Tuesday, June 21, 2016

EagleEye X5R rechargeable 18650 flashlight with a NW LED- Review

Hello. I am reviewing for you another interesting flashlight,provided by GearBest.com.
This is a single 18650 flashlight made by Eagle Eye. The model is X5R. It could be found with two different LEDs-a Cool white Cree XM-L2 U2 1A,or Neutral White XM-L2 U2 3C.
The flashlight also features USB charging via MicroUSB cable.
The X5R uses maybe the most successful combination of switches to operate the UI. Forward clicky tail switch + side switch for mode selecting.

Check out the flashlight here at GearBest-
1000Lm Eagle Eye X5R: http://goo.gl/oRGslm 
Check our more Flashlights: http://goo.gl/fTg76C

Size comparison with other 1865 flashlights.
The X5R is as compact as the Fenix PD35 and ThruNite TC12.
(left to right) Keeppower 18650 battery,Thorfire VG25, EagleEye X5R(rechargeable),Fenix PD35,ThruNite TC12(rechargeable),Olight R20(rechargeable), Fenix RC11(rechargeable)

Thorfire VG25 and Olight R20 with a larger head diameter,respectively larger reflector diameter than the other flashlights in this comparison.
Left to right- Cree XP-L,Cree XM-L2,Cree XM-L2,Cree XP-L,Cree XM-L2,Cree XM-L2

EagleEaye X5R comes in a nice hard box with the beautiful logo.
There was no instruction sheet in the box.
In the box-good lanyard with quick release carabiner,two spare O-rings,additional green GITD tail switch cover.
No holster included,so you have to use from other flashlight or to buy one separately,if you prefer to carry or store the flashlight in a holster.

Well made stainless steel bezel at the front. It is not absolutely smooth rounded,nor too aggressive and in my opinion it will not tear pockets and other equipment easily,when carrying in a backpack.
As you can see on the picture,the front O-ring has the typical for glow in the dark parts color. Yes,it has some GITD powder,but not in the amount to make it glow bright enough for any additional use.
The crown fits quite well to the head without any gap.

Below is a side view of the metallic side switch.

You can see the quality of knurling and anodizing.
As expected from a low priced product,there are several dents on some of the edges.Most visible on my sample is the one you can see down left on the picture below.
Anyway,the whole knurling done is flawless,as well as the anodizing. The whole black matte finish seems quite high quality.
The knurling provides good grip,though it is not deep aggressive.It is very fine,yet it does its job perfectly.

Here is a close up picture of the tail cap. The design allows tail-standing.
14mm diameter of the switch cap.

The X5R in my hand.
Quite good grip. Easy access to the tail switch,with no uncomfortable sharp edges.

User Interface
Operating the flashlight is quite easy.4 constant brightness modes plus hidden Strobe mode.Press the tail switch half way to activate the light momentary.
Fully press it (with a click) to lock the light On. Fully press again to turn it Off.

To cycle the modes-briefly press the side switch.
Press and hold the side switch to activate variable frequency Strobe mode.

Any of the constant modes is instantly saved in the mode memory. It works perfectly like in the best flashlights from bigger brands. The memory does not require anything special to make it properly working.
No requirements for waiting few seconds before or after activating.

A look at the main light supply-Cree XM-L2 LED combined with an aluminum textured reflector. A clear guarantee for quality beam.
This is my favorite combination for this form factor flashlights(yes the XP-L is also a good choice). I really appreciate the use of textured reflector,as in a small diameter reflector,it ensures clean beam without artifacts and parasite circles,smoothly transitioning from hotspot to spill.
Check out the Beamshots later in the review for proof that the job is well done on this part of the flashlight.

Perfectly centered LED.
There is a small particle on the LED silicone lens.Probably a result of the soldering process.It does not affect the beam,but definitely worth mentioning it.
(on both pictures,it is on the right side of the LED)(click on the picture for larger view)

An unexpected extra from a $22 flashlight is the anti-reflective coating on the glass lens.

EagleEye X5R disassembled on three main parts.
Impressive machine quality for such a low priced product. The knurling is flawless,as anodizing is.
Yes,there are few imperfections,but in the acceptable range for its price tag(at least IMO).
All pictures are in their original state,without any additional corrections done in post.

All metal retaining rings(brass). Strong springs at both ends.
All parts fit well without gaps.I don't have any critique on the design,so far.
The pocket clip is also well selected-just with the right stiffness and size.The knurled surface is not aggressive,which will keep your pants/belt in good condition.

Most of the batteries that I use fit in the battery tube,but due to the very hard springs,especially the head spring,
long protected batteries stay under high mechanical pressure as the springs leave noticeable marks on the battery contacts.

Rectangular cut threads on both sides of the battery tube.Fully anodized,as well.
Well greased for smooth screwing.

The X5R has built-in micro USB port. This means,it is compatible with every standard microUSB cable. The flashlight comes without any cable included in the set,so anyway you will have to use the cables you have from other devices like smartphones,tablets,cameras...
The maximum charging current goes up to 2000mA. This ensures pretty quick charging process.I tested it with a tablet charger.
Thinking always for safety,I will recommend also to not leave the flashlight unattended while charging,or at least to check the temperature of the flashlight and the charger,periodically.

The charging port is protected with a soft rubber cover.It should keep it clean and well protected of dust and water.
However,the cover is not so tight and may be accidentally pulled away,leaving the port unprotected.
Looking at the microUSB way of mounting-it is even not sealed on its place,as I can see the internal elements of the flashlight.
The X5R is definitely not a good choise for using underwater.

The status LED in action. Red light while charging,blue light when charged.
Because of the physical tail switch,you have to turn the flashlight On before charging.
This will activate the light,so after some testing I found that you have to click the side switch as well,until you see the light turned off.

Runtime test

Regarding the driver performance,EagleEye X5R is fully comparable with its bigger name competitors.
Powered with a 3400mAh battery,the X5R shows great long runtime on High mode and quite good performance on Turbo mode,considering the compact dimension of the model with limited heat transfer mass.
As almost any other flashlight in the same form factor,the X5R is programmed to automatically decrease the brightness after certain period of time working on Turbo mode. This has the purpose to protect the flashlight from overheating,due to the heat coming from the LED and sometimes the driver,while working on max output around 1000 lumens. Here the timed stepdown comes after 3 minutes on Turbo mode,decreasing the output to High mode.
This timed protection is a good universal method for keeping the flashlight at optimal working temperature in different environment,but seeing the progress of technology,I would like to find more flashlights which regulate the output with a real thermal sensor. Adding additional electronic components to the driver may cause raising the price a little,yet I don't think it is something hard to lead to mass production flashlights. A thermal regulation will allow the flashlight to work on the max possible output according to the actual surrounding temperature. You don't expect a flashlight to step down after 3 minutes while using it outdoors in a cold winter night.

Most(probably all) flashlights allow reactivating the Turbo mode after the step down.Just be sure the temperature of the flashlight is not very high,which may cause damage uncovered by the warranty.

Anyway,the X5R performance is excellent on both tested modes,with no any critique.None of the tested competitors show better regulation or better ratio- runtime/output.
To be honest,EagleEye X5R performed much better than I expected and even surprised me with needed features that the other flashlights used for comparison,do not feature.
The X5R's driver has Low voltage warning(flashing red light under the side switch) and kind of Low voltage protection,which kicked-in in both tests. The resting voltage in the battery is still very low(about 2,7V),but it triggers before the battery protection,keeping the voltage above the critical minimum. I even tested the protection trying to reactivate the flashlight with the fully discharged battery and every time the protection is activated,keeping the light off or shutting it down after a second(the battery does recover its voltage slightly when left unloaded).

My lumen measurements:
(taken with an amatŠµur integrating sphere and equipment)
Turbo mode 1000Lm/ 950Lm 30 sec later
High mode 500Lm
Mid mode 167Lm
Low mode 18Lm

As we can see from the test,the Lowest mode measures about 18 lumens. This means the X5R does not have a real Low or Moonlight mode. It could benefit one more mode.

Note,in the comparison graph the ThruNite's TC12 has no timed step down and managed to keep the output higher than the competitors,for about 80 minutes.
Some of the flashlights were tested with their brand batteries,respectively with different capacity.
Fenix RC11 was tested with a 2600mAh battery.
EagleEye X5R,Olight S30 and ThruNite TC12 tested with a 3400mAh battery(with Panasonic cell).

white wall

Thanks to the textured reflector,all zones of the beam are smoothly blended,without ugly circles or corona forms.
The beam should be suitable for most EDC users-and of course for many other situations,where you need nice homogeneous beam without distracting artifacts and circles,
which could affect the easy identification of small objects in the dark.

The light from my sample(it is a regular X5R sent by Gearbest) is definitely neutral white.Comparing it to other flashlights with NW LEDs,the light from the X5R looks slightly orange when compared to some less warmer whites,but looks clean neutral white when compared to a warmer white LEDs. So,it may be defined as the middle of the neutral white range.
It is a comfortable light to use,especially if you don't like the bluish tint on most of the cool white LEDs. Check out the comparison below to see the actual difference between the X5R and flashlights with a Cool white LED.
I did not compare it to other similar form factor flashlights with NW LEDs,because I don't have such,but I will add some comparison pictures with bigger flashlights,later.

The X5R's beam at 5 meters.

5 meters distance to the wall.
You can clearly see the huge difference in the beam color temperature of the different flashlights.
Only EagleEye X5R is equipped with a textured reflector(all other flashlights have smooth reflectors),which as can be seen on the pictures,results in more diffused beam with less throw.
Depending on the particular user preferences,this may be an advantage or not. If you,like me prefer this type of beam profile for a 18650 sized EDC flashlight,the X5R could be one of the best choices.

5 meters, 1/6sec

5 meters, 1/50sec

EagleEye X5R performed quite well in the test period and I did not find any problems using it,so far. There is not much what to criticize in this flashlight as it works more than adequately
for its price tag and even outperforms many of its higher priced equivalents;The choice of LED only,could be enough reason to choose the X5R.

Good points: Available with a neutral white LED; Textured reflector for high quality beam; High output with good runtimes;Built-in charging circuit with the most common microUSB port;
Good build quality with thick retaining rings made of brass;
Low voltage warning by the switch indicator;Low voltage protection; Instant mode memory works without restrictions;
Excellent knurling and thread machining;Forward tail switch with good response;Tail-standing capability,though not very stable;Comfortable side switch with status indicator;
Beautiful matte black anodizing;
Strong pocket clip;

Weak points:
The lowest output of 18lumens may be quite bright for some users;Protected batteries fit way too tight;It may have dents or other marks on some of the edges;
The charging port is not well protected from dust and water-not recommended for use under water,some light rain should not cause problems;No spare cover for the charging port included in the set;

Check out the flashlight here at GearBest-
1000Lm Eagle Eye X5R: http://goo.gl/oRGslm 
Check our more Flashlights: http://goo.gl/fTg76C
Thanks for reading!
I think I covered most of the important aspects of the flashlight and helped you get a good idea of its good and weak points.
Let me know if you have any questions.Your comments are highly appreciated,as well.

Thanks to GearBest for providing the Eagle Eye X5R for test!