Tag Archives: 4.5 stars

Skilhunt ESKTE H150

The H150 is a compact headlamp flashlight with a floody beam with excellent colour rendition. It runs on a single included 14500 battery, or a regular AA battery.

  1. Introduction
  2. Manufacturer Specifications
  3. Package Details
  4. Build
  5. User Interface
  6. Circuit Measures
  7. Emitter Measures
  8. Beamshots
  9. Testing Results
  10. Runtimes
  11. Pros and Cons
  12. Overall Rating
  13. Preliminary Conclusions
  14. Acknowledgement

Introduction

I’m still catching up on my backlog of lights. This final version of the H150 was received from Skilhunt early last Fall.

Following on my review of the Skilhunt H300, Skilhunt released a more compact 1×14500 model under the new ESKTE brand name. This small headlamp is very similar, with a comparable user interface and magnetic charging dock. I don’t know if they plan to migrate to the ESKTE name going forward (I personally don’t find it rolls off the tongue very easily).

Like most Skilhunt lights, you can select your own emitter from a range of options. For the H150, you can select between the CREE XP-L2 Cool White 6500K, Nichia 519A Neutral White 4500K Hi CRI>90, or Nichia 519A Warm White 3000K Hi CRI >90.

I opted for my preferred tint, the Neutral White Nichia. As always, when it comes to headlamps especially, I recommend people consider high CRI options whenever possible. But the advantage here is that you can select the emitter option that best suits your needs.

Note that the original release of the H150 had a design issue that had a risk of shorting flat-top cells. That model was recalled, and all shipping H150s have a proper protection feature enabled.

Let’s see how the final shipping H150 does in my testing.

Manufacturer Specifications

Note: as always, these are simply what the manufacturer provides. Scroll down to see my actual runtimes.

FeatureSpecs
MakerSkilhunt
ModelH150
EmitterNicha 519A
Tint5000K (Hi CRI>90)
Max Output (Lumens)480
Min Output (Lumens)0.2
Max Runtime50 days
Max Beam Intensity (cd)2,250 cd
Max Beam Distance (m)95 m
Constant Levels7
FlashingStrobe, SOS, Beacon
Battery1x14500/AA
Weight (w/o battery)33 g
Weight (with battery)-
Length79.8 mm
Head Diameter21.4 mm
Body Diameter-
WaterproofIPX-8

Package Details





The light comes in a fairly standard shelf-presentation style box, with a description of the features and characteristics printed on it. Inside is a professional looking package, with the cover tab under the plastic tray holder.

Inside the box, I found:

  • Skilhunt H150 flashlight
  • Skilhunt BL-108 800mAh 14500 battery (optional)
  • Headband & mounting bracket
  • Wrist lanyard
  • Carrying pouch
  • Pocket clip
  • USB magnetic charging dock (MC-10)
  • 2 Spare O-rings
  • Manual

It’s a very nice package, consistent with other high quality lights in this class. The headband mounting bracket looks particularly good, as it can rotate in discrete steps (and has a one-inch mount opening, compatible with MOLLE setups). It’s good that they included the pocket clip for carry too (although it is the simple press-fit variety). This is a good set of extras.

Note however that the original headband mounting bracket/clip cracked and broke the first time I tried to remove the light. Skilhunt informs that they became aware of this situation late last year, and changed the material of the clip to make it stronger (they are sending me a replacement). You should not experience any issues on currently shipping samples.

Build


From left to right: Skilhunt 14500 (800mAh), Armytek 18650 (3500mAh), Armytek Crystal, Armytek Wizard C2 Pro Nichia, Acebeam E70 Mini, Armytek Wizard C2 Pro Max, Skilhunt H300, Skilhunt (ESKTE) H150.








Like its larger sibling the H300, The H150 is a very compact build, with lots of design elements to help with grip (although the concentric rings on the body and tailcap are not particularly sharp). The headband bracket holds the light reasonably well. I like the inclusion of the pocket clip, in case you want to carry it as an angle-light clipped to you, bezel-up. I would say the overall size is pretty compact for a 14500 headlamp – definitely on the smaller size of ones I’ve handled.

There is a raised rubberized switch cover over the electronic switch. Underneath are a pair of red and blue LEDs, to signal various states of the light/battery. Switch feel is good, with a standard traverse/tactile feedback for an electronic switch.

There is a magnetic charging dock on the top of the head of the light (similar to the charging cable in the H300, but specifically rated for this model). One nice thing about magnetic charging docks is that waterproofness is not a concern – the light looks quite splashable/dunkable (although note that I do not test for this in my reviews).

Tailstanding is very stable, thanks to the flat tailcap (there is a side cut-out to allow you to thread the basic wrist lanyard through, if you wanted to carry it that way). Tailcap threads are square-cut and anodized, with good feel. I always recommend you keep a light stored locked out when not in use. Thanks to the anodized tailcap threads, you can do this easily by a simple twist of the tailcap.

There is a magnet in the tailcap, so you attached the light stably to any metal surface. A useful feature in worklight/headlamp model.

There is a standard spring in the tailcap, and a small raised post in head, which holds the button-top cell firmly in place. If you worried about whether or not you have one of the early recalled release, you can check the circuit board in the head for a small “V2” (for the safe version) printed next to centre contact post. And by the way, I respect Skilhunt for the decision to recall all the early samples that had the potential risk of shorting flat-top cells.

Anodizing is a flat gray in matte finish, and looks to be very good quality on my sample with no damage or issues. Skilhunt reports it is type III (hard anodized), and I see no reason to doubt that.

Inside, my sample came with the optional Skilhunt-branded button-top 800mAh 14500 battery.

The proprietary magnetic USB charging dock also comes with blue and red LEDs, to signal charging status. The magnet has a reasonably strong pull (not as heavy as some), and locks into place easily. Note the H150 charger is labelled as the MC-10 (the H300/M300 comes with the MC-20)

And in case you wondering, with the battery installed it is about half the weight of the H300 (i.e., 55g instead of 106g).


My H150 came with the Nichia 519A Neutral White emitter, and features a heavily textured diffusing optic. This produces a nice and even flood light. Scroll down to my Emitter Measures section to see how my sample performs.

The bezel is like the switch retaining ring, allowing you access to the optic and emitter.

Note that despite the charging dock on the top of the head, you can still headstand stably.

User Interface

The H150 uses the latest version of the standard Skilhunt user interface (UI), just like the H300. It has a reasonably good number of modes and features. You get two Low modes, three Regular modes (two Med modes, one High mode), two Turbo modes, and three Strobe modes – organized into those four mode sets.

One comment to make up front – the mode level labels are different from most lights in that the lower number for a given level is actually the higher output (so, for example, T1 is brighter than T2). That means the constant output modes, in sequence, are: L2 < L1, M2 < M1 < H1, and T2 < T1.

The manual doesn’t describe the three strobe modes, but for sake of this review I will refer to them as S3 = Strobe, S2 = SOS, and S1 = Beacon.

Let me break down the full interface for you:

From OFF:

  • Press-and-hold: Turns On in memorized Low mode (L2 or L1).
  • Single-click: Turns On in memorized Regular mode (M2, M1, or H1).
  • Double-click: Turns On in memorized Turbo mode (T2 or T1).
  • Triple-click: Turns on in memorized strobe mode (S3, S2, or S1).
  • 4 clicks: Activates the electronic Lockout mode.
    • Press-and-hold for momentary Moonlight (i.e., lowest Low, L2)
    • While in lockout, the switch indicator light will flash red every second, but that can be toggled off/on with a double-click.

From ON:

  • Press-and-hold: Cycle to the next level within the current mode level set (constant output modes only, doesn’t work for Strobe).
  • Single-click: Turns Off.
  • Double-click: Jumps to the memorized Turbo level (from Regular modes only), or back to Regular modes if already in Turbo (note this doesn’t work from Low modes or Strobe modes)
  • Triple-click: Jumps to the memorized Strobe mode (from Regular or Turbo), or back to most recent Regular or Turbo if already in Strobe mode.

Strobe modes:

  • Triple-click: Turns On in memorized Strobe mode.
  • Double-click: Cycles through the Strobe modes in sequence:
    • S3 – Strobe
    • S2 – SOS
    • S1 – Beacon

Mode memory:

Yes, each mode set retains its own memory for the last level selected in that mode set.

Shortcuts:

  • To Low (L2 or L1): Press-and-hold from Off.
  • To Turbo (T2 or T1): Double-click from Off or when On in Regular mode.
  • To Strobe (S1, S2, or S3): Triple-click from Off or when On in Regular or Turbo mode.

Low voltage warning:

When the battery is running very low (<3.0V according to the manual), the switch indicator light will flash red, and the main emitter will flash every couple of seconds. the light will shut off at 2.7V according to the manual.

Lock-out mode: 

  • 4 clicks from Off: Activates the electronic Lockout mode.
  • Physical lockout is also possible by simply unscrewing the tailcap.

Battery indicator:

Yes. The LED under the switch indicates the battery status for the first ~5 secs after turning on:

  • Solid Blue: >80% Battery power remaining.
  • Flashing Blue: 50-80% Battery power remaining.
  • Solid Red: 20-50% Battery power remaining
  • Flashing Red: <20% Battery power remaining.

These are identical to the H300, and seem reasonable to me.

Reviewer Comments:

Like many of the recent lights I’ve reviewed, I find this UI to be very reasonable, and relatively versatile. Of course, you are never going to please everyone with any given UI (e.g., I would like to see double-click reliably jumping to Turbo, and have the Low modes as part of a regular sequence without having to go through Off first). But these are really minor quibbles, the light does reasonably well.

One small thing I would like is the ability to independently turn on the the blue switch indicator, to serve as an additional “moonlight mode”. This is something the Anduril-based lights allow, for example.

Allowing momentary L2 when in the electronic lockout is a nice touch. But as always, I recommend locking out the light at the tailcap when not in use.

Circuit Measures

No Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM):

Like the H150, there is no sign of PWM on any level – the circuit appears to be fully current-controlled. This is also no sign of high-frequency noise at any level. This is refreshing – although PWM is very rare nowadays, it is not uncommon to see some (visually-undetectable) circuit noise.

L2:
L2

L1:
L1

M2:
M2

M1:
M1

H1:
H1

T2:
T2

T1:
T1

Strobe Modes:

S3 -Strobe:


S3 Strobe alternates between 7 Hz and 10 Hz strobes (1 sec for 7Hz, 3 secs for 10 Hz).

S2 – SOS:
SOS

A fairly typical SOS mode.

Beacon:
Beacon

Beacon strobe is nice and slow 1 Hz signalling strobe.

Charging:

The magnetic charging dock switches from blue (when power is supplied) to solid red when connected and charging the H150. Switches back to solid blue when the charging is complete.

Like H300, the H150 use a constant charging rate regardless of the initial battery voltage. I find ~0.80A to be reasonable for a 14500 cell, and will charge it relatively rapidly.

The 14500 came out at 4.14V fully charged with the magnetic charger. That is lower than typical, but is good for the health of the cell.

Standby / Parasitic Drain:

Given the electronic switch, there is a standby drain when a battery is installed – but I measured this as a negligible 14 uA with the installed 14500. Given the rated 800 mAh capacity, that would translate in 6.5 years before you would drain the cell. For a NiMH AA, I measured the drain as 4 uA. For 2450 mAh Eneloop AA, would translate into a ridiculous 70 years before the cell would be drained.  Either way, these are miniscule and not a concern. But regardless, I always recommend you lockout the light when not in use – either by electronic lockout, or better yet physically by twisting the tailcap.

Emitter Measures

In this section, I directly measure key emitter characteristics in terms of colour temperature, tint, and colour rendition. Please see my Emitter Measures page to learn more about what these terms mean, and how I am measuring them. As tint in particular can shift across levels, I typically stick with the highest stably regulated level for all my reported measures.

As explained on that page, since I am using an inexpensive uncalibrated device, you can only make relative comparisons across my reviews (i.e., don’t take these numbers as absolutely accurate values, but as relatively consistent across lights in my testing).

H150 on T2:

The key measures above are the colour temperature of ~4135K, and a small negative tint shift (-0.0052 Duv) to slightly rose coloured. For CRI (Ra), I measured a combined score of 95 (Hi CRI).

These results are very consistent with other Neutral White 519A emitters, which are known to run slightly rose-tinted. This remains one of my favourite emitters and tints.

Beamshots

All outdoor beamshots are taken on my Canon PowerShot S5 IS at f/2.7, 0.5 secs exposure, ISO 400, daylight white balance. The bend in the road is approximately 40 meters (~45 yards) from the camera. Learn more about my outdoor beamshots here (scroll down for the floody light position used in this review).

Click on any thumbnail image below to open a full size image in a new window. You can then easily compare beams by switching between tabs.


Unfortunately, my modern outdoor camera settings are designed for brighter lights, so the shots above are a little dark. But as you can see, the H150 is not as bright on max initially as the other lights shown above. The beam pattern is equivalently floody. Scroll down to see some actual runtimes.

Testing Results

My summary tables are generally reported in a manner consistent with the ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. In addition to the links above, please see my output measures page for more background.

All my output numbers are based on my home-made lightbox setup. As explained on that methodology page, I have devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values to estimated lumens. Note that my lightbox calibration runs higher than most hobbyists today, but I’ve kept it to remain consistent with my earlier reviews (when the base calibration standard was first established). On average though, I find my lumen estimates are ~20% higher than most other modern reviewers.

My Peak Intensity/Beam Distance are directly measured with a NIST-certified Extech EA31 lightmeter.

H150 Testing Results

ModeSpec LumensEstimated Lumens @0secEstimated Lumens @30 secsBeam Intensity @0secBeam Intensity @30secsBeam Distance @30secsPWM/Strobe FreqNoise FreqCharging Current <3VCharging Current >3VParasitic DrainWeight w/o BatteryWeight with BatteryCCT (K)DuvCRI
L20.120.090.09---NoNo0.80 A0.80 A14 uA34 g53 g---
L11.51.91.9---NoNo0.80 A0.80 A14 uA34 g53 g---
M2131616---NoNo0.80 A0.80 A14 uA34 g53 g---
M1809292---NoNo0.80 A0.80 A14 uA34 g53 g---
H1250295290---NoNo0.80 A0.80 A14 uA34 g53 g4,135-0.005295
T2320400380---NoNo0.80 A0.80 A14 uA34 g53 g---
T14806406101,850 cd1,580 cd79 mNoNo0.80 A0.80 A14 uA34 g53 g---
S3------7-10 HzNo0.80 A0.80 A14 uA34 g53 g---
S2------SOSNo0.80 A0.80 A14 uA34 g53 g---
S1------1 HzNo0.80 A0.80 A14 uA34 g53 g---
L2 AA-0.080.08---NoNo--4.5 uA34 g64 g---
L1 AA-1.61.6---NoNo--4.5 uA34 g64 g---
M2 AA-6.96.9---NoNo--4.5 uA34 g64 g---
M1 AA-2626---NoNo--4.5 uA34 g64 g---
H1 AA-8080---NoNo--4.5 uA34 g64 g---
T2 AA-130130---NoNo--4.5 uA34 g64 g---
T1 AA-190190---NoNo--4.5 uA34 g64 g---
S3 AA------7-10 HzNo--4.5 uA34 g64 g---
S2 AA------SOSNo--4.5 uA34 g64 g---
S1 AA------1 HzNo--4.5 uA34 g64 g---

As with the H300, I am finding generally good concordance of published specs with what my lightbox reports on 14500 – although as usual, my lightbox reports somewhat higher output on the high through Turbo modes on my sample.

The one difference is that my NIST-calibrated luxmeter reports slightly lower max beam distance. I’m not at all concerned for a headlamp (i.e., I like a floody beam). I am impressed to see a very low “moonlight” low mode (L2) here, which clocked in around 0.09 lumens in my testing.

I don’t have official specs for AA, but my NiMH results above show noticeably lower output across levels (as you would expect for lower voltage sources).

To view and download full testing results for all modern lights in my testing, check out my Database page.

Runtimes

As always, my runtimes are done under a small cooling fan, for safety and consistency. To learn more about how to interpret runtime graphs, see my runtimes methodology page. Note that on average, my lightbox’s calibration seems to be ~20% higher than most modern reviewers.

To start, I’m showing below how the highest modes of the H150 compares to its larger 18650 sibling, the H300.

Obviously, the H300 is capable of much high initial and sustained output (and runtime). But the key observation for me on the H150 is that both T1 and T2 step down relatively quickly to the H1 levels. And of course, it’s great to see flat-stabilized regulation at all levels.

Here is a blow-up of the first few mins, to allow you to better compare.

Max-extended

Basically, compared to the high (H1) level, the T1 turbo gives you about twice the output for ~1-1.5 mins, while T2 gives you ~40% more output for 3 mins. Personally, I don’t really see the point of of the intermediate T2 turbo level. It seems like they applied the standard user interface from the M300/H300 lights to this smaller form factor, without really considering its functionality.

Here is how the H150 compares to some headlamps I’ve tested:

Headlamps

All headlamps are a trade-off between weight and output/runtime (plus heat). Personally, I find the H1 and M1 levels of the H150 very useful for most typical headlamp tasks. And the flat-regulated one hour and ~3.5 hours of runtime, respectively, lets you plan for your activity. There may be the occasional task when I want an 18650-powered headlamp, but for the most part, the half-weight 14500 model suits my needs.

As mentioned above, the H150 will also run on a standard AA battery. Here is what I found with an Eneloop 2450mAh NiMH. Note this NiMH AA cell is about 11g heavier than the stock 14500.

As shown in my output tables above, the output levels of the lower-voltage NiMH AA are lower than the 14500 on all modes, as you would expect. But overall output/runtime efficiency is pretty comparable (e.g., M1 on 14500 is pretty close in output and runtime to H1 on NiMH AA). The T1 and T2 modes step down to the H1 level as the battery depletes.

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
The light shows excellent current-controlled efficiency across all levels.User interface is fairly sophisticated, and reasonable for the class, but it does have some small quirks and limitations.
Circuit shows excellent regulation, with stable runtimes and generally reasonable step-down timing.There is not much differentiation in output or runtime between the two Turbo and single Hi levels.
Good range low-high output levels, with a true Moonlight mode.Magnetic charging dock performance is good but won't initiate a charge >4.0V resting.
Textured optic provides an extremely floody beam, with no real hotspot.
Standard AA batteries will also work in the light (with reduced output).
Very low standby drain.
Very light and compact build with good quality and decent feel.
Includes a bidirectional pocket clip, in addition to headband

Overall Rating

Preliminary Conclusions

The H150 is another great performer from Skilhunt. As with its larger sibling the 18650-based H300, it has a high quality feel, good design and some nice stylistic touches. Switch feel is good, and the user interface is very reasonable for the class. The charging dock worked well in my testing, consistent with others who use this magnetic design. The headband holds onto you head well, and I find this to be to a comfortable 1×14500/AA headlamp to wear and use.

In terms of circuit performance, it shows the same excellent output/runtime efficiency and regulation as the other Skilhunt lights. However, there is really not much to differentiate the T1/T2 levels relative to H1 level (at least on 14500). As always, it’s great to see the range of lower outputs, including the <1 lumen Moonlight mode here. And it is a great bonus that you can run standard AA batteries in this light – for reduced output, but with good spacing of levels.

The range of emitters offered is good, and I’m glad to have the Neutral White Nichia 519A option – one of my favourite headlamp emitters.

The overall build is comparable to the H300, so it actually makes it convenient if you have both models (i.e., save the H300 for when you need higher output or longer runtime, use the half-weight H150 for typical around-the-house maintenance). Beam patterns are fairly comparable too.

There is really not much else to critique here, it really is a great all-around compact headlamp/worklight. Another very strong option to consider, highly recommended.

Acknowledgement

The H150 was supplied by Skilhunt for review. As always, all opinions are my own and the light received the same rigourous and objective testing as all other lights that I have reviewed. At the time of review, this configuration of the light and battery retails for ~$50 USD (~$68 CDN).

Wurkkos TS10

The TS10 is a popular multi-emitter, 1×14500 light from Wurkkos that features the sophisticated Anduril user interface. Powerful, compact, and available in a wide range of build options.

  1. Introduction
  2. Manufacturer Specifications
  3. Package Details
  4. Build
  5. User Interface
  6. Circuit Measures
  7. Emitter Measures
  8. Beamshots
  9. Testing Results
  10. Runtimes
  11. Pros and Cons
  12. Overall Rating
  13. Preliminary Conclusions
  14. Acknowledgement

Introduction

I’m working through my backlog of lights – these TS10 samples were obtained at the end of the summer last year.

The TS10 series has a lot of love out there from flashlight enthusiasts. Relatively tiny and inexpensive, they pack a powerful floody punch with 3x CSP LEDs (with their high >90 CRI) in either Cool white or Neutral white, along with secondary red colour emitters. The body comes in various build materials (aluminum, brass, titanium, copper) and colours (in the aluminum version). Oh, and it features the sophisticated Anduril user interface.

Given my positive experiences with Anduril, I thought I’d see how this model performs. Wurkkos agreed to send me the Cool white version (in silver aluminum finish), and I personally ordered a Warm white (black anodized finish) to compare.

Before I jump into testing, I should point out that there is a new V2 of the TS10 recently released. My understanding is that it has some small circuit tweaks but should perform comparably to the performance seen here. Note however the secondary red LEDs have been replaced with RGB, giving you greater functionality (i.e., Anduril works well with secondary RGB emitters, see my Emisar D1 and D4K reviews for an indication of what to expect).

Manufacturer Specifications

Note: as always, these are simply what the manufacturer provides. Scroll down to see my actual runtimes.

MakerWurkkosWurkkos
ModelTS10TS10
Emitter3xCSP LED >90 CRI3xCSP LED >90 CRI
Tint4000 K6000 K
Max Output (Lumens)1,4001,400
Min Output (Lumens)11
Max Runtime--
Max Beam Intensity (cd)4,150 cd4,150 cd
Max Beam Distance (m)130 m130 m
Constant Levels150150
Flashing66
Battery
Weight (w/o battery)32 g32 g
Weight (with battery)--
Length71.5 mm71.5 mm
Head Diameter21 mm21 mm
Body Diameter--
WaterproofIPX8 2mIPX8 2m

Package Details




The packaging for the TS10 is fairly basic, shown above for the “silvery” version of the coated aluminum. Inside the fairly simple cardboard box you will find:

  • TS10 flashlight
  • Wurkkos 14500 battery 900mAh (if ordered as part of the kit)
  • Single cell charger, with micro-USB cable (again, if ordered as part of the kit)
  • Bi-directional pocket clip
  • Wrist lanyard
  • 2 Spare body tube o-rings
  • Manual

The TS10 lacks any sort of in-light charging, but for an extra ~$2 or so you can get a Wurkkos 14500 battery and simple external charger. It’s nice to see the bundled pocket clip at this low price.

Build


From left to right: Mateminco 18350 (1200mAh), Mateminco SL02 (18350 body tube), Vapcell 18350 F14 (1400mAh), Emisar D1 (18350 body tube), Wurkkos 14500 (900mAh), Wurkkos TS10.















You have a lot of build options here, but I have opted for the basic aluminum construction. As you can see, the light has an inner aluminum sleeve that is anodized except for the end. This inner signal tube is what makes contact with the head ring, and allows the switch to control the light. I presume this same design is also true for the brass and titanium build options, but don’t know for certain.

The light is controlled by an electronic side switch in the tail, under a rubberized cover. Feel and traverse of the electronic switch is surprisingly decent, with a firm click and typical traverse. The tailcap edge is flat, with the switch ever so slightly recessed – so the light is able to tailstand fairly stably. There is no cut-out for the simple wrist lanyard, so you would need to attach that to the clip if you wanted to use (I personally don’t see the value).

Tailcap threads are square-cut with good feel, although note that the light comes bare with no lube. Thanks to the anodized signal switch tube, you can technically lock out the switch (for activation) by a twist of the head – but this is not recommended (scroll down for a discussion on this point). With the o-rings in place, I expect waterproofness to be decent. Indeed, I accidentally left one of these in my jeans pocket when it went the through the washing machine – despite banging around the wash the whole cycle, the light came out fully dry inside with no water entry.

There is a spring in the head in the tail, along with a flat disc contact in the head. Small button top cells are recommend.

The bidirectional stainless steel pocket clip attaches near the tail, and allows for head-up or head-down carry. It also serves as effective anti-roll device, which is appreciated.

There are a couple of options for the emitter LED, Cool white (6000K) or Neutral white (4000K). I have both on hand to test, and I don’t think you can go wrong with either, given the relatively Hi CRI nature of the CSP emitters. The lights also currently come with three red auxillary LEDs that are easily controlled with the Anduril user interface (at two different intensities). See the user interface section below for more information.

Unlike most of the lights I am reviewing these days, there is no built-in charger on the TS10. But if you buy the light with the battery kit (for an extra ~$2) you get a 14500 battery and a stand-alone micro-USB charger suitable for the 14500 cell.

There is no knurling to speak of, and only fairly minor ridge detail. So I recommend you use the included pocket clip to help with grip. Anodizing looks to be good quality (for presumed type II, give the colour range), with no damage on my sample. I would describe the black finish as matte, and the “silvery” as sandblasted. Note that the “silvery” colour option no longer seems to be available on the Wurkkos store.







The basic optic gives you a nice even beam. It doesn’t show up well in my desk shots above, but the beam is indeed very broad and floody. Scroll down for actual outdoor beamshots. There is no sign of AR coating on the lens (not that I would expect any, with an optic).

One great feature of this light is the 3 additional secondary red emitters built-in here. These can be turned on and controlled by the auxillary LED settings in Anduril.

Here is what they look like on the high and low output AUX settings:




In my handling, I find the High level for the AUX red LEDs is surprisingly bright – and the Low level is very low (scroll down for specific output measures).

And again, note that the new V2 of the TS10 currently shipping comes with RGB LEDs for greater functionality.

User Interface

As mentioned above, the TS10 uses the open-source Anduril 2 user interface (UI). Anduril has two distinct UIs mode sets: Simple and Advanced. The labels are a bit misleading, as both are fairly sophisticated – it is just that the Advanced UI has a lot of extra options not available on the scaled-down Simple UI. Both UIs have the option for a discrete Stepped level mode, in addition to the continuously-variable Smooth Ramping mode.

To switch from the default Simple UI to Advanced UI, you need to do 10 clicks from Off with a hold on the 10th click (10H), with 10 clicks (10C) to return to simple UI. Advanced UI has a lot more options available. It’s easier to show the UIs rather than explain them in words, so here is a helpful pic:

ui-diagram

You can also download a plain text-based manual from Anduril creator Toykeeper, or a more interactive one with version control here.

This implementation of Anduril 2 has eight discrete Stepped levels, which I’ve numbered in this review as H1 through H8 (with H1 being the lowest level, and H8 being Turbo).

According to the firmware Version Check, my TS10 Neutral white sample is model 0714. Full info is 2022-07-19-07-14 (version code is Year-Month-Day the firmware was compiled, followed by a 2-digit brand ID and 2-digit product ID).

Again, check the image and link above for more info, but here is a simplified description of the UI to get you started.

From OFF:

  • Press-and-hold (1H): Turns On in lowest output, in either Ramping mode or Stepped mode depending on which mode is enabled (and which UI you are in)
  • Single-click (1C): Turns on in last memorized mode used (Ramping or Stepped)
  • Double-click (2C): Turns on to Turbo (aka the Ramping max output)
  • Triple-click (3C): Battery check (voltage read out a single time) and basic flashing/strobe modes.
  • Triple-click-and-hold (3H): Special strobe modes, but only when in Advanced UI (remembers last strobe mode used)
  • 4 clicks (4C): Lockout mode. In lockout mode you have different options available:
    • Press-and-hold (1H): Momentary Moonlight
    • Double-click-and-hold (2H): Momentary Low
    • 4 clicks (4C): Turns On in memorized output level
    • 4 clicks and hold (4H): Turns On in the lowest level
    • 5 clicks (5C): Turns On in Turbo
    • 10 clicks and hold (10H): Configure the lock timeout threshold (in Advanced UI only), allowing you to pre-set the timeout time of the lock.
  • 7 clicks (7C): (Advanced UI only) Enters AUX/Button LED config for the next mode. There are four modes you can switch between; constant low, blinking low, off, constant hi. Click 7 times again to advance to the next option, in sequence. The light auto-memorizes the last option you select.

From ON:

  • Press-and-hold (1H): Ramps up (or Steps up, depending on the mode). Ramps/steps down if you do it again.
  • Single-click (1C): Turns Off
  • Double-click (2C): Jumps to Turbo
  • Double-click-and-hold (2H): Ramps down (or Steps down)
  • Triple-click (3C): Switch between Ramping and Stepped modes
  • 4 clicks (4C): Lockout mode (see above for options)

Mode memory:

Yes, the circuit memorizes the last constant On output level in either Ramping or Stepped modes.

Strobe/Blinking modes:

Yes, quite a few actually. The strobe/blinking modes are accessible from Off with a triple-click (3C) or triple-click-and-hold (3H), but in Advanced UI only. You can switch between strobe/blinking modes with 2 clicks (2C), in the following sequence (see testing results below to see what these look like):

Triple-click (3C):

  • Battery check
  • Temperature check
  • Beacon mode
  • SOS mode

Triple-click-and hold (3H):

  • Candle mode
  • Bike flasher mode
  • Party strobe mode
  • Tactical strobe mode
  • Lightning mode

Low voltage warning:

Sort of. In operation, the light drops in brightness in steps, and runs for an extended time at a very low level. Apparently it shuts off when the cell is ~2.8V (although I haven’t run it that long to confirm).

Lock-out mode:

Yes. In either Simple UI or Advanced UI, lockout is accessed by 4 clicks (4C) from On or Off (repeat to unlock). The lockout mode is unusual with Anduril, as it actually enables momentary operation in the minimum modes (see above).

Normally, I recommend you physically lock the switch out at the head, if you want to guarantee no accidental activation. However, there are reports that this causes issues for the circuit on Anduril lights with inner signal tubes. Specifically, bad data may be relayed to the circuit during reactivations (including inadvertently producing factory resets). As such, I recommend you store the lights either in electronic lockout mode, or with the batteries removed.

Factory reset:

There are two ways to do a factory reset of an Anduril light. This can be necessary sometimes if you get into trouble when programming, or if circuit glitches crop up. The easier method to reset the light is to loosen the head (breaking contact with the inner signal tube), press and hold the button down, and tighten the head while not letting go of the button. The light will flicker a bit and then rapidly ramp up – at the end of which it will make a very bright flash. Keep holding the button until it reaches the end of that bright flash. If you release it too early, the light will not reset.

If you find that method doesn’t work, you can use the standard 13H method shown in the diagram above. With the head connected, holding on the 13th rapid click will do the same as above – the light will flicker, ramp, and then bright flash. Personally, I find it a bit tricky to accurately count out 13 clicks and hold without hesitation on the last one. But this will do the job as well, if you can get the timing down.

Temperature check and thermal calibration mode:

This is a little complicated (and beyond the needs of most users), so I will just refer you to the diagram from the manual above. With default settings, I find this light steps down fairly quickly due to heat (unsurprising, given default Anduril settings are conservative and the thermal mass is small here). I have not tried to reconfigure my sample, since I find it plenty toasty as is. Note that if you get into any trouble (or wish to reset any custom configurations), you can easily reset the light to the factory defaults by 13 clicks-and-hold (13H).

Reviewer Comments:

Anduril is a sophisticated setup – a choice of Simple or Advanced UI, Stepped and Ramping modes, AUX LED control, etc. Of course, you will never please everyone, and I know many may prefer a simpler interface. But this light can easily be configured to run quite simply (i.e., you don’t need to use the all the features if you don’t want to).

Note that I found myself needing to reset these lights a few times in my testing, due to little quirks or bugs that cropped up (e.g., suddenly not switching between smooth or ramping, or not letting me reconfigure the AUX LEDs, etc.). These issues can happen in any Anduril light, but it seemed to me that this model was more prone to it. It may have to do with the known issue of physically locking out light at the head, which I did periodically during testing (this is an issue on Anduril lights with inner signal tubes). In any case, any issues that crop up can easily be fixed with a circuit reset (followed by reapplying whatever customizations you prefer).

Circuit Measures

No Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM):

There is no sign of PWM on any level, the circuit appears to be fully current-controlled. But as is common for budget lights with simple FET drivers running Anduril, there is non-visually detectable circuit noise at all output levels except max:

H1:
L1

H2:
L2

H3:
L3

H4:
L4

H5:
L5

H6:
L6

H7:
L7

H8:
L8

Again, this ~20 kHz noise is NOT visible to the eye, and is not a problem. It is typically a sign of a fairly basic driver though (e.g., I saw a similar pattern on the WK15 I recently reviewed). Interestingly, it disappears on the highest level.

Strobe Modes:

Note that for most of the strobe / flashing modes below, the actual frequency and intensity are both configurable. What I am showing below is the default speed and/or brightness setting. By pressing and holding the switch (1H or 2H) you can select the frequency. And in some cases, brightness is set from the last-used ramp level.

Beacon:
Beacon

Beacon strobe is a single flash every ~2.3 secs (so, <0.5 Hz) by default.

SOS:
SOS

A fairly typical SOS mode.

Candle:
Candle

Candle strobe is a continuous flicker, of varying intensity (again, accurately simulating a candle).

Bike Strobe:
Bike

Bike strobe is a bit unusual with Anduril. It is constant On at a lower level, with four brief flashes to max (over ~0.25 secs) every ~1 sec or so by default. It certainly is an attention grabber.

Party Strobe:
Party

Party strobe is a super-fast (and annoying) frequency of ~20 Hz by default.

Tactical Strobe:
Tactical
Tactical
Tactical

Tactical strobe is typically ~10 Hz by default, although I found my sample fluctuated between ~8.7-8.9 Hz.

Lightning Strobe:
Lightning
Lightning
Lightning

I’ve shown three 10-sec cycles above, so you can a feel for the frequency and intensity of light flashes. Lightning strobe is a fairly realistic lightning simulation, with variable intensity and time between flashes.

Charging:


The included micro-USB charger uses a single-stage charging mode of 1.0A. This is a high charging rate for a 14500 cell, and will charge it relatively quickly.

Standby / Parasitic Drain:

NOTE: My original drain measures were off by a significant amount. I have corrected them below.

With the switch disconnected and AUX LEDs set to off, I measured the standby drain as ~4 uA on both samples. For a 900mAh cell, that would translate into a little over 25 years before the cell would be fully drained (which, is completely negligible and not a concern).

With the AUX LEDs activated on the very dim Low setting, I measured the drain as 145 uA on both samples. For a 900mAh cell, that would give you just over 8.5 months before the cell would be drained. This is reasonable.

With the AUX LEDs activated on the very bright High setting, I measured a large jump to 13.5 mA and 13.2 mA on my two samples. Taking the average, that would fully drain the cell in about 67 hours (so, just under 3 days). While this is fine for the occasional use, it doesn’t make for a very effective or efficient Moonlight mode. Indeed, based on my experience, the low smooth Ramping minimum on the main emitters would likely have a much lower drain – with greater output with a better beam pattern.

Emitter Measures

In this section, I directly measure key emitter characteristics in terms of colour temperature, tint, and colour rendition. Please see my Emitter Measures page to learn more about what these terms mean, and how I am measuring them. As tint in particular can shift across levels, I typically stick with the highest stably regulated level for all my reported measures.

As explained on that page, since I am using an inexpensive uncalibrated device, you can only make relative comparisons across my reviews (i.e., don’t take these numbers as absolutely accurate values, but as relatively consistent across lights in my testing).

TS10 Cool white on H6:

The key measures above are the colour temperature of ~5770K, and a completely negligible tint shift (+0.0002 Duv). For CRI (Ra), I measured a combined score of 94 (Hi CRI).

These results are very consistent with other Cool white CSP emitters I’ve tested.

TS10 Neutral white on H6:

The key measures above are the colour temperature of ~3800K, and a slightly noticeably negative tint shift (-0.0038 Duv) to pinkish-red at this temperature. For CRI (Ra), I measured a combined score of 97 (Hi CRI).

These results are very consistent with other neutral-warm CSP emitters I’ve tested.

Just out of curiosity, I thought I’d measure the AUX red LEDs.

TS10 AUX Red LEDs on Hi:

The simple Light Master lightmeter that I am using is not rated for monochromatic sources, but the reading above is very consistent with a dedicated red light – it is well off the blackbody radiation curve at the red end of the spectrum.

Beamshots

All outdoor beamshots are taken on my Canon PowerShot S5 IS at f/2.7, 0.5 secs exposure, ISO 400, daylight white balance. The bend in the road is approximately 40 meters (~45 yards) from the camera. Learn more about my outdoor beamshots here (scroll down for the floody light position used in this review).

Click on any thumbnail image below to open a full size image in a new window. You can then easily compare beams by switching between tabs.



As you can see above, the TS10s produce a relatively floody beam, with tint to match the expected colour temperatures.

Testing Results

My summary tables are generally reported in a manner consistent with the ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. In addition to the links above, please see my output measures page for more background.

All my output numbers are based on my home-made lightbox setup. As explained on that methodology page, I have devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values to estimated lumens. Note that my lightbox calibration runs higher than most hobbyists today, but I’ve kept it to remain consistent with my earlier reviews (when the base calibration standard was first established). On average though, I find my lumen estimates are ~20% higher than most other modern reviewers.

My Peak Intensity/Beam Distance are directly measured with a NIST-certified Extech EA31 lightmeter.

TS10 Testing Results

TintModeSpec LumensEstimated Lumens @0secEstimated Lumens @30 secsBeam Intensity @0secBeam Intensity @30secsBeam Distance @30secsPWM/Strobe FreqNoise FreqCharging Current <3VCharging Current >3VParasitic DrainWeight w/o BatteryWeight with BatteryCCT (K)DuvCRI
4000 KRed AUX Leds (Low)-<0.001<0.001---NoNo1.0 A1.0 A145 uA29 g50 g---
4000 KRed AUX Leds (High)-0.190.19---NoNo1.0 A1.0 A13.5 mA29 g50 g---
4000 KSmooth Ramp Min-0.0150.015---NoNo1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g---
4000 KH110.210.21---NoNo1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g---
4000 KH2103.23.2---No3.9 kHz1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g---
4000 KH3501212---No6.4 kHz1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g---
4000 KH41304141---No19.7 kHz1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g---
4000 KH5300110105---No19.7 kHz1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g---
4000 KH6580260200---No19.7 kHz1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g3,805-0.003897
4000 KH7900600550---No19.8 kHz1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g---
4000 KH81,4001,9505003,980 cd3,380 cd116 mNoNo1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g---
4000 KCandle------NoNo1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g---
4000 KBike Strobe------1.1 HzNo1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g---
4000 KParty Strobe------22 HzNo1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g---
4000 KTactical Strobe------8.8 HzNo1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g---
4000 KLightning------NoNo1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g---
4000 KBeacon------1.7 HzNo1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g---
4000 KSOS------NoNo1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g---
6000 KRed AUX Leds (Low)-NoNo1.0 A1.0 A145 uA29 g50 g---
6000 KRed AUX Leds (High)-NoNo1.0 A1.0 A13.2 mA29 g50 g---
6000 KSmooth Ramp Min-NoNo1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g---
6000 KH110.270.27NoNo1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g---
6000 KH2103.93.9No3.9 kHz1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g---
6000 KH3501515No6.4 kHz1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g---
6000 KH41304747No19.7 kHz1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g---
6000 KH5300125120No19.7 kHz1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g---
6000 KH6580270265No19.7 kHz1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g
6000 KH7900610580No19.8 kHz1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g5,7700.000294
6000 KH81,4002,0007504,050 cd3,330 cd115 mNoNo1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g---
6000 KCandle------NoNo1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g---
6000 KBike Strobe------1.1 HzNo1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g---
6000 KParty Strobe------22 HzNo1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g---
6000 KTactical Strobe------8.8 HzNo1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g---
6000 KLightning------NoNo1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g---
6000 KBeacon------1.7 HzNo1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g---
6000 KSOS------NoNo1.0 A1.0 A~4 uA29 g50 g---

There is a good dynamic range on the Stepped levels (you can go even lower on the Ramping minimum), consistent with other Anduril lights that use simple linear FET drivers (e.g., Sofirn IF25A, Wurkkos TS30S Pro). Scroll down to see how these TS10 lights perform in terms of runtime.

To view and download full testing results for all modern lights in my testing, check out my Database page.

Runtimes

As always, my runtimes are done under a small cooling fan, for safety and consistency. To learn more about how to interpret runtime graphs, see my runtimes methodology page. Note that on average, my lightbox’s calibration seems to be ~20% higher than most modern reviewers.

Max

Hi

Med

Lo

I don’t have a lot of 14500 lights to compare to, but the overall efficiency of these TS10 lights seems pretty good for the rated battery capacity.

It’s true they are not fully flat voltage-regulated at the highest Stepped levels (i.e., H6-H8), but they are at lower outputs. And even at the highest outputs, the variable pattern of output over time is still gradual enough that you wouldn’t see it in practice.

To illustrate, here is how the the first few minutes look on the max output:

Max-extended

Max output levels are consistent with other small lights, no real surprises here. Of course heat will be limiting on the max level, so I recommend you run the light on H1-H7 for best performance.

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Very floody and high output beam for such a tiny light. Simple linear FET circuit, so light lack flat voltage-regulation on the higher output modes.
Very wide dynamic range of outputs, including true moonlight and two auxillary red output modesMax output drops rapidly on max output, due to low thermal mass.
Sophisticated user interface with AndurilAnduril user interface can be complicated for some, but it can be set to run in basic mode.
Hi CRI white LED emitters, in cool or neutral white colour temperature.Trying to physically lock out the light can lead to circuit glitches, due to presumed switch interactions with the inner signal tube during reconnection.
Tailcap electronic clicky switch included, despite small size.Larger hands may find it hard to operate, given tiny size.
Very low standby drain.
Variety of build materials available.
Good bidirectional clip included, despite budget cost

Overall Rating

Preliminary Conclusions

There is a lot to love with this little light. It’s a small but impressive build (and there are multiple build options available). It has a great high CRI floody beam (in two possible colour temperatures) with auxillary red emitters. And it’s surprising to see a tail switch in a light this small.

It features the sophisticated Anduril user interface, which I am a fan of given all the included features, options and customizations. I realize that it may be more complex than some would want, but you can always run it as a very basic light if you don’t want to use the multiple click options. Note that the use of an electronic switch with an inner signal tube in Anduril lights can lead to some circuit quirks if you try to physically lock out the head, so its best to rely on electronic lockout. It is also good to know how to perform a factory reset (see my User Interface section above for a discussion).

One of nice things about Anduril is that even bundled with a very simple driver, you get an impressive dynamic range of outputs (from ultra-low moonlight to super high output). You can easily choose between visually-linear ramping outputs or stepped levels. Of course, given the small thermal mass and simple circuit, max output will drop off quickly. You also won’t see the flat voltage-stabilization at the higher output levels.

But these are minor points, especially given the ridiculously low price you can find these lights at. I don’t usually factor price into my reviews, but it is remarkable how much you get here for so little. The range of build options is also very impressive. It’s a great all-around package with the included 14500 cell (and external battery charger).

I can see why people like to buy multiple versions of this light. It is super fun to play with, and incredibly versatile and powerful. And the addition of RGB AUX LEDs to the revised V2 of this light further enhances its versatility. Highly recommended.

Acknowledgement

The TS10 Cool white was received by Wurkkos for review, and the TS10 Neutral white was personally purchased. As always, all opinions are my own and the light received the same rigourous and objective testing as all other lights that I have reviewed. At the time of review, this light with an included 14500 cell and charger retails for ~$20 USD (~$27 CDN) shipped at the Wurkkos website.

Acebeam L19 v2.0

The Acebeam L19 v2.0 a very long-throwing hunting flashlight, featuring a TIR lens for maximum throw with minimal spill. Powered by a single included 21700 battery, the light features dual electronic and tactical switches.

  1. Introduction
  2. Manufacturer Specifications
  3. Package Details
  4. Build
  5. User Interface
  6. Circuit Measures
  7. Emitter Measures
  8. Beamshots
  9. Testing Results
  10. Runtimes
  11. Pros and Cons
  12. Overall Rating
  13. Preliminary Conclusions
  14. Acknowledgement

Introduction

Catching up on my backlog, today we have the L19 v2.0 from Acebeam. It is a long-range hunting-style flashlight that can throw a beam of up to 1520m, or 2200 lumens (depending on which emitter you select). The basic model features the low-profile Luminus SFT40 (HI 6500K) which throws up to 1083m with 2200 lumens. However, for an increased cost, you can also select the Osram PM1 white emitter for 1300m at a reduced 1650 lumens. Alternatively, if you are willing to go monochromatic, you can get the Osram NM1 green emitter for max throw of 1520m at the full 2200 lumens. There is also apparently an IR emitter option as well. Acebeam thoughtfully sent both Osram emitter (white and green) editions for comparison testing.

Physically, the light reminds me of the Wurkkos TD01 I recently reviewed, although it is a bit longer and more substantial in feel. Like that light, there is a tailcap physical forward clicky switch, coupled with an electronic side switch in the head. The interface on the L19 is fairly unique though, as I will explain below.

Let’s see how it compares in my testing.

Manufacturer Specifications

Note: as always, these are simply what the manufacturer provides for the samples provided for testing – scroll down to see my actual runtimes.

MakerAcebeamAcebeam
ModelL19 V2.0L19 V2.0
EmitterOsram PM1Osram NM1
TintWhiteGreen
ModeTurboTurbo
Max Output (Lumens)1,6502,200
Min Output (Lumens)12
Max Runtime94 days94 days
Max Beam Intensity (cd)422,407 cd577,600 cd
Max Beam Distance (m)1,300 m1,520 m
Constant Levels66
FlashingStrobeStrobe
Battery1x217001x21700
Weight (w/o battery)205 g205 g
Weight (with battery)284 g284 g
Length163.8 mm163.8 mm
Head Diameter60.0 mm60.0 mm
Body Diameter25.4 mm25.4 mm
WaterproofIP68 5mIP68 5m

Package Details





The L19 v2.0 comes in nice retail packaging, similar to other higher-end Acebeam. The hard-sided box comes with a magnetic closing flap. There are a lot of printed specs on the back, with everything secured in cut-out foam. Inside the box, I found:

  • Acebeam L19 v2.0 flashlight
  • Acebeam-branded 5100mAh 21700 battery with USB-C charging port
  • Belt holster
  • Wrist lanyard
  • USB-C charging cable
  • 2 Spare O-rings
  • Switch boot cover
  • Manual
  • Warranty card

This is a good package – I particularly like the included belt holster. These large head lights tend not to fit well into after-market holsters, so this is very convenient.

Build


From left to right: LiitoKala 21700 (5000mAh), Acebeam 21700 USB-C (5100mAh), Lumintop D3, Convoy M21F, Sofirn C8L, Wurkkos TS30S Pro, Wurkkos TD01, Acebeam L19 V2.0, Acebeam P17.












As previously mention the L19 v2.0 longer and a bit more substantial than the “budget” Wurkkos TD01. I do find the L19 somewhat top-heavy, due to the substantial TIR optic in the head.

The dual switch design is a little unusual. You do have a standard protruding forward physical clicky switch in the tail for on/off operation – but in Turbo/Strobe only. This switch is independent of the side electronic switch, which provides the full range and functions of the light. The switches do not work together – each controls the light separately, with the tailswitch taking priority. Scroll for down to the User Interface section more more info.

Feel and traverse of the main Tactical clicky switch is good, for both momentary (half-press) and clicked-on. The secondary Function switch is electronic, with a typical minimal traverse and feel. The side switch is flush with the light, and is hard to find by touch alone (although you can find by process of elimination, since the other side remains rounded with metal fins).

The unique dual switch arrangement requires a double-walled tube connecting the tailcap to the head (i.e., one to the carry the current from the tailcap switch, one to allow the electronic side switch to work). This design means that it is not possible to physically lock out the light – current is always available through the screw threads. There is an electronic lockout instead, which works for both switches (scroll for down for the User Interface section). Since the primary Tactical switch protrudes, tailstanding is not possible, and accidental activation is easy.

There is a grip ring just above the tailcap, allowing for a tactical cigar-type grip. There are cut-outs on the side of the grip ring for using the wrist lanyard. The body has decent grip, with cut-outs along the length and on the head. The light can roll fairly easily, given the large and relative smooth head – I recommend you headstand the light when not in use.

Anodizing is standard black, and looks to be excellent quality (it is rated as type III – Hard Anodized). It feels relatively thick, and is actually somewhat grippy, with a matte finish. It seems to very high quality, and I didn’t notice any flaws on my sample. There is an indicator light showing battery status when the light is first turned on.

As you can see above, there are springs in both the tail and the head, ensuring the cell is held securely in place.

Like the Acebeam P17, simply remove the 5100mAh cell and charge it through the integrated USB-C port directly on its positive terminal.





White Osram:

Green Osram:

The L19 v2.0 uses a distinctive large TIR optic, similar to the TD01 I recently reviewed (except with a thinner centre “column”). I’ve taken pics from a lot of angles above, so you can see how it generally obscures the emitter. Both the white and green Osram emitters are shown above.

The bezel is crenelated black aluminum – with a larger number of crenelations than typical, but they are not too aggressive (so you can still headstand stably). Scroll down for outdoor beamshots.

User Interface

The L19 v2.0 has a pretty unique user interface, with the tactical tailcap switch and side electronic switch functioning independently, and the tailswitch taking precedence. What I mean by that is that if you turn the light on by the side switch, clicking the tailcap doesn’t turn it off – it simply turns on the Turbo mode (with another tailcap click required to exit back to the previous side-switch setting). Let’s walk through everything in sequence.

Side switch available levels: Moonlight, Low, Mid1, Mid2, High, Turbo, Strobe.

Tactical switch available levels: Turbo, Strobe.

From OFF:

  • Tail switch, partial-press: Momentary On in Turbo mode.
  • Tail switch, single-click: Turns On in Turbo mode.
  • Side switch, press-and-hold: Turns On in Moonlight mode.
  • Side switch, press-and-hold >5 secs: Locks out the light (press-and-hold again for 4 secs to unlock the light.
  • Side switch, single-click: Turns On in last memorized mode (excluding Moonlight and Turbo modes, no mode memory for those).
  • Side switch, double-click: Turns On in Turbo.
  • Side switch, triple-click: Turns On in Strobe.

Since the switches control the light independently, the functioning of the light depends on which switch was used to activate:

From ON by the Tail switch:

  • Tail switch, press-and-hold: Strobe.
  • Tail switch, single-click: Turns Off.
  • Side switch, press-and-hold or single-click: Nothing.

From ON by the Side switch:

  • Tail switch, press-and-hold: Momentary On in Turbo (i.e., functions as if Off at the Tail switch, and Tail switch takes priority over the Side switch).
  • Tail switch, single-click: Constant On in Turbo (again, functions as if Off at the Tail switch).
  • Side switch, press-and-hold: Steps up to the next non-Turbo constant output mode (in sequence, Lo > Mid1 > Mid2 > High).
  • Side switch, single-click: Turns Off.
  • Side switch, double-click: Jumps to Turbo (or jumps back to memorized mode from Turbo).
  • Side switch, triple-click: Jumps to Strobe.

Battery indicator:

When first activating the light with either switch, the indicator on the opposite side of the Side switch shows the battery voltage:

  • Solid green: ~30-100%
  • Solid red: ~10-30%
  • Flashing red: <10%

That’s an unusually large range for solid green – most lights show a flashing green to differentiate lower charge status.

Mode memory:

Yes, when activating by the Side switch.

Shortcuts:

  • Side switch, press-and-hold (from Off): Moonlight.
  • Side switch, double-click: Jumps to Turbo (or jumps back to memorized mode from Turbo).
  • Side switch, triple-click: Jumps to Strobe.

Low voltage warning:

Not that I’ve noticed.

Lockout mode:

Yes, by pressing-and-holding the Side switch for more than 5 secs from Off (main beam will flash 3 times). Because of dual-wall design, no physical tailcap lockout is possible.

Reviewer Comments:

This is clearly intended primarily as a tactical light. But the dual switch interface takes a bit of getting used to. Case in point: when locked out electronically, the light cannot be turned On at the tailcap. But if you click the Tail switch into the On position, you will now not be able to unlock the light by the Side switch (i.e., need to have the Tail switch in the Off position to unlock the light). This gave me a bit of pause when I first encountered it out of the box – I needed to read the manual to troubleshoot the problem.

During regular use it also feels a little wonky to have the physical Tail switch take precedence over the electronic one when not in lockout (i.e., jump to Turbo when On by the side switch). And again, you have to click the Tail switch Off before you can regain control using the Side switch. A bit quirky, without a clearer tactile or visual indication of the status of each of the switches.

Circuit Measures

No Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM):

Moon:
Moon

Low:
Lo

Mid1:
Med

Mid2:
Med

High:
Hi

Turbo:
Turbo

There is no circuit noise or any sign of PWM on any level – the L19 v2.0 is perfectly flat current-controlled. 🙂

Strobes:

Strobe (White LED sample):

Strobe (Green LED sample):

Strobe is a consistent 8.4 Hz on both my samples.

There is no SOS or Beacon mode on the L19.

Charging:

The L19 v2.0 comes with Acebeam’s 21700 5100mAh battery with a built-in charging port. There is a small LED on the positive terminal of the battery, which shows red when the cell is charging, and green when it is fully charged. In my testing, resting voltage of the cell was ~4.19V at termination.

Resting voltage <3.0V

Resting voltage >3.0V

Like the P17, which shares the same cell, the Acebeam 21700 5100mAh battery shows an initial low USB-C charging current of ~0.20A when the cell is heavily depleted (<3.0V resting), which jumps up to ~1.15A once the cell is >3.0V resting. This two-current charging is a good design, and indicates a safe integrated charging circuit. The max charging rate is a bit lower than most lights/batteries in this class, but much better than the original version of this battery (e.g., E70).

Standby / Parasitic Drain:

I measured the standby current as 0.195 mA. This is a reasonably low standby drain, and it would take just over 3 years to fully drain the cell.

Emitter Measures

In this section, I directly measure key emitter characteristics in terms of colour temperature, tint, and colour rendition. Please see my Emitter Measures page to learn more about what these terms mean, and how I am measuring them. As tint in particular can shift across levels, I typically stick with the highest stably regulated level for all my reported measures.

As explained on that page, since I am using an inexpensive uncalibrated device, you can only make relative comparisons across my reviews (i.e., don’t take these numbers as absolutely accurate values, but as relatively consistent across lights in my testing).

L19 White on Med:

The key measures above are the colour temperature of ~5020K, and a noticeably positive tint shift (+0.0134 Duv) to greenish-yellow at this temperature. For some reason, I was not able to get a CRI (Ra) measurement on my light sensor.

This is my first Osram PM1 emitter, but these values are consistent with the rated specs for a cool white emitter, and match my visual experience of this light.

Let’s see how the green L19 compares – keeping in mind these budget light sensors were NOT designed for monochromatic light sources.

L19 Green on Med:

The key measures above are the colour temperature of ~5475K, and an extremely positive tint shift (+0.0611 Duv) to green at this temperature. There would be no point in trying to measure CRI (Ra), since it doesn’t apply for coloured emitters.

This is my first Osram NM1 emitter, but these values are consistent with the rated specs for a green emitter, and match my visual experience of this light.

Beamshots

All long-distance outdoor beamshots are taken on my Canon PowerShot S5 IS at f/2.7, 1 sec exposure, ISO 400, daylight white balance. The tree at the centre of the hotspot is approximately 90 meters (~100 yards) from the camera. Note the road dips down and turns away in the distance, out of the camera’s sight line. Learn more about my outdoor beamshot locations here.

Click on any thumbnail image below to open a full size image in a new window. You can then easily compare the overall beams by switching between tabs.



“T” refers to Turbo mode in the L19 beamshots above.

To help illustrate the hotspots better, I’ve also cropped the raw pictures around the centre of the frame. As before, click on any thumbnail below to open a full size image in a new window.



As you can see above, the L19 v2.0 is an incredibly focused thrower. It is throwier than the TD01, with a smaller hotspot and a bit less light in the periphery. Like the TD01, it also has some beam rings in the near spill of the periphery.

Testing Results

My summary tables are generally reported in a manner consistent with the ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. In addition to the links above, please see my output measures page for more background.

All my output numbers are based on my home-made lightbox setup. As explained on that methodology page, I have devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values to estimated lumens. Note that my lightbox calibration runs higher than most hobbyists today, but I’ve kept it to remain consistent with my earlier reviews (when the base calibration standard was first established). On average though, I find my lumen estimates are ~20% higher than most other modern reviewers.

My Peak Intensity/Beam Distance are directly measured with a NIST-certified Extech EA31 lightmeter.

L19 v2.0 Testing Results

TintModeSpec LumensEstimated Lumens @0secEstimated Lumens @30 secsBeam Intensity @0secBeam Intensity @30secsBeam Distance @30secsPWM/Strobe FreqNoise FreqCharging Current <3VCharging Current >3VParasitic DrainWeight w/o BatteryWeight with BatteryCCT (K)DuvCRI
WhiteMoonlight10.080.08---NoNo0.20 A1.15 A195 uA204 g284 g---
WhiteLow60100100---NoNo0.20 A1.15 A195 uA204 g284 g---
WhiteMed1220290290---NoNo0.20 A1.15 A195 uA204 g284 g---
WhiteMed2470530530---NoNo0.20 A1.15 A195 uA204 g284 g---
WhiteHigh870930900---NoNo0.20 A1.15 A195 uA204 g284 g5,0200.0134-
WhiteTurbo1,6501,7501,600365,000 cd342,000 cd1,170 mNoNo0.20 A1.15 A195 uA204 g284 g---
WhiteStrobe900-----8.4 HzNo0.20 A1.15 A195 uA204 g284 g---
GreenMoonlight10.080.08---NoNo0.20 A1.15 A195 uA204 g284 g---
GreenLow120115115---NoNo0.20 A1.15 A195 uA204 g284 g---
GreenMed1330340340---NoNo0.20 A1.15 A195 uA204 g284 g---
GreenMed2700660660---NoNo0.20 A1.15 A195 uA204 g284 g---
GreenHigh1,2501,3001,250---NoNo0.20 A1.15 A195 uA204 g284 g5,4750.0611-
GreenTurbo2,2002,2502,100465,000 cd439,000 cd1,325 mNoNo0.20 A1.15 A195 uA204 g284 g---
GreenStrobe900-----8.4 HzNo0.20 A1.15 A195 uA204 g284 g---

Impressively, my L19 v2.0 samples seem to be fairly accurate for output measures – although I know my lightbox’s relative calibration is generously high for modern high-output lights. Moonlight mode is actually dimmer than the specs indicate, which is great.

My NIST-calibrated luxmeter is accurately calibrated to an absolute standard, and reports slightly lower beam intensity on Turbo than the specs. But this is still an incredibly impressive showing – the green L19 is the furthest throwing light I’ve tested.

To view and download full testing results for all modern lights in my testing, check out my Database page.

Runtimes

As always, my runtimes are done under a small cooling fan, for safety and consistency. To learn more about how to interpret runtime graphs, see my runtimes methodology page. Note that on average, my lightbox’s calibration seems to be ~20% higher than most modern reviewers.

Max

Hi

Med

The Acebeam P17 provides a great comparable here, as it has exactly the same battery. As you see above, the Osram emitters in the L19 are clearly being driven harder at the maximum settings, given the lower runtimes. They are also much lower output emitters, compared to the XHP70.3. But this difference becomes less noticeable at lower drive levels, such as the Med mode runs above.

The green Osram NM1 emitter certainly seems to have an output advantage of over the white PM1. But its hard to know how much to trust that result, as my home-made lightbox was never calibrated for monochromatic light sources.

You also see a nice regulated pattern here, unlike the competing budget Wurkkos TD01 model. And there is a less pronounced step-down on max compared to most other lights. Here is an extended view of the first minutes, to better show the difference:

Max-extendedThese results show the improved driver performance on L19 compared to the TD01.

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
One of the furthest throwing lights I've tested, thanks to the TIR optic. User interface is unusual, with independent action of the side electronic switch and tactical physical clicky switch.
Multiple emitter options, allowing a good range of choices.Light cannot tailstand, and rolls easily on its side.
Circuit is fully voltage-regulated, with excellent efficiency. Physical lockout is not possible, only electronic lockout.
The light has a solid build with good handfeel, although there are some small issues (see Cons).

Overall Rating

Preliminary Conclusions

The Acebeam L19 v2.0 is clearly a more sophisticated build with better performance than the budget TIR-based Wurkkos TD01 that I previously reviewed – and so earns a higher rating above. Of course, it is also significantly more expensive as well.

While the TD01 had a very decent budget build, the hand feel and machining of the L19 is top-notch. The specific TIR optic and range of emitter options here allows for even greater focused throw (which is the whole point of these lights, after all). The improved circuit on the L19 also translates into better performance (i.e., greater sustained high output, and better regulated output over time, compared to the TD01). It’s also great to see Acebeam meet (or nearly meet) their published performance specs on these lights – something you don’t typically see with the budget makers.

The one area that I’m not convinced is entirely an upgrade on the L19 is the user interface – specifically, the independent functionality of the two switches. I understand this is unchanged from the v1.0 of this light, but it is new to me. And I appreciate this is primarily intended as a tactical light, with the physical clicky switch. But the interaction of switches in unusual. And while clear enough once you get used to it, there is something to be said for a simpler (and more consistent) overall user interface. This is especially true if you have many lights, or if you routinely loan your lights out to other people. The innovative UI here also necessitated a dual-wall body tube without thread anodizing, which means that you cannot physically lockout the light and need instead to rely on an electronic lockout (which is not my preference). Taken together, these quirks knock half-a-star off a top rating on my subjective scale.

This is my first experience of the low-profile Osram PM1 and NM1 emitters, and my experience is quite positive for both of them. The white PM1 clearly outperforms the standard low-profile Luminus SFT40 emitter for peak throw, which is what these lights are all about. But it is the green NM1 that really impressed me – noticeably greater throw and overall output, for equivalent runtime.

Despite all my years of reviewing, this is actually the first high-output hunting-style light with a green LED that I have tested. I had expected this to be less-than-practical in night time use, given the limitations of the monochromatic source. But a funny thing happens after you have been running the light for >30 secs or so outdoors – yours eyes begin to adapt to the tint, and it starts to seem subjectively significantly “whiter”. It soon feels like you are simply seeing the world more in black-and-white and shades of gray, rather than in the overwhelming shades of green when you first activate the light. This is actually quite practical for looking for contrasts or reflective objects. Of course, if you run the light for more than several minutes expect to experience a comparable rebound effect once you turn the light off – the world looks decidedly purple for awhile. It will take a similar amount of time for your brain and photoreceptors to adapt back to the current ambient light temperature and tint.

If you are looking for maximum throw with a standard LED, the L19 v2.0 is certainly a top contender in this class. I’ve impressed with the quality of the TIR optic, and its ability to throw a focused beam. Another quality light series from Acebeam.

Acknowledgement

The L19 v2.0 samples were supplied by Acebeam for review. As always, all opinions are my own and the light received the same rigourous and objective testing as all other lights that I have reviewed. At the time of review, this light retails for ~$120-135 USD depending on the emitter selected (~$160-180 CDN).

Cyansky P25 V2.0

The P25 is a tactical-style, general-purpose flashlight running on a single included 21700 battery. It features the high output XHP70.3 emitter, in cool white.

  1. Introduction
  2. Manufacturer Specifications
  3. Package Details
  4. Build
  5. User Interface
  6. Circuit Measures
  7. Emitter Measures
  8. Beamshots
  9. Testing Results
  10. Runtimes
  11. Pros and Cons
  12. Overall Rating
  13. Preliminary Conclusions
  14. Acknowledgement

Introduction

This is the first Cyansky light that I’ve reviewed since my recent return to reviewing. Cyansky is another in a line of new makers that has sprung up in recent years. I’ve heard good things about their models, so was curious to test out this new version of the P25.

According to the specs, the P25 v2.0 features the XHP70.3 emitter (HD version, from the appearance), and is rated for relatively high output in the 1×21700 class. What really caught my eye here though was the tactical tailcap switch, in addition to the electronic side switch. That’s not something you see commonly any more.

Let’s see how it performs in my testing.

Manufacturer Specifications

Note: as always, these are simply what the manufacturer provides – scroll down to see my actual runtimes.

FeatureSpecs
MakerCyansky
ModelP25 V2.0
EmitterXHP70.3
TintCool
Max Output (Lumens)3,600
Min Output (Lumens)5
Max Runtime80 hours
Max Beam Intensity (cd)10,800 cd
Max Beam Distance (m)208 m
Constant Levels5
FlashingStrobe, SOS
Battery1x21700
Weight (w/o battery)98 g
Weight (with battery)-
Length145.4 mm
Head Diameter30 mm
Body Diameter24.4 mm
WaterproofIPX8 2m

Package Details




The P25 comes in fairly basic packaging, nothing too fancy in its appearance. Inside the box I found:

  • Cyansky P25 V2.0 flashlight, in green for my sample (also comes in red or black)
  • Cyansky-branded 5000mAh 21700 battery
  • Pocket clip
  • Holster with velcro closing flap
  • Wrist lanyard
  • USB-C charging cable
  • 2 Spare O-rings
  • Manual

It’s a very decent package, and I am glad to see the holster included – very rare these days.

Build


From left to right: LiitoKala 21700 (5000mAh), Vapcell 21700 F56 (5600mAh), Emisar D4K, Imalent MS03, Convoy S21E, Skilhunt M300, Wurkkos WK15, Wurkkos TS22, Sofirn SP35T, Cyansky P25, Nitecore P20iX, Acebeam E70.










At 145mm, the P25 is one of the longest lights I’ve tested in the general-purpose 1×21700 class. This is in part due to the tactical forward clicky switch. This makes the light very suitable for tactical purposes, but it does mean you have to accept greater length. As someone with above-average sized hands with long fingers, I find the light comfortable to hold and use in either overhand or underhand grip – but some may find it long.

The tailcap physical forward clicky switch has a pleasantly firm action, with a solid click and predictable firm traverse. There are two raised tailcap guards that can serve as the lanyard attachment point. My sample is able to tailstand stably.

Tailcap threads are square-cut and anodized, with good feel. Thanks to the anodized tailcap threads, you can easily lock-out this light by a simple twist of the tailcap.

There is a raised side-mounted electronic switch on the side of the head, with red and green LEDs underneath to show battery charge status. Feel and traverse of the electronic switch is very similar to a lot of modern lights.

As there is no in-light USB charging (i.e., you charge the cell directly), I expected waterproofness is excellent here.

There is no real knurling on the light, but there are a lot of cut-outs to help with grip. The slightly raised side switch helps limit the ability of the light to roll somewhat – but the pocket clip is particularly recommended in that regard.  Anodizing looks to be good quality for type II (presumed, given the colour range available). I would describe the finish as satin.

Inside, the light comes with a Cyansky-branded standard-sized 5000mAh 21700 battery, with integrated USB-C charger and slightly raised button-top, along with a charge status led. There is a flat contact in the head of the light, along with a reverse polarity detection feature.

This is a solid and well-made light, with decent grip and handfeel. It is longer than most in this class, which is something to keep in mind.



The P25 comes with a XHP70.3 HD emitter, in cool white. The reflector is deeper than most and moderately textured (moderate orange peel, MOP).

As expected, there is some tint/colour shifting across the periphery of the beam, with a cool white hotspot surrounded by a yellowish spill except for a purplish shift near the edge of the periphery. This is a well-known issue with HD emitters of the XHP family. The textured reflector seems to be help even it out it somewhat though. There is an purplish anti-reflective coating on the lens, which is contributing to the edge effect that you are seeing in the desk beamshot above (scroll down for outdoor beamshots).

The bezel is flat aluminum. There is no scalloping to speak of, and the light can headstand stably.

User Interface

The P25 uses a fairly common general-purpose user interface, given the switch arrangement.

From OFF:

  • Tail switch, partial-press: Momentary On in last memorized mode.
  • Tail switch, single-click: Turns On in last memorized mode.
  • Side switch, press-and-hold: Nothing – but if you click the tail switch while holding down the side switch, the light will activate in Eco mode.
  • Side switch, single-click: Nothing.

From ON:

  • Tail switch, partial-press: Nothing.
  • Tail switch, single-click: Turns Off.
  • Side switch, press-and-hold (>1 sec): Switch to Strobe. Press-and-hold again to advance to SOS. Single-click at any time to return to constant-on modes.
  • Side switch, single-click: Steps up to the next constant-on output mode (in sequence, Lo > Med > High > Turbo).
  • Side switch, double-click: Nothing, simply advances two steps in output (i.e., this is not a short-cut to Turbo, as on some lights).

Mode memory:

Yes, for constant-on output modes, except Turbo. If turned off in Turbo, it will save as High.

Mode 1 Shortcuts:

  • Eco mode: Press-and-hold the side switch while turning on at the tail switch.
  • Strobe mode: Press-and-hold the side switch when already On.
  • There doesn’t seem to be a shortcut to Turbo that I have found

Battery indicator:

When first activating the light, the indicator on the side switch shows the relative battery voltage (lasts for ~3 secs):

  • Solid green: ~81-100% power remaining
  • Flashing green: ~51-80% power remaining
  • Solid red: ~21-50% power remaining
  • Flashing red: 0-20% power remaining

Low voltage warning:

Yes. When the battery is low, the power indicator flashes red 3 times per second, and the main LED light flashes 2 times every 3 minutes. When the battery voltage is lower than 3.0V, the flashlight will reduce the main LED to the Low mode.

Lock-out mode:

Yes, but physically – you lock-out the light by a twist of the tailcap.

Reviewer Comments:

This is a reasonable UI for a general-purpose light. It’s very similar the “general mode” of two-stage tactical lights, like the Sofirn SP35T. I would liked a shortcut to Turbo, though.

Circuit Measures

Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM):

Eco:
Eco

Low:
Lo

Med:
Med

High:
Hi

Turbo:
Turbo

Well, this is great to see – not only is there no sign of PWM, but there is not even any circuit noise on any level. It’s rare nowadays to see a current-controlled light without at least some high frequency circuit noise on some levels – well done Cyansky.

Strobes:

Strobe:

Strobe alternates between 6 Hz and 15 Hz every ~2 secs or so. Very distracting.

SOS:

A standard SOS mode, relatively slow.

Beacon:

Sadly, no beacon mode on the P25.

Charging:

There is no integrated charger on the P25 light – it uses a 21700 cell with a built-in USB-C charger instead. There is an indicator LED on the battery that shows solid red when the light is charging. Changes to solid green when the charging is complete.

Resting voltage <3.0V

Resting voltage >3.0V

The Cyansky battery uses a two-stage charging feature, as seen on many (but not all) higher-end lights and batteries (i.e., where there is a lower initial charging rate when the cell is heavily discharged). The initial charging rate here is ~0.13A, which jumps to ~1.2A once the battery reaches 3.0V resting. I presume it continues to climb from there. This is a reasonable charging rate for the class, but not as high as some others.

Standby / Parasitic Drain:

None. That is one of the nice things about a physical clicky switch, no standby current. 🙂 And you can always lock-out the light by a twist of the tailcap, to prevent accidental activation.

Emitter Measures

In this section, I directly measure key emitter characteristics in terms of colour temperature, tint, and colour rendition. Please see my Emitter Measures page to learn more about what these terms mean, and how I am measuring them. As tint in particular can shift across levels, I typically stick with the highest stably regulated level for all my reported measures.

As explained on that page, since I am using an inexpensive uncalibrated device, you can only make relative comparisons across my reviews (i.e., don’t take these numbers as absolutely accurate values, but as relatively consistent across lights in my testing).

P25 on Hi:

The key measures above are the colour temperature of ~5530K, and a positive tint shift (+0.0138 Duv) to slightly greenish-yellow at this temperature. For CRI (Ra), I measured a combined score of 69.

These values are consistent with the performance of a cool white XHP70.3 HD emitter, and match my visual experience of this light. Note that there is a tint shift to more yellowish spill, with a purplish spillbeam edge, as is common on XHP HD emitters.

Beamshots

All outdoor beamshots are taken on my Canon PowerShot S5 IS at f/2.7, 0.5 secs exposure, ISO 400, daylight white balance. The bend in the road is approximately 40 meters (~45 yards) from the camera. Learn more about my outdoor beamshots here (scroll down for the floody light position used in this review).

Click on any thumbnail image below to open a full size image in a new window. You can then easily compare beams by switching between tabs.



As you can see above, the P25 has a very clean beam profile, quite similar to my XHP70.2 HD-equipped Wurkkos TS22. Also, the minor tint-shift to purplish at the edge of the periphery is less noticeable than a number of other lights, like the Acebeam E70.

Testing Results

My summary tables are generally reported in a manner consistent with the ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. In addition to the links above, please see my output measures page for more background.

All my output numbers are based on my home-made lightbox setup. As explained on that methodology page, I have devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values to estimated lumens. Note that my lightbox calibration seems to run higher than most hobbyists today, but I’ve kept it to remain consistent with my earlier reviews (when the calibration standard was first established).

My Peak Intensity/Beam Distance are directly measured with a NIST-certified Extech EA31 lightmeter.

P25 Testing Results

ModeSpec LumensEstimated Lumens @0secEstimated Lumens @30 secsBeam Intensity @0secBeam Intensity @30secsBeam Distance @30secsPWM/Strobe FreqNoise FreqCharging Current <3VCharging Current >3VParasitic DrainWeight w/o BatteryWeight with BatteryCCT (K)DuvCRI
Eco51010---NoNo0.13 A1.20 ANo99 g171 g---
Low506060---NoNo0.13 A1.20 ANo99 g171 g---
Med200255250---NoNo0.13 A1.20 ANo99 g171 g---
High800940940---NoNo0.13 A1.20 ANo99 g171 g5,5300.010369
Turbo3,6004,4504,30014,300 cd13,800 cd235 mNoNo0.13 A1.20 ANo99 g171 g---
Strobe1,600-----6-15 HzNo0.13 A1.20 ANo99 g171 g---
SOS200-----NoNo0.13 A1.20 ANo99 g171 g---

Well, this is nice to see – my P25 sample actually performs higher than the specs in my lightbox. Of course, I know my lightbox’s relative calibration is generously high for modern high-output lights. But my NIST-calibrated luxmeter (which is accurately calibrated to an absolute standard) also reports greater throw than the specs. This is a good result.

To view and download full testing results for all modern lights in my testing, check out my Database page.

Runtimes

As always, my runtimes are done under a small cooling fan, for safety and consistency. To learn more about how to interpret runtime graphs, see my runtimes methodology page.

Max

Hi

Med

Another pleasant finding – fully flat-regulated output at all levels, with outstanding output/runtime efficiency. These results show a good boost circuit is being used, resulting in excellent performance across the board.

Another observation is that the Turbo mode (and step-down level) are very consistent with other top lights in this emitter class, like the Wurkkos TS22 and Acebeam E70. However, the Med mode (and to a lesser extent the Hi mode) is a little lower in output than most of the competition.

To better show you the step-down pattern on Turbo, here is an extended view of the first few minutes of the runtimes:

Interestingly, the P25 ramps down in output more slowly than most lights in this class – it takes over 6 minutes before you are down to the fully-regulated step-down level (which is a bit higher than the High level).

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
The light has a solid build, with a tactical forward clicky switch in the tail and a side electronic switch.Lacks a moonlight mode or a beacon/signalling mode.
Circuit is fully voltage-regulated, with excellent output/runtime efficiency.XHP70.3 HD cool white emitter produces high output, but no option for neutral/warm tint, high CRI, or greater throw.
The light has a serviceable user interface, comparable to other lights with this configuration.More expensive than competing lights.
Good range of output levels, actually exceeding rated specs.

Overall Rating

Preliminary Conclusions

The P25 from Cyansky is another example of a quality light from a new maker that has crossed my review desk.

Circuit performance is top-notch, with a highly efficient and well-regulated driver. This is something that I find to be quite variable among the new makers, but certainly speaks well here (and reflects that higher price point than most of the others). I’m also impressed to see this light exceed its reported specs – many makers over-promise and under-deliver, so it’s great to see the opposite here.

I like the implementation of the physical forward clicky switch – feel and function is good. The user interface is reasonable, and similar to other lights that have both a physical tailswitch and side electronic switch. That said, some competing lights feature a secondary “tactical” mode set as an option as well (and a shortcut to Turbo). As always, I would like to see an actual Moonlight mode as well (or at least something closer to it).

The physical build is quite solid and stable, if a touch long. There are some small aspects that detract a bit for me, such as the slippery finish with relative lack of knurling, flat aluminum bezel, and pretty basic clip. I would associate these with a more budget build typically. But the overall package is good, with the Cyansky-branded battery and holster.

It also comes with a modern high-output emitter, the XHP70.3 HD (cool white), which provides a lot of output and a smooth beam. That said, I would like to see some additional options, such as neutral white version (or high CRI model). For that matter, the HI edition of this emitter would produce more throw, and a cleaner beam with less chromatic aberrations.

At the end of the day, I found this to be a good light to handle and use. It’s really the combination of small touches to the build and UI that hold it back from top-of-the-line class for me. I hope the comparison results above will help you decide if it is right for you.

Acknowledgement

The P25 was supplied by Cyansky for review. As always, all opinions are my own and the light received the same rigourous and objective testing as all other lights that I have reviewed. At the time of review, this light retails for ~$100 USD (~$130 CDN).

Acebeam Defender P17

The P17 is a high quality tactical flashlight featuring fairly high output and very good throw, running on a single included 21700 battery. Also features both tactical and general user interface options.

  1. Introduction
  2. Manufacturer Specifications
  3. Package Details
  4. Build
  5. User Interface
  6. Circuit Measures
  7. Emitter Measures
  8. Beamshots
  9. Testing Results
  10. Runtimes
  11. Pros and Cons
  12. Overall Rating
  13. Preliminary Conclusions
  14. Acknowledgement

Introduction

Following on my Acebeam E70 review, I thought it would be worth examining their larger tactical 1×21700 light, the Defender P17.

Featuring the Cree XHP70.3 HI emitter in cool white, the P17 has a reported maximum output of 4900 lumens, and beam distance of 445 meters thanks to the larger head. It also features a dual tactical tail switch similar to the Nitecore P20iX that I recently reviewed. This allows easy one-handed access to instant Turbo and/or Strobe.

Although billed for tactical use (e.g., law enforcement, security, search and rescue, hunting, etc.), this design is frankly very generally useful for all outdoor activities where a rugged build is desired.

Let’s see how it compares in my testing.

Manufacturer Specifications

Note: as always, these are simply what the manufacturer provides – scroll down to see my actual testing results.

FeatureSpecs
MakerAcebeam
ModelP17
EmitterXHP70.3 HI
Tint6500 K
Max Output (Lumens)4,900
Min Output (Lumens)3
Max Runtime20 days
Max Beam Intensity (cd)49,506 cd
Max Beam Distance (m)445 m
Constant Levels5
FlashingStrobe/SOS
Battery1x21700
Weight (w/o battery)154 g
Weight (with battery)227 g
Length147 mm
Head Diameter41 mm
Body Diameter26 mm
Waterproof-

Package Details




The light comes in a good quality hard-sided box, with magnetic closing flap. There are printed specs all along the box. Inside, you have cut-out foam for the light and accessories.

Inside the box, I found:

  • Acebeam Defender P17 flashlight with pocket clip attached
  • Acebeam 5100mAh 21700 battery with USB-C charging port
  • Wrist lanyard
  • USB-C charging cable
  • 2 Spare O-rings
  • Manual and warranty card

It’s a decent package, consistent with other lights of this class. As always, I would have liked to have seen a holster, but at least they included a good quality bi-directional pocket clip.

Build


From left to right: Armytek 18650 (3500mAh), Sofirn 21700 (5000mAh), Acebeam 21700 USB-C (5100mAh), Acebeam E70, Acebeam P17, Armytek Doberman Pro, Convoy M21F, Lumintop D3, Nitecore MH12SE, Nitecore P20iX,  Sofirn C8L.










The P17 is larger than most flashlights in this class, due to the larger head, dual-wall body, and dual switch tailcap. But I find it very well balanced, and quite comfortable to hold in the hand – although I do have large hands.

As I mentioned in my Nitecore P20iX review, I’ve always liked this dual tailcap switch arrangement – a number of makers have used it over the years. You have a standard protruding forward physical clicky switch as your main switch for on/off operation and signaling (the “Tactical Switch” in Acebeam’s terminology), with a recessed secondary electronic switch to cycles modes (the “Function Switch”). This is a very “tactical” style arrangement, but I find it just generally very functional. With the wide use of single electronic switches in most lights now, it is great to go back to a primary physical clicky while also keeping the functionality of the electronic switch.

Feel and traverse of the main Tactical clicky switch is good, for both momentary (half-press) and clicked-on. The secondary Function switch is electronic, and I found it easy enough to access given its slightly protruding nature. It too has good feel and resistance.

Since the primary Tactical switch protrudes, tailstanding is not possible, and accidental activation is easy. So as always, I strongly recommend you keep the light stored locked out at the tailcap when not in use. A simple twist of the tailcap will do the job, thanks to breaking of the contact with the inner tube. There are cut-outs on the side of the tail for using the wrist lanyard. The attached bi-direction pocket/belt clip fits on securely, and is designed for either bezel-up or bezel-down carry.

The body has good grip, with all the reeling and cut-outs along the length and on the head. The light can roll, even with the flat cut-outs in the head, but the clip really helps prevent it (I recommend you leave the clip on).

Anodizing is a dark gray, and looks to be excellent quality. It feels relatively thick, and is actually somewhat grippy, with a matte finish. It is advertised as type III (Hard Anodized), and I fully believe that – it feels very high quality. I didn’t notice any flaws on my sample.

As you can see above, there are springs in both the tail and the head, ensuring the cell is held securely in place.

Like the P20iX, the dual switch arrangement in the tailcap requires a double-walled tube connecting the tailcap to the head (i.e., one to the carry the current, one to allow signalling). Unlike the P20iX though, no proprietary cell is needed – because the charging circuit is built into the battery, instead of the flashlight. Like the Acebeam E70, simply remove the 5100mAh cell and charge it through the USB-C port directly on its positive terminal. And special bonus, no need to worry about the waterproofness of a built-in charging dock on this light.




The P17 comes the low-profile XHP70.3 HI emitter, which I prefer over the domed 70.2 HD emitters as it shows far less chromatic aberration (and has slightly better throw). As you can see above, there seems to be a small speck on the flat emitter dome in my sample, but it is not affecting the beam. The reflector is moderate orange peel (OP), to help minimize chromatic variation. I don’t notice any significant colour temperature/tint shifting across the beam – which is rather throwy thanks to the large head (scroll down for emitter measures and beamshots). There is a mild greenish anti-reflective (AR) coating on the lens (which I prefer).

The stainless steel bezel has relatively mild crenelations, but with an unusual feature – 3 integrated round beads of high-strength silicon nitride ceramic on the protruding ends. This allows it to be used as a strike bezel, for example to break glass. At the same time, these beads are rounded, so it won’t rip a hole in your clothing (much appreciated), and still allows the light to headstand. Thanks to the crenelations and beads, you can tell if the light is on when headstanding.

User Interface

The P17 has three available mode sets, referred to as Daily Mode, Tactical Mode, and Special Mode. Unfortunately, some of the mode and level instructions in the manual are not clear, so I will describe everything in detail below. But first, I will explain how you switch between them.

Mode Switching (between Daily, Tactical and Special modes)

  • From Off, press-and-hold down the Function switch for at least 3 secs
  • Without releasing the Function switch, click the Tactical switch.
  • Release the Function switch. Light enters “breathing mode” while it waits for you to select the Mode set (the main LED has a slow fade-in and fade-out repeatedly, which looks like “breathing” – to be honest, I find it rather relaxing).
  • Click the Function switch to advance through the three mode settings, which are identified as follows:
    • Strobe – Tactical mode (also called “Tactical Mode 1” in the manual)
    • High level – Special mode (also called “Tactical Mode 2”)
    • SOS – Daily mode
  • Click the Tactical switch to turn off and accept the mode setting.

And now, here is what you get with each of the three mode sets:

Daily Mode (available levels: Ultra-Low, Low, Med, High, Turbo, SOS)

Daily Mode, from OFF:

  • Partial depress Tactical switch: Momentary On (i.e., turns Off when released).
  • Single-click Tactical switch: Turns On in last memorized mode used.
  • Press-and-hold Function switch: Momentary Ultra-Low. If you keep holding the switch down for >3 secs, it will stay locked On when you release the switch.
  • Single-click Function switch: Nothing but a single flash of Ultra-Low (i.e., there is no single-click option – the Function switch acts as a momentary press-and-hold only, see above).

Daily Mode, from ON:

  • Single-click Tactical switch: Turns Off
  • Press-and-hold Function switch >1 sec: Turns on SOS.
  • Single-click Function switch: Advances through modes in sequence from Low > Med > High > Turbo.

Tactical Mode (available levels: Low, Med, Hi, Turbo, Strobe)

Tactical Mode, from OFF:

  • Partial depress Tactical switch: Momentary On in last memorized constant output mode.
  • Single-click Tactical switch: Turns On in last memorized constant output mode.
  • Press-and-hold Function switch: Momentary Strobe. If you keep holding the switch down for >3 secs, it will stay locked On when you release the switch.
  • Single-click Function switch: Nothing but a single flash of Strobe (i.e., there is no single-click option – the Function switch acts as a momentary press-and-hold only, see above).

Tactical Mode, from ON:

  • Single-click Tactical switch: Turns Off.
  • Press-and-hold Function switch >1 sec: Turns On Strobe.
  • Single-click Function switch: Advances through modes in sequence from  Low > Med > High > Turbo.

Special Mode (available levels: Ultra-Low, Low, High)

Special Mode, from OFF:

  • Partial depress Tactical switch: Momentary On at High level.
  • Single-click Tactical switch: Turns On at High level.
  • Press-and-hold Function switch: Momentary On at High level. If you keep holding the switch down for >3 secs, it will stay On when you release the switch.
  • Single-click Function switch: Nothing but a single flash of High (i.e., there is no single-click option – the Function switch acts as a momentary press-and-hold only, see above).

Special Mode, from ON:

  • Single-click Tactical switch: Turns Off.
  • Press-and-hold Function switch: Nothing, except when you release the switch it  advances you through modes as explained below (i.e., there is no press-and-hold option in this mode, just a click option).
  • Single-click Function switch: Advances though modes as follows: High > Low > Ultra-Low.

Short-cuts:

  • To Ultra-Low: In Daily mode, press-and-hold or click the Function switch from Off.
  • To Hi: In Special mode, press-and-hold Function switch from Off, or click the tactical switch from Off.
  • To Strobe: In Tactical mode, press-and-hold Function switch from Off.
  • To SOS: In Daily mode, press-and-hold Function switch from Off.

Mode memory:

Yes, but only in Daily Mode and Tactical Model, for constant output levels (i.e., Strobe and SOS are accessed by the Function switch). There is no memory for the Special Mode, which always activates in High.

Strobe/Blinking modes:

Yes, for Strobe and SOS – but they are located on separate Mode sets.

Low voltage warning:

Yes. As the battery drains, the light steps down in levels. Once the light reaches the Low level, the main LED starts to flash 3 times every 30 secs.

Lock-out mode:

Yes, but only by physically locking out the light at the tailcap.

Reviewer Comments:

There are a few surprising quirks with this triple-mode interface.

First off, it seems odd that a “tactical” light has no dedicated mode option (or even a short-cut) to jump to Turbo (just the High level, in the Special mode set). But this might become somewhat clearer when you check out the runtimes below. In any case, you can access Turbo by cycling through the main sequence in Daily mode or Tactical Mode – and have the light memorize this choice.

Personally, I plan to use this light in Daily Mode exclusively, as this is that the mode set with access to widest range of levels (i.e., everything except Strobe).

That said, I’m not crazy that the Function switch works differently depending on whether the light is On or Off. Furthermore, it’s odd that the various Modes sets are inconsistent in this regard – that is, when the Function switch acts as a clicky (typically only when On), or when it acts as press-and-hold (always when Off, sometimes when On). Specifically, the Daily and Tactical Mode sets assign a special function to a press-and-hold when On (SOS or Strobe, respectively), but Special Mode doesn’t (i.e., just acts like a long click). They might as well have put a Beacon option in Special mode, just for the sake of consistency if nothing else.  Indeed, I would have preferred a Beacon option in Daily mode, as I’ve always found SOS a bit silly (but it does a similar enough job).

I certainly like that the Daily mode gives an option to activate from Off into Ultra-Low – I always look for a way to jump to that mode from Off. And quirks aside, I do like having a physical forward clicky back as the main switch – call me old-school.

Circuit Measures

Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM):

Ultra-low:
Ultra-Lo

Low:
Lo

Medium:
Med

Hi:
Hi

Turbo:
Turbo

There is no sign of PWM on any level – the circuit appears to be fully current-controlled. This is also no sign of high-frequency noise at any level. This is refreshing – although PWM is very rare nowadays, it is not uncommon to see some (visually-undetectable) circuit noise.

Strobes:

Strobe:


Strobe alternates between 5 Hz and 10 Hz strobes every 2.5 secs.

SOS:

A fairly typical SOS mode.

Charging:

The P17 comes with Acebeam’s 21700 battery with a built-in charging port. There is a small LED on the positive terminal of the battery, which shows red when the cell is charging, and green when it is fully charged. In my testing, resting voltage of the cell was ~4.19V at termination.

Resting voltage <3.0V

Resting voltage >3.0V

The Acebeam 21700 5100mAh battery shows an initial low USB-C charging current of ~0.20A when the cell is heavily depleted (<3.0V resting), which jumps up to ~1.2A once the cell is >3.0V resting. This two-current charging is a good design, and indicates a safe integrated charging circuit. The max charging rate is a bit lower than most lights/batteries in this class, but much better than the original version of this battery when I tested on the E70.

Standby / Parasitic Drain:

I measured the standby current as 0.19 mA. This is a reasonably low standby drain, and it would take just over 3 years to fully drain the cell. Regardless, I always recommend you physically lockout the light at the tailcap to prevent accidental activation when not in use.

Emitter Measures

In this section, I directly measure key emitter characteristics of my sample in terms of colour temperature, tint, and colour rendition. Please see my Emitter Measures page to learn more about what these terms mean, and how I am measuring them. As tint in particular can shift across levels, I typically stick with the highest stably regulated level for all my reported measures.

As explained on that page, since I am using an inexpensive uncalibrated device, you can only make relative comparisons across my reviews (i.e., don’t take these numbers as absolutely accurate values, but as relatively consistent across lights in my testing).

P17 on High:

The key measures above are the colour temperature of ~5565K, and a slight positive tint shift (+0.0115 Duv) toward greenish-yellow at this temperature. For CRI (Ra), I measured a combined score of 66.

These values are very consistent with the rated specs for the cool white white XHP70.3 HI emitter on my sample, and match my visual experience of this light. As mentioned previously, I see no obvious chromatic variation in the beam of my sample.

Beamshots

All outdoor beamshots are taken on my Canon PowerShot S5 IS at f/2.7, 0.5 secs exposure, ISO 400, daylight white balance. The bend in the road is approximately 40 meters (~45 yards) from the camera. Learn more about my outdoor beamshots here (scroll down for the floody light position used in this review).

Click on any thumbnail image below to open a full size image in a new window. You can then easily compare beams by switching between tabs.



As you can see above, the P17 has a throwy beam, with an impressive amount of overall output. This gives you the best of both worlds. It is a super nice beam profile, without artifacts or noticeable chromatic variations.

Testing Results

My summary tables are generally reported in a manner consistent with the ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. In addition to the links above, please see my output measures page for more background.

All my output numbers are based on my home-made lightbox setup. As explained on that methodology page, I have devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values to estimated lumens. My Peak Intensity/Beam Distance are directly measured with a NIST-certified Extech EA31 lightmeter.

P17 Testing Results

ModeSpec LumensEstimated Lumens @0secEstimated Lumens @30 secsBeam Intensity @0secBeam Intensity @30secsBeam Distance @30secsPWM/Strobe FreqNoise FreqCharging Current <3VCharging Current >3VParasitic DrainWeight w/o BatteryWeight with BatteryCCT (K)DuvCRI
Ultra-Low33.13.1---NoNo0.21 A1.2 A0.19 mA153 g233 g---
Low90115115---NoNo0.21 A1.2 A0.19 mA153 g233 g---
Med580570565---NoNo0.21 A1.2 A0.19 mA153 g233 g---
High2,2002,3002,250---NoNo0.21 A1.2 A0.19 mA153 g233 g5,5650.011866
Turbo4,9005,2504,95048,700 cd44,100 cd420 mNoNo0.21 A1.2 A0.19 mA153 g233 g---
Strobe2,000-----5-10 HzNo0.21 A1.2 A0.19 mA153 g233 g---
SOS2,000-----NoNo0.21 A1.2 A0.19 mA153 g233 g---

At all levels, there is a remarkably good concordance between published specs and what my lightbox reports.

My NIST-calibrated luxmeter reports slightly lower beam distance measures, but that is not uncommon in my testing. It’s still an impressive amount of throw.

I don’t really expect to see a Moonlight mode in a light like this, but the ~3 lumen Ultra-Low mode is quite reasonable.

To view and download full testing results for all modern lights in my testing, check out my Database page.

Runtimes

As always, my runtimes are done under a small cooling fan, for safety and consistency. To learn more about how to interpret runtime graphs, see my runtimes methodology page.

Max

Hi

 

Med

The runtime results show you the benefit of having a good thermal mass – The P17 shows very impressive stable regulation on the High level without step-down. No other light in my testing to date has managed the feat of sustained flat output of >2200 lumens for over an hour.

Further, the Turbo mode is quite reasonable too: ~5000 lumens output to start, dropping down within minutes to a stable flat ~1300 lumens for nearly 2 hours.

Taken together, this may help to explain why the Special Mode (aka “Tactical mode 2”) goes automatically to High and not Turbo. High is the fully sustained high output level.

In any case, the P17 shows impressive output/runtime efficiency and regulation on all levels, consistent with an excellent current-controlled driver. I never get tired of seeing those perfectly flat output runtimes. Performance of the XHP70.3 HI emitter in this light is very consistent with other good quality lights running XHP70.2 HD lights in my testing (although I greatly prefer the XHP70.3 HI for its improved beam profile).

You can see the low-voltage warning coming on during the final Low level step-down (~115 lumens). At this point, the LED flashes three times every 30 secs – which is picked up by the sampling frequency of my DMM light meter as those irregular drops to zero at the end of the Med runtime above.

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Light has excellent output/runtime efficiency, at all levels, with the High mode as a particular stand-out.Turbo step-down level is lower than the defined High level.
Circuit shows very good flat regulation, with thermally-mediated step-down on Turbo only.There is no mode set when Turbo comes on by default (either has mode memory, or High mode on activation).
Uses a dual tail switch design, with the option of three Mode setsLacks a true Moonlight mode, but has a very good low level.
Exceptionally good build quality and hand feel.
Great beam profile, with good balance between throw and flood, without chromatic aberrations.

Overall Rating

Preliminary Conclusions

There are some lights that you just pick up for the first time and go, “Oh, yeah.” By which I mean, there is an ineffable quality that just immediately tells you they got this light right. The P17 is one of those lights.

If I were to break down what that means to me, it starts with the handfeel – which is itself a complex term that includes overall heft, weight balance across the light as it fits in your hand (for both overhand and underhand carry), switch placement and feel, and the tactile feel of the surface of the light itself (i.e., just the right gripiness). That later point is not just the type or degree of knurling (although that is important) or other grip items like cut-outs and clips – good quality thick anodizing can often have a more “grippy” texture (e.g., Armytek is a good example of this). This light gets all of those features just right in my view.

Next is the beam pattern when you turn it on. To be sure, sometimes you want a very focused beam, and sometimes you may want full flood. But often you are looking for a good balance between relative throw and spill – the later involving both how wide and how bright the spill beam is. And then finally how “pretty” the beam is (i.e., lack of aberrations across the range of the beam, including a lack of chromatic variations). Again, as the beamshots above show, this light just really seems to really find that sweet spot – with fantastic output levels to boot.

As I started to handle the light though, I found some of the user interface choices a bit odd. For example, I’m used to having multiple mode sets on “tactical” dual switch lights, and the Daily mode here is generally well suited to my needs. But typically there is a dedicated “tactical” mode where the light always comes on at the maximum output level, with the option for a high-frequency strobe depending on which switch is used. But this light doesn’t do that – the Tactical mode has mode memory (so the light comes on in the last memorized output level), without so much as even a shortcut to Turbo. There is a secondary tactical mode – called the Special mode here – that ditches the level memory, but comes on at the lower High level (and has no strobe option).

I still think this arrangement is odd, but after my runtime tests I can understand why they choose the High level (instead of Turbo) for the non-memorized Special mode set: The P17 is an outstanding performer at the High level. It is in fact the only light I’ve tested so far that can stably produce >2200 lumens in a fully flat-regulated level for over an hour. If you opted for ~5000 initial lumens on Turbo, you would have to put up with the fact that the light quickly steps down to a (very common) lower ~1300 lumen level for its extended run.

This unusual UI is really why I’ve knocked half a star off – everything else about the light, including output/runtime efficiency and regulation, make this light a top performer in the high-output class of 1×21700 lights. Another great showing from Acebeam, and a real pleasure to handle and use!

Acknowledgement

The P17 was supplied by Acebeam for review. As always, all opinions are my own and the light received the same rigourous and objective testing as all other lights that I have reviewed. At the time of review, this light retails for ~$120 USD (~$160 CDN).

Skilhunt M300 V2

The M300 V2 is a compact general-purpose flashlight running on a single included 21700 battery.Includes a colourful build and versatile user interface.

  1. Introduction
  2. Manufacturer Specifications
  3. Package Details
  4. Build
  5. User Interface
  6. Circuit Measures
  7. Emitter Measures
  8. Beamshots
  9. Testing Results
  10. Runtimes
  11. Pros and Cons
  12. Overall Rating
  13. Preliminary Conclusions
  14. Acknowledgement

Introduction

I remember when Skilhunt first came on the scene, over a decade ago. Their early lights had a distinctive rakish design, with cut-outs showing gold-plated brass heatsinks (I believe I referred to them at the time as a steam-punk aesthetic). I was glad to see they are still around, upon my return to reviewing. I see that they have moved to a more minimalist build, with a good number of headlamp models, and a strong focus on built-in magnetic charging docks.

This is the first of two Skilhunt lights that I have on hand for testing (the H300 review will be coming soon). A really nice feature is the option to select your own emitter – with a good range of options. Case in point for the M300: you can select between CREE XHP50.3 HI Cool White 6500K, CREE XHP50.2 HD Neutral White 5000K, CREE XHP50.2 HD Ra90 High CRI 5000K, and Nichia 144ART R9050 sm453 4500K.

I’ve opted to go for the XHP50.2 HD Neutral White 5000K for this review, for the highest maximum output of 3000 lumens. Normally, I would have opted for one of the High CRI versions, or the cool white HI emitter (for better throw and reduced chromatic aberrations). But it’s good to compare maximum output versions for comparative purposes, and I was glad to see the max 3000 lumens was available with the XHP50.2 neutral white.  As always, you can select the emitter option that best suits your needs.

Let’s see how it compares in my testing.

Manufacturer Specifications

Note: as always, these are simply what the manufacturer provides – scroll down to see my actual testing results.

FeatureSpecs
MakerSkilhunt
ModelM300 V2
EmitterXHP50.2 HD Neutral White
Tint5000 K
Max Output (Lumens)3,000
Min Output (Lumens)1
Max Runtime200 hrs
Max Beam Intensity (cd)12,000 cd
Max Beam Distance (m)219 m
Constant Levels7
FlashingStrobe 1/2/3
Battery1x21700
Weight (w/o battery)75 g
Weight (with battery)-
Length120 mm
Head Diameter29.5 mm
Body Diameter-
WaterproofIPX-8 1m

Package Details






The light comes in a fairly standard shelf-presentation style box, with a description of the features and characteristics printed on it. Inside is a professional looking package, with the cover tab under the plastic tray holder. My sample came with an extra light carrying pouch in a small plastic bag.

Inside the box, I found:

  • Skilhunt M300 V2 flashlight
  • Skilhunt BL-250 5000mAh 21700 battery (optional)
  • Wrist lanyard
  • Bi-directional pocket clip
  • USB magnetic charging dock
  • 2 Spare O-rings
  • Manual

It’s a decent package, consistent with other lights of this class. As always, I would have liked to have seen a holster, but at least they included a bi-directional pocket clip and a carry pouch. This is a good set of extras.

Build


From left to right: Skilhunt 18650 (3500mAh), Wurkkos 21700 (5000mAh), Acebeam 21700 USB-C (5100mAh), Acebeam E70 Mini, Armytek Wizard C2 Pro Nichia, Acebeam E70, Armytek Wizard C2 Pro Max, Convoy S21E, Fenix E35 v3, Imalent MS03, Skilhunt H300, Skilhunt M300 V2, Wurkkos TS22.











The M300 is a solid build, with lots of design elements to help with grip, including sharp concentric rings on the body and tailcap, and with large cut-out ridges. There is also a raised metallic blue ring surrounding the switch, and a magnetic charging dock on the opposite site of the head. Ironically, while these both help with grip, it can make identifying the switch by feel alone difficult (i.e., hard to tell the two apart by touch). But a simple solution is simply to squeeze both areas with your thumb and forefinger simultaneously to activate the light, if you can’t see what you are doing.

Along with the switch and dock areas, there are relatively flat cut-outs on the other two sides of the head, helping limit the roll of the light (better than I expected, frankly). That said, if you really want to prevent roll you are going to want to attach the removable pocket clip (which would also further help with grip, not that it really needs it). I like the bi-directional design of the clip, so that you can carry it bezel up or down.

I would say the overall size is about typical for the compact 1×21700 class – not the smallest, but also not largest I’ve seen. Handfeel is good, it is comfortable to hold and use.

The electronic switch has blue and red LEDs underneath it, which can be used to signal status of the light or battery. Switch feel is good, with a standard traverse/tactile feedback for an electronic switch. The metallic blue switch surround is distinctive looking.

One nice thing about magnetic charging docks is that waterproofness is not a concern – the light looks quite spashable/dunkable (although note that I do not test for this in my reviews).

Tailstanding is very stable, thanks to the flat tailcap (there is a side cut-out to allow you thread the basic wrist lanyard through). Tailcap threads are square-cut and anodized, with good feel. I always recommend you keep a light stored locked out when not in use. Thanks to the anodized tailcap threads, you can do this easily by a simple twist of the tailcap. There is a decently robust tailspring in the tailcap, suggesting higher current draws won’t be a problem.

Anodizing is a distinctive gun-metal gray colour, and looks to be good quality on my sample with no damage or issues, in matte finish. Skilhunt reports it is type III (hard anodized), and I see no reason to doubt that. I would say the colour goes well with the metallic blue switch surround and bezel ring.

Inside, my sample came with the optional Skilhunt-branded button-top 5000mAh 21700 battery. The battery is labelled as high-drain (15A), so that should similarly not limit maximum output.

The USB charging dock also comes with blue and red LEDs, to signal charging status. The magnet has a strong pull, and locks into place easily.




My M300 came with a XHP50.2 HD emitter, in neutral white. The reflector is fairly shallow and textured (moderate orange peel, OP). However, as expected, there is noticeable tint/colour shifting across the periphery of the beam (a well-known issue with HD emitters of the XHP family). This one seems more pronounced than most, with a relatively neutral white hotspot surrounded by an extensive corona that is very yellowish-green, and then a relatively cooler spill beam with a purplish edge. Scroll down to my Emitter Measures section more details and a discussion. There is a mild purplish anti-reflective (AR) coating on the lens.

The bezel is crenelated stainless steel, with a stylish metallic blue colour to match the switch surround. Scalloping is not too aggressive, so you can headstand stably.

User Interface

The M300 uses the latest version of the Skilhunt user interface (UI), and has a reasonably good number of modes and features. You get two Low modes, three Regular modes (two Med modes, one High mode), two Turbo modes, and three Strobe modes – organized into those four mode sets.

One comment to make up front – the mode level labels are different from most lights in that the lower number for a given level is actually the higher output (so, for example, T1 is brighter than T2). That means the constant output modes, in sequence, are: L2 > L1, M2 > M1 > H, and T2 > T1.

The manual doesn’t describe the three strobe modes, but for sake of this review I will refer to them as S3 = Strobe, S2 = SOS, and S1 = Beacon.

Let me break down the full interface for you:

From OFF:

  • Press-and-hold: Turns On in memorized Low mode (L2 or L1).
  • Single-click: Turns On in memorized Regular mode (M2, M1, or H).
  • Double-click: Turns On in memorized Turbo mode (T2 or T1).
  • Triple-click: Turns on in memorized strobe mode (S3, S2, or S1).
  • 4 clicks: Activates the electronic Lockout mode.
    • Press-and-hold for momentary Moonlight (i.e., lowest Low, L2)
    • While in lockout, the switch indicator light will flash red every second, but that can be toggled off/on with a double-click.

From ON:

  • Press-and-hold: Cycle to the next level within the current mode level set (constant output modes only, doesn’t work for Strobe).
  • Single-click: Turns Off.
  • Double-click: Jumps to the memorized Turbo level (from Regular modes only), or back to Regular modes if already in Turbo (note this doesn’t work from Low modes or Strobe modes)
  • Triple-click: Jumps to the memorized Strobe mode (from Regular or Turbo), or back to most recent Regular or Turbo if already in Strobe mode.

Strobe modes:

  • Triple-click: Turns On in memorized Strobe mode.
  • Double-click: Cycles through the Strobe modes in sequence:
    • S3 – Strobe
    • S2 – SOS
    • S1 – Beacon

Mode memory:

Yes, each mode set retains its own memory for the last level selected in that mode set.

Shortcuts:

  • To Low (L2 or L1): Press-and-hold from Off.
  • To Turbo (T2 or T1): Double-click from Off or when On in Regular mode.
  • To Strobe (S1, S2, or S3): Triple-click from Off or when On in Regular or Turbo mode.

Low voltage warning:

When the battery is running very low (<3.0V according to the manual), the switch indicator light will flash red, and the main emitter will flash every couple of seconds. The light will shut off at 2.7V according to the manual.

Lock-out mode: 

  • 4 clicks from Off: Activates the electronic Lockout mode.
  • Physical lockout is also possible by simply unscrewing the tailcap.

Battery indicator:

Yes. The LED under the switch indicates the battery status for the first ~5 secs after turning on:

  • Solid Blue: >80% Battery power remaining.
  • Flashing Blue: 50-80% Battery power remaining.
  • Solid Red: 20-50% Battery power remaining
  • Flashing Red: <20% Battery power remaining.

These seem reasonable to me, and similar to the Sofirn C8L that I recently reviewed.

Video Overview:

Please see the video below, which walks you through the common UI and build features of this light and its H300 headlamp sibling:

Reviewer Comments:

Like many of the recent lights I’ve reviewed, I find this UI to be very reasonable, and relatively versatile. Of course, you are never going to please everyone with any given UI (e.g., I would like to see double-click reliably jumping to Turbo, and have the Low modes as part of a regular sequence without having to go through off first). But these are really quibbles, the light does reasonably well.

One small thing I would like is the ability to independently turn on the the blue switch indicator, to serve as an additional “moonlight mode”. This is something the Anduril-based lights allow (if implemented, like on the Sofirn IF25A), and some other new UIs (like the Wurkkos TS22).

Allowing momentary L2 when in the electronic lockout is a nice touch. But as always, I recommend locking out the light at the tailcap when not in use.

Circuit Measures

Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM):

L2:
Lo

M2:
Mid

H:
Hi

T2:
Turbo

T1:
Turbo

There is no sign of PWM on any level – the circuit appears to be fully current-controlled. This is also no sign of high-frequency noise at any level. This is refreshing – although PWM is very rare nowadays, it is not uncommon to see some (visually-undetectable) circuit noise.

Strobes:

S3 – Strobe:


S3 Strobe alternates between 6 Hz and 14 Hz strobes (1 sec for 6Hz, 3 secs for 14 Hz).

S2 – SOS:

S2 is clearly a SOS mode.

S1 – Beacon:

S3 is a 1hz slow signalling strobe.

Charging:

The magnetic charging dock switches from blue (when charger power is provided) to solid red when connected and charging the M300. The dock switches back to solid blue when the charging is complete.

In my testing, resting voltage of the cell was ~4.12V at termination. This is lower than typical, but is easier on the cell. Note that the charging dock won’t initiate a charge cycle if the cell is above 4.0V resting, just like the Armytek charging dock.

Resting voltage <3.0V

Resting voltage >3.0V

The M300 doesn’t really have a two-stage charging feature, but it does start off at a lower charge rate when the cell is heavily depleted <3V (1.55A shown above, rises to 1.62A within a minute or so).

Standby / Parasitic Drain:

I measured the standby current as 25.4 uA. This is an extremely low standby drain, and will not appreciably affect the light (i.e., it would take ~22.5 years to fully drain the cell). Regardless, I always recommend you lockout the light when not in use – either by electronic lockout, or better yet physically by twisting the tailcap.

Emitter Measures

In this section, I directly measure key emitter characteristics of my sample in terms of colour temperature, tint, and colour rendition. Please see my Emitter Measures page to learn more about what these terms mean, and how I am measuring them. As tint in particular can shift across levels, I typically stick with the highest stably regulated level for all my reported measures.

As explained on that page, since I am using an inexpensive uncalibrated device, you can only make relative comparisons across my reviews (i.e., don’t take these numbers as absolutely accurate values, but as relatively consistent across lights in my testing).

M300 on H (Hi):

The key measures above are the colour temperature of ~4420K, and a moderately positive tint shift (+0.0117 Duv) to yellowish at this temperature. For CRI (Ra), I measured a combined score of 67.

These values are very consistent with the rated specs for the neutral white XHP50.2 emitter on my sample, and match my visual experience of this light.

Note that the standard measures above refer to the hotspot specifically. As you move away, there is always some variation in colour temperature and tint with XHPx0.2 emitters. Since my return to reviewing, I’ve found the XHP50.2 emitters are particularly prone to this, and I did notice significant tint/colour shift across the beam on this particular sample. As such, I decide to do some some additional measures.

Below are are two beamshots on a white wall of the Hi (H) level. I’ve chosen two different exposure times to better show the hotspot and spill. Camera is set to daylight white balance, and this matches pretty well to what I see by eye. I’ve also taken additional colour temp/tint readings at the various points identified:


Here are those specific measures again:

Hotspot: ~4400K, Duv +0.0117 : Neutral-warm white, somewhat yellowish tint.

Corona: ~4150K, Duv +0.0148 : Slightly warmer white, even more yellowish tint.

Mid-spillbeam: ~4950K, Duv +0.0025 : Neutral-cool white, no significant tint shift at all.

Spillbeam edge: ~6000K, Duv -0.0003 : Cool white, no significant tint shift.

Note that the spillbeam edge is much lower intensity (and thus more variable on the lightmeter). It also doesn’t show up well at the exposure settings above – but it definitely appears to the eye that there is a cooler white ring all along the outside edge. XHPx0.2 emitters are well known to produce these, although I suspect this is enhanced here due in part to the purplish AR coating on the lens and to reflections off the blue stainless steel bezel ring (both of which are “cooling” the CCT tint readings and providing this subjective edge effect).

Again, these colour temp/tint shifts are predominantly a characteristic of the XHP50.2 emitter selected here. But as this sample has a more significant variation in the beam profile than I typically notice, I’ve provided the extra context above. As an aside, this is why I generally prefer XHPx0.3 HI emitters, as they don’t show as severe chromatic variation.

Note that you can even see this effect somewhat in my outdoor beamshots below as well.

Beamshots

All outdoor beamshots are taken on my Canon PowerShot S5 IS at f/2.7, 0.5 secs exposure, ISO 400, daylight white balance. The bend in the road is approximately 40 meters (~45 yards) from the camera. Learn more about my outdoor beamshots here (scroll down for the floody light position used in this review).

Click on any thumbnail image below to open a full size image in a new window. You can then easily compare beams by switching between tabs.



As you can see above, the M300 has a balanced beam, consistent with its smaller reflector (i.e., more on the floody side). Output seems particularly high for 3000 lumens light.

Testing Results

My summary tables are generally reported in a manner consistent with the ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. In addition to the links above, please see my output measures page for more background.

All my output numbers are based on my home-made lightbox setup. As explained on that methodology page, I have devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values to estimated lumens. My Peak Intensity/Beam Distance are directly measured with a NIST-certified Extech EA31 lightmeter.

M300 Testing Results

ModeSpec LumensEstimated Lumens @0secEstimated Lumens @30 secsBeam Intensity @0secBeam Intensity @30secsBeam Distance @30secsPWM/Strobe FreqNoise FreqCharging Current <3VCharging Current >3VParasitic DrainWeight w/o BatteryWeight with BatteryCCT (K)DuvCRI
L210.90.9---NoNo1.55 A1.65 A25.4 uA75 g147 g---
L164.14.1---NoNo1.55 A1.65 A25.4 uA75 g147 g---
M2606060---NoNo1.55 A1.65 A25.4 uA75 g147 g---
M1230245245---NoNo1.55 A1.65 A25.4 uA75 g147 g---
H610610610---NoNo1.55 A1.65 A25.4 uA75 g147 g4,4200.011767
T21,1301,1501,150---NoNo1.55 A1.65 A25.4 uA75 g147 g---
T13,0003,6503,35015,400 cd14,200 cd238 mNoNo1.55 A1.65 A25.4 uA75 g147 g---
S3------1 HzNo1.55 A1.65 A25.4 uA75 g147 g---
S2------SOSNo1.55 A1.65 A25.4 uA75 g147 g---
S1------6-14 HzNo1.55 A1.65 A25.4 uA75 g147 g---

For most of the levels, there is a remarkably good concordance with my lightbox. The one exception is the T1 level – where I actually measured slightly higher output than the specification.

By the same token, my NIST-calibrated luxmeter actually reports slightly higher beam distance measures as well, showing these results are consistent. An impressive showing!

I’m also happy to see a ~1 lumen “moonlight” low mode here (i.e., L2). I would prefer a true <1 lumen moonlight though.

To view and download full testing results for all modern lights in my testing, check out my Database page.

Runtimes

As always, my runtimes are done under a small cooling fan, for safety and consistency. To learn more about how to interpret runtime graphs, see my runtimes methodology page.

Max

Hi

Med

Skilhunt shows both excellent output/runtime efficiency and regulation, consistent with a top-quality current-controlled driver.

As you can see above, the XHP50.2-equipped M300 shows overall output and runtime on T1 and T2 that is very similar to the XHP50.3-equipped Sofirn C8L (another very efficient light). As expected, XHP50.x lights show output performance intermediate to the XHP70.x/SST70-equipped lights and SFT40-equipped lights.

These results are all the more impressive when you consider there is a ~1 lumen “moonlight” mode (L2) included on the M300. Most of the other lights shown above don’t go as low, so this is a plus for the M300.

The regulation pattern is also impressive. Along with perfectly flat and stable outputs, you also get a reasonable amount of time at lower levels before the light shuts down. This is plenty of warning to stop and recharge.

To better show the Turbo step-down pattern on T1/T2, here is a view of just those two levels on this light:

Max-extended

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Light has excelent output/runtime efficiency, consistent with other good current-controlled lights with the XHP50 emitter.User interface is fairly sophisticated, and reasonable for the class, but it does have some small quirks and limitations.
Circuit shows excellent regulation, with stable runtimes and reasonable step-down levels and duration.There is a noticeable colour temperature/tint shift across the spillbeam with this XHP50.2 emitter (you may want to consider an alternate choice from Skilhunt).
Although not a true "moonlight" mode, the lowest output is reasonable and effective at ~1 lumen.Magnetic charging dock performance is good and consistent with others, and won't initiate a charge >4.0V resting voltage.
Compact build with good quality and decent handfeel.
Includes a bidirectional pocket clip

Overall Rating

Preliminary Conclusions

The Skilhunt M300 ticks a lot of boxes for me. It has a high quality build, with a thoughtful design and some nice stylistic touches. Switch feel is good, and the user interface is very reasonable for the class. The charging dock worked well in my testing, consistent with others who use this magnetic design.

In terms of the circuit, the M300 is a great performer for the compact 1×21700 class. Higher output levels and runtime efficiency are on par with other good quality, constant-current circuits coupled with XHP50.x emitters. Regulation patterns are flat and stably regulated. The light even comes with a near “moonlight” level of ~0.9 lumens in my testing, which is better than most lights nowadays. Very respectable performance – although I feel you need to have a proper <1 lumen moonlight mode to earn a full 5 stars on a general purpose EDC light.

The main thing I’m not crazy about on my sample is the pronounced colour tint/temperature shift across the beam profile. XHP50.2 HD emitters are known for their chromatic aberrations, so I expected this going in – although it is particularly pronounced here. The purplish AR lens coating and reflections off the blue stainless steel bezel ring may also be contributing to a relatively cool outer edge to the spillbeam.

This is the price you pay for selecting the emitter choice that produces the maximum output in this model (which I thought was important, in order to fairly compare to other lights I’ve reviewed with that emitter). But it is great that Skilhunt offers so many emitter options here – personally, I recommend you go with one of the high CRI options instead, or the XHP50.3 HI if you really want max output with minimal chromatic aberrations.

The M300 is a very nice light, well implemented, but there are some small issues that could be tweaked to give it a top score (i.e., true moonlight, some interface improvements, higher termination level for the dock, etc.).

I’m glad to see Skilhunt is still around and producing such quality lights.

Acknowledgement

The M300 V2 was supplied by Skilhunt for review. As always, all opinions are my own and the light received the same rigourous and objective testing as all other lights that I have reviewed. At the time of review, this light retails for ~$80 USD (~$105 CDN).

Sofirn C8L

The C8L is a budget tactical flashlight featuring fairly high output and very good throw, running on a single included 21700 battery. Also features both tactical and general user interface options.

  1. Introduction
  2. Manufacturer Specifications
  3. Package Details
  4. Build
  5. User Interface
  6. Circuit Measures
  7. Emitter Measures
  8. Beamshots
  9. Testing Results
  10. Runtimes
  11. Pros and Cons
  12. Overall Rating
  13. Preliminary Conclusions
  14. Acknowledgement

Introduction

My first Sofirn review was of their fairly basic 1×21700 IF25A model, which has been around for a couple of years now. While certainly solid and serviceable, it did have a fairly generic build and presentation. In contrast, the newer C8L has been recommended to me as more representative of what Sofirn is producing now.

The C8L is in the style of a “tactical” light, with a larger head (for better throw, and likely higher sustained output due to great thermal mass) and an actual forward clicky tailcap switch. The C8L comes with the XHP50.3 HI emitter, which should provide for excellent throw and decent output.

I thought this would be a good opportunity to expand beyond my initial focus on compact, EDC-style 1×21700 lights. Let’s see how the C8L performs in my testing.

Manufacturer Specifications

Note: as always, these are simply what the manufacturer provides – scroll down to see my actual testing results.

FeatureSpecs
MakerSofirn
ModelC8L
EmitterXHP50.3 HI
Tint6000 K
Max Output (Lumens)3,100
Min Output (Lumens)8
Max Runtime220 hrs
Max Beam Intensity (cd)70,500 cd
Max Beam Distance (m)531 m
Constant Levels5
FlashingStrobe, SOS, Beacon
Battery-
Weight (w/o battery)-
Weight (with battery)151 g
Length156 mm
Head Diameter46.5 mm
Body Diameter-
WaterproofIPX-8 2m

Package Details




The C8L comes in a modern-looking hard cardboard box with printed specs cover and cut-out foam interior. This design offers good protection for the light (e.g., although the outside corner of the box got dinged in the mail, everything inside as unaffected). Inside, I found:

  • Sofirn C8L flashlight
  • Sofirn-branded 5000mAh 21700 battery
  • Spacer to allow the use of 18650 batteries
  • Basic wrist lanyard
  • USB-C Charging cable
  • 2 Spare O-rings
  • Manual

It’s a decent package, consistent with other lights of this class. I would have liked to have seen a holster, since that is my preferred way to carry a light like this, but that is not typically included with budget lights.

Build


From left to right: Armytek 18650 (3500mAh), Sofirn 21700 (5000mAh), Acebeam 21700 USB-C (5100mAh), Acebeam E70, Acebeam P17, Armytek Doberman Pro, Convoy M21F, Lumintop D3, Nitecore MH12SE, Nitecore P20iX,  Sofirn C8L.









The C8L is a nice and solid build, with very good handfeel. It’s about what I would expect for a tactical-style light in overall dimensions and weight – substantial enough, but still pocket-able.

There is a physical forward clicky switch in the tailcap used for the turning the light on/off. I must say, it’s been awhile since I tested a light with an actual physical clicky switch – it is nice to see them again. Switch feel is good, and you can easily flash/momentary signal with the forward clicky.

There are two raised tailcap guards that allow the light to tailstand, and serve as the wrist lanyard attachment point. I note that some earlier reviews reported the light couldn’t tailstand stably, but my sample does fine. Tailcap threads are square-cut and anodized, with good feel. I always recommend you keep a light stored locked out when not in use. Thanks to the anodized tailcap threads, you can do this easily on the C8L by a simple twist of the tailcap.

There is a raised side-mounted electronic switch on the side of the head, with red and green LEDs underneath to show charge status. Feel and traverse of the electronic switch is decent, but could be a bit tighter/firmer (i.e., the cover has a bit too much play). The switch shines a bright red when charging the battery through the light’s USB-C charging port (green when fully charged). The port is located on the opposite side from the switch, with a thick rubber cover. Like the IF25A, I found the cover to fit rather tightly, making it hard to full depress. But I suppose that should help with waterproofness if you can press it down enough.

There is no actual knurling on the light, but concentric ring reeling around the body tube and a good number of deep cut-outs on the head and tailcap that provide good grip. The head fins have flat areas to help minimize rolling (but it can still roll with enough force). Anodizing looks to be good quality, with no damage on my sample. I would describe the finish as satin. Its a nice package, comfortable and well-balanced in the hand with decent grip – but nothing too sharp to rip through clothing or anything.

Inside, the light comes with a Sofirn-branded standard-sized 5000mAh 21700 battery, with a slightly raised flat-top. A battery sleeve is also included, in case you want to use older 18650 cells. There is a good size spring in the head, ensuring good contact.





The C8L uses the XHP50.3 HI, which is basically a low-profile emitter known for its excellent throw while still maintaining decent high output. Reflector has a light orange peel texture. Together, this should provide for decent throw while minimizing any chromatic aberrations.

The bezel is crenelated black aluminum – not too aggressive, so you can headstand stably. There doesn’t seem to be any kind of anti-reflective coating on the lens (which is surprising nowadays). You can see the reflections of my cell phone camera in the macro shots, for example. Still, at least its not contributing to any chromatic aberrations – the beam is pretty consistently cool white across its full range.

User Interface

Gone is the Anduril user interface – instead, we have a more common dual physical/electronic switch interface.

Personally, I find it great to see the classic forward clicky switch interface again: partially press for momentary on, clicked for locked-on. Easy-peasy. You change output levels by the secondary electronic switch in the head.

But there is some hidden sophistication here, as there are actually two different mode groups you can switch between. A press-and-hold of the electronic switch for 3 secs when the light is on will switch between the two modes. Let me describe them here in detail.

Mode 1 (default) available levels: Eco, Low, Medium, High, Turbo, Strobe, SOS, and Beacon

Mode 1, from OFF:

  • Tail switch, partial-press: Momentary On in last memorized mode
  • Tail switch, single-click: Turns On in last memorized mode
  • Tail switch, double-press: Turns On in last memorized mode and then jumps to Turbo (click to stay locked-on in Turbo). You have be pretty rapid on the double-press to jump to Turbo.
  • Side switch, press-and-hold: Nothing – but if you click the tail switch while holding down the side switch, the light will activate in Eco mode.
  • Side switch, single-click: Nothing

Mode 1, from ON:

  • Tail switch, partial-press: Nothing
  • Tail switch, single-click: Turns Off
  • Side switch, press-and-hold (3 secs): Switch to Mode 2 (see below)
  • Side switch, single-click: Steps up to the next non-Turbo constant output mode (in sequence, Eco > Lo > Med > High)
  • Side switch, double-click: Turbo
  • Side switch, triple-click: Strobe
    • Side switch, double-click when in Strobe: Cycle through in sequence Strobe > SOS > Beacon (with no mode memory)

Mode 1, Mode memory:

Yes, for non-Turbo constant output modes.

Mode 1 Shortcuts:

  • Eco mode: Press and hold the side switch while turning on at the tail switch.
  • Turbo mode: Double-click the side switch from On, or double-press the tail switch from Off.

Mode 2 available levels: Medium, Turbo, and Strobe.

Mode 2 functions basically as a stripped-down version of Mode 1. The main differences are:

  • Single-click of the side switch only selects between Medium and Turbo now.
  • Double-click of the the tail or side switch goes to Strobe instead of Turbo.

Otherwise, the two modes function the same way.

Low voltage warning:

Yes, the main light will step down as the battery is running low. It will then turn Off at ~2.95V

Lock-out mode:

Yes, but physically – you lock-out the light by a twist of the tailcap.

Battery indicator:

When first activating the light, the indicator on the side switch shows the battery voltage  (lasts for ~5 secs):

  • Solid green: ~70-100%
  • Flashing green: ~40-70%
  • Solid red: ~10-40%
  • Flashing red: 0-10%

Reviewer Comments:

The default Mode 1 set is very serviceable, and functions largely as you would expect. I particularly like the shortcut to jump to Eco mode, by holding down the side switch when activating at the tailcap. And shortcuts to Turbo are always appreciated. I also like the very intuitive battery read-out when activating the light.

I have to say though, I really don’t get the point of Mode 2. I could maybe see the value of a scaled down output set that excluded the blinky modes. Or, alternatively, a simple “tactical” interface of just Turbo and Strobe. But I don’t know how many people would want this half-way in-between option.

Circuit Measures

Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM):

Eco:
Eco

Low:
Lo

Turbo:
Turbo

There is no sign of PWM or noise on any level, the circuit appears to be fully current-controlled.

Strobes:

Strobe:


Strobe alternates between 7 Hz and 16 Hz every ~1.75 secs or so. Very distracting.

SOS:
SOS

Beacon:
Beacon

Beacon strobe is a slow 0.5 Hz (i.e., one full power flash every 2 seconds).

Charging:

The switch button shines solid red when the light is charging (switches to solid green when the charging is complete).

Resting voltage <3.0V

Resting voltage >3.0V

The C8L lacks the multi-stage charging feature seen on many lights (i.e., with a lower charging rate for when cells are heavily discharged). Charging rate is reasonably fast for a 21700 cell. Charging terminated at ~4.19V on my sample.

One oddity when charging – if you click the side switch while charging, the light will activate in Eco. I must say I was a bit surprised when I discovered that by accident. But I suppose it could be useful if you need an emergency light/night light while charging.

Standby / Parasitic Drain:

None. That is one of the nice things about a physical clicky switch, no standby current. 🙂 And you can always lock-out the light by a twist of the tailcap, to prevent accidental activation.

 Emitter Measures

This section is a new feature of my reviews, where I directly measure key emitter characteristics in terms of colour temperature, tint, and colour rendition. Please see my Emitter Measures page to learn more about what these terms mean, and how I am measuring them.

As explained on that page, since I am using an inexpensive uncalibrated device, you can only make relative comparisons across my reviews (i.e., don’t take these numbers as absolutely accurate values, but as relatively consistent across lights in my testing).

The key measures above are the colour temperature of ~5970K, and the slight positive tint shift (+0.0101 Duv) to yellow-green at this temperature.

For CRI (Ra), I measured a combined score of 71.

These values are very consistent with the XHP50.3 emitter, and match my visual experience of this light.

Beamshots

All outdoor beamshots are taken on my Canon PowerShot S5 IS at f/2.7, 0.5 secs exposure, ISO 400, daylight white balance. The bend in the road is approximately 40 meters (~45 yards) from the camera. Learn more about my outdoor beamshots here (scroll down for the floody light position used in this review).

Click on any thumbnail image below to open a full size image in a new window. You can then easily compare beams by switching between tabs.



As you can see above, the beam pattern for C8L is very much on the throwy side, with a nice and bright hotspot (as expected for this emitter).

Testing Results

My summary tables are generally reported in a manner consistent with the ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. In addition to the links above, please see my output measures page for more background.

All my output numbers are based on my home-made lightbox setup. As explained on that methodology page, I have devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values to estimated lumens. My Peak Intensity/Beam Distance are directly measured with a NIST-certified Extech EA31 lightmeter.

C8L Testing Results

ModeSpec LumensEstimated Lumens @0secEstimated Lumens @30 secsBeam Intensity @0secBeam Intensity @30secsBeam Distance @30secsPWM/Strobe FreqNoise FreqCharging Current <3VCharging Current >3VParasitic DrainWeight w/o BatteryWeight with BatteryCCT (K)DuvCRI
Eco82727---NoNo1.7 A1.8 ANo173 g242 g---
Low100125125---NoNo1.7 A1.8 ANo173 g242 g---
Med500450450---NoNo1.7 A1.8 ANo173 g242 g---
High1,3001,2001,200---NoNo1.7 A1.8 ANo173 g242 g5,9700.010171
Turbo3,1003,1503,10063,600 cd63,200 cd503 mNoNo1.7 A1.8 ANo173 g242 g---
Strobe------7-16 HzNo1.7 A1.8 ANo173 g242 g---
SOS------NoNo1.7 A1.8 ANo173 g242 g---
Beacon------0.5 HzNo1.7 A1.8 ANo173 g242 g---

The Eco mode is not as low in my testing as the specs report (i.e., more of a typical low). The higher outputs in my lightbox seem to correlate pretty well with the specs.

My beam distance measures are slightly lower than the specs, but are within a reasonable range to them (i.e., it is quite a strong thrower).

To see full testing results for all modern lights in my testing, check out my Database page.

Runtimes

As always, my runtimes are done under a small cooling fan, for safety and consistency. To learn more about how to interpret runtime graphs, see my runtimes methodology page.

Max

Hi

Med

The C8L seems to be very efficient, with overall output/runtime performance for the XHP50.3 coming in a little below the XHP70.2/SST-70 lights, but above the SST-40 lights, as you would expect. But max output rivals the higher output emitters, which is very impressive.

The regulation is very stable and flat on the Hi and Med levels, but showed an interesting step pattern on the Turbo run. I assumed this was due to thermal management and the effect of my standard cooling fan, so I did an additional Turbo run without the fan (red trace above). Based on earlier reviews, I expected the C8L to step down to the Hi level and stay there. Instead, without the fan, the C8L stepped down to a lower level than Hi, but still stepped back up to an intermediate level in an apparently thermally-regulated pattern.

I haven’t seen quite this pattern before, so I thought it would be good to compare the runs at a shorter timeframe (by default, all runs are under a cooling fan unless stated otherwise):

Max-extended

Interestingly, the light doesn’t actually step-down, but rather gradually ramps down to lower levels. After some variable period of time (presumably as the light cools), it then ramps back up to a higher level. But doesn’t level off at the defined Hi or Turbo levels, rather at a series of intermediate outputs. This is a fairly distinctive thermal management feature.

In any case, the light is certainly well regulated at every level, with very good efficiency for a XHP50.3 HI emitter.

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Light has excellent output/runtime efficiency, at all levelsTurbo ramps down to a reduced Hi level eventually, due to heat. However, light ramps back up to intermediate output levels as it cools.
Circuit shows very good regulation overall, with thermally-mediated ramp down/up on Turbo, and step-downs as the battery is almost drained.Lacks a true Moonlight/ultra-low level, but that is not surprising for a thrower.
Uses a dual switch design, with physical tailcap clicky for on/off.Electronic button feel could be improved.
Good build quality and hand feel.

Overall Rating

Preliminary Conclusions

The C8L is a very impressive light. The build quality and hand feel are top notch, on par with with more expensive lights (although I do find the electronic switch cover a bit loose in feel). I would also appreciate a few more package extras (like a belt holster), but this is a very good package for the price.

The beam pattern is what you would expect for the size reflector and emitter – a lot of throw, with decent spill. And there are no obvious chromatic abberations – a consistent (and accurately labelled) 6000K cool white beam.

I like the implementation of the dual switch user interface, with easy shortcuts to min or max output. The UI is very serviceable, although it could use a few tweaks (like a revised second mode set). Output levels are reasonable (note there is no Moonlight mode, but that is not surprising in a larger throw light like this).

Overall output/runtime efficiency seems very good for the emitter type. Regulation pattern is also very flat and stable, but with an interesting thermally-mediated ramp down (and ramp back up) on the Turbo level. It all seems very well thought out.

No surprises, this light works exactly as advertised – and is a great bargain to boot. After testing this model, I am definitely interested in reviewing additional Sofirn lights in the future.

Acknowledgement

The C8L was supplied by Sofirn for review. As always, all opinions are my own and the light received the same rigourous and objective testing as all other lights that I have reviewed. At the time of review, this light retails for ~$40 USD (~$55 CDN).

Nitecore MH12SE

The MH12SE is the sixth iteration of the general-purpose MH12 line of flashlights. Features an integrated battery charging feature and single included 21700 battery.

  1. Introduction
  2. Manufacturer Specifications
  3. Package Details
  4. Build
  5. User Interface
  6. Circuit Measures
  7. Emitter Measures
  8. Beamshots
  9. Testing Results
  10. Runtimes
  11. Pros and Cons
  12. Overall Rating
  13. Preliminary Conclusions
  14. Acknowledgement

Introduction

Following on my P20iX review, this is the latest iteration of the MH12 series from Nitecore – now up to the MH12SE, which is apparently its sixth iteration. Featuring a 1×21700 battery and dual physical tail clicky/electronic side switches, the “multi-task hybrid” series has clearly come a long way.

This light features the Luminus SFT-40-W emitter, which is a low-profile “flat window” emitter (i.e., no dome). This translates into better throw, typically at the expense of some output. Let’s see how it does in my testing.

Manufacturer Specifications

Note: as always, these are simply what the manufacturer provides – scroll down to see my actual testing results.

FeatureSpecs
MakerNitecore
ModelMH12SE
EmitterSFT40-W
Tint-
Max Output (Lumens)1,800
Min Output (Lumens)1
Max Runtime1,500 hrs
Max Beam Intensity (cd)41,000 cd
Max Beam Distance (m)405 m
Mode Levels5
FlashingStrobe, Beacon, SOS
Battery1x21700
Weight (w/o battery)80 g
Weight (with battery)-
Length141 mm
Head Diameter25.4 mm
Body Diameter25.4 mm
WaterproofIP68 2m

Package Details






The MH12SE package is very comparable to the “premium” P20iX in terms of extras, except it comes a standard thin cardboard box, colourfully printed with information on the light. Inside you will find the following:

  • Nitecore MH12SE flashlight
  • Nitecore-branded 5000mAh 21700 battery (NL2150)
  • 1×18650/2xCR123A battery holder
  • Tactical belt holster (NTH10)
  • Wrist lanyard
  • Pocket clip
  • USB-C charging cable
  • Spare O-ring
  • Manual

That’s a nice package, including everything you would need for the light. I particularly like seeing the belt holster, as that is always my preferred mode of carry (and very rare to see nowadays). This hard plastic model seems to hold the light securely, and allows for quick grab, pull and release.

Build


From left to right: LiitoKala 21700 (5000mAh), Fenix ARB-L21-5000U 21700 (5000mAh), Sofirm IF25A, Fenix E35 v3, Convoy S21E, Imalent MS03, Armytek Wizard C2 Pro Max, Acebeam E70, Nitecore P20iX, Nitecore MH12SE, Lumintop D3, Convoy M21F.








The MH12SE is a bit longer than most flashlights in this class, likely due to the use of an actual forward clicky switch. It has narrow head, and fits well into the bundled holster.  I find it fits and works comfortably in the hand – I don’t find it too long (although I do have large hands).

It’s great to see a forward tail clicky switch again – I’ve always had a fondness for this format. You use this clicky switch as your main switch for on/off operation and signaling, with a secondary electronic switch to cycles modes. Feel and traverse of the main switch is good, for both momentary (half-press) and clicked-on. The secondary switch is electronic, with a fairly typical feel.

Note that since the primary switch protrudes, tailstanding is not possible, and accidental activation is easy. So as always, I strongly recommend you keep the light stored locked out at the tailcap when not in use. A simple twist of the tailcap will do the job, thanks to the anodized screw threads. There is a side cut-out in the tailcap for the wrist lanyard, if you want to use it. The belt clip fits on securely, and comes off without leaving a mark. I believe the clip is intended primary for bezel down carry, but  the light could be carried the other way in a pinch.

The body is fairly smooth overall, but has a good number of rings and cutouts to help with grip. Knurling is not very aggressive – it could be enhanced, but its not unreasonable for a general purpose light. The light can roll fairly easily, but the flat cut-outs in the head help  a little bit with this (the clip would considerably, if you used it).

Anodizing looks to be very good quality, relatively matte in finish. It is advertised as type III (Hard Anodized), and I see no cause to doubt that. I didn’t notice any flaws on my sample.

As you can see above, there is a standard tailspring in the tailcap, and Nitecore uses a standard button-top 21700 cell in this light. This is an advantage over the P20iX, where the dual-switch tailcap design necessitates a custom cell. You can swap in another battery easily enough, and can charge the cell outside the light if you want. Of course, by default, you are expected to charge the battery right inside the light. There is a rubber plug in the head, across from electronic mode switch, that covers the integrated USB-C charging port (cover fits securely, but without too much resistance). I expect waterproofness to be reasonable, but wouldn’t recommend dunking the light in water.

As always, I find the physical build of the MH-series lights from Nitecore to be very good for general purpose use. I really like the bundled MOLLE-compatible holster here, that is a pretty rare accessory.


The SFT-40 emitter is ideal for producing a very throwy beam, thanks to its low profile and lack of dome – even when coupled with a small reflector like this. The glass lens has a mild AR coating, which I rather prefer. The aluminum bezel has some very minor crenelations, so you can tell if the light is on when headstanding.

There is a LED under the electronic switch in the head, which lights up when the light is in use (or charging).

User Interface

The MH12SE features Nitecore’s standard dual user interface (UI) design, referred to as  as Daily Mode and Tactical Mode.

Switching between them is easy (but not something you are likely to do by accident). Press and hold the electronic switch while the light is off, and then press the tail switch while still holding the electronic switch for another ~ 5 secs or so. At that point, the light will flash rapidly (one flash for Daily Mode, two flashes for Tactical Mode).

Simply defined, Daily Mode has 5 constant output levels (Ultralow, Low, Mid, High and Turbo, in sequence) plus three strobe modes (Strove, SOS, and Beacon). The light has mode memory (except for SOS and Beacon). Tactical Mode cycles in the reverse direction from highest to lowest for the 5 constant output modes and Strobe, and does not use memory – the light always comes back on in Turbo.

Let’s start with Daily Mode, then Tactical Mode.

Daily Mode, from OFF:

  • Partial depress Main switch: Momentary On in last memorized mode used
  • Single-click Main switch: Turns On in last memorized mode used (this includes strobe modes, if set)

Daily Mode, from ON:

  • Single-click Main switch: Turns Off
  • Press-and-hold Side switch: Activate strobe modes (Strobe > Beacon > SOS). Release the Side switch to choose the desired strobe. Click the Side switch again to return to the last mode used.
  • Single-click Side switch: Move up to the next constant output level (Ultralow > Low > Mid > High > Turbo).

Tactical Mode, from OFF:

  • Partial depress Main switch: Momentary On in Turbo (no memory)
  • Single-click Main switch: Turbo (no memory)

Tactical Mode, from ON:

  • Single-click Main switch: Turns Off
  • Press-and-hold Side switch: Strobe (only, no other blinky modes). Press the side switch again to return to the last mode used.
  • Single-click Side switch: Move down to the next lower constant output level (Turbo > High > Mid > Low > Ultralow).

Switch to/from Daily or Tactical Modes, from Off:

  • Hold down Side switch and single-click Main switch while continuing to hold down Side switch for ~ 5 secs (flashes once for Daily Mode, twice for Tactical Mode, and then turns on at start of constant output ramp for that mode).

Shortcuts:

None.

Mode memory:

Yes, but only in Daily Mode, and for all output levels (i.e., constant output modes and strobe modes).

Strobe/Blinking modes:

Yes; Strobe, Beacon and SOS.

Low Voltage warning:

Yes. There is a power LED indicator under the side switch in the head that remains lit while the flashlight is in use – and will flash every two seconds once the battery is more than 50% drained.

Lock-out mode:

Yes, but only by physically locking out the light at the tailcap.

Temperature regulation control:

Yes. This light features Nitecore’s proprietary “Advanced Temperature Regulation” (ATR) control. It should keep the temperature within a reasonable range.

Reviewer Comments:

This is reasonable dual physical/electronic switch interface, with a good number of options. Personally, I like Daily Mode with its memory feature – although I don’t like having to cycle through Strobe to get to Beacon, and would have liked to be able to jump to Ultralow or Turbo by a shortcut.

Circuit Measures

Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM):

There is no sign of PWM on any level, the circuit appears to be fully current-controlled.

It’s actually refreshing to see no high-frequency circuit noise – it isn’t visible to the eye, but it is something that I’m seeing more commonly on modern lights. Glad to see its absence here.

Ultra Lo:
Ultra Lo

Lo:
Lo

Med:
Med

High:
Hi

Turbo:

Looking good!

Strobe:
Strobe
Strobe
Strobe

Strobe mode oscillates between a 15 Hz and 16 Hz strobe, with two different pulse durations (switching every two seconds or so). Note that both strobes are unusual, as they spends more time in the on-state than the off-state on each cycle. It is certainly very disorienting.

SOS:
SOS

Beacon:
Beacon

Beacon mode flashes approximately once every 2 seconds or so.

Charging:

Like the P20iX, the MH12SE uses a single-current charging feature, with a very fast-charging 2.0A rate. I normally like to see a two-stage charging implementation. But it is hard to over-discharge the cell given that the light steps down and eventually shuts off as the cell drains.

Standby / Parasitic Drain:

There is no standby drain on this light, thanks to the physical clicky switch.

That said, I always recommend you lock the light out when not in use to prevent accidental activation. A single twist of the tailcap will lock out this light, thanks to the anodized screw threads.

Emitter Measures

This section is a new feature of my reviews, where I directly measure key emitter characteristics in terms of colour temperature, tint, and colour rendition. Please see my Emitter Measures page to learn more about what these terms mean, and how I am measuring them.

As explained on that page, since I am using an inexpensive uncalibrated device, you can only make relative comparisons across my reviews (i.e., don’t take these numbers as absolutely accurate values, but as relatively consistent across lights in my testing).

The key measures above are the colour temperature of ~5650K, and the significant positive tint shift (+0.0139 Duv) to green-yellow at this temperature.

For CRI (Ra), I measured a combined score of 67.

These values are well within the range for SFT-40-W emitters, and match my visual experience of this light.

Beamshots

All outdoor beamshots are taken on my Canon PowerShot S5 IS at f/2.7, 0.5 secs exposure, ISO 400, daylight white balance. The bend in the road is approximately 40 meters (~45 yards) from the camera. Learn more about my outdoor beamshots here (scroll down for the floody light position used in this review).

Click on any thumbnail image below to open a full size image in a new window. You can then easily compare beams by switching between tabs.



As you can see above, the beam pattern for the MH12SE is very throwy, as expected for a SFT-40 emitter. Indeed, compared to the SFT-40-equipped Convoy S21E, the MS12SE is even more focused for throw (and with less intense spill).

Testing Results

My summary tables are generally reported in a manner consistent with the ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. In addition to the links above, please see my output measures page for more background.

All my output numbers are based on my home-made lightbox setup. As explained on that methodology page, I have devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values to estimated lumens. My Peak Intensity/Beam Distance are directly measured with a NIST-certified Extech EA31 lightmeter.

MH12SE Testing Results

ModeSpec LumensEstimated Lumens @0secEstimated Lumens @30 secsBeam Intensity @0secBeam Intensity @30secsBeam Distance @30secsPWM/Strobe FreqNoise FreqCharging Current <3VCharging Current >3VParasitic DrainWeight w/o BatteryWeight with Battery
Ultralow10.80.8---NoNo2.0 A2.0 ANo80 g151 g---
Low455454---NoNo2.0 A2.0 ANo80 g151 g---
Mid260320310---NoNo2.0 A2.0 ANo80 g151 g---
High1,0501,0001,000---NoNo2.0 A2.0 ANo80 g151 g5,6510.0139-
Turbo1,8002,1001,50048,600 cd35,400 cd376 mNoNo2.0 A2.0 ANo80 g151 g---
Strobe1,800-----16-20 HzNo2.0 A2.0 ANo80 g151 g---
Beacon1,800-----0.5z HzNo2.0 A2.0 ANo80 g151 g---
SOS1,800------No2.0 A2.0 ANo80 g151 g---

I know my lightbox tends to produce higher results than some, but there seems to be a pretty good concordance to the published specs. I like seeing ~0.8 lumen Ultralow mode – close enough to be considered Moonlight.

Beam distance measurement is very good, demonstrating significant throw (but not quite up to the level of the reported specs).

To see full testing results for all modern lights in my testing, check out my Database page.

Runtimes

As always, my runtimes are done under a small cooling fan, for safety and consistency. To learn more about how to interpret runtime graphs, see my runtimes methodology page.

Max

Hi

Med

Not surprisingly, given the small mass in the head, both Turbo and High ramp down to a lower ~800 lumen level fairly quickly. This is consistent with other compact lights that also can’t sustain super-high outputs for long.

The Convoy S21E with a SFT-40 is obviously the closest comparable to this light – and as you can see, the MH12SE has a noticeable output advantage over the S21E for equivalent runtime. This is an excellent result, showing excellent output/runtime efficiency.

The regulation pattern not as stable as I would like, with a “noisy” appearance at the highest two levels. But that is not as much of of an issue as it appears, since it not noticeable at physiological timescales. To demonstrate, here is a blow up of a period the Hi mode runtime during a period of maximal fluctuations:

Hi

While not perfectly flat, it is no more than a ~5% change in output over time, with a gradual transition (i.e., this change isn’t fast or significant enough to be noticeable by eye).

In any case, the MH12SE shows a good regulation pattern overall, with a series of step-downs to lower levels once the battery is almost drained.

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Light has excellent output/runtime efficiency, at all levelsTurbo and Higher modes both ramp down to a reduced Hi level fairly quickly, due to heat.
Circuit shows good regulation overall, with thermally-mediated ramp down on Turbo/High, and step-downs as the battery is almost drained.The reduced Hi level shows a variable change in output (i.e., not completely stable).
Uses a dual switch design, with physical tailcap clicky for on/off.Has an very good "Ultra-low" level that could serve as a moonlight mode.
Good build quality and hand feel.

Overall Rating

Preliminary Conclusions

This MH12SE has performed very well in my testing. You get excellent overall output/runtime efficiency, with a reasonable set of output levels (including a <1 lumen level). The dual user interface – with a fairly standard set of levels and mode memory, and a “tactical” set – is well implemented with the dual physical clicky switch and electronic side switch. Build quality is solid, with decent hand feel. And it offers a surprisingly throwy beam in such a small light, thanks the SFT-40 emitter.

There are a few things to keep in mind however. Max output quickly settles down to ~800 lumens on both Hi and Turbo, due to low thermal mass of the light (so there are not as many discrete levels as first appears). The regulation is not as flat as I would like at this point either, but the fluctuations are not something you can see by eye (and efficiency is still excellent).

Like in my P20iX review, I like the dual user interface setup, especially coupled with the forward physical clicky switch. That is of course more of a personal preference – but it is helpful in a “tactical” light. And one advantage here is that a standard 21700 battery is used, which means you can swap in/out other cells, and charge outside the light if you prefer (although the in-light charging worked well, with a good charging rate).

At the end of the day, this is an excellent performer, with good ergonomics and build quality. I’m giving a half-star advantage over the P20iX – mainly for the standard battery – but either light is a strong contender for the class, it all just depends if you want throw (MH12SE) or flood (P20iX).

Acknowledgement

The MH12SE was provided for review by Nitecore. All opinions are my own however, and the light received the same rigourous and objective testing as all other lights that I have reviewed. At the time of review, this light retails for ~$100 USD (~$140 CDN).

Acebeam E70

The E70 is a compact every-day-carry style flashlight, with modestly high output, running on an included single 21700 battery. Features a rakish looking design typically associated with custom lights.

  1. Introduction
  2. Manufacturer Specifications
  3. Package Details
  4. Build
  5. User Interface
  6. Circuit Measures
  7. Emitter Measures
  8. Beamshots
  9. Testing Results
  10. Runtimes
  11. Pros and Cons
  12. Overall Rating
  13. Preliminary Conclusions
  14. Acknowledgement

Introduction

I’ve long been a fan of Acebeam lights (or Supbeam, in their original incarnation). I’ve always found their lights to be solid offerings, very well made, with efficient current-controlled circuits and well-thought out interfaces. So, upon my recent return to reviewing, I was glad to see that they are still around, and producing new lights.

The E70 is their relatively compact 1×21700 light, with an included 21700 cell. Let’s see what it has to offer, relative to the competition.

Manufacturer Specifications

Note: as always, these are simply what the manufacturer provides – scroll down to see my actual testing results.

FeatureSpecs
MakerAcebeam
ModelE70
EmitterXHP70.2
Tint6500K
Max Output (Lumens)4600
Min Output (Lumens)1
Max Runtime11 days
Max Beam Intensity14,400 cd
Max Beam Distance240 m
Mode Levels6
FlashingStrobe
Battery1x21700
Weight (w/o battery)102g
Weight (with battery)-
Length128.3 mm
Head Diameter30 mm
Body Diameter27 mm
WaterproofIP68 2m

Package Details

20221013_123926
20221013_123942
(edited) 20221013_124116

The E70 is shipped in a nice cardboard display box. Inside, you will find the following:

  • Acebeam E70 flashlight, with attached clip (Torx screws)
  • Lanyard
  • Pouch
  • 21700 battery
  • USB-C charging cable
  • Extra o-rings
  • Warranty card,
  • Manual

It’s a reasonable package of accessories, but I would personally like to see a belt holster as well (although I noticed that is very rare nowadays). Note that according to the box labels, multiple tint options are available. I have the standard 6500K cool white tint to review.

Build

20230402_162025
From left to right: LiitoKala 21700 (5000mAh), Fenix ARB-L21-5000U 21700 (5000mAh), Sofirm IF25A, Fenix E35 v3, Convoy S21E, Imalent MS03, Armytek Wizard C2 Pro Max, Acebeam E70, Nitecore P20iX, Nitecore MH12SE, Lumintop D3, Convoy M21F.

20221013_124346
20221013_124400
20221013_124310
20221013_124430
20221013_124441

Well, that is a pretty unique design! the flashlight is double-walled, with the inner wall a very pleasing electric blue colour (visible through the slanted cut-outs along the outside wall).  This light is also available in a stainless steel version, which must be particularly stunning. I personally prefer aluminum lights, for the lighter weight and ability to lock out the light (thanks to the anodized threads, as seen here).

The extra wall thickness and larger head make this light a little larger than most in this class, which may be an issue for you if you are looking for something very compact. I have relatively large hands though, so I find the ergonomics to be good.

The rear switch is electronic in nature, with a stainless steel switch cover. Feel and traverse of the switch is good, and easy to activate even if you don’t hit it dead-on. Thanks to the raised tail cut-outs, the light can still tailstand stably. I found the design and interface very easy to use in my testing.

The light lacks traditional knurling, but the cut-outs in the exterior wall produce the same basic effect, along with circular indents on the head. A very rakish design. Note that this double-walled design does produce a certain “hollow” feel when you tap on it, but that’s a minor point.

The pocket clip is firmly attached, and helps further with grip. It is not reversible, and can only be used for downward carry.

Hard anodizing looks to be good quality (as is typical for Acebeam), and is more on the matte side (which I personally prefer, not a fan of glossy lights). As previously mentioned, threads are anodized, so you can lock out the light by a twist of the head.

The light lacks a USB-C charging port on the body, but there is one built into the bundled battery. There is a charging LED on the battery. Given the extra length of these batteries, you’ll have to stick with ones that include such a port. And you don’t want them to be too long (e.g., I found I couldn’t screw closed the head if I used the longer Fenix battery with integrated USB-C charger).

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20221013_124250
20221013_150930

The light uses a Cree XHP70.2, so you can expect a good amount of output. You can also expect a relatively floody light, thanks to the larger emitter die. Reflector is textured, and reasonably deep for a compact light like this.

Unfortunately, you can also expect some colour distortions in the beam as these are common with the xx.2 HD editions of the Cree XHP series. The mineral glass lens also has a purple anti-reflective (AR) coating, which enhances the purple fringing on the periphery of the beam, as shown above. At least they didn’t go too heavy on the coating – while the fringing is noticeable, I don’t find it too bad in actual use (scroll down for beamshots). I would recommend that they switch to a light green AR coating, which is far less noticeable. I haven’t observed any significant tint shifting across output levels at least.

The bezel has small scalloped crenelations on it, so you can tell if the light is on when head-standing. I haven’t tried it using it as a weapon, but I imagine it would be rather unpleasant to be struck with the business end of this light.

Overall, I find this to be a snazzy looking light with decent ergonomics and a good beam pattern. It fits well in the hand, but is a bit larger than most in the class. A stylish build in the 1×21700 EDC class.

User Interface

The E70 uses a single tail-mounted electronic switch to control the flashlight. Available constant output modes, as per the manufacturer labels, are: Ultralow (which I will refer to as Moonlight throughout this review), Low, Med1, Med2, Hi, Turbo. There is one blinking mode outside the main sequence: Strobe.

From OFF:

  • Press and hold: Moonlight (release after light activates to maintain Moonlight)
  • Single click: Nothing
  • Double click: Turns on in last mode used
  • Triple click: Strobe
  • 5 clicks: Activates lockout mode. Note the light will activate in Moonlight for ~3 secs, then flash three times, turn off and lock itself out. Press and hold 3 secs to disable lockout (or loosen-tighten the tailcap)

From ON:

  • Press and hold: Cycles through all the modes from Low to High (note that Turbo and Moonlight are not part of the main cycle)
  • Double click: Turbo (and a repeated double-click returns you to the previously used mode)
  • Triple click: Strobe

Shortcuts:

  • To Turbo: Double click from On to enter Turbo (or double-click twice from Off)
  • To Moonlight: Press and hold from Off
  • To Strobe: Triple-click from either On or Off
  • To Lockout: Press and hold the switch for more than 5 secs. Press and hold 3 secs to disable (or loosen-tighten the tailcap)

 

Mode memory:

Yes. The light remembers the last constant output used, and returns to it next time you turn on it (with the exception of Moonlight and Turbo).

Low battery warning:

No, not that I have observed.

Reviewer Comments:

This is a very decent interface. About the only thing I don’t like is the need to double click to turn on (not sure why single click wasn’t used, perhaps to avoid accidental activation?). Still, it isn’t too hard to remember this little quirk, and the worst thing that will happen is the light won’t come in with a single click.  Alternatively, a press and hold will activate in Moonlight, and you can always cycle through to the main modes from there.

Note that Turbo requires a double click to enter, and ramps down automatically after about a min or so (scroll down for runtimes). And I’m glad to see the Moonlight mode here (see Testing Results for more info).

Circuit Measures

Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM):

E70-Lo

There is no sign of PWM or circuit noise at any level. The light appears to be fully constant-current controlled. 🙂

Strobe:

E70-strobe

Strobe frequency is a reasonably fast 8.5 Hz. Certainly annoying, but not as bad as some.

Charging:
20221013_142210

Resting voltage <3.0V
E70-charging1

Resting voltage >3.0V
E70-charging2
The Acebeam 21700 battery shows an initial low USB-C charging current of 0.09A when the cell is heavily depleted (<3.0V resting), which jumps up to 0.60A once the cell is >3.0V resting. This two-current charging is a good design, and indicates a safe integrated charging circuit. However, the max charging rate is lower than most lights in this class, so it will take longer to fully charge the battery.

Standby / Parasitic Drain:

I have recently re-tested the standby current with an improved setup, and measured 0.152 mA.

This is reasonably low, and not much of a concern in practice (i.e., it would take 3.75 years to fully drain the battery). Still, I suggest you lock the light out when not in use to prevent accidental activation and completely cut this standby drain. A single twist of the head will lock out this light, thanks to the anodized screw threads.

Emitter Measures

This section is a new feature of my reviews, where I directly measure key emitter characteristics in terms of colour temperature, tint, and colour rendition. Please see my Emitter Measures page to learn more about what these terms mean, and how I am measuring them.

As explained on that page, since I am using an inexpensive uncalibrated device, you can only make relative comparisons across my reviews (i.e., don’t take these numbers as absolutely accurate values, but as relatively consistent across lights in my testing).

The key measures above are the colour temperature of ~5605K, and the noticeable positive tint shift (+0.0116 Duv) to yellow-green at this temperature.

For CRI (Ra), I measured a combined score of 63.

These results are very consistent with cool-white XHP70.2 emitters, and match my visual experience of this light.

Beamshots

All outdoor beamshots are taken on my Canon PowerShot S5 IS at f/2.7, 0.5 secs exposure, ISO 400, daylight white balance. The bend in the road is approximately 40 meters (~45 yards) from the camera. Learn more about my outdoor beamshots here (scroll down for the floody light position used in this review).

Click on any thumbnail image below to open a full size image in a new window. You can then easily compare beams by switching between tabs.



In practice, the yellow-green tint shifting in the corona to mid-spill area of the spillbeam isn’t that noticeable in a natural environment (well, it would be on snow). The purple fringing in the periphery is noticeable but not too distracting. I would recommend they switch to a green AR coating, to minimize the purple (although this would accentuate green in the mid-spill).

Testing Results

My summary tables are generally reported in a manner consistent with the ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. In addition to the links above, please see my output measures page for more background.

All my output numbers are based on my home-made lightbox setup. As explained on that methodology page, I have devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values to estimated lumens. My Peak Intensity/Beam Distance are directly measured with a NIST-certified Extech EA31 lightmeter.

E70 Testing Results

ModeSpec LumensEstimated Lumens @0secEstimated Lumens @30 secsBeam Intensity @0secBeam Intensity @30secsBeam Distance @30secsPWM/Strobe FreqNoise FreqCharging Current <3VCharging Current >3VParasitic DrainWeight w/o BatteryWeight with Battery
Ultralow11.01.0---NoNo0.09 A0.60 A1.8 mA101 g175 g
Low505555---NoNo0.09 A0.60 A1.8 mA101 g175 g
Med1180180180---NoNo0.09 A0.60 A1.8 mA101 g175 g
Med2650550550---NoNo0.09 A0.60 A1.8 mA101 g175 g
Hi1,3001,3001,300---NoNo0.09 A0.60 A1.8 mA101 g175 g
Turbo4,6004,2004,00013,800 cd13,200 cd230 mNoNo0.09 A0.60 A1.8 mA101 g175 g
Strobe1,650-----8.4 HzNo0.09 A0.60 A1.8 mA101 g175 g

To see full testing results for all modern lights in my testing, check out my Database page.

Runtimes

As always, my runtimes are done under a small cooling fan, for safety and consistency. To learn more about how to interpret runtime graphs, see my runtimes methodology page.

E70-max

E35-Hi

E35-Med

As you can see above, the E70 is extremely efficient at all levels tested, consistent with a good current-controlled circuit.

To better show the timed step-down feature on Turbo, here is the max output runtime expanded to show the first few minutes:

E35-Max-Expanded

The output rapidly ramps down just before the 1 minute mark, over a period of 30 secs or so. This is quite reasonable, given how the hard the light is driven for the first minute. It also gets quite warm in the hand by the point it starts to ramp down.

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Excellent current-controlled efficiency, with flat and stable regulation in all modesDouble-click to turn on is unusual, and deprives the option of an extra shortcut (e.g. to Turbo)
Great range of output levels, including Turbo and MoonlightSlightly larger than most compact 1x21700 lights
Nicely balanced beam profile with lots of spillStandby drain higher than typical, requiring you to lock-out the light when not in use.
Comfortable to hold in the handSome colour distortions in the beam due to the XHP70.2 HD emitter, plus purple fringing at the edge of the spillbeam due to the AR lens coating
Included high-capacity battery with USB-C charging port

Overall Rating

Preliminary Conclusions

I really like the design and features of this light. It is comfortable to hold and operate, and it has a great range of well-regulated and highly efficient output levels (from Turbo to Moonlight). It’s nice to see Acebeam has kept its commitment to using good current-controlled drivers.

The beam pattern is very useful, with a nice big hotspot and tons of spill. However, the XHP70.2 HD emitter used here produces greater tint shifting across the spillbeam than most emitters, which is being accentuated by the purple AR coating on the lens of this model. But it’s not too bad on my specimen, probably due to the heavily textured reflector which helps even things out. And I’m really glad to see the ~1 lumen Moonlight mode here – it’s incredibly useful for dark adapted eyes, and something I (sadly) rarely see any more.

The E70 is a bit larger than some in the class, but I find it actually fits in my large sized hands well. Your experience may differ though, so I could see how this could be a drawback for some. And appearance will always be subjective, but I find it looks snazzy. Good ergonomics and a great overall package, making it a pleasure to use for me personally.

The dual-level charging is good design feature, although the max charging rate is lower than most in this class. But otherwise, I’m very impressed will all aspects of the circuit performance. The only thing I’m not crazy about is the double-click to turn (as a single click is far more intuitive, and is a loss opportunity to have a Turbo shortcut as most others implement).

Collectively, the relatively minor issues above are enough to knock a half star off the top possible rating. But I would still consider the E70 a top pick in the 1×21700 class of flashlights so far, based on features and performance.

UPDATE May 11, 20223: I originally reported an unusually high parasitic standby drain on my sample, as I was getting inconsistent readings and so went with the highest value. I’ve upgraded my DMM leads and more carefully masked off the surfaces, and am pleased to report much more reasonable (and inconsequential) drain levels consistent with the competition.

Acknowledgement

The E70 was provided for review by Acebeam. All opinions are my own however, and the light received the same rigourous and objective testing as all other lights that I have reviewed. At the time of review, this light retails for ~$75 USD (~$125 CDN).

Acebeam is making available a discount code for readers of my reviews. If you purchase the light from the Acebeam.com website, you can use the code “selfbuilt” (without the quotation marks) for 10% off.