Skilhunt M300 - XHP35 HI - REVIEW

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Pavlo
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Skilhunt M300 - XHP35 HI - REVIEW

PREFACE:
I purchased this light with my own money from the AliExpress Skilhunt Store.

VERSION:
Skilhunt M300 XHP35 HI Intensity

BUILD QUALITY:
-Build quality and anodizing is fantastic. I used to own an older H03 headlamp and I find the fit and finish has improved at par with Fenix as a comparison.
-Skilhunt doesn’t appear to have cut any corners here. Double springs so it can easily fit majority of 18650 batteries. Square cut threads, lots of rubber O rings, AR coated glass.
-Finish is not shiny, bot not matt like an Armytek either. Strikes a nice balance for good grip and timeless aesthetics.

FEATURES AND FUNCTION:
-The USB magnetic charging is great. I really like this feature for travelling when you don’t want to carry a charger with you. Makes it easy to top up the battery in most situations, and doesn’t compromise the waterproofness of the light with flimsy rubber USB port covers. Yes, its proprietary, but its still my preference.
-Pocket clip works really well, and is deep carry which I like a lot.
-Magnetic tail is not the strongest, but strong enough to support the light in any position.
-Tail cap is flat, so the light tailstands easily.
-The electronic switch button feels amazing. Its fairly silent but provides enough feedback with a click to know when you have pressed it.
-My one and only complaint about this light and how it can be improved is the design around the electronic switch. In complete darkness, I find it very difficult to find the button. The button is not recessed, and there is little tactile feedback to let you know when you have your thumb on the switch. I even found myself pressing on the magnetic charging port instead. On my Zebralight H600w Hi, your finger doesn’t have to search at all for the button. It naturally falls in place as the contour of the light leads you straight to it.
-The electronic lockout is easy to access, but given how the button is not recessed, there are high chances that you press the button if left in a bag and shaken around.

SIZE & WEIGHT:
Length: 111mm / 4.37”
Head Size: 28mm / 1.1”
Weight: 72.5g (Excluding Battery)
-The size of the light is fairly compact, and fits very nicely in the palm of your hand.
-With the battery, flashlight still feels relatively slight and slim, and fits easily in the pocket.

OPTIC, LED & BEAM:
-The smooth reflector creates a well defined spot, surrounded by a well balanced spill.
-I find the beam well suited for outdoor use, but a little too throwy for up close / indoor use. Adding some DC Fix to the lens would probably make it well suited for close up work.
-While white wall hunting, I do notice a very minor yellow spot in the center of the beam. This is not noticeable at all in real use.
-XHP35 HI LED puts out a very nice tint, and is noticeably cooler than my Zebralight H600W HI, which is rated at 4500K. I suspect the LED used in the Skillhunt to be somewhere between 5500K and 6000K.
-Areas for improvement here are to offer it in Neutral White (4000-5000K), and with an Orange Peel reflector. This is my personal preference.
-CRI is not specified with the light, but based on my comparison with my Zebralight, I suspect they are using the standard 70 CRI version of the XHP35 LED.

RIGHT: Skilhunt M300 HI
LEFT: Zebralight H600W HI MKIII

USER INTERFACE:
-User interface on this light is great. For those that dislike holding the button to turn off the light, there is a second UI that is more or less identical to Thrunite, which I find the easiest to use and navigate.
From OFF:
-Hold to get to moonlight.
-Single click for last used mode.
-Double Click for turbo.

From On:
-Press and hold to cycled different modes in increasing order.
-Double click to turbo.
-Single press to turn off.

MODE SPACING:
-This is an area that I am particularly picky with.
-The mode spacing on this light is perfect.
-Moonlight is nice and dim, and the rest of the levels are spaced out in a way that look like natural incremental steps to the human eye without weird gaps between different modes.
- The Ceiling Bounce test below shows a quick snapshot of the mode spacing.

RUNTIME & REGULATION:
-I did not test the runtimes, but I can see that all modes except Turbo are nicely regulated for constant consistent output.
-700 lumens (High) constant output is fantastic, and a nice feature coming from a light that uses an efficient Boost driver.
-I personally rarely use Turbo settings for more than a few seconds, but my preference would have been to use a form of PID temperature regulation instead of a timed stepdown from Turbo. This is not a deal breaker by any means, but why limit the performance of a light if you don’t have to. In cold weather, it would be nice to know you aren’t limited by a timer.

MOD FRIENDLY:
-This is a big selling point and one of the reasons why I was attracted to this light. The bezel is very easy to unscrew by hand, and you have direct access to the MPCPB. There are two main wires (+ / -) that run to the MCPCB board and two additional smaller ones that attached to one end.

COMPARED TO:
-Compared to a Convoy tube light, I find this one much more appealing. Its noticeably smaller, uses a much better driver and the XHP35 HI led that I am a big fan of. I find that XHP35 HI LED is a great balance between throw and high output for a single LED light. XHP50 is much floodier, and often comes with a bad green tint. XP-L Hi is good too, but can’t match the XHP35 HI in output.
-Compared to a Zebralight H600w Hi, this is where it gets more competitive. The Skilhunt has several advantages such as better battery compatibility, mod friendly, brighter, magnetic tail, and magnetic USB charging. The Zebralight uses an integrated driver and MCPCB making the H600w much smaller/shorter for nearly the same performance. The Zebralight feel in hand is better, with a nicely recessed switch. The Skilhunt feels marginally brighter, and the throw feels more or less the same to the H600w Hi (MKIII).

FINAL THOUGHTS:
-Fantastic all around outdoor flashlight. Really nice build quality with well regulated boost driver. Great cool white tint with good throw and output for its size. Easy access to MCPCB for future LED swaps. Option of two great UI’s to please everyone. USB magnetic charging great for travel without compromising waterproofness of light.

PROS:
+Compact
+Magnetic USB Charging
+Easy access to MCPCB
+Simple and intuitive UI
+Electronic Button Switch feels very nice.
+Flat Regulated Runtime on High
+Fits Protected and Unprotected 18650 Batteries
+Great tint
+Fantastic well spaced output levels
+Competitive Price for this level of quality and features
+Easy access to Moonlight and Turbo
+Well designed pocket clip

AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT:
-Electronic Button Switch not easy to find by feel.
-Not offered in Neutral White at time of purchase.
-Would have preferred an orange peel reflector to even out the transition from spot to spill and reduce minor imperfections in beam.
-Use PID / Temperature Regulation instead of a timed stepdown.
-Offer it in 80+ CRI for better color rendition

DEAL BREAKERS:
-None


Anthony Nguyenn
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Thank you Pavlo for the great review and amazing photos. Can we get some beam shot please ? I really think XHP35 HI is a sweet spot rn.

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id30209
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I always read pros and cons at the end of each review and you did perfect!

Spot on review.

WTB Titanium 4sevens 2xAA tube

MascaratumB
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Thanks for the review and very nice photos Wink
If I may ask, do you use a camera or cellphone?

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Pavlo
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I will see if I can get some beamshots. I live in the city and its hard to find a dark place suitable for beamshots. Might have to wait until I go into the backcountry without city light pollution.

I used a Sony A7iii camera with 50mm Prime lens. I think the newer phones can replicate background blur digitally but it will never be as good or natural as a large aperture lens with a big full frame sensor. The larger sensor of a full frame camera offer better dynamic range as well.

varbos
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Good review.

Why does the tail section have such a large diameter ? It looks very ugly, like a dumbell

XHP35 is now discontinued so perhaps this model will be very short-lived.

Pavlo
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I personally like the wider tailcap. I find it balances the slightly larger head, gives it a more secure feel in hand, and it tail stands more securily.

As for the LED, Cree announced the xhp35.2 HI, so I suspect they would just switch to the newer version when stock runs out of the current discontinued gen 1.

sac02
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Definitely an Olight vibe with the blue anodizing on bezel and switch. (innocent coincidence, or straight-up copycat?)

Any images of the magnetic charger and how it is used?

How easy is it to disassemble? My previous skillhunt lights have been fairly easy, hopefully they don’t start gluing stuff.

Pavlo
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Here are a few more images to demonstrate how the charging works, and 1 amazing feature that I find quite unique and useful to this light…

The M300 will operate without a battery in all modes except Turbo! Pretty sweet feature makes the light very versatile.

As mentioned in my original review, the bezel is very easy to unscrew by hand. There is no glue. I added a photo below to show you what the MCPCB looks like.

Skylight
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Thank you for the nice review. Thumbs Up

I like your check for modding possibilities and the conclusion with ‘areas for improvement’ and ‘deal breakers’. These are always good to know.

sac02
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Pavlo wrote:

Here are a few more images to demonstrate how the charging works, and 1 amazing feature that I find quite unique and useful to this light…

The M300 will operate without a battery in all modes except Turbo! Pretty sweet feature makes the light very versatile.

As mentioned in my original review, the bezel is very easy to unscrew by hand. There is no glue. I added a photo below to show you what the MCPCB looks like.

Thumbs Up

Apparently I missed the bold heading saying “MOD FRIENDLYFacepalm

Thanks for the additional pics.

Pavlo
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Glad you guys liked the review and photos.

One additional piece of info that may be useful, the MCPCB is approximately 16mm in diameter.