Today I have received a 4AA XML Headlamp from Ebay seller "yallstock". ILIKEFLASHLIGHTS first tipped me off to this light in this thread where we discussed it a bit. The light had been listed on Ebay for $27.50 with free shipping. I made an offer of $24 and the seller came back with $26.50 which I agreed to. (Note I saw the price drop to around $26.25 a few days ago, but has now shot way up to $78.36 (seller out of stock? Playing the same game as the Sipik clone sellers?). I ordered on May 1st and received today May 10th! Wow! (I did a bunch of orders from China & Hong Kong recently and they are all coming in very quickly!)
This is my first headlamp ordered from a Chinese seller. The only other headlamp I own (that's worth anything) is a Bayco 13 LED (one bright center LED and 12 "5mm" LED's around it) rated 24 - 89 Lumens on 3AAA's from Walmart.
First impressions with this XML headlamp - very very nice! Nice soft headband (including one over the top of your head), well padded, well contoured to my head, and the plastic doesn't feel really cheap. It doesn't feel indestructible, but not cheap either. It does tilt and "click" into various positions, and the tilting & clicking mechanism feels good and solid. I haven't put any batteries into it yet, but it feels pretty well balanced on my head. It is a "flood-to-throw" with a typical sliding forward/backward action. The sliding zoom feels solid (holds it's position well) and does not have any scraping feel or sound to it. The battery holder has a rubberized cover which slips over the entire plastic battery holder. This seems to me that it would hold up better than a plastic latch type cover, or one that screws on. Might be more water resistant too. The switch is on the top corner of the battery pack and feels solid, perhaps a little too stiff. I'm impressed and think this light is worth up to about $30. This particular Ebay seller is the only place I have found this light. Like I said, I haven't put any batteries into it yet, but the seller lists it as a 3 mode: "High/Low/Suddenly and Explosive flash" and "Lumens: 1200LM". I will have to come back later with impressions of the beam quality and "tailcap currents" (if possible)
Here are some quick photos:
Zoomed outward for throw with bezel removed (lens seems to be glued to bezel and seems to be plastic rather than glass):
With bezel removed:
Rear view of head (notice the screws which appear to be holding the pill/heatsink in):
Overall (notice the padding on the plastic front and rear parts and also notice that the rear battery holder and the headlamp assembly are removable from the rest of the plastic where the straps attach):
Battery compartment with rubberized cover removed, silver switch on upper corner:
I will try to update soon!
Ok, last night I put some batteries in this sucker and took some measurements. It's definitely nowhere near the output of a hard driven XM-L, but it is a very very nice level of output, probably a good balance between brightness and runtime. High seems to be very bright until I turn on my Poppas W-878 on high! Low seems to be at 50% level (I'd say it's more like a "medium") and I didn't hear any buzzing noise or notice any PWM (I've never seen PWM, so I am not a good judge of this). The strobe is not extremely fast nor extremely slow. By eye comparing it to my new Poppas W-878 on full flood with a King Kong 26650, this one on high is a little brighter than the Poppas on Low, and a little dimmer than the Poppas on medium. It seems to run fine on the cheap new alkalines I put in it and the output seems about the same as with NiMh's.
"Tailcap" currents (remember, this is 4 cells, not 3!):
High - 0.86A
Low - 0.31A
High - 0.82A
Low - 0.27A
I'm not sure how to compare 4 cell current draw with 3 cell (or 1 Li-Ion), can someone else weigh in here and maybe venture a guess as to the probable current level that is getting to the LED? Considering these measured currents and comparing to the Poppas W-878's, I'd guess the LED is seeing between 1.25A to 1.5A. I know some of you will immediately write this light off because it is "under-driven", but in reality it is a great level for a headlamp and apparently low enough for alkaline use. It also shouldn't have any heat problems.
I measured the flood width to be 9.5 feet at 10 feet away and throw width to be 19 inches at 10 feet away (at perfect emitter focus, it does zoom just slightly past perfect focus). If you're looking for "throw" I'd say this isn't a headlamp you want. If you're looking for a good wide even flood, then yes this is good for that. The tint appears to be the typical cool white and when zoomed out for full flood there is a slight narrow yellow corona at the edge of the flood, but the flood is so wide that you probably aren't even going to notice it.
The switch is not a normal "reverse (or even forward) clicky". It feels like when you press it that it's making contact with something and releases when you release (ie. doesn't click & hold). You have to toggle through each mode to get back to "off". There are only three modes so I didn't find it that bad to use.
Some quick & dirty beamshots now. These were taken with my iPhone, so don't put a whole lot of stock into them! (I didn't even know my iPhone could take beamshots!) The camera was adjusting each shot seperately, but I tried to get the "brightness" to where it was a fairly accurate representation. It wasn't dark outside yet, so I took these shots looking across an empty garage bay. Distance to the garage door is 19.5 feet.
And as an added bonus (maybe?), while I was fiddling around with this light I discovered a power plug in the top of the battery pack apparently for a charging the batteries in the unit. I wish I knew more details on charging ability and what kind of A/C adapter was needed (voltage & current level). This could be a big plus, because the weakness of this light is the battery compartment. The contacts seem flimsy and I even knocked one out of place and had to move it back. It seems the battery compartment may not hold up to frequent battery changes (unless your very careful with it time). It might be possible to beef this up from inside the housing. Here's a photo of the "charger" port:
I had also previously mentioned how the headlamp assembly and the battery compartment could be unclipped from the plastic on the headband itself, and here is a photo showing them unclipped: