Thrunite Catapult Pro Review – The Thrower for Everyone

Contents

Pricing & Availability

Thrunite sent me this light in exchange for an honest review. Here is the official product page and the Amazon page where you can see current pricing. At the time of writing there’s a coupon on the Amazon page, which is nice.

What comes in the box?

The box consists of two pieces: the bottom and the lid. Both are made of very nice, thick carboard. The lid has some black and red printing indicating the brand and model of the light. Inside is a foam insert to hold everything in place. The following items are included in the box:

  • The light itself
  • Battery (inside the light)
  • Belt holster (with the light inside)
  • User manual
  • Lanyard & split-ring
  • Spare o-rings
  • 2x spare port covers
  • Spare button insert
  • USB A-to-C cable

Design & Construction

The design is an evolution of the Thrunite Catapult V6 which I reviewed here for 1lumen.com. It’s the same overall design but with a larger reflector and some different texturing. It also has a one-piece body tube/tailcap where Catapult V6’s body tube and tailcap were separate parts.

Build quality is excellent, as I’ve come to expect from Thrunite. The machining and anodizing are lovely. There’s a very small nick in the anodizing on the tailcap in the above photos but I think that happened after I opened it. The threads are precise and lubricated. Interestingly, the tailcap and body tube are all once piece and there’s a dual-spring inside for the negative battery contact.

Size & Measurements

TN42 V2 | Catapult Pro | Emisar D4SV2 | Noctigon KR1 | Emisar D1(V2) | Lumintop FW1A

MeasurementMeasured (mm)
Bezel Diameter65.1
Maximum Head Diameter65.1
Length150.6
Switch Diameter8.0
Switch Proudness0.8
Lens Diameter61.3
Lens Thickness~2.4
Reflector Hole Diameter14.9
Reflector Diameter58.9
Reflector Height48.2
MCPCB SizeSquare
Body Tube/Tailcap Diameter (internal) 26.9
Body Tube/Tailcap Diameter (maximum)33.3
Body Tube/Tailcap Diameter (mode)32.5
Body Tube/Tailcap Length77.0
Driver Diameter~29
USB Port Width12.0
USB Port Depth2.8
USB Port Height8.0
Included Battery Length70.1
Included Battery Diameter26.2

Weight without battery: 205g
Weight with included battery: 307g

User Interface

This is a good, relatively simple UI.

The actions are # of presses followed by a hold (H) or a release (C). So, “1C” is one click and release. “2H” is two clicks but you hold down the last one.

StateActionResult
Off1COn (mode memory)
Off/Lockout1HFirefly (not memorized)
Firefly1HLockout
Any2CTurbo (not memorized)
Any (except Lockout)3CStrobe
On1COff
On1HIncrease Brightness
On1H+1HDecrease Brightness
Turbo1HDecrease Brightness (from “Infinity High”)

What I like:

  • 1 click on/off
  • Turbo & firefly aren’t memorized (good job Thrunite, lots of makers get this wrong)
  • 2C jumps to Turbo
  • 1H from off jumps to Firefly

What I don’t like:

  • 2C from Turbo just stays in Turbo. It should jump back to the memorized mode.
  • 1H from Firefly goes to Lockout. It should go to “Infinity Low” and then start ramping up the brightness as long as its held.
  • Electronic lockout seems unnecessary here and adds complexity. Mechanical lockout works more reliably and is faster.
  • I like stepped modes better than smooth ramping but that’s just personal preference, not a design flaw in the UI.
  • The light responds instantly to all button presses instead of waiting a few miliseconds to see if you’ll click again. For example, when double clicking from on for Turbo it will turn off the light on the first click and then turn it back on to Turbo on the second click. There should be a slight delay for all actions except 1C from off to turn the light on and 3C from anywhere to enter strobe.

Mode Chart

Disclaimer: All of my measurements are taken at turn-on. Lumen measurements were taken on a Texas Ace 3.5″ Lumen Tube. A candela measurement was taken at 10 meters with an Opple Light Master III on the highest brightness, and other candela figures were calculated relative to that. CRI, CCT, & DUV data was taken for each mode from a few feet away at the center of the hotspot with the Opple Light Master and Waveform DUV Calculator. Runtime tests were performed with the Ceilingbounce app on my smartphone. All of these tests were performed with a fully charged included battery unless otherwise specified. I cannot measure moonlight directly, so moonlight readings are calculated based on the brightness relative to the next-lowest mode. None of this is professional equipment, so take all of these measurements with a grain of salt.

Above are the official specs, followed by my own measurements below.

LevelLumensCandelaThrow (Meters)CRI (Ra)Color Temp. (K)DUV (Tint)
Turbo260025000010007070800.0028
High (max ramp)15001442317606966900.0041
Low (min ramp)4038461246760900.0087
Moonlight0.7572176761400.0083

Ramp Speed: is a little slow overall but it’s a consistent speed. Often smooth ramping isn’t done properly and it will ramp way faster at the low end and way slower at the top end. That’s not the case here.

Runtime

Performance: is great. Turbo lasts a respectable 1.5 minutes before stepdown and sustained output is right under 1000 lumens.

Thermal regulation: is present but it only kicks in after a 90 second timed Turbo stepdown. I would have preferred total active thermal regulation with no timed stepdown. This is better than only timed stepdowns though.

LVP: is present and works a little too well. After each runtime test I measured the battery voltage and it was around 3.35V which is fairly high. There’s still a bit of usable capacity left at that voltage. I did notice during my regulation testing that the included cells seems to have oddly dramatic voltage sag, so perhaps that’s the cause.

I would have preferred the light drop to firefly for awhile before completely shutting off. As-is, it goes from a very usable 200 lumens directly to off with no warning except the LED indicator on the switch.

Driver & Regulation

This appears to be the same boost driver that’s been used in the Catapult series and TC20 series for a couple of generations. That’s a good thing because they’re fairly good & efficient drivers.

Despite the boost driver, regulation is just average. Brightness is affected by cell voltage on Turbo and a little bit at max ramp.

Note: All regulation measurements are taken at turn-on so they do not reflect any thermal or low voltage stepdowns that may occur. A value of 0 indicates low voltage shutoff immediately upon activation.

PWM: No flickering is visible to my eyes or camera, nor audible to my ears.

Parasitic Drain: 82 microamps. That will take seven years to drain the included batteries.

Emitter & Beam

One of the criticisms I made in my Catapult V6 SST70 review was the emitter selection. I suggested that Thrunite should have used SFT70 instead, and that’s exactly what they did for Catapult Pro. It’s an excellent emitter choice for this light with great brightness and throw. The tint and CRI aren’t great, but those things are less important in a thrower.

The beam is narrow and crisp. I say crisp because the hotspot is brilliantly focused and well defined. It’s a perfect circle with hard edges and minimal corona. There’s a donut hole for the first 3-4 meters though. This is a fabulous thrower beam.

Thrunite Catapult Pro | Thrunite TN42 V2
Thrunite Catapult Pro | Thrunite “Thrower” Headlamp
Thrunite Catapult Pro | Noctigon KR1 SFT40

In the beamshots above, the trees where I’m aiming the hotspot are 175M away. In the beamshots below, the park bench where I’m aiming the hotspot is 42M away.

Thrunite Catapult Pro | Thrunite TN42 V2
Thrunite Catapult Pro | Thrunite “Thrower” Headlamp
Thrunite Catapult Pro | Noctigon KR1 SFT40

Switch

The switch is electronic, backlit, and located on the side. The backlight glows blue (high charge) or red (low charge) when the light is on (except in Firefly mode). The switch is mushy but it’s very clicky, so you can’t feel it actuate very clearly but you can hear it. The light reacts immediately to switch presses instead of waiting to see if you’ll do multiple clicks. That helps a bit with the mushy switch and overall it’s good.

Another minor criticism of the switch is that it’s too close to the tail. It would feel more natural for the switch to be moved closer to the head so that it sits on the hexagonal ring before the head flares out. That’s where I tend to search when trying to find the switch in the dark, and it takes a couple of rotations before my brain remembers that it’s not there and I need to move down a bit. It would also slightly improve the already excellent ergonomics.

Carry & Ergonomics

Catapult Pro fits just right in the hand. The body tube is long enough to get a full grip and the switch is positioned so that it’s easy to actuate with the first knuckle or tip of my thumb in a forward grip. It works quite well in a reverse grip too and the switch is easy to actuate with the tip of my index finger. The milling on the body tube does a great job of providing grip without feeling sharp at all. Well done, Thrunite!

Thrunite includes two carry options in the box: a lanyard and a belt holster. The lanyard is a lanyard. It attaches to the tailcap and it’s fine. The belt holster is a little thin & basic with a velcro closure but it will do the job. It’s got a single fixed loop on the back so you can’t take the holster on or off without unthreading your belt.

Tailstand: works well and is fairly stable

Batteries & Charging

Catapult Pro includes a single, protected, flat top 26650 cell rated at 5000mah. It can also work with unprotected flat top 21700 cells or just about any 18650 cell, but they’re narrower so they may rattle just a bit. Unprotected flat top 18650s can cause the light to flicker a bit when jostled but it doesn’t shut off so they’re a viable option in a pinch.

Charging is facilitated by a USB-C port on the head, approximately opposite the button. If the button is at 12 oclock then the charging port is at 5 or 7 oclock, which is weird. When charging, the switch glows red. When fully charged, the switch glows blue. C-to-C charging works fine. There is no powerbank function. The light can be used while plugged in, but only in Firefly and “Infinity Low” modes.

The charging port cover is fine but not great. I rotated it out of the way for the above photos but I wasn’t able to totally rotate it back so now it’s a little crooked when the port is open. I don’t recommend rotating it.

Charging takes about 3 hours and stops at 4.17V (resting voltage).

Competition

Here are some lights in the same class and how they compare.

Noctigon K1: More enthusiast-oriented with much more advanced firmware, an RGB button, tons of LED options, and no battery included. Larger head, smaller body, a bit more expensive.

Thrunite Catapult V6 SST70: The predecessor to Catapult Pro, extremely similar but slightly smaller, less throw, stepped modes, and a little bit cheaper.

This section is not comprehensive. If I didn’t include a particular light here, it doesn’t mean it’s bad or doesn’t deserve to be here. I simply cannot list every possible competitor.

Conclusion

This is a great upgrade to Catapult V6. The beam profile is a lot nicer with more throw and a much crisper hotspot. I don’t love the smooth ramping, but that’s just a personal preference. This is a light that’s great for enthusiasts but also for the average consumer. It’s advanced enough to be cool, but simple enough that anyone can pick it up and use it easily. It’s a thrower that I can recommend to anyone and everyone.

Thanks to Thrunite for sending me this light for review!