Sunday, June 8, 2014

KLARUS XT11 (2014) XM-L2,1x18650/2xCR123A Review

I am happy to present you the new upgraded version of the well known Klarus XT11 tactical flashlight.
With slightly changed design,the flashlight is still stylish and reasonably compact in size.
The LED is now Cree XM-L2 for higher output and efficiency.
Interesting improvement is the new mode switch metal cover,which helps for easier operation with the switch.
The UI was one of the best for a tactical light and it is not changed. Three brightness levels + Strobe.
No mode memory.The light always starts on High mode.Specific for the XT11 two tail switches-one for ON/OFF,one for mode/Strobe.

The pocket clip is the same used in the previous version XT11.
The grip ring is made of aluminum.

Cree XM-2 LED. Toughened,ultra-clear glass lens with anti-reflective coating.
Orange peel aluminum reflector.
The flashlight came with absolutely clean and clear glass lens and reflector.

The new 2014 version XT11 has the same great design as the first version.
Stable aluminum body.Great,precisely made knurling(my favorite type). Excellent anodizing.
Just the right size to fit perfectly in hand. Maximum good grip thanks to the grip ring(cigar grip possible).
3 cooling fins for effective heat dissipating.
Bigger,more aggressive stainless steel strike bezel.

Standard for Klarus packaging.
Included-Spare O-rings,Spare switch boot,Small split ring,nice lanyard,holster.

The holsters that come with the Klarus flashlights are my favorite.
Thick material,all options for attaching to a belt or backpack.
Just the right size.Long enough cover.
I use Klarus holsters even with other brands flashlights.They fit almost every 1x18650 flashlight.

Here the holster is attached to my backpack.

Technical information
Output 820 Lumens, 8217cd peak beam intensity
1. CREE XM-L2 LED with a lifespan of up to 50,000 hours
2. 3 lighting modes and 1 flashing mode
3. Working Voltage: 3.5V-8.4V
4. Battery: 2x CR123A / 1x 18650 (Do not use 16340 batteries or any other battery over than 3.0V)
5. Body color: Military grey
6. Reflector: Textured orange peel reflector
7. Dimensions: 149mm (Length) x 35mm (Head) x 25.4mm (Body)
8. Net weight: 132g (Excluding battery)
9. Material: Aircraft grade aluminum
10. Waterproof to IPX-8 Standard (underwater to 2 meters)
11. Lens: Toughened ultra-clear glass
12. Included accessories: holster, lanyard, body clip,tactical ring and two spare o-rings

Excellent knurling and anodizing.
The anodized surface is grey color,a little more glossy than before.
The overall machining is excellent.Klarus is well known with this.

The stainless steel bezel is now matte.More stylish and to eliminate some parasitic reflections.
Can be used for self defense or to break windows,etc.

Newest thing in the 2014 version XT11 is the new Mode/Strobe switch cover.
It is made of aluminum.Its purpose is to help for easier finding and pressing the switch.

As expected from a high quality flashlight,there are no sharp edges around the switch.
All edges are well rounded.
Two switches-one for ON/OFF,one for mode/Strobe selecting.

The new part is a cover placed over the same old switch. This makes the switch much easier to press.Now the pressure with thumb is on a hard material(not directly on the soft rubber boot) and the switch requires shorter move to activate it and has no easy to hear click sound(at least on my sample).
IMO the old 'type' switch was quite good and comfortable,but there were people reporting troubles to find and press it(for sure,this depends on our fingers,as they are different),so the new cover is a good update and should improve the access and use of the switch.
Now it can be pressed much quickly and easily.The new switch is easier to press with gloves,thanks to its larger surface and raised position.

Using long protected batteries in the old XT11 was a little tricky.
Unfortunately now the space(in length) in the battery tube is not more and my favorite protected batteries fit hardly.
This is partly because of the two springs used to protect the battery and driver from impact,but each of this springs takes some space and the space for the battery is not enough,as it should be. Using long batteries is possible only if you unscrew the head a few turns.
This is the only significant flaw of the new XT11. Not a deal breaker,but is good to have it in mind if you use protected Sanyo and Panasonic batteries long about 70mm. After the review I will remove the spring in the head,to open some more space for the battery.I just don't like to keep the head partly unscrewed.

The tail threads are triangular cut.Anodized. Excellent machining.
The threads are thinner than the the threads on the previous XT11.

Well greased threads and O-rings.
The grip ring has good shape.Really helps for a better grip.
Could not be locked in desired position,no matter how tight is screwed the tail cap.
Just there is some gap.This could be fixed by placing one more O-ring before the grip ring.

Wide negative contact point.

The same pocket clip as before.Could be detached accidentally in certain cases.
The clip is not locked by other element.

The threads at the head are triangular cut.

The battery tube is sufficient thickness.

One more look to the new switch cover.

Here is a comparison between both XT11 versions 2014 left,2012 right.(click on the image for higher resolution)

2012 XT11 with XM-L LED left / 2014 XT11 with XM-L2 LED right.

User interface
Using Klarus XT11 is easy and doesn't require to remember something special.
The light starts always on High brightness mode.There is no memory for the last used mode.
3 brightness levels High(820Lm)-Mid(160Lm)-Low(11Lm) plus Strobe mode(820Lm).
ON/OFF by the central,round tail switch.The switch is forward clicky and momentary ON is possible.
The mode switch activates Strobe from ON or OFF and changes the 3 brightness levels when the light is activated.
One of my favorite features in a tactical flashlight is the momentary Strobe feature.Here it is also available when the light is not activated.
Press and hold the mode switch shorter than 3 sec activates the Strobe mode only momentary(when the light is OFF).
Press and hold longer than 3 sec activates Strobe constantly.
Activating Strobe when the light is ON is possible only after pressing the mode switch for 1 sec(short press will change the brightness mode).

Klarus XT11 provides constant light,without PWM on High mode.
Medium and Low mode contain PWM which can be detected.

This is a run time test showing the performance of the XT11 powered by 1x18650 battery Keeppower 3400.
On the left is the percentage of the initial brightness.
Down is the time in minutes.
There is a step-down 4,5 minutes after activation on High mode. After this step the light is PWM controlled.
Very useful feature is the low voltage warning. The light starts similar to Strobe mode when the battery voltage is low.
In my test this moment is ~215 minutes after activation.

Lumen measurements
Klarus XT11 (2014) High 840 Lm
Nitecore SRT6 785 Lm
Klarus ST11 670 Lm
Olight M22 860 Lm
Eagletac T25C2 755 Lm

The new upgraded XT11 is equipped with Cree XM-L2 LED which results in noticeably better performance.
I expected a brighter light coming from the new XT11,but I was impressed from the much better beam coming from my sample.
Compared to the old XT11,the new XT11 has better beam shape,more focused and the light is warmer than most cool white LEDs in other flashlights.
Good combination of throw and flood light as before.Smooth transition from hotspot to spill thanks to the textured reflector.
The beam is just what I expected from a high quality flashlight and honestly much better than the beam of my old XT11.
Visibly the reflectors on both lights are the same,so the improvement in the beam should be thanks to the new LED,which has slightly different shape.

Perfectly centered Cree XM-L2 LED.
Orange peel reflector for smooth beam,clean of artifacts.
High transparency glass lens,hardly visible not only on the pictures.
The stainless steel bezel is removable. Color filters or diffuser can be attached on its place.

The new XT11 is noticeably brighter.
Good beam angle.

Beam shots
1 meter 1/20sec

1 meter, 1/250sec

1 meter, 1/1000sec

5 meters, 1/6sec

5 meters, 1/50sec

Eagletac T25C2, Nitecore SRT6, Klarus XT11, Klarus XT11(2014), Klarus ST11

The flashlight has good size and shape for stable/comfortable grip.

High build quality,high efficient components,quite bright. Quality beam. Important tactical features as always starting on High mode,momentary ON,momentary Strobe,Strike bezel,easy access to all modes with one hand without changing the grip. Klarus XT11(2014) is a great choice for tactical light,for sport,outdoor activity or security work.
Except the minimal space for a battery and not locked pocket clip,I can't point other serious cons so far.

Thanks for reading!

XT11 was provided by Klarus for test and review.