Review: Solarforce X2

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Foy
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Review: Solarforce X2

Solarforce X2: Rhombi Meets Bling

 

As a girl of brief longing once said to adolescentFoy, "I like you and all, but not that way . . ."  rejectionFoy may have also heard, "yes, but not with you . . ."  Such is the case with little lights for me; I'm just not that into sub-14500 size torches.  I do however, have a thing for stainless steel and then there's my epic vanity/need for approval to consider, which requires I maintain a slight superiority of opinion with things Solarforce.  However pretty this shiny girl is and with impartiality thus impugned, objectiveFoy gives the X2 a 3/4 Foyapproval:

Foyapproved

Bottom line:  With above average quality and stainless steel bling, the X2 is easily worth its $19 entry fee.  You won't hate your new X2 but its primaries-only for this lovely lady, which is absolutely a good thing for an EDC torch on your keychain, at night when the battery dies.  Not so much for a flashaholic.  Similar size lights packing lithium can deliver nearly twice the output from the same emitter.  Fair comparison?  Of course not but I can't help wondering how awesome this looker would be were a bit more current involved.  I like the X2, but it will probably end up in Mrs. Foy's purse.  Nothing wrong with that.

rhombi, plural for rhombus, as in the rhombus shaped knurling on the head

What I like:

- gorgeous stainless steel, polished to perfection

- pleasing end-cap design

- heft

- UI (2-mode UI is a Foyfavorite)

- GITD lens O-ring

- value

What I do not like:

- working voltage 1.5v means primaries only

- adequate output

- tint

- exterior scratches too easily

- wobbly tail stander

- arrived pre-distressed

- keep confusing it with the X3

- 1-penny premium for ordering as a set with the X3

 

Solarforce X2 Stainless Steel Keychain Flashlight 1 x AA

$18.99  Solarforce Flashlight Sales  http://www.solarforceflashlight-sales.com/product_detail.php?t=LF&s=26&id=490 

(my X2 was part of the "Keychain Twins" X2 + X3 Flashlight Set: $36.99, one cent more than if I had ordered them separately)

ordered:  4-16-13

received: 4-29-13  (13 days)

"premium" Cree XP-E/R4 emitter

OP reflector

S304 polished stainless steel

designed for a single 1.5 volt AA primary/alkaline battery or a single 1.2 volt NiMH/NiCad rechargeable battery

2-mode user interface: high = 100 lumens (1-hour) low = 20 lumens (4-hours)

head-twist mode selection: off and on within 3-seconds for mode change

copper pill

"structural" reverse polarity protection

"rhombus" head knurling

selected manufacturer specifications/comments:

100 lumens

strengthened ultra clear glass lens with 2-surface coating

waterproof

tail stands (somewhat unsteady)

84.5mm length

17mm diameter

47.5g

what you get for $18.99:

- X2 keychain flashlight

- 15mm keychain ring

- extra 13mm clear O-ring

- extra 13mm black O-ring

- silver lanyard with quick release

 

To provide at least some idea of relative brightness, consider these light meter readings on the desk in my office: (University of Lame, I know but I've yet to build a sphere)

ambient late afternoon light: 10

Match Mod "nano Mag":        18-19  (nichia 219, 103 lumens at 1.7 amp, 1 x Eneloop AAA)

BLF Edition Tank007 E07:     23-24  (Osram ?, approximately 130 lumens at .80 amp with 14500, 1.93 amp with Eneloop)

Xtar WK26:                         37       (XP-E/R3, about 200 lumens at .86 amp with 14500)

Match Mod "Black Beauty":   72       (XP-G/R2/NW, 650 lumens at 2.4 amps with 14500)

Solarforce X2:                   21-22 (XP-E/R4, advertised 100 lumens with Eneloop AA)  Notice how close the lumens Match measured (103 and 19 on my light meter) on Nano Mag are to my light meter reading and Solarforce's lumen rating. (100 and 21-22 on my light meter)  Maybe not so lame as I thought?

 

Foy's X2 came in this nice package but unfortunately, I suspect the plastic holder inside permanently marred the otherwise pristine polished finish.  The damage was extremely minor and I fully understand that maintaining a new appearance with stainless steel under normal use is basically impossible.  I would have preferred however, to at least start out sans scratches.  You'll see how slight they are in some of the pictures . . .

Elegant, might be a good place to start when describing the X2.  Arriving together, comparisons with the smaller X3 are inevitable.  Where the X3 is sized keychain perfect, the X2 might be a bit large in the pocket with keys attached.  It is also quite heavy for its size.  On a normal size torch, the extra weight of stainless steel could be a liability but it feels expensively perfect with the X2 . . .

The X2 is 85mm long or 3 and 3/8 inches, just a few MMs less than the length of Foy's middle finger.  At 17mm, the X2 is also couple MMs smaller in diameter than Foybird . . .

Stainless has a visual strength all by itself, which is why I think the X2 has knockout good looks.  It does feel rather lost in my large hand and I never could shake the feeling that I was holding a large, heavy suppository . . .

You can just about see some of the light surface scaring that I believe occurred during time spent in its plastic packaging.  The gold ring is actually part of the pill and however much the tail "cap" appears that it might unscrew, it doesn't . . .

Solarforce calls the head knurling "rhombus" shaped.  A Wiki search turned up this:  "plural rhombi or rhombuses, is a simple (non-self-intersecting) quadrilateral whose four sides all have the same length."  Makes the X2 kinda cerebral, don't you think?

There's really nothing to dislike but I keep imagining the X2 as something else.  Something better.  Like, it would be great if it were a bit more powerful, using a 3.7 volt li-on or how cool it would be as an 18650 or 26650 version, exactly like this but larger . . .

It was interesting to note that the XP-E equipped X2 with AA battery has similar output to Match's "Nano Mag" with a Nichia and AAA cell. (both are about 100 lumens)

XP-E/R4 emitter with OP reflector has a so-so beam profile with a too-green center spot, evenly fading corona (greener still) surrounded by an uneven, less luminous ring that brightens again into an almost white spill.  Emitter appears perfectly centered . . .

Entire kit, taken apart as far as I'm willing to go this evening . . .

On closer inspection, Foy's XP-E might have some kind of white artifact on the side of the dome.  That may account for the uneven ring around the corona.

Solarforce calls this black washer "structural reverse polarity protection."  In simple terms, it allows the positive nub on top of the battery to make electrical contact while keeping the flat negative end from touching.  And, perhaps putting too much faith in Google translate . . .

Square threads . . .

Tube threads . . .

Instruction "manual."

The X2 asserting its size superiority over the X3.

Beam shots and run times to follow.

 

If this review seems overall negative, then I've fallen a bit short.  This is a very good product and will likely disappoint no one.  It just doesn't do much for Foy, I must say.  Arriving in the same package as the more exciting and much anticipated S1100 probably didn't help but like I said in the beginning; thin form factors are not my bowl of granola.

I hear Mrs. Foy's purse calling . . .

 

hohumFoy

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Edited by: sb56637 on 08/26/2014 - 17:06
photon1k
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Thanks for the review Foy. While you didn't quite give it the middle finger, I feel much the same wayFrown. I think both the X3 and X2 are visually impressive... But that's pretty much where it stops.

I have quite a few AA and AAA lights and I really like them in SS, Ti, and Cu. So when these were released some time ago I almost ordered them before reading the specs. I'm glad I didn't. Two modes in the X2 and one mode in the X3 left me feeling that they were all flash and no light. I really prefer these small lights to be designed for 1.5v because I don't like Li cells in these small sizes, but the lack of modes was the deal breaker.

But they sure are purdy!

lionheart_2281
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It’s a pretty little thing, isn’t it?
All show no go it seems though Sad

Thanks for another premium review mate.

jacktheclipper
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Cool

vas
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Such a disaFoyntment.

sb56637
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Thanks a lot for the review! Frontpage’d and Sticky’d.

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