Olight X7R Marauder review with measurements (3xXHP70, 4x18650)

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maukka
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Olight X7R Marauder review with measurements (3xXHP70, 4x18650)

Disclaimer: The Olight X7R Marauder was provided for testing by the manufacturer free of charge

The X7R Marauder is the successor of the X7 Marauder released a year ago in september 2016. Here’s what’s been changed on the X7R compared to the X7:

+ 33% more claimed output, 12000 vs. 9000 lumens
+ Integrated USB charging (Type-C connector)
+ Lanyard attachment point (a nice lanyard comes in the box too)
+ “Proximity sensor” to automatically lower output (actually a light sensor)
+ Backlit sideswitch (lights up automatically when you touch the flashlight)
- No user replaceable battery (can’t use your own 18650’s)
- Requires a special tool to get access to the battery compartment
- IPX7 (up to 1 meter) instead of IPX8 (3 meters on the X7), because of the charging port

By the looks of it, the output increase hasn’t been achieved by switching to the newer and more efficient XHP70.2 emitters. So the X7R is just driven harder and/or has higher binned emitters.

Olight has gotten some critique on the exposed contacts on their USB rechargeable lights. Nothing to worry here, there’s only the USB Type-C connector visible and when not needed it hides neatly behind a sliding door which can be opened by twisting the tailcap. Choosing the Type-C connector was a good call, since it has significantly lower contact resistance than Micro USB. The X7R comes with a high quality USB A to Type-C cable and a USB power supply too.

A bit of a disappointment is the proprietary battery pack, which can’t be accessed at all. Neither the head or the tail can be opened without some special tool. The original X7 had removable 18650’s. The charging system on the X7R does work very well though.

The new “proximity” sensor on the front is actually just a light sensor. It measures the reflected light and dims the light if there’s too much of it. That’s why it will activate at longer distances with highly reflective surfaces and nearer on dark materials. Output limiting typically happens at 5-15 centimeters depending on the output level. When it activates the light drops to low (~380 lumens), which won’t burn anything even if it’s right next to the leds.

The backlit side switch is very sensitive and starts glowing in a breathing manner when you move the flashlight even lightly. The indicator is very dim and ideal in pitch black where you actually need to locate the switch. This was one of the feature requests after the X7 came out.

Manufacturer’s specifications
Batteries: 4× 18650, high drain battery pack, not user replaceable
LED: 3x Cree XHP70 in cool white
Strobe:
Waterproof: IPX7
Mode memory: yes, except turbo and turbo s, which revert down to high, which in turn is memorized for 10 minutes and reverts to medium
Low voltage protection: side switch led indicator when battery voltage low, automatic power cutoff at critical levels
Thermal regulation: yes, reduces output to prevent overheating

Output specs
Maximum output: 12000 lumens for 3 minutes + 3000 lumens for two hours minutes (test conditions not specified)
Other output levels: 7000/3000/1000/500/10 lumens
Light intensity: 36100 candela
Beam distance: 380 m

Measured dimensions and weight
Length: 128.5mm
Head width: 68.3mm
Handle width: 51.8mm
Weight: 659g

Box and contents

The X7R comes in a colorful and sturdy retail box just like their other premium lights. Accessories are packed in a separate carton, while the light is clearly visible right after you open the magnetically attached top lid.

Bundled in the box with the light:
USB power supply (5V/4A) with a USB A to Type-C cable
Lanyard
Holster
User manual

No o-rings in the box as there’s nothing for the end user to open on the light.


The holster can be modified to acommodate bigger belts by removing the blue thread.

Physical appearance

There’s some new design cues on the X7R (right) compared to the X7 (left). The physical size is the same, but the handle part now has grooves for fingers on the opposite side of the switch. Knurling is also styled differently. There’s also a blue protruding lanyard attachment point. Overall, not much has changed, but side by side you can definitely tell them apart.


The side switch has a translucent Olight O with a backlight underneath. The biggest difference is of course the USB Type-C charging port on the tailcap. It is normally hidden behind a small round door which opens neatly by twisting the tailcap.


On the business end, the only difference is the light sensor, which is used to dim the light automatically when there’s too much reflected light. No burning things anymore. Otherwise it is identical to the original X7. Three cool white XHP70’s inside shallow orange peel reflectors. No XHP70.2’s here. The blue bezel can probably be screwed open with some sticky surface (silicone or rubber mat) just like on the X7 to get access to the emitters for swapping. Didn’t have time to check that yet though.

User interface

The light is operated via a backlit electronic side switch. The backlight glows green when batteries have enough charge, red when they are nearly depleted.

The button has a good tactile feel but is quite stiff. There’s little chance of it activating by accident, but locking the light electronically is possible (hold the switch down from off for a couple of seconds).

Operation is as follows
From off:
Single click turns the light on on previously used mode (except turbo, turbo s and strobe or high after 10 minutes)
Double click turns the light on on turbo
Triple click turns the light on on strobe
Press and hold to access nightlight (moonlight)
Keep pressing for electornic lockout, repeat to unlock

From on:
Single click turns the light off
Long press and hold cycles low, mid, high starting from the next mode or from low if moonlight or turbo was selected
Double click activates turbo
Double click on turbo activates turbo s
Triple click for strobe

Strobe can be activated with a rapid series of clicks amounting to at least three, so in panic you’ll probably get it right.

The two highest modes turbo and turbo s are memorized as high. High is memorized for 10 minutes after which it reverts to medium. Strobe is never memorized.

Battery pack and charging

There’s no user replaceable 18650’s in the X7R. The light is sealed and requires a special tool to open it. You just plug in a usb cable to charge it.

The X7R is bundled with a high current (4A) USB power supply. It outputs five volts to the light via a USB-A – Type-C cable. According to Olight the charger is three times faster than your normal Micro-USB chargeable light.

The bundled USB A to Type-C cable is a healthy 80 cm long with a low resistance of 70 mohm. Even the best short Micro-USB cables rarely go below 100 mohm. Low resistance is important with high currents, to not waste power by heating up the connections and cables.

Kudos to Olight for supplying the whole charging system with the light. Most manufacturers only include a cable, not the power supply. The high current requirement does limit your spare supply options a lot, since there’s not a lot of 5V/4A USB power supplies around. Slower charging is of course possible.

Charge time for a completely drained set of batteries is about 3h 30min to 3h 45min with a maximum charge current of 3.5 amps just before the CV phase.

The power supply holds the output very stable at 5.15 volts regardless of load. Efficiency is good at 84% (energy out / energy in = 62.93Wh / 52.87Wh). For reference, the Apple iPad charger is only 78% efficient.

Olight specs the 4×18650 high current battery pack as having a total capacity of 4×3000mAh = 12000mAh and energy content of 50.4Wh. The latter probably isn’t true since the highest energy 18650 with 3000mAh is the Sony VTC6 at 11Wh. Another 3000mAh battery, Samsung 30Q, clocks in at 10.5Wh. Maximum capacity batteries (LG MJ1, Samsung 35E, Sanyo GA) also only have about 12Wh. Judging by the marketing images, the batteries do look like Sanyo NCR18650GA.

The four 18650 batteries are non accessible to the end user. Neither the head or the tailcap can be removed, at least without excessive force. To get to the batteries a special tool is needed to open the tailcap so I couldn’t verify them. That’s why all the efficacy numbers have been done assuming VTC6 is used.

If we assume the VTC6 is used and the energy is 4×11Wh, this results in a DC-DC charging efficiency of 83% (44Wh / 52.87Wh) not taking into account the wasted energy in the meter or in the cables and connections.

Althought the USB charging works tremendously as it is, I would have still preferred to be able to remove and swap the batteries. Now if you run out of juice, you can’t just put in a fresh set. In some ways the choice seems to cater more to the needs of non-flashlight people.

The charger gets a bit hot during the maximum current phase, but nothing to worry about.

Beamshots

White wall animation

Links to individual images: X7R, X7, PT60, M43

Just X7R vs. X7

Woods #1

Links to individual images: X7R, X7, PT60, M43

Just X7R vs. X7

Woods #2

Just X7R vs. X7

Links to individual images: X7R, X7, PT60, M43

Beam, tint and color rendering

There’s no surprises here. Cool white domed XHP70’s in shallow reflectors result in some visible tint shift. Hotspot is greenish, spill is cool. This doesn’t bother everyone, so that’s your call. I have had good results with swapping in neutral white (4500-5000K) and high CRI emitters and slicing the domes.

I had two review samples, but there’s hardly any difference in color temperaure or tint between them, so the results for the second sample only as links.


Tint in different brightness modes. As is usually the case there’s some shift when the current is increased, because PWM is not used. Link to sample 2.


Tint in different parts of the beam. Shifts to cool towards the edge of the spill. Hotspot is clearly greenish (delta uv ~0.0100) and moreso on the lower modes. The other sample was a bit worse (duv 0.0114 on turbo s).

Spectral data and color rendering

For spectral information and CRI calculations I use an X-rite i1Pro spectrophotometer with HCFR, Babelcolor CT&A and ArgyllCMS spotread for the graphs and data. For runtime tests I use spotread with a custom script and an i1Display Pro because it doesn’t require calibration every 30 minutes like the i1Pro.

Explanation of abbreviations

CCT = correlated color temperature, higher temperature means cooler (bluish)
CRI (Ra) = color rendering index consisting of 8 different colors (R1-R8), max value 100
CRI (R9) = color rendering index with deep red, usually difficult for led based light sources, max value 100
TLCI = television lighting consistency index, max value 100
CQS (Qa) = Proposed replacement for CRI, RMS average of 15 color samples
CRI2012 (Ra,2012) = Another proposed replacement for CRI, consists of 17 color samples
MCRI = Color rendering index based on the memory of colors or 9 familiar objects
NEW Read more about the IES TM-30-15 method
TM-30 = The newest color rendering method using 99 samples. Preferred for comparing LEDs.
TM-30 (Rf) = Accuracy of colors, fidelity index. Replaces CRI.
TM-30 (Rg) = Gamut of colors, saturation index. Higher number means more saturated colors.
Tint dev. (“Duv” in the CTA screenshots) is the tint’s distance to the black body radiator line in the CIE graphs. The higher the number, the greener the tint. 0,0000 means absolutely neutral white and negative numbers mean rosy/magenta tint. Anything over 0,0100 can be described as visibly green.

If you have an hour to spare, I recommend watching this presentation on IES TM-30-15 which also shines light into color rendering in general.


CRI data for the X7R (other sample)


CRI table for different brightness modes.

Output and runtimes

Both of my review samples had problems reaching the claimed 12000 lumens on turn on. Olight’s output numbers are specced at 0 seconds. I got 10365-10600 at 0 sec and a hair under 10000 lumens at 30 seconds. The numbers were verified by another reviewer. Not that the difference between 10600 and 12000 is visible to the naked eye, but still, it’s a numbers game.

All the lumen measurements have been done with a new sphere, so they cannot be compared to my previous reviews. I measured the original X7 again to have a reference. Previously the X7 measured at 8940 lumens on Turbo S at 30 seconds, this time with the more professional setup it read 8300. However, this time I couldn’t test the X7 with the bundled Samsung 35E batteries, since one of them broke (protection circuit had a loose part) and had to be thrown away. The test was conducted with button top Samsung 30Qs.

Because the proximity sensor limits output on high and above, only the three lowest modes (nightlight, low, medium) were measured in the sphere and the rest (high, turbo, turbo s) outside of it comparing the relative differences to medium.

In reality, the maximum output has increased 20 percent from the X7 instead of the specified 33 percent. At 30 seconds shown in the table the gap closes to 14%. This means that in real life, their output is visually similar even though a camera and a meter can pick up the difference.

This time around I also used the spectrometer for throw numbers. The X7R and X7 were measured from 2.5 meters and the difference was 20 percent as expected after the lumen measurements. The X7R falls short of manufacturer intensity of 36100 at 27819 cd, but the X7 numbers are very close: Olight says 24500 and I got 23800. The previous X7 review had flawed throw measurements with a not up to par lux meter, which behaved unpredictably with led flashlights.

To save time, runtimes were done on two different samples, so the efficacy and output numbers will have some discrepancies. The table however has the numbers from the brighter sample. There was a 2-4% difference in brightness depending on the mode. Either way, as usual for Olight, the efficacy is very high, meaning that the driver doesn’t burn much of the energy as heat and most of it goes straight to the leds.

All the output and runtime tests were performed without external cooling. The light stood on its own on the floor or on a table. Ambient temperature was 24-25°C.

In a breeze the output stays higher on turbo s. First ten minutes graphed.

Temperature

Olight has tuned the temperature sensor and behavior since the X7. The stepdown happens gradually a bit earlier, which prevent the overshoot in temperature seen in the X7. The head or the body never rise above 53 degrees celsius.

First 10 minutes on maximum output with max temperature measured from the head. Graph including the average temp of the handle

In 25°C ambient temperature the regulation has to kick in on all levels from high and up. On medium (1080 lm) the temperature climbed only to a hand holdable 40°C.

PWM

No PWM is used on any mode, but there is some ripple on all of them. Its amplitude is strongest on the nightlight mode (about 50%) and can be picked up on camera with some shutter speeds. It varies between 1-2 kHz. On low, middle and high, the ripple is low frequency (~100 Hz), and low amplitude. On turbo s, the frequency is very high and has components at 60-170 kHz.

I couldn’t detect any flickering with the naked eye during my testing.

In the following scope screenshots, zero output line is the middle horizontal line.

Nightlight

Mid

Turbo S

The flickering is possibly visible to a camera

Verdict

The X7R is a worthy successor to the X7. The improvements focus mostly on usability, since the integrated usb type-c charging is fast and convenient. I would have however liked being able to swap out a fresh set of batteries when needed. Now the whole light has to be shipped for servicing if and when the batteries wear out. In normal use this isn’t anything to worry about, but running out of juice when you need it and not being able to use the light for the duration of the charge isn’t nice.

Output, color rendering, tint and everything that has to do with the light quality is practically the same as on the X7. The tint is still greenish and cool white, but will surely impress most people. At least everybody I showed the X7R was amazed at it’s light output.

The same goes for the fit and finish. Everything feels absolutely premium from the tactile side switch to the flawless anodizing and snappy usb port cover. The switch is also now backlit and glows dimly when you touch the light. The grip is more secure and comfortable than on the X7 and the (very nice) lanyard brings in extra security.

Most importantly, the X7R is very safe to use, since the thermal regulation keeps the light at a bit above 50°C on high and turbo modes. Burning a hole in your pocket or backpack is also a thing of the past, since the light sensor in the front automatically dims the light if it receives too much reflected light from a surface near the head. Combined with a simple user interface you don’t need to be a flashlight aficionado to pick it up and safely put it to use.

+ Lots of light
+ Build quality is top notch
+ Simple and familiar user interface
+ Backlight on the side switch
+ Thermal regulation works really well, will not burn your hands
+ Reflected light sensor lowers output automatically when something gets right in front of the light
+ Usb type-c charging is fast and the light comes with a powerful usb power supply
- Non user replaceable proprietary battery pack
- Can’t use normal 18650 batteries
- Neither of the two review samples could reach the claimed output of 12000 lumens
- No moonlight mode (1 lumen or less)
- Visible tint shift from hotspot to spill
- Greenish hotspot
- No neutral white or high CRI option

Edited by: maukka on 08/20/2017 - 14:24
djozz
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Your reviews get more and more professional, very nice! Thanks for all the work, and the X7R seems a great flashlight. And it is also nice to read that my X7 (that has warm XHP70’s now) performance-wise is not obsolete yet. Big Smile

As a home-builder of a few of those, of course I’m interested in your new sphere. Do you have any details? You mentioned already that the sensor is a spectrometer (nice), how did you calibrate it?

maukka
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I used a calibration lamp inside the sphere in a E27 holder. After that I put the Emisar D4 in there at 100% 7135 for flashlight calibration (subtracting the effect of the D4 itself using an auxiliary light). After that I moved the D4 outside the sphere and measured the lux through a diffuser on the input port (40/100mm adjustable). I’ve noticed that a diffuser is the best single thing to improve the integration.

Now I had a calibration light for measuring other lights. For them, I then use the aux light again to subtract their effect on the readings. But you know all of this of course. With the diffuser in place, the small (<30mm) lights don’t really affect the readings, but for bigger lights such as the X7R the effect is clear (bigger readings when the reflector bounces light back to the sphere).

Of course the actual process involves tons more testing and verifying with several lights, but that’s it in a nutshell.

Sphere pictures are here: http://imgur.com/a/EbqM3

djozz
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Thanks for the pics, very impressive! It is fun to see all the features that I tried to build into my home-brewn spheres as well. Apart from the spectrometer with all the calibrated software of course, I’m totally jealous of that! Big Smile