Note(12.04.22): This thread includes the test(pre-production) version review and the comparison review-test & final version of the XTAR S1.
I reviewed the Xtar S1-test version on January 11 and made the comparison review on Xtar S1-test & final version on April 20 respectively.
But, the moderator said that the two reviews should be merged because they are the same light, and he did merge both reviews dated on April 21.
I'm just curious if there is a rule in CPF,i.e. the same lights(test version & final version) reviews by same reviewer can't exist in the reviews section.
Anyway, this thread include two different reviews.
The following review is on the Xtar S1-test version and you can find the comparison review-test version & final version in the #22'nd reply of this thread down there.
S1 is three XM-L U2, magnetic ring switch, high-output light from XTAR - similar in features to the earlier model XTAR D30(Howitzer). I received the light only of the first batch without a packing case, manual, accessories, and so on.
Flat black anodizing(type III) is nearly matte finish, and letterings such as the maker, model name, and the serial number are marked on the battery tube. There are also mode indicators printed on the head, and are the deep & wide crossed grooves with knurling on the battery tube. Knurling is not so aggressive, but provides good grip.
- Emitter : 3xCree XM-L U2 (Cool white)
- Working voltage : 2.75~4.2V
- Material : Aircraft 6061 aluminum alloy
- HA III military grade hard anodized
- Mirror reflector(SMO)
- Max. brightness : 2,750 lumens
- Runtime : 90mins(High 2,750 lumens), 300hrs(Low 30 lumens)
- Switch : Head magnetic ring switch
- Mode memory
- Max. range : 360m
- Max. intensity : 32,500cd
- Water resistance : IPX-8
- Impact resistance : 1m
- Size : 83mm(Head) x 47mm(Body) x 240mm(Length)
- Net weight : 888g
The head of the light has a slightly scalloped aluminum bezel ring and some shallow cooling fins. The silver magnetic selector ring has some rounded grooves which help in the rotation of the ring. The light has 3 holes on the tailcap ring for lanyard attachment. but there is no tailcap switch.
The light has knurling with deep grooves along the battery tube which are located where the hand would be placed. The XTAR logo & character are bright and clear.
The light has 3 parts(i.e, head, battery tube, and tailcap). Tail threads are anodized at the battery tube & tailcap regions, so you can unscrew it a little for lock-out.
There is a large & round positive contact surface which has a reverse polarity protection function in the head. The 3 flat negative terminal contact discs at the tailcap look unique and solid.
Changing the mode is very easy and can be quickly accomplished by rotating the magnetic ring right and left with one hand. The S1 has a large head and uses three cool white XM-L U2 emitters, each well-centered in their own deep and smooth reflector well. The wells overlap slightly, but each reflector is quite deep(~5.5cm) overall, so I would expect good throw of beam.
The battery tube at head side is a circle, but the inside of the battery tube at tailcap side is bored in a triangular pattern which allows three 18650 batteries to slot into and to make them steady.
Screw threads on the battery tube are fine triangular-cut and quite smooth with no cross-threading or squeaking. The thinnest part of the battery tube is 2mm thick.
[Correction-2012.01.13] Screw threads are fine rectangular-cut. Screw thread pitch is very fine and groove is somewhat deep. I've gotten farsighted several years ago. Sorry!
[Edit] : The followings are added(2012.01.12).
The flat negative terminal contact discs on the inside of the tailcap which can rotate on center axis are high elasticity spring structure. Once they are inserted into the battery tube, the tailcap only can be rotated.
The light can tailstand perfectly. There are 3 small holes machined into the tailcap ring for lanyard or split-ring attachment. The light doesn't roll well due to the tailcap ring. While the light is bigger than I expected overall, construction feels very solid and reliable.
Overall build quality is excellent.
On-off and mode switching is controlled entirely by the silver magnetic selector ring in the head(i.e, there is no clicky on-off switch).
The six selector ring levels on the light are SOS - Strobe - High - Off ("O")- Preset - Select, arranged clockwise.
When the "▲" symbol on the selector ring is set to "O" position, the light is off or on standby.
You can select SOS, Strobe, and High mode by rotating the selector ring to the left. Also you can select Preset mode by rotating it to the right. The preset mode is user-defined brightness at a certain level. When rotating the "▲" symbol on the selector ring to "Select" position, the light output will begin to ramp up and down, starting from the current preset output level. To select the output level you want, simply rotate the "▲" symbol on the selector ring quickly back to the "Preset" position. Once an output level is selected, that level is memorized.
All modes switching is controlled by the magnetic selector ring in the head without clicky on-off switch on the tailcap, a standby(parasitic) current is being drawn. It's less than 5mA manufacturer claims. If it's a problem, you can use tailcap lock-out function easily.
Although not very easy, you can switch back and forth one-handed.(You can do that with very ease when you put the gloves.)
The left & right are the button-top protected 18650's & flat-top unprotected 18650's respectively. I can't turn the light on with my flat-top unprotected 18650 cells, but the button-top protected cells have no problem. If you attach a tiny neodymium magnet(NdFeB) on the flat-top cells, the problem is solved.
Neither of this issue affect practical usage though, but I hope XTAR would consider and solve this issue.
The S1 has nice battery flexibility by running the three wells in parallel, so you can use 1 or 2x18650 cells in unavoidable emergency. But I'd say you can use 1 or 2xcells only in emergency. I'd recommend you use the batteries of same types, same brands, same charging levels, same capacity(more than 2600mAh at least), and don't mix batteries of old & new. Also note CR123A's or RCR123's are banned.
The S1 is not an EDC but a big light.
From left to right, VicLite 18650, Solarforce L2T, Skihunt Defier X3, XTAR S1, XTAR TZ-50, Sky Ray STL-V2.
The net weight is 882g and 1kg including 18650 batteries.
S1 is a PWM controlled light. I can see flickering at low & med. level, but can't see it visually in practical use. There's no sign of PWM at high mode.
I notice that there is very little buzzing sound on the preset mode and select mode when holding the light close to my ear to hear it.
[Edit] : The followings are added(2012.01.13).
The runtime for 50% output of high & med. level on 3xPanasonic unprotected 18650(3100mAh)'s is appr. 81 & 158 mins respectively in my test. The S1 provides good runtime, but it's a shame that it doesn't provide steady or flat regulation. It doesn't behave consistency on both levels as the batteries run down. I stop running the light to protect the batteries from overdischarge in 100mins & 179mins respectively.
The voltage of the battery at the start and end of the test is as follows.
1) High Mode
Cell-1 : 4.18V --> 3.19V
Cell-2 : 4.18V --> 3.18V
Cell-3 : 4.18V --> 3.17V
2) Med. Mode
Cell-1 : 4.19V --> 3.13V
Cell-2 : 4.18V --> 3.11V
Cell-3 : 4.18V --> 3.09V
Surface temperature measurement
1) Measuring points :
- Bezel ring(upper point)
- Lower fin(lower point)
2) Batteries : fully charged Panasonic 18650(3100mAh) cells
3) Temperature of the room : 22.7 ℃
4) Surface temperature of the light before test : 24.6 ℃
5) I just left the light untouched except in the case of turning the light on, off, and brightness level change.
6) Detailed time range & brightness level without cooling
- 00min. 00sec.~23min. 59sec. (High mode)
- 24min. 00sec.~30min. 00sec. (Turn off)
The max. surface temperatures of the upper point(bezel ring) & lower point(lower fin) are 46℃, and 48℃ respectively. Also 43℃ on battery tube.
In my view, the heat is not a problem on the S1 for 20mins continuous running on high level.
1) White door beamshot (about 60cm from the white door)
The beam profile produces a small sized hotspot with a soft corona tapering into the spill beam. At a close range(i.e.~5m), the spill beam looks like a triangular petal-like pattern. But it is hardly noticeable or is not issue in real life. The beam tint on my sample is very slightly hint of green on hot spot and cool white on side spill.
2) Indoor beamshot (about 7m from the target)
3) Outdoor beamshot (about 55m from the target)
4) Outdoor beamshot (about 60~65m from the target)
5) Outdoor beamshot (far more than 130m from the target)
[Edit] : The following added(2012.01.14).
Peak Throw & Beam Distance
I got 54,300 lux of peak throw at 1m and 466m of beam distance(to 0.25lux).
[Edit] : I measured 56,100 lux at 1m, with full charged NCR18650As, is based on 30 secs after activation which translates into an ANSI FL-1 beam distance of 473m. (2012.04.21)
[Edit] : Ramp added(2012.01.18).
The ramp of S1 is 7 sec from min. to max. brightness, totally 14 sec cycle as shown in the above graph.
Thanks for reading the review.
* S1 provided by TorchGear for review.
[ Note (12.04.22) : You can find the Xtar S1 comparison review-test version & final version here or in the #22'nd reply down there. ]