EagleTac T20C2 Review - A Layman's Perspective

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AardvarkSagus

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EagleTac T20C2 - Submitted for consideration for the review forum

EagleTac, newly crowned king of evolutionary product cycles has upped the ante once again with their Mark II Digital model. Harnessing advancements in both LED efficiency and UI refinement, the T20C2 attempts to bring greater versatility to this champion in tactical lighting.


EagleTac T20C2

Meat and Potatoes

EagleTac has historically been known for their simplistic but useful torches usually offering only two modes; a general use setting, and a full-bore max. At its heart the T20C2 in Mark II Digital garb holds to that formula, while yet adding a few features to sweeten the pot. The Mk II adds a series of hidden modes containing both a useful low power setting and several blinking options. Overall the gist of the light has not changed since only those two primary modes are available when the light is first fired up, but the secondary settings are a welcome addition indeed.

Dropping the original XR-E package for the XP-E in the budget minded 100 series was one of EagleTacs best choices. In my experience, lights with the smaller XP based LED package have inherently cleaner beams and more usable spreads of light. For the T20C2, EagleTac has gone a step further by taking advantage of the increased efficiency available from Crees new XP-G, producing an even more impressive 300 lumens of out-the-front intensity. The beam of this light is an excellent tight spot with a flawless wide transitional corona into the spill. The net result is a very well balanced beam that is useful both at distance and up close.

Of note, though not genuinely important to use, is the method that the light uses to transition between brightness levels. The 20 series does not use the traditional direct output change, but rather invokes a rapid ramp to smoothly and evenly change brightness in less than a second. It is a unnecessary extra that gives this light a touch of class and makes it feel just that much higher quality.

Cigar grip rings have previously been ill-received in my household. In the past, both offerings from EagleTac and other companies have only stuck around for the photo shoots before being removed, likely to never see reattachment again. My complaint has been that they are too harsh and a softer, less angular, rubber grip ring would fit the role better. That is precisely what EagleTac has done. The new cigar grip ring is, aesthetically pleasing, less intrusive, and on my light, going to stay.

Included accessories are the concept that rules the day with these lights. All of them ship with removable clips, quality holsters, interchangeable black or glow-in-the-dark switch covers, lanyards, soft rubber tailstanding rings, and even a very nice screw in diffuser that takes the place of the crenelated stainless steel bezel. Those last two are especially unique because of how well they function exactly as they are intended with very little intrusion. The tailstanding ring doesn’t really get in the way of the switch when in play, and the diffuser creates a flawless hotspot-free beam with almost no apparent depletion in overall output.


A myriad of accessories

Constructive Criticism

As I mentioned, this light remains true to EagleTacs past, being at its core still strictly a two-mode light. With such an excellent quality, long-running low mode it seems a shame to eliminate any chance of activating the light directly into that mode. I don’t know what would be the best possible user interface for three separate modes of activation, but I would like to see some method involving just a further twist of the head to access that. Independent access to all three drastically different uses for this light would increase its real-world effectiveness that much more.

The 20 series are exceptionally well constructed lights. They feel incredibly solid in my hand and look capable of withstanding any abuse you put them through. The one sticking point to that, in my opinion is the clip. The clip does not appear to be altered in any way from the old 10 series and is still a short steel clip held on by nothing more than spring tension. After having become spoiled by the clip retainer rings of other companies, this method just comes up short.

One byproduct, I assume, of the new digital brain of the 20 series is a slight delay between pressing the switch and activation of the light. This isn’t a large gap by any means, but it is noticeable none the less. It almost makes the light feel like you are using a reverse clicky instead of the nice forward clicky that they are known for. I don’t know for certain what it is that causes this behavior, but I would love for it to disappear in a quiet update to this product.


EagleTac T20C2

Conclusions

EagleTac has once again produced a high quality light that pushes the envelope in terms of output. Combine that with the T20C2’s good choice of levels, useable interface, and dare I say it, good looks, and you have a light that you can truly enjoy carrying.

Provided for review by the kind folks at EagleTac.
 
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jhc37013

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Nice review thank you and I think I have seen enough positive reviews about the 20 series including my own with the P20 MKII that we can give these lights the thumbs up IMO.

It seems Eagletac has set the standard for XP-G lights in this class for 2010.
 

sfca

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I'm curious about the opinions on lux between the R2 and XPG model.
Hotspot is 2X bigger, but quoted lux measurements (for OP reflector) fall from 15,000 to 8,000 lux @ 1m.

Does this correlate with what you see with your eyes (for Smooth reflector)?

P.S. Hotspot size & Lux comparo with E2DL.. those that have the "200 lumen" model?
 

harddrive

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Nice review. These lights seem to be getting pretty positive reviews so far. Seems the only ones unhappy are those wanting maximum throw. It would be interesting to see a detailed review comparing the cool white (XPG) models with the Neutral white (XPE) models. I imagine the XPE models should have much better throw but obviously reduced overall output. When you also consider choice of OP or SMO reflector each model has four different pill choices. Lux measurements and beam shots comparing the four configurations would be great to see.

I'm eagerly awaiting my P20C2 with OP reflector to arrive. When the pills become available separately I may even buy a pill with NW XPE with SMO reflector. As long as the pills are not too expensive it might be a good way to have the best of both worlds.
 

jhc37013

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I think I read over in another thread the drop in's are going to run around $25 and be available in March.
 

Andyy

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AardvarkSagus

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Unfortunately I am not able to compare this with any of the R2 or Neutral White models since I only have this version.

@Andyy: That not-so-hidden strobe feature has only been on some of their most recent models and was relatively quickly replaced by this version. I don't really count it as part of their standard MO.
 

AardvarkSagus

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XR-E R2 LED Module

One of the benefits of EagleTac’s new Mark II Digital ‘20’ series is the use of drop-in emitter modules that can change the characteristics of the light without the full expense of buying another complete torch. This drop-in brings some more punch to the T20C2 in a slightly unorthodox manner.


LED Modules

Meat and Potatoes

The EagleTac T20C2 comes standard with an R5 bin Cree XP-G LED. Currently one of the latest and greatest LEDs to grace the market. This emitter is naturally quite a good fit for flashlights, generally offering a slightly floodier beam with an excellent transition corona. As I mentioned before, EagleTac has managed to provide a fairly tight focus using the large reflector in this “T”actical model of the line. However, for those who are looking for an even more impressive spotlight, EagleTac is now offering an intentional downgrade (retrograde?) to the older technology R2 bin Cree XR-E LED. This may seem counter-intuitive at first. For a brighter spot, don’t you need a brighter source? Actually, no. The XR-E’s physical structure is such that it creates a much different light emission pattern. This, combined with the XR-E’s smaller die allow the light to be focused into a much tighter beam, resulting in a significantly brighter spot.

Of course, the downfall to this retrograde is that you lose the beautiful transitional corona and even some overall illumination, but what you gain is increased distance of your beam. By my estimations (based strictly on rudimentary knowledge of LED capabilities), I would expect that you are getting no more than 250 lumens total from this light, but EagleTac quoted to me that the lux intensity of the spot is as much as 60-70% increased. This falls pretty well in line with what my precisely calibrated eyeballs are reporting.

These drop-ins are not inter-compatible with other branded lights, like many similar products are because EagleTac uses a proprietary reverse threaded format for their product. This aides dramatically in heat transfer from the electronics to the body of the light, protecting the more sensitive components from damage. The user interface of this drop-in has not changed at all from stock, the only differences are in output.


Beamshot Comparison

Constructive Criticism

The choice of an XR-E in these drop-ins, though tightening the focus, does have a drawback. Once again these lights are afflicted with the series of shadowy and bright concentric rings surrounding the hotspot. EagleTac has tempered these slightly with some very light texture to the reflector, but since this unit was designed for distance illumination, that was a very fine line to walk. These don’t play out to seriously when the light is used outside or at the distances it is intended for, but for closer, indoor work, they are persistent.

With the drop-ins being reverse threaded, there is a slight unique complication that arises. The reflectors are also threaded on to the LED modules, however they use a standard “right-hand” thread. This can sometimes result in the reflector trying to loosen itself from the base as you are attempting to insert the drop-in. If both these threads are relatively equal tension, it can become a bit of comedy trying to get everything installed properly. This point is really nothing more than a trifle, I know, but it did bear worth mentioning.

Conclusions


Business End

A worthwhile product if you are searching for a dedicated thrower. Well constructed, just like the original, but utilizing technology that is better suited for a tight focus, rather than for even illumination. When it comes down to the wire, choices are not a bad thing.

Provided for review by the kind folks at EagleTac.
 

m3flies

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How much of a difference would there be between the two emitters at a distance of 50 to 70 feet. The general purpose of my T20C2 MK II is for patrolling electric utility lines through the woods. Small problems can't really be seen from beyond that distance. Would it be worth replacing the XP-G with an XR-E?
 
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AardvarkSagus

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How much of a difference would there be between the two emitters at a distance of 50 to 70 feet. The general purpose of my T20C2 MK II is for patrolling electric utility lines through the woods. Small problems can't really be seen from beyond that distance. Would it be worth replacing the XP-G with an XR-E?
Well, those beamshots that I posted were at around 70-80 feet (paced off, so approximate). The difference is pretty marked at that distance in my opinion. I still tend to prefer the more floody light, but that's personal preference.
 

recDNA

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Since I have the old T20C2 r2 already they're going to have to top 15000 lux to sell me. This would require driving the R2 even harder. I could care less about rings in a thrower. If it throws 10 yards further with a smooth reflector I hope you can get one.
 

selfbuilt

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Since I have the old T20C2 r2 already they're going to have to top 15000 lux to sell me.
It's not. Basically, the throw, output and runtime of of the new T20C2-II XR-E R2 drop-in is comparable to the original T20C2 XR-E R2. Some slight differences in the beam rings, due to the slightly smaller reflector of the new drop-in.

FYI, I've updated my original T20C2-II XP-G R5 review with info on the new drop-in. So you can directly compare all 3 lights there.

Nice summary as always AardvardSagus. :)
 
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