Monday, July 29, 2013

XTAR B20 Pilot-1x18650-Review

This is a new flashlight from XTAR- XTAR B20 Pilot-multi-functional sport flashlight.Good for riding,hiking,camping and of course for EDC use.
Let's see what features it offers and how good is the quality.

Specifications from the manufacturer
XTAR Sport flashlight B20 Pilot
ANSI Illumination levels: Turbo High Mid Low Signal
1000Lm 600Lm 250Lm 30Lm 250Lm
Runtime: 3.1h 3.3h 7.5h 70h /
Max Range : 210m
Max Intensity: 11100cd
Impact Resistance: 1.5m
Waterproof: IPX8
Crust Materials: Anodized aircraft 6N01 aluminum alloy, type III hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish
Working Voltage: 2.75-4.2V
Battery: 1*18650/18700
Tactical tail cap switch
Size: Φ34.5mm(Head dia)x Φ25.4mm(Body dia)x25.4mm(Tail Dia) x 140.0mm(length)
Net Weight :113.0g(Excluded batteries)
Additional Functions: Memory function, Hidden Signal modeFeatures:
1. Use CREE XM-L U3 LED a lifespan of 50,000 hours
2. Simple mode arrangement: Turbo-High-Mid-Low-Signal
3. Super bright, max output could be 1000m
4. Beam throw could be 210m
5. Excellent heat dissipation design
6. Gold-plated spring, antioxidant and avoid poor contact
7. Excellent anodized aircraft 6N01 aluminum alloy plus premium Type III hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish.
8. Anti-roll, slip-resistant body design
9. Ultra-clear tempered glass lens with anti-reflective coating
10 Use 1*18650/18700 lithium battery

XTAR B20 is available in two versions packaging-full set and simple set.
XTAR sent me the full set packaging.

Full set contains-Flashlight,MP1 charger,Stainles steel clip,AC adapter,car adapter,3100 mAH 18650 battery,Lanyard,Spare O-ring,Manual,Warranty card.

I charged a few times with the charger MP1S and I am not pleased with it. Charging stops at 4.24V and I don't know how much longer will continue the charging process.4.24V is too much. I usually charge Li-Ion batteries to maximum 4.21V.
The AC adapter gets hot while charging,but works well. The supplied cable USB>Mini USB is long 80cm/31.5inch,which is sufficiently long.

Very nice lanyard.

There's no holster included.I like to carry big flashlights in holster.


Beautiful black matte finish,deep cooling fins(really needed to help heat dissipation),stainless steel bezel,clear white labeling.
Very good anodizing.

The pocket clip is well attached and looks sturdy.

Very well made knurling.I found it a little bit too aggressive to my hands,but this is a sport model flashlight and aggressive knurling helps for better grip and when using with gloves.You may find it very comfortable.Deep knurling is also good if you use the flashlight mounted on bicycle.
The overall grip is not good enough.There's nothing other in the shape to stop slipping. I don't feel it comfortable enough when pressing the tail switch,it slips out of my hand,even the knurled surface. A tactical/cigar grip ring will be great here.

There are some sharp edges around the switch.
The switch used is forward clicky with very nice feel,not too stiff and covered with a nice soft silicon cap.

LED Cree XM-L U3. Perfectly centered.

Aluminum Smooth reflector

Ultra clear tempered glass,anti reflective coated.
Stainless steel bezel brotects the head,glass and reflector.

Normal triangular threads-well made,anodized,not perfectly,but enough.

Tailcap threads are also anodized and lock out is possible.

The battery tube is very well sized for 18650 and 18700 batteries and even the big,long protected batteries fit without problem.
A very good idea here-the battery tube contacts on the surface which is part of the tail tube,not directly on the retaining ring.
This makes B20 a very reliable flashlight.Will not suffer of loose retaining ring.

There is an anti-oxidant gold-plated spring at the head side.This is excellent for the highest efficiency.
Good contact with the battery is very important-less losses,higher efficiency.
The spring protects the driver board and battery from damage.

The battery tube is thick enough. Net weight-113g. This makes it very comfortable to carry.

The light from the Cree XM-L U3 is cool white with the typical for the XM-L yellowish tint.
The beam is excellent combination of bright hotspot and good spill.There's no bad circular patterns.
Typically for the smooth reflectors,the center of the spot is a little bit darker.
There is enough bright spill and very good throw. It's very useful light for every day use.

User Interface

There are four brightness levels- High(600Lm)-Turbo(1000Lm)- Medium(250Lm)-Low(30Lm)
and one flashing mode 2Hz signal (250Lm)
The control is performed with just one button.
Fully press to turn ON/OFF.
Half press to change mode or for momentary.
From OFF-quick double click to activate signal mode.

The threads on the tailcap and battery tube are anodized and thanks to that the lighting modes can be changed by twisting the tailcap(using the lock out).

Turbo is very bright. Steps down to lower brightness level after 5minutes. The current draw on Turbo is ~2.5A.
High is also very bright.
Medium is very good for walking or close range work.
Low is nice for reading or walking and for night lighting. B20 tail-stands excellently and can be used in candle mode.

Sometimes Low is too bright and would be good if there is a lower Low mode,but all depends on the use of the light.

The light lasts on Turbo for about 120 minutes with Sanyo 2600. With the supplied XTAR 3100 battery will last longer. The brightness is very well regulated,nearly constant output after the step-down.

Current draw measurements-input current
Battery XTAR 3100
I turbo=2.5A
I high=1.7A
I mid=860mA
I low=145mA

I can't detect visible PWM on any of the constant lighting modes.

The signal mode contains PWM.This probably makes it very economical.

Because changing the modes comes with half pressing the switch-changing mode is possible only when the light is OFF.
Using the momentary press for signaling is also not possible.

Beamshots 1 meter

Distance 1 meter,ss 1/20sec,f=3.4, WB and focus locked

Distance 5 meters,ss 1/6sec,f=3.4,WB and focus locked
XTAR B20-Turbo-High-Medium-Low

Klarus ST11, Klarus RS11, Klarus XT11, C8 XM-L T6, C8 XP-G2, 52mm SMO XM-L T6, 26mm SMO XP-G R5

Distance 5meters, ss 1/50sec, f=3.4, WB and focus locked
XTAR B20, Klarus ST11, Klarus RS11, Klarus XT11, C8 XM-L T6, C8 XP-G2, 52mm SMO XM-L T6, 26mm SMO XP-G R5

Outdoor beamshots
XTAR B20, Klarus ST11, Klarus RS11, Klarus XT11, C8 XM-L T6, C8 XP-G2, 52mm SMO XM-L T6, 26mm XP-G R5, 26mm XR-E Q5, Klarus RS16
Distance 40m 3.2 sec ,f 3.4 , ISO 80 , WB and focus locked

IPX8 waterproof

In conclusion:
This is excellent,reliable flashlight for everyday use and outdoor sport,good lighting modes,very bright maximum brightness,high efficiency current driver,forward clicky,good functionality.
It's not very expensive and even that the used components are high quality.It really worth it.


Thanks for reading!

Thanks to XTAR for providing B20 for review!