Review: Cree Q5 270 lumen 3-mode twist to focus LED flashlight with side switch (18650)

(This will have to be a mini-review as my browser doesn't work well with this site's text editor)

This is a single 18650 3 mode side switch variable focus flashlight.

I took a reading with my light meter with the light on high and in full throw mode. The battery read 4.18 V and the tail cap reading was 1A. The measurement was 18kcd (or 18,000 lux if you prefer). I took the reading at 10 meters and factored back to 1 meter.

The twist control feels like a rachet with many indents. It goes from full flood to slightly past full throw (a little less than 360 degrees). Although the OD of the head is 34mm the effective diameter of the aspheric is about 26mm.

The crenelations on the head are not sharp and do allow for the light to be placed head down without touching the optic. I'd still prefer that the bezel be smooth and deep enough to protect the optic.

The spec's for this light say there is no memory but actually "poor memory" would be more correct It always comes on in the next mode from the one you last used. This is annoying of course as it means that you always have to go through strobe mode.

The beam exhibits the usual "Cree Ring" as well as another outer ring. When outside the Cree Ring largely goes way in the throw position if you defocus the light slightly.

This is the best made and looking zoom that I've seen so far. The fact that it doesn't always come on in high is annoying. It would be nice if manufacturers put a little more effort into eliminating the rings associated with these types of lights.

This light should be easy to mod if anyone is interested. The lens is held just by a press fit. I may paint out the Cree Ring later as well as anything else that may be contributing to the rings associated with these lights.

I haven't been a big fan of zoom lights but this light is coming close to the look and feel of a P60. Actually better since it has a side switch. A smooth bezel with a slightly larger aspheric and a UL that made sense and clean up some artifacts and it's the light everyone has been looking for.

[Update]: I just took the optic out and using water soluble glue stick attached the lightest diffusion filter I had. This eliminates most of the rings and still allows the beam to be focused (or flood). It just doesn't throw as far or as brightly.

I may not leave it this way but it makes for a pretty nice beam. Unless you totally diffuse it however there are still some outer rings visible. I'm using this experiment in part to try to determine where every ring comes from. The "Cree Ring" is obvious but the others less so.

Nice looking light.

I also hope they start making more high quality aspherics.

How far is the throw on this ?

Is the lens plastic or glass ?

The lens is plastic. Most are in my experience. Plastic is fine but it’s just easier to scratch.

For throw it depends on how you define throw. The manufacturers define it as that point where the output declines to .25 lux (or moonlight).

That definition makes throw figures look better of course than using a minimum of 1 lux which I prefer.

Since I got 18 kcd with my light meter that would give throw as 268 meters (using their definition) or 18000 / (268 squared)= .25. Math is not my strong suit so I think I’ve got that right.

Thanks for the review , gcbryan .

interesting light. i wish the c8 sized zoomie had a side switch, but it doesn't, so I'll probably end up owning both.

I'm curious about how the side switch works, ie how a different head might be modified to work with this body.

Is there a lot of friction when twisting the head? Can you do it with one hand (thumb and fore finger while holding the light w/ other 3 fingers)?

Thanks very much for the review! Frontpage'd and Sticky'd. Sorry about your browser issues, I haven't forgotten about the issue...

Yes, you can easily twist the ring with thumb and fore finger only. It makes a ratchet-like sound and feels like ball bearing are in there.

It looks like it would be easy to mod as well. The pill assembly just lifts out and the wires attaching it to the driver are longer than usual. Killing the strobe would make this a very good light. Replacing the XR-E with XP-E might clean up the beam as well.

For those who like zoom lights you will probably find nothing wrong with this beam as it doesn’t have random artifacts or anything…just the usual rings in varying degrees of brightness depending on how the focus is set.

In case you are curious :slight_smile: as to how I’m creating paragraphs and inserting pictures with at least some success given the issues my browser is having…I have to do it all manually in HTML.

Ah, so this is that 18650 zoom you were waiting on a while back! I remember asking you for the link. Nice review gcbryan, appreciate the effort. As a "zoomie" fan this could be my next purchase. Just one Q, how low is the low mode compared to high?

The tail cap current on low is about 25% of that on high.

Thanks. Guessing that translates roughly into 25% brightness..

Yes. A little more than that since LEDs get more efficient as current is reduced. It’s probably 60 lumens or so.

This light actually looks very interesting. And I totally agree with the comment about side switch being better for this size light. It makes more sense to me anyway.

Thumbs up to you :)

Thanks.Yes, with the side switch it just feels more natural and with the twist focus it feels more like a fixed focus light as well.

I might not have many lights to chose from but I’m not planning on buying any more lights in the P60 size and larger anymore unless they have a side switch. I’m tired of the awkwardness of the tail cap switches for anything large enough to be bigger than your palm.

@ gcbryan: "I might not have many lights to chose from but I'm not planning on buying any more lights in the P60 size and larger anymore unless they have a side switch. I'm tired of the awkwardness of the tail cap switches for anything large enough to be bigger than your palm."


I'm casually looking out for a big output light. One of the main reasons I didn't buy this one is the tailswitch. I know loads of people don't seem to mind, but seems very awkward to me on a big torch like this.

So is that "hole in the body" (like a miniplug receptacle) shown in one of the DX photos actually there? I gather that it is not, since you didn't mention it.

Actually it is but I didn’t know what they were talking about initially. I thought they were thinking that there was a big hole and plug somewhere in the tail cap (and there isn’t).

There is a thin rubber strip on the opposite side of the tube from the side switch. I hadn’t paid any attention to it. Later I noticed that you could pull it off and there are two small pins there.

I wouldn’t call it a hole. I don’t see an issue at all personally. You can either leave the rubber strip on there (which is what I’ve done) or you could fill it in with most anything.

Thanks for bringing this up. I’d either forgotten it or hadn’t noticed the plug at the time I wrote the review.

Is the hole for an external charger or power source?

It’s not a hole but I don’t know what the two pins are for.

May we have a pic, please?