Review: Palight XHM-900LS U2

Palight XHM-900LS U2
*Light provided for review by


  • Exceptional build quality and flawless finish

  • Nicest reflector I've seen yet

  • Starts on high every time

  • Very compact for a 26650 light

  • Extremely stable tail standing

  • Complete package plus gift box

  • Fantastic value!


  • Goofy mode order

  • Haven't figured out how to replace the switch

  • Low quality cell included

  • The included charger in mine did not work.





HXM-900LS U2

Product Color:



Aluminum alloy

Emitter Brand:


LED Type:





Cool white

Number of Emitters:


Voltage Input:


Battery Configuration:

1 x 18650 (not included) or 1 x 26650 (included)






2~3 hours

Number of Modes:


Mode Arrangement:

Hi > Mid > Lo > Fast Strobe > SOS

Mode Memory:


Switch Type:

Reverse clicky

Switch Location:



Tempered glass


Aluminum Smooth / SMO

Strap Included:


Clip Included:


Beam Range:

100 meters

Other Accessory::

1 x Flashlight

1 x 2-Flat-Pin plug power adapter (100~240V)

1 x 26650 battery

1 x 18650 battery holder

1 x Strap


5.12 in x 1.81 in x 1.81 in (13.0 cm x 4.6 cm x 4.6 cm)


5.61 oz (159 g)


Number of Modes 6
Mode Order H-M-L-Strobe-Turbo-SOS
Mode Memory No
Switch Type Reverse Clicky
MCPCB Diameter 20mm
Driver Diameter 17mm
Pill Diameter 26mm (25.87)
Pill Thickness 10mm (9.86)
Reflector Diameter x Depth 38mm (37.76) x 27mm (27.2)
Lens Diameter x Thickness 38mm (37.6) x 1.3mm
O-ring Locations Bezel, Lens & Battery tube
Tail Standing Yes (solidly)
Waterproof Yes
Cell Included Yes, Palight brand 26650 unprotected
Cell Capacity (actual) 2735 mAh to 3v @ 1A discharge
Charger Included Yes
Charger Output 600 mAh
Other Accessories included 18650 Adapter tube, Lanyard, Gift box
Provided by
Purchase Price $30.12


Mode Palight 26650 King Kong 26650
Low 8 OTF 16 OTF
Medium 176 OTF 287 OTF
High 376 OTF 615 OTF
Turbo 487 OTF 863 OTF
Lux @ 1m on High 12,670 23,900
Lux @ 1m on Turbo 15,000 30,300
Throw Distance on High 225 meters 309 meters
Throw Distance on Turbo 244 meters 348 meters


This light is a joy to look at and to hold! The finish on my example is flawless with perfect machining and nice matte finish on the HAIII anodizing All components have great tolerances and all threads are anodized . O-rings at all junction points ensure water proofing at what I'm confident at guessing to be 1-2m depth. As pretty as it is on the outside, it is just as pretty inside. With the head apart the inside of the head is as nicely machined and finished as the outside and the reflector is a solid piece of aluminum. The reflector surface and finish are the best I've ever seen and the beam is perfect with a nice hotspot and smooth spill. The reflector really impresses me and it put a real smile on my face when I took it out and beheld it. Any doubt I may have had about being a flashaholic was confirmed when I took out the refelctor and thought to myself, "Wow, now that's sexy!", as only a flashlight geek would think such a thing.

The included charger is your average universal wall wart type and it works fine but at just 600mAh output it will take a while to charge the included 26650 cell. As for the cell itself, it is perfect for gifting with the light as well as for the buyer if this would be your first 26650 cell flashlight. I ran a full discharge test on it with my Imax hobby charger and the capacity is just 2735mAh but for just $30 for a complete turn-key setup it is quite the bargain. You can always get yourself a highend cell, like a King Kong, if you don't already have some. With the included 18650 adapter any quality 18650 cell should give performance as great as what I saw with the King Kong cell.


Palight uses the strangest mode setup of any flashlight manufacturer I've seen. 6 modes but with Turbo mode stuck between strobe and SOS (true SOS). Aurabuy lists it as 5 modes but Turbo is not that much brighter than High and I had to test it over and over before I was able to visually confirm it wasn't my imagination that the extra high mode was just a little brighter than regular high. If you never use the Turbo you won't miss it as it is very nice on high with a sharp, focused hotspot and smooth spill. The emitter is an XM-L U2 but the color appears to be a 1C as it is a little on the NW end of CW. Very pleasing color to it with no blue or green tinit.

I tested the light with the included 26650 cell and again with a King Kong 26650. WOW! The light is ok with the included cell but with a quality King kong it really comes to life and performs as advertised! The included cell works but does not provide the amperage the light craves. 863 OTF lumens on Turbo and 348 meters of throw from this compact litle light. Exactly what color is "impressed"? I need to check in the mirror because whatever color it is I am rocking it!

The driver can easily be swapped out since it is a standard 17mm but the driver retaining ring is threaded so using a driver like a Nanjg 105c with components on both sides of the PCB might be an issue.


Now for my favorite part of reviewing - glamour and teardown pics!

The HXM-900 comes in a solid, corrugated gift box. The light is in a heavy bubble sleeve and all accessories are inside under a compartmented section.

Here is the light and all accessories.

It comes with an unprotected Palight brand 26650 cell.

Now for the best thing in the box, the light!

Aside from the beautiful finish, the first thing you notice about this light is the gorgeous SMO reflector.

All laser engraving is clean and solid

The usual "Caution Hot" label is replaced with a tasteful symbol. Nice fins machined into the solid head aid in dispersing heat generated by the XM-L U2.

Brand and model are engraved into the body tube.

Knurling machined into the tail piece helps with grip. The knurling itself is super clean and deep while not being too agressive.

The switch assembly is held with a solid machined nugget in the tail. I have not figured out how to remove the switch assembly but fortunately the switch feels very solid and sturdy with no trace of flickering.

My favorite part of the light, the reflector. The emitter is perfectly centered by the insulator ring over the LED.

A look inside the battery tube reveals a thick sping at the base.

Now to the head. The pill is very solid and heavy with a brass retaining ring holding the driver. The scratches in the ring are from my pliers slipping when I first tried removing it. The threads on the head are fully anodized with just the contact point having exposed aluminum where it sits tight against the battery tube.

All machining is sharp and clean with no burrs or rough edges. The anodizing is heavy and tough. All parts are the same color with a nice matte finish.

Threads are deep and well machined with little slop in the threads.

Anodized threads in the body are the same great quality of those in the head.

With the pill remocved we can see the rear of the reflector. The reflector sits snugly inside the head with very little gap. You could apply thermal grease around the reflector if you wanted to. It fits that well inside.

Threading on the fairly massive pill is deep and clean.

Here we see the 20mm MCPCB . Solder joints are exemplary and the wires very thick gauge. Thermal epoxy secures the star and the isolator ring centers the emitter perfectly in the reflector.

Here you can get an ide of how thick the pill is.

Here is the centering ring itself along with a nylon bushing isolating the anode spring from the ground. Made of brass, the threads are super clean.

The driver is a Palight brand that I believe is used in all of their XM-L lights.

Here you can see the components and heavy wire used. The pocket inside the pill is not that deep though but it makes for a very solid pill.

The bezel is aluminum and has an o-ring to seal against water ingress. It is very tight in the head and wasn't easy to grep and unscrew. I almost thought it was glued but it wasn't.

Here is a better shot of the bezel and o-ring.

The lens and o-ring. The o-ring for the lens sits between the glass and the bezel as a proper light should.

Look at that beautiful finish on that reflector! It really is gorgeous!!

A solid piece of machined billet. Fits perfectly into the head with very little play.

The finish on the inside of the head is just as nice as the finish on the outside.

One more shot of the head assembled.

The main body is mostly smooth with a few grooves machined into it along with the two flats. The battery is swapped out through the front since the body and tail are one piece for fewer joints and better waterproofing.

Super clean knurling in the tail of the body. The lanyard holes will take one of the Stainless steel pocket clips that can be bought from Fasttech. The notch allows the lanyard to sit inside so tailstanding isn't affected by it's use.

Here are the specs on the charger that is provided with the flashlight package. Designed for US outlets, it provides just 600mAh output. (Update 4/30) This would be great but my example did not work. I didn't realize it at first because I used my hobby charger to run charge and discharge testing on the included Palight 26650 cell. It wasn't until I tried to use it to charge a 16340 cell last night that I discovered the darn thing didn't even work. A quick test with my DMM confirmed there was zero output to the charging posts. I disassembled the charger but could see no loose connections or obvious issues. For a $3 charger it's just not worth the trouble. I will be converting it for use as a cell cradle for my hobby charger.

The plug prongs fold in for travel and storage. They engage solidly and the charger seems to be ok for a universal charger. No different from any other I've seen or used but this particular example that came in my light was non-functioning. Hopefully the one you get with yours will be. If it works it can be used for all Li-Ion cell types including protected 18650/26650 cells.

Here is the unprotected Palight 26650 cell in the charger. There are still a few mm of travel left in the contact spring to accommodate protected cells if you have any.

Waterproof? Yes! No! Water resistant? As long as you don't leave it under for more than a minute, most likely. I left it in the drink for 30 minutes and it came out nice and dry, or so I thought. After standing on it's head over night, after the dunk test, I pulled the cell and found some water in the back of the battery tube. I am thinking that a little bit of water got past the switch assembly in the tail and worked it's way into the battery tube overnight. I sure wish I knew how to get the switch assembly out of the light. I'm sure it could be corrected.

Some beam shots to show hot spot and spill. The light was 1 meter away from the wall in the pic below.

And now a shot of the HXM-900 alongside it's closest competitor in the 26650 size, the Trustfire A8, and also a standard that most know, the Solarforce L2T. You can really see just how compact this light is and how impressive the performance it is considering it's size. ;)


A definite "JohnnyMac Approved!" for the HXM-900! $30 for this entire package is a deal even if you don't use the included cell and charger. Get yourself a quality 26650 cell or a quality 18650 cell (if you don't already have one) and this light is IMPRESSIVE! It's an awesome light with only it's quirky mode order as it's only major drawback and it's low quality battery and non-functioning charger it's only drawback. Even without the charger and cell it's a great light and worth the price. If they could package it without the charger and cell and knock $5-$10 off the price it'd be a steal! The light reeks of quality and is very compact with a fairly large head for a tube style light. I highly recommend it!

Great pics and commentary .

Looks like a great light .

Awesome review JM! I like this one, a very compact 26650, even shorter than the A8.

863 OTF lumens on Turbo and 348 meters of throw from this compact little light.

is that guesstimate or is that a fact? show us some outdoor beamshot pic :slight_smile:

That is all fact taken from my calibrated IS and my Lux meter. I’d love to take outdoor beam shots but I live in the city and there is too much light pollution. One day I will round up a bunch of lights and go somewhere for some good shots. :slight_smile:

Sweet review, JohnnyMac! 8)

nice work there. so its about as bright as the blf a8 correct?
which one is floodier?

Very nice review. Kinda cool light but I would have to change that driver. That would drive me bonkers.

What really surprised be was the difference in batteries. How could it make such a huge difference? I trust your numbers I just don’t understand the physics involved.

Let’s say that I have a light that takes three cells and I fully charge 3 2200 sanyo 18650’s each one is sitting at 4.2volts and I do the same for three King Kongs. Will I see a difference all the time or some of the time and what makes the difference. Can anyone explain this to me?

If it really makes that big of a difference I might have to break down and spring for some King Kongs.

Thanks for the review Bigmac, after playing around briefly with several Palights including this model in store I can attest for the build quality and smooth beam profile. Pretty much solarforce quality, very good quality machining/anodising and feels good in hand. Some might not like the aluminium grey around the tailcap, myself included, although this is purely subjective and is part of the styling. I’m also a trustfire A8 owner and would certainly recommend the PAlight over it.

The Hotspot of the A8 is similar to a P60 so medium - floody, but the SS bezel interferes and completely cuts down the spill size, making it the most unfloody light I own. You’d have to remove the SS bezel to get a decent spill, and then it looks kind of funny. The only thing that I would think is better for the A8 over the PAlight is the UI, otherwise I’d take the PAlight. Judging by the spill angle on this review I’d say the spill size of both lights would be similar if you remove the A8 bezel, whilst the PALIGHT has a wider reflector so tighter hotspot with more throw.

Thanks for the review Johnny. Looks like a well made light.

Been eyeing PAlights at fancyflashlights/CNQG. Can’t really make sense of their model naming system. Many models seem similar. They do look very nice though.

Wish PAlight would rethink their stupid mode arrangement. Placement of turbo has deterred me from buying. I avoid strobes like herpes already… putting turbo (which I use often) between the flashy modes kills it.

If PAlights like this one were offered with neutral tint option and with simple T > H > M > L modes, while maintaining the $30 price range, they would be really hard to beat!

I enjoy the simple clean design of these PAlights, but for the time being I am good on cools and trying to stick to neutrals and warms.

Yeah, the driver mode order is a real puzzler.

The other puzzler that has been bothering me since I published this review is the difference in output between cells. I can understand high and turbo having a difference but not in every mode. I am going to redo my figures tonight after topping off the Palight cell. I ran the light on low for a half hour during my waterproofing test but that was after the output testing. This morning I tested the voltage on the cell and it was at 3.64v which is far too low for the little use it had during testing. I really do think the cell is simply no better than a crappy Ultrafire cell. Nice to have if giving as a gift to someone or if it's your first 26650 light and it arrives before the quality cell you ordered for it. It's nice as a spare but you will want a better cell with the light.

Unfortunately I had to post some updates to the review. Note to self: never assume that a charger works until you actually use it! |(

Thanks for nice review.

the 900 is way brighter than my A8. As for flood, like WKJR said, the deep bezel on the A8 really blocks a lot of the spill otherwise it would hands down be the A8 that is more floody. Considering the great focus of the 900 I would still say the A8 is more floody but the 900 far more useful all around.

You will find my review about this flashlight here. JohnnyMac named all differences in this thread, too.

yeah, just learned the different with this two lights, anyway, both are good lights.

Just on a whim, I came so close to buying this light today…so close!

Very nice budget offering.

Great review, Johnny (I won’t hate you if you decide to throw in a 100ish meter beamshot!)

I’m right ready to buy this once I confirm it is at least a bit throwier than a C8.

Spotted this one at Fasttech too:
How do you think this would run off of 3xAAA or 4xAAA? I’ve been looking hard for a great quality host/light for my non-battery-savvy friends and family, some 26650 light I can throw some AAA carriers into
(thanks for the review too, Johnny)