Review: Klarus Mi7 (1xAA/14500)

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stephenk
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Review: Klarus Mi7 (1xAA/14500)

Disclaimer

This flashlight was kindly sent to me for review by Gearbest.
Product link – http://www.gearbest.com/led-flashlights/pp_374027.html
8% off coupon: GBLED2016

Introduction

Single AA/14500 flashlights are an increasingly competitive part of the flashlight market. This is due to improvements in LEDs and LED driver technology allowing previously unheard of of lumens to be created from a single AA or 14500 battery. Klarus has taken a big step into this sector of the torch and flashlight market with the mid priced, feature packed, and consumer friendly Mi7.

Manufacturer Listed Features
• CREE XP-L HI V3 LED, up to 50,000 hours life
• Maximum output 700 Lumens; Maximum runtime 67 hours.
• Small and lightweight for everyday carry (26.4g without battery.)
• Battery Capacity Indication displays remaining power for easy monitoring
• One Touch Access to Moon-light and High output levels
• Unique high efficiency circuit with broad voltage range to accommodate both AA (Primary/Rechargeable) and Li-ion 14500 batteries
• Constant Current Control with no PWM flash; suitable for photography illumination
• Over-Discharge Protection automatically lowers output levels to protect rechargeable batteries
• Lock-Out mode specially designed to prevent accidental activation of the flashlight
• Reverse Polarity Protection for ease of use
• Exclusive Stainless Steel switch; Elegant, Ergonomic, Easy to use
• Aerospace grade Aluminum Alloy body; CNC precision machining; Military grade
  Hard Anodizing (HAIII) protection; Superior heat dissipation
• AR (Anti-Reflective) coated MineralLens hardened for scratch resistance
• IPX-8 water protection (2 meters submersible rating)

Manufacturer Listed Specifications
• CREE XP-L HI V3 LED; 50,000 hours life
• 3 output levels – 700(14500)/330(AA), 90, 5lumens; 2 strobe patterns – strobe 700(14500)/330(AA) lumens, SOS 90 lumens.
• Voltage Range: 1.0V – 4.2V
• Battery:AA x 1; Li-ion 14500×1
• Color:Black, Red, Blue
• Reflector: Orange Peel
• Switch: Side Switch
• Dimension:Bezel 19mm (0.75”); Body 17.6mm (0.69”); Overall Length: 87.2mm (3.43”)
• Weight: 26.4g (0.93oz) (without battery)
• Material: Aerospace Aluminum Alloy 6061-T6
• Protection: IPX-8 rating (up to 2 meters submersible)
• Lens: Hardened Mineral Glass; AR coated; Scratch resistant

Packaging

The Klarus Mi7 came in a transparent plastic case that is easy to open. Accessories include instructions, spare O-ring, keychain, lanyard, and alkaline AA battery.


Ergonomics & Build

The Klarus Mi7 is a very small and lightweight light aimed at the everyday carry (EDC) market. It is just 87.2mm long, and 26.4g in weight (excluding battery). It has an eye-catching diamond knurling, and construction seems to be good. Threads are smooth and well lubricated, though there is a lot of resistance when inserting a protected 14500.

Operation is by a stainless steel side button, which will be explained about in the next section. The side button was easy to find in the dark. The lack of a pocket clip or anti-roll device will be a notable emission for some potential customers. None of my lights have a pocket clip, so it’s not an issue for me.

There is a keychain hole for the included keychain ring or lanyard. The light also tail stands with no issues. There is a choice of colour options – black, red (pink hue of red), and light blue, which will appeal to the consumer market.

The LED was well centred and the light worked as expected.

The light is rated IPX-8. I dunked it in a sink for 30 minutes, and it functioned fine afterwards with no sign of leakage (sorry about the out of focus photo).

This Klarus Mi7 is claimed to be compatible with all AA batteries on the market including alkaline, NiMH rechargeable, lithium primary, 14500 li-ion rechargeable, and 14500 LifePO4. I tested this light with a 4th gen FDK Eneloop AA, and 2015 version Keeppower 840mAh 14500 (52.7mm length), both of which fit inside the battery tube.

*Operation & Beam *

The user interface is explained below:
Normal modes – using short clicks the mode order is Off > High > Mid > Off.
Moonlight mode – using long click from Off to go to moonlight. A short click goes back to Off.
Flashy modes – using double click from any mode goes to Strobe, another double click to SOS. A short click goes to Off.
Battery capacity indicator – from Off, clicking the switch 3 times will active the battery capacity indicator. One to three flashes will indicate as to whether the battery is above 70%, between 30% and 70%, or below 30%. The accuracy of this seemed to fairly accurate.
Electronic lockout – a 5 second press from any mode locks out the light. The light flashes twice to signify this. Clicking the switch 3 times unlocks the electronic lock out, and the flashes as per the battery capacity indicator.

I really like this user interface. It is easy to learn, and allows direct access from Off to either moonlight, high, or strobe. A single click from moonlight, low, strobe, or SOS takes you back to Off.

The modes are manufacturer rated as 700/90/5 lumens with 14500 and 330/90/5 lumens with AA. There is no firefly mode. The strobe is at high brightness and alternates between two fast frequencies. The SOS is at low brightness (which is still quite high around 90 lumens).

Output was estimated using a ceiling bounce test, and compared against other lights with known ANSI lumen output levels. This methodology is not as accurate as a dedicated integrated sphere, and thus these results may not be entirely accurate. Cells had been recently charged (<2 hours). In high mode using Keeppower 840mAh protected 14500, the output started off around 630-700 lumens for the first few seconds, dropping to 550-600 lumens at 30 seconds. The light gets hot quickly, and steps down by timer after 3 minutes to around 300-350 lumens. The output seems to stay at a fairly constant brightness for 60 minutes until it stepped down to moonlight mode equivalent. In high mode with a NiMH 4th Gen FDK Eneloop AA, the output started at around 250-290 lumens for the first few seconds, dropping to around 220-250 lumens measured at 3 minutes, slowly declining as per a typical NiMH discharge curve, with a step down to moonlight mode at 67 minutes.

Low battery warning is indicated by the light dropping to moonlight mode, even if you try to go back to high. Low voltage protection/cut off was tested to work with 14500. The cell was measured at 3.29V after resting. This light has reverse polarity detection which was tested to work. Parasitic drain was not tested.

In high mode, especially when using a 14500, the light runs very hot. Not too hot to touch, but getting close! This is expected due to the small size of the light.

The Klarus Mi7 uses a XP-L HI V3 emitter, which is “un-domed”. The reflector is orange peel. As expected from the XP-L HI emitter, there is small bright hotspot. The orange peel reflector creates a smooth spill beam, and the angle of the spill beam is relatively wide. Thus this light could be deemed to be more of a “flooder” but with a small bright hotspot.


Comparison between hotspots of Klarus Mi7 (left) and LED Lenser P7.2 (right)

The LED is advertised to be a 6500k cool white emitter, though I would estimate it to be closer to 6000k. This cool white emitter will appeal to the average consumer who prefers maximum brightness. The tint is almost pure white, with an only very slight hint of green and yellow. Due to the cool white tint, the CRI is not as good neutral white emitters. However, the CRI is noticeably better than all other cool white lights I’ve used over the years (as per below photo). Whilst this is a good cool white emitter, I still hope that Klarus release a neutral white version of the Mi7 in the future.

This light is claimed to use constant current and no PWM. No PWM could be detected in video mode on the iPhone.

Conclusion

This light is at a mid price point in the single AA/14500 market, and is feature packed with a great user interface (direct access to high, moonlight, and strobe), battery capacity indicator, no PWM, and colour options. The light is small and lightweight light, great for EDC. The light output from a single AA or 14500 battery is impressive, even if the output is less than claimed. This light emits more lumens than many much larger consumer grade 3 or 4x AA and AAA flashlights.

If you like an EDC light with a bright hotspot and relatively wide beam angle, and can live without firefly mode and a pocket clip, then this is an excellent option in the single AA/14500 market sector. I expect that Klarus will have a hit on their hands with the Mi7, and this light will sell like hot cakes.

Edited by: stephenk on 08/29/2016 - 06:32
stephenk
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I’ve now added a video review with real world beam shots. Enjoy!

bugsy36
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Thank you!

It's the simple things that we take for granted that cost us the most

Ευκαιρία λέει πιάσε με από το μέτωπο γιατί μόλις έχω περάσει δεν θα με πιάσειs

stephenk
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Two more Klarus Mi7 beam shots added. Taken at 20secs, f/8, ISO400.

M4D M4X
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very helpful pictures!

thanks for sharing

find all available items in this list

i launched my new blog - all deals for members without MAP B$ Wink

find a short description about my idea here

 

if you want to buy a flashlight or battery for a better price: just send a mail - i will try to save you money!

stephenk
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Review/original post updated with results of low voltage protection test.

Firelight2
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Got my Klarus Mi7 yesterday.

My initial impressions:

  • Slightly longer and thinner than the Manker E11
  • Excellent “hand feel”. The pineapple knurling provides for great grip and the metal switch button feels higher quality than the typical rubber. It feels better in the hand than Manker E11.
  • Quite bright on 14500.
  • Came with a copper star (no idea if it is DTC. My guess is probably not). I reflowed the cool-white XPL HI off and replaced it with a 4000K 5A2 tint XPL HI.
  • Reflector is shallower than the Manker E11. This suggests the Mi7 should have a wider spillbeam since less of the spill is shadowed by the top edge of the reflector.
  • UI is decent, but not perfect. On the plus side it has direct access to moonlight and max. On the minus side, turning it off requires 2 clicks with an interval between them. Also the metal switch button looks like it would be easy to accidentally activate in the pocket… much more so than the button on the E11.

I can’t compare the output or beam pattern directly between my Manker E11 and the Klarus Mi7 since I already replaced the guts on my Manker.

Overall, I quite like this light. Not sure about the bright blue on mine however. I might order a black one.

Kusie
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Hi,

I´d like to reflow a 5000K XP-L Hi too on my cold white MI7, is it easy to open the head and get the LED out or is it glued?
Thanks,
K.

MAD TM26
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+1

I too would like to know more info.. TIA

we buy light for a brighter tomorrow

Kusie
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You could take a look at the images in THIS thread of the German TLF Forum where a user has opened the head. It´s heavily glued!
K.

-X3-
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My tear-down pics for BLF





5

"Hey -X3-, do you have a flashlight ?"   "-X3-, can I borrow one of your flashlights ?" 

My Flashlight public album (mods, emitter swaps, eye candy)

My reviews channel (French language, Olight, Thorfire : 30+ lights tested)

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agent80
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Is it an electronic switch? What about parasitic drain?

stephenk
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^ great tear down photos. (I’d love one of these modded with a 3000k emitter)

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Love your technique! Did you manage to put it back together?

Nicolicous
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so much glue in the head >.<

Can you lend me some money to buy new flashlights?

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Bungle88 wrote:
Love your technique! Did you manage to put it back together?

Of course !
I removed all that dirty glue and swapped the emitter for a 219C.

"Hey -X3-, do you have a flashlight ?"   "-X3-, can I borrow one of your flashlights ?" 

My Flashlight public album (mods, emitter swaps, eye candy)

My reviews channel (French language, Olight, Thorfire : 30+ lights tested)

My personal channel (including Olight SR mini, S1, S2, S1A and S-mini disassembly)

cbrake10
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X3 and Fireflight2 what did you use to get the remaining glue off of the threads?

-Clark

-X3-
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A blade, and some patience IIRC

"Hey -X3-, do you have a flashlight ?"   "-X3-, can I borrow one of your flashlights ?" 

My Flashlight public album (mods, emitter swaps, eye candy)

My reviews channel (French language, Olight, Thorfire : 30+ lights tested)

My personal channel (including Olight SR mini, S1, S2, S1A and S-mini disassembly)

Yokiamy
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X3
I am thinking to buy an Mi7 and swap the led for a nichia 219c, because i dont like 6000-6500K
Opening the thing is tough, but i should be able to do that.
Since i have no experience in reflowing, is it possible to exchange the pcb with LED already mounted? (for a pcb star with LED from KD/MTN) What size and diameter does it use?

Thanks in advance!

Thijsco19 wrote:

a regular symptom of flasholism Big Smile

“Flasholism is the most severe form of flashlight use and involves the inability to manage your flashlight use habits. It is also commonly referred to as flashlight use disorder. Flashlight use disorder is organized into three categories: mild, moderate and severe. Each category has various symptoms and can cause harmful side effects. If left untreated, any type of flashlight use can spiral out of control.”

Yokiamy
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Ok, sorry guys to bump this thread again, but i have changed my mind and ordered a pineapple with coupon from M4DM4X (thanx!)
I already have a 16mm copper dtp with 219c 4000k, which i initially planned to build in an S2+ which was on flash sale, but already 6 weeks waiting and GB tells me to wait another two weeks…
So i was looking for a nice alternative light to build.

The only thing is, the more i am searching, the more addicted i seem to become… Sigh…
Second thing is the WAF Wink
She already thinks i buy to much from China.

Thijsco19 wrote:

a regular symptom of flasholism Big Smile

“Flasholism is the most severe form of flashlight use and involves the inability to manage your flashlight use habits. It is also commonly referred to as flashlight use disorder. Flashlight use disorder is organized into three categories: mild, moderate and severe. Each category has various symptoms and can cause harmful side effects. If left untreated, any type of flashlight use can spiral out of control.”

stephenk
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As this thread has been bumped a few times recently, I thought I’d add an afterthought to my review in the OP.

  • Good on Klarus for adding clips on the new colours, as per the early feedback.
  • Good on Klarus for adding the new colours.
  • I love the output (and throw) to size ratio of this light – and often take this light there there is little room left in my camera bag.
  • The use of AA and 14500 is flexible – I usually use the 14500, but on family holidays or when flying, I’ll take the AAs.