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Thread: 'SHOT SHOW Special' Review: Maglite XL200 (3xAAA)

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    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default 'SHOT SHOW Special' Review: Maglite XL200 (3xAAA)

    'SHOT Show Special' Review: Maglite XL200 (3xAAA)



    'SHOT SHOW Specials' are a series of reviews inspired by, or as a consequence of, my visit to the SHOT SHOW 2015.
    These may contain photos taken while travelling, and may be of a slightly different format.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Author's Statement for Transparency and Disclosure
    The test sample/s featured in this article have been provided for technical testing and review by the manufacturer. Test samples are retained by the reviewer following publication of the completed review for the purposes of long term testing and product comparisons.

    All output figures and test results published in this review are the sole work of the reviewer, and are carried out independently and without bias. Test results are reported as found, with no embellishments or alteration. Though best endeavours are made to maintain the accuracy of test equipment, the accuracy of these results is not guaranteed and is subject to the test equipment functioning correctly.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    MAG-LITE's newest XL Series light is the XL200. It uses the same "QuickClick" interface as the other XL lights, but also incorporates motion controlled functions.

    The light on test here was a display sample at SHOT SHOW, so the photos may show some signs of use.





    Taking a more detailed look:

    The XL200's blister packaging had already been opened when I got it and the pocket clip fitted. The package also includes a set of coloured filters and 3 Duracell AAAs.




    The clip is sturdy and a nice 'pocket-safe' plastic.




    The tailcap off and battery carrier taken out.




    The head-end of the carrier has two contacts.




    The tailcap end of the battery carrier has three contacts. There the central pad is the positive and the ring around it is the negative.




    There is a moulded arrow on the side to remind you which way it goes into the tube.




    The tailcap has two pin contacts and a contact ring. The grooved scratched into the contact ring looks like damage caused by someone inserting the battery carrier the wrong way round as the pin on the correct end is very smooth whereas the pin on the head end of the carrier could cause scratches.




    At the head end there are the two contacts to match those on the battery carrier.




    Looking down into the focus adjustable reflector at the XP-G LED.




    And after removing the head and reflector the LED can be seen more clearly.




    The threads are super slick MAG-LITE quality and the o-ring is a special shaped one.




    Red, Green and Blue filters are included with a slide on filter holder.




    The filter holder acts as an anti-roll feature if you didn't have the pocket clip fitted.




    For an idea of size, here is the XL200 amongst a batch of lights on test.

    From left to right these are: Olight S10R, Olight S15R, Olight S30R, FOURSEVENS Bolt-Action, FOURSEVENS Preon P2, FOURSEVENS MMU-X3R, Streamlight ProTac HL3, MAG-LITE XL200, NITECORE TM06, Lumintop ED20-T, V54 DC25Cvn and the Streamlight Siege AA.





    The beam

    In the tightest focus, the XL200's beam is quite narrow with a bright hotspot.




    Like most other MAG-LITEs, the XL200 has an adjustable focus allowing the hotspot to be opened out to put more light into the spill beam. This has the unfortunate consequence of introducing a lot of artefacts and rings into the beam, but is effective at spreading the available light over a larger area.




    Outdoors the XL200's limited output becomes more apparent as the central hotspot is the only area of the garden that is lit up.





    Modes and User Interface:

    MAG-LITEs XL200 has a few tricks up its sleeve. Combining the "QuickClick" interface with motion controlled functions.

    On the tailcap there are a few reminders as to the functions available.



    Both output power and strobe speed can be adjusted using the motion control. The motion control also features in the Nite Lite mode, the Signal mode and in setting the lockout function.

    Each of the five modes (Main Beam, Strobe, Nite Lite, Signal mode and SOS) is accessed by rapidly clicking the tailcap 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 times respectively.

    In both Main Beam and Strobe, if the last click is held you enter the 'adjust' feature.

    Main Beam Brightness - Holding the XL200 level (or at a slight angle off level), press and hold the button. Now, while holding the button rotate the XL200 and you will change the brightness. Once you have the level you want, simply let go of the button to memorise this level.

    This level is then used for the Main Beam, Strobe, Signal and SOS

    Using the integrating sphere to measure the changing output, rotating the XL200 at a consistent rate, the output varies as shown here.

    There appear to be a set number of steps which can be seen more clearly as the output decreases in the right hand side of the graph.





    Strobe Speed – Entering Strobe just needs a rapid double tap of the button, but if you hold that second tap, just like the Main Beam brightness adjustment, you can change the strobe speed by rotating the body. The brightness is the same as for the Main Beam.


    Nite Lite is a useful mode which you get with a rapid triple click. Once in Nite Lite mode, the XL200 will use the maximum brightness, but if you put it down, after 5s the beam dims down to the lowest output. As soon as you pick it up again the beam returns to full output. If you hold it very still it will also go to sleep and dim the beam, but a little movement brings the beam up to full brightness again.


    Signal mode is an interesting use of the motion control. Having used four rapid clicks to activate the Signal mode, you then rotate the XL200 to turn the beam on and off. Useful for signalling and can be used for (slow) Morse code as you can control the length of flash easily. The brightness of Signal mode is the same as that set for the main beam.


    SOS is the last mode which you activate with five rapid clicks. The brightness of this mode is the same as the main beam.


    Lockout is also available thanks to the motion control. Start with the XL200 pointed up, press and hold the button. Then rotate the XL200 to point it straight down and release the button. The switch is now locked out. To reactive the XL200 repeat the same locking procedure.



    Batteries and output:

    The XL200 uses 3x AAA cells. Testing was carried out with alkaline and rechargeable AAAs and it performed well with either.

    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.

    XL200 using Eneloop LSD NiMh AAA I.S. measured ANSI output Lumens PWM frequency or Strobe frequency (Hz)
    Max Eneloop 214 250
    Max Alkaline 212 250
    Minimum 2 250

    The minimum Strobe speed was 0.66Hz, and the maximum was 10.5Hz

    Beam Range measured in at 156m.

    As there is an electronic switch we need to consider the parasitic drain. The XL200 drain is 82uA, and using 800mAh NiMh cells it would take 1.11 years to deplete the cells.


    The XL200 runtime trace was carried out using 3x 800mAh Eneloop cells on maximum output.

    Unlike most other lights, the output goes up after the initial switch-on output level settling at maximum output after around 1 minute. After ten minutes on Maximum, the output gently ramps down over the next 2 minutes down to half the maximum output. This level is then held until the cells can no longer maintain it. Nice steady regulation.





    The XL200 in use

    While not the only light to use an accelerometer for motion control to adjust the output, it is by far the best implementation of this that I have used. The brightness adjustment becomes second nature and feels intuitive.

    I have little use for strobe mode, but reducing the flash rate right down makes it into a beacon (which I do use). Again the speed adjustment is just as intuitive.

    Were you to give this light to someone not familiar with the control process, they would find it confusing and would probably only be able to use whatever main beam output level had been set. If it was locked out they would have no hope.

    A slight disappointment is the use of PWM at all levels. This is not unusual for a light with tailcap control circuits, but does become increasingly noticeable the lower the output level.

    Fit and finish it what you would expect from MAG-LITE. Everything is crisp, super smooth and precise

    The fun and usable interface makes the XL200 very versatile even if it isn't a top performer on output.



    Review Summary

    Things I like What doesn't work so well
    MAG-LITE build quality Uses PWM for lower modes at 250Hz
    Intuitive motion control Plastic lens
    Includes pocket clip and coloured filters 214 lumens maximum output
    AAA powered, so easy to feed
    Acceptable parasitic drain
    Lockout facility



    If you enjoyed the review, please remember to 'Like' me on Facebook

    Last edited by subwoofer; 03-11-2015 at 04:51 AM.
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  2. #2
    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'SHOT Show Special' Review: Maglite XL200 (3xAAA)

    Reserved for updates...
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    *Flashaholic* Str8stroke's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'SHOT Show Special' Review: Maglite XL200 (3xAAA)

    Did I miss the price point?? Great review. Looks like a solid light for the masses. My concerns just from the review are, odd/hard to replace oring & tail cap, strange battery holder. Otherwise it looks pretty nice. Wonder if it has HAIII coating?

  4. #4

    Default Re: 'SHOT SHOW Special' Review: Maglite XL200 (3xAAA)

    Looks like a nice lite to mod, probably throw a 26500/26650 inside ?
    90+ CRI Rules!
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  5. #5

    Default Re: 'SHOT SHOW Special' Review: Maglite XL200 (3xAAA)

    Great light. It's my edc and night stand light. Plenty bright for my uses.

  6. #6

    Default Re: 'SHOT Show Special' Review: Maglite XL200 (3xAAA)

    Quote Originally Posted by Str8stroke View Post
    Did I miss the price point?? Great review. Looks like a solid light for the masses. My concerns just from the review are, odd/hard to replace oring & tail cap, strange battery holder. Otherwise it looks pretty nice. Wonder if it has HAIII coating?
    Anyone who sells Mag spares will be able to get the o-ring, tail cap and battery holder. I mean it's not as if tail caps and battery holders are normally generic and on the shelf items in most stores anyhow is it.
    I'm as much Magaholic as flashaholic

  7. #7

    Default Re: 'SHOT Show Special' Review: Maglite XL200 (3xAAA)

    Thanks for the review.

    Did you try cycling the light back on once the regulation starts to drop output? I think it restores it back to full output again.


    Also your measured lumens seem quite high compared to the rated specs of 172 lumens. Do you think this is just your integrated sphere, or are Mag underrating this light?

    Wish Mag would get their act together an update the XL200 with the XP-G2. The XL50 already uses this emitter and has a higher lumen rating. Crazy that Mag then still want you to pay more money for the lower performing and outdated XL200.
    I'm as much Magaholic as flashaholic

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'SHOT Show Special' Review: Maglite XL200 (3xAAA)

    Quote Originally Posted by Str8stroke View Post
    Did I miss the price point??
    Due to global variations in price, and changes over time, I never quote one. A quick Goolge will give you the current pricing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Nobody View Post
    Looks like a nice lite to mod, probably throw a 26500/26650 inside ?
    For 3x AAAs, typically it is an 18650 that might fit. Here however you have the specialised set of contacts, so I doubt you would be able to make it work.

    Quote Originally Posted by maglite mike View Post
    Great light. It's my edc and night stand light. Plenty bright for my uses.
    It is plenty bright enough. I put the 'Only 214lm output' in the 'cons' section as many people would expect a lot more from a light this size as they would think of the 800-1000lm single 18650 type of light. The reality is that you might have 1000lm on tap, but how often do you need more than 200? For most people, not that often.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: 'SHOT SHOW Special' Review: Maglite XL200 (3xAAA)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Nobody View Post
    Looks like a nice lite to mod, probably throw a 26500/26650 inside ?
    They are pretty hard to mod. The driver/led is a single press fit module. And doesn't use a common board size. Old Lumens did a custom copper slug with stock driver and different led. But probably a lot of work for what it is.

    The battery is difficult too, as it has the + and - at the tail cap end (just like some Led Lensers do). This means if you wanted to run Li-ion you'd need to make a carrier that also has + and - at the bottom (maybe alter the stock carrier). Or you'd need to swap out the rear clicky for a traditional mechanical one, but you'd lose the UI and motion control, which would sort of defeat one of the reasons for having this light in the first place.

    I'm also guessing the tube might be too narrow for a 26500 (Led Lensers are, even the 4xAAA ones). So an 18500 would be your only option.

    And tbh, AAA eneloops work perfectly fine at this sort of output level.
    I'm as much Magaholic as flashaholic

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'SHOT Show Special' Review: Maglite XL200 (3xAAA)

    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken Drumstick View Post
    Did you try cycling the light back on once the regulation starts to drop output? I think it restores it back to full output again.
    It will reset, but this runtime trace was done without interventions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken Drumstick View Post
    Also your measured lumens seem quite high compared to the rated specs of 172 lumens. Do you think this is just your integrated sphere, or are Mag underrating this light?
    I keep the sphere calibrated. Some manufacturers achieve more than specified, some less. In this case MAG-LITE have underrated the light.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken Drumstick View Post
    Wish Mag would get their act together an update the XL200 with the XP-G2. The XL50 already uses this emitter and has a higher lumen rating. Crazy that Mag then still want you to pay more money for the lower performing and outdated XL200.
    Agreed, I'd like to see this with the XP-G2, but with the XL200 you get the motion control interface which is what you pay more for.
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  11. #11

    Default Re: 'SHOT Show Special' Review: Maglite XL200 (3xAAA)

    @subwoofer

    Thanks for the info. BTW - are you interesting in selling this XL200?
    I'm as much Magaholic as flashaholic

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'SHOT Show Special' Review: Maglite XL200 (3xAAA)

    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken Drumstick View Post
    @subwoofer

    Thanks for the info. BTW - are you interesting in selling this XL200?
    I don't mind anyone asking any questions, but for this I'll point you at part of my review disclaimer "Test samples are retained by the reviewer following publication of the completed review for the purposes of long term testing and product comparisons."
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    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'SHOT SHOW Special' Review: Maglite XL200 (3xAAA)

    Minor updates/corrections in main review post.
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  14. #14

    Default Re: 'SHOT SHOW Special' Review: Maglite XL200 (3xAAA)

    Thanks!!

    Was thinking of adding a gray XL 200 to my gray mag collection. This review caused me to pull the trigger...

    Price was $41 in a presentation box.
    John 3:16
    "I'm still a Toys R Us kid" -PK

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