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Aliexpress Liitokala “Samsung 30Q” Li-Ion Cell Review

I was in need of 18650s recently, and there was a great price on these Liitokala 30q cells at Aliexpress.  I like 30q cells, and I like good prices, so I bought 8 of these cells.  There was a bunch of discussion on BLF and places regarding whether these cells are “real” or not.  Read on to find out!
As always, click for bigger images!!!

Official Specs (from the listing!!)
  • Model: ICR18650-30Q
  • Type:  Li-Ion 18650
  • Nominal Capacity:  3000mah(2900-3000mah)
  • Nominal Voltage:  3.7V
  • Weight:  45g±1g
  • Rechargeable Battery:  Yes
  • Rechargeable Times:  Up to 500 times
  • internal resistance:  ≤50mΩ
  • Limited Charge Voltage:  4.2v
  • Working Voltage:  2.75-4.2V
  • Size:  65.5mm x 18.5mm (Diameter)
  • Place of Origin:  South Korea
And here’s a spec sheet from Samsung themselves.
I paid  $22.30 for eight of these, but it looks like the price has gone down a bit since I purchased.  Now, 10 can be had for $22.65!!  These were being sold specifically by liitokala Factory Store.  This review pertains only to cells from liitokala Factory Store!!
[Bild: aliexpress.png?w=736]
Short Review
These cells feel like real 30Q cells.  They look like real 30q cells.  They’re high quality in appearance.  However, they fail on the testing side of things for being real Samsung 30q cells.  But.  But, they aren’t bad cells for high capacity low current cells!  Note that the listing specifically says they’re good for E-cig use.  I would absolutely not use these in e-cigs!!
Long Review
The package I purchased included cells in a plastic case, like the one seen below (I have a bunch of these, I honestly can’t remember which one specifically these cells arrived in.)
[Bild: zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_011.jpg?w=736]
It’s a nice little case, made for only 18650s, and fits 4 perfectly.  There’s a metal hook on the back, and the lid latches closed snugly (and is easy to open.)
[Bild: zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_021.jpg?w=736]
Build Quality
As I said above, these cells have a very good build quality – they look and feel just like the real thing.
[Bild: zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_12.jpg?w=736]
They even have a LiitoKala QR code, which accurately delivers the user to  This is not a proof of authenticity, however.
[Bild: zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_13.jpg?w=736]
[Bild: zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_041.jpg?w=736]
It’s probably at exactly this point where head scratchers will begin head scratching….
[Bild: zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_031.jpg?w=736]
That’s right, these “30q” cells have a four leg positive terminal.  Unfortunately this isn’t something that’s pictured or stated in the spec sheet (as far as I noticed), but genuine 30q cells have a three leg positive terminal.  Hmmmmm….
[Bild: zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_051.jpg?w=736]
[Bild: zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_0...=180&h=225]
[Bild: zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_0...=180&h=225]
[Bild: zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_1...=180&h=225]
[Bild: zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_1...=180&h=225]
[Bild: zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_06.jpg?w=736]
Being that these cells are from Aliexpress, and knowing that …. that might not be the best place to buy high current cells, I was wary of testing these cells at high currents.  Still they seemed to live as I increased the current tests, so I went on.
I’ve tried to keep the scales similar, so over time the charts will be generally comparable.
Click these for biggie sized!!
Discharge tests
Hour discharge time doesn’t tell us much.
[Bild: zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_14.png?w=736]
The minutes test gives us some much needed detail regarding the high current tests.  While the time of 8 minutes for 15A or 4 minutes for 20A is not necessarily unheard of, look at that voltage drop.  Immediately when the load hits, the voltage drops to a staggering <3.2V.
[Bild: zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_15.png?w=736]
Here’s another decent indicator that these cells might not be genuine.  The specification for these cells is a discharge to 2.5V, at 0.2A.  I’ve not even discharged them to 2.5V, and the capcacity is already well over the rated 2950mAh.  Not an insignificant difference either – in every test by HKJ, these cells tested below 3000mAh.
[Bild: zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_16.png?w=736]
Another issue can be seen below, with the Energy graph.  On a good cell, these values would be at least somewhat close.  Again comparing to HKJ’s values, which were all within a couple of Wh of each other – these on the Aliexpress cell are over a massive range, from around 3Wh to over 11Wh.  This is probably due to a much higher internal resistance than specification.
[Bild: zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_17.png?w=736]
This is a new section, and I added it just because I think it’s interesting.  “Bounce back” is what the cell voltage does when the cell rests after a discharge. Interestingly, after heavy discharge rates, the cell bounces back higher.  This corresponds to a discharge amount of less energy, and does mean that there’s energy left in the cell.  So if I selected the cell with the highest bounce back (ie the cell that was discharged at the highest current), then discharged it to 2.8V at 0.2A, I’d still find that there was a lot of energy still in the cell.
[Bild: zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_18.png?w=736]
Charge test
Still working on the best format for this chart. I’ll likely start charging at 1.5A, 2A, and 3A when applicable.
[Bild: zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_191.png?w=736]
Power, Constant
[Bild: zeroair_reviews_aliexpress_samsung_30q_20.png?w=736]
Internal Resistance
As can be seen on the chart below, the IR for this cell is much too high.  I think the IR should be something like ≤ 26mΩ.
[Bild: 30q_ir1.png?w=736]
While I don’t like these being called 30q cells, I do think they’re fine for low current needs.  The capacity is good, and the cost is very low.  I don’t like them being misrepresented so that alone is probably a “don’t buy” from me, but still, 3000mAh for $2.25 per cell is a good deal.  Just don’t use them over 3 to 5A discharge or so.
Note that the listing specifically says they’re good for E-cig use.  I would absolutely not use these in e-cigs!!  These were being sold specifically by liitokala Factory Store.  This review pertains only to cells from liitokala Factory Store!!

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