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Thread: ArmyTek Viking v2.5 and Viking Pro v2.5 dual Review

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    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default ArmyTek Viking v2.5 and Viking Pro v2.5 dual Review

    Reader's Note: The test sample was provided by ArmyTek for review.

    Earlier in the year I reviewed the Armytek Predator G2 V2.0 and Predator X V2.0, but this has turned out to be a transitional step to Armytek's expanding range and updated approach to the Predator and Viking range.

    The new Viking v2.5 is similar to the original Viking with relatively simple interface and Viking Pro v2.5 is the replacement of the Predator X and includes the fully programmable driver used in the original Predator, and now Predator Pro range.

    Armytek have now provided for those users who want either the incredible flexibility of the S-Tek driver with the Predator Pro v2.5 and Viking Pro v2.5 or for those that want the same quality build, styling and matt anodised finish but with a simpler interface there is the more basic Predator v2.5 and Viking v2.5.

    On test here are the Viking v2.5 and Viking Pro v2.5 which both have use the XM-L2 U2.





    Initial Impressions:

    Being very familiar with the ArmyTek Predators, the Viking and Viking Pro simply maintain the already strong first impressions. Armytek's simple packaging belies their incredible versatility.

    For those that have read my Predator review, you will see many similarities in my comments which is unavoidable as this review needs to stand on its own.

    The v2.5 Viking and Pro version sport the matt anodised surface of the original Predator. This feels different to standard smooth anodising and gives the lights a covert appearance. The finish seems to make these lights feel less cold to touch and has good grip.

    Both of these lights include features first seen in the Predator v2.0 with removable silicon rubber tactical grip ring, updated removable pocket clip, and new switch design. The rubber grip ring is very comfortable and secure to hold.

    Something that surprised me was that Armytek's have not really shouted about the Viking Pro's full programmability. Included in the box is only a basic instruction sheet which doesn't explain how to program the light. I believe the Viking Pro's full instruction sheet is being finalised and will be included in future.

    You can however consult the Predator Pro's instruction sheet. If you do this, do not worry, the Viking Pro is much easier to program than it may seem at first, and of course it is ready to use on its default settings without making any changes.



    What is in the box:

    The two versions of the Viking v2.5 on test are the basic Viking and the Viking Pro. Both use the XM-L2 U2, have a smooth Reflector with 10º hotspot and 40º spill

    Both arrived in identical boxes (just the labels shown above on the end of the box being different).



    And both look the same inside.



    Each Viking comes with a bezel-down holster, lanyard, pocket clip, two spare o-rings, spare switch boot, and a rubber blanking ring to use if you remove the tactical grip ring. (as both are the same I’ve only shown the Viking Pro)





    Taking a closer look and looking inside:

    When taking a closer look, most aspects of the body design are identical, so will only be shown once.

    There are two flats on the side of the battery tube which have the model designation (here the Viking Pro) and on the other side the Armytek logo.



    The tailcap switch has a Ti coated stainless retaining ring (which if removed allows replacement of the switch boot – though this is very stiff).



    Taking the cap off reveals the anodised standard threads used for this end of the battery tube.



    Looking from a slight angle you can see the double o-rings used to seal the tube. The Viking models have a removable silicon rubber tactical grip ring which has a hole for fixing a lanyard through. The grip ring also adds an anti-roll feature to keep it stable on a flat surface.



    Just like the Predators, the Viking uses a capped negative spring with plenty of travel to accommodate protected or unprotected cells.



    Unscrewing the battery tube from the head shows the bare aluminium standard threads and double o-ring seal.



    The positive terminal is a metal disc and around the outer edge is the second contact used for detecting the head-tight (line 1), or head-loose (line 2) modes.



    Looking straight into the reflector shows the excellent quality and emitter positioning. (The dark spot in the middle of the emitter is only due to the ambient light reflecting onto the LED surface in a ring shape, and is not a flaw of any type).



    The lens is coated to reduce losses.



    A closer look at the XM-L2 LED.





    Modes and User Interface:

    Now that there are two versions, there are two different user interfaces to consider.


    Firstly we will look at the simpler Viking v2.5. Its interface is basically the same as the original Viking and the Barracuda.

    The Viking v2.5 gives you a choice of two main modes, one with the head tightened, and one with it loose. The tail-cap switch is a forward-clicky so provides momentary operation.

    With the head tightened the output is maximum. True momentary operation is possible.

    With the head loosened, by default the output starts on Medium. If you rapidly switch the Viking on-off-on, you can cycle through Med-Low-Lower. Once you have chosen the output you want, fully click the switch to select that output. While the Viking is on, you can tighten the head to choose maximum output and then loosen the head again to choose whichever mode you have previously selected.

    If the Viking is left off for between 4-5 seconds it will default back to the medium output in the head-loose mode.



    The Viking Pro v2.5's user interface features the fully programmable S-Tek driver and has two input methods to control this. The first is the forward-clicky tail switch, and the second is the head being tightened or loosened.

    With the head tightened you are using what ArmyTek refer to as Line 1 modes.

    With the head loose, you are using the Line 2 modes.

    Each ‘Line’ can have multiple output modes. By default Line 1 has three constant output levels (equivalent to say Max, Medium and Low), and Line 2 has one flashing and one constant (strobe and brighter of three ‘firefly’ modes).

    To change mode within the ‘Line’ you are using, either loosen then tighten (or tighten then loosen if using Line 2) quickly to move to the next output mode in that ‘Line’.

    As supplied, you can just start to use the Viking Pro v2.5 like this, and you don’t HAVE to do any programming to customise it……..but you can, so why not.

    This is where the Armytek give you something really is outstanding. No other manufacturer I know of gives the user so much control. It can be quite daunting at first when you take a look at the instructions. Here the Predator instructions are included:

    (click to open the full size version of each page)


    You are able to set the:

    Number of output levels for each ‘Line’
    What each and every output level (constant and firefly, strobe, SOS or beacon) is within the ‘Line’ (Line 1 only uses constant and firefly outputs)
    Line memorisation on or off
    The output stabilisation for each ‘Line’ (Full, Semi or Step)
    The power source type (2xCR123 or 2xRCR123 or 1x 18650 Li-ion or 1x18650 LiFePO4)
    Reset to factory defaults or use custom presets.

    Also included is a battery voltage check feature which will indicate the battery voltage with a set of flashes.

    Now that is outstanding!

    As a quick note, there is one minor difference in the default settings on the Viking Pro v2.5 when compared to the Predator v2.0. This is simply the default power source. Armytek recognise that the higher capacity NNP 18650 cells which extend the usable voltage range down to 2.5V, so the 18650 LiFePO4 power source is now the default.

    When first using the original Predator I found consulting the full double sided A3 sheet of instructions a bit overwhelming when trying to make a few changes, so I put together a single side of A4 as a set of condensed programming notes:

    (click to open the full size version)


    This summarises the three main tasks:

    Setting up the Line 1 modes output levels.
    Using the main Setup menu to configure the majority of options.
    Displaying the battery voltage

    You will still need to consult the ArmyTek instructions for the detail and planning what you want to set up, but hopefully this condensed guide will help you actually carry out the programming.


    So with all of this choice, the biggest problem is deciding how you want to customise it!



    Batteries and output:

    Both Vikings on test can run on2xCR123 or 2xRCR123 or 1x 18650 Li-ion or 1x18650 LiFePO4.

    Although you can get away without bothering to change the power source in the Viking Pro's menu, doing so optimises the Viking Pro to work with the chosen power source (effectively changing the lower cut off voltage and therefore the low battery warning voltage). This allows you to safely use unprotected Li-ions as the Viking Pro itself will prevent damage to the cell once the low voltage limit has been reached.

    When set to 2xCR123 the Viking Pro will run them down to 2V allowing you to get the most out of them.

    Due to their terminal design, the Vikings can use button or flat top cells.

    Testing was carried out with AW IMR 18650s, Panasonic NCR 3100mAh, Fenix ARB-L2 18650 cells and CR123 primary cells.


    To measure actual output, I built an integrating sphere. See here for more detail. The sensor registers visible light only (so Infra-Red and Ultra-Violet will not be measured).

    Please note, all quoted lumen figures are from a DIY integrating sphere, and according to ANSI standards. Although every effort is made to give as accurate a result as possible, they should be taken as an estimate only. The results can be used to compare outputs in this review and others I have published.

    Viking v2.5 using ARB-L2 18650 I.S. measured ANSI output Lumens PWM frequency (Hz)
    Maximum 820 0
    Medium 157 0
    Low 61 0
    Lower 15 0

    (Maximum on CR123 was 824lm)

    All output modes are free of any sign of PWM.

    The Viking uses STEP stabilisation on the maximum output mode. This is clearly visible in the output runtime trace. Once one of the step levels can no longer be maintained the Viking drops to the next level.





    Viking Pro v2.5 using ARB-L2 I.S. measured ANSI output Lumens PWM frequency (Hz)
    Military (default) High 644 0
    Military (default) Medium 177 0
    Military (default) Low 5 0

    (High on CR123 was 642lm)


    Like the Predator the Viking Pro uses three different types of output stabilisation (see the instructions for more details), including FULL stabilisation which maintains the specified output level without dropping at all until the battery can no longer maintain that output.

    The default configuration is for the Line 1 modes to be run as FULL stabilisation, and the test was re-run for SEMI and STEP stabilisation. The characteristics of each are clearly shown in the trace.

    During initial testing I noted some improvements that could be made to the output. Taking a proactive approach, Armytek tweaked the S-Tek driver to implement these improvements and provided a new test sample to demonstrate this. This is an excellent response and shows Armytek's desire for optimum performance. The following trace is from the tweaked Viking Pro.



    With the different characteristics of the CR123 power source, the trace changes slightly. The FULL stabilisation in this case takes on a larger step output characteristic.



    Another aspect of the S-Tek driver's output that must not be looked over are the excellent ‘firefly’ modes. At a specified 0.1lm, 0.5lm and 1.5lm these are too low for my integrating sphere to measure. Bearing in mind that ArmyTek have specified their outputs as at the LED, the real output of these firefly modes is probably even less.

    In this first photo the Viking Pro is on the far left with the Predator X, Predator v1.2, and Predator G2 v2.0 on the right.



    To put this in perspective here are the Predators shown previously are with other low output lights. Far left is the Quark AA on moon mode, then the Predator G2, Predator X and the Photon Freedom Micro all on their lowest modes.



    Bear in mind the Photon Freedom Micro used very low frequency PWM to achieve this output whereas the Predator Pro and Viking Pro models have constant output with no flicker.



    The beam

    The Viking Pro v2.5 and Viking v2.5’s beam is very smooth with a very even and soft edged round hotspot. Indoors the Viking and Viking Pro look the same, so here is a normal exposure, and one which is underexposed to better show the hotspot size and shape.



    Moving outdoors, the extra output offered by the basic Viking can be seen, though without this direct comparison would not be as noticeable.





    What it is really like to use…



    The holster supplied is designed for bezel down carry (which is my preferred orientation), and is a ‘gentle fit’ as the elasticated side panels hold the Viking gently while allowing very easy insertion and removal.

    The Viking v2.5 is surprisingly different to use, and a much easier light to lend or keep in a household drawer for anyone to pick up and use.



    The Viking Pro v2.5, just like the Predator Pro (and earlier Predator models) is a different kettle of fish. With the full programmability of the S-Tek driver you have many options, however you can use it straight out of the box, but knowing what the Viking Pro is capable of I programmed it with:

    Line 1 – as default Military mode
    Line 2 – 0.1lm, 0.5lm, 1.5lm, beacon, strobe (with auto memorisation)

    ….these are my preferences, at least for now…

    Many of these comments will be familiar to anyone who has read my previous Predator review but are just as relevant to the Viking Pro v2.5.

    Compared to the Predator models, the Viking and Viking Pro provide a more even spread of light across the beam width so has a smaller overall range but lights up a wider area. This is good for close range and indoor use.

    The tactical grip ring feels really comfortable, much more so than metal grip rings, and with my XL hands (well that is my glove size) both the Viking models are a good fit in my hand. The relatively soft touch tail switch with forward clicky action makes for easy, silent momentary use, and coupled with the ultra-low output levels is perfect for night time forays.

    I’ve kept the default full stabilisation on Line 1 as the totally consistent output regardless of the state of the battery is excellent. As the two ‘Lines’ can be set with different stabilisation modes you could easily program the same output levels in each ‘Line’ but with different stabilisation – one for times when maximum performance is needed and one for when extended runtime is preferred.

    With so many configurations I still feel slightly restless about whether I have the Viking Pro set up just as I want it. But of course the joy is that you can change the configuration any time you like. The only slight issue being that you need to plan this as you really need the instructions in front of you for reference if you are going to make a change (it is not something I would do out in the field).

    The build quality, beam quality and extensive features and customisation options really do make this an outstanding light, and Armytek lights using the S-Tek driver are genuinely some of my all-time favourites.

    Lacking the crenelated bezel of the Predator, the Viking models have a less aggressive appearance, and one that is very pleasing.

    Now, with a choice of higher maximum output combined with simpler interface (that you could give to anyone) in the Viking, or the fantastic versatility of the fully programmable Viking Pro, Armytek have provided for very different types of user.

    Test samples provided by ArmyTek for review.

    CR123 primary cells kindly provided by TORCHDIRECT.
    Last edited by subwoofer; 07-05-2013 at 12:14 AM. Reason: Fixed some photobucket links
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    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: ArmyTek Viking v2.5 and Viking Pro v2.5 dual Review

    reserved for further updates...
    Last edited by subwoofer; 07-05-2013 at 12:59 AM.
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    Default Re: ArmyTek Viking v2.5 and Viking Pro v2.5 dual Review

    reserved too...
    Dont feed the trolls.
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    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: ArmyTek Viking v2.5 and Viking Pro v2.5 dual Review

    Quote Originally Posted by shelm View Post
    reserved too...
    Do you have one on it way to you?
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    Default Re: ArmyTek Viking v2.5 and Viking Pro v2.5 dual Review

    When you say that Viking 2.5 is much easier to use than Viking Pro 2.5 are u just referring to the OPTION of advanced settings? If u don't wanna change anything they are equally easy right? The only reason i paid extra for the Pro was because of the added internal aluminum protection. Other than that i didn't care

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    Flashaholic* Wiggle's Avatar
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    Default Re: ArmyTek Viking v2.5 and Viking Pro v2.5 dual Review

    Quote Originally Posted by BeastFlashlight View Post
    When you say that Viking 2.5 is much easier to use than Viking Pro 2.5 are u just referring to the OPTION of advanced settings? If u don't wanna change anything they are equally easy right? The only reason i paid extra for the Pro was because of the added internal aluminum protection. Other than that i didn't care
    What do you mean "extra aluminum protection"?

    In terms of use once programmed (or even just on out of box settings), are both quite easily handled. The steps to put the light into programming mode are quite specific so it's very unlilely you'd get into the programming by accident. I have the Predator Pro and when I went for a night hike with my GF I was able to show her how to operate it and change modes really easily, it's pretty straightforward. The only thing to consider really is that the standard has only one mode on the Line 1 and has several on Line 2 but you change them using the more old fashioned clicky style rather than a head twist/untwist action. This is one of the biggest reasons I didn't get the standard, I like to be able to use the momentary mode however I like without risking changing modes unnecessarily (same reason I picked Quark Tactical over standard).

    In fact, I would argue that the Pro is actually easier to hand to someone just to use in one setting. Show them the switch and thats all they need. With the standard (if they are in Line 2) they may find themselves changing modes accidentally.
    Last edited by Wiggle; 08-09-2013 at 06:21 AM.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: ArmyTek Viking v2.5 and Viking Pro v2.5 dual Review

    Quote Originally Posted by BeastFlashlight View Post
    When you say that Viking 2.5 is much easier to use than Viking Pro 2.5 are u just referring to the OPTION of advanced settings? If u don't wanna change anything they are equally easy right? The only reason i paid extra for the Pro was because of the added internal aluminum protection. Other than that i didn't care
    Yes, as once set, the Pro could be considered easier to operate as Wiggle mentioned.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wiggle View Post
    What do you mean "extra aluminum protection"?
    I'd also like to know?
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    Default Re: ArmyTek Viking v2.5 and Viking Pro v2.5 dual Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Wiggle View Post
    What do you mean "extra aluminum protection"?
    I was referring to Selfbuilt's review where he has this under the addition features of the Pro version;

    "Electronic driver is placed in a special aluminum capsule and has been completely covered with a durable compound. This actually protects it from both the environment and from mechanical damage."

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    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: ArmyTek Viking v2.5 and Viking Pro v2.5 dual Review

    Quote Originally Posted by BeastFlashlight View Post
    I was referring to Selfbuilt's review where he has this under the addition features of the Pro version;

    "Electronic driver is placed in a special aluminum capsule and has been completely covered with a durable compound. This actually protects it from both the environment and from mechanical damage."
    Ah yes, the list from Armytek's website does list the potted driver for the S-Tek driver. The S-Tek also has the backup circuit which gives you the firefly mode even if the rest of the circuitry dies on you.

    I have not seen any mention of the standard Viking having a potted driver, so it probably does not.

    The standard version does have a higher output, but less of the control features. Driver durability would go to the Pro version, but hardly anyone will ever push it so far as to need this (nice to know it is there though).
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    Default Re: ArmyTek Viking v2.5 and Viking Pro v2.5 dual Review

    Quote Originally Posted by subwoofer View Post
    The standard version does have a higher output, but less of the control features.
    Yeah that made me consider the standard version, but then I figured it could be a disadvantage because of runtimes and heat, not a big fan of short lived high modes

  11. #11

    Default Re: ArmyTek Viking v2.5 and Viking Pro v2.5 dual Review

    Will this flashlight work with Panasonic NCR18650B 3.7V 3400mAh Rechargeable Li-ion Batteries? My concern is not the batteries but the recessed positive terminal on the battery and the fact that it looks like the head end battery terminal on the flashlight is not a spring. Thanks in advance for your time.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: ArmyTek Viking v2.5 and Viking Pro v2.5 dual Review

    Quote Originally Posted by nick.clendenning View Post
    Will this flashlight work with Panasonic NCR18650B 3.7V 3400mAh Rechargeable Li-ion Batteries? My concern is not the batteries but the recessed positive terminal on the battery and the fact that it looks like the head end battery terminal on the flashlight is not a spring. Thanks in advance for your time.
    The Viking and Viking Pro, just like the Predators, has a raised positive terminal, so even though not a spring, I have been using flat tops perfectly well with them.

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