Veleno Designs Quantum 38DD Review

Veleno Designs is well-known in the EDC world for producing items that are as exquisite as they are exclusive. The man behind Veleno Designs is none other than Steve Ku, who also happens to be based out of Taiwan. Ku originally made waves in the EDC world with his Quantum 10180 flashlight series. Unfortunately, the Quantum series has long since been discontinued like so many of his other products.

I was lucky enough to score a mint Ti Quantum 38DD on CandlePowerForums not too long ago. I paid $120 shipped. Veleno Designs products hold their value, and the Quantum series is no exception: When sold, they regularly go for more than their original MSRP. Such is the consequence of limited supply and high demand.

Above is an image of my 38DD. The minuscule flashlight is constructed entirely out of titanium, so it’s extremely lightweight. As expected of Veleno Designs products, the flashlight’s construction and machining are impeccable.

At the tail of the flashlight, there is a hole for a keyring or lanyard attachment. In addition, there are two indentations at the base for tritium vials. My 38DD came with two, ice-blue vials already installed although you can’t see them glowing in this lighting.

What makes this flashlight special? It was one of the first flashlights to use the QTC pill. That’s short for Quantum Tunneling Composite. It sounds cool, but it essentially means that as more pressure is applied, more electricity will flow through. This also means that any flashlight that uses a QTC pill basically has infinitely-variable output. Because the 38DD is a twisty, the further you twist it the more output it will give out.

My particular 38DD has a cool-white LED in it. In the image above, you can clearly see that my Omicron 10180 flashlight has a much warmer color temperature. I gravitate toward warmer color temperatures, but beggars can’t be choosers.

The max output of the 38DD seems to be around 70 lumens or so, but that’s a really rough estimate. When I use the flashlight, I have to twist it ridiculously hard to get to the max output. I’m not sure if that’s part of the design intention, but often I have to twist so hard that I feel as if I’ll damage something.

QTC sounds cool – and it is – but it’s not without its foibles. Because of the material’s properties, small adjustments in pressure can change the brightness ever so slightly when you’re using the flashlight. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it can be annoying when your flashlight’s brightness adjusts unintentionally.

Personally, I much prefer the solid output levels of my Omicron flashlight. They’re consistent and also brighter than what the 38DD is capable of. That said, the 38DD can hit whisper-low outputs that the Omicron can’t.

Technology in the flashlight-world progresses very quickly, and the Quantum series has definitely stood the test of time. The UI is intuitive and more advanced than most standard two-mode 10180 flashlights. But the market is catching up. Rovyvon and their Aurora series, for example, is a manufacturer that I believe is probably at the top of the 10180 market feature-wise.  I’d love to review one of their units eventually, but we’ll see.

Don’t let that distract you from the fact that the 38DD is still a very capable flashlight all these years later. The Quantum series is the keychain flashlight of choice for many connoisseur flashaholics: Many even have spares that they adamantly hold onto because the series is out of production. I don’t use mine too often; however, I will say that I’ve gotten my money’s worth by being able to own such a cool piece of flashlight history.

Update 1/13/20

It appears that Steve Ku has started making some Quantum lights again. I’m not sure how many although it appears limited, and they’ve sold quickly on his site.

Grade: A-

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