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Lupine Piko TL Mini
World's Brightest Smallest Flashlight
900 Lumens, MADE IN GERMANY
© 2012 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

Intro   Compared   Specs   Performance   Usage   Recommendations   More

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Lupine Piko TL Mini

Tiny Fenix E05 next to small Lupine Piko TL Mini (550 Lumens, 5.1 oz./146g including batteries, about $400 with batteries and charger). enlarge. This free website's biggest source of support is when you use these links, especially this link directly to it at Amazon, when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Thank you! Ken.

 

December 2012  Lupine Reviews   Fenix   Nikon   Canon    Fuji    LEICA   All

 

NEW: The lights reviewed below have been replaced by even brighter versions:

The Piko TL Mini reviewed here is replaced by the Piko TL Mini Max, and the Piko TL MAX (same thing with larger battery) retains the same name. They now put out 900 lumens with one hour of battery life compared to the older 550 Lumen verison I review below.

 

Universal bicycle handlebar mount.

Lupine Betty TL-S Review.

More products from Lupine.

VIDEO: Ryan Soups-Up his Solar-Powered Car!!! The Lupine is better than the sun.

 

The Super Flashlight         top

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Adorama pays top dollar for your used gear.

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio

I use these stores. I can't vouch for ads below.

This Piko TL Mini is the size and weight of a cell phone (5 ounces), and as bright as a car headlight (550 lumens). (Its bigger brother, the Piko TL MAX, is a little longer, weighs 6 ounces and puts out 750 lumens.)

Not only is it tiny and as bright as a car headlight, it runs at least an hour and a half at full power on its included rechargeable battery, which means a month or two as I use it.

This Piko TL Mini is such an obviously superior product that even my 5-year-old immediately referred to it as "The Super Flashlight," a phrase he invented all by himself.

This crazy little flashlight is as bright as the sun, and is smaller than the classic 2-AA Mini-Maglite. It's like having a tiny, weightless piece of superior alien technology that blasts out a beam as bright as the Super-8 movie lights our dads used to use to make movies of us as kids. Honest, shined into a shadow at about 6-12 inches, it is as bright as direct sunlight.

It's so small that I now carry it everywhere in my pocket. It doubles also as a still photo and video light. If it's dark, I bounce it off the ceiling for videos of my kids. I haven't tried, but a few of these in your pocket or bag ought to be very handy for lighting remote locations for video shoots. Try bouncing them off sheets of white paper.

Seeing how much I love my tiny Chinese Fenix E05 keychain flashlight, some kind soul in Germany sent me this German version of a keyring light, much as the 521-horsepower Porsche Cayenne Turbo S is a German version of a minivan.

550 lumens is 19 times brighter than the Fenix E05, which is brighter than most flashlights.

The Piko TL Mini a solid block of anodized aluminum. It is blast, explosion and waterproof. It's not much bigger than the Fenix E05. It's too big for most keyrings, but only about as big as a classic 2-AA Mini-Maglite folded over, making it much handier than even the classic Mini-Maglite.

It uses an integral, factory-installed Lithium-Ion battery, so it's super-light. It includes a plug-in charger.

 

Compared         top

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Lumens define how much light leaves a flashlight. How far it shines also depends on how tightly this light is formed into a beam. Tighter beams shine farther, while broader beams make it easier to see what's around you. Lumens are the best measurement of total light output; while candlepower (not shown here) will vary as you focus a beam.

Here are lumen ratings of some other popular small, tough flashlights:

Piko TL Mini: 550 lumens.

Maglite 3-D LED: 131 lumens.

Fenix E11: 115 lumens.

Maglite XL50 3-AAA LED: 104 lumens.

Fenix E05: 29 lumens.

Maglite classic 2-D flashlight: 19 lumens.

All-time Classic 2-AA "Super-Bright Xenon" Mini-Maglite: 14 lumens. (3.870 oz./109.8g w/2-AA alkaline.)

Classic 1-AAA Maglite Solitaire: 2 lumens.

The only lights that might be brighter than this Piko TL from other makers use car batteries, and/or HID bulbs that take time to warm up. Who wants to wait for their flashlight to warm up? HID car-battery lights aren't that much brighter, either.

 

Specifications         top

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Quality

MADE IN GERMANY.

 

Piko TL Mini, 145 g. (reviewed here, model 1102)

550 Lumens (1.5 hours-per-charge).

Dims to many programmable levels; the standard dim setting is the minimum 50 lumen level (30 hours-per-charge).

15º beam angle.

145g. (I measure 5.145 oz. or 145.8g).

1.7 Ah, 7.2 V Li-Ion battery

3 hours for a complete recharge (partial recharge quicker).

-25 ~ +70º C.

 

Piko TL Ultra, 180 g.

Same light output, but larger with a 2.5 Ah battery.

2.5 hours-per-charge at 550 Lumens.

40 hours-per-charge at 50 lumens.

22º beam angle.

4 hours for a complete recharge (partial recharge quicker).

 

Piko TL MAX, 180 g.

Same as Piko TL Ultra above, but with more light:

750 lumens (2 hour-per-charge).

60 lumens (40 hours-per-charge).

 

Performance         top

Intro   Compared   Specs   Performance   Usage   Recommendations   More

 

Overall

Lupine Piko TL Mini: as bright as a car headlight

It's about as bright as a car headlight, in this case, a 2008 Volvo S60.

It's tough, bright, small and light.

Compared to a car headlight, it puts out as many lumens, however, the car headlight spreads more horizontally and less vertically. The car has a hotter hotspot in the middle, while the Piko TL Mini has a broader bright section of the beam. The very limited highlight dynamic range of the cheap digital camera I used to snap this overly emphasizes the car's hotspot; in person, they are about as bright overall.

In any case, any other flashlight this bright also needs a car battery, while the Piko TL Mini is always in your pocket.

 

Brightness

It's so bright that its range isn't limited by its own brightness; it's limited by how clear is your air! Dust and humidity kicks-back light scatter that obscures your vision.

I was able to illuminate objects 125 meters (400 feet) away with the light in my hand, but farther than that, the light kicked-back from the dust in the air obscured my view. It's exactly like the cone of light we see coming from a projector on its way to the screen in the dark; a load of light is coming out the front of this. The farther away you can get it from your eyes, the farther you'll see in the dark.

At 150 feet (50 meters), it's quite bright at night.

So much light comes out the front that there is a little bit of recoil. For bicycle competition, you might want to dim it a bit. Don't leave it on a table when lit on BRIGHT, it might shoot itself off the side!

It does not flicker when dimmed, as do most lesser lights.

 

Heat

It gets hot if left on for a while at full brightness. This is normal; it's dissipating 8 watts of power. The beam of light isn't that hot (it's cool light), but the case heats up.

 

Light Distribution (Beam Spread)

It has a smooth beam with a smooth, even center circle surrounded by a dimmer ring.

This beam pattern is great for all general use, as well as for off-road riding.

For road riding, you'd want a beam more like an automotive headlight: wider horizontally, and brighter at the top than the bottom.

 

Beam Color

It's reasonably white. I measure about 5,000K with my Gossen Sixticolor meter.

It's about the same color temperature as the Fenix E05, but a bit greener.

 

Charge Life

Used intermittently on a daily basis, I've been going a week or two and the battery meter still says I'm at 90% charge.

 

Drop Tests

I now carry this everywhere, and before I learned in what pocket to carry it (one with a flap!), it fell out a lot.

I've dropped it quite a few times onto concrete and solid marble floors, and it's fine.

 

Death Ray

I'm amused at how some people who sit at desks all day think that blinking flashlight beams can disorient, disable or kill a man. Even funnier is how these folks think that rapidly blinking lights are some sort of PSYOP secret, and speak of this feature in only the softest of voices among members of their inner circles so that these secret weapons they carry (their flashlights) don't start getting regulated and registered, just like firearms.

Taking one for the team, I tried staring at the 15 Hz "disorientation flash," both at the beam as shined on a wall, and then when that didn't kill me, I stared right into the beam at 15 Hz, 3.7 Hz and SOS modes.

I lived long enough to write this.

In fact, the blinking modes are dimmer than the BRIGHT mode simply because they flash on and off, instead of staying on steadily. Big deal.

Criminy, if I need a flashlight for self-defense, it's my 6-D cell Maglite, not a blinking flashlight. If you need protection against wild animals in the woods, bring your bear rifle. Back when I had a pacifist for a girlfriend, even she warned me to bring a BIG gun in case of rowdy bears while hiking in the back woods of Alaska. All that shining a blinking light into an enemy's face will do is remind him to take your fancy flashlight after he kills you.

Yes, rapid blinking annoys, but it doesn't disorient or harm unless someone's got epilepsy. I haven't tried it on trail animals or skunks.

 

Usage         top

Intro   Compared   Specs   Performance   Usage   Recommendations   More

 

Charging

To charge, plug it all in.

Green light on charger is green while charging, off when done.

(My 5-year-old knows this is the wrong way for a charger light to work. Ryan was perplexed why it doesn't blink yellow while charging, and then green when done as it should. Ideally, the yellow blinks ought to indicate charge percentage, but oh well.)

It works while charging, if you have enough charge.

It's OK, but not necessary to leave it on the charger if you're not using it. It's best to disconnect it, but nothing will happen if you leave it.

 

Usage

As shipped, it needs two clicks to turn on to prevent accidental operation.

Click twice, and it's on at maximum brightness.

Click again to alternate between DIM and BRIGHT. By default, the DIM value is the minimum 50 lumen level, which is perfect and still brighter than I usually need for anything.

To get the dimmer beam immediately, just click three times quickly.

To turn off, hold the button for one second.

 

Battery Meter

After you turn it off, red and blue LEDs blink tell how many Ampere-hours have been used since the last full charge.

Each red blink is 0.1 Ah, and a blue blink is 1 Ah. Add the blinks, and that's how many Ampere-hours have been used since the last full charge.

Three red blinks? That's 0.3 Ah. Four red and one blue? That's 1.4 Ah.

To get charge percentage, divide how many Ah you've used by the battery's rated capacity. The Mini has 1.7 Ah, and the two larger units have 2.5 Ah per charge.

So, if four red blinks is 0.4 Ah and you have a Mini holding 1.7 Ah, you've used (0.4/1.7), or 23% of your capacity, so you ought to have 77% left.

Hey, not bad for having only one control and two LEDs as read outs.

 

Programming

It's perfect as-shipped. Don't waste your time with this, but if you want to change things, the manual isn't very helpful.

I couldn't figure it out, but my 5-year-old did. To program it, with power OFF, hold the button until the red or blue LEDs blink. Hold the button until a certain number of red or blue blinks happen, and let go. What each of these settings do is engraved on the top.

You hold it and see the red blinks to set what sort of light options it makes, and hold it longer to get to the blue blinks to set overall response to button clicks.

If you want it to turn on with just one-click, you can program that, too.

 

Recommendations         top

Intro   Compared   Specs   Performance   Usage   Recommendations   More

Want the biggest, brightest light source in the smallest possible package of the highest possible quality?

Get one.

Enough people did the first few hours that I shared this review that they're temporarily sold out, so for only $10 more, the Piko TL MAX is same thing but slightly longer, with a whopping 750 lumens of output.

 

More Information         top

Intro   Compared   Specs   Performance   Usage   Recommendations   More

Piko TL Mini, shown here. Due to the Rockwell Effect, it's already sold out. Get the:

Piko TL MAX, the same thing but slightly longer and even brighter.

Universal bicycle handlebar mount.

Lupine Piko TL owner's manual

More products from Lupine.

Lupine, Germany (English Version)

 

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Thanks for reading!

 

 

Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.

 

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May 2012