Acebeam review: X45 (6500K), E70 (5000K), TK16 (5000K high CRI)

TigerhawkT3

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 2, 2006
Messages
3,817
Location
CA, 94087
I bought some Acebeam lights during the sale last month. Here are my impressions.

The TK16 (battery included) has three emitter options: more lumens, more throw, or more CRI. I went for CRI. These are 5000K Luminus LEDs with >95 CRI, and it's my first time seeing emitters like this. The beam's shape, tint, etc. are amazing, just really practical and enjoyable. It's such a small form factor that I can't keep a grip on it with an ordinary icepick hold; I hold it more like a pencil or paintbrush. The belt clip is preinstalled and no holster is included, so be ready for wear if you plan to EDC it like that. Seriously nice light here that really demonstrates how far technology and quality have progressed over the years.

The E70 doesn't have the amazing beam of the TK16, but the 5000K option still results in a nice, neutral beam, with the reflector producing a wide spot with useful spill and no artifacts. It's a really good beam. I have to say, the overall size is spot-on, perfect for EDC, hiking, whatever. I get the impression that they started from a practical size and shape and let that determine what kind of power it would handle, rather than "it needs to be tiny! can we make it bright enough?" or "it needs to be powerful! can we make it smaller, though?". That's down to the emitter and the battery, of course, but still, it works out well. The 21700 cell (not included) has charging circuitry and a USB-C port built in, so you don't need a standalone charger.

The X45, which comes complete with four high-drain 18650 cells, is bright, but not EDC friendly, mostly due to the width of the head and the overall weight. It's marketed as a SAR light, and carrying it around for specific purposes like that does make sense to me. But it really is bright. The beam shape is decent, too, even with four emitters. Unfortunately, the tint of the hotspot is very yellowish-green, hearkening back to the days of the Luxeon lottery where each purchase was a gamble on whether you'd get a white flashlight that was blue, yellow, green, or something actually approaching white. I actually did order the 5000K version, but Monday came around and instead of sending me a 5000K X45 I got an email asking if the 6500K version was acceptable because the one I ordered was out of stock. I had ordered and paid within about 20 minutes of the start of the sale, and the live stock tracker still said the lights were available, so I'm not sure how I managed to order something that was discontinued, but there you have it. Anyway, I asked whether this was a temporary issue or a permanent discontinuation, and they said it was the latter, adding that the global chip shortage is making everything more expensive. Some chargers and lights will be unavailable and spare batteries are out of the question. They estimated that things might improve by next year. Maybe. I also just checked their website and the X45 is entirely discontinued now. Well, the tint is disappointing, but everything else about the X45 is quite nice (although I worry about the battery holder's very stiff spring tension on the cells), so there's that. Including $80 worth of batteries made for a great deal, too.

One thing all these lights have in common is no built-in charging port. When they run out of juice, you have to pop them open and charge the bare cell(s). Simpler design and easier to waterproof, but built-in ports are becoming popular these days for very good reason: there are quite a few places and situations where simply plugging in a device is fine but disassembling it is out of the question.

All three lights can tailstand, by design. I hate when manufacturers just decide that no one should ever tailstand the light so they make it impossible, when it takes so little to enable tailstand.

The UI on these is almost, but not quite, identical. When the light is off, you can hold the button for moonlight, click for the normal modes, double-click for turbo modes, or triple-click for strobe. When the light is on, holding the button cycles through the normal modes instead, and a single click turns off the light. The exception is that the E70 needs a double-click to go from off to normal. A single click while the light is off does nothing. I suppose it's more secure against accidental activation, but these lights already provide lockout modes, and being unable to simply tap the button and get light is really counter-intuitive, especially given that other Acebeam lights do allow it. It's just that little bit more awkward for no good reason. Other than that, the UI is pretty easy to use. Normal mode output levels could be spaced further apart, especially for the X45, which goes from a household task light on moonlight mode to a high-powered illumination tool on even the lowest normal mode. The X45 also skips the first memorized level when cycling from one of the other modes: if you last used normal brightness level 1, being in e.g. moonlight and then holding the button will take you right to 2 and then start cycling. The other lights will take you to 1 first before they start cycling. These differences are tiny, but they do add up to the occasional surprise or mistake in choosing the output level I wanted. Although they can't touch the ease of use of the Nitecore SRT series (which is now down to one model; what a magnificently huge shame that these masterpieces are being discontinued) and lending them out with no explanation is a recipe for confusion, the UI is perfectly serviceable.
 

richbuff

Well-known member
CPF Supporter
Supporter
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
Messages
2,186
Location
Prescott Az
Thank you for your reviews. I have been using my Vinh54 boosted X45 nightly around my building for four years. The boosted X45 has the power flood/size ratio that makes me feel like I can break on through to the other side.

18. Acebeam X45vn 4 x XHP70.2. 4 x 18650. June 19, 2017, 25,000 lumens.
My lights.
 
Top