Lumintop P16X (XM-L, 1x18650 2xCR123A/RCR) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more

Originally posted: August 19, 2011
Last revised: August 21, 2011

Warning: pic heavy, as usual.

Lumintop has recently come out with a new series of 2xCR123A/1x18650 lights. In this review, I will be looking at the P16X – a two-stage tactical model. Lumintop has sent me two versions of this light; one with a step-down in max output after 5 mins, and one without this feature.


Packaging is fairly typical. Inside the cardboard box, you will find the light (with removable grip ring and clip), good quality holster with closing flap, good quality wrist lanyard, spare o-rings and tailcap boot cover, and manual.

From left to right: AW protected 18650, Lumintop P16X, TD15-X, Klarus XT10, Sunwayman T20C, Skilhunt Defier X1.

All weights without batteries.

Lumintop ED20: Weight 84.4g, Length 121.6mm, Width (bezel) 25.2mm
Lumintop P16X: Weight 141.4g, Length 157.0mm, Width (bezel) 37.9mm
Lumintop TD-15X: Weight 150.3g, Length 147.3mm, Width (bezel) 37.8mm
Klarus XT10: Weight 121.3g, Length: 144.8, Width (bezel) 34.9mm
Fenix TK15: Weight 131.1g, Length 147.1mm x Width (bezel) 34.0mm

The P16X is a reasonable size for this class of light.

Although external appearance is similar to the Lumintop TD-15X, there are a number of significant build differences.

Anodizing is a standard flat black (presumed HA). There is no knurling to speak of, but flutes on the body and tailcap help somewhat with grip. The other design elements (i.e. head heatsink, clip, grip ring) help further. I found grip acceptable with the ring and clip installed, but would prefer some actual knurling.

Square-cut tailcap threads are anodized for lock-out at both the head and tail. Tailstanding is good. The P16X has lanyard attachment points in the tailcap.

There is a small spring in the head, so high-capacity flat-top 18650 cells should work fine.

The most distinctive aspect of this light is the tailcap – it uses a two-stage tactical design, with no clicky (i.e. press or tighten for Lo, press or tighten further for Hi). This is similar in concept to the Surefire L2-series lights. Scroll down to my UI section for a discussion.

Technically, the light can tailstand, but is quite unstable (not recommended).

For more information on the build and interface, please scroll down to my User Interface section to see a video review. I plan to offer these on new reviews from now on.

The P16X comes with a smooth reflector (OP), and uses a XM-L emitter. The emitter was well centered on my sample.

Which brings me to the white-wall beamshots. All lights are on Hi on 1x18650 (AW Protected 2200mAh), about ~0.75 meter from a white wall (with the camera ~1.25 meters back from the wall). For Cool White lights, I used the automatic white balance on the camera, to minimize minor tint differences. Daylight white balance for the Neutral White ED20.

The P16X has reasonable throw for this size light and reflector, but not as great as some others in the class.

UPDATE AUGUST 21, 2011: I have now done 100-yard outdoor beamshots, in the style of my earlier 100-yard round-up reviews.

User Interface

The P16X uses a two-stage tactical twist-press tailcap, similar in function to the Surefire L2-series lights. There is no clicky switch on the light.

To activate the light with a constant output, tighten the tailcap until the Lo mode comes on. Tighten further to activate the Hi mode. Loosen to return to the Lo, loosen further to turn off the light

Alternatively, if the light is in Lo mode, you can press the tailcap button for momentary Hi. When you release the button, the light returns to Lo. If you unscrew the tailcap just enough to completely turn off the light, a soft-press will give you Lo output, and a hard press will give you Hi output. Unscrew the tailcap a little further, and a press will only give you the Lo mode. Unscrew even further, and a press will not activate the light (i.e. the light is locked out).

Something new I'm trying out - please see my video review below for more information on build and user interface:

Although recorded in 720p, YouTube has reduced the video to 480p max, 360p default. Once the video is running, you can click on the 360p icon in the lower right-hand corner, and select the higher 480p option.

No Strobe/PWM

There no evidence of PWM on any mode on the P16X. There is no strobe mode.

Testing Method:

All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, a la Quickbeam's method. You can directly compare all my relative output values from different reviews - i.e. an output value of "10" in one graph is the same as "10" in another. All runtimes are done under a cooling fan, except for any extended run Lo/Min modes (i.e. >12 hours) which are done without cooling.

I have recently devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values (ROV) to estimated Lumens. See my How to convert Selfbuilt's Lighbox values to Lumens thread for more info.

Throw/Output Summary Chart:

Effective November 2010, I have revised my summary tables to match with the current ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. Please see for a description of the terms used in these tables.

On 1x18650, the P16X is comparable in max output to the ED20 and other general purpose lights in this class. On 2xRCR/CR123A, max output increased by ~20%. Throw is reasonable for the class, consistent with the size head/reflector on the P16X.

Output/Runtime Comparison:

Like many lights in this class, the P16X steps down from max output after 5 mins runtime. Lumintop sent me a second sample without this step-down feature, but I am not clear if they plan to offer this version as a seaparate option.

Frankly, there isn’t much difference on 1x18650, as the direct-drive pattern of the “no step-down” version is pretty similar overall to the standard step-down version. On 2xRCR/CR123A there is a clearer difference, with a noticeable runtime advantage to the step-down version.

Overall output/runtime efficiency seems reasonable for the class.

Potential Issues

Light lacks a traditional Medium level of output (i.e. Lo output is fairly low for a two-stage light).

Light could be somewhat slippery when wet, as the body lacks traditional knurling.

Light is very wobbly when tailstanding.

Preliminary Observations

The P16X is something of an intermediate light – larger and with better throw than the ED20 "backup", but without all the bells and whistles of the higher-end TD15-X. Max output on the P16X is also somewhat intermediate.

What is distinctive is the interface – the P16X offers a two-stage tactical tailcap, which functions just like the Surefire L2-series lights. This is a good design for a two-stage tactical light, in my view.

The rest of the overall design and feature set is reasonable for the class. That said, I would like to see some actual knurling on the light, and a stainless steel bezel ring would be good (although you could argue black better fits with its “tactical” aesthetic). Build is certainly reasonable, but I prefer the higher-end (and likely more expensive) TD15-X.

Lumintop’s output specs seem slightly overstated for Hi output, but quite believable for Lo. The output on Lo could be a bit higher in my view (i.e. 8 lumens is bit low for a two-stage-only light). Runtime specs seem quite conservative, at least for 18650 (note that I use the older 2200mAh 18650 cells in my testing). On Hi, overall efficiency is at the lower end of most XM-L lights I’ve tested, but still acceptable for the class.

Lumintop sent me two versions of the light – one with a step-down feature at 5 mins on Hi, and one without. I am not sure if they plan to offer both for sale, but there isn’t really huge difference on 18650, due to the direct-drive pattern on the version without step-down. On fully-regulated 2xCR123A and 2xRCR, it really comes down to the extra runtime you get on the step-down version. Note that step-down features are becoming quite common these days, and are easily overcome by clicking off-on to restore full output.

Beam is reasonable for size reflector, with decent throw. I don’t know if they plan to offer a Neutral White version (like the ED20 I have reviewed recently). Pricing is also unknown at the present time, but I expect it to be intermediate to the ED20 and TD15-X.

To my mind, the most distinctive feature of this light is the two-stage tactical tailcap. I don’t think I’ve seen this outside of Surefire lights, and am glad to see it here. Those of you looking for a tactical light may want to consider the P16X.


P16X samples were provided by Lumintop for review.

To follow the online discussions for this review, please see the full review thread at CPF.

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Page last updated on August 21, 2011 - selfbuilt (at) sliderule (dot) ca (replace the "at" and "dot" labels with the appropriate symbol for e-mail)
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