Warning: pic heavy, as usual.
Last summer, I reviewed the initial launch of the G25C2 - a new, top-of-the-line, 1x18650, 2xCR123A/RCR flashlight from Eagletac. Eagletac has recently sent me a new sample of the Mark II build, with the XM-L2 U2 Cool White emitter. Let's see how it compares to my original XM-L G25C2 T5/T6 Neutral, and the more recent competition.
Note that the external styling and appearance of the light is not that different from the original version, aside from the new Mark II label (see below). As I result, I will re-use some of the photos from my earlier G25C2 review, updating where anything has changed.
Manufacturer Reported Specifications:
(note: as always, these are simply what the manufacturer provides – scroll down to see my actual testing results).
- LED: Cree XM-L2 (Cool White U2 or Neutral White T6 available)
- ANSI FL-1 Lumens for Cree XM-L2 U2 Cool White: Regular mode: 980/449/86/7 lumens, Tactical mode: 980/141 lumens
- Note: U2 LED is approximately 7% brighter than the T6
- Runtime: Regular mode: 1/1.9/11/100+ hours, Tactical mode: 1/7 hours
- Note: Runtime measurement is taken with energy saving feature (on by default) and with two CR123A. G25C2 reduces output by 20% after 200 seconds at turbo mode. User can disable or enable this energy saving feature.
- Powered by 2xCR123A, 2xRCR123A, or 1x18650 li-ion.
- With 3 cell body extender: 3xCR123A, or 3xRCR123A li-ion
- With 4 cell body extender: 4xCR123A, or 2x18650 li-ion4
- With 3x18650 extender: 3x18650 li-ion
- Voltage range: 2.7V - 12.6V
- Beam Intensity (U2 version): 21,800 lux
- Beam Distance (U2 version): 323 yards / 295 meters
- Two groups of basic output modes, Tactical (100% / 10% / Strobe / Strobe) and Regular (100% / 35% / 6% / 0.6%) – 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)
- Titanium coated stainless steel bezel (removable)
- Waterwhite glass lens w/ harden treatment
- Anti-reflective (AR) coating on both sides (96% transparency)
- HAIII hard anodization aerospace aluminum (black)
- Titanium coated Stainless steel pocket clip
- Smooth aluminum reflector
- IPX-8 waterproof
- Heavy Duty Nylon Holster w/ self-retention device and flip
- Mil-Spec Paracord Lanyard w/ quick attachment clip
- Included Accessories: Spare O-rings, GITD (Glow in the dark) switch boot , User manual, Tail-stand rubber boot, Soft cigar holding grip, Cigar grip cover ring, Lanyard ring attachment ring
- Optional kit: Durable aluminum flip-over filter assembly, Diffuser, yellow, red, blue, and green optical grade anti-reflective coated add-on lens, 3 cells extension body tube for three CR123A/RCR123A, 4 cells extension body tube for four CR123A or two 18650 li-ion
- Dimensions: Head Diameter 1.55 inches (39.5 mm), Body Diameter 1.0 inches (25 mm), Length: 5.9 inches (150 mm), Weight excluding battery: 4.8 ounces (138 grams)
- MSRP: ~$110 (~$150 with accessory kit)
Inside the standard Eagletac box, you get the light with a soft rubber grip ring and metal pocket clip installed. Included inside the box is a rubber tailstanding cap, belt holster with metal button clasp, wrist lanyard, extra o-rings, GITD switch boot cover, cigar grip cover ring, lanyard attachment ring, manual, and warranty card.
My review sample came with the full accessory kit. This provides an the aluminum flip-top screw-on bezel with diffuser, yellow, red, blue, and green filter lenses, 3 cell extension body tube, and 4 cell extension body tube with anti-rattle insert.
From left to right: AW Protected 18650; Eagletac G25C2, T20C2-II; Foursevens X7; Klarus XT-11; Thrunite TN11; Lumintop TD-15X.
From left to right: AW Protected 18650; Eagletac G25C2 Mark II; Nitecore P25; Rofis TR31C; Nitecore MH25; Crelant 7G6CS.
All dimensions directly measured, and given with no batteries installed:
Eagletac G25C2-II (stock): Weight 141.0g, Length: 150.6mm, Width: 39.6mm
Eagletac G25C2-II (with diffuser/tailstand cap): Weight 157.0g, Length: 181mm, Width (widest, at bezel diffuser hinge): 46.2mm
Eagletac G25C2 (stock): Weight 144.3g, Length: 150.6mm, Width (bezel): 39.6mm
Eagletac D25LC2: Weight: 50.0g, Length: 116.3mm, Width (bezel): 22.5mm
Eagletac TX25C2: Weight 93.6g, Length: 120.4mm, Width (bezel): 31.6mm
Foursevens Quark Q123-2 X (Regular tailcap): Weight: 44.6g, Length: 112.7mm, Width (bezel) 22.0mm
Klarus XT11: Weight 133.0g, Length: 148.8, Width (bezel) 35.0mm
Nitecore MH25: Weight: 145.4g, Length: 160mm, Width (bezel): 40.0m
Rofis TR31C: Weight: 180.7g, Length: 153.0mm, Width (bezel): 39.8mm
Thrunite TN10: Weight: 154.7g, Length: 145.5mm, Width (bezel): 35.1mm
Zebralight SC600: Weight 87.2g, Length: 107.8mm, Width (bezel) 29.7mm
Overall weight has dropped slightly on the G25C2-II compared to my original G25C2 sample, but overall dimensions are otherwise unchanged.
Physically, the G25C2 Mark II build is not that different from the original G25C2. Anodizing remains a glossy black (HA = type III). All labels are bright and clear (sharp against the black background). There is a new label on the base of the head with "Mark II".
As before, knurling is present in several bands over body/tail/head, and is of reasonable aggressiveness. I would say grip has definitely increased from the earlier model Eagletac T-series lights.
Screw threading remains the same traditional-cut (and fairly fine) in the tail region. One minor point is the gold-colored contact cover for the spring in the tailcap. But the major difference on the Mark II version is that the tail threads are no longer anodized for lock-out. This is an unfortunate change, and one that I suspect is due to enforcement of a patent restriction from another maker.
Screw threads in the head region remain square-cut (and thick). One difference on the Mark II body tube is that the head region is now traditional aluminum color (instead of brass on the original G25C2). I am not sure of the reason for the change. Please see the pics above and UI discussion below for more details on the contact surfaces. Note that you will need to use cells that have at least some sort of raised protrusion on the positive contact surface (i.e., a small or large button top).
The bundled cigar grip ring is made of rubber, with an extra thin rubber band cover included (in case you want to remove the ring but keep the area covered).
The titanium-coated stainless steel pocket clip is held in place by a metal screw cover. The clip is removable, and the cover hides the attachment point.
With the tailstanding rubber cover installed, the light can tailstand. Switch is a forward clicky switch with traditional feel as before.
There is also a two-piece plastic lanyard attachment ring bundled with the light (for use at the tailcap instead of the tailstanding cover).
Reflector is basically smooth. It is not quite as shiny as some others I've seen, but I would still consider it as smooth. Note the XM-L2 emitter (which is well centered). You can distinguish the XM-L2 (shown above) from the original XM-L by the lack of bond wires over the die surface now, and the use of a silver mask (instead of green) outside the die/dome area.
One of the key features of the optional accessory kit is the replacement bezel with flip-top diffuser/filter cover.
The stock head has a scalloped titanium-coated stainless steel bezel ring, replaceable with the screw-on diffuser/filter assembly.
The flip-top diffuser is very high quality, made of aluminum. Hinge mechanism is good (although stiff on my sample), and the whole unit has a solid feel. There is a metal retaining ring holding the glass lens in place (swappable between the frosted diffuser shown above and four colored filters).
Eagletac is using high-quality optical glass filters. This is true for all the filters, including the red one (which often tends to be just a colored piece of glass on many Eagletac filters).
In case you are wondering, here is how the head compares to the earlier Eagletac T20C2-II, with and without diffuser covers (plastic screw on diffuser for the T20C2-II):
User interface is largely unchanged from the earlier version of the G25C2. As before, turn the light on/off by the tailcap forward clicky switch (press for momentary, click for locked-on).
There are four output levels controlled by simply loosening or tightening the head (i.e., the four levels are accessed in sequence from head fully tight). There are two possible groups of output modes available - Tactical (100% > 10% > Strobe > Strobe, in sequence) and Regular (100% > 35% > 6% > 0.6%, in sequence). You can switch between the two groups by loosening the head to the second level and rapidly clicking the switch off/on 20 times rapidly in a row.
In terms of the head twist, as soon as you loosen past fully tight you drop down to the second level. From there, you drop down again to the third level after a ~90 degree angle turn, and similarly again for the fourth level after another ~90 degrees. This means that after ~190 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).
It is important that you keep all the contact surfaces in the head and the top of the battery tube clean. Eagletac recommends regular use of red Deoxit contact cleaner, and limiting silicone lube to the o-rings only (i.e., not to the threads). I can confirm that mode switching can become erratic if the threads dirty-up (especially for moving in/out of the highest levels, and accessing the auxiliary modes).
To access the hidden auxiliary modes, do a quick loosen-tighten twist of the head (from first level tight to third 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. Note that this is updated slightly from the original G25C2, with two additional blinking modes now. Turn off the light or loosen the head to quit the hidden modes. I will describe these modes in more detail below.
There is an "energy saving feature" (on by default) when the light reduces output by ~25% after 200 seconds in Turbo (was ~20% on the original G25C2). To toggle this feature off/on, loosen the head to the fourth level and the click the light off/on 20 times rapidly at the switch. When off, you will get a smaller ~10% drop in output after 200 secs.
There is also a momentary tailcap strobe setting (off by default). To toggle this feature, tighten the head fully and click the light off/on 20 times rapidly at the switch.
For information on the light, including the build and user interface, please see my video overview:
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 – I presume the lights are current-controlled.
Strobe I mode:
The main strobe is a fairly typical fast "tactical" strobe, of 9.8 Hz frequency.
The second strobe mode is an alternating or "oscillating" strobe, switching between 6.5Hz and 15.1Hz every 2 seconds.
Hi-Flash is basically a full power slow strobe/beacon mode. Frequency was a reasonable ~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 ~14 secs (i.e., a very slow beacon)
Lo-Flash is a lower output, slower frequency strobe/beacon than Hi-Flash. I detected 10 flashes in a ~20 sec period (i.e. about 0.5 Hz).
For white-wall beamshots below, all lights are on Max output on an AW protected 18650 battery. 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 (i.e., my G25C2 Neutral White won't look any different from the others, but it is a lot warmer in real life).
Note that the flip-top diffuser cover assembly was installed for the original G25C2 shots, with the diffuser up (although this still narrows the spillbeam slightly, due to the extended collar).
The XM-L2 U2-equipped G25C2-II has more output than the original G25C2 (XM-L T5/T6 version), and is overall very similar to the new Olight M22 (XM-L2). Note that use of the screw-on flip-top diffuser on my original G25C2 above narrows the spillbeam somewhat – with equivalent bezels, they really have comparable spillbeam width.
In case you are curious as to how the diffuser changes the beam, here are some beamshots of the original G25C2 (NW XM-L T6) with the diffuser in place:
As useful as the above shots are, I know people like to have a better idea of the beam angle with the diffuser. So for that, I have turned to my famed "integrating carpet."
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 G25C2-II (with XM-L2 U2) is a definite output upgrade from my G25C2 (with XM-L T5/T6). This is due to more than just an emitter output bin upgrade – it would appear that Eagletac is driving these Mark II series lights higher than my original G25C2. I will discuss output bins in more detail below, but also check out my runtime results for more info.
It is interesting to compare these results to my recent TX25L2 (XM-L2 T6 NW) sample. Based on output bins alone, you would expect the XM-L2 U2-bin Cool White version here should be ~7% brighter on average than the TX25L2's XM-L2 T6 – if they were driven the same. Since my G25C2-II is marginally dimmer than my TX25L2, this leads me to suspect that the TX25L2 is driven even harder than my G25C2-II. I will discuss this further after we inspect the runtimes.
In any case, the ~870 estimated lumens of my G25C2-II still puts this light at the top end of the 1x18650 class. Along with the TX25L2, it's remarkable to think this much light can be generated from a single 18650 cell.
In terms of center beam throw, my G25C2-II sample is consistent with the manufacturer's specs.
At the lowest level, output has increased on my G25C2-II compared to my original sample (i.e., now basically 9 estimated lumens, up from 2 originally).
Let's see how the new G25C2-II sample compares to the currently reported Eagletac specs for this light:
As you can see, my testing results are again generally very consistent with Eagletac's own specs. The one exception is perhaps the highest level, where my output measures seem to slightly under-report.
It bears repeating again that my estimated lumen scale is just that - an estimate, based on a consistent calibration of my lightbox. I suspect that the calibration slightly underestimates lights in the high-hundreds lumen range, but I have little data to compare in this range. In any case, even though the absolute value correlation is unknown, the relative comparisons still hold. All I can really say is that one light is higher or lower than another, by a certain relative percentage (e.g., my TX25L2 is slightly brighter than my G25C2-II, despite what the output bins are supposed to be). So please don't get hung up on the absolute values of the estimates, or on small relative percent changes.
XM-L2 vs XM-L
While on the subject of output bins, I realize all this emitter talk may seem confusing, especially for those that don't keep up on the fine details of LEDs.
Basically, these new XM-L2 emitters are very similar to the old XM-L, but are reported by Cree to deliver "up to" 20% more lumens and lumens-per-Watt than the classic XM-L of comparable output bin number (see Cree XM-L2 spec sheet here). However, directly comparing back to XM-L is complicated by the more stringent testing and reporting measures Cree is now using for XM-L2 output binning. If you are curious, XM-L emitters were previously output bin rated by luminous flux @350mA, @25 degree C. With the XM-L2, Cree has switched to a more representational (but more stringent) @85 degree C for binning purposes.
There is actually an easy conversion though - if you look up the Cree spec tables under the same conditions, you will see that the new XM-L2 bins are exactly two bin steps brighter than the same bin number on XM-L. So a XM-L2 U2 is basically the same thing what a XM-L U4 would be (if such a beast had ever existed). This is part of the reason for the switch to the new process - there is now more "headroom" on the new XM-L2 platform, and higher output XM-L2 emitters can ultimately be produced.
In terms of lumens though, you have to keep in mind how the binning process works. Given the ~7% range within each bin, this means that for any given specific XM-L2 sample could be anywhere from ~7-20% brighter than a comparably bin-numbered XM-L sample. This is presumably where that "up to" 20% brighter statement comes from in the Cree literature. But you need to keep in mind that on average, a XM-L2 U2 should be ~13% brighter than a XM-L U2, for example. You really have to think of these things statistically – the bins are a range, and you don't know where exactly in the range any given sample will fall.
There's a lot there to summarize, but a few points seem clear to me.
First, my G25C2-II (XM-L2 U2) is driven harder on Turbo than my original G25C2 (XM-L T5/T6), given the runtime differences. The three-four output bin steps between the emitters on these samples do not explain the ~50-60% increase in overall output on Turbo.
Secondly, my TX25L2 (XM-L2 T6) is driven slightly harder than my G25C2-II (XM-L2 U2) on Turbo. This is interesting, given that my G25C2-II is supposedly an output bin step up from my TX25L2.
And third, the overall efficiency of my TX25L2 and G25C2-II seem virtually identical (even though my G25C2-II is supposed to be one output bin step up). Such is the nature of output binning – any two samples separated by one bin could be anywhere from ~1-13% different. And given the variation in circuits, reflectors, lightbox placement, etc., expect a few more percentage point in either direction. In this case, my G25C2-II XM-L2 U2 seems to be performing equivalent to my XM-L2 T6-equipped TX25L2 (and XM-L2 T6-equipped Olight M22 for that matter).
But all this to say that output/runtime performance remains excellent on my Eagletac lights.
As before, on Turbo, the default setting is for the light to step down after 200 secs – which allows it to enter a period of flat-regulation, before eventually dropping off in a typical direct-drive like pattern. Note consistent with the higher initial Turbo output, my G25C2-II seems to step down proportionally further than my original G25C2 did (i.e., a ~25% step-down now, instead of ~20% previously). With this feature turned off, there is a smaller ~10% drop, and the light remains largely in direct-drive most of the time.
On all other levels, the light maintains perfectly flat regulation for an extended period, before dropping off slowly in output (on 1x18650 or 2xCR123A) or with an abrupt shut-down due to protection circuits being triggered (2xRCR). Note that like my TX25L2, the main LED begins to flash once the batteries are nearly exhausted (on 1x18650 or 2xCR123A). The flashing is at a slow rate, about once every 30 secs.
As with my other recent Eagletac lights, ANSI FL-1 runtime specs are pretty consistent with my results. Recall that I use lower capacity 2200mAh 18650 cells, and that the FL-1 standard calls for time to 10% output (not 50%, as reported in the graphs above).
Flat-top cells will not work in the light, due to the physical switching mechanism in the head. I recommend you stick with button-top cells (small and large button top both worked fine in my testing).
You need to keep all contact surfaces in the head clean, or you may experience mode switching problems (especially between first and second levels, also required for auxiliary modes). The limited range between first/second modes makes switching very susceptible to any contact surface issues. Not an issue for regular use, but heavy mode switching may require periodic cleaning.
The light is bit longer than most 1x18650 lights, especially with the flip-top diffuser installed.
Tailcap threads are no longer anodized on Mark II version of the G25C2, so lockout is no longer possible.
The G25C2 series is one of main tactical lines produced by Eagletac. Since my original review of the G25C2 last summer, the light has undergone a few (relatively) minor build and user interface updates – now known as the Mark II version. More recently, Eagletac has updated the line with the new crop of XM-L2 emitters.
As before, there is a lot to like about this series. Output modes are available in sequence by a simple loosening of the head (with the user-configurable choice between a Regular or Tactical mode set). This is a very intuitive interface, and works well in practice. The "hidden" blinky modes are all still there if you want them, and Eagletac has provided a few more options on the revised Mark II. In general, the interface is more configurable than most lights, with the ability to turn on/off features like the automatic step-down from Turbo, or access to Strobe from off, etc.
The only potential drawback to this new Mark II build is the lack of tailcap screw thread anodizing now. I suspect this is due to patent issues with another maker, but have no direct knowledge of the matter.
Performance-wise, output/runtime efficiency remains top-notch, as you would expect for a current-controlled light. The new XM-L2 emitters typically add at least two output bin levels of higher output – for both Cool White and Neutral White (see my discussion of the bins earlier in this review). It also appears that my Mark II sample is driven harder on max than my original G25C2, which will appeal to many here, I am sure. Note that overall performance of my XM-L2 U2-equipped G25C2-II seems remarkably similar to the XM-L2 T6-equipped TX25L2.
Physically, I like the G25C2 design – while larger than some lights in this class, it offers greater throw and output in stock form. Knurling is good, and the range of bundled carry options is appreciated. Even the rubber tailstanding attachment is a nice feature, expanding your range of use options.
One of the best features for me remains the excellent aluminum flip-down diffuser/filter assembly. I personally use diffused lights a lot, especially for walking the dog at night. With a traditional beam, I tend to find myself distracted and tracking the hotspot (i.e., the "follow-the-bouncing-ball" effect). With a good diffuser, I can pay proper attention to what my dog is doing, and what is in the local environment. But when you hear a sudden sound off in the distance, a screwed-on style diffuser cover is a handicap to seeing what is going on. So while I may like a good diffuser, I also like having the option of decent throw at a flick of the finger – as this diffuser cover allows.
For me, the G25C2-II remains as one of the top lights in this category. If you prefer a more compact build (while maintaining generally comparable max output and throw), you might want to consider the electronic switch-based TX25L2. Personally though, I find the wider output levels on the G25C2-II more useful, and you can't beat the flip-top diffuser.
G25C2 Mark II was provided by Eagletac for review.