Over the past few years, the Anker LC90 has come across my screen as I scour Amazon for the best tactical flashlights to test and review. In 2017 I finally gave into my urge and bought the flashlight and tested it over about 2 months to see how it holds up to the other great reviews I have found. Below you will find the breakdown of my findings as well as ranking compared to my other flashlights.
Anatomy of the Anker LC90
The Anker LC90 was by far the largest flashlight I have reviewed in length, width and weight. The overall length of the Anker was 6 and 1/8 inches long and extends to 6 and a half inches when the adjustable focus is out. The width around the handle was 1 inch and widens to nearly 1 and a half inches around the head of the flashlight. The weight with a 18650 battery installed is 8 oz, outweighing the next heaviest flashlight by 1.5 ounces. The increased weight does limit the tactical nature of the flashlight with respect to concealing or carrying, but makes it ideal for self defense situations. With the included carry strap, the LC90 is a literal weapon when swung through the air. I would not want to be on the other end of this flashlight if it were used for self defense.
The exterior of the LC90 is made of high strength aluminum alloy and feels very dense in your hand. During my testing I happened to drop this flashlight and even with the heavier weight, it held up to the impact with my concrete driveway with barely a scratch. One of the only downfalls of the Anker LC90 was the lack of grip on the handle. Considering the heavy weight, more grip is needed to get a firm hold on the flashlight. I guess this is why a carry strap was included. The flashlight uses rubber seals at the lens and both tail caps (more on this in a minute).
The Anker LC90 utilizes either 3 AAA batteries in the included battery tray, or a single 18650 rechargeable NiMH battery (also included). One of the distinguishing features of this flashlight is the method used to recharge a 18650 battery. With most models you have to remove the battery to charge on an external wall outlet. The LC90 gives you this option but also has the option to charge the battery while it is still in the flashlight (pretty freaking cool). The tail cap assembly has two parts, an inner and outer cap. The inner cap screws into the base of the flashlight handle and provides the resistance for the battery to remain still, and also has a built in micro USB plug in port. Using the included Micro USB cable, you can charge the battery with any 5v USB port. I should mention that you cannot recharge Alkaline (AAA) batteries, so don’t try it. The second outer cap is the button actuator that activates the flashlight modes. It screws on over the inner cap, which you can see in the photo below.
With the two battery options comes two different expected run times considering the average amperage pulls on high mode. With the 18650 battery, the LC90 pulled an average of 1.2 amps which dropped to .99 amps with the AAA battery option. This resulted in expected run times of 2.5 hours with a 3000mAh 18650 battery and about 50 minutes with the AAA batteries. The 6 hours of estimated run time on the sales page is based on use at the lowest power output level.
The Anker LC90 has 5 operation modes including high, mid, low, strobe and SOS. They are activated like most tactical flashlights by using the rear tail cap button to rotate through the modes.
Included with the Anker LC90
With higher priced flashlights like the Anker LC90 (in that $25-$50 price range), we expect a bit more. Not just better quality but also more accessories. With the LC90 I received in addition a 3000mAh rechargeable 18650 battery, the USB charging port and cable, and carry strap. Everything I need to get started.
Light Output Testing
The Anker LC90 was unique when it came to light output compared to other adjustable focus flashlights I have purchased and reviewed. It is the only one that has a second round focus in the center of the lens which keeps the beam circular even when the focus is out. If you go to other reviews like the J5 Hyper V or the Solaray, you will see in the distance testing a square beam pattern but not with the Anker.
The “light the path” testing was fair but a little below what I expected considering the large head and lens of the LC90. The ground coverage was 31 sqft when held at my waist height (6’2″ male) and shined at a 45 degree angle in front of me. Enough to get the job done but not spectacular.
The Anker LC90 did much better in the distance testing, measuring 100 yards of effective light output. The testing below shows how the flashlight faired when used to light up a group of trees about 40 yards away. As you can see, the beam is round which makes it cover more area around the trees while not sacrificing any distance. This beam pattern was amongst my favorites of flashlights I have reviewed so far.
The Final Verdict
At the end of the day, the Anker LC90 impressed me enough to warranty a really good score of 8 stars out of 9. The overall quality is sturdy, light output is high, and the additional features like being able to charge within the flashlight was very innovative. The downsides which kept it from the 9 bucket were the heavier weight and larger size that made it difficult to carry.