together. Now you are ready to use the light.
To turn it on just give a quick press on the side switch, and to turn it off, just another quick press. To change modes, you turn on the light, and then push the button down and hold it down. The light will now cycle through the modes, simply let go the switch when you get to the mode you want.

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Hiden Modes :   To get to strobe or SOS .

Push twice very quickly and you will have Strobe. To get to SOS just double click again quickly, and you will get SOS. ( from Strobe ) 

Lock out :
Push quickly twice, only now on the second click hold the switch down, to unlock repeat the proces. ( you have to be really fast and precise or it wont work ) And dont forget to make sure the light is of for 7 seconds or more. ( I wait a good 10 seconds )  How hard is it to defeat the lock out if you get stuck ?  Just unscrew the light breacking battery contact, screw it back together and the Lock out is defeated.

Momentary-on :
How many know about the momentary-on?, this was such a vaunted feature of early Surefire and the C15A has it as well. To use the momentary-on, just push the side switch down and hold it down ( from the light being off ). What you get is High mode for as long as you hold the switch down, let go and the light turns off.

Mode Memory :
This light does have mode memory, and will start up in what ever mode you left in ( no , not Strobe or SOS ). You could have the light in Low ( mode mem ) and if you needed to, start the light in Momentary-on ( high ), let go the switch and turn the light on ( normal - press and let go ) and then be in Low mode. How many time's have you left your light in Low mode ( mode mem ) and wanted High right away ? The C15A gives you just that, it lets you have your cake, and eat it. 

Low Voltage Indicator :
Just a FYI here, its only works with the 14500. I ran a AA down to 0.84v to check if it might come on and NO.

Parasitic Drain :
This is an electronic flashlight, or the switch is electronic depending on how you want to look at it. It does not have a mechanical clicky, so for the switch to function there has to be current ( parasitic drain ), and I measured some 4.2mA ( AA ) with the light off. So for long term storage it might be an idea to remove the battery. 

Every day carry. I took the C15A for a walk, in my front left trouser pocket. I cant say the light vanished from my perception, as I always felt it. But neither was it annoying or really that noticeable, and certainly no leg slapper. In fact while I was in the supermarket doing a bit of shopping it completely became unnoticed. And I only picked up on it while walking back home after some 20 meters from the supermarket front door. Probably because I was conscious of its where about, and being a new light one does not want to lose it. There is a very nice belt holster for the light, and should you chose to use it, I cant help but feel you may never know the light is there unless you reach out and touch it.

Performance :

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Wow!  The Turnigy 2200 Nimh put in a serious effort, I checked and checked and checked again, and every time it came out as 250 Lumen, that is some serious performance and I'm not sure I believe it either. The Lithium ( Chinese Lithium ), the Alkaline and the Carbon battery were all dropping output as the light ran, obviously they were feeling the strain of feeding current to the C15A. On medium output all the batteries were happy as well in low mode. I read somewhere where some people were complaining that low was not low enough, really?, two lumen is too much?   I guess you cant please all of the people all of the time!

 The 14500 certainly performed as expected, though efficiency looks to have gone to the AA battery, there is a price to be paid for the versatility of using such a large voltage range of battery and Sunwayman has chosen to make the AA battery the primary power source and so optimized. This does mean that the 14500 is less efficient, but I'm happy to see that the sacrifice went to the 14500 rather than the AA battery.  There really is no reason to put a 14500 in this light, the gains are there but they are so small as to be negligible and with the driver optimized for the AA, I wonder why even bother. 

Disclaimer :
The posted performance figures are my measurements, and one has nothing to do with the other. In other words the current measurements is what I measured, and the same goes for the output ( measured ). Since the variables for both measurements don't match, there is no point comparing each result against each other. I simply don't have 6 hands ( arms ) to be able to measure both at the same time. Due to the design of this light, take this information as it is offered, simply as a guide, not gospel. Though I expect the measured output to be as close as possible to actual.

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Night Time Beam Shots :

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Now you cant really see the two lumen output in this shot, so I thought I would shine the light at the bench in front of the camera so you get an idea of just how low 2 lumen is :

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As can be seen, 2 lumen is a very small amount of light, but it is just enough light to allow you to see with at night. And the darker your surroundings, the more effective the 2 lumen will be. 

Last Word :

I really like this light, the Sunwayman Dolphin C15A is a wonderful little torch. The performance on AA is outstanding if not class leading and Sunwayman has certainly laid down the gauntlet with the C15A. The build quality is just fantastic, the removable lanyard plug is such a neat feature allowing the light to tail stand. A lot of great features have been built into this light that a prospective buyer can simply chose to ignore if they want ( Strobe - SOS - Lock out - 14500's ). I have to say the light impresses, and nothing seems to have been left to chance, or any short cut's taken, what you have is a well thought out and executed product that performs ( for me it did ) better than advertised. The only negative I can possibly think of is that this is not a budget light, its also not an expensive light either. But very much middle of the road and what a prospective buyer will find is a product that punches well above its price point. I have to give the C15A a solid 10 out of 10, I cant find anything to complain about in regards to quality, or the way it functions.

 I love the fact that Strobe and SOS are hidden modes , the lock out function is great if you are worried about turning on the light by accident, and even the lanyard supplied is one of the best I have seen.

Thank you Tmart for sending the light for review, the C15A is possibly the very best AA flashlight for the money, it is certainly the best AA flashlight I have ever handled or seen in the flesh and I can say for sure this little light just became my No1 AA EDC by quite a margin.