Review: Klarus XT2CR (18650, XHP35HD, 1600lm)

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stephenk
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Review: Klarus XT2CR (18650, XHP35HD, 1600lm)

Disclaimer

The Klarus XT2CR was sent to me for review by GearBest. No other payment was received for this review, and I receive no commission from the product link or sales.
Product page: https://m.gearbest.com/led-flashlights/pp_702467.html

Introduction

The Klarus XT series is a popular range of lights with a “tactical” interface with dual tail switches, offering instant access to turbo, strobe, or low depending on the mode. The XT11GT and XT12GT have a balanced, and thrower beam profile respectively, and intelligent temperature protection system for controlled step downs. The XT2CR brings this technology and user interface into the 18650 tube light category. With the 18650 tube light market being saturated with models at different price points, how does the XT2CR compare?

Packaging

The Klarus XT2CR came in a Klarus branded cardboard box. Included are the flashlight, a Klarus branded protected 18650 battery, holster, lanyard, O-ring, and micro USB cable. Optional accessories are rail mount, and remote pressure switch.


Design

The Klarus XT2CR is an 18650 tube light i.e. the head is roughly the same diameter as the body at 25.6mm. It uses a genuine Cree XHP35 HD E4 LED, with a claimed output of 1600 lumens, and a throw of 240 meters.

There is a a micro USB charging point near the head, with rubberised cover/plug, which I prefer over magnetic charging points that have more potential for short circuit. The internal charger terminated the charge at 4.15V, which is a little low, but probably better for long term battery life. Charging rate is 1A, and took 3.5 hours to charge from 2.63V.

A “3600mAh” Klarus branded protected battery is included. I suspected that this is based on the excellent 3500mAh Sanyo/Panasonic NCR18650GA, however I get slightly higher capacity readings from this battery than my GAs. Users are not restricted to using this battery, and any medium/high drain 18650 designed for continuous 7A current or more can be used in this light. Springs at both ends allow for both button top, raised top, and flat top batteries. The colour indicator during USB charging displays red when charging, green when full, and orange to check battery. In use, the colour indicator turns on for a short period when the flashlight is turned on, and shows remaining battery capacity – green >70%, orange 30-70%, red <30%, red flashing <10%. This appeared to work correctly during use.

The light is rated to IPX8, so can theoretically be used in bad weather, or survive a dunking in water.

The bezel is crenelated for self defence, based on the target market. Thankfully, for those who don’t like crenelated bezels, it can be unscrewed. Other design features include a glass lens with AR coating for scratch resistence, HAIII anodising, and grippy knurling. There is a stainless steel pocket clip included, which can’t be reversed.

There are two switches in the tail, which will be explained in the next section.






Size comparison – L to R – Klarus XT2CR, Zanflare F1, Thorfire TK15S, Convoy S2+ Black.

User Interface

The XT2CR has two tail switches, the primary switch (which is a circular button) and a mode switch (which is a paddle). The attached photo probably best explains the flexible user interface, though I found that some of the required timings are longer than specified. Both switches have some forward clicky / momentary functionality.


There are two settings that can be changed by holding down the mode switch for 10secs, and then clicking the primary switch. The two settings are “tactical” and “outdoor”.

In Tactical setting the primary switch acts as momentary on, or on/off to turbo depending on how far it is depressed. Once fully on, the mode switch can be used to change modes in order Turbo>High>Low. Strobe is selected using the mode switch as follows:
Press < 4secs (ish) = Momentary strobe (constant fast Hz)
Press and hold = Constant fast Hz strobe (release and click again to turn off, or click primary for turbo)
Press > 4secs(ish) = Variable Hz strobe (click to turn off, or click primary for turbo).

In Outdoor mode, the primary switch acts as momentary on, or on/off to turbo depending on how far it is depressed. Once fully on, the mode switch can be used to change modes in order Low>Medium>High>Turbo. A > 3secs hold of the mode switch will turn on SOS. If the light is off, then the mode switch can be used for momentary low, if held will turn on low mode, from where modes can be cycled.

I really like this user interface, in particular the momentary for both turbo and strobe are useful for those who require tactical functionality, and momentary for low may be useful for stealthy night use. Being a light painter I like the ability to switch between turbo and strobe, and back again on the fly (as in below photo). Omissions to the user interface, are a lack of memory mode, and I would personally prefer just a constant frequency fast strobe.

The light can be locked out by unscrewing the tail cap slightly.

Beam, Output, and Runtime

Due to the XHP35 emitter, and smooth reflector, the beam profile is more towards throwy for this light category – intense hotspot, and narrow beam angle. The initial peak beam intensity and lumens are excellent for this category of light, though the peak beam intensity (cd) per lumen is not as good as some similar lights with XP-L HI emitters. The claimed modes are:
Turbo – 1600lm 14400cd 1.2hr
High – 400lm 3600cd 4hr
Medium – 100cd 900cd 14hr
Low – 10lm 91cd 200h
Strobe – 1600lm 2.4hr
SOS – 100lm 42hr


18650 tube lights cannot sustain continuous output beyond around 600-700 lumens without getting too hot to hold. As the “lumens wars” forces manufacturers to increase the output rating for more sales, they also need to find ways to control the heat, and thus output. Rather than using a “dumb” timer based step-down, Klarus have implemented an intelligent temperature protection system, which reduces output up or down based on temperature. When testing indoors there was a noticeable blink each time the light automatically adjusted the output, which can occur a few times each minute. I didn’t notice this blink when outdoors.

A runtime test in turbo was performed, indoors, at 23C/73F ambient temperature, and the light tripod clamp mounted (and thus minimal heat sinking other than air). Thus this test is a near “worst case” scenario for sustaining high output, but a near “best case” scenario for runtime. Initial output was measured at 1550lm at 30secs and at 1min. Multiple step-downs from 75secs then decreased the output to 640lm at 3min. The output then varied like a rollercoaster rising and falling again between 640lm and 1230lm until around 10 minutes. After 10 minutes the output continues to vary between 500lm and 820lm, gradually gaining equilibrium around 640lm. At 130mins, the light dropped to 180lm, at 145mins dropped to 90lm, and kept going for another hour at which point I stopped testing – battery was at 2.62V. Due to the temperature control, output, and thus runtime will vary considerably depending on ambient conditions – you mileage will vary! I liked the fact that this light will not suddenly leave the user in the dark.

While the modes are well spaced, in future versions I would prefer to see a mode in-between turbo and high, that allows for the highest possible constant output (approx. 600lm). A moonlight mode would also be nice.

Tint is at the better end of cool white, estimated around 6000k. There is some tint shift, with the centre of the beam being almost pure white, yellow tinted inner spill beam, and purple tinted outer spill beam. There is a very small dim spot artefact in the centre of the hotspot, though this is not noticeable in real world use. CRI appears to be the usual >70CRI, which is useable for most purposes.

PWM was evident in Low and Medium mode.


Outdoor beamshot in turbo – f/5.6, 3sec, ISO400.

Conclusion

Things I liked:
High initial lumen and peak beam intensity for an 18650 tube light
Controlled step-down due to intelligent temperature protection system
Instant access to turbo and strobe
Covered micro USB charging point and battery charge remaining indicator
Accepts wide range of protected and unprotected 18650 or CR123 batteries (>7A required for max output)
Optional remote pressure switch (not tested)
Will not suddenly leave you in the dark

Things I didn’t like:
No mode memory
No moonlight mode
Large gap between high and turbo mode.
Noticeable blink each time the light automatically adjusts the output (more so when used indoors).

The Klarus XT2CR is an impressive, high quality “tactical” 18650 tube light, which will appear to those who like a forward clicky/tactical user interface. As 1600 lumens is a high output for a light of this size, output is reduced fairly rapidly to avoid overheating. However, this stepdown in output is controlled well by the intelligent temperature protection system. Micro USB charging will appeal to the consumer market. I expect the XT2CR to be a very popular light, and it will definitely be staying in my camera bag!

Note: X-ray image of internals to be added later.

Edited by: stephenk on 09/24/2017 - 01:02
Itsme
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Nice review. I have one on the way and I am looking forward to it even more now

stephenk
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Itsme wrote:
Nice review. I have one on the way and I am looking forward to it even more now

I’m just heading out to use it for some more light painting photography tonight.
Nicolicous
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nice light painting bro.

did you put a tube over the head and switch the strobe mode then pan the light?

Can you lend me some money to buy new flashlights?

stephenk
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Nicolicous wrote:
nice light painting bro.

did you put a tube over the head and switch the strobe mode then pan the light?


The tube is connected using a Light Painting Brushes Universal Connector (a rubber cone). Started off holding down the mode switch for constant strobe, then released after 5secs for variable strobe, then pressed primary switch for turbo.
Nicolicous
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Thanks Stephen

where can i buy the Light Painting Brushes Universal Connector?

im getting inspire by your photo Big Smile

Can you lend me some money to buy new flashlights?

stephenk
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Nicolicous wrote:
Thanks Stephen

where can i buy the Light Painting Brushes Universal Connector?

im getting inspire by your photo Big Smile

You can get the Universal Connector and various light painting tools that use it, from:
www.lightpaintingbrushes.com
or
www.denissmith.com.au

blueb8llz
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Thank you for the review. Can 2× 18350 be used?

stephenk
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blueb8llz wrote:
Thank you for the review. Can 2× 18350 be used?

The instructions only mention 1×18650 or 2xCR123A. However the input voltage goes up to 8.4V, so should be OK.
stephenk
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User Interface video added in OP.

blueb8llz
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stephenk wrote:
blueb8llz wrote:
Thank you for the review. Can 2× 18350 be used?

The instructions only mention 1×18650 or 2xCR123A. However the input voltage goes up to 8.4V, so should be OK.
Yup I have this light and saw that the instructions says that. But I am still worried to try it.
I used 2× 18350 on my nitecore p20, and it gave me an additionally 300 lumens! So that’s why I really want to try it on this light! Haha
RaVeN
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Thanks for the review. It can tailstand right?

stephenk
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RaVeN wrote:
Thanks for the review. It can tailstand right?

Yes, but only just, and on a slight angle.