Klarus XT11 2014 (XM-L2 - 1x18650, 2xCR123A/RCR) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, + more!

selfbuilt

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Warning: pic heavy, as usual. ;)

XT11-2014006.jpg

XT11-2014008.jpg


Klarus has recently released a new tailcap for its popular XT11 model. As the last version I reviewed was in 2012, Klarus has sent me the latest full shipping version of the XT11 for 2014. I am not sure when the XT11 version was last updated, but it now sports a new emitter (XM-L2) for higher output as well.

Let's see how it compares to the previous XT11 from 2012, and to other recent lights in this class.

Manufacturer Specifications:
Note: as always, these are only what the manufacturer/dealers report. To see my actual testing results, scroll down the review.

  • CREE XM-L2 U2 LED
  • Three lighting modes and 1 flashing mode
  • ANSI lumens/runtime: Hi: 820 lm / 3 hr – Med: 160 lm / 10 hr – Lo: 11 lm / 73 hr – Stobe: 820 lm / 6 h
  • Peak beam intensity: 8217
  • Max beam distance: 180m
  • Working Voltage: 3.5V-8.4V
  • Battery: 2x CR123A / 1x 18650 / 2x 16340 (batteries are not included, use of 16340 batteries is not recommended)
  • Body color: Military grey
  • Reflector: Textured orange peel reflector
  • Tactical main switch for turning the light on and off. Momentary activation from off.
  • Dedicated mode switch for instant access to strobe and changing modes
  • Lens: Toughened ultra-clear glass
  • Material: Aircraft grade aluminum
  • Impact resistance: 1.5m
  • Waterproof to IPX-8 Standard (underwater to 2 meters)
  • Dimensions: 149mm (Length) x 35 mm (Head) x 25.4mm (Body)
  • Net weight: 132g (Excluding battery)
  • Included accessories: holster, lanyard, body clip, tactical ring and two spare o-rings
  • Color filters and a diffuser can be securely attached; screwed-in to replace the bezel
  • MSRP: ~$80
XT11-2014002.jpg


The XT11 uses similar display packaging as before, but updated with new info and specs. The light comes with the usual extras – including the a manual, spare o-rings, wrist strap, removable pocket clip (attached), removable grip ring (attached) and belt holster (with closing flap).

XT11-2014045.jpg

XT11-2014025.jpg

XT11-2014018.jpg

From left to right: AW 18650 protected; Klarus XT11-2014, XT11-2012, RS11-2014, RS11-2012; Nitecore P25; Eagletac G25C2-II.

All dimensions directly measured, and given with no batteries installed (unless indicated):

Klarus XT11-2014: Weight 140.1g, Length: 150.5mm, Width (bezel): 34.8mm
Klarus XT11-2012: Weight 133.0g, Length: 148.8mm, Width (bezel) 35.0mm
Klarus RS11-2014: Weight 151.5g, Length: 159mm, Width (bezel): 34.9mm
Jetbeam BC25se: Weight: 133.8g, Length: 147.0mm, Width (bezel): 33.6mm
Fenix PD35: Weight: 82.7g, Length: 138.1mm, Width (bezel): 25.4mm
Eagletac G25C2-II (stock): Weight 141.0g, Length: 150.6mm, Width: 39.6mm
Eagletac TX25C2: Weight 93.6g, Length: 120.4mm, Width (bezel): 31.6mm
Foursevens MMX: Weight 145.8g, Length: 153.3mm, Width (bezel): 38.7mm
Nitecore P12: Weight: 89.7g, Length: 139.4mm, Width (bezel): 25.4mm
Olight M20S-X: Weight: 124.1g, Length: 145.4mm, Width: 35.5mm (head)
Sunwayman F20C: Weight: 111.5g, Length: 133.6mm, Width (bezel): 31.0mm
Sunwayman V25C: Weight: 117.3g, Length: 134.9mm, Width (bezel): 32.1mm
Thrunite TN12-2014: Weight: 80.0g, Length: 140.5mm, Width (bezel): 25.4mm
Zebralight SC600: Weight 87.2g, Length: 107.8mm, Width (bezel) 29.7mm

XT11-2014007.jpg

XT11-2014009.jpg

XT11-2014010.jpg

XT11-2014003.jpg

XT11-2014005.jpg

XT11-2014004.jpg


Generally, the XT11-2014 looks similar to the old XT11 that I last reviewed in 2012. The main external difference is the new tailcap switch. My earlier 2012 also had the low profile bezel ring – this was replaced some time ago by the standard bezel ring of the RS11 model

Anodizing remains a rich dark grey-brown color (hard anodized). As before, no blemishes or flaws on my sample – I find this color very attractive. :) Labels are clear against the dark background. As before, knurling is not very aggressive. But with all the ridge detail and extra elements around the head and body, overall grip remains good.

As before, the clip-on pocket clip is fairly basic, but seems to hold on fairly well (for this type of clip). And again, the clip is head-facing, and not reversible.

The bundled grip has been made of metal for some time now (I recall there were some initial issues with the original plastic ring cracking when dropped). It can still spin when the tailcap is fully tightened (as with many other lights in this class).

There is still a spring in the head, so all flat-top high capacity cells should fit and work fine in the light.

As before, the light is controlled by two switches in the tailcap – a primary physical clicky (for off/on) and a secondary electronic switch (for strobe or mode switching). What has changed recently is the addition of a lever over the electronic switch (held in place by a pin through the tailcap). This greatly facilitates access to the secondary switch now. As always, both switches can be accessed one-handed by the thumb or index finger, in whatever grip style you prefer.

My previously XT11 definitely couldn't tailstand, but I found the new 2014 version of the tailcap better in this regard. The light is still very wobbly though, so I wouldn't trust tailstanding ability in this case.

XT11-2014011.jpg

XT11-2014012.jpg


The XT11-2014 seems to use the same reflector as before, and the same reflector as the current RS11. The new XM-L2 emitter was reasonably well centered on my sample.

As previously mentioned, the removable stainless steel bezel ring is now the same as the RS11 model (with typical crenelations). The bezel diameter and threading is unchanged from before, so the colored filters or diffuser available as accessories for the original RS11/XT11 will work here as well. :twothumbs

User Interface

The user interface is unchanged from the original XT11.

Press the large forward clicky switch for on-off (press for momentary, click for locked-on).

When on, change modes by pressing the smaller electronic switch under the new lever. Mode sequence is Hi – Med – Lo, in a repeating loop. Press and hold the mode-changing switch to activate Strobe.

Note that Strobe can be activated directly from Off by pressing the secondary switch (momentary mode).

There is no memory mode – the light always comes on in Hi mode.

Video:

For more information on the overall build and user interface, please see my video overview:



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.

PWM/Strobe

Reviewer's note: I have recently updated my oscilloscope software, so the traces below may look a little different from my earlier reviews.

The original XT11 used PWM on all modes (including Hi) at just under 1 kHz. Let's see how the new XT11-2014 fares …

XT11-2014-PWM0.gif

XT11-2014-PWM2.gif

XT11-2014-PWM3.gif


The new XT11 is not all that different from before. The PWM range is from ~850-880 Hz on the various levels my new XT11. Note that PWM is an apparently unavoidable by-product of having a tailcap control circuit combined with a head circuit. :shrug:

As with the RS11 that I have reviewed recently, it is practically impossible to notice the PWM on the XT11 Hi mode (even when shining on a fan). PWM is far more noticeable when the duty cycle is low (i.e., the light is off more than it is on for each pulse). For higher perceived output (where the light is on for most of the time), the visual perception of PWM drops considerably. This is another example where you would need an oscilloscope to be able to detect the Hi mode PWM.

XT11-2104-Strobe.gif


As before, strobe is an oscillating strobe that switches between two frequencies every ~2 secs or so. Here is a blow up of each frequency:

XT11-2104-Strobe1.gif

XT11-2104-Strobe2.gif


As you can see, the strobe switches between 5.3 Hz and 13.5 Hz. This is a little lower than the previous XT11, but still equally annoying to look at. :rolleyes:

Standby Drain

Since the secondary mode switch is electronic and can function as momentary strobe, there needs to be a standby current when the tailcap is connected. I am unable to get a clear reading on this, as it appears to be <1 uA. As such, I doubt it is a concern. If worried, you can always lock out the light by a quick turn of the tailcap.

Beamshots:

And now the white-wall beamshots. ;) All lights are on 1x18650 AW protected (2200mAh). 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.

For the beamshots below, "Klarus XT11" refers to the original XM-L version released in 2012.

XT11-2014-Beam001.jpg
XT11-Beam001.jpg

RS11-2014-Beam001.jpg
G25C2-II-Beam001.jpg


XT11-2014-Beam002.jpg
XT11-Beam002.jpg

RS11-2014-Beam002.jpg
G25C2-II-Beam002.jpg


XT11-2014-Beam003.jpg
XT11-Beam003.jpg

RS11-2014-Beam003.jpg
G25C2-II-Beam003.jpg


XT11-2014-Beam004.jpg
XT11-Beam004.jpg

RS11-2014-Beam004.jpg
G25C2-II-Beam004.jpg


As before, the RS11 and XT11 2014 versions continue to have very similar beams – the difference above is simply one of max output on a single 18650. The pattern looks much the same as the earlier 2012 models – again, just differing in terms of max output on this battery source.

Scroll down for direct output and throw measures.

Testing Method:

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).

RS11-XT11-FL1-Summary1.gif


RS11-XT11-FL1-Summary2.gif


RS11-XT11-FL1-Summary3.gif


Ok, there's a lot of data up. :sweat: The simplest way to describe it is that the new 2014 versions of the RTS11 and XT11 have higher output on Hi than their predecessors. This can be a bit variable by battery type, with the XT11 again showing greater variability across battery sources.

To help you compare, here is a comparison of all output levels on each supported battery type, for the new 2014 versions of these lights:

RS11-XT11-2014-Lumens.gif


The XT11-2014 has a pronounced set of output changes depending on the voltage source – with again greater max output on the higher-voltage 2x battery sources. In contrast, the RS11-2014 has a fairly consistent set of outputs across the various battery types (at least on Med and Hi).

FYI, this general pattern is similar the original the RS11 and XT11 lights (i.e., the XT11 was always more variable on different voltage sources). But the absolute output levels have changed on both models now, as you can tell from the summary tables above.

These results help explain the reported beam distance measures for the two lights (i.e., you might reasonably wonder why two lights with the same emitter/reflector have significant differences in throw). :whistle: It all comes down to the different drive levels on different battery configurations.

According to Klarus, all their ANSI FL-1 measures were done on a 2200mAh cell in the XT11-2014 (and the included 2600mAh cell in the RS11-2014). That certainly fits well with my measured beam intensity/distance measures for these two lights on 18650. However, in absolute terms, I find my 2xCR123A lumen estimates better correlate with the official lumen output specs for both lights. :shrug:

In any case, the output and beam measures reported here are directly measured in my hands, so you can rely on the relative consistency across lights, batteries, and levels. :wave:

Output/Runtime Graphs:

Let's start with a comparison of the new 2104 versions of the RS11 and XT11:

RSS11-XT11-Hi18650.gif

RSS11-XT11-Med18650.gif


RSS11-XT11-HiRCR.gif


RSS11-XT11-HiCR123A.gif


As you could tell from the earlier tables, the RS11 is more consistent than the XT11 in its output levels across batteries. As a result, the graphs above should give you useful direct comparison information on relative output and runtimes of the two models. :)

Let's see how the XT11-2014 compares to others in this class, including the previous 2012 XM-L version.

XT11-Hi18650.gif

XT11-Med18650.gif


XT11-HiRCR.gif


XT11-HiCR123A.gif


As you can see, on all battery sources, there is a clear increase in initial Hi output – although the step-down level is not very different from before (and if anything, is slightly lower). Aside from this initial output bump, overall runtimes are pretty comparable to the earlier 2012 model.

There is certainly no difference in the Med mode output from the earlier version.

Potential Issues

As before, the light uses PWM on all modes (including Hi) at a detectable ~850-880 Hz. I find this perfectly fine on Med and Hi (i.e., not visually-distracting), but it may be an issue for some of the Lo mode.

Interface in unchanged from before (e.g., the light lacks a memory mode, and always comes on in Hi).

Light uses an electronic tail switch, and therefore requires a stand-by current when fully connected. However, this is negligible (<1uA) in my testing, and not a concern. You can always lock-out the light with a simple tailcap twist, thanks to the anodized threads.

As before, output is higher (and runtime lower) on 2x battery sources compared to 1x18650.

Preliminary Observations

The XM-L2 version of the XT11 is an incremental upgrade to this model for 2014. As you can see in the testing above, initial max output has increased on all battery sources, but overall circuit performance remains comparable. As a result, the XT11 is again among the brighter 2xRCR/CR123A lights out there (although its 1x18650 performance is only about typical for the class).

The major physical change is the addition of a lever over the secondary mode/strobe switch on the tailcap. This is an interesting design, and definitely facilitates consistent access to the switch - even when wearing gloves (which was one of the challenges of the earlier version). :thumbsup: Otherwise, the overall build has not changed – it is still a solid light, with quality hand feel.

User interface is unchanged from the previous version (and remains clearly designed for the "tactical" crowd). Similarly, circuit functioning is also largely unchanged (i.e., the XT11 still uses PWM on all modes, at a <1 kHz frequency).

The original XT11 (and earlier XT10) were always popular lights for the "tactical" crowd. I would consider the output and tailcap revisions here to be incremental improvements. I doubt either would be enough to get earlier XT11 users to upgrade, but it does bring the currently shipping XT11s for 2014 more in line with newer models out there.

As always, I know there can be some confusion as to output and runtime performance on different battery classes, so please check out my summary tables and runtime graphs for more info on what to expect. :wave:

----

Klarus XT11-2014 provided by Klarus for review.
 

kj2

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Thanks for the review and the clear photos on that lever. As I thought nothing has really changed, they only added that plastic-lever on top of the mode-button. Still, the XT11 rocks :D
 

TEEJ

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I know you have charts up the whazoo already, so, I won't ask you to also try IMR 18350s in it as well. :D

I know on the old XT11, the bumps in output you were getting from upping the voltage with more cells, and amperage supply, etc, are in line when those are further magnified with the 2 IMR 18350. We were getting over 1k lumens from the OLD XT11 that way...and I would say your data indicate that the new XT11 will have an analogous performance boost to well over 1k L.

:twothumbs
 

selfbuilt

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I know you have charts up the whazoo already, so, I won't ask you to also try IMR 18350s in it as well. :D
I know on the old XT11, the bumps in output you were getting from upping the voltage with more cells, and amperage supply, etc, are in line when those are further magnified with the 2 IMR 18350.
Ok, I will test out my IMR cells a little later today. Unfortunately, I don't have any IMR 18350 on hand at the moment, will at least try the IMR 16340s along with IMR 18650.
 

TEEJ

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Ok, I will test out my IMR cells a little later today. Unfortunately, I don't have any IMR 18350 on hand at the moment, will at least try the IMR 16340s along with IMR 18650.

If the pattern is continuing from the older version, the IMR 16340 should out lumen the ICR 16340, and the IMR 18650 should out lumen the ICR 18650.

:D

I thought your results showing the RS version did not benefit form the added juice were interesting, as its obviously regulated differently.
 

selfbuilt

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If the pattern is continuing from the older version, the IMR 16340 should out lumen the ICR 16340, and the IMR 18650 should out lumen the ICR 18650.
I just tried it, and it didn't make a huge difference on 16340 - my IMR 16340 gave me ~990 estimated ANSI FL-1 lumens, compared to ~970 for the ICR 16340. It is possible the IMR 18350 would do better, given the higher capacity. If it helps at all, the IMR 16340 gives me ~1010 estimated lumens at activation (ICR 16340 gave me ~990).

As for 18650, there is no difference between ICR, IMR or INR cells in this light - I get ~710 ANSI FL-1 lumens.

I thought your results showing the RS version did not benefit form the added juice were interesting, as its obviously regulated differently.
Yes, and they always have been. The max current boost on the RS11 for 2014 is certainly quite noticeable, compared to the original version.
 

TEEJ

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I just tried it, and it didn't make a huge difference on 16340 - my IMR 16340 gave me ~990 estimated ANSI FL-1 lumens, compared to ~970 for the ICR 16340. It is possible the IMR 18350 would do better, given the higher capacity. If it helps at all, the IMR 16340 gives me ~1010 estimated lumens at activation (ICR 16340 gave me ~990).

As for 18650, there is no difference between ICR, IMR or INR cells in this light - I get ~710 ANSI FL-1 lumens.


Yes, and they always have been. The max current boost on the RS11 for 2014 is certainly quite noticeable, compared to the original version.

Hmmm, OK, good info.

It may be that the ability to carry the higher amp flow, longer, was more of a factor, as the 16340 IMR don't come close to the 18350 IMR in that regard. The increase in voltages seems consistent.

IE: The 18650 all give enough amps, and do it at the same 1/2 voltage, so an improvement in performance would only be (potentially) observable if the amps became a limiting output factor as the cells drained.
 
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GehenSienachlinks

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Great review .

The lux is close between old and new models but this can be misleading because if you look at the going gear video it show how much brighter the new model is and how the throw has increased , I don't know if there is that big of a difference in person but on video it's clear .

The bad thing about the new xt11 is that runtime/output graph shows that the new xt11 has even lower output after stepdown then the old one . Both lights should have stepdown of 30% but the new version looks to be underperforming , this is probably due to the initial turbo mode being higher then old version which depletes the battery faster but if manufacturers claim 30% stepdown then it should be closer to 30% not 40% + .
 

selfbuilt

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The lux is close between old and new models but this can be misleading because if you look at the going gear video it show how much brighter the new model is and how the throw has increased , I don't know if there is that big of a difference in person but on video it's clear .
Well, it can't be that great if matched with comparable batteries. Depending on the battery source, my XT11-2014 (XM-L2) is ~20-30% brighter than my original XT11 (XM-L) - on the same battery. Given the same optics, that would mean that on average I would expect ~20-30% more peak beam intensity (or ~10-15% more beam distance) for the new light. Frankly, that would be pretty hard to notice unless you had the two lights side-by-side.

The bad thing about the new xt11 is that runtime/output graph shows that the new xt11 has even lower output after stepdown then the old one . Both lights should have stepdown of 30% but the new version looks to be underperforming , this is probably due to the initial turbo mode being higher then old version which depletes the battery faster but if manufacturers claim 30% stepdown then it should be closer to 30% not 40% + .
Depending on the battery, my XT11 2014 drops by ~45-55% in estimated lumens once step down occurs (the relative output scale on the graphs is not linear to estimated lumens). You could always re-start the light at this point, of course.
 

GehenSienachlinks

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Slightly off topic but has anyone bought the new xt /rs filters ?

The new versions are not a good as the old ones , verry rough to put on . Previous version had three layers of threads the new version has only two , when screwing them on they don't go flush with the body and they scratch the anodizing on the insidie of the light .

Guess I'll need some grease for the threads .
 
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subwoofer

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Selfbuilt, have you investigate how the dual switch works in the tailcap? From the photos it looks like the tailcap has the standard contacts of a sprung plunger and a contact ring. This gives the normal connections for power and simple on-off switching. The additional electronic click switch for modes, does not appear to have any additional contacts to communicate with the driver circuit.

It seems to me that either the driver is in the tailcap (very unlikely) or the electronic switch sends a signal over the power connection (like these Ethernet over Power computer network extenders) to indicate a mode change.

Any ideas?
 

selfbuilt

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Selfbuilt, have you investigate how the dual switch works in the tailcap? From the photos it looks like the tailcap has the standard contacts of a sprung plunger and a contact ring. This gives the normal connections for power and simple on-off switching. The additional electronic click switch for modes, does not appear to have any additional contacts to communicate with the driver circuit.
It seems to me that either the driver is in the tailcap (very unlikely) or the electronic switch sends a signal over the power connection (like these Ethernet over Power computer network extenders) to indicate a mode change.
I haven't explored how the switch functions, but here's a pic of the internals:

XT11-2014-Switch001.jpg


Not shown is the secondary switch electronic contact on the base (but it looks as you might imagine). Not sure if I could safely disassemble the plastic to investigate further without damaging the switch, so I don't plan to attempt. Based on my testing results, a secondary circuit inside the tailswitch assembly is a possibility (i.e., PWM on all levels including Hi is common on dual-circuit setups). :shrug:
 

TheThor

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The dual switch tailcap design. Sense tension between Klarus and Nitecore... heheheh :naughty:
 

TheVat26

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I have both the 600 and 820 version, although the 820 ("first" upgrade) doesn't have the hard switch. I use max 90% of the time and would prefer easier access to that versus ease of strobe and changing modes. Anyone find the height of the hard switch in relation to the main switch to cause accidental mode changes or strobe hit instead if max from off?

The original switch I have works perfect and I never confuse the two or have accidental mode changes. I would like to have a spare in case the stock one breaks or stops working so I don't have to wait weeks for replacements. I don't plan on using the light wearing heavy gloves if that helps with suggestions. Is the hard switch easily removable if I find it cumbersome? Thanks.
 

Xak

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I need a tac light with good spill and a simple UI that can tailstand for EMS work. This fits the bill except for it not tail standing so well.Can you elaborate on its tail standing ability? Is there a way to make it tailstand better?
 

selfbuilt

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Can you elaborate on its tail standing ability? Is there a way to make it tailstand better?
Not that I can see - the switch assembly doesn't really seem modifiable on this light. Unless someone has some other experience?
 

neffson

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Hey guys
I'm kinda new to this flashlight thing and this might be a stupid question but I'd like to make sure anyways. Does the Runtime/Output Graph say that after a couple of minutes with the 18650 battery the lumens drop from 710 to about 425? Also will it stay on 425 or go back up after restarting the flashlight?
What if I used an IMR 18650.. Would there be less of a drop despite the shorter batterylife?
Thanks in advance!
 
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