Palmstar Quad XPG2 EDC Review
Hey guys and gals today we have a special flashlight up for review. So why is it special you ask? It is a EDC friendly Quad XPG2 flashlight that is why it is so special! Intruding the Palmstar by Theoutdoorsplus.com the Palmstar is made by them. It is the in house brand of www.Theoutdoorsplus.com they sent me this flashlight for review.
Usually when I receive an 18650 flashlight like the Palmstar I am very skeptical that it can actually be used as an EDC. I kid you not this is by far the smallest proper 18650 flashlight I have ever held in my grubby hands! I think this is one of the friendliest mod lights also it has so much potential you could easily turn the Palmstar into a 3000 lumen EDC monster that throws light a very good distance. Stock the palmstar does a respectable 282 meters at about 20000cd rated by theoutdoorsplus. What else makes the palmstar unique is the fact that it uses a proper reflector system not an optics system like most small quads or triples use. I will not lie when I first got the Palmstar the beam was very ringy but having seen this problem many times it know its easy to fix! Simply take out the Bezel and the reflector which is super easy to do and grind down the LED gaskets. Grin them till they are flat this solves the ringy beam problem for the most part. I probably should have taken a photo first like a before and after but I got lazy I will link to another review of this light so you can see the difference in beam profiles. This is a common issue when you use a reflector system with a triple or quad that is why most of these style flashlight use an optics system it fixes this issue. You will never be able to fully remove the ring around the beam I have this issue with all of my SMO reflector based quads and triples. Unless you use an orange peel reflector that should take away almost all the rings but the light will be more diffused. So you give some and you take some by keeping the SMO type reflector you get a better throw overall. I would love to see Theoutdoorsplus make a OP reflector style of the Palmstar I think it would suit this flashlight.
The LED gaskets are a tad to tall for the reflector. By modding the Palmstar like this you will instantly get more throw without much time or effort wasted. The Palmstar already has a respectable output of 1300 lumen stock which is actually above average for a flashlight of this size but seeing as we are modders why not go crazy a little? Now why do I keep saying this size about the Palmstar? Well literary when I say its small its small like proper small size it makes an S2+ look lanky!
The Palmstar comes in at a whopping 108mm (10.8cm) long its only slightly longer then the Nitecore HC30 by like 50mm how crazy is that? I have always thought you can easily EDC a flashlight like the H30 because of its small size but they are not as robust as a full size flashlight. The Palmstar takes care of this problem it is a proper flashlight. The head diameter of the Palmstar is 33mm (3.3cm) wide and the width of the body is a super tiny 24.5mm (2.45cm) wide so in fairness the head is bigger then if you where EDC a small size headlamp but then again you are getting a Quad XPG2 setup which no headlamps offers you. The Palmstar is lite weight coming in at 118 grams without the battery it is heavier then a standard headlamp but not by to much. It would be about the same as a modded quad or triple S2+ if you use proper heat sinking.
The palmstar being so small it does tend to heat up quick and it will thermally step down at any time. So as with a headlamp it would be in your best interest to keep the Palmstar cool I am sure it is a thermal step down and not timed because when the Palmstar is hot it will not step up to turbo mode while still being hot. This is a better system to have a proper temperature controlled thermal step down in such a small flashlight like the Palmstar.
Theoutdoorsplus rates the Palmstar at a nice 1300 lumens on turbo mode which they call mode 5. In my testing I got a better result I got about 1550 lumens when the Palmstar was already slightly warm running a sony VTC5 it did drop down from the 1550 lumen mark but keep in mind it it a very warm night here being 22 degrees outside. The Palmstar did stabilize at about 1450 lumen till it step down modes. This figure is still above what the Theoutdoorsplus rates the Palmstar. Once the Palmstar steped down I was averaging about 1000 lumens on mode 4 so still super bright output for such a small flashlight.
Lets go through the modes
- Mode 1 : 40 lumens / 14hrs
- Mode 2 : 100 lumens / 6.3hrs
- Mode 3 : 500 lumens / 95min
- Mode 4 : 830 lumens / 78min
- Mode 5 : 1300 lumens / 75min
That is what Theoutdoorsplus rate these modes I will add my own outputs. For the top 3 modes.
My testing gives these results using a Sony VTC5
- Mode 3: 650 lumen
- Mode 4: 1000 lumen
- Mode 5: 1550 lumen
The Palmstar does better then I thought it would to be honest. These are some really good output levels remember keeping the Palmstar cool is your best friend. I would love to test the Palmstar in the snow and see how it goes. I had to double check my results by reading the amps at the tail cap and the Palmstar does well for a stock flashlight. I got 4 amps at the tail cap which would give each XPG2 emitter about 1 amp each I think that is good for 1900 lumen total at the LEDs? Some where around that mark I think.
The Palmstar uses 4 Cree XPG2 LEDs they are all on the same MCPB they would have to be wired in parallel as to work proper from a single cell. I think you could probably gain a little extra output from simply just using thicker wires to the LEDs and maybe a spring bypass on the driver side there is no rear spring. The amperage reading I got from the palmstar stock is just okay its good compared to other stock flashlight coming in at 4 amps. It could always be boosted a tad. I plan to put a BLF driver in here once the review is done. I would love to see about 10 amps total but maybe i am just dreaming.
Lets talk about the tint of these XPG2s when you are in the lower modes the LEDs appear to be a very cool binning. The XPG2 are on the cool side but this isn’t helped by not running the LEDs are a higher amperage. If you bumped up the lower modes the tint would shift into a more normal zone. I am not sure how the other quads handle this problem. When you do use the higher modes on the Palmstar the LED tint shift to a cool white of around 6000k I would say it is comparable to the tint to the Jetbeam Jet-1 MK if not a tad warmer. When in the lower modes I would say the tint appears to be around 7000k. So you could look at this and think why bother with such a tint? For starters I think all quads and triples will suffer the same fate if they are already on the cool side plus if the Palmstar used an OP reflector this could help the problem. The real issue is the LEDs are not getting enough power each to able to warm up properly so the tint stays really cool. I think that is how it works right? Plus the SMO reflector does not help. This tint issue could be a killer for some people but in the higher modes its not to bad and using it against different colors and surfaces it evens out a lot. You will see in my pics what I mean. It should be around the mark of a 1A tint so normal cool white.
When buying the Palmstar you need to ask your self why are you buying this style flashlight? You want a quad LED set up with throw? So what is the best way to gain some extra throw and make the tint better? Yes DE-dome the LEDs that would be perfect for this set up! I am also doing this once I have finished the review. Honestly the tint isn’t the worse I have seen. Its bearable especially if you only use the higher modes and not the low modes then it looks normal. I can not be to hard on the tint because its still normal its not like crazy cold. I would be harder on the beam profile because that is some thing I needed to fix it was annoying me. I just found the exact same tint the Orcatorch T11 it runs this same bin XPG2!
Build wise the Palmstar is amazing! The build quality is top notch the knurling is good its big and large and offers the best amount of grip I have ever seen on a flashlight. The Palmstar is the usual IPX8 rated and being an EDC flashlight this is super important it comes with a 1.5 meter drop resistance. This is where things get interesting for the Palmstar because it has a built in USB charging port to charge an 18650. I will add you have to use none protected cells for the batteries to actually fit! Now you may be thinking how will I mod this now? Well its so good the charging port is separate from the head! That is right the battery charger is built into the battery compartment so when you charge the Palmstar you have to take the head of! This is great system for a few reason one of them is waterproofing its safer to have this system. Taking the head of the Palmstar to charge also means you can check the voltage without taking the battery out of the flashlight. This features also means you can use a normal driver when modifying this flashlight no need to fit in like 4 boards in the driver compartment. Charging on the Palmstar is good my cell cut of at 4.20 volts this is twice now in two tests I have had this result. The Rofis and the Palmstar both do better then my engineer 500 charger for cut of voltage. There is a charge indicator built into the battery compartment of the Palmstar. The red LED means the battery is charging and the green LED means the battery is complete these indicator lights are big and bright they are good quality. First time I have seen this set up on a flashlight I have seen similar system but not exactly the same in the past. The charger seem to charge at about 500mah so about average for a built in charger. The Palmstar uses the usual Aircraft grade aluminum alloy and hard anodizing type 3 the finish is a nice black color it doesn’t look cheap or tacky. Theoutdoorsplus doesn’t mention this but the Palmstar comes with AR coated glass.
Modes on the Palmstar are simple to use. The Palmstar uses a single electronic side switch you get 5 basic modes in the UI and you also get 3 blinky modes. The blinky modes are hidden.
To change modes you have to turn the light on with a single click and then each single click within 1 seconds will cycle through the modes the UI is set up like the Niwalker flashlights. There is an option for when the light is of to push and hold for instant turbo. All standard modes have memory mode function the Palmstar will remember your last used mode.
If you want to change modes after 1 second you have to turn the light of and then back on. This can be a bit of a pain but it has its pros and it all depends on what mode setting you like.
From of standby you can double click and this will activate strobe mode. When the Palmstar is on double click and that will activate the blinky modes then double click again to change modes. There is no time limited on when you are changing blinky modes.
The outdoors plus say you can lock out the Palmstar by twisting the head but because it is none anodized threads it takes a while to lock out the Palmstar this way.
What is included in the pack?
- Palmstar flashlight
- Spare O-ring
Overall I like the Palmstar I think the www.theoutdoorsplus.com done a good job designing this flashlight it has a few quirky traits but nothing to major. The tint isn’t to much of an issue for me if I was going to change some thing in the Palmstar. I would grind down the LED gaskets so the reflector can sit flush around the LEDs. Like I said before using an SMO reflector like this you will always get a bit of a ringy beam its part of the design. I think the Palmstar holds its own. Its super small and compact and has all the features you want for an EDC flashlight I think its unique enough to draw the right attention not many people would be use to seeing a quad LED everyday carry. Plus you get the added bonus of having an impressive output. Even if you leave the Palmstar stock you will be pleasantly surprised by its looks and performance. I want to mod the Palmstar to see what it can really do!
Pictures are now updated i figured manual mode i can only use 8mp to use the manual Iso setting they are set to 800 iso here.
Thanks for taking the time to read.