Warning: pic heavy as usual.
The XT30 is Klarus' first offering in the high-output "thrower" space. Based around the XT11 circuit/user interface, let's see how it compares to the competition ...
Note: as always, these are only what the manufacturer/dealers report. To see my actual testing results, scroll down the review.
- CREE XM-L (U2) LED
- Three lighting modes and 1 flashing mode
- Lighting modes: 820 ANSI lumens (1.8hrs), 310 lumens (5.5 hrs), 10 lumens (180 hrs)
- Variable frequency strobe: 820 lumens (3.6 hrs)
- Beam throw ability: 360meters on high
- Working Voltage: 7V - 14V
- Battery: 4xCR123A/2x18650 (not included)
- Use of 16340 batteriesis not recommended)
- Body color: Dark grey
- Reflector: Deep parabolic reflector
- Tactical main switch for turning the light on and off. Momentary activation from off
- Dedicated mode switch for instant access to strobe and changing modes
- Lens: Toughened ultra-clear glass
- Detachable stainless steel strike bezel
- Material: Aircraft grade aluminum 6061-T6
- Dimensions: 248mm (Length) x 58mm (Head) x 25.4mm (Body)
- Net weight: 273g (Excluding battery)
- Waterproof to IPX-8 Standard (underwater to 2 meters)
- Optional color filters can be securely attached to the head of the light when the bezel is removed
- Reverse polarity protection protects flashlight and battery from damage
- Can be used with ED10 remote switch and fits a 1 inch gun mount
- Included accessories: Holster, lanyard, spare rubber boot, metal tactical ring and two spare o-rings
- MSRP: $130
The XT30 comes in the new "retail shelf" style packaging of recent Klarus lights. Along with the light you will find a manual, spare o-rings, spare boot cover, decent wrist strap, small split ring, and belt holster (with closing flap). A removable metal grip ring is also included (replacing the earlier plastic design found on the original XT11). But all in all, a very similar package to the XT11.
From left to right: AW Protected 18650; Karus XT30; Jetbeam M1X V2; Niwalker 750N1, NWK750 Engineering Sample II; Crelant 7G5-V2; Sunwayman T40CS.
Actual Measured Dimensions
All dimensions were personally measured, and are given with no batteries installed:
Klarus XT30: Weight: 283.1g, Length: 247mm, Width (bezel): 58.0mm
JetBeam BC40: Weight: 226.3g, Length: 224mm, Width (bezel): 48.5mm
Niwalker 750N1: Weight: 408.0g, Length: 269mm, Width (bezel): 58.6mm
Sunwayman T40CS: Weight: 296.7g, Length 227, Width (bezel): 63.5mm
Tiablo A60G: Weight: 297.8g, Length: 256mm, Width (bezel): 56.8mm
Thrunite Catapult V3: Weight: 434.8g, Length: 254mm, Width (bezel) 58.0mm, Width (tailcap) 35.1mm.
As always, I quite like the look of these Klarus lights. The anodizing remains a rich dark grey-brown color (type III = HA). No blemishes or flaws on my sample. The excellent anodizing seems very similar to some of my Sunwayman lights. Stylistically, I find the XT30 reminds me a bit of the old JetBeam M1X (one of the first high-output thrower lights).
As with the XT11, labels are not very bright, but clearly legible against the dark background. The overall body pattern is very similar to the XT11 – including some knurling, but it's not very aggressive. There are a lot of smooth areas on the body handle, so I can only describe the overall grip as "ok" (better with the grip ring in place). On that note, I suspect many will be happy to see Klarus has replaced the original plastic grip ring of the XT11 with a new metal version.
As with the XT11, there is a spring in the head, so all flat-top high capacity cells should fit and work fine in the light. Some of my wider protected 18650 cells with a bit of snug fit inside the light, but they all made it.
Also like the XT11, the XT30 sports a removable stainless steel bezel ring. Slightly crenelated as before, the ring can be removed and an optional set of colored filters or a diffuser can be screwed on instead. This is my preferred way of using a removable diffuser.
Screw threads are traditional triangular-cut, but seem of good quality. They are unchanged from the XT11, so you can use the optional pressure switch assembly for that model here as well. Tailcap threads are anodized for lock-out.
The XT30 uses the same distinctive dual-switch control in the tailcap as the XT11. The main on/off switch is the larger, circular, protruding one (forward clicky switch, typical feel). The smaller recessed semi-circular one is an electronic mode-changing switch (slightly firmer feel than most electronic switches, definite click on activation). Both can be accessed one-handed by the thumb or index finger, depending on grip.
Light cannot tailstand, despite the raised areas for the lanyard attachment on the tailcap.
User interface is unchanged from the XT11. Press the large forward clicky switch for on-off (press for momentary-on, click for locked-on).
Once activated, change modes by pressing the smaller electronic switch. Mode sequence is Hi > Med > Lo, in a repeating loop. Press and hold the mode-changing switch to activate Strobe.
Note that Strobe can be activated directly from Off by pressing the secondary switch. I haven't measured it, but this suggests that a standby current must be present when the tailcap is fully tightened.
There is no memory mode – the light always comes on in Hi mode.
For more information on the light, including the build and user interface, please see my new video overview:
As always, videos were recorded in 720p, but YouTube typically defaults to 360p. Once the video is running, you can click on the configuration settings icon and select the higher 480p to 720p options. You can also run full-screen.
As on the XT11 uses PWM of just under 1 kHz. PWM is an apparently unavoidable by-product of having a tailcap control circuit combined with a head circuit. At least the frequency is high enough not to be visually distracting, like on some other lights.
And like the XT11, that PWM signal is again present on the Hi mode. PWM is never as noticeable on Hi (as the light is "on" most of the cycle), but it does seem to be slightly more significant here on the XT30 than my either XT11 or RS11 lights.
Again, like the XT11, the XT30 uses an oscillating strobe, switching between 5.7Hz and 14.2 Hz every ~1.5 secs.
Since the secondary switch is an electronic switch (that can be activated from Off), there needs to be a standby current when the tailcap is fully connected. Measuring it is a little more complicated than usual, given the need to have the tailcap in the current path. I haven't measured it here, but on the XT11 I obtained a low reading of 1.4 uA on a fully charged 18650. Unless Klarus has drastically changed something here, I would expect to there to be a similarly negligible current on the XT30.
The XT30 uses a Cool White XM-L emitter, well centered on my samples (with a white centering disc around it). Reflector is smooth finish and extremely deep. Throw is likely to be excellent.
And now, what you have all been waiting for. All lights are on 2xAW protected 18650, 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.
As you can probably tell, the XT30 is remarkably similar to the Crelant 7G5 V2 in beam profile. It has excellent throw, with a typical amount of spill.
Of course, these sorts of reviews are never complete without outdoor beamshots. These are all 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). Please ignore the red-tint in the lower-right corner these shots (I was wearing a brighter-than-usual red headlamp during this excursion ).
Here are zoomed-in pics of the hotspots:
As you can see, the XT30 is certainly in the same range as these other "thrower" lights.
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 any extended run Lo/Min modes (i.e. >12 hours) which are done without cooling.
I have devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values (ROV) to estimated Lumens. See my How to convert Selfbuilt's Lightbox values to Lumens thread for more info.
Throw/Output Summary Chart:
My summary tables are reported in a manner consistent with the ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. Please see http://www.flashlightreviews.ca/FL1.htm for a discussion, and a description of all the terms used in these tables. Effective July 2012, I have updated all my Peak Intensity/Beam Distance measures with a NIST-certified Extech EA31 lightmeter (orange highlights).
The XT30 is one of the most heavily-driven 2x18650 lights I've tested to date. Throw is excellent for the class.
In case you want to see how the XT30 compares to the smaller XT11 and RS11 lights, here's the performance of those lights (just for comparison purposes to the XT30 results posted up above):
As with many lights in the high-output class, the XT30 steps down slightly after 3 mins of runtime on Hi. You can re-activate the max output by turning the light off and on again.
Overall output/runtime efficiency is certainly acceptable for the class, but the XT30 is not as efficient as a current-controlled light driven to similar levels. The runtime differences become increasingly noticeable as you look at the lower output level runtimes.
My XT30 has an audible high-pitched hum/buzz on all output modes. Inductor whine (the presumed source of the hum) can be a highly variable phenomenon, but it is quite noticeable on my sample (i.e., more noticeable than most other lights I've tested). The pitch changes as you switch modes, but overall intensity remains comparable. I had noticed some mild hum on my XT11 as well, but it is worse on my XT30 sample.
As before, the light uses PWM on all modes (including Hi) at a detectable, but not overly visually-distracting ~1 kHz.
Light lacks a memory mode, and always comes on in Hi.
Light uses an electronic tail switch, and therefore requires a stand-by current when fully connected. Based on my experience with other XT-series lights, it is likely to be negligible.
The light is not as "grippy" as some in this class.
While the metal grip ring is likely to be a popular update to the XT line, it is not held firmly in place on my XT30 sample (i.e., it can move up down a couple of millimeters during handling, even when the tailcap is fully tightened).
The mode-changing switch may be a bit difficult to access if you have gloves on.
Ok, I'll put it simply – the XT30 is the XT11 in a larger "thrower" body with higher voltage support for 2x18650/4xCR123A. Overall output and throw are both increased on the XT30 (hugely so for throw - the reflector was clearly designed for maximum beam distance). As a result, the XT30 has among the best-in-class performance on both measures.
This "big brother" to the XT11 will look and feel very familiar to fans of that light. Styling is very similar, with excellent quality anodizing and finish. My one comment here is that the extended body tube on the XT30 is not quite as "grippy" as the smaller XT11 (although the new metal grip ring will help).
The tailcap screw threading in unchanged, so the optional remote pressure switch for the XT11 will work here as well. And thanks to the comparable design of a removable bezel ring, Klarus plans to make available an optional set of screw-on colored filters and diffuser.
As you would expect (given the identical tail switch), the distinctive dual-switch user interface is unchanged from the XT11. This UI is popular with the "tactical" crowd, as the light always comes on in Hi mode (with both momentary-on and constant-on options). A disorienting oscillating strobe is also available by a single press, directly from both off and on.
Like the XT11, the XT30 still uses visible PWM on all modes (including Hi), but it remains at a reasonably high level so as not to be overly distracting (~1 kHz). PWM seems to be a necessary feature of the light, given the dual-control circuits (i.e. one in the head, one in the tailcap).
On a related topic, output/runtime efficiency – while certainly acceptable at all levels – does take something of a hit here. Especially on the Lo/Med levels, the XT30 starts to fall behind most of the competition - likely due to the PWM and/or circuit overhead from the dual switch design.
That said, I imagine most people intend to run this light primarily on max output. Fans of the XT11 who are looking for a comparable light in the high-output thrower class will find much to like here. But it is a crowded marketplace now, so I suggest you carefully consider what kind of build and user interface would best meet your needs – there are certainly a lot of options to choose from.
Klarus XT30 provided by goinggear.com for review.