Review: Haikelite MT01 (3x18650, XHP50.2, 2500lm, neutral white)

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zak.wilson
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Review: Haikelite MT01 (3x18650, XHP50.2, 2500lm, neutral white)

This Haikelite MT-01 was provided by Banggood for review. Use coupon code ccc3c5 to get the MT01 for $40.95.

This review originally appeared on reddit and was converted with Pandoc

Some extra images are in the album.

Quick Review

The Haikelite MT01 is a 3×18650 light slightly larger than a Red Bull can using the brand new Cree XHP50.2 emitter to make an advertised 2500 lumens. While a comparison to the Klarus G30 I reviewed recently is obvious, the two are significantly different. The MT-01 has considerably more throw and a more tightly defined hotspot. Named "Trekker" by the manufacturer, the MT-01 is the first Haikelite with a name that makes sense; the previous two models were called "Buffalo" and "Devourer", but the MT-01 seems like a good light to bring on a trek.

Like the G30, the MT-01 isn’t a numbers light. There are smaller lights with more peak output, and many lights with more throw. The MT-01 is a light to use for extended periods of time that’s unlikely to do anything surprising. In fact, the lack of surprising behavior could be a significant selling point for the MT-01; it can be safely operated with less knowledge of proper Li-ion battery care than many competing options. That’s because the MT-01 has its batteries in a parallel configuration, which lessens the risks from using mismatched batteries and allows operation on one, two or three 18650s. Users should note that mismatched batteries are still inadvisable and use of maximum output on a single 18650 may be a bit hard on the battery. All 18650s I tried fit and made contact, regardless of whether they were flat or button top, protected or unprotected.

A single press of the button turns the light on in the last-used steady more, or off if it’s on. Press-and-hold from on cycles through four well-spaced modes in a low to high order. A double-click from on or off triggers strobe, and a single click from strobe returns to the last-used steady mode. There are no shortcuts to useful modes like high or low from off, just strobe. Basic operation will be easy for all users to pick up without instruction, but the MT-01 would be better if it used the UI from the MT-03, which does have shortcuts from off to low and high and does not have a strobe mode. Loosening the head a quarter turn locks out operation mechanically.

The beam on this neutral white example of the MT-01 does have significant tint shift from the spill, through the corona to the hotspot. The spill appears cool white with some purple in it; the corona is yellow-green; the hotspot is a fairly pure 5000K white. Cree’s latest emitters, including the XHP50.2, XP-G3 and XP-L2 are known for this sort of uneven tint, which might explain why Haikelite just introduced a model using the older, much less efficient MT-G2. Outdoors, the tint shift is less visible, but still noticeable if you’re looking for it. Tint snobs will be happier with the G30, but the simplicity, versalitily, throw and efficiency make a good case for the MT-01.

Build quality is solid. Everything fits together well, it handles immersion in water with no issues, the threads are smooth and my sample lacked obvious tool marks. The overall appearance is a bit reminiscent of an oversized Zebralight, while the matte finish looks and feels more like an Armytek product. It’s not as thick as Armytek’s anodizing though, and mine has visible bare spots in the finish from relatively light use. There’s a protrusion on the tailcap that provides a lanyard hole and makes the MT-01 worse at tailstanding.

The MT-01 is a solid choice for a larger all-around light, especially for $40.95. Products from more established brands with similar performance often sell for $100 or more.

  • + Stable, sustainable maximum output
  • + Beginner-friendly user interface
  • + Useful beam pattern for outdoor environments
  • + Parallel battery configuration is flexible and somewhat forgiving of mistakes
  • + Efficiency and runtime are excellent
  • + Low-voltage protection
  • - No shortcuts to useful modes from off
  • - Tint is uneven across the beam
  • - Greenish corona isn’t very nice
  • - Finish has poor durability
  • - Could be better at tailstanding

Details and technical analysis

Accessories

The MT-01 comes in a plastic case with foam padding. Two spare O-rings are included, which are not the same size. There’s a lanyard with a clip on it, but it fits the lanyard hole on the light poorly. An instruction sheet, printed or photocopied on A4 paper is provided.

Haikelite MT-01 manual

Modes and user interface

State Action Result
Off Short-press Last-used steady mode
Steady mode Short-press Off
On Long-press Cycle through steady modes
Any Double-click Strobe
Strobe Short-press Last-used steady mode
On Double-click + hold Lockout
Lockout Double-click + hold Last-used steady mode

There is no PWM on any mode.

Output and runtime

All runtime testing was performed with LG HG2 3000 mAh 18650 batteries. Haikelite’s advertised numbers are with unspecified batteries. Output numbers are from Haikelite’s product page, which differs slightly from the Banggood product page.

I’ve revised my calibration for testing lumens and candela slightly using numbers maukka provided for lights we both own. Using the new calibration, the Klarus G30 makes 2091 lumens and 229m FL1 throw on max.

Mode Advertised Lumens Estimated Lumens FL1 throw Graph Advertised Runtime Time to 80% Time to 50% Time to 10% Tailcap current
Standby 0 0 0 - - - - 4.9 years 70.1 μA
Low 50 26 38m - 75h - - 138h 65 mA
Med 250 284 142m - 15h - - 27h 324 mA
High 850 1027 240m graph 5h 234 min 242 min 242 min -
Max 2500 2227 350m graph 105 min 75 min 75 min 125 min -

Efficiency, based on 10.5 Wh per HG2 is estimated at 100lm/W on max and 129lm/W on high. It’s probably slightly better because the termination voltage is higher than the tests that put the HG2 at 10.5 Wh.

There’s no thermal regulation, and extended use in warm, still air can result in the body becoming uncomfortably warm to hold on the highest mode. Modest air movement as would be seen in most outdoor use is sufficient to keep the body temperature tolerable.

There are some small stepdowns in max mode that appear to be voltage based, but output stays over 88% until the first major stepdown. That stepdown is signified by a gentle ramp down to near 0, followed by a rebound to 26%. After about 30 minutes, a constant, gentle pulsing indicates a shutdown is imminent. Low-voltage protection trips around 3.2V, a conservative figure.

Ergonomics

The matte finish and mild checkering provide a secure grip under most conditions. It’s fairly easy to find the button by feel, as it’s located on the only flat area of the head. The button has fairly low tactile feedback, but no useful functions of the MT-01 are timing-based. The latest models appear to have a metal button instead of the rubber button on my sample, as well as some other minor cosmetic changes.

Modification potential

I’ve decided to start including modifications in reviews. Some people just can’t leave well enough alone, and I’m one of them.

The MT-01 is fairly modification-friendly. The bezel is easily removed with a strap wrench, giving access to the lens, machined aluminum reflector and emitter/MCPCB. It’s a 20mm copper MCPCB similar in appearance to a Sinkpad. I didn’t remove it this time around as I don’t have a replacement emitter. It’s configured for 6 volts, so any XHP50, XHP50.2 or XM-L2 Easywhite should be a direct swap. The Nichia 144A should work well given an appropriate MCPCB for those who want better color quality, though those don’t produce a particularly nice beam in some reflectors. I will be testing in this one at some point. Without a centering ring, an XHP70 or XHP70.2 would probably also work. The stock reflector probably won’t fit an MT-G2. I will try a 144A in this light when I manage to get one and report on how that works.

The driver is also easy to access, simply by unscrewing the retaining ring in the head. It’s an LD-35, a fairly well-known boost driver in the hobbyist flashlight world. This version appears to have some minor changes from older versions of the LD-35. This uses an off the shelf TI boost chip and operates near its maximum output. I’m not sure increased output is especially desirable since it would increase heat much faster than perceived brightness. Some people do love chasing numbers though.

The use of an off-the-shelf driver explains the difference in UI with other Haikelite products. I haven’t found any third-party firmwares for this driver. Even so, using a well-known driver with established characteristics gives me more confidence in this light from a very new manufacturer.

Ceilingbounce – flashlight testing and runtime graphs for Android

Edited by: zak.wilson on 07/11/2017 - 21:41
maukka
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Liking that output/runtime table with links to graphs. Thanks for the review!