4.5 out of 5.0
Jacob A60 XR-E
I would like to extend a big Thank you to Aurabuy for sending this light for review. Check out their Website here http://www.aurabuy.com/
Emitter Brand: Cree
LED Type: XR-E
Number of Emitter: 1
Voltage Input: 3.7~4.2V
Battery Configuration: 1 x 18650 battery (not included)
Circuitry: Digital Regulated 900~1100mA Current Output
Runtime: 3 hours (manufacturer rated)
Number of Modes: 3
Mode Arrangement: High > Low > Fast Strobe
Mode Memory: No
Switch Type: Reverse clicky
Switch Location: Tailcap
Lens: Glass Lens
Reflector: Aluminum Smooth/SMO
Beam Range: 300m
Strap Included: Yes
Clip Included: No
Dimensions: 6.69 in x 2.17 in x 2.17 in (17.0 cm x 5.5 cm x 5.5 cm)
Weight: 6.88 oz (195 g)
Price: $14.38 inc Free Shipping Now with a 12% discount - use coupon code 37B12off
After some pleasant correspondence with Kevin from Aurabuy, this light was sent out for review. It arrived very promptly, only taking 5 days from China!
The light arrived very well wrapped with 'Plenty' of bubble wrap. I'm happy that Aurabuy make a concerted effort to protect the lights they send.
I can only imagine what state it would have been in if they hadn't used as much protective packaging.
The box itself was quite badly dented (typical postal worker abuse) however, due to the staff diligence at Aurabuy, the light itself was saved from any noticeable transit damage.
Despite the miserable looking box, the light inside had a look of joy and glee when finally allowed to see the outside world once again.
The sun was out so the least I could do was take the light outside for a closer inspection, and to allow the light to bask in some well deserved sunshine!
Here the light sits, elegantly basking in the afternoon sun while being sure to maintain some camouflage I had to remain very very still to get this shot
After checking that the coast was clear, the light does a tailstand to have a look around
But quickly tries to scurry back in to safety by doing a headstand!
So with the niceties and the basking over, I decided to pull this light apart to find out what makes it tick!
As you can see, the light initially comes apart into three mains sections. The Head, the Battery tube and the Tailcap
Upon inspection of the head, you'll notice that the anodizing is good, with very few marks. Not the best anodizing I've seen but for a light in it's price range, it's more than acceptable.
There is a pattern milled into the head near the bezel. This helps with grip when removing and replacing the bezel if ever you need to gain access to the lens or reflector.
It also helps very well with aesthetic looks. If you were to mount this light on a rifle, it would not look out of place as it bears a strong resemblance to many riflescope designs at the front end.
The bezel also has broad sweeping crenelations. It is definitely a design which is very pleasing to the eye.
At the other end of the head we see the pill (which does actually unscrew) you can see the clear and concise machining of some fairly deep vanes for heat dissipation.
It's also clear to see that the thickness of aluminium at this section of the head is very substantial. It looks and feels very strong indeed.
Again, the anodizing on this section is very good with no missing areas around the corners or edges.
The laser etching (although upside down in the following image) is very clear and concise with crisp text and no bleedout.
The Battery Tube
If we take a closer look at the battery tube, you're able to see the large square checkerboard style knurling. Upon closer inspection, there is a very light texturing for extra abrasiveness on each of the squares.
The design in and of itself does offer a rather secure feel in the hand, and it certainly works well for a light of this size.
You can also see that the threads for the tailcap are square cut and well lubricated. The O-rings were also well lubricated, allowing for a very smooth feel on the tailcap when replacing batteries.
There is no anodizing on the threads at the other end of the battery tube, and these threads are triangle cut, however it's not quite so important as the end which screws into the head will not need to be removed unless practicing maintenance on the pill assembly.
The tip of one end of the battery tube is bare aluminium, this is deliberately designed this way so that when the tailcap is screwed into place, the bare aluminium is able to make contact with the on/off switch retainer ring. This allows current to flow to the LED when the switch is activated.
What I particularly like about this 'somewhat different' design is that it allows the tailcap threads to be lubricated without having any effect on electrical conductivity.
It also allows anodizing of these tailcap threads to help with continued longevity of the thread condition. After all, it is the tailcap threads on many lights which take the most abuse.
As we can see, the tailcap also has some very good anodizing and some criss cross checkered knurling. While this knurling doesn't offer much grip in itself, The four flattened machined edges, makes the tailcap a breeze to remove and refit, even when wearing heavy gloves.
Also can be seen, the mounting holes for the lanyard. Personally I prefer to use quite a thick lanyard and I never use the metal rings which come supplied.
The lanyard supplied with this light is very short. I struggle to get my chunky hands into it even when fully opened on the grip slider.
If like me you want to replace the lanyard, it should be easy to thread some 'fairly' strong cord though the mounting holes.
Also worth mentioning are the four broad sweeping crenelations at the end of the tailcap. This allows for easy thumb access to the switch when the light is used in an 'overhand' configuration.
If we take a look at the tailcap button, you'll see that it is nicely raised and is a substantial width to allow a good feel if wearing gloves.
The raised pimples on the rubber button give an excellent grip, and while the button is soft and flexible, it does not feel thin and flimsy.
The on/off switching of the light feels very precise with no noticeable sponginess. Despite the switch button being fairly well raised, the light is still able to tailstand with no problems.
If we split the head down even further by unscrewing the pill, the back of the reflector is clearly visible.
It's noticeable how far the pill screws down into the top part of the head before it meets the back of the reflector, this means plenty of metal to metal contact area for excellent heat transfer potential.
Let's dig a little deeper into this section of the head.
The Lens & Reflector
Unscrewing the bezel allows easy access to both the lens and reflector. Upon removal of the bezel, it was nice to find square cut, well lubricated threads here too.
The O-ring was also well lubricated and offered just the right amount of resistance you would expect from a good watertight seal.
There is no noticeable pitting in the O-ring and absolutely no grittiness felt from the threads.
The front lens is made of glass and optically isn't perfect (more about that later) also, the lens on the light I received isn't AR coated.
The lens seal is quite a novel idea (novel for me at least), instead of having O-rings for the lens to 'push up' against, this light uses a rubber carrier which the lens 'sits' inside of.
As a result of this, there are no gripping or seal sticking/binding issues encountered when removing and replacing the bezel. (The images below will clarify this better)
Upon taking a closer look at the reflector, it's clear to see that it is quite deep and wide for a light of this size, I measure 'actual reflective' width is 45mm and depth is 50mm.
Optically the reflector (although made from plastic) is very good indeed.
There was no noticeable peeling or bubbling of the reflective coating (as has been reported on occasion in past references to the A60)
There are one or two, what look like very minor sratches but it is difficult to spot and shouldn't affect the overall ability of the light by any perceivable margin.
100% perfectly symmetrical, this reflector certainly isn't, and the beam geometry does suffer marginally but at this price point it should be an easy pill to swallow.
Here we can see the pill removed from the head. Again, we can see some nice quality square cut threads with plenty of lubrication and a good quality well lubricated O-ring.
It's clear to see (as mentioned above) how much thread screws into the top section of the head.
The plastic centering ring around the LED serves a triple purpose. It centers the LED perfectly while also acting as a cover over the LED wires to stop any kind of electrical shorting.
Additionally, this plastic ring is an Extremely tight interference fit.
This does an important job of putting plenty of pressure on the LED star PCB, forcing it onto the pill's mounting plate for heatsinking.
I can tell you , it was ahelluva job trying to pry it out to reveal the LED underneath. It could only be done from behind by pushing a tiny amount at a time with a sharp pointy object through the LED wire holes.
With the plastic cover eventually removed, it's clear to see how well the design of this light lends itself to heat management.
The pill's mounting plate for the LED is actually an integral part of the pill. This was indeed a pleasant surprise.
Just about every light in this price range I've seen has had a hollow pill arrangement where the back of the LED star sits on thin air.. very impressive design I like it, a lot!
Not quite so impressive though, was the beautiful shiny back of the star and the pill mounting plate.
I urge you to check this if your light pulls in the higher amps range (personally I would still check this regardless but that's just me) This is easily rectified with some good quality heatsinking compound.
Apologies for the flowery tea-towel my wife insisted I work on..
On a more positive note, NO PLASTIC SPACERS!! , and it was nice to see what looks like good quality Teflon or Silicon coated wire used between the driver and the LED.
Looking in from the other end of the pill shows the contact point for the positive battery terminal. This is a hollow pressed brass? contact with a fairly strong spring underneath.
There is a good amount of tension on the spring so connection issues and resistive losses should be relatively minor.
Personally I would remove this but I doubt there will be much of a current draw change, if any by doing so.
Surrounding the brass positive contact is an isolating ring and next to that is the driver retaining ring.
This ensures the driver remains locked into it's position within the pill. By simply inserting some needlenose pliers, this ring can be removed in an anti-clockwise direction to reveal the back of the driver
The driver itself looks to be a fairly standard press fit arrangement. I was able to pop the driver out but short of de-soldering the LED wires (which are short) I was unable to physically turn the driver over to get a peek at the components.
The driver in this light is 20mm in diameter. Despite the press fit nature of the driver, there are no audible buzzing sounds when changing modes or when running on the low mode.
I was unable to detect any noticeable PWM on high or low power. I am doubtful that the driver is fully regulated (I will update this review if I ever decide to check)
It seems like the PWM rate is high enough not to be detected. (I am sensitive to PWM so it must be high)
The manufacturers specifications state that this light is digitally regulated to approximately 900mA to 1100mA. The light I received measures substantially higher.
This driver is specified as having Low-High-Strobe. The reality is it's more like Med-High-Strobe. While not a major problem, I always like to have a genuine low mode personally.
Tailcap Amps Readings were as follows on Low and High (Strobe wasn't measured)
This particular driver appears to have no mode memory. It always switches on in the next mode. If you're used to the cheap zoomies like me, this will feel normal to you
If you decide to remove the brass positive contact on the back of the driver, it will look like this
Not much to say about this, other than it's definitely an EZ900 die to be pulling 2.1 Amps. I have 2x direct drive EZ1000 XR-E's and the max either of them will pull is 1.7 Amps.
It's difficult to tell by eye but with a magnifying glass I can see the smaller footprint when comparing with an EZ1000.
I tried several times to take a picture of the die but gave up after 5 or 6 attempts.
Sorry guys my camera just won't cut it at a macro level that low (Cannon EOS 5D donations gratefully received)
The tint is almost certainly a cool white, I would guess at a 1C tint, it doesn't have the blue hue of a 1A
The Tailcap/Switch mechanism
Looking at the back of the tailcap/switch assembly, it clearly resembles the back of the pill. Again there is what appears to be a brass contact with a strong spring beneath.
As with the pill, the spring in the tailcap also provides quite strong pressure to the battery.
One important thing to note. To remove the switch retaining ring, it has to be turned in a Clockwise direction.
This is a deliberate feature to ensure that the switch retainer doesn't work loose when loosening the tailcap.
Shown below are the tailcap/switch components
The switch is mounted on it's own circuit board with a good quality long spring, unfortunately the switch is a reverse clicky.
A forward clicky switch would compliment this light perfectly.
Before I move on to the beamshots, here are some images to give an impression of the size of this light.
A TN31 again, The marks on the glass lens can be seen here with the light on. I was unable to remove the marks, despite vigorous cleaning
A tin of soup
Being held, nice sized EDC
Comparing lens size with a TN31
Beamshots will follow over the next couple of days.
It's been a case of mist and fog this last week here in the UK. With some luck I may get them done tomorrow.
In the meantime to keep you amused while you wait. Here's a nice artistic shot of the Jacob A60