The X5 caught my eye because of the fact that it has momentary-on and a side-switch such as the TN12, P12, and PD35. I really wanted to know how the X5 stacked up as a budget option to those lights and for just $25 dollars, I figured why not pick one up?
The light was purchased direct from Eagle Eye on Aliexpress.
Here’s my thoughts on the Eagle Eye X5:
Emitter Type: Cree XP-L
Lumens: 1000 Lm
Color temperature: 3C (5000K)
Functions: Hiking, Walking, Night Riding, Camping, Exploring
Battery Type: CR123A, 18650
Battery Quantity: 1 × 18650 or 2 x CR123A battery (not included)
Modes: 7 (moonlight, low, medium, high, turbo, strobe, and SOS)
Waterproof: IPX-8 Standard Waterproof
Beam Distance: 150-200m
Dimensions: Length 138mm x 24mm Diameter
Weight: 88 grams excluding battery
I wanted something to use as my “beater” light. If I’m fishing/camping/traveling somewhere rough and don’t want to risk getting my TN12/P12 heavily scuffed or lost, I wanted something with a similar size and beam profile to fill in their shoes. I have plenty of Convoys but I wanted something with a tighter hotspot, wider spill, momentary on, and a side switch.
Another reason I became interested in the X5 is to gift it. When I show family/friends my lights, most love the TN12 and prefer it’s side switch to switch modes over the half-pressing on the Convoys. The X5 seems like the light I can gift to people knowing they won’t need me to remind them how to operate it.
The X5 is a general-use flashlight that’s manufacturer rated for a 1000 lumen output and 200 meter throw.
It has a forward-clicky tail switch and a side-switch to cycle through modes.
There’s two emitter options: XP-L or XM-L2. The XP-L X5 has only one selectable tint choice: 3C.
For the XM-L2 version there’s three options: XM-L2 in 1A, XML2 in 3C and XM-L2 in 4C.
The one I’m reviewing is the XP-L version which has the 3C tint.
As with my X6, I bought this light from Eagle Eye’s Aliexpress page, but it’s also available on Fasttech (albeit only XM-L2 in cool white).
Same packaging as the Eagle Eye X6
Included, there’s two o-rings, a lanyard, and a black rubber boot.
Let’s start with the design. You won’t find any fancy machining on this light. Honestly, if you compare it to the TN12, P12, or the PD35, the X5 could start to look bland in comparison. Personally I am a huge fan of simple lights and I love the X5’s shape. There’s a unique look to it while still being simple. The X5 is what I would call minimal. There’s no anti-rolling shapes machined to the body. Well, there’s not much of anything machined. The only significant shape on the body are the fins surrounding the side-switch. There’s no other protrusions.
Because of the simplicity the X5 is very slim and has a solid feel to it in-hand. It’s easy to slide it in and out of a pocket and doesn’t create an oddly shaped bulge. The biggest thing that stands out from the X5’s aesthetics is that it has a strike bezel. I’m not a fan of strike bezels and I won’t be doing much striking with it, but it’s great for knowing that the light is on when I set it down head first. The strike bezel is not that aggressive so I don’t mind it.
This light could be useful for deciding whether or not you would like the form factor of the TN12/ P12 for EDC as it would be an inexpensive purchase if you find out you don’t like the size. It’s much better than spending $50+ to find out it’s not for you.
Let’s go ahead and take a look at the quality of the manufacturing and workmanship. Out of the package the light was in perfect shape with well lubricated threads. There were no scuffs, scrapes, or nicks anywhere. I was very happy about having a flawless light from the get-go.
Something that was a small problem was that the light did not turn on out of the box; the retaining ring on the tailcap was a bit loose. The solution was simple as all I had to do was tighten the ring with some needle nose pliers. I also wiped the non anodized portion of the threads just for good measure. I’ve bought two X5’s and they both have had a loose retaining ring. It might just be misfortune.
If you’re familiar with the Eagle Eye X6 then you will be happy to know that the type III anodizing on the X5 is every bit as great. The TN12 looks like a mirror in comparison and compared to the P12, it’s on the same level. The whole light is evenly coated and no part is a different shade.
The toughness of the anodizing is true to its type III rating. I’ve had this light since December 4, 2015 and have carried it as one of my main EDC lights since. I’ve taken it hiking, and on a trip to Mexico where it went through a couple of drops. The anodizing has held up wonderfully as there’s no scrapes at all.
The X5’s knurling is exactly like on the X6.
There’s knurl on both the tailcap and body. It’s not at all aggressive, but still provides usable grip. It’s not a slippery light by any means.
The machining of the body is excellent. There’s no rough spots or flaws and there’s a bevel preventing any edge from being sharp everywhere a line ends.
Every battery length will fit in the light. I’ve had no problems fitting in my Keeppower, Thrunite, Nitecore, and clear wrapped NCR18650B cells.
The threads came lubricated and the threads on both ends of the body are anodized, square-cut, and thick; even thicker than on the X6. Screwing and unscrewing the light is a smooth experience. The threads are great and should last a long time.
The laser etching is crisp and vibrantly white. There’s an Eagle Eye logo under the side-switch and there’s a “HOT” warning above it that’s just a VERY tiny bit off center in relation to the logo and switch. It’s off-center on only one of my X5’s.
The side-switch is an aluminum button that feels good and has an audible click to it. It’s a bit mushy if compared to the new 2016 TN12. To give you an example, it feels similar to the 2014 TN12’s side-switch. The button is relatively easy to find when not looking. It’s not as difficult as on the PD35, but not as easy as on the TN12 or P12. I always have the clip aligned to the opposite side of the switch to find it quickly.
The clip is the same clip used on the X6, and has become my favorite clip out of all my lights. It has great retention, is thick, and has no sharp edges. Some might not like that the clip is not come in black, but I think the silver clip matches nicely with the silver bezel. If you really want a black clip, it is available for purchase separately. Keep in mind that without the clip the light will roll away from you.
The tailcap looks almost exactly like the X6’s tailcap. You’d think that they would keep using the same part as the X6 as it’s almost indistinguishable. Interestingly, it’s different in a small aspect that makes the experience of using a forward switch a tiny bit better compared to the X6’s tailcap. The difference is only in the U-grooves where the button is. Those fins where the lanyard attaches to are not as wide as on the X6. My guess is to make the tail switch easier to press for momentary-on use but who knows. Speaking of the tail switch, I think I prefer it over the TN12’s switch. On the X5, you only have to depress the switch about 2 or so millimeters before the momentary-on kicks in. It seems almost instant. In comparison, the TN12’s switch has quite a bit of travel before it goes momentary-on.
The X5 switch has some good resistance to it, and hardly any friction. It has a decent quality switch.
The strike bezel screws on and off to give easy access to the reflector and emitter. The threads on the bezel are sharply triangular cut, with an o-ring on it to give it a nice seal with the body. The threads aren’t the smoothest but most people won’t be unscrewing the bezel on and off, so it doesn’t matter much. If you are interested in swapping the emitter keep one thing in mind: slowly unscrew the bezel. If you unscrew it to fast, the o-ring sometimes slips in-between the sharp triangular threads and will get sliced. While the strike bezel does have beveling on the edges to make it smooth, they are still a bit sharp. Not raw metal sharp, but just a bit sharp. The lens is AR coated and was clean of any scuffs, fingerprints, or scratches.
A glow-in-the-dark o-ring sits between the lens and reflector. As you tighten the bezel, the reflector will push the o-ring into the lens, which will get pushed into the bezel.
Now let’s go under the hood! The aluminum smooth reflector came almost dust free and had no scratches. There are some very tiny pits that don’t seem to have a noticeable affect on the beam. I’ll speak more on that later. The gasket that centers the XP-L emitter is circular on the inside. After reading about many people that had accidentally dedomed their BLF A6’s XP-L due to the squared inside of the gasket, it’s a good detail that its circular on the X5.
The X5’s MCPCB sits on an integrated shelf, which means that heat dissipation should be no problem for what it’s driven at.
(I damaged the wires when trying to remove the emitter.)
The driver is well put together and sits on slots in the head that reach the emitter shelf.
The fact that it sits in slots should remove any chance of the solder holding the boards together from fracturing with use of the side-switch. Also, since the side-switch itself is on the board getting supported by the slots, repeated pressing will not damage the driver. I know it might not seem like a big deal but in the Nitecore P12, solder is holding the switch in place, and repeated pressing may cause that bond to fracture over time. I have no worries about the side switch failing from repeated use.
The spring side of the driver has “Eagle Eye” written on it which is a nice touch for a light at this price.
Looking at the spring, you’ll find that it is thick and stiff on both the driver and tail switch. The retaining ring holding the driver and tail switch is very beefy! It’s just as thick as the X6’s ring! It’s great that Eagle Eye has put quality springs and retaining rings on such low priced lights.
The light is manufacturer rated to IPX-8 standards. But just like with the X6 I was skeptical about the waterproofness of the X5 due to the order of the reflector, o-ring and lens, but the light passed the overnight bucket test. No water seeped in through the head or side-switch. If you purchase this light, tighten the retaining ring on the tailcap, tighten the strike bezel on the head, and add some extra lubrication to the threads on the body to make sure the light will be as waterproof as possible.
The beam profile is perfect for what I wanted this light for. The spill is very wide, bright, and has almost no blue tint to it from the AR lens, if any. I mention that because the spill on my TN12 has a very purple hue to it.
The hotspot is cleanly defined, and a bit wider than on the TN12’s hotspot. From memory, the X5 looks to have roughly the same diameter as the PD35’s hotspot. The beam pattern has worked exceptionally well for general purpose use. I prefer it to the beam pattern of the P12 for EDC, and love it just as much as the beam pattern on the TN12. There’s a distinct separation from the wide spill and the hotspot.
I measured 6300cd for a throw distance of about 158 meters.
There are some artifacts on the beam patterns of both of my X5’s. One has the dreaded cree rings within the corona. Fortunately the rings are not at all noticeable and are only seen if you’re looking for them while pointing at a white wall. To remove the rings, I sharpied the inner edge of the reflector and the whole insulation gasket. Now, the beam has no artifacts. My other X5 has no rings on the beam pattern but has a small irregular shape sticking out of the circular edge of the beam that I believe is due to a tiny pit in the right place. There’s two other tiny pits that don’t seem to affect anything. The beam pattern itself is flawless.
The 3C tint is neither too cool or too warm. It’s a great neutral white color, and is indistinguishable from the tint of my neutral white TN12.
Outdoor beamshots at the bottom of this post.
The tail switch turns the light on, and a press of the side switch takes you to the next mode. Half pressing the tail switch while off gives you momentary on.
There’s 7 modes: “moonlight,” low, medium, high, turbo, strobe, and SOS.
I measured turbo at 2.8 amps.
Moonlight is definitely not the moonlight I wanted it to be.
Moonlight mode is about 10 lumens. I would have really preferred it to be much lower; at least 1 lumen. Eyeballing it, moonlight is 10 lumens, low is 60 lumens, medium is 200 lumens, high is 500 lumens, and turbo is 900ish lumens. Not the most balanced mode spacing. The mode spacing could be improved to provide for a more distinct jump in brightness after each mode. The major problem is moonlight mode as it’s too high to be called moonlight.
Turbo mode is weird. Initially when the light is cool, turbo mode steps down to high after about 37 seconds. If the light is really hot, the light steps down to high after 10 seconds. Sometimes it doesn’t step-down until 1 minute, so I don’t know if it’s a set timer, or if it’s temperature regulated. Hopefully someone knows more info on this, but I’m going to keep playing around with it.
Strobe and SOS are only accessed by long pressing the side-switch, and are not in the cycle with the rest of the modes. Long press the side switch for 1.5 seconds and strobe starts, then long press again for SOS. There’s no mode memory for strobe or SOS, and will just go back to the mode you were last in if you turn the light off then on.
The X5 has low voltage protection.
At around 3.1-2 volts, turbo mode is no longer accessible, and the light only goes up to high. At about 3.0 volts, the light is only on low mode, and starts blinking every second. You cannot go to any other modes.
At 2.8 volts, the light will automatically turn off a few seconds after switching it on. Switching it on again after it initially turns off makes it run a little bit longer on low for those emergency situations where you have to squeeze out as much light as you can.
- As with the X6, the clip might be too stiff for some.
- Light rolls without clip.
- No real moonlight mode.
- Modes not well spaced.
- Beam has some artifacts.
- Retaining ring came slightly loose, but YMMV.
- If it matters to you, strobe might take too long to turn on. (1.5 seconds)
- Great build quality.
- Slim and good looking.
- Great beam profile.
- Very affordable.
- If you don’t like strobe, then the fact that it takes a long time to access might be a pro.
The X5 is another winner from Eagle Eye that gives you a lot of value for the money. No aspect of the build has a compromise to it that takes away from the function of the light. It seems to me that the X5 can be the budget alternative to the TN12, which is already seen as a budget alternative to the P12/PD35.
Overall, I give the X5 a 4/5. I removed a point for the almost perfect reflector, the slightly sharp strike bezel, and the not so great mode spacing.
Thanks for reading!
- This is a great quality holster that fits the X5 perfectly. It’s better than the holster the TN12 comes with.
- Remember to unscrew the bezel slowly.
- You might have to tighten retaining ring on tailcap out-of-the-box.
- For good measure, also wipe the bare aluminum on the threads.
- If you’d like a black clip, they’re now available separately.
Here’s an album of all the pictures: http://imgur.com/a/J42bQ