Klarus G20 Dual Switch Mini Searchlight
* The light reviewed was graciously provided by SkyBen.Trade's Amazon store. Link
Marketing Copy from SKyBen.Trade Amazon store:
• CREE Next Gen. XHP70 N4 LED; Up to 3000 Lumen output; Max runtime of 150 hours
• Side and Tail Switch can access One-Touch Turbo, Tail Switch can access One-Touch Low mode
• Independent Dual-Switch Control for Maximum Versatility
• Side Switch memorizes current output mode for ease of use
• Lock-Out mode to prevent accidental power-on and discharging battery for safety
• Integrated Micro-USB charging port with up to 2000 mA charging current for extremely fast recharging (when used with KLARUS 2A adapter cord)
• Intelligent Battery Capacity indication to display the remaining power level
• ITS Temperature Control System guarantees safe operation and protects LED and internal circuitry from overheating
• Aerospace Aluminum Alloy body; Mil-Spec HAIII anodizing for superior protection
• Reverse-Polarity Protection prevents accidental damage from incorrect battery installation
• Convenient Size, Easy to Carry
• Anti-reflective (AR) coated mineral lens, hardened against scratches
• Unique reflector design to attain both Spot and Flood beams with a perfect hotspot
Warning: Use only 26650 Li-ion batteries in the G20. Do not use 18650/16340/CR123A batteries
• CREE XHP70 N4 LED; 50,000 hours life
• 4 output levels, 2 strobe patterns
• Battery: Li-ion 26650 Battery x 1
• Voltage Range: 2.5V – 5V
• Dimension：Bezel 36mm (1.41"); Body 34mm (1.34"); Overall Length: 124mm(4.88")
• Weight：131g (4.62oz) (without battery)
• Material：Aerospace Aluminum Alloy 6061-T6, Mil-Spec HAIII anodizing
• Lens：Hardened Mineral Glass; AR coated; Scratch resistant
• Reflector: Orange Peel
• Switch: Side Switch + Tail Switch
• Protection：IPX-8 rating (up to 2 meters submersible)
G20 Flashlight x1, Lanyard x1, O Ringx1, 26650 Batteryx1, USB Cablex1, Holster x1, Skyben USB Light x1, Car Charger x1
PERFORMANCE & UI
Let's start with output testing...
As you can see, the Klarus G20 drastically underperforms it's claimed output figures except for Candela/Throw. It tested at more than 800 lumens less than the claimed 3000 lumens and is outperformed by the Acebeam EC50 GII and even the Olight R50 with it's XHP50 LED. I never expected output claims from Klarus to be so greatly exaggerated. It is also all flood in it's beam profile as seen in the shots below. Throw is nearly half that of the Acebeam EC50 Gen II and the Olight R50 thanks to the very small reflector needed to meet it's compact size. With so little throw capability this is in no way a "searchlight" as marketed by Klarus unless you are looking for dropped keys.
^ Beam tint on the Klarus G20 is more a CW and I would guess it to be around 6K in tint. It's a clean white with no blue, green, or purple in it. Having almost no hotspot to speak of, it's spill is very smooth and broad thanks to the smallish diameter and shallow reflector along with the heavy orange peel texturing. Distance to the garage is 32m and distance to the peak of the roof in the background building is 66m.
^ When compared against the Acebeam EC50 Gen II and the Olight R50 Seeker you can see the difference in output, not only in brightness, but also in beam profiles.
^ Above you can see the beams of the same lights along with a few others in the compact, floody class.
An important thing to note is that there seems to be quite a lot of parasitic drain with the G20. The lack of mechanical lockout means that extended lack of use will drain the G20. I've had this sample for about a month with only light use for beam shots. When I grabbed the G20 to write this review the cell was depleted to 3.08v and would not run except for a quick automatic cycle of high, medium , low, then Off when the button was pushed. Low voltage protection in the driver stopped cell drain at 3V. I believe the cell included is protected but it never triggered because the driver stopped it before it got that far. There is no way I find it acceptable for parasitic drain to empty a 26650 cell in just a few weeks of unuse. Be sure to remove the cell when storing the light for more than a week.
USER INTERFACE (UI)
The Klarus G20 interface consists of 4 main output levels (Low, Medium, High, and Turbo) plus two hidden flashing modes (strobe and SOS). Last mode memory returns the user to whichever of the 4 main modes he used last. Turbo can be accessed directly with a long press or temporarily with a press and hold. Where the G20 differs from it's competition is its inclusion of a second electronic switch in the tail of the light for those who prefer a tactical hold over a traditional hold. Both switches (side or tail) operate the light exactly the same and either can be used once the light is on except for one difference and I didn't even figure it out until after my review was first posted and someone reminded me of it. The side switch has last mode memory but the tail switch always starts in low. Actually a pretty sweet feature.
- Side switch: Click to turn ON in the last mode used. (last mode memory)
- Tail switch: Click to turn ON in Low mode (no last mode memory)
- Long press until Turbo comes on the release to stay in it.
- Press and hold to enter momentary Turbo. Keep holding for more than a few seconds and the G20 will turn off when you release the switch. Useful for a quick yard sweep at night.
- Double-click to turn on in Strobe mode
- Single click to switch to next mode in order
- Long press for about 2 seconds to go straight to Turbo. Light will shut off briefly then come on in Turbo.
- Double-click to enter Strobe.
- Double-click again to enter SOS
- Once in SOS you cannot return to Strobe unless you return to regular modes then go back to Strobe.
- Single click from Strobe or SOS to return to last regular mode used.
- Long press to turn off.
- To Lock
- Press and hold both side and tail switches for 2 seconds.
- Front LED will flash twice to indicate lockout mode activated.
- Clicking either switch when locked will cause side switch indictor to flash Red three times.
- To Unlock
- Click either side or tail switch 3 times quickly
- Front LED will flash twice to indicate light is unlocked
The only things I don't care for are:
- The delay and temporary Off when entering Turbo when On
^ The compact size fits well and the switches fall to hand with either grip style.
A CLOSER LOOK...
^ The G20 comes in a nice retail package with peg hook hole. I'd love to find a store that has good quality lights hanging on the shelves
^ Specs for the light are on the back.
^ Inside is the G20, a holster, Micro-USB charging cable, Lanyard, spare O-ring, Instruction manual, and card.
^ The SkyBen bundle also includes a SkyBen USB light (above) and a 12V USB charger (below).
^ The Stainless Steel bezel is heavy and promises great durability. The reflector is fairly shallow and heavily orange peeled for smooth beam.
^ The UCL glass lens is AR coated.
^ A look at the Cree XHP70 emitter. This one has a textured surface with what appears to be small bumps over it in kind of a waffle pattern. My Olight X7 has XHP70 emitters but those are textured in a Fresnel lens type of texture. Interesting that they are different. I'm guessing that the design in the G20 is an older version. Both help eliminate the dreaded dark cross hair pattern in the beam caused by the gap in the 4 dies that make up the big LED.
^ A look at the side switch. It is hard plastic with an LED in the center that acts as a charging indicator. The switch is raised and easy to find, especially compared to the smooth, flat switch in the Olight R50 that is difficult to find by feel.
^ Opposite the switch is the charging port that is covered by a rubber boot.
^ Lift the cover to reveal the Micro-USB charging port.
^ With charging cable inserted.
^ When charging the indicator light is red.
^ Once charged it turns green and stops charging at 4.19V.
^ A look at the tail of the G20.
^ A closer look at the small, silicone switch button in the tail of the G20.
^ The chamfered edges of the lanyard hole. The hole is wide enough to fit a 550 Paracord lanyard into but not without a little coercion.
^ Removing the head for the first time will reveal an insulating cover over the battery that keeps it from coming on accidentally in the package, It also prevents parasitic drain of the included 26650 cell. Without this cover the battery would be drained to 3.08v due to parasitic drain.
^ The included cell is protected and seems of decent quality.
^ A look at the heavy tail spring in the tail of the light.
^ The threads are not anodized so mechanical lockout of the G20 is not possible. As mentioned above in my performance notes, there is considerable parasitic drain. My light sat unused for 3-4 weeks after brief testing and quick beam shots. When I went to use the light in writing this review it was fully drained to 3.08v. I consider this unacceptable but please, when storing the G20 for longer times, remove the cell so it does not drain. I will say that the light was not in electronic lockout and there is a possibility that parasitic drain may not be as bad when in lockout mode. To be safe I'd recommend removing the cell for pronged periods of unuse.
^ The square knurling is reminiscent of the Olight knurling. It is done quite well and provides good feel and grip.
^ On the back of the driver is a stiff anode spring. You have to press the halves of the light together fairly hard to get the threads started. Knocking the light around does not cause interruption in power due to the stiff springs on both ends of the cell.
^ The holster is pretty nice and fits the light well. It has both permanent and quick detach loops and a "D" ring for hanging from a pack. I would not use the quick detach loop though as the Velcro patch that secures it is fairly small.
^ You can see that the Klarus is pretty small when compared to the already fairly compact offerings from Olight and Acebeam. Thicker than the tube on the EC50 Gen II and about the same as the Olight R50 Seeker. The small size comes from the smaller, more shallow reflector used in the G20.
^ A look at the three from the rear.
^ From the front you an see why the beam patterns of the three lights varies so much. The wider reflector of the R50 coupled with it's smaller XHP50 emitter accounts for it's tighter beam and greater throw. The Acebeam EC50 Gen II allows for a balance of throw and flood while the smaller, shallow reflector of the G20 accounts for it's pure flood and short throw capability of just 150m. The other two lights throw their beams nearly twice as far. I prefer the beam of the EC50 Gen II for every day use and all around capability.
Compared to the other lights in it's class it is good that it can be had for $20-$30 USD less than the other lights. Output is not nearly as good and nowhere near the claimed 3000 lumens. By itself the "meager" 2200+ lumens seems bright enough and it has good runtime accordingly. It's a bright light in a small package. If you are on a tight budget and can no how come up with the extra cash to get the EC50 Gen II or R50 then it might be ok for you. With the underperformance compared to the other lights in it's class I can't enthusiastically recommend it. Save an extra week or two and get one of the others. If pure flood and less output than the others is ok with you and the smallest size possible is critical then it might be the light for you. That is something only you can decide. It's a good light, just not the best choice available IMO.