Jian Wei W1 (XR-E R2, 1x18650/2xRCR123A) Thrower: RUNTIME, BEAMSHOTS and more!

Originally posted: November 15, 2010

Warning: pic heavy, as usual. :whistle:


I donít typically review "budget" lights anymore (due mainly to lack of time), but this one caught my interest - the distributor informs me that it is made in Tiabloís factory. Letís see how it compares to other mainstream XR-E R2 "thrower" lights, including those made under Tiabloís own name.

Packaging is fairly standard, with a hard carboard box with magnetic closing flap and cut-out foam. Inside, the light comes with a manual, spare o-rings, GITD boot cap, and simple wrist lanyard.

From left to right: AW Protected 18650, Jian Wei W1, Dereelight DBS V2, Tiablo A9-R5, Tiablo A10G, Olight M20-R2.

W1: Weight: 126.4g (no batteries), Length 125.6mm x Width 45.2mm (bezel)

Build quality seems reasonably good, generally consistent with other Tiablo lights Iíve reviewed. However, the overall aluminum construction seems thinner, and the light is definitely a bit smaller than most lights in this "thrower" class.

Screw threads are anodized at the tailcap for lock-out. :)

Anodizing is perfect on my sample, no chips in the medium gloss black (HA = type III). Knurling is not as aggressive as some some lights, but overall grip is alright. Lettering is sharp and clear, but looks "budget-like" in its choice of font and logo design.

Light can tailstand, but is a bit wobbly with the slightly protruding forward cliky. You may be able play with the boot cover to improve tailstanding.

Flat-top 18650s didnít worked on my sample, so I recommend you stick with button-top cells.

Note there is no clip included with the light, and the wrist lanyward is very basic (thereís a whole in the tailcap to thread it through).

The W1 features the standard "thrower" emitter, the XR-E R2 output bin, with a large and deep smooth reflector. This should produce excellent throw.

Which brings us to the requisite white wall hunting ;). All lights are on Hi on AW protected 18650, about ~0.75 meter from a white wall (with the camera ~1.25 meters back from the wall). Automatic white balance on the camera, to minimize tint differences.

From now on, all my beamshots will be taken in this standard configuration, to facilitate comparisons.

As you can see, the W1 throws an even tighter hotspot beam than the "classic" Tiablo A9-Q5.

I will update this review once I get my 100-yard beamshots done. :whistle:

User Interface

Turn the light on by pressing the tailcap clicky (press for momentary on, click for locked on),

Basic operation is controlled by repeated flashing or clicking off/on the tailcap. The light has 3 modes and moves through them in repeating sequence: Hi > Lo > Strobe.

Unfortunately, the light continues to remember the last setting used indefinitely, and advances to the next mode when you re-illuminate. :ohgeez:

PWM and Strobe

The W1 uses PWM on its low mode, at a frequency of 253 Hz on my sample

Strobe is 13 Hz.

Testing Method:

All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, a la Quickbeam's flashlightreviews.com 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 http://www.sliderule.ca/FL1.htm for a description of the terms used in these tables.

The W1 is actually very close to the throw of my DBS R2. The W1 definitely throws further than the Tiablo A9-Q5, but not as far as the Tiablo A10G-R2. This is not surprising, given the emitters used and the size of the reflectors on all these lights.

Output/Runtime Comparison:

Effective January 2010, all CR123A runtimes are now performed on Titanium Innovations batteries. You can compare the performance of these CR123A cells relative to the Duracell/Surefire cells used in my earlier reviews here. These new light results are marked by an "*" in the graph legend

Oddly, the W1-R2's output/runtime performance seem slightly lower than the A9-Q5. The PWM-controlled W1 does not seem quite as efficient as the A9-Q5 or A9-R5, even taking into account the emitter output bins used.

Potential Issues

There is no output mode retention Ė the light always advances to the next output mode in sequence when you turn it back on. This is rather frustrating in practice Ė I would prefer that it memorized the last mode used, or always came on in Hi.

Strobe is included on the main sequence, so you need to go through it to return to the beginning of the sequence. I would have preferred to see it "hidden" away somehow.

Output/runtime performance is acceptable, but nothing more.

Light uses PWM on the Lo mode, at a detectable but not overly obtrusive 256 Hz.

Consistent with its budget price, extras are fairly limited.

Preliminary Observations

I think this light is evidence that the recession has hit all world markets. In the past, it wasnít uncommon for brand-name Asian flashlight makers to release scaled-down versions of their mainstream products exclusively for the lower-cost Asian market. There are also plenty of Asian budget-brands that sell through Western dealers. But this is one of the first times Iíve seen a brand-name maker release a budget product directly through a North American distributor (with the standard warranty and customer service support of the Western market).

Build quality and performance-wise, there is nothing to object to here for the price. Although the light is a bit smaller and thinner than the typical Tiablo offerings, it certainly seems to meet standard Tiablo manufacturing standards. And output and throw are certainly what you would expect for a XR-E R2 emitter with this size smooth reflector. :thumbsup:

That being said, you are missing a few of the bells and whistles of higher-end lights (including those made by Tiablo). Packaging is basic. So is the user interface. And that brings me to the main real issue I have with the light - the fact that the light *always* advances to the next mode in sequence when you turn it back on (i.e. no matter how long you leave it off). Given that Strobe is included in the sequence, that can be annoying. :green:

Overall efficiency is acceptable, but at the low-end of this class (and typically slightly underperforms the Tiablo A9-Q5). Taken with the user interface quirk above, I recommend they pay more attention to the circuit design.

Basically, this is a budget "thrower" light, built by a good quality manufacturer, available through a North American distributor. It thus provides another locally-available option for the budget-conscious flashlight consumer.


W1 provided by Kit-tronics.com for review.

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

Return to the master review list (at flashlightreviews.ca).

For a list of all my CPF flashlight reviews in chronological order by battery type (direct link to CPF), please see here:
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