Review: FoxFury Rook Checkmate (XM-L | 1 x 18650)

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Review: FoxFury Rook Checkmate (XM-L | 1 x 18650)

The Rook series was designed based on it's namesake, like the chess piece. However the word itself is based on the Persian word for Charoit (rokh). The significance of this is that those chariots were fortified to look like towers/turrets and as a result, likely influenced the evolution of the design of the modern Rook chess piece as we've come to know.

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder then subjectively, I feel it's an attractive design but let's see if it's only skin deep.

Light Emissions
* 600 torch lumen
* 12° focused beam (white light)
* Distance vision: 500 ft (152 m)

* 1 white CREE LED
* Tap switch (rear of light)
* Strike bezel (strong enough to shatter glass)

* 3 Modes:
o Low Power
o Turbo-Strobe (varying frequency for disorientation)
o Full Power

* Fire resistant
* Waterproof to 6 ft (1.8 m)
* Impact resistant

Physical Characteristics
* 6.4 oz (181 g)
* Size:
o Length: 5.8" (147 mm)
o Handle diameter: 1.1" (28 mm)
o Head (side) : 1.5" (38 mm)
* Aluminum 6061-T6 hard anodized housing
* Black exterior

* 2 CR123 or 1 18650 (rechargeable) batteries
* Life:
o Full power: 1.5 to 3.5 hours (varies by mode)

* 24 months

The CheckMate arrived in a black cardboard box w/a magnetic flap. There was ample foam cushioning to protect the light during transit:

Additional items included were:
- Holster
- Wrist strap
- Rook series Specs/instructions sheet

The Checkmate, like its Rook brethren, features one of the more unique designs adopted for flashlights and actually works quite well in an "art imitates life" sort of way as the head mimics the square turrets of yore (before they transitioned to round ones):

The CheckMate is the flagship in the Rook lineup and features a XM-L T6 LED that is perfectly centered via a white centering disc/LED holder:

Given the head is squared-shape, it provides very good anti-roll capability. With the appropriate bezel removal tool, the lens (non-AR coated) and super smooth reflector should be accessible:

Entrance to a brightly lit dungeon?

Nah, it's just one of the crenellations on the bezel which offers one of the most interesting beam profile when stood on its head:

The textured finish on the body is actually quite smooth and doesn't really provide much in the way of additional grip:

However, given the flared head and tail, it shouldn't really be a problem:

The tube is on the shorter side but didn't have any problems accomodating my shortest or longest batteries (although I did hear a "twang" of the spring w/the longer battery):

There are springs at both ends that offer impact resistance for the battery and would allow the use of flat tops:

(L: Head | R: Tail)

The tailcap features four prongs which allow it tailstand and given one can remove the head, you can truly use the CheckMate like a candle:

The CheckMate can be disassembled into four pieces:

The light "engine" is easily accessible in rare departure from what seems to be common nowadays. This should bode well for modders looking to install a neutral XM-L, however, the tint is actually pretty good (more on this later).

The supplied holster fits the CheckMate snugly:

However, it's not easy to withdraw single-handed (sheathing is slightly easier once it's broken in) which may be a problem for LEO's who need quick access to the light.

In my tests, the wrist strap does its job but doesn't inspire the same confidence that a proper lanyard would:


From L to R: RediLast 3100 | Sunwayman T20C | Olight M20 | ThruNite TN 10 | FoxFury Rook CheckMate | Fenix TK21 | ThruNite TN11

The CheckMate runs about mid-pack of the 1x18650 sized lights in my current inventory. However, some of this length can be attributed to the strike bezels on either end:

This is my first exposure to a FoxFury product and overall I'm reasonably impressed with the quality. There was some minor grittiness felt on the threads but nothing a quick cleaning and relube didn't solve.

The anodizing on my sample matches on all parts:

Flash was intentionally used in the pic above to help highlight any finish mismatching that might be present but none were found.

The laser engraving is sharp and flawless on my sample:

I did discover some excess plastic fragment on the LED holder directly surrounding the XM-L:

Initially, I thought this contributed to some artifacts I found around the outer edges of the beam, but upon further investigation, it turns out that the cause was actually from the crenellations in the bezel.

The threads are square-cut (trapezoidal really), and thread really smoothly, the only exception is where the tube meets the light engine since it's not anodized (but this only adds a trivial amount of friction to the feel):

The UI is very straight forward in that there are but 3 modes: High-> Low -> Turbo Strobe (always sequentially in that order*) that is controlled via the forward clicky tail switch that also allows access to momentary on. However, the light needs to remain off for just over two seconds before being activated again otherwise it'll change mode yet again. These modes are memorized through battery changes.

*The instruction sheet lists the sequence as follows but will be corrected: High-> Turbo Strobe -> Low

The relevant battery stats are provided above each runtime graph along with:

- Voltage of the battery at the start and end of the test
- Current draw as taken right before the test (to come)
- Actual runtime until the battery cut out (first in HR and then in M so in the case of the RL3100, read this as 1.7 Hrs OR 100 Min)
- For testing on Max (in which case a fan was used), temperature: ambient, the head at start and the max it reached

Axis: X = Time in Min and Y = Relative Output

Axis: X = Time in Min and Y = Relative Output

Given its primary target demographic (first responders and LEO's), FoxFury mentioned the CheckMate was intentionally designed to be run non-regulated. The idea was to allow ample warning through diminishing light levels for the user to change the batteries.

Based on my revised runtime approach, I generally attempt to test mfg claims against whatever methodology they use. In this case, since FoxFury only specified the battery used* (primaries), I listed the runtimes achieved as time until light first drops below 50% of original output measured after 30 seconds. For the primaries, this was only 32min but I left it running to completely drain (under controlled conditions) and finally shut the light off after 4.5hrs at which point, it was roughly the equivalent of the Firefly mode on certain Thrunite lights.

On low (in which case, based on the current draw, I'm estimating the lumens to be approx. 43lms), there was noticeable flickering on my sample (as can be seen in the chart), but it's different than that of PWM (which I don't believe is used but will need to run through oscilliscope to be sure). I've escalated this to FoxFury and am awaiting their reply if this is noticed on other samples or limited to mine.

*FoxFury has not standardized on ANSI ratings yet.

The XM-L used in my sample is by far the whitest of the XM-L based lights in my collection. I was informed that another primary demographic for FoxFury products is the movie and film industries thus the tint will always be 6500K and 1D bin.

I unforutnately didn't lock the exposure on these shots but it should give you an idea of the color (which is pretty faithful to what my eyes saw) and the beam.

Illuminating the interior of the ground floor of the castle turret:

And this is the underside of the castle turret:

And this is from outside shining through one of the "windows":



For details of the shots and comparo vs. many other lights, check here.

To Come...

The CheckMate is a very solid light that offers a no-muss/fuss & straightforward UI. The fit & finish is superb and ranks amongst the best of the lights I've tested. Given the primary demographic mentioned, I feel a different holster and a proper lanyard would be more appropriate but both are functional for their respective purposes as is. My only concern remains the flickering on low. It's not really noticeable outdoors but again, keeping the primary demographic in mind, I'd imagine it'd be distracting used indoors. I'm awaiting a reply from FoxFury on this and will post a follow up as soon as I hear back from them.


Additional pics to Come...

Disclosure: Rook CheckMate provided by FoxFury for review.

Edited by: sb56637 on 08/26/2014 - 17:21
Last seen: 8 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 09/10/2011 - 00:32
Posts: 803
Location: NJ, US

Another ported review, apologies if the formatting is a little off, I'm still getting used to this site. Smile

I'll fix them all eventually.


jacktheclipper's picture
Last seen: 1 hour 31 min ago
Joined: 10/31/2010 - 21:18
Posts: 4900
Location: Florida , U.S.A.

Thanks .

What I do


BetweenRides's picture
Last seen: 2 years 9 months ago
Joined: 01/02/2011 - 10:34
Posts: 2959
Location: Chicagoland, USA

Another nice review. Where did you purchase and for how much?

Last seen: 8 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 09/10/2011 - 00:32
Posts: 803
Location: NJ, US

Thx guys!

@BR - The light was provided by the mfg for review. The MSRP is currently $220.99 USD. I think you can use their dealer finder link here.

trooplewis's picture
Last seen: 1 year 7 months ago
Joined: 03/26/2011 - 15:35
Posts: 2613
Location: San Diego

Rats, finally sold my 2010 509hp I can buy more lights!

Sold the red one too! Now guess what I drive, doing my penance for 500 hp commuters...