[Review]Klarus ST15R (Bike & Camping Flashlight)

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liquidretro
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[Review]Klarus ST15R (Bike & Camping Flashlight)

Klarus has a new handheld light on the market called the ST15R Night Guardian. It’s a general purpose light that comes with a bike mount, diffuser and a clip to go with you where you go. It runs on multiple lithium battery sizes and will recharge 18650’s via onboard microUSB. Thanks to Flashlightz for sending it to me to take a look at today.

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/WrODgx0
*YouTube Version of this Review: *

Packaging
Packaging on the Klarus ST15R is a retail top hanging box, that’s mat black with the light in raised gloss black on a camping scene, It touts the lumen rating on the front, that it includes a battery and that it’s rechargeable. The sides show a few feature such as the intelligent thermal protection system, USB rechargeable and others. On the back you get headlining features, and more detailed specifications including LED used, Brightness ratings, runtime, throw, and sizes and weight.



The package includes Flashlight, YLE 18650 2600mAh battery (More on that in the recharging section), pocket clip, lanyard, extra oring, MicroUSB charging cable, Bike Mount, and silicone reflector dome. The dome is nice, I wish more lights included them in the package.




Construction
Klarus stepped up the game on the ST15R in my opinion. The light is very nicely machined and the finish is without fault. The light is made from 6061-T6 Aluminium and anodized in a smooth mat black, with a very light texture. Starting at the tail, you have the mechanical switch that takes a firm press, covered with a silicone boot. It has 2 small raised areas for a lanyard to pass through and that allows the light to tail stand. While not truly deep carry the clip on the ST15R is only 20mm from the top allowing for a decently deep carry, much better than some of the competitors lights.



The tail and body are one piece, below the tail section there is a ring milled out for the clip to attach. The clip is fairly standard, it’s removable and rotates 360 degrees, plenty of relief to fit jeans or a fairly thick piece of clothing but there is a ledge that will get caught slightly. The finish looks to be a glossy parkerized type finish, not paint.

The body tube portion of the light has a nice milling pattern of a tight fine spiral of about 180 degrees. While this does not provide a ton of grip, I like the way it looks alot, it’s something different over standard knurling and is easier to keep clean too. I think it’s a classier look as well, and I suspect it isn’t cheap to machine either. Threads are anodized, and squarecut. There are springs on both ends of the light as well.

On the head section the button for me is a nice little upgrade. It’s an electronic switch with LED indicators underneath the bezel. The way the LED’s are diffused in the bezel makes the light soft and pretty even it just looks nicer than I expected. The LED’s are green, yellow and red based on the battery charge level. Opposite the button is the MicroUSB recharging port with a silicone cover. The cover is tight and there is a little extra bit to fit down into the port. I didn’t have any trouble with any of the MicroUSB cables I have but if yours had a wide connector area it might not fit. The of the head do have some milling for heat dissipation.

The front of the head section itself is smooth, the bezel is a silver anodized aluminum. It looks like the head is assembled from the front. The glass is double anti reflective coated with a large visible black o’ring. The reflector is smooth and deep. The LED is nicely centered and surrounded with a black disk.


Size/Weight
I measured length at 142mm, maximum diameter at 33mm and minimum diameter on the body tube at 25mm. Weight with the included battery, and clip came in at 152G.

Length wise it’s slightly shorter than an Olight Warrior X, and very similar in most dimensions to a Nitecore MH12GTS. See the video for some visual comparisons of this.

LED/BeamShots
LED in use is a Cree XP-L HD V6 LED, no official tint data is given but I would call it a bright white, not too cool, but not warm. I don’t find it offensive and like it. For nature stuff it’s probably a little too cool for my ideal light.

The beam pattern has a definite hot spot, more like a thrower, the spill is pretty minimal, less than 5% of the light if I had to guess. I like that Klarus decided to include the diffuser on this light, since it is a bit throwy this really change things up and provides more light 360 degrees around. Now you could use it not only at night while hiking but also inside a tent suspended from the top, etc. More lights should come with a diffuser.


Working Voltage is 2.5 – 8.4V beaning it has no problem taking 18650, 2× 18350, or 2x CR123A.

Low – 10 Lumens
Medium – 100 Lumens
High – 400 Lumens
Turbo – 1200 Lumens

Strobe – 1200 Lumens
Beacon – 100 Lumens
SOS – 100 Lumens

For my runtime tests I used the included 2600mAh battery. Total runtime was 210 minutes. The curves on this are generally pretty gradual, no hard step downs until the end. I believe this is due to the active thermal controls the light has and not timed step downs. The light held 80% relative output for right at 20 minutes which is pretty good. The graphs really tell the story, so make sure to check those out.

UI
The light has an on/off switch on the tail, with an electronic switch in the head. Once turned on you have constant on modes, Low, Medium, High and Turbo and you cycle through these with a single click each. The light does have memory mode if switched off with the tail switch in the constant on modes. When the light is on double clicking the switch in the head gets to the strobe modes. Long press on the same button to switch between Strobe, Beacon, and SOS. There are no shortcuts to turbo, or low.

While charging you can can click the mode button and the light will come on in low.

Recharging
The light recharges via Micro USB in a port opposite the button. It is recessed and wide cables or cables with large molding may have trouble reaching. I didn’t have this problem on the 3 or 4 I tested. The light does have LED indicators around the button so it will show battery charge status for 5 second when the light is turned on or changed modes. Green is greater than 70%, Orange is between 30-70%, and red less than 30%, and red flashing is less than 10%

The light includes a 2600mAh 18650 battery that is a button top and protected cell. It says working voltage is 4.2V to 2.75V which is a bit low for my preferences. On mine I can clearly see the label of the underlying cell and in this case it’s a YLE INR18650A260 the datasheet can be found http://www.yiklik.com/upload/manual/INR18650A260.pdf This is a Chinese battery supplier, that makes a variety of 18650’s. It seems they have been focused more on batteries for bikes, other personal transportation, and tools more then high draw flashlights.

Recharging Speed was measured at 1A, so charging the light over USB from it’s shut off point took 3 hours and 5 minutes in my test. Terminating Charge Voltage after rest of the battery was 4.17V.

When charged the red LED’s around the switch go to green, and the light gives a brief low power flash of the main emitter. I like this, it’s more noticeable than just an LED changing color.

Pro’s

  • Can take a wide variety of batteries, 18650, 2x CR123A, 2× 16340, 2× 18350
  • Definite upgrade in machining, finish, and packaging.
  • I love the slight sliver of LED’s around the switch, it just better done then similar lights that do this.
  • Includes a bike mount and diffuser dome.

Con’s

  • Not a big fan of double click to strobe, I would prefer a double click to turbo UI with triple click to Strobe.
  • No Moonlight mode.
  • Not using a well known established brand of battery for their branded cells.
  • No holster is included, not a big deal for me personally but worth mentioning.

Conclusion
To sum up the Klarus ST15R is a nice balance for a light that can be used in a lot of different applications. I wish the user interface was a little different, because I don’t like strobe so easily accessed with a double click. It’s nice that it comes with a bike mount and a diffuser, and I think this improves its usability with it’s more throwy beam. The LED isn’t a super cool tint which can happen with other Klarus lights, so I like that too. The fit and finish is a step up too in my opinion from some of the Klarus lights I have looked at in the past. I love the milling pattern on the body and the anodizing seems to be nicer as well. It’s a pretty nice light and let’s hope Klarus continues this trend in 2019.

Lightbringer
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Kinda get the feeling it’d be a pricey light, but I still loooooove that “spline” knurling, just like the Zanflare F1. Wish more lights would come out with that…

Never really trusted those rubberband-mounted bike-mounts, though. Don’t they jiggle fiercely with each bump? In a more solid (eg, clamp) mount, I imagine it’d be rock-steady.

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