The new EB1 from Surefire has been a hot topic for debate as its release has neared. Admittedly, when I saw the first runtime chart graciously shared by Robin24k I was disappointed in the apparent lack of (fairly) level output I was accustomed to with the venerable E1B. However, regardless of what I thought then, it was a forgone conclusion that I would be buying one of the EB1's just as soon as I could get my hands on it.
Well, today is the day and the light has arrived. It comes packed in the same red outer retail box and inner black box that we have become accustomed to with Surefire lights. There are no surprises in the box, just a light (with battery installed), the warranty registration card, and a Surefire decal. Also, in case you were uncertain as to how the battery should be replaced, there is a very brief instruction manual . All in all, just what you would expect to find.
The packaging clearly identifies which type of switch is provided, as well as the rated outputs of 200 lumens on high (1.3 hours) and 5 lumens on low (40 hours). The packaging also indicates the other colors that are (or will be) available - silver and tan - apparently with all of them being mil-spec anodized.
The light itself measures in at 4.5" in length which is about 1/2" longer than the E1B it replaces. This extra length comes from both the head and tail which are each slightly longer than their counterparts on the E1B. As already noted in other reviews, the EB1 is compatible with other E-series heads but the tailcaps are not interchangeable.
The head on the EB1 is distinctive, not just for its increased length, but also for its larger diameter, which at approximately 1 1/8" is slightly wider than the E1B head at its widest point. The head is essentially the same diameter from front to back and no longer has the contours found on the older E1B. Also, in a departure from previous E-series LED's a spring is used for the positive contact on the head.
The tailcap on the clicky version has a large shroud which would seem to be effective at preventing accidental activation. I have large thumbs but I have no trouble reaching or activating the switch. The inside of the switch looks like a miniature version of the UB3T/M3LT tailcap and is notable due to its increased depth and much longer spring. I suspect this extra depth was added to accommodate the momentary tactical version of the switch. The light will tail stand, albeit somewhat wobbly, but it does not appear this was a design consideration. The button protrudes maybe 1/16" beyond the shroud.
The 2-way pocket clip is slightly longer than its counterpart on the E1B and adds a hole in the upper bend which could be used to attach a lanyard.
The business end of the light obviously uses an optic but it is different in appearance to the current generation E1B, LX2, or E2DL. It is difficult to tell from the photo but it almost appears as if the back side of the optic is coated with a reflective material. Also, the "bubble" over the emitter appears to be considerably smaller. (I will attempt to get a better photo later).
(Note: the three bright spots unevenly spaced around the optic are reflections from another light I was using in an attempt to illuminate the optic)
My initial impressions of the beam are as expected for a TIR equipped light. It has a very bright spot, small amount of spill, and some rings around the outer portions of the beam. There may be some degree of green tint to the beam but at full brightness it has not been overwhelming to me in the small amount of time I used it so far. The beam becomes very noticeably green on low. I will have a better idea of what this is like in the real world after some more use.
The output of the light, on fresh batteries, seems comparable to the LX2 and E2DL and this baby throws when compared to other TIR Surefires. I took some quick and dirty 5m lux readings which were then converted to the following 1m readings (readings taken after lights had been on for 30 seconds):
EB1 10,979 E2DL 8,746 LX2 #1 (A24309) 8,369 LX2 #2 (A43439) 7,992 L1 Lumamax (on AW16340) 7,373 L1 Lumamax 4,440 E1B (110 lumen) 4,279
The runtime charts are provided for reference and entertainment value only and can be used to prove almost any point you want to make. Hopefully the discussions in this thread will stay cordial and on topic as I would really hate to have my first review LOCKED! (Thank you for your consideration of this matter)
All tests were performed with new Surefire CR123a's from the same retail box with all batteries tested prior to use (all were within .004V of each other). A home made light box was used along with an Extech 401021 light meter and datalogging multimeter connected to my computer. The charts below show the relative outputs of a variety of Surefire TIR equipped lights with the 100% value being equal to the E1B's output after 30 seconds.
First up, the EB1 is compared to a 110 lumen E1B and a 65 lumen (yeah right ) L1 Lumamax.
The EB1 and E1B curves intersect right around the 50 minute mark. The EB1 then reaches its 50% point shortly thereafter at 52 minutes and then reaches the 10% mark at 86 minutes.
The next chart compares the EB1 to some of its 2-cell cousins the LX2 (two samples) and the E2DL to see how close it comes to these 200 lumen rated lights
If the output of the other lights is any indication, the EB1 seems to put out a solid 200 lumens initially. Of the four lights it actually had the highest output initially before settling down to a more middle of the road level for the next 10 or so minutes. One thing is for certain, compared to all the others, my old EDC LX2 (A43439) is looking like an underachiever!
At the end of the day, this is about what I expected after seeing Robin24k's graphs. However, I know that in my usage, the light will rarely be on for more than 2 or 3 minutes at a time so I would expect more reasonable looking output levels after 30 minutes of use than what is reflected in the chart. If it gets me to an hour of real world use with good output I'm happy . . . but naturally the more time, the better.
(Update 11/28/2012) - Per Maxbelg's request I compiled output and runtime information on the L1 when powered by an AW16340 cell. In this configuration the L1 compares very favorably, in my opinion, to the EB1 for the duration of its battery life. In this instance, the L1 ran for 40 minutes before cutting off due to the battery protection circuit kicking in.
Looking ahead, I plan to do some more testing to reflect some type of real world use similar to what others have suggested - 5 minutes on, 5 minutes off - but that will have to wait for another day. I would also like to take some current and voltage measurements to try and figure out the stepped (?) regulation that seems to be in effect through much of the discharge curve. Some have suggested this is due to the battery being unable to keep up but the numbers show some very distinct steps which seem to indicate something else is at work. Unfortunately, my new box of Surefire CR123a's is now empty
Outdoor Beamshots (Added 12/1/2012)
The following beamshots were taken to give an example of the EB1's beam at a distance of 100 ft. and to compare it to a variety of well known 1 and 2 cell lights. The photos give an idea of the shape and size of each light's hotspot but the spill was considerably more spill than what is shown.
Surefire EB1 on high
Surefire E1B on high
Surefire L1 Lumamax on high (using 1xCR123a)
Surefire L1 Lumamax on high (using 1x AW 16340)
Surefire LX2 Lumamax on high
Quark 123 R5 on max
Surefire G2X Tactical
JetBeam RRT-0 S2 on high (using 1x AW 16340)
Surefire Fury on high
Cheapo "300 lumen" aspheric that was on sale for $5
Overall I'm still excited about the light and can't wait to use it for something other than lighting up a box. I took a quick walk around outside with the EB1 and E2DL and quite honestly couldn't tell any difference between the two in performance. The EB1 puts out an intense beam and it definitely has some reach. I can't wait to try it out at work and in the "real world."
I'm still trying to get used to the "feel" of the light as it is somewhat different than my old E1B. So far it doesn't feel as natural in my hand as the E1B but part of that is a matter of getting used to a new light. I shall provide updates after I have used the light for a few days.