[review] Skilhunt M200 flashlight with high-CRI LH351D!!

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Lightbringer
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[review] Skilhunt M200 flashlight with high-CRI LH351D!!

I saw a blurb advertising a Skilhunt M200 (and M150) and realised I didn’t have any Skilhunt lights yet. Their headlamps are highly regarded, and after checking out the spex of the M200, I was more than intrigued. And seeing the option for the LH351D version of the light (woohoo!), decided I’ve got to get one. Smile

Anyone who’s seen any of my other reviews knows I’m a huge fan of this LED, as it’s got a great creamy-white color, has fairly little tint-shift, and has high-CRI (color-rendition index), meaning it shows colors much more accurately than cheaper LEDs. And I wasn’t disappointed here, either.

The light arrived in a simple retail box, nothing fancy. Inside was the plastic tray with light, and a “sub-box” holding the accessories such as the lanyard, pocket-clip, charging-cable, etc. Simple but effective.

 

The M200 unboxed. The light next to its box, and all accessories shown.

The light itself is beautiful. Flawless anodisation, even under a magnifier. Big Smile Simple thread-cutter knurling on the battery tube, giving a rough texture for grip without “cutting” or “biting”. Nice deep fin-rings around the head to dissipate heat. Wonderful shiny deep-blue “bling” in the bezel and retaining-rings for the switch and charging-port, giving it a subtle splash of color without being garish. There’s nice laser-etching on the head, the Skilhunt name and logo on one side, and outline-letter “M200” and the Skilhunt website on the other. Plus the small “CE” and bacon-in-a-triangle symbol warning that the head can get hot.

 

The M200 prone, and tailstanding.

The light itself is quite lightweight, and it’s ultra compact. In fact, I had to do a double-take to make sure I didn’t get the M150 (14500 cell, “AA size”) instead of the M200 (18650 cell). It’s even shorter than my GTmicro (14500), and just a bit bigger than my Xeno E03 (also 14500). So anyone who might not want to carry a “bigger” 18650 light, should at least reconsider that decision and look into the M200. Lots more oomf and runtime when using an 18650, and being almost on par with 14500 lights.

The lineup (L-R): Sofirn SP10B, Xeno E03, Skilhunt M200, Lumintop GTmicro, Nitecore MH20, Lumintop ED20-T, Sofirn SP32Av2.

Even with the cell, the light is, well, light. You don’t feel like you’re carrying a piece of rebar in your pocket. It almost disappears. It sounds silly, but I’ve even turned back wondering “Where’s my light?”, and only then realise I already have it in my pocket.

About the LH351… I hope it’s the Next Big Thing, because once you get used to quality over quantity, you never want to go back. More manufacturers like Sofirn and Wurkkos are adopting the ’351 in even smaller lights, and I’m thrilled to see that so is Skilhunt. I’m sick to death of Angry Blue or Hateful Purple lights, which might belt out the raw lumens, but which also have horrible color-rendition. When a beautiful wood cabinet looks sickly blue-gray instead of actually brown, you know something’s wrong. Warm-white lights were a step in the right direction, but lots of people don’t like “yellow” light, even though reds and browns just pop under warm-white light. The ’351 lets people have whiter light, but also lets those colors shine through.

It seems as though any 18650 can fit, whether flat-top or button-top, protected or unprotected. There are springs on both ends of the light, in the tail and at the driver in front. There’s also enough room to accommodate just fine the button-top protected cell which I used for testing, which came with a different light. Ordinarily I use unprotected flat-tops unless the light needs something different. It’s nice to know it’ll eat anything you feed it.

Charging inside the light is simplicity itself. Just plug in the charging cable to a usb power source (computer, AC adapter, car adapter, powerbank, whatever) and slap the magnetic connector onto the light and watch it stick. It’ll light up red while charging, blue when done. That’s all there is to it.

 

The M200 and charging cable, left. Tailstanding with charger connected, right.

Is it proprietary? Sure. Do you have to carry that cable if you want to charge on the fly? Yep. It’s more “universal” to have a usb port on the light, but at this point it’s a coin-toss whether you need usb-micro or usb-C, so you’re usually carrying at least 2 cables anyway. Then there’s the annoying rubber flap that doesn’t seal completely, can be accidentally ripped off, etc. A magnetic charger lets you just stick it on and avoid getting dust/dirt/lint in a usb port of either flavor, not worrying about a rubber flap, etc. So at this point it’s personal preference which solution you prefer. I’m usually not a fan of proprietary (and if done wrong would rail against it), but in this case it works very well, and is a nice “clean” solution.

Then again, there’s nothing stopping anyone from just opening the light and recharging the cell the way it’s done on probably 95% of flashlights out there.

The beam itself is quite clean, no major artifacts, no bullseyes or rings anywhere. The hotspot is the typische clean creamy-white hotspot that ’351s produce. The spill is slightly bluer but pretty even. There’s a yellowish 4-lobed corona around the hotspot that exists but isn’t objectionable (unlike the hideous corona around an XP-G3’s hotspot). The ’351 works quite well in a reflector. And this is white-wall hunting. In the Real World, in practice, the beam’s just perfect.

The light has a flat tail, so tailstands just fine. It also has a removable internal magnet, letting it stick horizontally or vertically to metal surfaces. If you don’t want a magnet, though, say to not erase entry-cards or credit-cards if you carry both in the same pocket, you can remove the magnet and replace it with the included rubber disk. So you have the best of both worlds. Big Smile

Also included are some spare O-rings, a nice beefy lanyard with wrist-adjuster thingy, and a pocket-clip. Mmm, the clip is my least-favorite feature. With most lights, if a clip’s attached, I pull it off immediately anyway, as I hate clips. While this clip has the shape of a deep-carry clip, it’s really not, as it attaches close to the middle of the light, and only in a head-up configuration. I’m not a fan of any light “riding high” or head-up orientation, and this has both, unfortunately. Being that I don’t intend on using any clip anyway, it’s not an issue to me. Smile

Now, the best part, the user-interface (UI). There’s modegroup A and modegroup B. Modegroup A is click-on, click-for-modes, longpress for off. Modegroup B is click-on, click-off, longpress for modes. Whichever you prefer, you got it! Some people feel quite strongly about one or the other, so now you don’t even have to choose, as you have both.

Each modegroup has 4 brightness levels, moonlight/low/medium/high. Moonlight is low enough to not ruin your night vision in the middle of the night, and high as bright enough to light up plenty of area in front of you.

From off, you can simply click to turn it on to the last mode you used before, ie, it has memory. If you don’t want an unpleasant surprise at night, you can click’n‘hold to start on moonlight, then click to higher modes if you want.

Click’n‘hold a little longer from off, and you can lock out the light and turn on the locator beacon. When locked out, you won’t have accidental activations in your bag, pocket, etc. Click’n‘hold a bit longer still, and you switch from modegroup A to B or back again. Simple!

A tripleclick gets to the blinkies. “S1” is a regular annoying strobe. “S2” is a nice (what I call) “Nitecore beacon”, ie, a brief flash every few seconds. “S3” is a 50/50 blink, like a car’s hazard-lights. Blinky-mode is “sticky”, ie, when you’re in S1 strobe, a doubleclick gets you to the S2 locator-beacon. Turn it off, go back to regular light, etc., and next time you tripleclick for blinkies, you’ll be back at S2, not S1. Hallelujah! Big Smile Finally, a useful strobe mode.

You can also “edit” the 4 light levels (different levels for each of the 4 “slots”), but I haven’t played with that feature yet, as I’m thrilled with the light as it came right out of the box. Big Smile

This has to be one of the best UIs I’ve seen.

 

Modegroups A and B

Other niceties include the lit sideswitch, which tells the battery level for about 5sec when you first turn on the light. From lots-of-juice to recharge-me-now!, the switch will glow blue, flash blue, glow red, and flash red. It also doubles as the locator beacon when locked out (which can be disabled/reenabled while locked-out, with a doubleclick if you want).

All in all, this is an awesome little light. Almost everything is spot-on, little if any need for improvement. Without rehashing all the above, that pretty much sums it all up. Even the pocket-clip, even though I won’t be using it on the M200, it might fit another light and be an excellent deep-carry clip for that instead.

So, excellent emitter and clean beam, excellent UI right out of the box, and configurable to click-off or hold-off as you want, lightweight, non-annoying blinkies, flawless ano, nice grippy knurling, a nice splash of color around the bezel and both switch and port, nifty magnetic-charging with no rubber flaps to worry about… what’s not to love? Big Smile

For my first Skilhunt light, I picked a winner. Big Smile

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Edited by: Lightbringer on 06/04/2020 - 15:46
Tumbleweed48
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I don’t have this latest version, but I do have two of the earlier M200’s. The same day the first one arrived, I was so impressed I ordered a second. Both are neutral XP-L (?) (I’m too lazy to look right now!) but still very pleasing to the eye. I do not have a single criticism.

Lightbringer
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I have yet to play with the editable levels, but it sounds like it’s only for modegroup B, not A. Will have to try it, see if it “sticks” across modegroups.

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The Burgh
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Extraordinarily practical and focused review. Thanks Lightbringer!

There will always be more darkness than I have lights.

MascaratumB
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Lightbringer wrote:
I have yet to play with the editable levels, but it sounds like it’s only for modegroup B, not A. Will have to try it, see if it “sticks” across modegroups.

You can also chose between L1 or L2, M1 or M2, H2 or H2, T1 or T2, on group mode A! You will have 4 levels here.
On group mode B, you can chose the levels you want, from 2 levels up to 7 + Turbo and blinkies.

Quote:
For my first Skilhunt light, I picked a winner.

You certainly did Wink
Zappaman
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Nice review, I want one now Love

ZappaMan

TMaxxJJ
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Which 351 have they used? 5000k?

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The Burgh wrote:
Extraordinarily practical and focused review. Thanks Lightbringer!

Tnx! I aims ta please… LOL

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Lightbringer
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MascaratumB wrote:
You can also chose between L1 or L2, M1 or M2, H2 or H2, T1 or T2, on group mode A! You will have 4 levels here.

Kewl, I’ll have to try it.

I like the default levels for the most part, but lowest could be the real lowest one (L1?), as the default is, granted, a bit bright for middle-of-the-night prowling around.

Then again, maybe outdoors, that firefly level might be a bit too low, dunno.

 

I did slap on some diffusion film between glass and reflector, but the O-ring came out and putting it between glass and bezel made the glass stick up a bit too high. So it seems that the O-ring sits on the ledge on the head, meaning there’d be nothing between bezel and glass. Huh? Is that right? Seems a bit “leaky”.

On S2+es, that ring goes between glass and bezel, sealing everything quite nicely.

Did I screw up something?

 

Anyhoo if anyone’s not comfy with the rather crisp but wide hotspot (reminiscent of an aspheric), a little DF smooths it right out. I got enough throwers, so this would be an around-the-house or at least close-in light, where I’d not be terribly interested in throw. And the big ol’ hotspot anyway makes floodier vs throwier a given. LOL

Down the basement, not having to put on any lights, yet still being able to see quite nicely in full living color is a bit of a treat.

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Lightbringer
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Zappaman wrote:
Nice review, I want one now Love

See? I bring The Light to the world…

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Lightbringer
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TMaxxJJ wrote:
Which 351 have they used? 5000k?

Yeh.

When white-wall hunting, it seems a bit greenish, but it’s not bad at all. Looking at white paper you’d be hard-pressed to say it’s greenish, so it could just be the color of the wall here.

But looking at reds and browns, like the red’n‘white picnic-table plaid of the top of a jar of jam, and a red zip-up case, and brown leather “phone-wallet”, those colors just pop.

Even better with the film, because that smooths out everything even any hint of fried-egginess in the beam.

So while I’d still prefer warmer, eg, 4000K, this 5000K is really nice.

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TMaxxJJ
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Lightbringer wrote:
TMaxxJJ wrote:
Which 351 have they used? 5000k?

Yeh.

When white-wall hunting, it seems a bit greenish, but it’s not bad at all. Looking at white paper you’d be hard-pressed to say it’s greenish, so it could just be the color of the wall here.

But looking at reds and browns, like the red’n‘white picnic-table plaid of the top of a jar of jam, and a red zip-up case, and brown leather “phone-wallet”, those colors just pop.

Even better with the film, because that smooths out everything even any hint of fried-egginess in the beam.

So while I’d still prefer warmer, eg, 4000K, this 5000K is really nice.


How does the tint compare to your WK30? Same bin do you think? I bought one of those based on your review, and whilst like you I prefer around 4000k, it puts out a lovely creamy neutral white. Would be interested to see if this is the same.
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Yeh, same as the WK30. That, too, looks slightly greenish on my probably hint-of-green wall, but on scorching-white paper, magazines, etc., you can’t really see green.

Other than those and my SP36es (wherenahell did I put them??), those are the only lights I have with ’351s, and they all seem to be the same CT.

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Lightbringer
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Okay, got my WK30 (reflector, no DF) and M200 (reflector, DF), and trying to match brightness on both, I did quite a few A/B tests on the same white boxes. The M200 even seems a teenytiny bit warmer, ever so slightly.

Against the white boxes, neither seems “green”, but literally “paper-white”. Late afternoon shade coming in the window from the side, for “white-balance” purposes.

Both lights on, distance-balanced for about the same intensity at the box, one up the other down, then one down the other up, back’n‘forth, and yeah, the M200 is a hint warmer. They’re both quite nice, but my WK30, which has been my ’351 “standard” up to now, seems ever so slightly cooler. I mean maybe 200K-300K difference, if that.

It could very well be due to the DF mixing the beam, but unless the corona is contributing way more yellow than the bluish spill, they should still be about even.

Basically, I’m not complaining about either one.

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TMaxxJJ
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Lightbringer wrote:
Yeh, same as the WK30. That, too, looks slightly greenish on my probably hint-of-green wall, but on scorching-white paper, magazines, etc., you can’t really see green.

Other than those and my SP36es (wherenahell did I put them??), those are the only lights I have with ’351s, and they all seem to be the same CT.


Sounds good! I’ve not long received a H04 RC Virence edition from Maukka and I’m very impressed with the build quality (my first Skilhunt). It looks to use the same charging cable, and I like the idea of having the pair that can be charged with one cable when going away.
Lightbringer
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Wonder if Skilhunt sells those chargers separately…

I’d rather have extra in case I (inevitably) lose one.

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Lightbringer wrote:
Wonder if Skilhunt sells those chargers separately...

I'd rather have extra in case I (inevitably) lose one.

This magnetic charging design and interface is actually becoming quite common across the flashlight manufacturers. I wonder if it’s some kind of standardised spec, perhaps also being used by other devices.

Cables suitable for Fenix (E18R / E30R) or TrustFire (MC1) are all compatible.


https://www.fenix-store.com/spare-usb-cable-magnetic/

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000571189305.html


Hope this helps. ARH

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Kewl, tnx! Good to know.

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There are comments on the board that the M150 has higher than average parasitic drain. Any indication of that on the two hunny at all?

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korpzgrinda wrote:
There are comments on the board that the M150 has higher than average parasitic drain. Any indication of that on the two hunny at all?

Although my measurements were not very scientific, I noticed that they are not bad in the M200.
However, the drain on the m150 is only big IF you lock the light electronically leaving the red led indicador ON.
Otherwise, it doesn’t seem to be a problem!
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If I could find any of the 18 meters I got somewhere, I’d check.

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bts
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Nice light but can the clip be reverse aka deep pocket carry?

Better to hv it and not need it than to need it and not hv it.

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Nope.

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