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Thread: Xeno G42 XM-L (1x18650/2xCR123A) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

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  1. #1

    Cool Xeno G42 XM-L (1x18650/2xCR123A) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Warning: pic heavy, as usual.

    The new G42 XM-L is the latest high-output "thrower" light from Xeno. Having earned a lot of kudos for their 1xAA E03 offering, how does this higher-end light compare? Let's find out …

    Manufacturer's Specifications:
    • LED: Cree XM-L @ 2A (High)
    • LED Options:
    • 1) XM-L 1B U2 Cool White 5000-8300K, Max Output 605 lumens, 22,800 lux @1m
    • 2) XM-L 4C T5 Neutral White 3700-5000K, Max Output 535 lumens
    • 3) XM-L 7B T4 Warm White 2600-3700K, Max Output 510 lumens
    • Mil-spec Type III Hard-Anodized Gun Gray
    • Large, deep highly polished aluminum reflector
    • Powered by 1×18650, 1×17670 or 2x CR123 (no RCR123/16340)
    • Linear LED driver, No PWM
    • 3-Stage driver: High, Medium, Low
    • Double Gold plated springs (Shock proof)
    • Tactical Forward clicky switch with silver plated contacts
    • Brass LED heatsink / driver housing
    • Built in pocket / bag clip
    • Multiple Lanyard attachment options
    • Size: 6.3″ (160mm) 1.8″ (46.5mm bezel)
    • Weight: 9oz (256g, w/o battery)
    • Crush test: Survived being driven over by a 1.7 Ton SUV
    • Waterproof test: Survived 10M pressure test
    • Anti-roll design
    • This light can tail stand
    • Glow ring around the reflector and lens
    • Silicon rubber glow clicky switch boot
    • Includes: Xeno Lanyard made from 550 paracord, Nylon Wrist lanyard, Spare rubber O-rings, Spare forward clicky switch, Packed in a Gift box
    • MSRP: ~$93

    Packaging is fairly basic (I wouldn't really call this a gift box ), but the number of accessories are reasonable. Along with light (with lanyard ring and sturdy clip attached), you get an extended-length paracord lanyard, simple nylon lanyard, extra o-rings, extra switch and manual.

    From left to right: Redilast Protected 18650; Xeno G42, Thrunite Scorpion V2 Turbo; Lumintop TD15X, P16X; 4Sevens X7; ArmyTek Predator

    All dimensions are given with no batteries installed:

    Xeno G42: Weight: 224.3g, Length 161mm, Width (bezel) 46.6mm
    4Sevens X7: Weight 146.9g, Length: 151.5mm, Width (bezel): 38.7mm
    Scorpion V2 with Turbo Head: Weight: 188.3g, Length: 171mm, Width: 41.0 (bezel), 37.0mm (tailcap grip ring)
    TD-15X: Weight 150.3g (no batteries), Length 147.3mm, Width: 37.8mm (bezel)

    The overall weight and dimensions of the G42 are typically slightly larger than most "thrower" class XM-L lights. I would expect above-average throw, given the size of the reflector.

    The G42 has a very distinctive design, with a more rakish appearance than most lights.

    Let start with overall build – the G42 has a lot of raised concentric rings around the body of the light (presumably to help with grip). There is a built-in clip that seems quite sturdy and high quality. It is apparently removable, but you have to completely disassemble the light to do it (i.e. remove the pill, etc.), which is not recommended.

    Light has excellent quality anodizing, in a dark grey finish that is very reminiscent of recent Sunwayman and JetBeam lights. There are two bands of knurling, one around the bezel and one around the tailcap. Both are fairly aggressive. I would say that grip is definitely good with this light!

    Light features stainless steel bezel and tailcap rings (flat on the bezel, scalloped on the tailcap).

    Some distinctive features for lanyard attachment:

    The G42 has a LOT of places to attach a lanyard, both on the removable ring, and built-in to the body/tailcap housing.

    The G42 also has a lot of labels, although most of these are fairly inconspicuous, as you can see above.

    Fairly traditional tailcap switch (forward clicky), in a solid tailcap end piece. Note the square-cut screw threads, fully anodized for tailcap lock-out.

    There is also a spring in the head, allowing you to use the newer high-capacity flat-top 18650 cells. All my flat-top 18650 cells worked fine in the light.

    User Interface

    The G42 uses a forward tailcap clicky - press and release for momentary on, click for locked on.

    Mode switching is controlled by rapidly flashing the tailcap when the light if off. Sequence is Hi - Med – Lo, in repeating sequence. Just press further for locked-on activation once you find the mode you want.

    For a more detailed examination of the build and user interface, please see my video overview:

    Video was recorded in 480p, but YouTube defaults to 360p. Once the video is running, you can click on the 360p icon in the lower right-hand corner, and select the higher 480p option, or even run full-screen.

    No PWM/Strobe

    There is no sign of PWM that I can see, at any output level. Either they are using a frequency that is too high for me to detect, or the light is actually current-controlled as claimed.

    There are no strobe/SOS modes on the G42.


    The new G42 uses a Cree XM-L emitter, well centered on my sample. My sample came with the Cool White version of the XM-L, but Neutral White and Warm White are also available. Reflector is smooth and deep, likely to produce good throw.

    And now the white-wall beamshots. All lights are on max output, on 1x18650. Lights are about ~0.75 meter from a white wall (with the camera ~1.25 meters back from the wall). Automatic white balance on the camera, to minimize tint differences.

    The G42 definitely has good throw for this class light, as expected for such a large and deep reflector. There is a definite wide corona around the hotspot, which shows some minor tint-shifting.

    UPDATE Nov 15, 2011: And now for the outdoor shots. These beamshots were done in the style of my earlier 100-yard round-up review. Please see that thread for a discussion of the topography (i.e. the road dips in the distance, to better show you the corona in the mid-ground).

    Sorry, the PA40 should say 4x, not 8x.

    Testing Method:

    All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, a la Quickbeam's 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 any extended run Lo/Min modes (i.e. >12 hours) which are done without cooling.

    I have recently devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values (ROV) to estimated Lumens. See my How to convert Selfbuilt's Lighbox values to Lumens thread for more info.

    Throw/Output Summary Chart:

    Effective November 2010, I have revised my summary tables to match with the current ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. Please see for a description of the terms used in these tables.

    Even though the G42 is not driven as hard as some of my other recent XM-L lights, throw on 1x18650 is top-of-the-class. It even manages to slightly out-throw the Thrunite Scorpion V2 Turbo (although the difference is negligible).

    The Xeno manual report ANSI FL-1 values for this emitter as 605 lumens max output and 22,8000 lux @1m (300m beam distance). Although I would estimate my sample is a little lower in output, the throw doesn't seem far off.

    Output/Runtime Comparison:

    The G42 is fully regulated on both 1x18650 and 2xCR123A (note 2xRCR not supported, which may have something to do with it). Runtime is reasonable, and consistent with Xeno reported specs on a 2600mAh battery.

    Potential Issues

    Light cannot signal in momentary mode, as flashing the forward clicky from Off advances through the output modes.

    2xRCR (16340) Li-ion is not supported.

    No holster is supplied.

    Preliminary Observations

    The G42 is an impressive-looking light – I don't think I've seen anything with quite this much ridge detail and extra styling.

    Build is substantial and high quality, with a lot of nice touches. You can see careful attention to detail has gone into the light, although I do consider it a bit over-built on some of the design elements (i.e. there are a lot ridges, rings and lanyard attachment points). While external styling is in the eye of the beholder, there is no doubt that this is a solid light – the significant mass suggests excellent heatsinking, and grip is obviously good.

    Aside from the build elements, the really distinctive feature of the light is the reflector – it has the best throwing beam I've seen for an 18650-class XM-L-based light. One feature of Xeno I really like is the availability of multiple tint bins (in this case Cool White U2, but Neutral White T5 and Warm White T4 are also available).

    Max output is quite reasonable for the class, and runtime performance (fully-regulated pattern) is perfectly acceptable. Interface is straight-forward and easy to use. Mode spacing makes sense to me, with a fairly bright Med mode (i.e., really a battery-saving Med-Hi mode), and a relatively low Lo mode for extremely long-lasting runtime. There are no blinky SOS/strobe modes with the G42.

    There are certainly smaller, more floody-style, 18650-based XM-L lights out there. But if you are in the market for throw, the G42 certainly warrants your consideration.


    Xeno G42 provided by for review.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 11-15-2011 at 01:05 PM.
    Full list of all my reviews: Latest hobby: New: Selfbuilt's Spring 2018 Sale!
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Xeno G42 XM-L (1x18650/2xCR123A) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Another great review Selfbuilt, thx!! After reviewing it's smaller bro, I was really interested to see how well the G42 would do with the larger head and indeed, it's quite good and reasonably compact as well. That's a good point you mentioned that it's driven rather conservatively (as with most Xeno lights I believe), which leads one to wonder how the performance would be like if Xeno ever decided to release an enthusiast version driven a bit harder.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Xeno G42 XM-L (1x18650/2xCR123A) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Quote Originally Posted by turboBB View Post
    That's a good point you mentioned that it's driven rather conservatively (as with most Xeno lights I believe), which leads one to wonder how the performance would be like if Xeno ever decided to release an enthusiast version driven a bit harder.
    Thanks. It is actually driven to a reasonably high level, in keeping with lights like the Lumintop TD15X, Skilhunt Defier X1, etc. (and higher than the 4Sevens X7, Lumintop P16X, etc.). It is just not driven to the same level as the recent high-output lights, like the Scorpion V2, Spark SL6 and Zebralight SC600 (i.e. 2.5A).

    One could imagine it would be quite a barn-burner at 2.5A. Given the hefty weight, I imagine the heatsinking would do fairly well.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 10-16-2011 at 11:43 AM.
    Full list of all my reviews: Latest hobby: New: Selfbuilt's Spring 2018 Sale!
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Near Seattle

    Default Re: Xeno G42 XM-L (1x18650/2xCR123A) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    The proportions remind me of a Surefire L5, just with a lot more milling done on it. And not only a NW option, but WW! I'm a bit in lust.

    Using a forward clicky to cycle through modes is something I'm getting tired of, though. It makes rapid bursts of momentary on use a serious pain.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic Enzo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    Default Re: Xeno G42 XM-L (1x18650/2xCR123A) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Thanks Selfbuilt, always love your reviews. Especially now the YouTube vids.
    Question: I don't see how to subscribe to your YouTube channel from an iPad in the Youtube app, any suggestions?

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* Lou Minescence's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    New England US

    Default Re: Xeno G42 XM-L (1x18650/2xCR123A) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

    Thank You for the review. Were there any ANSI ratings ? I was wondering about their distance rating.

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