For the past two decades, portable handheld lights have been upgraded to using LED technology. I remember the original SureFire P60L LED drop in only had 80 lumens. In the past two decades, LEDs have become exponentially more efficient and smart. Brighter and multicolored are the norm. Well, now there is a new form of light producing technology. Laser Excited Phosphor or LEP. The Weltool W3 is a handheld flashlight that uses LEP technology.
Want to know how LEDs work? Watch the video below.
Laser Excited Phosphor?
Ok so now that you watched the video on LEDs lets talk about LEP or Laser Excited Phosphor. LEP produces light somewhat like analog night vision.
In analog night vision, light enters the lens as photons and is converted into electrons through a photocathode. The electrons are amplified by a microchannel plate and reconverted into photons by a phosphor screen.
That last part of the night vision, where the electrons are converted into photons is sort of how LEP works. In an LEP light, a blue laser is used to shine onto yellow phosphor. The result produces white visible light. Here is a research paper about this phenomenon.
LEP is actually used in some BMW and Audi cars. The BMW i8 and Audi R8 both have laser headlights. In the photo below you can see they use three blue lasers in step 1. The beams are converged into a single beam in step 2. Step 3 the laser hits yellow phosphor to produce white light. The light is then diffused and reflected out the front in step 4.
It seems that LEP naturally produces a lot of light in a given direction. This is called candela.
Weltool W3 Featherless Arrow
Speaking of candela, the Weltool W3 is only 200 lumens but its candela rating is extremely high at 180k candela. If you recall the Modlite OKW has 69k candela with 680 lumens. But that is using LED technology. In the flashlight community, we would call this type of light a “thrower”. The W3 works like a miniature spotlight but even at distance, the beam is still rather narrow. LED throwers throw light due to the reflector design. It shapes and controls the beam pattern. Often you get a tight hotspot and some spill or corona around the hot spot. The W3 is all hotspot and no spill.
The Weltool is a handheld flashlight that is powered by a single 18650 rechargeable Li-ion battery. It comes with a shorter body to use a 18350 battery if you want shorter run time but shorter OAL of the light.
With the 18650 body, the light is a little bit longer than a SureFire 6P.
The head and tail can unscrew off the body so you can swap to the shorter 18350 body.
How does the Weltool W3 perform?
As a handheld light, it is actually not that useful for everyday use. The beam is too narrow for illuminating areas that you would normally light up with a typical EDC light. My SureFire Sidekick is a small keychain EDC light. At 25 inches away the beam pattern is as wide as a door in my house. At the same distance, the Weltool W3 beam pattern is only 2 inches wide!
Since the Weltool W3 has a 1″ diameter body I was able to use a standard flashlight mount to attach it to my AR. It held up to recoil but I need to shoot more rounds to see how long it lasts.
More importantly how well does it “throw” light? I compared it to the Modlite OKW. The OKW throws light rather well and while the corona is not as bright as the hotspot it does allow you to see a little bit outside of the hotspot. As I mentioned earlier, the W3 is only hotspot so scanning an area becomes annoying since the beam is so tight.
According to Weltool, they make two versions of the W3. White or green. I have used green lights and they do not seem that bright to my eyes so I don’t like them. I could see a green light being useful for hunting applications but the beam pattern is too tight for scanning. I found the Weltool decent for mounting on a rifle with a magnified optic. A lot of the weapon mounted LED lights I have struggle illuminating targets past 200 yards. I cheat using 3M reflective stickers to make steel targets light up at extreme distances. But the W3 can light them up out to 400 yards. I am limited to 400 yards at the moment due to the range I have access to. Weltool’s website boasts that the W3 can shine light up to 825 meters. I have found that it can do that outdoors with no ambient light. But with photonic barriers like street lights, it struggles to illuminate past 100 yards. I would like the LEP to produce more light like 1000 lumens or more so it can push past photonic barriers.
The Weltool W3 retails for $268 on their website or Amazon.
We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works.