Review: Klarus XT11S: micro-USB tactical light, XP-L HI V3, 1100 lumens; (beams)hots

kj75

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A couple of weeks ago, Klarus has updated the XT11 by redesigning the light and adding some new features. So, the XT11S is there: a tactical light that has a new charging function, a brighter led and some interesting features. A specialty of the XT11S is that its programmable, so everyone can choose it favorite mode. Let’s have a closer look at the XT11S, also compared to some equal flashlights!

the upgraded „S-version“ of the Klarus XT11
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a tactical torch
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powered by a XP-L HI V3 LED
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has interesting features
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To start with, the features and specifications here, given by Klarus:

• Upgraded 4th generation ultra-compact, lightweight, super-bright tactical flashlight Superior performance protected by two original patents
• The CREE XP-L HI V3 LED, delivering a maximum output of 1100 lumens, provides a strong spotlight with a maximum beam distance of up to 330 metres
• Dual tactical tail switch as well as side switch are easy to operate and designed to satisfy any user requirements
• Multi-purpose with clear, versatile functions: Straight 2 Strobe, Instant Turbo, Instant Low-light, Memorized Function ability, SOS, Side
Switch Lock Function, Battery Capacity Indicator, USB Rechargeable, ITS Smart Temperature Control System, Easy Mode Change
• Ultra compact and lightweight (head diameter 34.9mm, body diameter 25.4mm, length 139mm), net weight 115g (without battery).
• Patented dual tactical tail switch for easy non-visual, one-handed touch operation; Quick and easy to correctly locate the switches in the dark and activate the flashlight
instantly
• Three operating modes: Classic Tactical Setting,Outdoor Setting and Tactical Assault Setting
• Direct Recharging Function: Micro-USB general charging port with protective cover, giving dustproof, antifouling and waterproof properties
• Smart digital charging system tracks charging to ensure rapid, safe recharging and prevent overcharging
• Smart ITS temperature control system monitors internal temperature and adjusts output for maximum brightness, protecting the LEDs
and internal components to ensure safety, stability and optimum performance
• Constant current circuit with no PWM dimming to prevent flickering
• Side switch incorporates a specially designed lock function to prevent accidental illumination
This precludes power drainage during storage or travelling and prevents eye damage should children play with the flashlight
• Battery capacity indicator display enables you to control usage according to remaining charge
• Dual springs in head and tail for improved drop and shock resistance
• Reverse-battery protection prevents damage to both flashlight and battery
• Aircraft grade aluminum, CNC precision machined cell, Military III hard anodic oxidation, wear resistant, portable and strong
• Stainless Steel bezel design for better protection of internal components
• Integrated head and tube design for more efficient heat dissipation
• Durable tempered glass lens with AR film plating forscratch resistance


Und the technical specs:

• Utilizes CREE XP-L HI V3 LED with a lifespan of up to 50,000 hours
• Classic Tactical Setting as factory default
• Working voltage: 2.5V-8.4V
• Compatible Batteries: 1x 18650 battery with PCB protection or 2 x CR123A batteries ( Do not use 16340 batteries)
• Charging time: Depends on the battery capacity
Formula: charging time= (capacity of battery/1000mA+1H)
• Body colour: Black
• Reflector: Smooth reflector
• Switch type: Dual Tactical Tail Switch and Side Switch
• Dimension: (Head)34.9mm×(Body)25.4mm×(Length)139mm
• Net weight: 115 g (Excluding battery)
• Material: Aircraft-grade aluminum 6061-T6, Type III hard-anodized
• Waterproof: IPX-8 (underwater 2 metres)
• Lens: Toughened ultra-clear glass with anti-corrosion AR coating

And the output specs:
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Unboxing:

The box is easy to recognize: a colorful but cramped carton… Store away the XT11S in this box isn’t an easy job; the box will tear out easily. But, overall it looks nice at neat. A Klarus box is, like we’re used off, a complete box: all we need is inside. Because we don’t need a separate charger, but only a phone charger or an usb-port, we can start up straight. Have a look at some pictures below, that show the box and the contents!

a colorful box
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without secrets.. because all specs are mentioned
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all-in: ready to go!
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Impressions:

First impression: A real compact, tactical light that has good “feels”. The XT11S has a nice, deep black color and is well finished: The build-quality and finished is well-done, I couldn’t detect any defects. Also a good job on the machining; the used materials are of good quality. The grey laser engraving is also fine. The side button (with built-in power check) is the same Klarus used at the BK30 bike-light. Also thank to the tactical ring the XT11S has good anti-rolling design. The clip (that is detachable) is one of the strongest I met until now. The micro-usb-port has a rubber cover that seals well. But there always the risk that the cover will lose a little during when using the XT11S. This means you always have to be careful in rainy of wet conditions and ensure the cover is closed. The XT11S has a smooth and clean reflector and a well-centered XP-L HI V3 led. Especially, a thrower needs a perfectly centered led, so I’m happy with this. During opening the light, the threads run smooth and without scratching; but please take care of your lights and lube your threads regularly. Advantage of a rechargeable light like this is that you don’t need to open it for charging. Inside the light, that has double springs, it looks ok. Only thing I noticed are some glue-rest below the spring in the lights’ head. But summarizing, I can tell I like the XT11S: The build-quality and finishing are well-done, certainly for a light in this price range. Please have a look at a couple of impression-pictures too!

the S-upgrade to the Klarus XT11
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a compact, tactical light
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the renewed side-button
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dual-switch at the bottom
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not too big
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can tailstand, but it isn’t steady standing
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a smooth reflector and the typical, flat led
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that is well-centered
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comes including a flat-top 18650
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always and easy direct-strobe thanks to the special button
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a look into the tailcap
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and into the tube.. some glue rests below the spring here
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a close-up to the rubber cover that seals the micro-usb port
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the Klarus XT11S is well-finished
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a closer look to the XP-L HI V3 led
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easy to control
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a nice black color
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and an attractive appearance
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the XT11S fits well in the delivered holster
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easy to add-on: the lanyard
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some outdoor pictures here…
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outside the light no specialties visible..
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but inside…
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its high-tech!
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waterproof to IPX-8
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User interface:

The XT11S is rather compact and fits well in the hand. The interface fits well for one-hand operation. Both switches at the bottom have a clear pressure point, the side button hasn’t a clear pressure point. Silent operation (without audible clicks) is possible, depending on the used main-mode. The side-button has an integrated power check: after turning on the XT11S, this indicator-led will light up in green, red or orange. It also warns when the voltage is low or if the cells are installed incorrectly. Charging the light is an easy job: Any power source that has a micro-usb jack can be used.

Everyone can control the XT11S, I mean turn on and off the light and change modes, but this light is designed to do more with it! Special feature of the XT11S is that you can adjust three different main modes, depending on actual situation.

Adjusting the XT11S works like this: Press and hold the side-button for about 10 seconds; until the light flickers (like a strobe-mode). Mind to keep the button pressed! Choose your desired mode by using the strobe / mode button, after every press the light will change the main-mode an blink once, twice, or three times. Easy job, it can’t go wrong…

Modes:

The XT11S has totally four normal modes: LOW > MED > HIGH > TURBO. The modes are well spaced, even though the LOW (that has 10 lumens) is for me too bright. So, maybe, in total five modes in future and a real moonlight would be a good option here. The XT11S has two special modes: STROBE and SOS. Also three special modes for the XT11S here (depending on actual mainmode):

Using the forward clicky will bring direct-TURBO; in tactical / hunting and outdoor-mode (by pressing and holding the side button) you will have direct-LOW. The second button at the lights’ tail brings direct-STROBE.

Releasing the tailcap about a full turn will LOCK-OUT the XT11S.

I’ll show you the modes and possibilities of the light (thanks to the clear manual Mr. Schiermeier has added):

1. Tactical Mode:

Forward clicky > a half press for momentary-on, a full press / click for constant-on. (starts always at TURBO).
If on, change modes by (short) pressing the mode / strobe button, only three modes available: TURBO > HIGH > LOW; a longer press brings STROBE, a press longer than two seconds brings constant-STROBE.
Short press the side-button for on, after that a short click to change modes. This way, the light starts at last used mode. Press and hold the side-button for off.
A quick double press to the side button brings STROBE. Click once to shut off.
When off, a long press to the side-button brings instant-LOW. After that, you can cycle through TURBO > HIGH > MED clicking the same button.

2. Hunting / Outdoor Mode:

Forward clicky > a half press for momentary-on, a full press / click for constant-on. (starts always at TURBO).
A short press to the mode / strobe-button to cycle through the modes: TURBO > MED > HIGH
Use the side-button to cycle through the modes: TURBO > HIGH > MED > LOW. When off, a longer press than one second will bring direct-LOW. Quick double press: STROBE; again a quick double-press: SOS-mode.

You can cycle up ánd down using both buttons. Great option here!

3. Extreme Tactical Mode:

Only the clicky and the mode / strobe button work. The side button doesn’t work at this mode.

Forward clicky > a half press for momentary-on, a full press / click for constant-on. (starts always at TURBO).
A short press to the mode / strobe-button brings momentary-STROBE, press 2 seconds or more for constant STROBE
Side-button has no function

Smart ITS:

ITS means, that the XT11S, when it gets overheated, automatically will downshift to a lower output level. Good option and update here, because a compact light like this will get hot easily at turbo-mode.

Size comparison:

A comparison here to some equal lights: All lights shown here have about the same output and almost equal throw. Clear to see here that the XP-L HI needs less place to reach the same or even more distance, and also because of this the XT11S’ head is compact compared to the RS20-brother.

18650, Nitecore MH20GT, Klarus XT11S and Klarus RS20
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Nitecore MH20GT, Klarus XT11S and Klarus RS20
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Nitecore MH20GT, Klarus XT11S and Klarus RS20
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the heads: twice XP-L HI V3 and once XM-L2 U2
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the tails:
Nitecore MH20GT, Klarus XT11S and Klarus RS20
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Tint:

The XT11S has a coolwhite tint. The tint of the MH20GT is more neutral, the RS20 has a greenish tint in the corona and a slightly bluish tint in the spill. Personally, I would like to see a more neutral tint on the XT11S.

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Beamprofile:

The XT11S has a „thrower-profile”: a narrow hotspot, tiny corona and big spill. However, thanks to the spill a usable profile because the XP-L HI is a powerful led. Therefore it’s not only “hotspot” that the XT11S emits. This is a very useful profile for tactical employability. I could detect any defects in the profile, but at short distance (indoors) I noticed some barely visible rings. No PWM at any mode, so we can say again: Well done Klarus!

Beamshots:

Starting here by projecting the beam of the XT11S on a white wall, distance about 1 meter away. Outside I’ll compare the XT11S to the other two lights we seen earlier in this review.

Camera-settings: ISO100, F/2.7, WB daylight, 1/125 sec, 35mm
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GIF-picture:
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And now, some outdoor shots! Starting again by showing the four normal modes of the XT11S, followed by a GIF; after that some comparison shots with the Nitecore MH20GT and the Klarus RS20!

Camera-settings: ISO100, F/2.7, WB daylight, 4 sec, 35mm
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GIF-picture:
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the XT11S against the Nitecore MH20GT
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Location 2: the four normal modes of the XT11S
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the XT11S against the Klarus RS20
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a shoot-out of the XT11S against the Nitecore MH20GT
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a„throw-picture“: the XT11S against the Nitecore MH20GT. Trees at about 50 meters
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Conclusion:

The XT11S is a really nice one and also an interesting flashlight! It’s complete, well-built and (despite of the many possibilities) easy to control. The XP-L HI V3 has good throw, but also enough spill too, what creates a usable beam. The second (hunting / outdoor) mode is my favorite: Especially the instant-modes here and the opportunity to cycle up and down is what I love!

I would like to see a more neutral tint at the XT11S and also a better indication of the actual main-mode. Now, you always have to wait ten seconds to check this out..

I can recommend this light to everyone who want a compact, tactical light that has good throw; and can be adjusted to your wishes. Also the price of about € 89,- make this Klarus an interesting option!

Thanks to Klaruslight and Mr. Schiermeier for the proper shipping!
 
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jedi_master

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You did a great job with your review so I bought one! :) So far so good and love the tactical dual tail switch which is one of the reasons I bought the light. One minor issue I found so far is the battery charging indicator turns green (meaning fully charged) while the battery voltage is 4.16. My MH20GT will fully charge to 4.2V.
 
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kj75

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One minor issue I found so far is the battery charging indicator turns green (meaning fully charged) while the battery voltage is 4.16. My MH20GT will fully charge to 4.2V.

How did you check? Using a voltmeter, or the integrated check at the MH20GT?

Will check both, and keep you updated about..
 

Trevilux

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Nice review, incredible beamshots!!
I love my XT11S, my preferred tactical option for outdoor last weeks. The beam is perfect for this!!
Regards.
 

jedi_master

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How did you check? Using a voltmeter, or the integrated check at the MH20GT?

Will check both, and keep you updated about..

Obviously, I have to use voltmeter for the XT11S. My voltmeter readout is consistent with the volt readout from the MH20GT. I wish mode/strobe switch operation is silent or minimum click sound.
 

kj75

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How did you check? Using a voltmeter, or the integrated check at the MH20GT?

Will check both, and keep you updated about..
My results. The pictures tell the story:

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For me, this is ok. But it's different to your results.
 

jedi_master

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Okay. I got the exact same result (4.23V) when I let it charge overnight. So it appears that the battery power indicator turns to green around 4.16V but will continue to charge to 4.23V.
 
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jedi_master

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Does Klarus XT11s compatible with klarus aggresive strike bezel?

The XT11S comes with a stainless strike bezel. Not sure how aggressive you want but it is pretty aggressive for me. It can do some serious damage for sure. Look may be deceiving because the head isn't large like say M23 from Olight.
 

kreisl

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Messages
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what's the voltage of the battery after charging has finished with the integrated USB charging module?

is it as high as 4.224V, no? (EDIT: 4.232V seems to be the steady-state voltage when the flashlight is plugged and shining at the highest setting, which is L2)

i also noticed that the battery indicator LED goes to red-blinking state at a very late stage. for example a 3.1V (measured outside the flashlight offline) NCR18650B battery would turn the flashlight on on Turbo, then automatically step down to High, then step down to Low, and show a solid red LED at the switch button. At that time, because of the fast sequence of step-downs, it is already clear that the battery is depleted. The light would continue to work on Low for maany minutes and with no further indication on the LED. Only after that loong time the LED would finally begin to blink red.

I checked. When i insert a 2.964V (offline) NCR18650B battery, then the LED indicator would go from solid red to blinking red in direct succession.

In summary it means: if the LED indicator is blinking red, the battery voltage (offline) is below 3.0V. Allerhöchste time to change the battery!!
 
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kreisl

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a shoot-out of the XT11S against the Nitecore MH20GT
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I've been using the XT11S "1100lm" for a while now but only today did i care to compare its actual lumens output (not throw!) against my beloved Fenix PD32 2016 900lm, also with XP-L HI emitter. In my white wall bounce test i noticed that the klarus spill was dimmer, the hotspot tighter and brighter - well, as expected! Also the Fenix tint was whiter. Good. But then in my double white wall bounce test the output of both lights looked very identical! If i still had to determine the brighter light, i would have given the nod to the Fenix maybe because the minimally tinted Klarus made the bounce look dimmer.

Then i quick checked if somebody else had tried to measure the output in lumens. RS. FREAK wrote a great review on TLF and took a comparative lumens measurement. His result: only 890lm. His lumens reference was a Nitecore P12GT (spec'ed 1000lm) with measured 22.480 Lux and 900lm, meaning that neither the Klarus hit the Klarus-spec'ed 1100lm nor the Nitecore hit the Nitecore-spec'ed 1000lm.

And as mentioned, from my own impression, my sole eyes, the Klarus looks as bright as (or even a tiny bit dimmer than) my Fenix which is spec'ed 900lm. My eyes aren't as scientific as a commercial integrating sphere but that's why i always use the fail-safe double bounce.

In the beamshot above, the Nitecore MH20GT, Nitecore-spec'ed 1000lm, appears to be brighter than the Klarus, doesn't it?

Okay. The other question would be: Would it really matter (to me, to you, to anybody), if the Klarus was exactly as bright as (or even slightly dimmer than) any 900lm-spec'ed Fenix? I mean, would you, the owner or prospective buyer, be disappointed when finding out that to be really true, a fact? — I must admit that to me the claimed high 1100lm output was one of the selling points. If the light was advertised with 900lm only, then the product would have been less outstanding, less interesting to me.

If readers care about actual lumens output numbers, then we should get both lights and other similarly performing lights under the same hood of a diy integrating sphere and take more of our own lumens measurements. selfbuilt reviewer publishes comparative brightness graphs, so does UPz reviewer. The latter uses purely Fenix lights as reference. So it would be very instructive and revealing to see a detailed technical review by one of the two guys.

So this post of mine was about questioning hard the claimed 1100lm specification, anyone else can corroborate?

EDIT: i did some white wall bounce measurements with my smartphone light sensor and Light Meter Harmony app. On a fully charged 4.20V battery the app measures 101±1 for the Fenix and 98±1 for the Klarus within the first 30sec after activation on Turbo, then the Fenix drops very slowly in output while the Klarus drops a bit faster. On a depleted 3.60V (offline) NCR18650B battery the app measures 69 for the Fenix and 68 for the Klarus seconds after activation on Turbo; clearly, at that low voltage level the battery isn't able anymore to supply the necessary current to produce the nominal lumens output. In either case the app measures a higher bounce value for the Fenix, which confirms my eye-sight observations. well, after all these empirical non-professional observations and measurements, i would conclude that the Klarus is NOT brighter than 900 Fenix lumens, i.e. than a Fenix light which was spec'ed by Fenix with 900lm. such observation/conclusion by me could be correct/true or wrong/false, i don't have a professional integrating sphere to take definitive lumens measurements. however, i would estimate that the probability of correct/true is 85%. based on my sample, i would claim that the Klarus is overspec'ed by exactly 200lm on the Fenix lumens scale.
 
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silverspurr

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I like the light which I own in addition to the XT12... on which I used the 'extended strike bezel' on it.

Here's the issue (design flaw) I find with the Klarus 'extended strike bezel' fitting onto the Klarus XT11S 1100 Lumen Tactical Flashlight:
On this model XT11S... if I take off the default bezel that comes on the light, the glass lens falls out, it could not fall out on my XT12 as the glass lens does not come in contact with the bezel, it sits behind an aluminum 'lip'... unfortunately there is a design oversight / flaw with the XT11S in that if you put the 'extended strike bezel' on it, the bezel screws down onto the glass, "right up against the glass lens".. if you tighten it too much the lens will crack, not good....it should have been made like the XT12.
 
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Taz80

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That is very strange because my XT11S is like your XT12, the lens sits behind the lip and does not come in contact with the screw on bezel.
 
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