Armytek Tiara C1 Pro Magnet USB

The Product

Today I have the Armytek Tiara C1 Pro Magnet USB with the warm emitter option for review.  It's a right angled light, that can be used handheld or as a headlamp with the included band. It runs on a single 18350 that comes with it, and charges via a magnetic USB connection. They were also nice enough to give me a coupon code - enter bmengineer at checkout to get 15% off of your purchase.
This is one of many right angled lights offered by the company - there's also non-pro versions, the 18650 powered Wizard versions, and the micro-USB charged Elf C1.

Spoiler

I've tried out a handful of Armytek lights at this point, and I'm very happy with them. The build quality seems robust, with thoughtful features like deep set stainless steel bezels and double o-rings for added water resistance. 
This little Tiara is no exception. The UI is easy to use, the diffused beam is just as lovely as it was with the Elf C2, and the magnetic charging is convenient. The tiny size of this one means that runtimes aren't as spectacular as an 18650 powered light, but it also means this little thing disappears into most pockets and can still put out 900 lumens when you need it to.
I did have a small issue where the light initially arrived with the cell measuring at 0.8 V, but this was not the case with the replacement - I'm not entirely convinced this wasn't due to someone at the customs office messing around with it.

Physical Dimensions

The light measures 79.4 mm long, 27.7 mm around the widest part of the head, and 20.3 mm around the cell tube. The light weighs 60 g without a cell, 82 g with the included cell, and has a 'trail weight' of 117 g with both the cell and headband.
I've lined up the HLAAA 2.0, H40, Tiara C1 Pro, Panda 2M CRI, H03 RC, and Elf C2 for a size comparison, showing how the smaller cell helps cut down on size a fair bit from 18650 right angle lights.

Build

This light has the usual chalky textured anodizing Armytek is known for. Some people won't be a fan, but I am - it's grippy, and seems to stand up well to wear. It does tend to collect dust and look scratched, but those are actually just marks and rub right off.
The head of the light is the first of 3 locations with labeling, something Armytek is also known for. Here on the top of the light, it lists the color temperature (warm, in this case), the LED, a "hot" warning, and the same olive branch design I noted on my other lights from them. The head is an interesting trapezoidal shape as well.
At the front of the head, the LED sits behind a dimpled TIR lens, covered with glass, and set deep behind a stainless steel bezel. I like that it's set so far in to the body to keep it protected from scratches and breaking, and I always like to see scratch resistant stainless steel bezels.
On the side of the head, the yellow switch is also held in place with a stainless steel ring. This protrudes slightly. There are 5 fins cut around the base of the head to help with cooling.
The cell tube is thread locked to the head. It's a short cylinder with two notches to keep it from sliding around within the headlamp bracket. One side has the model name and charging information etched into the finish.
The tailcap is etched on one side with the brand and website, and on the opposite side with charging instructions.
The base contains the charging contacts for the magnetic connector. The base is flat, and the light is very stable while tailstanding.
Inside the tailcap, Armytek uses double o-rings as a second defense against liquid ingress. The threads are bare and not anodized. A quarter turn will prevent activation of the light, but this position is used for charging so I can't be sure that there isn't any standby drain in this state. A large spring serves as the negative cell contact. At the positive end of the cell tube, a small button serves as the positive contact.

What's Included

The light comes in a white box with a window that shows the light in the package - though it is wrapped in a foam bag when boxed up. The box includes:
  • Armytek Tiara C1 Pro 
  • 900 mAh unprotected flat top 18350
  • Friction fit pocket clip
  • Headband (not assembled)
  • Handband
  • Lanyard
  • 2 spare o-rings
  • Paperwork

Ergonomics and Retention

The tiny 18350 form factor of this right angle light is interesting. The light is small enough that you can easily toss it in a pocket without giving it too much thought. It works well as a handheld light, though I always find short stubby lights that are vaguely "knuckle shaped" like this aren't especially comfortable to hold for extended periods of time. That's not an issue here - the runtime doesn't lend itself to being held for hours on end, and Armytek has provided more ways to hold this light than I could imagine.
One of the major benefits to this light is the combination of the right angle form factor with the magnetic tail. The magnet is strong enough to hold the light in any orientation I tried it in, and the shape means it can easily be rotated to point in the desired direction. I always find this handy for working on any sort of appliance, or doing DIY repairs around the house.
The magnet on this model is not removable, and I don't think Armytek sells a compatible replacement without a magnet - if you're concerned about magnets in your gear, you should look into another model.
If you're using the light for EDC, you can also use the included pocket clip. The clip carries fairly deep, and can be attached anywhere along the body for head down or head up carry, though it makes the most sense attached close to the head. The smaller form factor compared to the Elf C2 means there's no real way to use both the clip and the headband at the same time. Personally, I don't find the clip is a great way to carry small lights like this, and I find they're just fine sitting in the bottom of a pocket.
The headband for this light uses the same hard plastic clip that the light just snaps into or out of when you need it as the company's other headlamps. This alone easily makes it my favorite headband of any that I have tried. Unlike the 18650 models, this one doesn't have a strap running along the top of the head. It's light enough that this wasn't an issue for me. The headband comes disassembled. The clip has a secure grip on the headlight when it's installed, and can easily be rotated up or down. There are no reflective details on the headband, and no grippy sections, so it may not work well with helmets.
This light doesn't include a lanyard or an obvious way to attach it - but again, I don't know that this small form factor needs one. The body is slim enough in relation to the head or tail that I'm sure you could tie something around it if you really wanted to.
As a final attachment method, Armytek includes a hand band. This is a simple velcro strap that uses the same clip as the headband - only one of these clips is included. I'm not quite sure what the use case is for this strap, but it seems to do its job just fine. If you know what exactly this is for, I'd love to know!

Modes and Interface

The user interface on this light is a bit complex, but very powerful once you get used to it. The levels are switched into 4 "sections", and each of these has a number of modes. The firefly section has 3 levels at a claimed 0.4, 2.5, and 6 lumens. Main has two modes at 90 and 220 lumens, and turbo has an additional 2 at 440 and 900 lumens. The fourth section has three different strobe modes.
  • From off, press and hold to go to Firefly 1
  • From off, press once to turn on to the last used mode
  • From off or on, double click to turn on the last used Main mode
  • From off or on, triple click to turn on the last used Turbo mode
  • From off or on, 4 clicks to turn on the last used strobe mode
  • From on, press and hold to cycle through the modes in the current section
  • From the Main section, double click to switch to the last used Firefly mode
One feature I don't see listed in the manual - If you continue holding from off, the light will cycle up the brightness levels until released. This is a great feature, and makes it easy to get exactly as much light as you like. I tend to prefer simpler interfaces that let you hold from any mode to increase brightness, but there's a definite advantage to splitting the modes up this way - if you're using the light for a long hike or for work, where runtime is important, you can be sure that you aren't jumping to a mode that's too high and draining the cell too quickly. You know that as long as you stick to the firefly modes, you should have at least 2.5 days of light, at least 2.4 hours in the main modes, and at least 30 minutes on turbo. If you're like me and you never keep track of what mode you're currently in, this feature is incredibly useful, and really makes the "Pro" part of the product name make sense.
The indicating switch blinks when you turn the light on to indicate the charge level - either green, yellow, or red. This is a welcome feature, but it's bright enough that it can be a bit jarring if you're using one of the lower modes. The indicating LED will also flash yellow or red if the light is getting warm or hot.
As a final feature, there are two configurable options described in the manual. A tactical mode, where the light acts as momentary only while the switch is held, can be activated by loosening the tailcap and tightening while holding the button. You can configure the switch LED to blink even when the light is off, as a locator beacon, by loosening the tailcap, holding down the switch, tightening and loosening the tailcap again, and releasing the switch. 

Light Quality and Beam

The light I ordered has the "warm" color temperature - Armytek also sells a "white" model that will be closer to the cooler side of neutral. I'm happy with the CCT, and I really like wide, floody beams like this for headlamps. It's not high CRI like some of the other headlamps on the market, but it's a good tint and I'm happy with it.

Power and Runtime

This light is powered from a single 18350 cell. It comes with a flat top, unprotected 18650 that measures 18.3 mm by 34.3 mm, and is labeled 900 mAh.
The first sample I received came with the internal cell measuring 0.8 V - far too discharged to safely recover. I received a replacement without any issues, and I don't think this is a very common issue, as I haven't heard any reports of people receiving dead cells from Armytek in the past. Given the state of the packaging, I'm not convinced someone at customs isn't responsible for this. In any case, the second light I received had the cell at an ideal 3.8 V.
On Turbo2, the light stepped down drastically about 5 minutes into the test due to heat before bouncing around a bit to stabilize the temperature. and settled at around 50% for the remainder of the test. It fell below 10% after 45 minutes, exceeding the 30 minute claim.
On Turbo1 and Main3, the light showed no stepdowns and held output stable for the duration of each test. Turbo 1 fell below 10% after 62 minutes, almost exactly matching the 1 hour specified by Armytek. Main3 ran for 137 minutes, while Armytek claims 150. That's a bit below spec, but it's within a reasonable margin of error.
All runtimes were stopped when the light was still glowing dimly. Testing with a benchtop power supply shows the light has LVP that will activate around 2.7 V.

Charging

Charging the light is done just by loosening the tailcap a quarter turn and attaching the included magnetic cable.
Charging was measured from the USB port, bringing the internal cell from dead to full. The charge shows a the current dropping throughout the charge, without the usual CC portion. The charging starts around 0.8A, and took around 2.5 hours to fully charge. A total of 1127 mAh went into the cable.

Summary

Pros:

  • Complete kit - comes with the light, a cell, and a way to charge it
  • Floody, even beam is great for a headlamp
  • Headlamp bracket is easy to pop the light in to and out of when switching
  • Magnetic tail, pocket clip, and handband give many great carry options
  • Light feels well built and like it would withstand some abuse
    • Deep stainless steel bezel to protect the glass from drops and scratches
    • Double o-rings to keep water out
  • Good temperature regulation
  • Good UI with shortcuts to various modes and sections

Cons:

  • Switch backlight is bright, and I wish it would stay off in the lower modes
  • Some people won't love the finish
  • One cell arrived dead

Notes and Links

This product was provided free of charge by the manufacturer. I was not paid to write this review, and have tried to be as unbiased as possible.
Manufacturer's product page
Product listing on Amazon (affiliate link)

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