Review: XTAR UL1 Multi-usage Mini USB Light

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JohnnyMac
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Review: XTAR UL1 Multi-usage Mini USB Light

XTAR Multi-usage Mini USB Light UL1

*XTAR UL1 provided for review by Xtarlight.com

PROS

  • Best USB light I've ever seen or used
  • Really nice tint and smooth beam
  • Solid but lightweight construction
  • Included goose neck extension is long enough to position the light where you need it.
  • 4 excellent modes
  • Doubles as a flashlight if plugged into an external power charger
  • Can be used as a laptop light, map light in your car if plugged into a USB adapter, or versatile room lighting if plugged into a wall wart charger.
  • Excellent heat transfer from emitter to outer body.
  • Choice of two colors: Silver or Electric Blue   

CONS

  • Can put a lot of stress on the USB port of a laptop if hung out further from the side.
  • Gooseneck, while just tight enough, could be a just a little stiffer to be perfect in my opinion
  • My sample had a small bend in the male end of the extension but was easily corrected

MANUFACTURER SPECIFICATIONS

ANSI Illumination levels: Turbo High Mid Low
Luminance: 180Lm 120Lm 60Lm 3Lm
Max Range : 47m
Max Intensity: 555cd
Impact Resistance: 1.5m
LED: CREE XP-E R3 LED
Working Voltage: 2.75-5.5V
Battery: USB 2.0/3.0
Switch: Clicky Side switch
Size: Ø 22.0mm(Head dia)x Ø 48.0mm(Length)
Net Weight :18.0g(Excluded Metal Hose)
Hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish
Features:
1.Optical PMMA material
2.The groove around the switch is good for positioning
3. Multi-usage, could be used as flash light (connect with the power bank), desk lamp (with the computer), wall lamp (with adaptor)
Street price: Around $15 USD

ADDITIONAL SPECIFICATIONS

Number of modes: 6
Mode Order: Main modes: High/Turbo/Mid/Low
                     Hidden modes:  Strobe/SOS
Lens: TIR (diffused)
Extension length:  14"

CONSTRUCTION

The UL1 is actually very well made but considering it is made by XTAR it should come as no surprise.  If you are used to the normal USB laptop lights then the quality will truly surprise you.  The main head is fully finned and anodized aluminum.  Machining and anodization is impeccable.  The back half of the light is made of plastic but doesn't really feel cheap. The switch is very small but easy to operate and has a nice feel to the click when pressed.  The USB male connection is something that always has a little bit of looseness in most USB powered accessories where they are attached to the body of the accessory but this one is solid with zero play or slop.  The entire light feels like it is one solid piece and does not disassemble for service.  I doubt you would ever need to take it apart for repairs.

Below is a picture from XTAR that shows the driver board, TIR optic and Cree XP-E emitter on it's MCPCB that are used in the UL1.

 

The fins are nicely spaced and well machined.  The switch is small but has good feel and the tapered edges surrounding the switch make it easier to press.

 

Below you see how the end of the extension arrived with a crimp in it.

A couple seconds with the tip of my pocket knife and it is better than new.

The ends of the extension are sturdy and fit the UL1 well.

All lettering is cleanly laser etched with clean edges and solid fill.  The model name of the light and the Serial Number plus the obligatory "Hot Surface" warning.  In this case it's needed as extended runs on Turbo leave the head very hot.

The XTAR logo and website URL are molded into the rear of the UL1.

PERFORMANCE

XTAR claims ANSI lumens of 180, 120, 60 & 3 lumens OTF and my tests in my Integrated Sphere confirm those number pretty closely.  Nice to see a manufacturer claim accurate OTF numbers on their lights. Here is what my tests showed.  Please note that the actual mode order is High, Turbo, Medium, and Low.

ModeOTF Lumens
High131
Turbo173.1
Medium69.8
Low3.46

The hot spot is nicely diffused and large.  Unlike most TIR optics the beam is still round and not square.  The tint is neutral and very creamy vanilla in tint.  The modes are nicely spaced.  A click of the switch starts the light in high mode.  Subsequent clicks cycle through the regular modes.  Once on and in any regular mode, a double-click of the switch puts it into blinking mode where it flashes twice per second.  A second double-click puts it into SOS mode.  A single click when the light is in either blinky mode will return the light to High mode.  To turn the light off just press and hold the switch for 1.5 seconds.


The included goose neck extension allows you to direct the output of the UL1 pretty much anywhere you need.  It hold it's position very well but in my opinion could be just a tad stiffer.  I think with use it will slowly loosen.  Being a bit stiffer from the start would allow it to hold up to extended daily (or nightly) use.

Plugged into a wall wart if makes for nice auxiliary lighting and would be great in a small room like a bathroom instead of a night light or to light up a desk or workspace.

The UL1 comes in a choice of two colors: Silver and Blue

CONCLUSION

This is a pretty sweet little light.  Arguably the best USB light you can buy and for just $15 it's a hell of a deal.  Add in the fact that it turns into a versatile flashlight if plugged into an external backup power supply and it is the perfect accessory for the laptop bag or glove box.  I can recommend this light without any reservation!

 

Edited by: sb56637 on 09/02/2017 - 12:10
lionheart_2281
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Thanks for the review, I’ve been considering pulling the trigger on one of these since they launched…might go get one tomorrow

mhanlen
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This looks cool.  Not sure what I could use it for, but cool nonetheless.

mfpmax
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mhanlen wrote:

This looks cool.  Not sure what I could use it for, but cool nonetheless.

If you travel a lot, perfect night light paired with a suitable USB charger. If you live in an area that has power outages during storms…or California’s brown outs, perfect to go with USB back up battery pack.

saypat
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as an owner of one of these:

WHAT HE SAID!

nice review JohnnyMac !

patrick

JohnnyMac
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Thanks guys!  You know, if you had one of those 4x18650 battery backup chargers this puppy would run for months.  Big Smile

mfpmax
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JohnnyMac wrote:

Thanks guys!  You know, if you had one of those 4×18650 battery backup chargers this puppy would run for months.  Big Smile

If I get one it’ll be a hurricane emergency light for sure. Went a week or so without power a few years back.

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i want one. thanks JM

Would you mind keeping the wrong flashlight?
Best wish, May
Tmart service team

 

Soumil wrote:

PLEASE HELP ME GEARBEsT! IM LITERALLY CRYING!

 

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must stop my hand to click pay on paypal button :~

Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness.
I am kind to everyone, but when someone is unkind to me, weak is not what you are going to remember about me.

gadabout
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lionheart_2281 wrote:
Thanks for the review, I've been considering pulling the trigger on one of these since they launched...might go get one tomorrow

Good luck finding it here!  Embarassed

JohnnyMac
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gadabout wrote:

lionheart_2281 wrote:
Thanks for the review, I've been considering pulling the trigger on one of these since they launched...might go get one tomorrow

Good luck finding it here!  Embarassed

True that. You will probably pay as much or more for shipping to buy from the States.Frown 
ObiWan-Kenobi
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Thanks for the review.

gadabout wrote:

lionheart_2281 wrote:
Thanks for the review, I’ve been considering pulling the trigger on one of these since they launched…might go get one tomorrow

Good luck finding it here!  Embarassed

I just had a look at our favourite auction website – there are a few sellers around the AUD$20-23, including postage.

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I like the idea of using that USB to light up something in the dark. Sometimes I can’t see my keyboard even when my monitor is brightly lit.

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Thanks for the review. Mine’s on the way… :bigsmile:

Lights out! That's when things get interesting...

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gadabout wrote:

lionheart_2281 wrote:
Thanks for the review, I’ve been considering pulling the trigger on one of these since they launched…might go get one tomorrow

Good luck finding it here!  Embarassed

http://www.batterybusiness.com.au/

These guys are an official Xtar reseller and if they don’t stock them, get them in within 3 days. I dealt with them for a D06 warranty job. Good guys to deal with.

gadabout
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lionheart_2281 wrote:
http://www.batterybusiness.com.au/ These guys are an official Xtar reseller and if they don't stock them, get them in within 3 days. I dealt with them for a D06 warranty job. Good guys to deal with.

 

Thanks for the tip lionheart - prompt and clear response to my email enquiry and they added these items to their online store today.  $7.20 postage but I ordered several as gifts so overall pricing worked out comparable to ebay seller.

Have placed order.

Jargon
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It's on its way to me!

lionheart_2281
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gadabout wrote:

lionheart_2281 wrote:
http://www.batterybusiness.com.au/ These guys are an official Xtar reseller and if they don’t stock them, get them in within 3 days. I dealt with them for a D06 warranty job. Good guys to deal with.

 

Thanks for the tip lionheart – prompt and clear response to my email enquiry and they added these items to their online store today.  $7.20 postage but I ordered several as gifts so overall pricing worked out comparable to ebay seller.

Have placed order.

No worries mate, I just emailed them myself about it as well as a new Xtar dive torch. What price did they do for you?
PM if you prefer.

lionheart_2281
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Maybe a silly question (but someone has to ask em right?) but could you use something like this to make your iphone a portable torch using the UL1??

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Big Smile is an interesting gadget. Great review JohnnyMac.
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lionheart_2281 wrote:
Maybe a silly question (but someone has to ask em right?) but could you use something like this to make your iphone a portable torch using the UL1??

!http://img1.buyincoins.com/gallery/ipad-usb-adapter.jpg!

http://iphonefreakz.com/2010/12/07/ios-4-2-reduces-power-output-to-ipad-...

It probably doesn’t output enough.

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mfpmax wrote:
lionheart_2281 wrote:
Maybe a silly question (but someone has to ask em right?) but could you use something like this to make your iphone a portable torch using the UL1??

!http://img1.buyincoins.com/gallery/ipad-usb-adapter.jpg!

http://iphonefreakz.com/2010/12/07/ios-4-2-reduces-power-output-to-ipad-...

It probably doesn’t output enough.

Aw man, would have been so good.
That’s an old article, I wonder if anything has changed since…

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lionheart_2281 wrote:
mfpmax wrote:
lionheart_2281 wrote:
Maybe a silly question (but someone has to ask em right?) but could you use something like this to make your iphone a portable torch using the UL1??

!http://img1.buyincoins.com/gallery/ipad-usb-adapter.jpg!

http://iphonefreakz.com/2010/12/07/ios-4-2-reduces-power-output-to-ipad-...

It probably doesn’t output enough.

Aw man, would have been so good.
That’s an old article, I wonder if anything has changed since…

Knowing Apple, probably worse. LOL. Is your iphone one without a flash that you can’t use a flashlight app for? Or just wanting a better light that works with your phone.

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mfpmax wrote:
lionheart_2281 wrote:
mfpmax wrote:
lionheart_2281 wrote:
Maybe a silly question (but someone has to ask em right?) but could you use something like this to make your iphone a portable torch using the UL1??

!http://img1.buyincoins.com/gallery/ipad-usb-adapter.jpg!

http://iphonefreakz.com/2010/12/07/ios-4-2-reduces-power-output-to-ipad-...

It probably doesn’t output enough.

Aw man, would have been so good.
That’s an old article, I wonder if anything has changed since…

Knowing Apple, probably worse. LOL. Is your iphone one without a flash that you can’t use a flashlight app for? Or just wanting a better light that works with your phone.

I’ve got a 4S, just thought the UL1 would be cool to connect to the iPhone for an impressive 180lm

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

Budget Light Forum ...where Frugal meets with Flashlight!

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lionheart_2281 wrote:

I’ve got a 4S, just thought the UL1 would be cool to connect to the iPhone for an impressive 180lm

Yeah the phone probably wouldn’t like that LOL

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Thanks for the review, JohnnyMac. I’m definitely going to pick one of these up.

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I bought one when they first came out specifically for modding. It’s powerful, and the diffused lighting along with the flexible gooseneck is perfect for aiming at those tiny 7135 chips while I’m trying to stack them.
I have a Coolook 4×18650 USB box in the mail from FT, which will be perfect as a solid platform for it as well as charging up my ipad.

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Nice review, something a bit different!

 

I have a car cigarette lighter USB adaptor for my tablet PC, I think this would make a nice in-car light with that goose neck.

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Mine were delivered this morning.

Just for giggles I tried a runtime test tonight using the light for room lighting.

I put a fully charged Blazar 3400 Cell (protected Panasonic) into a ML-102 charger https://www.fasttech.com/products/0/10001919/1158900-miller-ml-102-unive...

For those who may not have seen them, the Miller ML-102 is a charger and USB supply in one.

Charged the cell from a solar panel using the ML-102 this afternoon.  The cell read 4.22V at charge termination (and start of runtime test)

Stopping briefly to measure cell voltage every hour or so, I got about 420 mins (7 hours) on High (not turbo).

The cell read 3.22V at termination, at which time the ML-102 overdischarge protection kicked in.  Re-inserting the cell and running again at Medium I got another 20 mins out of it, with the cell now reading 3.15V.  The Panny's are supposed to be OK down to 2.5V though I never do this usually.

I used a soft silicone diffuser cap pulled down to the first cooling fin.  At no time did the light get unduly hot.  Sitting on a bookshelf, the light was bright enough for general tasks in a small living room but not for reading unless I was sitting right next to it.

All in all, I'm pretty happy so far.  If I get the time, I may try a similar test on the Medium setting.

lionheart_2281
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gadabout wrote:

Mine were delivered this morning.

Just for giggles I tried a runtime test tonight using the light for room lighting.

I put a fully charged Blazar 3400 Cell (protected Panasonic) into a ML-102 charger https://www.fasttech.com/products/0/10001919/1158900-miller-ml-102-unive...

For those who may not have seen them, the Miller ML-102 is a charger and USB supply in one.

Charged the cell from a solar panel using the ML-102 this afternoon.  The cell read 4.22V at charge termination (and start of runtime test)

Stopping briefly to measure cell voltage every hour or so, I got about 420 mins (7 hours) on High (not turbo).

The cell read 3.22V at termination, at which time the ML-102 overdischarge protection kicked in.  Re-inserting the cell and running again at Medium I got another 20 mins out of it, with the cell now reading 3.15V.  The Panny’s are supposed to be OK down to 2.5V though I never do this usually.

I used a soft silicone diffuser cap pulled down to the first cooling fin.  At no time did the light get unduly hot.  Sitting on a bookshelf, the light was bright enough for general tasks in a small living room but not for reading unless I was sitting right next to it.

All in all, I’m pretty happy so far.  If I get the time, I may try a similar test on the Medium setting.

Try to connect it to an iPhone or any smartphone!
Where did you buy it from and for how much? PM if you prefer.

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