Lumapower Connexion X2 Review (1AA): BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIMES, COMPARISONS, etc.

selfbuilt

selfbuilt

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Reviewer's Note: The Connexion X2 was supplied by Ricky at Lumapower for review. The first-edition Connexion was purchased from Lighthound.com.

Warning: Pic heavy!

UPDATE: April 5, 2009: A 2xAA extension tube and TurboForce head are now available as upgrades to this light. I have added the TF kit results below, but please see my X2 2xAA review for full details of the extension tube.

UPDATE Feb 16, 2009: Runtime on 14500 Li-ion on Max added.

The X2 is the new revised version of the Lumapower 1xAA EDC light, the Connexion. I don’t have the official specifications for the new Connexion X2, which will only be released at the time of launch. However, I will point out the differences from the original Connexion that I own. This thread will be updated once full X2 specs are known.

X2-0.jpg


Packaging has been updated from the original Connexion, and looks similar to new packaging I’ve found on the MVP/Turboforce lights I’ve reviewed recently.

Inside, the X2 comes well-packaged inside cut-out foam, with warranty card, spare o-rings, belt pouch (very similar to early Fenix models), and a pair of fine-tipped tweezers for accessing the tailcap switch (a nice touch). My sample also came with a Duracell Ultra and Energizer L91, but I suspect that was specific for my review. :)

UPDATE: I see from Lumapower's new X2 announcement thread on CPFMP that the shipping versions will also come with a removable lanyard, user manual, and extra tailcap button cover.


X2-1.jpg


X2-3.jpg

X2-4.jpg

X2-5.jpg


Weight: X2 37.4g vs Connexion 35.1g
Length: X2 92.1mm vs Connexion 92.2mm
Width: X2 19-20.7mm x 19-20.5mm (thinnest to thickest regions)

As you can see, overall size and dimensions are roughly unchanged from the original Connexion. Body design is very similar overall - in fact, I’ve found the heads are interchangeable on the two models. A couple of comparison shots are presented below (with the X2 on the left and the original Connexion on the right):

X2-6.jpg

X2-11.jpg


Fit and finish is excellent on my sample. I am happy to report that anodizing has finally been updated to type III (hard anodizing) on the X2. :thumbsup: It is also a glossier black than the original Connexion, which was more matte finish.

Knurling has been raised and is more aggressive than the original Connexion (although still fairly mild as knurling goes). Additional knurling has been added to the head region, to help with grip.

Lettering is clear on my X2, although not as bright as my original Connexion. :shrug: An extra “Lpower” label has been added to body flat under the clip area.

The clip has been elongated and is removable now. This is an improvement over the first generation Connexion, where the smaller clip was rather useless except as an anti-roll device (seems to have been a direct port from the smaller Incendio). :whistle:

Screw threads retain the same diameter, but seem to be slightly better cut (there is also a layer of anodizing at the exposed end).

Tailcap GITD button cover seems to be of brighter color and GITD output. ;)

X2-9.jpg

X2-10.jpg


As you can see, the tailcap switch can now be fully disassembled. The quality of the components seems higher than the Encore I reviewed recently (which had spacer breakdown debris inside the switch area). Note that the switch now has gold-plated side and main springs.

Looks like this is another area that has gotten a complete revamp! :thumbsup:

X2-7.jpg

X2-12.jpg


Note that the head/reflector still easily unscrews from the pill region, allowing you to adjust the focus of the light somewhat (useful for reducing Cree rings). You can also run it in candle-mode with no reflector/head installed. :thumbsup:

The reflector is generally similar in appearance, but may have a slightly different geometry (hard to tell – the difference is subtle).

X2-8.jpg


The light uses the common Cree Q5 emitter. Tint was a pleasing premium white on my sample, with a slightly warm tint. Scroll down for beamshot comparisons to other lights.

AFAIK, both the Connexion and X2 are current-controlled for their low modes (i.e. no PWM). I saw no sign of tint-shifting across output levels.

UPDATE April 5, 2009: Lumapower has released a TurboForce kit for greater throw on their Connexion and Encore lights.

X2-TF-7.jpg

X2-TF-2.jpg

X2-TF-3.jpg

X2-TF-4.jpg

X2-TF-5.jpg


X2TF-Beam25-1.jpg

X2TF-Beam100-1.jpg

X2TF-Beam800-1.jpg


As you can see, the TurboForce heads adds greater height and width to the light, along with greater throw and a narrower spillbeam. See my X2 2xAA Extension and TurboForce kit review for more details on this new upgrade to the Connexion and Encore lines.

User Interface

The X2 is very similar to the original Connexion – both are classic KISS lights. :kiss:

Press the forward clicky for momentary on, click for lock on. Both lights have 3 output levels that you advance in sequence from Hi to Lo by soft-pressing on the clicky.

Lights have a memory mode to retain the last setting used when you turn it off (i.e. comes back on at that level). One improvement is that the memorization delay is only 1 sec now (~ 2 secs on the original Connexion).

Personally, I would have preferred a Lo to Hi sequence, but the memory mode is at least helpful to keep the light at the level you want.

Comparison Review

X2-2.jpg

From left to right: Duracell Ultra, Connexion X2, Connexion V1, Fenix LD10, Nitecore D10, Olight T15, LiteFlux LF5XT.

As you can see, the light is a bit longer than the Nitecore D10, but otherwise is one of the smallest 1xAA lights in my collection.

Comparison Beamshots

All lights are on 100% on Sanyo Eneloop. Distance is about 0.5 meters from a white wall.

1/25sec, f3.2
1AA-Beam25-3.jpg

X2-Beam25-1.jpg


1/100sec, f3.2
1AA-Beam100-3.jpg

X2-Beam100-1.jpg


1/800sec, f3.2
1AA-Beam800-3.jpg

X2-Beam800-1.jpg


Despite how it looks above, there is no real difference between the original Connexion and X2 beam patterns. I have left both maximally tightened, but you could easily unscrew the X2 head slightly to eliminate the Cree rings and broaden the hotspot to look just like the original Connexion.

Both lights have a relatively broad (and dimmer) spillbeam than typical in the 1AA class. IMO, this is actually fairly useful for an EDC light (i.e. more “floody”).

UPDATE April 5, 2009: For a comparison to the new TurboForce replacement head, please see my X2 2xAA extension and TurboForce kit review.

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 the extended run Lo modes which are done without cooling.

Throw values are the square-root of lux measurements taken at 1 meter from the lens, using a light meter.

Throw/Output Summary Chart:

X2-Summary-1.gif


The Connexion and X2 are very similar in regards to the throw and output. Both have one of the lowest peak throws among my 1AA lights. Max output is about middle or the range, and Min output is among the lowest I’ve seen for a current-controlled light. See my X2 2xAA extension and TurboForce kit review for some recent upgrades to this light, including greater throw.

Output/Runtime Comparison:

X2-HiEne.gif

X2-MedEne.gif


X2-HiL91.gif


X2-HiAlka.gif

X2-MedAlka.gif

X2-LoAlka.gif

Note: Time to shutdown for the X2 on Lo on alkaline was ~ 4.5 days.

UPDATE Feb 16,2009: Lumapower informs me that the X2 can run on 14500 Li-ion. Below is a runtime on Hi.


X2-Hi14500.gif


Output/Runtime Comments:

Although the output levels don’t seem too different between the original Connexion and the X2, output/runtime efficiency (which was already quite good) appears to have been increased a bit further on the X2, especially on the Med-Lo modes.

The X2 seems particularly efficient on its lowest mode, where it ran for longer – and with a bit more light for most of the run – than the excellent Zebralight H50 (i.e. 4.5 days for the X2 vs 3.5 days for H50). It was however less tightly regulated than the H50.

Potential Issues

There are no specific problems or issues that I have identified with the X2.

The quality of the threads on the body tube/head of the X2 appear to be improved over the original Connexion, but are still fairly limited in number.

Mode sequence remains Hi-Med-Lo only.

The forward clicky may remain slightly difficult to press for some, due to its fully recessed nature and somewhat stiff feel for lock-on.

General Observations

The X2 is a noticeable improvement over the original Connexion in a number of ways. The X2 also appears to have a few improvements over the Encore (1x18650), which was a “second-generation EDC” light from Lumapower. Main improvements that I have noticed:

  • Improved efficiency on Med-Lo modes (which was already decent)
  • Reduced time lag for output mode memorization (now 1 sec instead of 2 secs)
  • Improved knurling (raised and slightly more aggressive), with extra band around the head
  • Improved anodizing – now glossier and hard-anodized (type III)
  • Improved cut to the body/head screw threads (but same number and diameter as original Connexion)
  • Longer clip, now removable
  • Tailcap clicky now accessible – and the innards appear to be of higher quality than the Lumapower Encore (i.e. gold-plated contact springs on switch, no debris inside switch area, etc.)
  • Brighter GITD tailcap button cover (although the GITD lens o-ring seems unchanged)
  • UPDATE: Can now safely run on 14500 Li-ion, with all output modes maintained
I am sure there are more detailed changes that Lumapower will announce with the official launch of this light, but those are obvious ones I have noticed.

What hasn’t changed is the easy access to the emitter/pill and the somewhat focusable reflector (which compared to other lights has a wider spillbeam with less evidence of Cree rings). Both units can still tailstand. :twothumbs

The original Connexion was something of a port of the 1xCR123A/RCR Incendio to the 1xAA format. Although it had some limitations and build issues, I liked my review sample Incendio enough to buy a 1xAA Connexion. The X2 is a nice upgrade to the original.

But since most of these are incremental changes, I don't know if they would entice existing Connexion holders to upgrade. And those who didn’t prefer the build or UI of the original Incendio/Connexion may not see enough of a difference with the X2 to take the plunge. :shrug:

But I think the more important point here is that Lumapower is finally using higher quality components on the EDC line. Even the “second generation” EDC light - the Encore – still had a ways to go on a number of build fronts. I’m happy to see the X2 (third generation EDC?) shows a continual improvement. It makes the X2 of worthwhile consideration for those looking for a simple-to-use 1xAA EDC light. :)

P.S.: Since completing this review, Lumapower has informed me that 14500-compatibility has been included with the X2 (wasn't available on the original Connexion). Review has been updated with Hi mode runtime graph for your reference.

UPDATE April 5, 2009: Please see my X2 2xAA Extension & TurboForce kit review for some recent upgrades to this light.
 
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DM51

DM51

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It is particularly useful to have the old and new versions compared in this excellent review. The manufacturer has obviously put much thought into the upgrade.

The competition is fierce in the 1xAA market, and the simplicity of the UI on the Connexion will no doubt attract many supporters.

Moving to the Reviews section.
 
selfbuilt

selfbuilt

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It is particularly useful to have the old and new versions compared in this excellent review. The manufacturer has obviously put much thought into the upgrade.
Yes, I suspect Lumapower has switched suppliers for at least some of the parts. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they have contracted out a different manufacturer (to build to a higher specification).

The competition is fierce in the 1xAA market, and the simplicity of the UI on the Connexion will no doubt attract many supporters.
Another feature I think is particularly well suited for 1xAA EDC is the wider spillbeam. :)
 
gunga

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Excellent review Selfbuilt! As always!

Yes, I like the improvements made to the new Connexion, from improved internal construction to the upgraded knurling and circuit efficiency.

I also like the small size and good UI. THis looks to be a great EDC light!
 
regulator

regulator

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Thanks again for the review. I like the subtle improvements - the extra knurling, the front bezel, the tail knurling, and the HA-III.

I have been using my Incendio on a job site and like this light a lot. I like the very small size and clicky switch - makes for easy one hand operation. I was almost thinking on selling it a while back because it wasn't getting much use until recently and I have come to appreciate it.

The improved X2 is a nice light.
 
eyeeatingfish

eyeeatingfish

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The connexion x2 has almost the same throw as the encore and the lightbox is only slightly less.

Do you find these lights to be rather equivalent in output? The encore is supposed to be rated much higher. If they use the same reflector this may be partially why I guess, but I would expect more from the encore, especially when they rate it higher. 120 lumens vs 180 lumens right?
 
selfbuilt

selfbuilt

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Thanks guys - I think fans of the EDC series will find much to like in this upgrade.

The connexion x2 has almost the same throw as the encore and the lightbox is only slightly less. .... Do you find these lights to be rather equivalent in output?
Good point. My lightbox typically shows the Encore to only be ~25% brighter overall, depending on battery. It is noticeable when comparing the two side by side.

But ultimately, I really just see the Encore as a long-lasting version of the Incendio/Connexion EDC series (due to its greater battery capacity). The X2 has pretty good output for a 1AA light, whereas the Encore has relatively low max output for its class (but with exquisitely good regulation and runtime).
 
selfbuilt

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I see Ricky has started a new X2 announcement thread on CPFMP.

It looks like the the shipping versions will also come with a removable lanyard, user manual, and extra tailcap button cover.

Looking at the lanyard/clip attachment point, I'm thinking you could also put a small split ring there if you wanted.
 
BigBluefish

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The connexion x2 has almost the same throw as the encore and the lightbox is only slightly less.

Do you find these lights to be rather equivalent in output? The encore is supposed to be rated much higher. If they use the same reflector this may be partially why I guess, but I would expect more from the encore, especially when they rate it higher. 120 lumens vs 180 lumens right?

I had initially been very keen on the Encore, but after carefully reading selfbuilt's and other's posts, it occurred to me that it really wasn't much brighter than the Incendio. The runtime is still killer, though, and I like the size, but the quesion for me know: is it woth the 2 x CR123as to feed it?

I'm liking the Connexion X2, though. I'll end up with one of these, Incendio, Connexion or Encore, but which???

BTW, cool username....Lamprologus compressiceps? Been a long time since I dabbled in African cichlids.

EDIT: Me bad: Haplochromis compressiceps!
 
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PlayboyJoeShmoe

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I had forgotten that "focus" was so easy.

I took the sort of moonbeam and made the spot softer edged.

Thanks!
 
K

Krahl

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Excellent review!! Thanks.
 
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Mikellen

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Selfbuilt, does the Connexion X2 use the same Cree Q5 WD bin as the previous Connexion?

Did the Connexion and the Connexion X2 have similar tint colors?

Thank you.
 
Sgt. LED

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Are you planning to do a review of the Surefire, OOps I mean ICON, 1 and 2 AA lights?

These lights are causing a bit of a stir just hearing about them and I though your review of them would get plenty of readers!
 
copperfox

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Selfbuilt, can you explain the UI in a little more detail? Specifically, I wonder how using the clicky in momentary only (press halfway, but don't click) and changing modes might interfere with one another.

If you push down for momentary, and then release, is there a time limit that I have to wait before using momentary again to ensure I get the same mode again?

Is there a time-out for chainging modes? For example, if you hold down for momentary for, say, 5 seconds, and then release and immediately push down momentary again, what happens?

Is there any strange flashing or flickering when it changes modes or memorizes modes? Thanks.
 
PlayboyJoeShmoe

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I don't see the answer anywhere else in this thread.

Will the original Connexion take a Li-Ion 14500?

I don't wish to let out magic smoke by trying it on my own!
 
selfbuilt

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Will the original Connexion take a Li-Ion 14500?
My understanding is that the original connexion does not take 14500. I haven't tested it here, but I saw in another thread a post from lumapower that you can run 14500 on the new X2.

Selfbuilt, can you explain the UI in a little more detail? Specifically, I wonder how using the clicky in momentary only (press halfway, but don't click) and changing modes might interfere with one another.
Press-and-hold works the same as press-and-click. If you hold the light in momentary for more than 1sec, it will memorize the mode and come back into that mode next time you turn on the light.

This includes a quick flash - if you release the switch and press again immediately, the light will stay in the same mode as long you held it there for >1 sec the first time. If you flash again without waiting 1sec, the light will advance to the next mode (as you would expect).

There is no annoying flash of blip to indicate memory has been set - it's strictly based on time.
 
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