Crelant is a brand of flashlight manufactured by Kolta electronics out of China, started in 1996. Crelant's become well known for their flagship light, the 7G5. The 7G5 is a dedicated thrower, and has been considered by many to be one of the best available for quite some time. Recently, Crelant has released the 7G9 and V9-T6. The 7G9 is a large power thrower that competes with the new "kings of throw". The V9-T6 is a more compact offering that still out-throws most lights in it's class.
Thanks to Mark at MD Lightsource for providing the V9-T6 for review.
Iíll be reviewing the V9-T6 in two sections: first, Iíll discuss the light objectively (the facts about the light itself), then Iíll discuss the light subjectively (my impressions about the light's performance when used for specific applications). This is a compact light geared a bit more to throw than flood, so I'll be reviewing it as such. If you have any other specific applications you'd like the light tested for, let me know and I'll see what I can do.
Below is a video "quick review" you can watch in just a few minutes, if you're not up for reading the full review right now:
This video is available in 720p HD, but defaults to a lower quality. To select the playback quality click the settings button (looks like a gear) after you've started the video.
The V9-T6 comes in a simple white box, with the light and accessories nestled inside a foam cutout.
The V9 feels pretty light weight, even with the battery installed, but still feels to be of a sturdy build. On my review sample, the type III hard anodized finish is a medium grey over the head and body, but the tail is a distinctly lighter shade of grey. The hard anodizing will help prevent scratches and chips to the aluminum body.
Now, lets take a closer look, starting at the head and working back.
The V9 uses a cool white Cree XM-L emitter with a T6 flux bin (thus the name, V9-T6). The XM-L T6 is currently (6/25/12) the second most efficient high-brightness emitter available, topped only by the XM-L U2. As you can see, it also uses a smooth reflector, which maximizes the distance that the light will throw, but tends to leave a few artifacts in the beam. There aren't many beam artifacts in the V9's beam, as you can see in the beam shots later in the review. A stainless steel bezel protects the lens and the rest of the head in case of impact, and also adds some style to the light.
The head features some small grooves in a ring around the circumference, which give some grip to remove the head and reflector to operate the light in "candle mode" (the bare emitter exposed for a flood style light). Lower are the head are four rounded heat dissipation fins, which help move heat away from the emitter and circuit by increasing the surface area and allowing air or your hand to carry heat away. The body of the light has two flat sections, one of which has the Crelant logo printed, and the other the model information. Just above the tail is a set of two rubber grip rings, one angled and one flat. Either or both of these can be removed, flipped, or moved along the length of the body. The tail features light knurling over most of it's area, and ends in a cutout tail cap that allows the thumb easy access to the switch while maintaining the ability for a stable tail stand. Each crenellation of the tail has a hole in it to attach a lanyard.
Now, let's take the light apart.
For normal use, the V9 comes apart into three sections: the head, body, and tail. When desired, the head can also be disassembled to remove the reflector housing and leave the emitter bare.
Inside the head, you can see the raised button to make contact with the positive terminal of the battery. This makes good contact with both flat top and button top cells.
On the head end of the body, the threads are non-anodized, trapezoid shaped. The thickness and shape of the threads will help them hold up well over time, though anodized threads would hold up better. As you can see, the bare aluminum is already a bit banged up. An o-ring is in the appropriate place to keep water out.
The threads on the tail section of the body are also non-anodized, trapezoid cut.
The bezel can be removed, but the lens is still held in place. This gives a good view of the glow-in-the-dark o-ring used between the reflector and lens.
I don't recommend removing/disassembling the switch, but if you do, this is what you see. The switch is a standard, forward-click mechanical switch which recognizes a full press or half press.
The V9 can make a stable stand either on it's head or tail.
Included with the V9 are an instruction manual, extra o-rings, and a lanyard.
The lanyard can attach to any of the four holes in the tail, and the light can still so a stable tail stand.
The V9-T6 has a very simple user interface. There are three modes available, High > Low > Strobe. The switch is a mechanical forward-click switch. A half press will give momentary activation: the light will come on in the mode after the one you used last, and stay on until the switch is released. A full press will click the switch into the constant on position using whatever mode is after the one you used last, and the light will remain on until the switch is clicked again. To change modes, turn the light off, then back on within about a second, and it will advance to the next mode in the High > Low > Strobe sequence.
You can click on any of these shots to see them full size.
Light in Hand
White Wall (Low, High)
ISO 100, f/3.3, 1/20"
Indoor Shots (Low, High)
ISO 100, f/3.3, 1"
Outdoor Shots (Control, Low, High)
ISO 100, f/3.3, 2.5"
Submersion: I submerged the V9 in about a foot of water for a little over an hour, clicking it on and off several times during the test. I can find no evidence of water having entered the light beyond the o-rings, and the V9 still functions normally.
Heat: On High mode, the V9 gets noticeably warm in about 10 minutes, but does not get hot enough to be uncomfortable.
PWM: I can see the PWM on Low mode by moving the V9 quickly and looking at the head, but I cannot see it during normal use of the light. I can find no evidence of pulse-width modulation on High mode.
Drop: I dropped the V9 from a height of about 1 meter onto various surfaces including grass, packed dirt, carpet, and wood. The light shows no cosmetic damage and still functions normally.
Reverse Polarity Protection: Because of the raised button in the head, the V9 will make contact with a battery inserted either direction, and Crelant makes no claim of reverse polarity protection, so it seems there is none. In that case, make sure to insert batteries with the positive terminal facing the head.
Over-Discharge Protection: I can find no evidence of over-discharge protection on the V9. When using 2xCR123, that's no problem, just drain the cells all the way and toss them. When using 1x18650, the light will get dimmer as the battery discharges, so when you notice it get dim you'll know to recharge the battery. When using 2x16340, the V9 is very well regulated, so it's important to use protected cells and try to re-charge them frequently (before their built-in protections circuits kick in).
All light that we see as white is actually made up of several different colors put together. The relative intensities of the different colors in the mix are what determine the tint of the white we see. For example, cool white LED's have a lot of blue, and warm white LED's have more red or yellow. This measurement was done on a home made spectrometer. Note: the peak in the 900nm region doesn't really exist, it's a piece of the second-order spectrum that's showing up here because of the high intensity of the light source.
Output, Current Draw and Runtime
ANSI FL-1 runtime ratings are the time it takes for a light to fall to 10% of it's original output (counting from 30 seconds after turning the light on). *My estimate for the Low mode run time is calculated from the current draw measured for Low mode and the battery capacity used on the other modes.
The vertical axis of the graphs below represents a relative brightness measurement using a home made light box. The horizontal axis is time in hours:minutes:seconds. Runtimes are stated in hours:minutes:seconds. These graphs may be truncated to show detail.
This graph is truncated to show detail, and thus does not cover the full range of the low mode using an 18650. See below for a full look at that plot.
You can see at the end of this plot that the V9-T6 did not turn off at the end of the low mode trial, but rather started flashing intermittently. It continued flashing for many more hours, the flashes growing further apart.
ANSI FL-1 standard for stating a light's throwing distance is the distance at which the peak beam intensity (usually at the center of the beam) is 0.25 lux. I calculate throwing distance and candela (lux at 1 meter) by measuring peak beam intensity at five different distances and using the formula lux*distance^2=constant.
Peak Beam Intensity: 24,469cd
Throw Distance: 313m
Quick break down:
+Good throw for it's class and price
+Perfect regulation on 2 cells
+Accepts primaries or rechargeable cells
+Rubber grip rings (more comfortable than metal)
+The Empire is striking back
-Unregulated on 18650
-Strobe part of regular UI sequence, not hidden at all
-Mismatched anodizing color
So, does anybody else feel like the Empire is striking back when they see this box?
Maybe it's just me.
First, I'll mention that I did list "perfect grip". This is one of the few lights that just plain fits right when it's in your hand. It's very comfortable to hold, with no sharp edges on your hand, yet you have plenty of grip to be confident you're not going to drop it, even if it's wet. For my uses, I prefer the rubber grip rings on the V9 over the screw-on/off removable metal grip rings of other "tactical" lights. I agree, they're probably sturdier and will hold up to more abuse, but I don't generally abuse my lights that much, so I prefer the rubber like the V9 has.
The rubber grip rings also contribute to the overall style of the V9. The 7G9 I recently reviewed has a much sharper, more serious look and feel, where the V9 has a smooth, more sleek and relaxed look and feel. It still performs like a beast, but it looks more civilized.
I like having the heat dissipation fins on the head, because they do look good and also give some good grip for underhanded carry. However, I'm not convinced they're actually necessary, because my sample never really got that hot. 650 lumens take quite a bit of power, but not enough to bring a light this size to critical temperature levels.
I'll also mention the importance of the fact that this light can accept a variety of battery choices. For general use, I use 1x18650 for the high capacity. When I need a constant brightness for a short time, I can pop in 2x16340 (or likely 2x18350 if ya' got 'em). If I run out of rechargeable cells, I can pick 2xCR123's to use in an emergency. This option of rechargeables/primaries is pretty important to me, as I'm not rich enough to use CR123's all the time, but I like to have the confidence that I can run might light without charging a battery if I need it quickly.
The only real negatives I've found with the V9 are it's poor regulation using 1x18650, and the fact that the strobe mode is part of the normal UI sequence.
The lack of regulation when using 1x18650 is pretty standard for lights that also support 2xCR123 and/or 2x16340. Though it's common, I still don't like it. I listed it as a negative here, but you should be aware that this is a negative that most similar lights will have in common with the V9.
As for the strobe, that's probably the main reason this is a sub-$100 light. Well, that's a part of the reason. The V9 is what I call a high-performance, high-quality budget model. It's a great light in the performance and quality areas, but it lacks some of the frills and dressings of the more expensive lights. The V9 uses a click-click-click to advance user interface, which was pretty neat when multi-mode lights were first coming around, but now is pretty much my least favorite user interface. When you turn it on, you never know exactly what mode it will come on in (maybe strobe), and you have to turn the light on and off a few times to get the the mode you want. You can't change the mode without turning the light off. This is a very basic circuit, and my guess is one of the main reasons this light is such a great price. My guess is this same light with a magnetic infinitely variable output control ring would be 2-3 times the price.
Also, this isn't a big deal to me on a light like this, but I should note that my review sample has a tail cap of a significantly different color than the rest of the head and body. From pictures on other reviews and such, I'm guessing this will not be the case when you go buy one from a dealer. Here's a few pics to highlight the difference:
Overall, as I said, this is a high-performance, high-quality, budget light. If you're looking for a bright light with good throw that you'll be able to rely on, this is a very good option, and you're unlikely to find something this good for a better price. If you're looking for something with a fancy interface and all the frills, you're going to have to look into more expensive lights.
Long Term Impressions
I'll fill this part in after carrying the light for a while. If nothing get's added here, either I find nothing else worth noting about the light, or I end up not using it often.