Wuben is back at it with another Kickstarter project, this time with a smaller version of the side by side X series light using 2X 14500 batteries and 3 LED’s. Wuben sent me this early production prototype to take a look at and help them promote the Kickstarter campaign for the light. The Kickstarter ends December 1st 2022, so if you are watching this before then make sure to check out the link in the description below, and if not ill try to find some links to where you can get it after.
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Link to the Kickstarter
Check out the Kickstarter for the Wuben X-2 Owl at http://bit.ly/3ErUEHf
Packaging & Accessories
Since this was a prototype it didn’t come with a box, or any of the accessories. If you buy one I would expect a full retail box, charging cable, and lanyard at a minimum.
Construction & Design
The looks of the X-2 Owl is similar to the X-1 Falcon that I took a look at a few months ago, but smaller. It’s the same design language as the X-1 headlamp that Wuben also debut in 2022. So more squared off, sharp angles, and kind of a cyber space-aged type look.
The light is made from aluminum and is being offered in 3 color options, a standard black anodizing, a gradient ramp that’s a white fading into blue, and then the “white” MAO version I have here. I’m becoming a fan of the Metal Arc Oxide coating look even though it’s not the most durable finish around. The front and rear pieces are black and I think this is smart as it should help with durability. There are also going to be copper versions, and 4 different anodized titanium versions too. The light is offered in two LED options, the Samsung LH351D, and an Osram P9. Not every LED and body material/color combination are available currently.
The lights are held together with several screws, my Wera Hex Plus 1.5mm keys were able to unscrew them, and there was no thread locker that I could find. The rear specifically says “Do not disassemble” but I had to at least take a peak inside. What I found was a pair of what I assume are 14500 batteries in a pack, labeled as 2000mAh, 3.7v.. I couldn’t fully remove the battery pack so it must be attached to wires inside to the switch and charging port circuitry. I’m guessing removing more of the screws would get this to a place you could actually replace the batteries if you wanted to, but it would be a somewhat complicated process and may involve a soldering iron. Most consumers are not going to do this, even most flashlight enthusiasts.
Edit: I did go ahead and remove some more screws and the battery has wires coming out from it that are soldered directly to the circuit board. Totally replaceable if you should choose to, you just have to work a bit and solder.
The button section appears to be the same as what Wuben used on the X-0, it’s a hatch system that covers the button and the USB-C port cover. It’s an interesting design, and while it doesn’t offer much water protection for the port, the port itself is waterproof. I will note, that because of this design using lockout is a must as this large switch is easy to press when carried in a pocket or bag. The hinged lid for lack of a better word is magnetically attracted. There are 2 sprung silver-colored magnets that it rests on. There was definitely some engineering that went into this.
My prototype didn’t come with any of the retention options that Wuben is promoting on the campaign page. It looks like it has a lanyard option that attaches at the rear on one side with a metal clasp. This lanyard looks like it doubles as an integrated USB-C charging cable too, which is neat.
My light did ship with the large improved clip that’s on the rear of the light. This is a very large clip that takes up the entire rear of the light pretty much. I don’t see myself carrying this in my front pocket, due the size. You could in theory put it in your rear pants pocket (In lockout mode), but I think for many people this will be a light they put in a bag and this is what Wuben shows in their material. The clip works well to fit onto molle webbing, which you might have on a bag or vest. Unfortunately, the clip is facing the wrong direction to clip this on to the top of a hat, the lights a little heavy for that too IMHO.
Size & Weight
I measured the light at 3.35” long, 0.80’ wide, and 1.55” thick. I measured it as 4.33oz with the clip installed. The light is IP68 water and dust rated.
LED & Beam
There are two LED options for the Wuben X-2 Owl. There is the Osram P9 which produces a few more lumens and I believe is a cooler white and the Samsung LH351D emitter which is a more neutral white and high CRI. Each version has 3 of the same LED’s, in a linear setup, each with optics. I have the Samsung LH351D version, and on my Opple Meter I measured the CCT at 4468K, and 96Ra (CRI). DUV was right in the middle, with no green tinge which was nice. The beam here does have a profile that mimics the shape of the physical light at shorter distances, at longer distances it diffuses and is unnoticeable. There is PWM here in all the modes, it’s pretty fast and I can’t see it with my eyes or camera.
Night shots can be found on the video.
Below are the outputs I got at the 30 second mark in terms of outputs and the percentages of claimed outputs with the Samsung LH351D emitter
- Turbo – 1750 – Lumens – 97.2% of Claimed
- High – 312 – Lumens – 78% of Claimed
- Medium – 80 Lumens – 80% of Claimed
- Low – 7 Lumens – 140% of Claimed (Take this with a grain of salt)
Wuben’s official Outputs.
Heat & Runtime
I did my testing with my Owl here that has the Samsung LH351D LED’s. I did this in the default output levels for each mode (they are adjustable). Turbo lasted about 90 seconds and after stepdown was about 600 lumens. This was then very consistent out to 1:17:00 when the light turned off. Max heat during this time was about 43C (Uncooled), at the 40-minute mark.
I also did runtime comparisons with 3 modes, Turbo, High, and Medium. Turbos total runtime was 1:17:00, High was 2:50:00, and medium was out to just shy of 11 hours.
The interface seems to be the same as the X-1 Falcon, so here is what I had written up for that. My light arrived in Lockout mode, so 4 presses of the button unlock or lock the light. Single press to turn on, long press once on to cycle through the 4 main modes. Double press from anywhere to get to turbo. The light does have blinking modes that you can get to from anywhere by triple pressing. Triple press again to cycle between strobe and SOS modes.
The unique aspect of this light is the programming mode, It allows you to adjust the preset value of the 4 main modes by one on Clicking and holding and the light will ramp up slightly and blink when at the top of the range. Just stop when you reach the brightness you want and it will memorize it. There are upper and lower bounds on what each mode will do too. Consult your manual to see the exact ranges and directions.
As mentioned before there are two 1400 Liion batteries internally witht a total capacity of 2000mAh according to Wuben. These are non user replaceable. I did my recharging testing by first running the light untl it shut itself off. I then hooked it up to my tester and in this case used an Xtar 45W USB-C power source (With my own cable rated for 100W), and the light charged in 2:37:00. Max amperage during this time was right at 1A. The charge curve here I felt like was a tad harsh at the beginning, many lights tend to ease into it at the beginning while they are sensing the battery’s charge level, this did’t do that, just straight on with as much as it wanted. I did some subsequent testing and had no trouble charging via USB-C to C, or with chargers supporting USB-C PD. The light will work in Low, Medium, and High while charging. The light will still operate on low, medium and high while charging too.
The X-1 Falcon was a pretty large light, so making a smaller version is a logical step to take. The X-2 Owl I think will be a size that ends up being a better fit for people and a good combination of output with runtime. I’m not sure the switch version here makes a tons of sense, it make the use of lockout mandatory whenever the light is in a bag or pocket. While neat and different accidental activation is really easy if not using lockout modes.
I like that Wuben is offering this in so many colors and materials from the beginning nearly. While I’m not a huge fan of established companies using Kickstarter, this does give them a good method to determine the demand for more specialty materials, or emitters. The LED choice here is good with the LH351D seeming to be the default choice for most lights, it’s a good neutral white, high CRI option. The beam profile is decent despite the emitters being in a line. Too bad here though that the batteries are not more easily replaced, it seems like that would be a fairly simple thing to do, even if you had to use a screwdriver to do it a few years down the road. So overall a solid option, if you want a form factor that’s a bit different or a flashlight that doesn’t look like your typical round light.
The Kickstarter campaign here runs through the end of November 2022, so if you are interested in looking more at it and picking one up check out the link below in the description on where you can find this one. It looks like they are expecting to ship these out pretty soon, in January of 2023, so you won’t have to wait very long.
Link to the Kickstarter
Check out the Kickstarter for the Wuben X-2 Owl at http://bit.ly/3ErUEHf