Today I’m going to be sharing my thoughts on a flashlight that punches well beyond its price point. The Mechforce Mechtorch is the latest torch to join in the competitive, upper-echelon of the flashlight world. There are two iterations of this flashlight: the Lite and the Turbo. I personally would recommend picking up the Turbo unless you’re planning to mod the flashlight. The Lite version has set modes like Low-Medium-High-Strobe while the Turbo version uses the H17Fx, a fully programmable driver.
Design and Execution
Size-wise, this is a very small flashlight for the 18350 battery it uses. I was quite surprised by the size of the Mechtorch, given the images that I’d seen of it before. It comes in at roughly the same length and width as the Oveready BOSS 35, one of the smallest clicky 18350 flashlights on the
market. The Mechtorch weighs in at 4 ounces with the battery, a very respectable weight for its titanium construction. Like the BOSS 35, it fits in my hand very nicely, but those with larger hands might be turned off by the size.
Construction and build quality are good overall. The entire body and the clip are made of titanium. Titanium is well-known for its high strength-to-weight ratio. Additionally, you can see that the titanium has been stonewashed. There’s a few different finishes that you can put on
titanium, but the stonewash is one of my favorites. It really accentuates the cool honeycomb grip, as well as the indentations at the bezel and tail. Stonewashing is great if your flashlight is going to see a lot of use because it makes scratches and dents blend in well.
There’s definitely a lot going on with the host of the flashlight. In fact, I was initially vexed because of how “busy” the body looks. But once I had it in hand, it really wasn’t a big deal at all. Maybe it’s because of how small the flashlight is, but the aesthetics have grown on me. The honeycomb pattern isn’t one I’ve seen used before and reminds me just a little of the Hanko Tesseract. There’s also 16 individual slots milled into the head for tritium vials if that’s your thing.
The Mechtorch has clearly been built from the ground-up which is all the more impressive considering that this is Mechforce’s first foray into the flashlight world. In particular, there are three things that point this out to me.
- First, the head screws into the body, not vice versa. This doesn’t impact anything functionally, but it is different from the vast majority of similar flashlights. You’ll notice that the threads are slightly gritty, albeit still acceptable. Although this is a common issue with titanium, most truly custom torches will have flawless threading even when working with titanium.
- Second, you’ll notice the custom rubber boot over the switch with their logo. The flashlight is also using a reverse clicky, which is less common with these types of flashlights.The advantage of this is that it makes programming easier because you don’t need to hold down the switch, and you can also use the FET mode on the H17fx driver without potentially killing the switch. The drawback of a reverse clicky is that you lose momentary-on and you lose instant access to the double-tap mode that the H17fx has.
- And finally, the clip is secured by an unconventional vertical screw placement. This limits cross compatibility with other clips because most torches use standard horizontal screws. The clip itself is quite stiff but works well for me. Some users have said that they’ve had issues with the clip although I personally haven’t run into those issues. I will point out that there’s anotherclip in the works with the standard screw placements.
So design-wise there’s not a lot to critique. The biggest, glaring error is the Mechtorch’s inability to tail stand. If you look at the rubber boot, you’ll see that it’s proud. This means that it sticks up slightly over the lip of the tail. It makes it easier to actuate, yes, but it also means that the flashlight won’t be able to rest on its tail. Some users were able to get the drunken-sailor tailstand but I haven’t been able to replicate that with my particular sample of the flashlight.
Another small nitpick I have with the flashlight are the indentations at the head. I really wish that they’d let light escape so that you could tell if the flashlight is on, such as if you have it resting directly on the head. As it is now, they’re purely aesthetic.
Now that I’ve covered the design, let’s talk about performance. The Turbo version of the Mechtorch uses the H17fx driver, which is the gold standard of programmable drivers. It’s not the most advanced out there, but it is extremely versatile. You can set two mode groups with up to seven modes each. Each mode can be further individually programmed between 24 levels of brightness and various strobe modes. Although most users will never use most of the following features, the driver also allows for mode locking, setting the temperature limit, checking the battery voltage, and changing the memory type. There’s even a nifty double tap mode that will give you instant access to another separate mode. This is most enthusiast’s favorite driver and for good reason.
The flashlight is using Nichia 219c emitters, which are another enthusiast favorite. The site describes the emitters as warm white, but that’s not correct at least to my untrained eye. The emitters are actually much closer to 5000K or neutral white. It’s not a deal breaker by any means, but many people do have a preferred color temperature. With these LEDs you’re getting roughly 1300 lumens with the H17f and 1000 lumens with the Lite version of the Mechtorch. I don’t have a light meter to confirm these numbers but they seem perfectly reasonable to me. Another nice feature is the glow sticker that’s underneath the optic. This is easily the brightest glow sticker that I’ve ever seen on a flashlight, and it gets really bright especially if you’re using the light on high.
Performance wise, this flashlight is up there with many other custom flashlights, and there’s a lot to like. Conversely, the overall design and build quality aren’t quite up to par with true custom flashlights, but that’s to be expected considering the price point. At $180 and $200 respectively, you’re looking at some serious bang for your buck. That might seem like a lot if you haven’t been in the custom light game for too long, but most similarly configured setups will run you close to $500 bare minimum.
To elaborate, this segment of the flashlight market is defined predominantly by fancily machined hosts. It certainly wouldn’t be a stretch to call many of them functional jewelry. The components that go into a lot of these flashlights are no doubt good, but they’re also off-the-shelf in nature, and the host – or body of the flashlight – is where the money is at.
Bottom line, Mechforce has done an excellent job of combining custom-level performance, materials, and build quality into a very affordable package. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that this is one of the best values that I’ve seen in the custom flashlight world in a long time. At the current price, I might even pick up a Lite version to have modded with a CWF Dragon driver.