Warning: even more pic heavy than usual.
UPDATE SEPTEMBER 1, 2013: I have just posted a review of the SBT-70 version of this light (i.e., maximum throw version of this series).
UPDATE JUNE 12, 2013: I have posted a pic-heavy comparison of the Turbo head versus Standard Head for all members of the GX/SX/MX25L2 family in a separate review here.
Welcome to my review of the new Eagletac MX25L2.
The GX25L2, SX25L2 and MX25L2 are three models in a new tactical series from Eagletac. Available in a number of configurations, my review samples came as the rechargeable Li-ion versions. These all feature two high-capacity Li-ion cells, shrink-wrapped in series (2x18650, 2x26650, and 2x32650, respectively) and built-in chargers. The overall build looks similar to the classic Streamlight Stingers and Mag lights, historically popular with law enforcement officers.
I have recently reviewed the GX25L2 and SX25L2 together, as they are very similar in features (i.e., both of my samples use the new Cree XM-L2 emitter). This review focuses on the larger MX25L2, which uses a Luminus SST-90 emitter. Let's see how it compares to other high-output lights of that class …
Manufacturer Reported Specifications:
(note: as always, these are simply what the manufacturer provides – scroll down to see my actual testing results).
- LED: Luminus SST-90 P-bin (SBT-90 NB and SBT-70 PB also available)
- Two groups of basic output modes, Tactical (100% / 10% / Strobe I / Strobe II) and Regular (100% / 35% / 6% / 0.1%) – user selectable
- Brightness level selected by loosening/tightening head/bezel
- Four levels brightness (user selectable sets) and seven hidden auxillary modes - Strobe/Strobe(Var)/Flash(Hi)/S.O.S.(Fast)/S.O.S./Becaon/Flash(Lo)
- ANSI FL-1 Lumens for SST-90 P-bin: 2210-1935/820/161/6 lumens
- Runtime (6000mAh battery pack): 1.3/3.6/21/200+ hours
- Powered by 2x32650 Li-ion battery pack (included)
- Voltage range: 2.7V – 8.4V
- Beam Intensity (SST-90 P-bin version): 57,300 lux
- Beam Distance (SST-90 P-bin version): 523 yards / 479 meters
- Center spot angle: 7°, Spill light angle: 58°
- Waterwhite glass lens w/ harden treatment
- Anti-reflective (AR) coating on both sides (96% transparency)
- HA III hard anodization aerospace aluminum (black)
- Smooth aluminum reflector
- Waterproof IPX-8 standard
- Features: User replaceable glass lens, Power gauge, Turbo boost technology, Battery reverse polarity protection, Tail stand, Upgradeable turbo-size head and reflector
- Warranty: Ten years performance guaranteed warranty
- Included Accessories: Spare o-rings, User Manual, Mil-Spec Para-cord Lanyard w/ quick attachment clip, Rechargeable models comes with 7.4V battery pack and spare waterproof charging cap
- Dimensions: Head Diameter 2.4 inches (62 mm), Body Diameter 1.4 inch (37 mm), Length: 10.5 inches (267 mm), Weight with battery pack: 25.7 ounces (730 grams)
- Rechargeable Base model comes w/ built-in rechargeable port, 7.4V li-ion battery pack (R44), battery isolation disk, removable stainless steel bezel
- Optional YRGB kit: Base model + diffuser filter, yellow filter, green filter, blue filter, 18W AC-DC adapter (US/EUR), Automobile 12V DC adapter, Rigid nylon holster w/ self-retention device
- MSRP: rechargeable version with AC cable retails ~$300 (~$315 with YRGB accessory kit)
As with the GX/SX models, the MX25L2 comes securely packaged in the new Eagletac cardboard box packaging. The light comes in a soft fabric pouch with a drawstring. Included accessories are a replacement metal charging port cover, extra o-rings, manual, and warranty card.
Also like the GX/SX models, a 7.4V battery pack is included with the MX25L2 (2x32650 in this case). The appropriate AC charging cable for the model flashlight is also available (included here in a separate white box).
Note that all these GX/SX/MX lights are also available in "Turbo" models – where they come with a larger head with a larger reflector (for greater throw). I don't know if the Turbo head is available as a separate accessory at the current time, but they should be coming.
As part of this review, I have the YRGB accessory kit for this model. This will be described further below, but the kit includes a holster and car charger, in addition to filter/diffuser covers.
From left to right: AW Protected 18650; Eagletac GX25L2, SX25L2, MX25L2.
From left to right: AW Protected 18650; Eagletac MX25L2; Foursevens Maelstrom S18; Skilhunt K30; Olight SR95; Spark SP6.
All dimensions directly measured, and given with no batteries installed (unless indicated):
Eagletac MX25L2:Weight: 468.7g (with battery pack: 744.2g), Length: 266mm, Width (bezel): 62.0mm
Foursevens S18: Weight: 700g (800g with 6xCR123A), Length: 233mm, Width (bezel) 63.0mm
Fenix TK75: Weight: 516.0g (700g with 4x18650), Length: 184mm, Width (bezel): 87.5mm
Nitecore TM15: Weight: 450.6g (634g with 4x18650). Length: 158mm, Width (bezel): 59.5mm
Olight SR95: Weight: 1,224g (with battery pack), Length: 323mm, Width (bezel): 87mm
Sunwayman T60CS: Weight: 338.9g (est 477g with 3x18650), Length: 145.0mm, Width (bezel): 60.0mm
Thrunite TN30: Weight: 468.2g (est 620g with 3x18650), Length: 179mm, Width (bezel): 64.3mm, Width (tailcap): 49.0mm
Skilhunt K30: Weight: 636.0g (773g with 3x18650), Length: 199m, Width (bezel): 76.0mm
Xtar S1 Production: Weight: 876.0g (est. 1028g with 3x18650 protected), Length: 240mm, Width (bezel): 83.4mm
The 2x32650 MX25L2 is a substantial light, but not as heavy as some others in this class (i.e., some 4x and even 3x18650 lights are heavier). It is also not that much longer than many 2x18650 lights (although it is of course wider than most).
The overall build of the MX25L2 is very similar to the GX/SX models, just on a larger scale.
As before, it is clear to me that these new lights were designed with law enforcement professionals in mind. They look a lot like what many LEOs and emergency workers would be familiar with (i.e., the classic Streamlight Stinger/Mag light shape and overall design). But don't let the classic form factor fool you - there is a lot that is different as well.
In terms of build, the MX25L2 is heavier than the GX/SX models, but still with good ergonomics (i.e. well balanced, good grip). Knurling is of reasonably high aggressiveness, and is present over the entire battery tube/handle, with some additional bands on the head.
Anodizing is glossy black, hard anodized (i.e., type III), with no obvious chips or damage on my samples. There are a fair number of labels, and all are bright and clear (sharp white against the black background).
Screw threading on the tailcap is traditional triangular cut (and fairly fine), anodized for lock-out. Screw threads are square-cut (and thick) in the head region where mode switching occurs (more on that in a moment). Note that due to the design, only button-top Li-ion cells can be used.
The MX25L2 can tailstand, as the base has a raised area along its perimeter (with a substantial lanyard attachment point in the center). Like the SX25L2, I find this design to be very stable.
All models use a similar an electronic side-switch in the head for on-off, with output mode selection and programming controlled by head twist. The contact points in the head of the lights are fairly unique, as required for mode switching (scroll down for a UI discussion). There is also a charging port located directly opposite from the switch, with a screw-on metal cover.
Switch feel is good for an electronic switch – there is a reasonable traverse, and the action is firm. Grip is good with the texturized rubber button cover.
The charging port looks like a fairly standard 12V DC port. Let's take a look at the AC charger that came with my MX25L2
The charger for the MX25L2 (and SX25L2 for that matter) has a large transformer head and charges at a max 1.8A charging rate. This relatively high rate is to be expected, given the higher capacity cells used in these lights.
Speaking of which, let's take a look at the bundled Li-ion battery pack:
The MX25L2 uses a 2x32650 battery pack – shown here as a single shrink-wrapped package.
I suppose you could use your own 32650 cells if you had them (if small button top), but this isn't a very common size. And of course, care should be taken when charging cells in series (i.e., important they both be at a comparable charge state, with well-matched characteristics).
The MX25L2 reflector is very smooth and shiny (shinier than the GX25L2 and SX25L2 samples that I have). It is also fairly deep, which should translate into pretty good throw. Note that a separate "Turbo" head model is available, for even greater throw (although I haven't seen it yet). At the base of the reflector is a Luminus SST-90 P-bin emitter.
The light has a scalloped stainless steel bezel ring, replaceable with the screw-on diffuser/filter assembly.
Optional YRGB kit (also includes diffuser, car charger and holster:
The MX25L2 (like the SX25L2) comes with the standard screw-on style filters/diffuser. In these cases, the stainless steel bezel ring is removed and a plastic filter/diffuser holder is screwed in its place. A similar arrangement was seen in my various Eagletac M2/M3-series reviews. Note that the diffuser pieces themselves appear to be made of glass, for all models.
Eagletac is using high-quality optical glass filters (as opposed to just colored plastic or glass). The one exception is the red filter, which is just a colored piece of glass. See my GX25L2/SX25L2 review for how this compares to a true red filter.
Along with the YRGB filters and diffuser, the kit versions also come with a car charger and holster. The holster for the MX25L2 doesn't have a closed bottom (the way the GX25L2 and SX25L2 holsters do). But like the others, the holster holds the light to just below the head. Hold was good, and enough of the light sticks out, allowing for easy draw access.
The interface is the same as the GX25L2/SX25L2. Turn the light on/off by the electronic switch. Press and hold for momentary, press-release (i.e. click) for locked-on.
There are four output levels controlled by how loose/tight the head is (i.e., the four levels are accessed in sequence from head fully tight).
Note that as with other Eagletac lights that use this interface, the physical turning distance between the levels is not equidistant. As soon as you loosen past fully tight, you drop down to the second level. You drop down again to the third level after a ~90 degree turn, and similarly again for the fourth level after another ~90 degrees. This means that after ~180 degree turn from tight, the light is in the lowest mode. It remains in this mode until you complete almost a full turn from fully tight (at which point the light shuts off).
There are two possible groups of output modes available - Tactical (100% > 10% > Strobe I > Strobe II, in sequence) and Regular (100% > 35% > 6% > 0.3%, in sequence). You can switch between the two groups by turning the light on max (fully tight) and loosening the head to the second level and then back to tight, repeating this sequence five times in five seconds.
A new feature on these xX25L2-series lights is the ability to rapidly access a momentary Turbo from any head position by a press-and-hold of the switch when On. You can similarly access strobe at any time by a double press and hold (i.e. click and press-hold). Simply release the switch to return to your previous head-set level.
To access the hidden auxiliary modes, do a quick loosen-tighten twist of the head (from first level tight to third or fourth level and back again). Repeat this twist to advance through the modes. Mode sequence is: Strobe I > Strobe II > Hi-Flash > SOS I > SOS II > Beacon > Lo-Flash, in repeating sequence. Turn off the light or loosen the head to quit the hidden modes. I will describe these modes in more detail below. FYI, I found it hard to do this head twist fast enough on the MX25L2, to consistently advance through all the auxiliary modes.
There is an "energy saving feature" where the light reduces output by 20% after 200 seconds in Turbo. I see no way to toggle this feature off. Of course, you can always turn the light off-on to restart the max output mode.
There is a battery charge status indicator that comes on when you first turn the light on, or switch output levels. For the initial 10 secs in a given mode, the LED indicator above the switch will glow solid blue when 60-100% charged (on Turbo) or 20-100% charged (on Lo). It will glow solid red for 25-60% charged (on Turbo) and 5-20% charged (on Lo). It will flash red when 0-25% charged (on Turbo) or 0-5% charged (on Lo). This is reasonable contextual information, as solid red and flashing red are good indicators of relative battery runtime left at the current set level.
The MX25L2 come with either a 10V/1.8A charger or a 12V/1.5A charger. Eagletac claims the light uses a constant current-constant voltage (CC/CV) algorithm.
When you first connect the charger, the charging light will go solid blue, indicating charging has begun. Once the batteries are fully charged, the LED will turn to a dim blue. A built-in timer shuts off the charger after three hours (i.e., the LED indicator turns off).
The manual warns that if the batteries are fully discharged, three hours may not be enough time to fully charge them (i.e., may be only ~90% charged at that point). Simply unplugging the charger and plugging it back in at any point restarts the clock, and will allow you to complete a full charge. Basically, you want to make sure the charger goes to a dim blue before it shuts off, to be sure the batteries are fully charged. You can disconnect the charger once this point is reached.
From a fully discharged state, the charging time for my MX25L2 sample (with the 10V/1.8A charger) was about 4 hours for a full charge. As a result, you will need to re-plug the charger as the manual suggests.
In my testing of these GX/SX/MX25L2 lights, the chargers all terminated at ~8.31-8.32V. That would translate into ~4.16V per cell, which is on the conservative side for a Li-ion charger (i.e. typically, ~4.2V fully charged). But it is always better to slightly under-charge than over-charge your cells, in terms of long-term battery stability (even if it means not being at fully charged capacity).
For more information on the light, including the build and user interface, please see my video overview of the whole series:
Video was 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 with all my videos, I recommend you have annotations turned on. I commonly update the commentary with additional information or clarifications before publicly releasing the video.
There is no sign of PWM that I can see, at any output level, on any light – I presume the lights are current-controlled.
My GX25L2 and SX25L2 were very consistent in their blinking modes, but there was some variation on MX25L2 sample, as illustrated below.
The main strobe is a high frequency strobe, measured at 13.5 Hz on my MX25L2. This is a bit higher than the ~9.5 Hz on my GX25L2 and SX25L2 samples.
The second strobe mode is an alternating or "oscillating" strobe, switching between 8.8Hz and 20.5Hz every 2 seconds. This is a bit higher than the 6.4Hz/14.5Hz of my GX/SX25L2 samples.
Hi-Flash is basically a full power slow strobe/beacon mode. Frequency was a reasonable 2.25Hz in my testing. This was a bit higher than my GX/SX25L2, which were both 1.6Hz. Note that the deflection spikes you see above are just the on and off signals of the pulse (i.e., it spends roughly half the time on, half the time off, with each pulse).
The "fast" SOS signals the full SOS sequence (dot-dot-dot, dash-dash-dash, dot-dot-dot) in just under 3 secs. Note again that the traces above refer to both the on- and off-signal for each pulse of light.
In contrast, the "slow" SOS takes just under 3 seconds just do the "S" (i.e. dot-dot-dot), and about 4 second to do the "O" (i.e., dash-dash-dash), with a good 3 seconds in-between each Morse code letter. Personally, this seems far more useful than the rather frenetic initial SOS mode.
Beacon is a slow full output flash (almost 2 secs long), re-occurring approximately every ~20 secs (i.e., a very slow beacon, slightly slower than my GX/SX models)
Lo-Flash is a lower output, slower frequency strobe/beacon than Hi-Flash. I detected 12 flashes in a ~20 sec period (i.e. about 0.6Hz). This is similar to the ~0.5Hz on my GX/SX models.
A standby current drain is inevitable on these lights, due to the electronic switch in the head. Here is how the three members of this class compare, on their standard battery packs:
Note that the above are approximate, as the lights briefly come on with a ~400uA initial reading (corresponding to the LED charge indicator flash upon connection), which quickly drops down to <170uA within a second. After about the 30 secs, it seems to stabilize at the readings above, but it may be continuing to drop down.
Given the rated capacities of the cells (i.e., 2x in series, which means you compare the mAh of a single cell), those currents would translate as follows:
GX25L2: 3100mAh cells = 2.3 years
SX25L2: 4500mAh cells = 3.4 years
MX25L2: 6000mAh cells = 4.3 years
These standby drains are pretty inconsequential, and not a concern. That said, I do recommend you store the lights locked out at the tailcap when not in use, to prevent the risk of accidental switch activation.
And now, what you have all been waiting for. All lights are on their standard battery, or AW protected 18650 2200mAh for the multi-18650 lights. 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.
As always, this beam distance is NOT intended to allow you to draw conclusions on the overall throw. It is just to provide a standardized distance to allow you compare overall beam patterns.
One thing you can see is that the spillbeam of the MX25L2 is narrower than most SST-90 lights I've seen – this is a function of the relatively deep reflector (for the overall reflector size). The hotspot is also less tightly focused – again, consistent with the smaller overall reflector size.
One thing you can't tell, due to the auto white balance – the tint on my MX25L2 is on the creamy-yellow side of cool white. Of course, YMMV.
Unfortunately, we have a lot of snow on the ground here in Canada at the moment (early March). So it would not be too easy (or valuable) to try and take outdoor beamshots in my usual location.
In the meantime, here are some indoor shots. These will at least allow you to compare the throw and spill of the three lights. For your reference, the back of the couch is about 7 feet away (~2.3m) from the opening of the light, and the far wall is about 18 feet away (~5.9m). Below I am showing a series of exposures, to allow you to better compare hotspot and spill.
It's hard to tell a lot from these indoor shots, but it does seem like the MX25L2 is at least marginally brighter than my other SST-90 lights. Peak throw is fairly similar looking the Skilhunt K30.
I will update these comparisons with outdoor shots when available.
In case you were wondering, here is how the MX25L2 compares to the smaller GX25L2 and SX25L2:
UPDATE: I have posted a pic-heavy outdoor comparison of the Turbo Head versus Standard Head for all members of the GX/SX/MX25L2 family in a separate review here.
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).
Consistent with the beamshots, the MX25L2 is brighter overall than my Olight SR95 and Skilhunt K30. Of course, the MX25L2 (with standard head) can't match the SR95 in throw, but I would be curious to see how the Turbo head would do. I haven't heard anything from Eagletac about this head, though.
FYI, my throw measures on the standard head are higher than the report ANSI FL-1 specs from Eagletac for the MX25L2. But the output specs seem pretty accurate, as compared to my lumen estimation method for high-output lights:
My output lumen estimates seem to track quite well across the board, except perhaps for the lowest level. But I've noticed before that there can be a lot of variation with the lowest level on Eagletac lights, apparently due to the manual tuning process that may be used (i.e., the lowest level is more variable from sample to sample than the other levels).
Let's start with how the three new models compare to each other, on Turbo and Hi:
The SST-90-based MX25L2 is much brighter than its sister GX/SX models – and in fact, the MX25L2 "Hi" level is pretty close to Turbo on the XM-L2 U2 equipped GX25L2 and SX25L2. And thanks to its even greater capacity 32650 cells, the MX25L2 is able to provide even longer runtime than the SX25L2 for equivalent output.
Let's see how the MX25L2 compares to other high-output lights.
Like many high-output lights, there is a step-down on Turbo after 200secs runtime. Overall output is very similar to my SR95 over most of the run – with the MX25L2 maintaining excellent regulation. Runtimes are also very impressive for 2x32650 – the MX25L2's Turbo runtime is only 15 mins less than the much larger 6x18650 pack on the SR95.
Efficiency is also very good on the Med level – although the SR95 does seem to pull away somewhat here. The multi-XM-L emitter options on 3x and 4x18650 start to do better as well, given the individual emitters aren't being driven as hard as the single SST-90. But this is still a strong showing for the MX25L2.
As with the GX25L2 and SX25L2, the MX25L2 demonstrates the excellent current-controlled circuitry used by Eagletac.
As with other Eagletac models where output mode is set by the degree the head is tightened, you need to keep all contact surfaces in the head scrupulously clean. Otherwise, you may experience mode switching problems due to contact surface issues.
The charger has an automatic shut-off feature after 3 hours – which will not be sufficient to fully charge a depleted battery pack on the MX25L2 (i.e., takes about 4 hours). Simply restarting the charge cycle will complete the charge.
All three of my GX/SX/MX samples only charged to ~8.32V (i.e. ~4.16V per cell), which is a little on the low side – but this is preferable for the long-term health of your batteries anyway.
The MX25L2 is larger and heavier than the GX/SX25L2 models, but still not unreasonable for the class and max output level.
The MX25L2 is the "big brother"of the GX/SX/MX25L2 family – and it carries quite a punch. As I noted in my GX/SX25L2 review, this series holds a strong resemblance to the classic Streamlight Stinger/Maglight shape. But the traditional-looking design belies a wealth of features and innovations here.
As with GX/SX25L2, I like the build and overall feel of the MX25L2. It is by the far the most substantial light of the series, but it still feels reasonably compact for its output, throw and runtime (i.e, quite reasonable for the high-output class). As you would imagine, the light is solid, with good grip and ergonomics.
The interface of this series is straight-forward enough that anyone would know immediately how to activate the light. Basic mode changing is simple, and intuitive once you explain it (i.e., loosen the head progressively to lower the output). As with the GX/SX models, you actually have the choice between two sets of output modes, plus all the "hidden" blinky modes. Eagletac certainly provides more options than most in this regard. There are also some nice tweaks, like the ability to jump directly to Turbo or Strobe from any mode when On by a simple button press. And of course you have both momentary and clicked-on available to you.
Standby current for the switch has been kept very low, so self-discharge is not a concern. And you can easily lock out the lights at the tailcap for long-term storage. The charging system worked well in my testing, with relatively fast charging times.
The kit version is definitely worth it in my view – if nothing else, for the good diffuser/filters. The MX25L2 has the same traditional individual screw-on filter design as the SX25L2 or earlier M3-series lights.
Performance-wise, Eagletac continues to impress with its efficient current-controlled circuitry. Overall output and runtime for the class is very good, in keeping the P output bin for the SST-90 emitter. At lower levels, the multi-XM-L class of lights start to close the runtime gap, but the long-lasting 32650 cells used here provide plenty of runtime at all levels.
Beam profile is good with the "standard" head model that I was sent – very even, with few artifacts, although overall spillbeam width is narrower than most lights in this class. Throw is very good (better than I expected for a light this size, honestly). That said, this is one light where the optional "turbo" head (for even greater throw) is bound to get a lot of attention. Hard for me say much sight-unseen, but I imagine it could give the MX25L2 Turbo an advantage over the Olight SR95. We'll have to wait and see if Eagletac sends me one …
As with the GX/SX25L2 models, there really is a lot here to like. Although heavier than the Stinger-class lights, the MX25L2 is certainly well within a typical Maglight-class. With all the advantages of this new series (i.e., wide output range, intuitive user interface, high-charge capacity with rapid charging capability, etc.) these lights are clearly designed to appeal to a wide market – including LEOs.
As always, it really comes down to what size/capacity/throw is best suited to your needs. But the MX25L2 is a nice addition to the high-output class of lights.
UPDATE JUNE 12, 2013: I have posted a pic-heavy comparison of the Turbo head versus Standard Head for all members of the GX/SX/MX25L2 family in a separate review here.
MX25L2 was provided by Eagletac for review.