Reviewer’s Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
|Switch:||Reverse tail clicky|
|Modes:||3 (can be modded to 5)|
|LED Type:||Cree XM-L T6|
|Date Ordered:||26 Sept 2011|
- Functioning mode memory
- Only 3 modes
- Optional 5 modes
- Not regulated
- Gets hot on High
- Needs a Medium (instead of strobe)
- Rough threads
Features / Value: 5 out of 5
I got this light as part of the second DinoDirect group buy (posted here), after people started saying how much they liked the light (in this thread). For everyday use, I am not crazy about the XM-L LED because it puts out fairly blinding light with not a lot more throw than smaller LED lights, but I like a good deal and at this price I have paid more for XM-L LED’s by themselves.
The light is three modes, High-Low-Strobe, with mode memory that sets after the light is off for 3-4 seconds. I would like the memory to set faster than that (1 second), but this is okay. The memory is certainly better than some lights I have tested. This light is available from different dealers, including a 1-mode version from Manafont (reviewed here).
Note: Most of the pictures (except the indoor wall shots) can be clicked on for a version twice as big. Disclosure: the link to Dino at the top is an affiliate link, so while I can potentially get some percentage (edit: not really, their affiliate program doesn’t seem to work), the purpose of this review is not to sell lights, but to give you my honest opinion and actual measurements.
The reflector is smooth which is probably appropriate for a compact 18650 light, trying to get a little more throw from the small reflector. The stainless steel bezel is a nice touch with mild crenulation so that light can shine through when it is head down, but still won’t tear up pockets.
Here’s a really neat undocumented feature of this light: the driver can be modified to get 5 modes by removing a solder joint (described in this thread; after the review I did this mod in just a few minutes and got a Medium of about 50% of High). The 5 modes are H, M, L, Strobe, SOS, but having a Medium on a light as bright as this seems like a really good idea. Due to DinoDirect’s fluctuating price system, the 3-mode may be more or less expensive than the 5-mode, but with some modification, you can buy the cheaper of the two and get the modes that you want. I love when a light has this kind of flexibility. Maybe you will like 5 modes now, but later on favor fewer modes. You don’t have to commit or buy two lights.
The light tailstands fine, though the lanyard has to be pretty loose or removed to do so perfectly. Some people have said the tailcap protrudes a little causing it to wobble some, but mine is just fine. Swapping out one of DealExtreme’s replacement tailcap covers didn’t work because the DX boots are rounded whereas the UF-2100’s is flat and the rounded cover protrudes too much. Because the body is round, there is nothing to stop it from rolling and a clip would be really nice. Even the Ultrafire X1 has a wire clip that is kind of flimsy but still works fine.
The knurling is pretty light, so this light will be more slippery than some, especially with gloves.
Design / Build Quality: 3 out of 5
Quality of the light seems about average for a budget light. The threads are definitely rough and were dirty, though there seemed to be some kind of oil on them for lubrication. Even with the threads cleaned, they are still a little rough. The o-rings are very thin, but there is one on each end of the body tube. The LED looks pretty well centered and I haven’t had any problems with flickering though some people have gotten lights that needed some tweaking of the tailcap to get them to work properly. The tail clicky is nice, neither too firm nor mushy.
Battery Life: 3 out of 5
I’ll propose this scale for scoring battery life. This works for any light: 1 for 0-15 minutes (don’t laugh, this is how long some of my 10440 lights run); 2 for 15-30 minutes; 3 for 30-60 minutes; 4 for 60-120 minutes; and 5 for more than 120 minutes. Therefore this light gets 3 stars for 45 minutes.
This light definitely runs hot on High, getting warm within 15 seconds and hot before too long. During the runtime tests, I kept the light head down in a shallow pan of water to keep it cool. It draws 3.32A with a fresh battery and the body is pretty lightweight. The heat mostly stays in the head of the light.
On an XTAR 2600 battery I was able to get 50 minutes of runtime. In running the test I left the light on with the head in a shallow dish of water to keep the head from overheating. Then I would stop every 10 minutes and get an at-rest voltage on the battery and current draws on High and Low. I ran the battery down a little too far, so I would say 45 minutes is a more realistic runtime.
|Time (min)||Battery V||Current High (mA)||Current Low (mA)|
Light Output: 5 out of 5
This thing cranks out quite a bit of light, driven very hard with not much regulation. I can’t measure lumens of output, but would guess 500 lumens easily. The Low is pretty decent for outdoors up to 20 feet, though too bright for reading up close. I didn’t notice any PWM and others have said it is a very high rate. I couldn’t hear any ringing that is often a result of PWM, though some have said their light does ring a little.
First, here are some indoor shots taken 50cm from a wall. The UF-2100 is on the left and has a green ring around beam, maybe caused by reflection off the stainless bezel. It is up against a Solarforce L2 with the 3-mode Ultrafire XM-L drop-in from Manafont that so many have. The tint of this light is cool white, not cold.
At 1/100th second, to get something like what you see in person:
Now at 1/400th second:
And at 1/1600th second, the P60 drop-in has a more intense hotspot given its bigger reflector:
Here’s a shot at 1/100th second with both lights on Low:
Now for outdoors. The plant is about 20 feet away. The overhanging branches are maybe 35 feet and the lights are aimed at the fenceposts about 120 feet away. The pictures are taken with a 4-second exposure which probably overexposes High mode a little, but works better at lower output to get something that looks like what you see in real life. While it looks like the light is pointed at the ground, that is just the big hotspot hitting the ground and bouncing back. This is why I say a XM-L can be quite blinding.
For comparison, here is the Ultrafire 3-mode drop-in in the Solarforce L2 (you can also do a mouse over and mouse out thing on the picture above). About the same amount of overall light, but the P60 has better throw and the fence posts are better lit:
Now here is the UF-2100 on Low (with mouse over comparison to the L2 Low):
And the Ultrafire 3-mode drop-in on Low:
Summary: 4 out of 5
This is a surprisingly bright light in a nice compact form, a true pocket rocket. It looks good and has a driver that can be modded to 3- or 5-modes, though you can’t get rid of the flashy modes altogether.