Reviewer's Note: This is a review of new Lumapower MVP TurboForce P7. For a comparison to the original 3xCree MVP, please see my detailed review of that light. The MVP P7 was provided by Lumapower for review.
Warning: Very pic heavy!
MVP TurboForce P7 on the left, 3xCree on the right
The TurboForce is a new member of the Lumapower MVP family. The original MVP (still available) is a 3xCree Q5 light. This new TurboForce model contains a single SSC P7 (which is actually a single quad-die emitter). Although the two share the same body and overall form factor, the head is considerably different. Here are a quick summary of the features of the TurboForce P7 and the differences between the two models (cobbled from the Lumapower and Battery Junction websites):
TurboForce P7 Features:
- SSC P7 LED, up to 700 lumens of total output (claimed)
- 3 Brightness levels: Hi: ~700L, Medium:~250L, Low: ~50L, Strobe: ~650L
- Wide input voltage from 6.5-10V, supports 2xLi-Ion (RCR123A, 17650, 17670 or 18650) and 4xCR123A (recommended only for low and medium output modes, and up to 4 minutes max on high). 2x18650 is the recommended configuration for the longest runtime.
- Over-discharge protection (for 2x Li-Ion batteries) at 4.8V
- "Sidekick" brightness control switch that works independently from the tailcap power switch (tailcap is a forward clicky)
- Efficient current-controlled DC-DC power circuit
- Anti-Roll body design
- AR coated lens
- Dimensions: Length: 264mm, Bezel Diameter: 71mm, Body Diameter: 28mm, Tail cap Diameter: 32mm, Reflector Diameter: 60mm, Weight: 463g(without batteries)
Main Reported Differences between the MVP and MVP TurboForce P7:
- The MVP uses 3 individual Cree Q5 LED's, each with its own embedded reflector cone, whereas the TurboForce uses a single SSC P7 emitter and one large reflector.
- Reported that overall output is similar, but the 3xCree MVP can throw slightly further while the TurboForce has significantly more spill.
- TurboForce SSC P7 is typically somewhat cooler than the 3xCree MVP
- TurboForce is slightly longer and has a larger head/bezel (note that the body/battery tubes are interchangeable between the two models)
Estimated street price for either version is ~$200.
Packaging is the same as my MVP 3xCree. Inside the box, the light comes well secured with foam spacers. Included are spare o-rings, manual and warranty card. A removable lanyard attachment ring comes installed by default on the tailcap.
Weight (without batteries): 385g with extender, 329g without extender (237g head only)
Length: 238mm with extender, 170mm without extender
Width: 58mm max (bezel)
MVP TurboForce P7:
Weight (without batteries): 459g with extender, 405g without extender (317g head only)
Length: 265mm with extender, 200mm without extender
Width: 71mm max (bezel)
As you can see, the TurboForce is quite a bit taller and heavier. Note the difference is entirely in the head/bezel - the body/battery tubes are exactly the same size and interchangeable between versions.
Normally, I like to start with a detailed build overview, but I imagine most want to see how the business end of this light differs from the MVP 3xCree.
As you can see above, the face of the light is much larger on the TurboForce P7. Coupled with the quad-die P7 emitter, I would expect a significant amount of spill for the MVP P7. More on that in a minute - first, here is a comparison of the MVP P7 and 3xCree lights disassembled (P7 first):
MVP TurboForce P7
Again, there is no difference in the body/battery tubes and tailcaps between these two versions. The finish on my TurboForce P7 seems more matte than my glossier 3xCree, but otherwise is indistinguishable (i.e. no changes to the screw threads or any other portion).
Basically, the difference is that the bezel opening of the head has been enlarged to accommodate the larger reflector for the P7. One thing I've noticed is that there is some "play" in the positioning of the reflector (i.e. it is loose enough that is can become slightly off-centered while tightening the bezel). But this doesn't affect the beam pattern in any noticeable way that I can see.
The TurboForce is more substantial in both appearance and actual use thanks to its bigger reflector. I found the MVP 3xCree comfortable enough to carry over-handed (well-balanced and not too heavy), but haven't had a chance to carry this new P7 light canon around as much yet. Although a bit ungainly looking, it doesn't actually feel that much heavier when loaded with 2x18650.
The common build/design of the MVP lights is of very high quality. Screw threads are not anodized unfortunately, so tailcap lockout is not possible. There are also a lot of threads (especially on the tailcap), so you need to do a lot of turning to fully tighten. Lettering and anodizing is very good on my TruboForce P7, although I prefer the glossier look of my MVP 3xCree.
UI is the same as the MVP 3xCree. The rear forward clicky turns the light on and off, and there's a mechanical side-mounted "Sidekick" switch that moves you through the four light modes (Hi - Med - Lo - 12Hz Disorienting Strobe) in a repeating sequence.
This Sidekick switch works even when the light is off. When the light is on, pressing on the Sidekick switch causes the output to briefly move through Lo before ratcheting on to the next level (it seems Lo is the default state of the light, so the mechanical switch passes through it when changing modes).
Here's a comparison of the TurboForce P7 vs the MVP 3xCree on 2x18650 (AW protect 2200mAh, 3.7V) on max. Both lights are at ~0.5 m from a white wall.
These sorts of up-close white wall shots don't really tell you much for strong output lights, but you can see the Turboforce P7 has a *MUCH* wider spillbeam than the MVP 3xCree. Note the 3xCree spill is only slightly wider than a traditional 1xCree light.
The TurboForce P7 throw is still quite good, although there is a slight "donut" effect due to the quad-die emitter (this is common on P7s). Tint was also cooler on my TurboForce sample, as expected for a P7.
To better show the difference, here are a pair of outdoor shots from my back yard. The lights are all being shone from a balcony about 13 feet up and 10 feet away from the center hotspot location on the ground.
Although it looks at first glance like the MVP 3xCree is brighter, this is only because its spill is confined to a much smaller area. The spillbeam of the TurboForce P7 is wider than the camera's field of view. Look at the bricks on the far left of the image - as you can see, the TurboForce illuminates a much wider area.
This illustrates a limitation of exterior beamshots for lights with bright spill - because of the long exposure times and limited camera field of view, you don't get a good feel for how it really looks. By eye, the TurboForce P7 seemed brighter overall to me, since it was lighting up my whole yard. Scroll down to see what my lightbox and ceiling bounce tests say about output.
In terms of throw, the MVP 3xCree throws its centre beam about the same distance as the TurboForce P7 to my eye. I like the P7 battern, as you get a reasonably bright corona around the hotspot.
Output, Throw and Runtime Comparisons
Testing Method: All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, a la Quickbeam's flashlightreviews.com method. You can directly compare all my relative output values from different reviews - i.e. an output value of "10" in one graph is the same as "10" in another. All runtimes are done under a cooling fan, except for the extended run Lo/Min modes which are done without cooling.
Throw values are the square-root of lux measurements taken at 1 meter from the lens, using a light meter.
Throw/Output Summary Chart:
Note: According to both my lightbox and ceiling bounce measures, the MVPs are about twice as twice as bright overall as my best 1xCree Q5 throwers.
Since lux at 1 meter isn't likely to truly capture the throw of these lights, I've added some additional results for ~10m distance. As mentioned earlier, all P7 lights have a slight donut effect (due to the quad-die emitter design), so I've given my lux readings of the TurboForce as a range from actual beam hotspot centre to the peak brightness found around the edge of the hotspot.
Note that I haven't done CR123A runtimes yet (running low on primaries at the moment ).
My runtimes show a generally consistent pattern of slightly lower output - with slightly longer runtime - of the TurboForce P7 compared to the MVP 3xCree. I would recommend you take the actual output values with a big grain of salt, as these bright throwers (especially the large head and wide spill of P7) are likely not getting the most accurate picture in my milk carton lightbox.
Regulation and runtime on both MVP versions is very good, on all batteries. The selection of pre-defined output levels is also very useful IMO - and it's nice to see consistency between the different battery configurations (i.e. relative output is consistent for all battery types). The MVPs are clearly designed to work best with 2x18650, which has the best combination of output, runtime, and body heatsinking.
It's also nice to see the drop-off in output before the protection circuits are triggered in my protected AW cells (RCR/18650) - good to get some advance warning before the light cuts out on you!
Note that LP advises you to run 4xCR123A on Hi for short bursts of time only. In fact, the MVP manuals clearly state that you void your warranty if you run it for longer than 4 mins at this level. Med and Lo are perfectly safe to run for extended periods of time on 4xCR123A. I haven't done runtimes yet with CR123A on the P7, but check out my original MVP 3xCree review for a comparison.
I haven't come across any specific problems with the TurboForce P7. As noted in my original MVP 3xCree review, the screw threads on the body tubes can be a little rough, and there are a lot of them in each segment requiring a lot of turns to fully tighten. Not a problem per se, but just something to keep in mind. Anodizing on the tailcap threads would also be nice.
The bezel/head of the TurboForce P7 is considerably larger than the 3xCree, which is also something you may want to consider.
UPDATE: There's also no real anti-roll with the TurboForce, since the wider head is smooth. The 3xCree has effective anti-roll thanks to the beveled regions on the head.
I was certainly a fan of the original 3xCree MVP - good design, excellent current-controlled runtime performance, exquisite regulation, and wide versatility in battery configurations. The Turboforce P7 carries on in the same tradition - it is basically the same light with the same performance, just with a different beam configuration and larger head.
It all really boils down to the beam - although the 3xCree doesn't look too pretty on a white wall, in actual use it produces a pleasing well-defined spill beam with good throw. Spill width is only slightly larger than a traditional 1xCree light, but much brighter.
In the contrast, the TurboForce P7 has one of the widest spillbeams I've ever seen. It covers a much wider area with reasonably bright spill - for example, it lights up my whole back yard from my balcony! Beam pattern is nice with good throw, even corona, and smooth and uniform wide spill. Peak throw is roughly equivalent between the P7 and 3xCree models.
If you are looking for a "typical" throw/spill beam pattern - but with twice the output of a regular 1xCree throw light - the 3xCree MVP is probably your pick. But if you are looking for the widest possible spillbeam - while maintaining equivalent throw - the TurboForce P7 is your best bet.
Two other points to keep in mind are that the P7 version has a much larger head, and the beam tint is typically on the cool side compared to the 3xCree MVP. You also get a slight donut effect in the center of the P7 (unavoidable with this quad-die emitter). Of course, you will get some triangulation of the 3xCree beam pattern at close range. Six of one, half dozen of the other? As always, it's your call!