Warning: even more pic heavy than usual.
Earlier this year, I reviewed the standard-head version of the Eagletac MX25L2 (with base Luminus SST-90 emitter). This was followed-up by a comparison of the Turbo head option a short time later, in its own review.
Today, I am reviewing the maximum throw version of this model, equipped with the Luminus SBT-70 emitter. This review is thus a companion review to the earlier MX25L2 threads, and I will highlight here the differences with this new model.
For those of you not up-to-date on your Luminus emitters, the SBT-70 is the current "throw king" in the line-up, thanks to the smaller surface area of its die. Overall output is not as high as the SST-90 (or the intermediate SBT-90). But I'll explain all that in due course ….
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 all available (SBT-70 specs reported below)
- ANSI FL-1 Lumens for SBT-70 PB-bin: 1585/615/126/10 lumens
- Runtime (6000mAh battery pack, all models): 1.3/3.5/21/200+ hours
- Beam Intensity (SBT-70 PB-bin version): 203,000 lux
- Beam Distance (SBT-70 PB-bin version): 985 yards / 901 meters
- Center spot angle: 6.2°, Spill light angle: 55.8°
- Powered by 2x32650 Li-ion battery pack (included)
- Voltage range: 2.7V – 8.4V
- 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)
- 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
- Warranty: Ten years performance guaranteed warranty
- Dimensions: Head Diameter 3.6 inches (92 mm), Body Diameter 1.4 inch (37 mm), Length: 11.5 inches (293 mm), Weight with battery pack: 2.1 pounds (976 grams)
- Included Accessories: Spare o-rings, User Manual, 7.4V battery pack and spare waterproof charging cap
- Kit model: Same as base model, w/ 18W AC-DC adapter (US/EUR), Automobile 12V DC adapter, rigid nylon holster w/ self-retention device
- Accessories/Spare Parts: 7.4V li-ion Battery packs (R44), 18W Miniature AC-DC adapter, 100V-240V to 10V@1.8A, 18Watts (US version - UL certified, PSE certified - European version - TUV/CE certified), 12V Automobile DC adapter, Regular (MX25L2) reflector head w/ protective end cap, YGRB filter and diffuser filter, Lens, Rigid nylon holster w/ self-retention device
- MSRP: SBT-70 Turbo-head version ~$440
As before, the MX25L2 Turbo 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. My kit version came a AC/DC charger, DC car charger, and holster (not shown above, please see my earlier MX25L2 review).
Eagletac also sent me the standard head for the MX25L2, but I believe you would have to purchase that separately. Note there is a YRGB accessory kit for the standard head model. This kit is described in my earlier MX25L2 review.
From left to right: Eagletac Protected 18650 (3400mAh); Eagletac MX25L2 with Turbo Head, MX25L2 Standard Head (alone).
From left to right: AW protected 18650 (2200mAh); Eagletac MX25L2 Turbo (SBT-70) Olight SR95S-UT (SBT-70); Skilhunt K30-GT (SBT-90).
To better show you the size difference between the standard and turbo heads, here are some MX25L2 pics from my earlier Turbo comparison review of the SST-90 version:
As you can tell, the Turbo head is a lot larger than the standard head, and has a flat black aluminum bezel.
All dimensions directly measured, and given with no batteries installed (unless indicated):
Eagletac MX25L2 Turbo:Weight: 698.6g (with battery pack: 974.1g), Length: 292mm, Width (bezel): 91.3mm
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
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
The 2x32650 MX25L2 is a substantial light, even in its standard head form. But even in the Turbo head version, it is not as large or heavy overall as some competitors in this space (i.e., the Olight SR95 series). The MX25L2 Turbo does have the largest reflector of this bunch though.
As I indicated in my earlier reviews, it is clear to me that these new lights were designed with law enforcement professionals in mind. In terms of build, the MX25L2 (even in Standard head form) is heavier than the GX/SX models, but still with good ergonomics (i.e. well balanced, good grip). The Turbo head version makes the light slightly top heavy, but not unreasonably so. Carrying the MX25L2 Turbo may be a bit problematic, given the size of the head (i.e., it fits in the holster, but may not fit on you very well).
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.
The MX25L2 can tailstand, as the base has a raised area along its perimeter (with a substantial lanyard attachment point in the center). Even in Turbo head format, I found the light reasonably stable.
The light uses 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.
From my original MX25L2 (Standard head) SST-90 review:
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 is a fairly standard 12V DC port.
The AC 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).
Now what you have all been waiting for - let's get down to the differences between the SBT-70 and the SST-90 emitters.
SBT-70 first, followed by SST-90:
The MX25L2 Turbo reflector is very smooth and very shiny, contributing to excellent throw. The difference between the models comes down simply to the emitter.
To put what you are looking at into context, the base SST-90 emitter has a relatively large footprint, and a typical big round emitter dome. Note that this dome is distorting the true size of the emitter somewhat in the pics - it isn't really quite that big.
The SBT series of emitters (SBT-70 and SBT-90) are based off the same SST-90 die, but both lack the large dome. They do have a covering, but it is very thin over the emitter die. This results in improved light transmission for focusing, but winds up reducing the maximum luminous flux possible with this emitter class.
The SBT-70 is basically a "rounded off" version of the SBT-90 (which has the same actual die size as the SST-90 – 3x3mm). By making the die round, you can again focus it better for throw. It is obviously not a simple task to produce a round die, as you can tell from all the bond wire positioning on the SBT-70. Also, logically, you would expect some loss of output for this maneuver (i.e., since you are in essence removing parts of the die).
If you plan to get the standard head version of the MX25L2 (with any emitter), you can find additional information on the optional YRGB filter kit (which also includes diffuser, car charger and holster) in my original MX25L2 review.
The MX25L2 interface is the same as the GX25L2/SX25L2 series lights. 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 MX25L2-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 kit version 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 this new MX25L2 Turbo SBT-70, please see my video overview of this specific model:
For more background information on these GX/SX/MX25L2 series, including the common build and user interface, please see my video overview of the whole series:
Videos were recorded in 720p, but YouTube typically defaults to 360p. Once a 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.
As before, there is no sign of PWM at any output level, on any light in this series – I presume all are current-controlled.
The main strobe is a high frequency strobe, measured at 13.5 Hz on my MX25L2.
The second strobe mode is an alternating or "oscillating" strobe, switching between 8.8Hz and 20.5Hz every 2 seconds
Hi-Flash is basically a full power slow strobe/beacon mode. Frequency was a reasonable 2.25Hz in my testing. 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).
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).
A standby current drain is inevitable on these lights, due to the electronic switch in the head. Here is how the two MX25L2 samples in my collection compare, on their standard battery packs:
MX25L2 (SST-90): ~160uA
MX25L2 (SBT-70): ~190uA
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 on my original SST-90 version and <200uA on my SBT-70. 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:
MX25L2 (SST-90): 6000mAh cells = 4.3 years
MX25L2 (SBT-70): 6000mAh cells = 3.6 years
Either way, 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.
Note: My original MX25L2 Turbo doesn't have the emitter labeled below, but it is the SST-90 version.
As expected, the SBT-70-equipped MX25L2 Turbo exceeds the peak centre throw of the standard SST-90 MX25L2 Turbo. The spill beam width is slightly higher on the SBT-70 version. In terms of the nearest competition, the MX25L2 SBT-70 also has a slightly more intense hotspot than the Olight SR95S-UT SBT-70. You can't really tell by how much in these up-close beamshots though – for that, scroll down to the outdoor shots and detailed output/throw table.
UPDATE OCTOBER 4, 2013:
For 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). I think this batch of outdoor beamshots looks fairly good, due to all the Fall colors in the trees.
Let's start with a comparison of the MX25L2 Turbo, with both the standard SST-90 and SBT-70:
As you'd expected, the SBT-70 has less output overall, but throws quite a bit further than the larger-die SST-90.
How does the MX25L2 Turbo SBT-70 version compare to the Olight SR95S-UT (also SBT-70)?
There is a slight advantage to the Eagletac model for throw (i.e., it is slightly more focused), but the difference isn't huge. Overall output is basically the same between these lights, although the SR95S-UT spillbeam is marginally wider. These results entirely are consistent with my actual beam distance and output measures (scroll down for the comparison table).
By the way, if you are curious as to how the regular SST-90 version of the Eageltac and Olight throwers make out, here you go:
You can see both the output and throw of the MX25L2 Turbo head exceeds the SR95, when matched with the same SST-90 emitter (although the difference isn't huge). As you will see below, this is again entirely consistent with my measured beam distance and output results.
And again, please ignore any tint differences in all of the above – they are mainly due to the automatic white balance setting on the camera.
All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, as described on my flashlightreviews.ca website. 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).
And we have a new winner – the MX25L2 Turbo SBT-70 is the furthest throwing LED light in my collection at the moment. It narrowly unseats the previous champ, the SBT-70-equipped SR95S-UT (sic transit gloria mundi).
As you would expect, overall output is lower than the SST-90-equipped version of the MX25L2 Turbo (i.e., the smaller die of the SBT-70 facilitates focusing, but limits output). Consistent with my other recent Eagletac reviews, my throw measures are higher than the reported ANSI FL-1 specs.
The output specs seem pretty accurate, as compared to my lumen estimation method for high-output lights:
Again, overall output will be lower on the SBT-70 version, due to the smaller die. It's interesting to see above that there is little change to runtime.
Like many high-output lights, there is a step-down on Turbo after 200secs runtime. Overall output is very similar to my SR95S-UT over most of the run – with the MX25L2 SBT-70 maintaining excellent regulation. On the whole, runtimes remain impressive for the MX25L2 models (i.e., the 2x32650 used here are not that far off the much larger 6x18650 pack on the SR95 series lights).
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.
The Turbo version of the MX25L2 is fairly large, with a somewhat disproportionate head. This makes carrying the light a challenge (i.e., while it still fits in the belt holster, it is unlikely to fit well on your hip). Unlike the Olight SR95 series lights, there is no option for a shoulder strap here.
The MX25L2 Turbo SBT-70 has unseated my Olight SR95S-UT (SBT-70) as the current stock LED throw king.
For those who track these things, the MX25L2 Turbo SBT-70 is currently the furthest throwing LED light in my collection. Of course, how long it will stay that way is anybody's guess - like the highest output light, this is always a moving target.
I've previously described the build of the MX25L2 series, and of the Turbo option specifically, so I won't belabor all the points here. But to summarize the highlights - I like the build, user interface and overall feel of the MX25L2 series. It is a substantial light, even in standard head form, but offers a lot power, runtime and versatility. Not to mention an insane amount of throw in Turbo form.
As previously discussed for my SST-90 version, the Turbo head option brings the MX25L2 to the top of the throw class for that emitter. The SBT-70 version reviewed here does the same for this emitter – this light throws an incredible distance. In practice, I don’t imagine people will find a much of a throw difference between this light and the Olight SR95S-UT – but the MX25L2 is a bit smaller and lighter, which might facilitate carry. That said, neither light is particularly easy to carry any distance, and I think we have reached the size limit for what is a feasible for hand-held use in the field.
If you are a throw junky, I imagine the MX25L2 Turbo SBT-70 will be a very attractive option for you. But the SBT-90 and SST-90 provide even greater output, for a slight drop-off in peak throw distance. All are worthy of consideration in this class.
MX25L2 Turbo SBT-70 was provided by Eagletac for review.