Xtar ST2 Battery Charger Review (USB-C, Selectable Speed, Dual slot 4.1A Each)

Xtar has introduced their new 2 bay lithium ion based charger and it’s capable of charging 2 cells at 4.1A each from USB-C! It features selectable charging rates too. Thanks to Xtar from sending me this early unit for a quick look and review along with a few high drain batteries to test with.

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/CfM55vl

YouTube Version of this Review:

 

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Packaging

The charger I received was early in the production cycle and didn’t actually come with any of the final retail packaging. The accessories that will be included with the final product are the charger itself, USB-C to C cable, and a USB-A to USB-C cable thats QC3 compliant. 

 

Construction

This charger is designed to charge cells 18650 and larger, primarily 18650, 18700, 20700, 21700, and 26650 batteries. To accomplish this Xtar made a few design changes. Instead of the positive end of the batteries facing the power plug, now the positive end faces the screen which is 180 degrees from pretty much all other chargers. Thankfully this is molded into the fire resistant plastic. They also designed the sliders (at the top) so no smaller batteries will fit, 18650’s are the minimum size. This charger should also charge protected 21700’s. Minimum size the charger accepts is 60mm, and maximum is 77mm. The charge now has temperature sensors on each bay in little metal pads that make direct contact with the batteries. 

The sides pick up the blue theme with accents and the entire thing is made of soft touch flame retardant plastic. There are vents on the back and bottom of the charger to aid in cooling. Overall it’s made pretty well and feels solid. 

As noted before the screen on this charger is on the bottom of it, and while the screen part itself is fairly small. Text is large enough and very clear. The background is a nice deep blue and text is white. The display shows the current voltage of the cell, Percentage of charge, charging speed, and temperature of the cell in centigrade. When you first plug in the charger it will do a test and show the resistance of the cell. 

Below the screen you do have two buttons for each charging slot. These control the charging speed of each slot, with your options being 1A, 2A, or 4.1A. If you hold the button for 1.5 seconds the backlight and LED will turn completely off for night charging, although the red and green LED indicators (Charging/Charged) will stay on. The backlight will go to sleep after a few second under normal operation. 

Here are some photos of the interior of the charger. My only concern is that the wires to the temperature sensor are very thin and I could see these potentially getting caught in the spring or mechanism. 

 

Rather then read out the input and output specs I will throw a picture in here. 

 

Charging via QC3

When charging via QC3, the charger is not capable of charging 2 batteries at 4.1A each. Instead it will charge 2 batteries at a maximum of 2A each. If you drop down to one cell it will charge at 4.1A. There is no indicator on the screen what your power source is, if it’s QC2 or QC3. 

 

Charging via USB-C!

For maximum performance across both bays, the best thing is to use a power supply that capable of at least 40W (measured at the wall) or more via USB-C PD. I used my Innergie 60C charger for my testing because it’s the only USB-C charger I have that could deliver enough power. I tried my Xtar EU4 with USB-C but when loading up 2 batteries it would shut off when I tried to charge both at 4.1A. 

 

When charging 2x 21700 batteries at 4.1A each at the start the charger was drawing 40W @ 0.74A at the wall. The cells started off at 24C. At 7% charger they had heated up to 30C. At 25% charge they were 45C and this was as hot as the charger reported things as getting, and my infrared thermometer measured similar temps. Total time to charge both 4000mAh 31700 batteries from 3.5V to 4.2 was 1 hour 25 minutes.  Terminating voltage was 4.188V

When charging both cells at 2A, I measured a total of 22W of power at the wall, and when charging both at 1A I measured 12W at the wall. These lesser power modes could easily allow you to charge off lesser capable power supplies or using QC3. 

Pro’s

  • USB-C PD! Finally we have a charger utilizing USB-C and PD. QC3 is also an option with a A to C cable.
  • Speed, this is one of the fastest chargers on the market, able to charge at 4.1A on each bay simultaneously. Great for those high capacity 21700’s and 26650’s if you need the speed.
  • Selectable Charger Rate, this is something we need from Xtar’s other chargers such as the X and VC series chargers.
  • Direct and continuous measurement of the temp of the battery, great for safety when charging at such high rates.

 

Con’s

  • When using USB-C you must plug the charger in first then insert the batteries.
  • Cell orientation is backwards from most other chargers with positive terminal facing the user.
  • Unit shuts off when not receiving enough power (USB-C) instead of charging slower or giving a warning. This is kind of frustrating sometimes.
  • Larger Lithium batteries only, Unfortunately this isn’t a perfect one stop charger because it doesn’t support Ni-HM cells or smaller Lithium ion like 18350 or 14500.

 

Conclusion

It’s nice to see a charger finally use USB-C PD and have a battery charger from Xtar that allows you to change the speed of the charge too. The ST2 look a lot like the Xtar Over Slim 4 and has similar specs but with a USB-C input and no USB outputs.

 

To take advantage of the speed of this charger you really need to use USB-C power supply, and it needs to have a fairly large power output. My Xtar EU4 can put out about 45W on USB-C but that wasn’t enough to charge both cells at 4.1A and the charger shut off, and only my 60W charger was enough. 

 

That said, in most applications I don’t recommend charging your larger batteries at 4.1A each, while it’s safe it does heat them up and causes some unnecessary wear and tear, and shortens they life by a small amount. This would be good for a quick top up if speed was necessary or maybe a boost early on in the charging and then turn down the speed as you go. This fast of charging should only be done on high drain batteries. So at 2A charging this charger needs a much less demanding power supply and this is where QC3 or a more modest USB-C charger comes into play. 

 

This is a good charger for those looking for full USB-C support and outright charging performance in a small package and don’t mind not being able to charge smaller then 18650 lithium batteries or Ni-HM cells. 

 

You can pickup the Xtar ST2 at Banggood and get it for $$29.90 using code:YXST2 at bit.ly/2Y4q92D

On on AliExpress from Xtar Directly at bit.ly/2xXy07B

 

Follow Xtar on Social Media. 

https://www.instagram.com/xtar_official/?hl=en

https://www.facebook.com/ShenzhenXTAR/

Astrolux FT01 Review (Cree XHP 50.2, 2215 Lumens, 21700mAh battery)

Astrolux has a new larger light the FT01 with a Cree XHP 50.2 that takes up to a 21700 lithium ion battery and has onboard microUSB charging. Thanks to Banggood for sending this to me to take a look at.

 

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/yoGueKe

YouTube Version of this Review:

Packaging

Packaging on this light is a white cardboard lift off box. It has silver embossed image of the light but no real technical detail except for the sticker on the end denoting the model and color. Inside the light is well protected foam cut to fit the light. It comes with a lanyard, orings, a spare button and the manual. It also comes with a conversion tube that shipped in the light to hold an 18650 battery in the light.  

 

Construction

Starting at the tail cap it has a 3 lobe design that means it tail stands pretty well. You can attach a lanyard to any of the wings. The rubber button is easy to access the mechanical button underneath, and requires a decent amount of force to lock, but momentary comes on sooner. There is no knurling on the tail cap but instead smoothed over flutes, it’s not a lot of grip. Inside there are double springs in the tail cap. There are quite a few fine threads at both ends of the light, the tail section being anodized. The walls of the body tube of the light are quite thick.

 

The body tube has 3 panels of a flat diamond pattern milled into it. These would be fine on an EDC light but are not as grippe as I would like on a tactical light. The head of the light contains just a little area milled for heat dissipation  and aesthetics. The front button feels pretty tactile and has an audible click. The LED under it is used as an indicator when charging. The microUSB port opposite the button for recharging. The cover is very well done, it’s out of the way, and the tab doesn’t catch your finger. The bezel on this light is a a screw on aluminum piece. On mine it’s not round, with one side hanging over the body of the light a little, while the opposite side is a flush fit like I would expect, it has crenelations. The lens is glass and isn’t antireflective from what I can see. The reflector is deep and has an orange peel.  

 

This is a big light in all dimensions for what it is.I measured it at a length of 143mm, 37mm head diameter, and 29mm minimum body diameter. The weight came in with a Sanyo 20700 in it, at 250 grams.

 

I compared the light with a Lumintop ODF30 which uses a 26650 battery and the Lumintop is considerably shorter due to not having a tail switch and recharging but it just shows how big the Astrolux is for what it is.

 

LED/Beamshot

This light has a Cree XHP50.2 in a fairly cool white. My example suffered from pretty bad cree rainbow, the center was the cooler white, but then you got a pronounced green ring, before fading into the cooler white again, not my cup of tea. The reflector is deep, and has an orange peel.

 

Runtime

For my runtime tests I did so with 2 different battery sizes for this light. I used a LG HG2 (3000mAh) for the 18650, and then a Sanyo NCR20700 (4250mAh). Surprisingly both lights had relatively similar total runtimes, about 150 min and 170 min respectively. However the main difference you saw was that runtime after initial step down from turbo. Tubo lasted 2-3 minutes. Then with the 18650 you saw about 45 minutes of high before stepping down due to voltage. With the larger capacity 20700 I saw that high mode last for 65 minutes which is a nice real improvement.

 

UI

This light uses an easy interface. The tail switch is the on/off button and that’s all it does. The front button controls the modes. You have 5 modes in normal operation. Double click to access the shortcut to turbo. From any mode if you press and hold for about 1 second you get strobe. There isn’t memory on this light and it starts on low always.

 

For being marketed as a tactical light I don’t feel like the UI is very tactical. I would prefer a little quicker access to strobe for a tactical light. Having to press on at the tail and then long press on the front switch either takes 2 hands or changing your grip, neigher are ideal.

 

Recharging

Fastest I saw for the built in MicroUSB recharging was 0.72A, which means it took right at 4 and a half hours to charge the a 3000mAh 18650 battery. This is fairly slow by modern standards, I would like to see at least an amp. The side button acts as a power indicator, going red when charging. I will say the charging port cover is well designed, it sits flush and the tab doesn’t catch your hand at all.

 

Pro’s

  • I like that this works with a 21700, 20700, and an 18650 batteries with the included spacer.
  • Minimal branding and the light is available in a sand/gold color as gray and black

 

Con’s

  • It’s big, and heavy for what it is.
  • It’s expensive without a coupon, for not coming with a battery
  • Pretty bad Cree color shift rainbow.

 

Conclusion

It won’t be a big surprise but this isn’t a light I personally enjoy. It’s too big, heavy and the UI is more general purpose then tactical. I like that it comes in colors and you can use the newer larger generation of 21700 batteries. However for tactical useage you won’t find it on my belt or bag.

 

I do think this would be an ok light for someone wanting to get something basic for an older person in their life. It’s larger, and USB rechargeable. You could give it to them, and tell them to just use the tail on/off switch. Low is fairly high powered, and is probably brighter than many alkaline incandescent lights they had previously. The modes are easy to cycle through if they wanted and turning it off and on again resets it. Other then that I generally think there are better options on the market for most applications with this one.

 

Get the Astrolux FT01 for $55 with coupon code: BGDLH at https://goo.gl/ZhjsaA (Affiliate Link)

Wuben T70 Review (4200 Lumens, USB-C, 26650, Choices)

Today on my review table, I have the Wuben T70 4200 lumen flashlight. The light is powered by an included 26650 battery and has USB-C for recharging. Wuben as a brand has been out for a little while but for me this is the first light from them I have had. Thanks to Banggood for sending this to me to look at.

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/n9D0kce
YouTube Version of this Review:

Packaging
A lot of thought was put into the design and perfection of the packaging on the Wuben T70. The outside of the package is a black box with a picture of the light touting the 4200 lumens and a few of the key facts. On the back of the box are some stats, and a runtime chart. The box itself has a magnetic closure on the right hand side. Inside the box the light is nicely held in some laser cut foam, underneath is the paperwork. On the right hand side there is a cardboard box which contains all the accessories. The belt holster is nylon and decent quality, it’s got a plastic D loop, velcro belt loop, and a place for an extra battery on the side. IT also comes with a Wuben branded flat lanyard, and a Wuben branded USB-A to USB-C charging cable, and a pair of extra o’rings. Overall the packaging here is nicer than most other flashlight brands.






Construction
This light is made from Aluminum and anodized in a smooth black semi gloss finish. Starting at the tail cap, the light tail stands well due to the flat tail cap. It has some milled accents in it that serve as grip. Inside the tail spring is double, and beefy. Threads are square cut and smooth, and the oring is large. The lanyard hole is small for the lights diameter, no para cord is fitting through this one. I like that it has a very small battery symbol on the side laser engraved in to tell orientation. More lights should do this. The body tube is glued to the head section of the light. It has lengthwise grooves milled into it that are on the larger side about 4.25mm.





The head section of the light has quite a few milled in areas that act as heat syncs. Flats are milled in for the button and the charging port opposite. The button is surrounded by a silver ring. The button itself is silicone and has a clear W in it so the power indicator LED underneath shows through for battery status.

The charging port opposite is a silicone cover and seems to fit well, I had no air pressure issues with it or having it come loose accidentally. Underneath is a USB-C charging port. The top part of the head has more heat syncs and has 6 design areas milled in. The front strike bezel is raw aluminium with a few machining marks left behind.

Machining quality overall is very good for this price range of light. Edges are chamfered where you expect and a little sharper in others. Overall it creates a nice package, anodizing is good quality too.

Size/Weight/Comparison
Overall max length is 140mm, maximum diameter in the head is 42 mm, minimum diameter is 31mm in the body tube. Weight with the included battery is 256g and the light is IPX68 water rated which is very respectable for onboard charging, Dropping it in water won’t be an issue.

The Lumintop ODF30 is pretty similar in size to the Wuben T70 but without the onboard recharging. Diameter in the head is nearly identical, as is the body tube diameter. The Wuben T70 is about 22mm longer in overall length. I like the extra length of the T70 in my hand and I think it’s a little better balanced light too. See the video for

LED/Runtime/Heat
The Wuben T70 features a Cree XHP 70.2 in Neutral White. It’s a big emitter. The box lists that Wuben plans to offer the light in Warm, Neutral and cool white.

I found the beam to be pleasing for an XHP 70.2, and a good all around beam. The hot spot in the center is relatively large and the spill isn’t too dim. It’s a useful beam for general use. It has some Cree Rainbow being an XHP 70.2, the center is the most neutral white, it goes a bit yellow on the outside of the hotspot, and just slightly blue at the outside edges of the spill.,

The reflector is a nice aggressive orange peel and it has a fairly thick piece of double anti reflective coated glass. Heat is pretty well controlled after 30+ minutes of runtime the light is warm at 104F but not uncomfortable or dangerously hot. It’s large enough that shorter runtimes get a little warmer but nothing to worry about.

Runtime
Turbo Runtime on this light is good for about 3 minutes before the light steps down. This stepdown is significant to about 25% relative output, but remember this is still roughly 1000 lumens. It continues here for a solid 93 minutes before the light steps off sharply at LVP. Overall runtime was 95 minutes from turbo. My runtime test was done with the included 5000mAh Wuben battery.

UI
This light has 2 UI modes, and it’s fairly easy to switch between them. By just triple clicking when the light is on. It confirms you have changed modes by blinking

First is the standard defined mode UI for this light. It’s a Low at 40 lumens, medium at 400, high at 1300, and turbo at 4200. The light has memory so it resumes where you left it when you power it back on. It does have instant access to turbo by pressing and holding when the light is off. I could see this accidently coming on unintentionally but I didn’t have that problem, and losing the tail cap any is a good mechanical lockout. The light has strobe at 4200 lumens, and SOS at 100 lumens. To get to them just double click and single click t o switch between them.

Ramping UI
The ramping UI is also available on this light but it’s got some caveats. It starts on low, and ramps up slowly, blinking at the top, or bottom of the range to let you know where you are. However if you are anywhere in this range that isn’t at the top or bottom and want to go the opposite direction, you can’t you have to go to the end of the range before going backwards. For example if on low and wanting to make the light brighter you click the button and hold and let off when it’s at the desired brightness. Let’s say you have you want to make it less bright, so you press the button again and the brightness continues increasing until you hit turbo at 4200 lumens before you can start decreasing. To further complicate this the light has memory so it can start very bright if that’s the last mode you used.

To improve this it would be simple, like on Narsil firmware just reverse direction when the button is pressed and have it be a little faster.

Charging
The light features USB-C for recharging which is great, but it will only charge with a USB-A to USB-C cable. I tried charging with a USB-C to C cable with various power sources and nothing. This isn’t the first time I have seen this on a USB-C light. Total charge time using a 2A charger, with the included 5000mAh Wuben battery and the supplied USB-A to USB-C cable, was 3 hours 31 minutes.


Pro

  • Nice machining, anodizing, and overall construction.
  • Emitter Tint options including neutral and warm white as well as body color choices.
  • USB-C charging but isn’t USB-C to C compatible like many other lights
  • Includes a 5000mAh 26650 battery.

Con

  • Ramping UI has no reverse, so if the light is too bright you have to go all the way to the brightest to then start to decrease it. It would be more useable if had the ability to ramp down when the button is pressed, like the Emisar D4.
  • Manual needs some polish of a native English speaker.
  • Short Replacement warranty of 15 days. While the light is warrantied for longer for repair 15 days is very short. Registering the product increases this time.

Conclusion
The Wuben T70 is a pretty good light without any major flaws. I can think of a few ways in my opinion to improve the ramping UI, and make it USB-C PD compatible but that’s about it. It feels nice in the hand, and is pretty well balanced with the 26650 battery. I like that it comes in different body colors, and 3 emitter choices. If you are looking for a little larger general purpose light with USB-C recharging that throws pretty well the Wuben T70 would be a nice choice. I am looking forward to reviewing more lights from Wuben in the future to see what l this new brand can do.

Convoy T2 (300 Lumens, AA Powered, Tint Choices)

Convoy has a new design on a small EDC style AA powered flashlight, the Convoy T2. Thanks to Gearbest for sending this to me, let’s take a look.

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/oAr9Fc8

YouTube Version of this Review:

Packaging
Packaging is very minimal on the T2. The light was inside a small bubble wrap bag, inside a generic white box. No instructions or extras were included.

Construction
The T2, is basically a scaled down Convoy S2+ designed to run on AA sized batteries.Physically it’s a pretty generic tail clicky light. The light is made from aluminum and is anodized in a eggshell black. There is standard diamond shaped flat knurling on the tail, body, and head of the light. It’s fairly smooth and non aggressive Threads are square cut and had a bit of grease on them. The tail cap has wings for attaching a lanyard but they are not quite tall enough to allow the light to tail stand as the button stands proud. The button has a bit of texture on it’s silicone surface. The clip unfortunately is not designed for deep carry. It can be mounted on the top or bottom of the body tube, and doesn’t allow much space for thicker material or deep carry.


The body tube contains the same knurling as does the head. The head is very plain and pretty standard. Under the glass lens there is a glow in the dark oring. The lens fairly deep and has an orange peel finish. The LED is nicely centered but there is quite a bit of space around it. A physically larger LED would fit.




Size/Weight
I measured the Length of this light at 93mm, Diameter at 22mm. Weight with an enloop and lanyard is 75g. The light is IPX8 water rated. Length seems about average for a AA light, but it is a bit thicker in diameter.



LED/Beam Pattern/Runtime
The LED in my example is a Cree XPG2 T6-3b at about 5000k. The Same LED is offered in 4200k, and 6500k. I think if I was to get another I would go for the 4200k version. 5000k seems to have a bit of purple tint to my eyes. Beam pattern on this light is good for an edc, it has a larger hotspot, and it gradually spills of to less. Beam distance is about 50 ft at max. On high it’s rated for about 300 lumens.

The light is designed to work on 1.5V, so for my runtime test I ran it on an Eneloop AA battery. Total runtime was right at 45 minutes on high. Strangely the light output increase over the first 25 minutes the light was on. It wasn’t much but my graph clearly shows it. Between 30 and 40 minutes the decline was fast and to nearly zero output.

I also ran the light with a keeppower 14500 battery at higher voltages Overdriving the LED. You don’t notice that many more lumens but the output graph sagged as the voltage decreased upto the 50 minute mark where low voltage protection kicked in on the battery I presume and shut off power flow.

UI
UI on this light needs a bit of a tweak in my opinion. It has 3 constant on modes that equate to 1% of total output, 10% and 100%. These are ok. The light also has memory. What I don’t like is double click to strobe. I find it too easy to accidentally enter strobe when trying to adjust modes quickly. I would prefer no strobe or triple click or long press for strobe if they decided to still have one. I did notice some PWM when on low mode.

 

Pro

  • Well built, similar to other Convoy’s
  • Available in a few different LED tint options.

 

Con

  • Strobe is too easily accessed, I would prefer it removed entirely.
  • PWM is pretty apparent on lower modes.
  • A bit thick for a AA light. No official 14500 support but it does seem to work.
  • Wish the body was available in some of the other Convoy colors.

 

Conclusion
The Convoy T2 is a solid low cost AA style light from an established reliable brand. For me it’s a little generic in it’s look but it functions well. I would prefer a UI that removes strobe or makes it less easy to access.

If you were looking for a low cost light but with a few tint options to give to family members and didn’t want to mess with a lithium option, I think this would be a good option. I am not in love with it as a pocket EDC but it would be a good option to throw in bags or coats for a just in case option with some rechargeable batteries (To prevent corrosion).

Gearbest has provided a coupon to use during their 11.11 sale to get this light at a steep discount. So if your interested this is going to be the best time to pick up this light.

Get it for $11.99 with coupon code “GB$LEDT2” https://goo.gl/17V7dK (

Thrunite Catapult V6 Review (26650 Compact Thrower, MicroUSB Rechargeable)

Today I have a review of the Thrunite Catapult V6. This the 6th generation in Catapult “Thrower” line from Thrunite. It’s compact spotlight style light using a 26650 battery, and is capable of throwing light out to 750 meters and upto 1700 lumens. Thanks to Thrunite for sending this to me to review and evaluate.

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/K0bz2lc
YouTube Version of this Review:

Packaging
Packaging is like similar Thrunite products I have reviewed, it comes in a sturdy brown paper box with minimal information on the outside with only the company name, address, model number and LED designation. In my case it was hand checked Cool White. Inside the light was encased in egg case foam. Accessory wise the light includes a Thrunite branded 5000mAh button top 26650 battery, 2 extra Orings, an extra USB cover, extra inner button rubber, split ring, Thrunite branded Lanyard with split ring, a Holster, and a Micro USB charging cable.




The holster is nicely designed to fit the large head of this light. It’s lightly padded and made of the nylon. There is no DRing and the belt loop is permanently attached. The holster is the way to go if you were wanting to carry this light on your person. The multilanguage manual is brief but does a good job of going over the necessary info in 4 languages (English, German, Chinese, Japanese).

Construction
Construction of the Catapult V6 is on par with other recent Thrunite lights I have looked at such as the TC20. It’s made of nicely machined aluminium and anodized in a black hard semi gloss coating. The tail caps on the Catapult V6 and TC20 look similar. Both are non magnetic and allow the light to tail stand. Each has a small hole for the included lanyard. Its one area where some will want a larger hole for paracord. There isn’t any knurling on the tail cap but I was able to get it off easily. Threads are square cut and lightly lubricated along with an Oring.


The body tube has a large diamond pattern milled around it. This isn’t super grippy but it’s a nice change from a more traditional knurling patterns. The body tube is directional but doesn’t have any polarity markings on it for the battery. This light does come into 3 pieces the tail cap, body tube, and head.

The head is fairly large. The light has a polished steel bezel that can be unscrewed with considerable effort according to others on budget light forums. The lens is large and anti reflective coated glass. The reflector is smooth and deep with the LED nicely centered on a large white PCB. The head has minimal milled out areas The button is metal feeling and has a hole for an indicator LED underneath for charging status. It’s an electric switch and requires medium effort to use.


LED + Beamshots, Runtimes
This light uses a Cree XHP35 HI LED in cool white. According to the box there may be a Neutral White Catapult V6 in the future, however as of now this has not been released. This is a 12V emitter so the light is using a boost driver to get the batteries voltage to that level. It has a working voltage of 2.75V to 4.2V

Supplied with the Thrunite 5000mAh 26650 button top battery. It’s capable of delivering the 8A this light requires when use of Turbo.The light will accept button or flat top batteries without issue.

Outputs are pretty impressive. Turbo is rated for 1700 lumens, high for 960, medium for 180 lumens, low for 22 lumens, and firefly at 0.5 lumens. The light also has strobe that is at 1200 lumens.

The Catapult V6 was able to maintain a longer runtime for quite a while, maintaining above 60% relative output for about 125 minutes. Turbo slowly fell to about 90% relative output over the first 20 minutes which is where the light stepped down and ran for another 40 before stepping down for the remaining 70 minutes. Fall off after that was pretty rapid.

Distance
The beamshot of this light is a spotlight thrower. I found it impressive that even on moonlight mode (0.5 Lumens) it ends up throwing quite well over 10ft on a dark night. Over a longer distance and with higher modes the light beam does spread some but it’s still a spotlight. The distance claim of 750 meters is reasonably accurate. The light does have minimal amount of spill with a hard cut off on the edges. Video is really the best to see this in action. See the YouTube version of this review above.

Compared to Klarus XT32 and other 26650 lights I have
When I compared it to my Klarus XT32 the tint colors are very similar. The Captapult V6 has a little bit larger hotspot and a harder cut off on the spill at distances over 100 yards. I think the Catapult V6 for me in my hand is better balanced and easier to manipulate. I also included a picture of the size of the Catapult V6 in comparisons to other 26650 lights I have.

UI
UI is clear and simple to follow. From off a short press starts the light off in low, and short presses will cycle up in modes to medium and high. When the light is on in any mode double click to shortcut to turbo, double click again takes you to strobe. To access firefly long press from off. The light also has memory and will turn on in the last mode accessed except for firefly, turbo and strobe modes.

USB Recharging
The light also is capable of being recharged via microUSB. This is opposite the electronic switch and is covered with a rubber flap. I had no issues with the flap staying in place. Charge time was a respectable 3 hours 22 minutes from empty to full charge with a maximum rate of 2.14A.

Conclusions
This is one of the more compact throwers on the market for the sub $100 price. It’s a complete package including the battery, light, and recharging cable along with holster and spares. Some of the competitors such as the Emmisar D1S are sold as just the light. Combine the Thrunites fash shipping from the US and complete package I feel like it makes a pretty good value. I like the compact size for a thrower and use of one 26650 battery. I have other throwers that use 2× 18650 and these end up creating a pretty large light thats much less easy to put on a belt or bag. I like the extra diameter too in the Catapult V6.

This would be a nice choice for security guard applications, landowners looking to survey their property at a distance, or hunters trying to spot game. Due to that tight beam it’s not the best choice for a general EDC light or trail hiking in my opinion but that is to be expected. Overall it’s a very nice compact thrower.

Thrunite is offering 20% off if you order this light through their website through June 15th 2018http://www.thrunite.com/thrunite-catapult-v6-mini-thrower-rechargeable-flashlight/ It’s also available on Amazon (at normal prices) but currently out of stock.

Klarus ST10 Review (1100 Lumens, USB Rechargeable, 18650)

The Klarus ST10 is a old name for a newer light from Klarus. The old version was a AA powered light introduced in 2010 that has not been made for many years. This new version is designed with EDC use in mind and uses a 18650 battery, TIR reflector in a compact aluminum body and is USB rechargeable. Thanks to Flashlightz.com(link is external) for sending this to me to take a closer look at.

Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/sXk3F(link is external)
Video Version of this Review:

Construction and Stats
This light uses 6061-T6 Aluminum for it’s construction that’s hard anodized black. It’s more of a mat finish!{width:75%} https://i.imgur.com/mi1KcGD.jpg!:(link is external) https://i.imgur.com/mi1KcGD.jpg(link is external) . This light is reasonably compact for an 18650 light with built in USB recharging  . To accomplish this a few design changes have been made. This light doesn’t have a tail cap that’s removable. It’s part of the body tube. They do have 4 reasonably sized lanyard holes. What I really like is they cut a space out for the lanyard to sit flush so that the light can still tail stand with a lanyard  .

The tail cap is not magnetic but there is space where you could epoxy one on the outside if you wanted.

The body tube is square kneraled not super grippy but decent. The threads are large and square cut 

. It makes it very easy to thread the head on and off. There are fairly stout golden color springs on both sides of the light. On the head there is a spring within a spring 

design that’s unique. The clip is removable and does rotate on the light. It’s pretty stout when trying to remove it. Under normal circumstances it’s not going to come off easily.

The head it’s self is compact. The button is flat and not rubberized. It’s flat and plastic with a small RGB LED in the center 

that’s used as a battery life indicator. It does look to be removable for servicing if you wish. It’s an electronic switch that has a positive detent and does make an audible click. On the opposite of the switch is the USB charging port. It’s covered with a rubberized door that’s attached to the light. The cut out is decently sized 

so it has good compatibility with a wide variety of standard micro USB cables which is a good thing. It also comes with a Klarus branded micro USB cable. More on charging in next section. I measured the overall weight with battery and clip at 108.4g, overall length was 112mm, and width varied between 25-27mm.

LED & UI
This light uses a Cree XM-L2 U2 LED in cool white. No temperature of the tint was given but it’s pretty typical for cool white, not extremely cool. 

The light has a TIR optic sitting on top of the LED which produces a hot center with decent spill as you would expect. At close ranges 5” or less you get a hole in the direct center of the beam. This goes away at normal distances. There is then a glass lens with anti reflective coating on top of the optic. Front front bezel is flat and looks removable but I would guess it has some type of lock tight holding it down protecting the lights IPX8 water rating. This light ends up throwing decently for it’s short size. They rate it at 115M throw and in my testing it does that pretty easily.

Output and Runtime
This light has 4 main modes, and no moonlight unfortunately. It’s a feature I like to see on EDC style lights. Low is rated at 10 Lumens for 200 hours. Medium is rated for 100 Lumens for 18 hours, High is 400 Lumens for 4 hours, and Turbo is 1100 lumens for 1.5 hours. 

These numbers were supplied by Klarus, using their 16340 battery. No numbers were given for 18650. This light does have temperature regulation in place and will switch down modes as the light

heats up. In my runtime graph you can see that actively happening after about 10 minutes, output drops to about 55% relative output and the light cools, and it goes up to about 70% output, and seasawas a few times. As the battery depletes this stops happening after about 25 minutes of runtime. After 100 minutes the light decreases slowly significantly over about 10 minutes to about 10% output where it runs for another 10 minutes and then runs on low for a while longer. I stopped the test at 180 minutes where it was still making light but very little. There is also strobe mode at the full 1100 lumens, and SOS at only 100 lumens.

UI
UI on this Klarus ST10 is simple, The light has memory and will remember any of the constant on modes for quite a while. When it does start out it’s on low. When on you just single click to move up in modes, long press to turn off.

I dislike that it has a double click when on goes to strobe. On most lights this takes you to turbo but not here. Strobe isn’t a feature I use often so it’s a little frustrating to expect turbo and get strobe. When in strobe double click again to enter SOS, single click to exit. The light does offer a lockout mode with the switch. Press and hold 5 seconds to lock, then quick press 3 times to unlock. The light flashes twice to indicate lock or unlock.

USB Charging
This light comes with a branded Klarus 2600mah battery. This is a button top cell with protection. The light will also work with flat tops and unprotected cells as well as charge them thanks to the dual spring design inside the light. I like that the USB charging area is large enough to fit a wide variety of common micro USB cables and that a cable is supplied in the package. When charging the power button up front goes red when charging, and green when it’s completely charged. If you see if flashing something is incompatible or there is a problem.

Up front on the button is the battery charge indicator. During use of the light it will light for 5 seconds and then turn off to show power level. Green is between 70-100%, Orange is between 70-30%, and red is from 30% to 10%. Flashing red is below 10% power remaining and you should charge the light.

Working voltage is 2.5V – 8.4V so it will work with 2 CR123a or 18350 (but it isn’t designed to charge them). I like that the light has options for power, just in case that’s all you have.I measure Parasitic Drain at a stable 7.98mAh which is acceptable.

EDC
As an EDC this is a decent option. It’s not too thick diameter, and the clip is pretty good. I didn’t have problems with it coming on in my pocket without using lockout. I like the clip https://i.imgur.com/JozKq8R.jpg(link is external) despite it not being super deep carry I typically like. I do wish there was more resistance on controlling it’s rotation. Mode spacing is pretty even no major jumps, I wish it did have a moonlight option and a direct jump to turbo (Double or triple click). USB recharging makes it convenient to recharge most places too.

Packaging
The packaging is a full retail box.

It’s on the smaller side which is nice. On the outside you have all the important facts such as beam distance, Brightness, water resistant (IPX8) etc. Inside is a plastic try where the light sits. It’s packaged with a lanyard, Klarus branded micro USB cable, and the included 2600mah battery.  No holster is included with this light.

Pro’s

  • I like the little LED under the power button that changes color and acts as a battery level indicator.
  • It has a wide working voltage which gives lots of battery options (18350 & 16340) and will recharge any standard 18650.
  • 1A charging speed over USB.
  • I like they thought to include a cut out in the tail cap to allow the lanyard to pass through and the light still tail stand.

Con’s

  • Reusing the name of an old product that’s quite a bit different isn’t the best marketing move by Klarus.
  • I dislike the double click to strobe, and would prefer it go to turbo.
  • I like that it comes with a battery but I feel like in 2018 the baseline should be 3000mah minimum.
  • I wish a warmer LED, or High CRI option was available. I prefer these for EDC use.
  • Magnetic tail would be nice

Conclusion
Klarus hasn’t always been my favorite brand, but I like this little light for the most part. I wish the UI was a bit different for an EDC but it’s a trend in the right direction for Klarus. The price point seems to be right too with it being available from FlashlightZ for under $50 for the complete kit. Klarus put some thought into the design of this light to make a good EDC, with features that are popular for the general public looking to get into lithium powered lights at an affordable price range. As an enthusiast there are a few things I would change but I can live without them too. Check out the link in the description below to see more about this light and where you can pick it up on FlashlightZ(link is external) website or Amazon(link is external).

Sofirn C8F Review and Discount

Here is my review of the Sofirn C8F Tripple LED Flashlight. You can read this review on Reddit at https://www.reddit.com/r/flashlight/comments/7okpiq/reviewsofirn_c8f_triple_xpl_nw_written_video/

Find the Sofirn C8F on Amazon at http://amzn.to/2CYZ2x6  Use the Code Q9ZWHJVR to save 20% off the purchase price.

 

 

Klarus Mi1C Review

The Klarus Mi1C is a small EDC style light with a great pocket clip. It includes a rechargeable 16340 battery that has an onboard microUSB connector for recharging. Thanks to Bestlight.IO for sending me this light to take a look at. Use the code LIQUID at checkout to save 10% on your order.

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/JlKb6
The Video version of this Review:

Size & Construction
This is a very small light https://i.imgur.com/aMdafMR.jpg 54.60mm in length https://i.imgur.com/3z8qTyb.jpg to be exact and 21.8mm in diameter to be exact. Weight came in at 1.55 ounces with battery and clip. It’s made of aluminium that is very nicely anodized a black finish with low gloss. The body has a nice texture on the battery tube and the tail cap has flat spots to help you unscrew it. The tailcap is also magnetic and decently strong. The head is ribbed. If I compare it to my Olight Smini here it’s identical in size.

This light breaks down into 3 major pieces, the bezel can be unscrewed with a lock ring pliers. There are springs on both sides of this light. The magnet in the tail can be easily removed (Just remove the spring) https://i.imgur.com/795TSUE.jpg The clip is removable and fully adjustable anywhere around the light. Overall it’s a fantastic clip for EDC. https://i.imgur.com/dqkBdyo.jpg

LED and modes
The LED in use in this light is a Cree XP-L HI V3 in cool white. https://i.imgur.com/TM2YsLP.jpg I didn’t observe any off colors in the beam. This light features 4 main modes and 2 flashing modes with soft mode changes in between each mode. There is no direct access High or Low mode. Mode spacing could be improved in my opinion. As you can see in the table https://i.imgur.com/FT1LoSl.jpg there is a big difference between high at 600lm and medium at 45lm. Low is listed at 10 lumens and moonlight is thankfully at 1lm. Strobe is at 600 and oddly SOS is only at 45 lumens. These were all with the 16340 battery. I would have liked to see another mode between High and medium, something like 150 or 200lm as I think it would be very useful.

On High mode I noticed the light flickers slightly at the beginning before it stabilizes. I tried to capture this on video but was unable to, it’s not very noticeable. This light also has a blink system used to show the battery capacity.

Lockout
There seems to be an error maybe due to translation in the manual about lockout mode. I found it hard to get the light out of lockout if I followed the manual until I figured it out. To activate lockout press and hold the button when the light is off, hold through moon light mode and the light will flash 3 times. If you push the button again the light flashes twice showing it’s locked. To unlock press the button 3 times quickly and the light is now unlocked.

Lens
This is a very floody light thanks to it’s drop style lens. https://i.imgur.com/7pxIX0F.jpghttps://i.imgur.com/zpM0yY7.jpg It has no reflector https://i.imgur.com/NHQXve8.jpg to keep it as short as possible. I measured the lens at 16mm in diameter and 5mm tall. Personally I would prefer a TIR style reflector like what’s on the Olight Smini because I prefer that beam pattern for EDC uses.

Night Shots https://youtu.be/iVtaloS5hYs?t=4m31s
Beam Shots for the Klarus and then the Olight

Battery
This light does need a moderately high drain cell in order to get the full 600 lumens for more than a few seconds. Included is a Klarus branded USB rechargeable 16340 battery that’s stated at 700mah. It has a microUSB https://i.imgur.com/3v83YXH.jpg connector built into the top of it. When recharging there is a Red LED on top and when it’s full it turns blue. I measured this battery recharging at 0.33A. I had no complaints with this battery. There is not room for an 18350 battery in this light. The light is compatible with standard CR123a cells as well.
Runtime Graph
Here is a graph of runtime I did on the included battery on a full charge.  As you can see temperature regulation played a pretty big roll in the output of this light with the light stepping down as it got hot. I think an additional mode between high and medium would be a nice compromise between more usable light and heat.


EDC
As an EDC this is pretty darn great. I really like the captured pocket clip https://i.imgur.com/dqkBdyo.jpg that allows for very deep bezel up carry. https://i.imgur.com/MXWky4V.jpg It’s fully rotatable on the light and nicely accommodates jeans that have a larger seam at the top.There is a magnet in the tail that is strong enough to hold the light up but not much more than that.

Package
This looks like a perfect little stocking stuffer to me. It’s like it’s already wrapped up and with a bow. It’s a very nice presentation box. Inside you get 2 extra o rigns the manual and that’s it.

Pro
* Good low lumen mode
* Very well constructed light with excellent anodizing
* Great in the pocket EDC ability, no issues with accidentally turning on.

Cons
* I am just not a big fan of the light output of the lens here. It’s too much a super even flood and has very harsh edges. I would have a more hot center allowing the light to be pointed.
* Mode spacing could be better. It needs something between High (600lm) and Medium (45lm)
* No USB cable included for recharging.
* There seems to be some translation issues in the included manual about lockout mode.

I have an Olight Smini in copper and really like it as an EDC light. It has a TIR style lens which makes a very useful wide beam with a hotter center. The Mi1c I thought would be very comparable and have the added features of a magnet in the tail cap, be lighter and a great clip but instead the super floody nature of the lens kind of turned me off. I used the light out one night when I was out photographing the sunset to navigate down some trails and out of Golden Gate park https://i.imgur.com/TSiTgGR.jpg. It did work for this but I wished I would’ve had my Reylight Ti-Lan I also had brought on my trip instead.. It was good for up close but further away the super even floody beam provided long shadows that made it hard to determine the trail. Part of this is due to the big difference in lumens between high (600) and medium (45).

In all fairness this isn’t a light to take on a hike. In more normal urban EDC use this light did better. It’s worked well to find the screw the went under a piece of furniture, to make sure the mailbox was empty at night, and to avoid spiders in the backyard. It’s clip is fantastic and it’s fantastic as an EDC. It’s lightweight and well built and rechargeable nearly anywhere. With the attractive box it would make a nice stocking stuffer too. Take a look at it on Bestlight.IO.