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TnC Key-Lux AA 1 Watt Luxeon Star LED Flashlight Review

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TnC Key-Lux AA 1 Watt Luxeon Star LED Flashlight

Shortly after I got my first Key-Lux proto TnC Custom Products came out with larger version of Key-Lux powered by rechargeable AA battery. AA size Key-Lux flashlight mostly was CPF-ers request, although turns out Chris (of TnC) has made one for himself long before that. Although I liked N-cell Key-Lux design better than AA one, AA does have its pros. Besides, it's a nifty light, cool looking and very pocketable. So, I was interested enough to get one of the AA lights from CPF special run.
    Like its predecessor Key-Lux AA is using rechargeable battery, which is one of the major design features for these small pocket lights. From practical point of view it is very handy and economical too. Especially AA size rechargeables. While CR123 rechargeables are appearing only now and have rather high price tag AA rechargeables are readily available from various manufacturers and have significant capacity to hold their own against disposable batteries. I am using PowerEx 2200mah batteries for a year in various electronic devices and really pleased with their performance. IMHO that's the future.


 - AA Key-Lux body is obviously larger than its smaller brother's. Besides having longer and slightly wider barrel Key-Lux AA sports larger head unit as well. This allows the use of larger, parabolic, sputtered reflector. Larger reflector means better and brighter beam. For more professional info regarding this flashlight, its ergonomics and other data check Aten Imago's review - TnC KL-AA.
    As for the ergonomics and usability I have no complaints, only compliments. Both, bezel and barrel are knurled. As with N-cell Key-Lux, knurling is just right. Aggressive enough to provide secure grip, but not too aggressive to become annoying and irritate fingers and palm. Body is made of aluminum. HA III type anodization applied, that was one of the major feature requests during Key-Lux AA signup period. I personally don't see HA III type ano too much exciting, but for what it's worth it's does the job, I mean in terms of wear and scratch resistance it's a real good one, thus protecting the metal underneath it. It's just that color... Oh, and by now, 09/2004 TnC has those lights in various colors, with the same type III HA, check them out at TnC site.
    Operating TnC keychain light is easy. It employs standard twist head mechanism. Turn the head clockwise, the light is on, turn it counterclockwise, the light is off. Because of the knurling there is no slippage and the light can be easily operated single handedly. IMHO that is the major advantage of knurling, and not that "grip security". Relax, nobody will be prying your precious Key-Lux out of your paws, and it won't slip from your hands even if they are wet and oily and you're trying to chop down the tree with it.
    Also, as its N-cell brother, this one is waterproof or at least water resistant. It as O rings from both ends. Also, Key-Lux AA comes with mineral glass lens. Very clear and quite scratch resistant. Which is an important factor for the light intended to be carried on keychain, where contact with other hard metallic objects is unavoidable. In the end, as usual TnC delivered very high quality flashlight. Absolutely fine craftsmanship, execution. I like the design a lot, and have no complaints regarding its quality :)
    One more important feature of the Key-Lux N-cell was also retained - modularity. Interchangeable LED modules are still an option. If you get your hands on more efficient or more powerful LED sandwich, you can easily swap it. I like this part about flashlights a lot, that is when available. Long story short and here's the picture of disassembled Key-Lux AA, well, as usual that picture and other pix are attached at the end of this review.


 - For its size the beam is absolutely useful. Both LED quality and resulting pattern are very good. The LED is very white, no tint. Overall Key-Lux AA produces round pattern beam, with easily identifiable hot-spot and nice corona. The beam is enough to navigate and explore rather large dark room or even your back-yard. Obviously it won't illuminate all of it, nor it will be useful to explore subjects dozen yards away, but for illuminating things in your proximity it is plenty enough. After all it's a keychain light, not search and rescue light canon.

Power Source And Runtime

 - I don't have exact numbers on this, but obviously AA version will last a lot longer than N cell. The best N cell rechargeable battery capacity is 500mah, while high-end AA counterparts easily reach 2200mah range. I know new boards are 350Ma in Key-Lux AA, so I figure old one, that's what I have is between 250ma and 350ma. It's not as bright as Arc4+ at full power or Longbow Micra never mind 3 watters like VIP or Arc LS 3W TWAK, but uses less power, and much cheaper, especially that's it's rechargeable. As of the runtime it's approximately 3+ hours. Although I'd assume it's given for certain battery capacity. If you stick some el cheapo 750mah AA rechargeable battery into it, I doubt it'll last 3 hours.

TnC Key-Lux AA TnC Key-Lux AA TnC Key-Lux AA TnC Key-Lux AA
TnC Key-Lux AA & N-cell TnC Key-Lux AA, Longbow Micra, Arc 4p, FireFly~II, Key-Lux N-Cell, Arc LS TnC Key-Lux AA, Longbow Micra, Arc 4p, FireFly~II, Key-Lux N-Cell, Arc LS

Last updated - 05/06/19