Klarus XT11 (XM-L U2 - 1x18650, 2xCR123A/RCR) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO+

selfbuilt

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Warning: pic heavy, as usual. :whistle:

UPDATE JUNE 5, 2014: I have recently reviewed a revised version of this model for 2014. Please continue all discussion in that thread, thank you.

XT11005.jpg

XT11006.jpg


The XT11 is an updated version of the XT10 that I reviewed previously. Let's see what this revised model sports … :whistle:

Manufacturer Reported Specifications:
  • CREE XM-L (U2) LED
  • Three lighting modes and 1 flashing mode
  • 600 ANSI lumens (2.2 hrs)
  • 150 lumens (7.3 hrs)
  • 10 lumens (295 hrs)
  • Variable frequency strobe: 600 lumens (4.4 hrs)
  • Working Voltage: 3.4V-8.4V
  • Battery: 2x CR123A / 1x 18650 / 2x 16340 (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
  • Dimensions: 148mm (Length) x 34.9 mm (Head) x 25.4mm (Body) x 26.2mm( Tail)
  • Net weight: 132g (Excluding battery)
  • Waterproof to IPX-8 Standard (underwater to 2 meters)
  • Included accessories: holster, lanyard, body clip, tactical ring and two spare o-rings
  • MSRP: ~$85
XT11002.jpg


Packaging has been updated, now in a new format clearly intended for store shelf display. As before, the light comes with a good number of extras. Along the light you will find a manual, spare o-rings, spare boot cover, decent wrist strap, pocket clip (attached), and belt holster (with closing flap). A removable plastic grip ring is also included on the light.

XT11019.jpg

XT11016.jpg

From left to right: Redilast 18650; Klarus XT10, XT11; Rofis JR20; Sunwayman V20C; Thrunite TN10; Foursevens X7 Maelstrom.

All dimensions are given with no batteries installed:

Klarus XT11: Weight 133.0g, Length: 148.8, Width (bezel) 35.0mm
Klarus XT10: Weight 121.3g, Length: 144.8, Width (bezel) 34.9mm
Sunwayman V20C: Weight: 117.4g, Length 133.0mm, Width (bezel) 32.2mm
JetBeam RRT-21: Weight: 137.3g, Length143.3 mm, Width (bezel) 33.8mm
Lumintop TD-15X: Weight 150.3g, Length 147.3mm, Width (bezel): 37.8mm

The XT11 is slightly longer and heavier than the earlier model, but you would only notice side-by-side. Overall size remains about typical for this class of light.

XT11007.jpg

XT11008.jpg

XT11009.jpg


As before, I quite like the look of these Klarus lights. The anodizing remains a rich dark grey-brown color, even darker on my XT11 sample (type III = HA). As before, no blemishes or flaws on my sample. The excellent anodizing seems very similar to some of my Sunwayman lights. :thumbsup:

Labels are not very bright, but clearly legible against the dark background. The main XT11 body labels seem somewhat crooked on my sample, though. :p

There are some slight changes to the tube pattern (i.e. finger grip wells are gone), but overall styling is very similar. As before, knurling is not very aggressive. But with all the ridge detail and extra, overall grip is fine.

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

Another new feature that I quite like is the removable stainless steel bezel ring. Slightly crenelated as before, the ring can be removed and an optional set of colored filters or a diffuser can be screwed on instead. This is my preferred way of using a removable diffuser. :twothumbs

Screw threads appear identical to before (e.g., you can screw on the old tailcap), and are traditional triangular-cut. Tailcap threads are anodized for lock-out.

The most distinctive part of the light remains the dual-switch control in the tailcap. This looks and functions as before. The main on/off switch is the larger, circular, protruding one (forward clicky switch, typical feel). The smaller recessed semi-circular one is an electronic mode-changing switch (slightly firmer feel than most electronic switches, definite click on activation). Both are can be accessed one-handed by the thumb or index finger, in an over-hand tactical grip

Light cannot tailstand, despite the raised areas for the lanyard attachment.

The clip-on pocket clip is fairly basic, but my sample seems to be holding on fairly well. Like before, the clip is head-facing, and not reversible.

The grip ring has changed, and is now a hard plastic with holes for lanyard attachment. You no longer need to remove the o-ring to get the grip ring on/off. I typically prefer rubber grip rings, which are easiest on the fingers.

User Interface

User interface is unchanged from the XT10. Press the large forward clicky switch for on-off (press for momentary, click for locked-on).

Change modes by pressing the smaller electronic switch. 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. I haven't measured it, but this suggests that a standby current must be present when the tailcap is fully tightened.

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

For a more detailed examination of the build and user interface, please see my video overview: :wave:



Video was recorded in 720p, but YouTube defaults to 360p. Once the video is running, you can click on the configuration icon in the lower right-hand corner, and select the higher 480p to 720p options, or even run full-screen.

PWM/Strobe

Lo:
XT11-LoiPWM.gif


Med:
XT11-MedPWM.gif


Hi:
XT11-HiPWM.gif


As before, the XT11 uses PWM of just under 1 kHz. PWM is an apparently unavoidable by-product of having a tailcap control circuit combined with a head circuit. :shrug: At least the frequency is high enough not to be visually distracting, like on some other lights.

Another side-effect is that PWM is again present on the Hi mode (confirmed on all battery sources). You are very unlikely to notice it, however, as the light is "on" almost the entire cycle (i.e., PWM is much more noticeable at low duty rates).

XT11-LoNoise.gif


I also observed some variable high frequency noise, especially on the low modes.

XT11-Strobe.gif


Strobe uses the oscillating format popular on "tactical" strobes lately. It is unchanged from the XT, with a strobe frequency that switches between 15 Hz and 6 Hz every ~2 secs. Definitely very annoying, as intended. :green:

Interesting feature that you can directly activate it from off, by pressing the secondary mode switch.

Standby drain

Since the secondary switch is an electronic switch (that can be activated from Off), there needs to be a standby current when the tailcap is fully connected. Measuring it is a little more complicated than usual, given the need to have the tailcap in the current path.

UPDATE March 12, 2012: I've gone and measured it now, and the most stable reading I obtained was ~1.4 uA on a fully charged 18650. Seeing as how that translates into a couple of centuries for most 18650 cells, I don't think we need to worry about it much. :thumbsup:

Beamshots:

XT11011.jpg

XT11022.jpg


The OP reflector looks the same as before, with a well-centered XM-L emitter on my sample. I would expect a comparable beam pattern to the XT10.

And now the white-wall beamshots. ;) All lights are on max output, on AW protected 1x18650. 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.

XT11-Beam001.jpg
XT10-Beam001.jpg

V20C-Beam001.jpg
RRT21-Beam001.jpg


XT11-Beam002.jpg
XT10-Beam002.jpg

V20C-Beam002.jpg
RRT21-Beam002.jpg


XT11-Beam003.jpg
XT10-Beam003.jpg

V20C-Beam003.jpg
RRT21-Beam003.jpg


XT11-Beam004.jpg
XT10-Beam004.jpg

V20C-Beam004.jpg
RRT21-Beam004.jpg


Note that the above are all on 1x18650. There is not really a huge difference on Hi on 1x18650, but you can see a bump in output. I discovered in my detailed testing that the XT11 is considerably brighter on 2x battery sources. Scroll down for more info … :whistle:

Testing Method:

All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, a la Quickbeam's flashlightreviews.com method. 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 recently devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values (ROV) to estimated Lumens. See my How to convert Selfbuilt's Lighbox 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. Effective March 2012, I have updated the Max Output ANSI FL-1 lumen estimates to represent peak output measured at 30 secs (my earlier gray tables were based on a later time point for Max output). Please see http://www.flashlightreviews.ca/FL1.htm for a discussion, and a description of all the terms used in these tables.

XT11-FL1-Summary-1.gif


XT11-FL1-Summary-2.gif


XT11-FL1-Summary-3.gif


The reported 600 ANSI FL-1 lumen spec for the XT11 presumably refers to 1x18650. Note that Klarus does not specify what battery ANSI FL-1 is based on – only that 1x18650, 2xCR123A and 2xRCR are all supported (with 2xRCR not recommended).

In my testing, the 1x18650 mode is an estimated ~550 ANSI FL-1 lumens initially (estimated ~370 lumens after step-down at 3 mins). In contrast, 2xRCR and 2xCR123A were an estimated ~750 ANSI FL-1 lumens and ~700 ANSI FL-1 lumens, respectively, initially (with a common estimated ~530 lumens right after step-down at 3mins). :eek:oo:

So, while output has definitely increased on 1x18650 compared to the XT10, the take-home message is that the XT11 is a lot brighter on 2x battery sources (with correspondingly lower runtime than the XT10).

Throw is reasonable for the class and output levels.

Output/Runtime Comparison:

XT11-Hi18650.gif

XT11-Med18650.gif


XT11-HiRCR.gif

XT11-MedRCR.gif


XT11-HiCR123A.gif


As before, the XT11 steps down on Hi after 3 mins runtime, on all batteries tested. This has become a fairly common feature on a number of heavily-driven lights, to protect against overheating. Initial max output can be re-obtained by simply clicking the light off-on.

While the TX11 is measurably brighter than the XT10 on 1x18650 (both initially and after step-down), the real difference can be seen on 2x battery sources.

As before, the light is fully regulated on 2xRCR on Hi – but the XT11 is now much brighter than the XT10, both initially and after step-down. On 2xCR123A, the XT11 is not able to maintain regulation very long once step-down occurs, and quickly drops down in output (compared to the lower output – but stabilized - XT10).

FYI, the XT11 easily matches my Thrunite TN10/TN11/Scorpion V2 as the most heavily-driven light I've seen on 2x battery sources (at least initially). :eek:oo: This presumably explains why 2xRCR is not recommended by the manufacturer.

On Medium, the XT11 is comparable in output to the XT10 when run on 1x18650 (but with longer runtime on my sample). My ANSI FL-1 lumen estimate for the XT10 on Med is ~140, which is in keeping with the manufacturer specs.

Note that on 2xRCR on Medium (~200 estimated lumens on my sample), the XT11 is again brighter than on 1x18650. This is also brighter than the XT10 (~100 estimated lumens).

Runtime performance is quite acceptable, and very consistent with reported ANSI FL-1 specs on 1x18650. :thumbsup: However, on 2x battery sources, overall efficiency seems toward the lower end of this class of high-output lights.

Potential Issues

As before, the light uses PWM on all modes (including Hi) at a detectable, but not visually-distracting 1 kHz.

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, I have measured it at the negligible level of 1.4uA on an 18650 cell. At that level, it would take centuries to fully drain your typical 18650.

Output is higher – and runtime lower - on 2x battery sources compared to the 1x18650 specs. Note that 2xRCR is not recommended by the manufacturer.

The mode-changing switch may be a bit difficult to access, especially if you have gloves on.

My sample had audible hum on all levels, on all batteries (although worse on some modes than others). While not as distracting as some lights I've tested, it was more noticeable than typical on my one sample. Note that inductor whine (the presumed source of these hums) can be highly variable, so there is no guarantee on what you will receive. Most lights experience some degree of hum on certain outputs modes/voltage sources.

Preliminary Observations

The XT11 is a nice upgrade to the XT10. :) Max output has increased (measurably on 1x18650, considerably on 2x battery sources), and there are a few nice build updates.

As before, I like the look and feel of the XT11. It is a solid light, well balanced in the hand, with excellent quality anodizing (as before, very Sunwayman-like in color). :thumbsup:

The distinctive dual-switch tailcap design and user interface is unchanged (i.e., you can easily change modes without altering your hand grip). The UI is clearly designed for the "tactical" crowd, as the light always comes on in Hi mode. A disorienting oscillating strobe is also available by a single press, directly from both off and on.

The XT11 still uses PWM on all modes (including Hi), but it remains at a reasonably high level so as not to be distracting (~1 kHz). PWM seems to be a necessary feature of the light, given the dual-control circuits (i.e. one in the head, one in the tailcap).

As I mentioned above, this is a nice upgrade to the "tactically-focused" XT10 – but whether you find it an incremental or a significant upgrade depends on how you plan to use the light. On 1x18650, the difference in output or runtime may not be too noticeable to you (i.e. ~30% more Hi output initially, but less of a difference over time). On 2xCR123A/RCR, expect a considerable increase in initial output (~55-65% more on Hi) - but for a concomitant decrease in overall runtime.

This makes the XT11 one of the brightest 2xRCR/CR123A lights in my collection at the moment - it matches the Thrunite TN10/11 and Scorpion V2 for the top spot. This presumably explains why 2xRCR is supported but not recommended by Klarus (i.e., that's a lot of heat). For those of you for whom the ~450 lumens on the XT10 was plenty, the reduction in runtime on the XT11's >700 lumens on 2xCR123A/RCR may be an issue. :shrug:

Either way, I like the extra build touches on the XT11 – especially the stainless steel bezel ring (with optional filters/diffusers that you can screw on). The XT10 was always a good light for the tactical crowd, and the XT11 has added some nice touches. The extra output is probably what captures most people's attention, so please check out my summary tables and runtime graphs above for more info on the expected output and runtime on the various batteries. :wave:

UPDATE JUNE 5, 2014: I have recently reviewed a revised version of this model for 2014. Please continue all discussion in that thread, thank you.

----

Klarus XT11 provided by goinggear.com for review.
 
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selfbuilt

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Anyone wondering why I've updated my summary tables in blue? :whistle:

Back in November 2010, I revised all the summary tables in my reviews to match the (relatively new at that time) ANSI/NEMA FL-1 2009 standard for flashlight testing. This standard was finally starting to be used by many flashlight makers, as it provides a standardized way to compare characteristics across lights. I suggest you check out the Flashlight Wiki entry on ANSI/NEMA FL-1 for more info on the standard.

As the ANSI/NEMA FL-1 Standards are a copyrighted and protected document, I was initially relying on published public reports by various manufacturers on the standards' specifics. It turns out these weren't quite entirely accurate for max output. I have since purchased a copy of the FL-1 standards, and can confirm that all output/throw testing does takes place within 30-120 secs after activation.

As you might imagine, manufacturers will typically pick the time that best suits them (likely 30 secs for output/throw measures). Although I always did throw/beam distance measures this way, I was originally reporting the max output column in those tables at between 2.5 mins to 3 mins post-activation. Effective March 2012, I am now reporting max output at 30 secs post-activation, as I believe this is more representational to what manufacturers actually claim.

The main result of this change is that the Max output ANSI FL-1 measures will increase slightly on some lights in my tables, compared to older review (mainly those lights that are heavily-driven and not fully regulated/stabilized over the first few minutes of runtime). None of the other values are affected. To make this change easier to see, I am updating the color of my summary tables from light gray to light blue, effective March 2012. The light blue tables will all report Max output at the 30 secs mark (as explained in the table legends).

For more information about what the various terms in my tables mean, please see my ANSI/NEMA FL-1 page at : http://www.flashlightreviews.ca/FL1.htm

You can also find out more about how I estimate lumen output from my home-made setup on this thread here at CPF: How to convert Selfbuilt's Lightbox values to Lumens
 
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dlmorgan999

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Excellent and thorough review as always! I've had this light for about three weeks now and it's become one of my favorites. I agree with you that the anodizing is very nicely done and is indeed very similar in quality to Sunwayman. Keep up the great work on the reviews. :)
 

127.0.0.1

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i have serial number ending in 00071 and the labeling is spot-on level

also 4 others which are perfect ...yours musta been a fluke :D
 

dlmorgan999

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I don't know where to find the serial number, but for the record, the label on mine is a bit crooked too.
 
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selfbuilt

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Excellent and thorough review as always! I've had this light for about three weeks now and it's become one of my favorites. I agree with you that the anodizing is very nicely done and is indeed very similar in quality to Sunwayman. Keep up the great work on the reviews. :)
Thanks, it is an impressive looking light - very solid feel, and great anodizing.

Personally, I would like a memory mode and completely non-visible PWM, but this light does seem to suit its target "tactical" audience well as is.

i have serial number ending in 00071 and the labeling is spot-on level
also 4 others which are perfect ...yours musta been a fluke :D
I don't know where to find the serial number, but for the record, the label on mine is a bit crooked too.
Glad to hear most are level, but I suspected mine wasn't the only one that was crooked. Just a costmetic issue, of course.

The serial number is right under the Klarus XT11 label (i.e. sample 820 in my case?). Previously, there were two seperate serial numbers on the XT10 - one at the base of the head, and a different one on the tailcap.
 
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madecov

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Thank you for yet another very good review.

My XT-11 has straight engraving, The clip is not that great. I have had mine come off twice on the light.

I have been using mine as a back up duty light and been very pleased with the performance. Klarus comes very close to being MY perfect light.
If the clip was mounted with a retaining ring the light would be just about perfect for me.
 

Chicken Drumstick

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How exactly can something be supported but not recommended??? :confused: RCR's...

From a customer point of view, it either is or isn't! No inbetween and vagueness. If I buy the light and use RCR's in it and it breaks, does that mean warranty void??
 

127.0.0.1

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How exactly can something be supported but not recommended??? :confused: RCR's...

From a customer point of view, it either is or isn't! No inbetween and vagueness. If I buy the light and use RCR's in it and it breaks, does that mean warranty void??

not recommended basically means: brighter, but lousy runtimes, which might disappoint

also maybe it means led life is reduced by an unquantifiable amount
 

Partizan302

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A very interesting review. As things stand at this flashlight with side illumination compared to lumintop ed20?
 

selfbuilt

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How exactly can something be supported but not recommended??? :confused: RCR's...
FYI, that line from the reported specs: "Battery: 2x CR123A / 1x 18650 / 2x 16340 (use of 16340 batteries is not recommended)" is taken directly from the back of the packaging.

It is a bit of a puzzler. I am not a lawyer, but I presume that means they have to warranty the light for damage that may occur from 2x16340 (i.e. RCR), as they explictly support it in the specs.

As pointed out above, the "recommendation" against using the cells is ambiguous, and could refer to anything (e.g., due to low runtime, excessive heat, etc.). As such, it seems to me that it cannot logically be used to nulify the explicit support stated for those cells. I have seen examples with other makers where only 1x18650 and 2xCR123A are explicitly supported, with or without a statement recommending against 2x16340/RCR. In those cases, you are clearly on your own if the light fails from non-supported batteries (although dealers/manufacturers can always waive their rights and provide service anyway). In this case, it seems to me you should be covered, as the "recommendation" is just that - a common-sense guideline about sticking with the most appropriate cells for the light.

That said, I personally don't recommend you run heavily-driven lights on Hi (i.e. >700 lumens on XM-L) on standard ICR 16340. You are pushing these cells to the limits of their rated discharge rates, which isn't good for the cells (especially a concern for old or poor quality cells). The risk to the flashlight is probably fairly minimal - it is more the cells that I would be worried about.

In any case, it is hard to know for sure what they meant exactly. If anyone is concerned about warranty support on the XT11 with 2xRCR, I suggest you confirm directly with Klarus or your dealer.
 
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selfbuilt

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A very interesting review. As things stand at this flashlight with side illumination compared to lumintop ed20?
Sorry I missed this before.

I didn't include the Lumintop ED20 in the runtime traces because I was running out of colors. :rolleyes:

As you will see in my review of the ED20, output on all levels is actually very similar to the earlier Klarus XT10. The ED20 has an advantage in runtime, due to the excellent current-controlled circuit (more efficient than PWM). Beam spill is also a little wider on the ED20.
 

eh123456

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As usual, a very nice review from selfbuilt :thumbsup:
I bought this light today, have played with it for only a few hours. The only thing I don't like is the removable grip ring which is cheap plastic and very loose on my sample.
I tried to use 2 X RCR, very bright indeed, but also get hot very quickly.
Overall, good quality at a reasonable price.
 

FlashLion

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Thank You for the objective review with pros and cons.Very useful review.With better clip and better grip ring this flashlight will be perfect.:thumbsup:
 

tobrien

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very nice again selfbuilt!

so does the lack of finger grooves (a la XT10) make any difference in how easy it is to hold or how good it feels in the hand?
 

selfbuilt

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so does the lack of finger grooves (a la XT10) make any difference in how easy it is to hold or how good it feels in the hand?
Nah. The finger wells were really more decoration on the XT10. It is only on the earlier ST/NT series where they were deep enough for a significant impact. No real difference between the XT10 and XT11 for grip.
 

EricHalfabee

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Thanks again Selfbuilt, for "selling" me on another flashlight. Successfully (IMHO) navigated the flashlight jungle maze of possible products for this one courtesy of your review. It is a gift for a friend entering the LEO world, and looks like it should do the trick. High-mode first, no memory, handy Low-mode option for close-up stuff, good output... nice. I worry a teeny bit about the standby current for the Strobe switch, but mmmeh. I'm sure the draw is miniscule and hey - future batteries are his problem, I'm just supplying the gift and 2x123's to start! ha.

Thanks again!
-e :)
 

127.0.0.1

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Thanks again Selfbuilt, for "selling" me on another flashlight. Successfully (IMHO) navigated the flashlight jungle maze of possible products for this one courtesy of your review. It is a gift for a friend entering the LEO world, and looks like it should do the trick. High-mode first, no memory, handy Low-mode option for close-up stuff, good output... nice. I worry a teeny bit about the standby current for the Strobe switch, but mmmeh. I'm sure the draw is miniscule and hey - future batteries are his problem, I'm just supplying the gift and 2x123's to start! ha.

Thanks again!
-e :)

I only have one other suggestion as a giftlight. Give them 4 cr123's, that way when it dies, they are all set with no surprises.
and also give them a URL to a battery supplier and good cheap batts (titanium innovations, duracell 123 or duracell procell, eagtac...etc)
so they know that they can obtain cr123 and not get robbed (if they are not familiar with feeding cr123 to flashlights)
 

selfbuilt

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FYI, I just did a standby current measure, which is a bit tricky given the tailcap design. The most stable reading I obtained was ~1.4 uA on a fully charged 18650. Seeing as how that translates into a couple of centuries for most 18650 cells, I don't think we need to worry, lol. :rolleyes:

I didn't test other battery types, but I don't imagine it is very different. End result, your cells will be dead from old age long before the negligible standy current could drain them. :thumbsup:
 

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