Review: POWERTAC X3000 RGBW High Performance Flashlight

JohnnyMac

Newly Enlightened
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Mar 24, 2011
Messages
181
POWERTAC X3000 RGBW High Performance Flashlight



MANUFACTURER'S COPY
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The Ultimate Rechargeable high intensity white light with Color LED Flashlight + Mobile charger

INTRODUCTION


The PowerTac X3000 is a unique high intensity and high quality white light with color LED Flashlight, it has individual Red, green, royal blue LEDs and 3 CREE XM-L2 LEDs driven to its maximum. It is packed with many functions and color options coupled with different levels of brightness and strobe modes. It will save the moment whether you need a bright light for signaling or charging your smart phone. It can be charged by the included AC charger.


This high-power LED flashlight is designed specifically to be the ultimate rechargeable search and rescue compact light & the portable charger. It is built with cutting-edge technology, unparalleled performance, exceptional craftsmanship, and solid reliability. It comes with a friendly user interface for simple operations and multi-functions for variable situations. It is perfectly engineered to produce a highly focused beam for extra long throw, yet still have enough flood light to light the close distance. It’s portable, powerful and delivers on design, performance, and quality. Its tremendous illuminating power, extraordinary versatility, rugged built quality makes it the preferred choice of many professionals and ideal for military, police, adventurists, hunters, search & rescue and other tough or hazardous tasks.

FEATURES



  • Utilizes three CREE XM-L2 U2 latest LED that enables the X3000 to produce an amazing 3000 lumens at the brightest level of the white light.
  • Four cell 18650 (2600mAh) high quality rechargeable Li-ion battery pack engineered to ensures the user more than one month of constant run time on the lowest setting.(The Firefly Mode)
  • 481+ meter beam throw with impressive flood light to illuminate objects at both long and close distances.
  • Intelligently designed friendly user interface for easy access to general illumination and strobe modes.
  • Auto-memorization for all settings.
  • Unique digital circuit control technology to maximize battery life and consistent light output performance.
  • Maintains its appearance through extreme weather and rugged treatment with a tough, durable Type III anodized finish.
  • Machined from aircraft grade aluminum.
  • O-ring sealed to IPX – 6 water proof standard.
  • Tempered glass resists breakage or scratching on impact.
  • Double-sided coating maximizes light output.
  • Preserves LED and electronic components with a superior heat sink designed for quick & better heat dispersion.
  • Defends against physical attack with a crenellated bezel on the head for self-defense.
  • Advanced ergonomic design, matte style finish and anti-slip knurling for firm grip.
  • Includes a high quality holster designed to fit belts of various sizes.
  • Able to stand on tail cap to serve as a lamp.
  • Multiple illumination functions while charging.
  • Standard 5 V output to charge iPhones, iPads and most other mobile devices.

SPECIFICATIONS


1. LED type: Three Cree XM-L2 U2 LED and XP-E RGB (red / green / royal blue) LED.

  • CREE XM-L2 white LED (T6): High (3000 lm / 1.5 hrs) – Medium (1000 lm / 4 hrs) – Low (500 lm / 7 hrs) – Firefly (5 lm / 1000 hrs).
  • CREE XP-E red LED (N3): High (105 lm / 15 hrs) – Strobe (105 lm / 30 hrs).
  • CREE XP-E green LED (Q3): High (170 lm / 15 hrs) – Strobe (170 lm / 30 hrs).
  • CREE XP-E royal blue LED (15): High (60 lm / 15 hrs) – Strobe (60 lm / 30 hrs).
2. Functions: 7 steady beam illuminations and 5 Strobe.
3. Battery: Use 4 cell 18650 (2600 mAh) high quality rechargeable Li-ion battery pack.
4. Length: 177 mm. Bezel diameter: 63.5 mm. Body diameter: 50 mm. Tailcap diameter: 52 mm.
5. Weight: 723 g (with battery).
6. Accessories: 1 AC charger, 1 Nylon holster and 1 spare O-ring. ******************************************************

DETAILS and IMPRESSIONS


The Powertac X3000 arrived in its own sturdy travel/storage case. The case is the usual type storage case with an aluminum frame, two sturdy latches and a decent handle.





Here is the goodness you will find inside the case.





Inside the case you will find the X3000 inside of its holster along with its charger and a couple of spare O-rings. These things sit snugly inside fitted cutouts. The lid of the case is lined in egg crate foam for added protection.





Here we have the X3000, the charger, and the spare O-rings.





The holster is extremely well made and fits the X3000 perfectly.





Dual mounting loops on the back enable you to thread a belt through the loop before putting it on or, with the velcro and snaps, securely attach the holster to a utility belt after you already have it on. It allows you to remove the holster without also removing your belt. Every part of the holster is solid, securely attached, and leaves no fear of it coming loose or allowing your investment to fall out unexpectedly.





The Powertac logo is engraved perfectly on one of the flats machined into the battery tube.





On another is the Powertac website URL.





Phenomenal knurling graces the head of the light along with several deep, nicely machined fins for heat dissipation





Powertac has given the X3000 the most unique control interface I've seen on a flashlight. A center electronic switch that controls output levels is surrounded by a rotary mode selector switch. The indicator marking sits just above the "X3000" engraving. The rotator ring has indents that snick into place at each mode option. "W" is for white, "R" is for red, "G" is for green, "B" is for blue, and "S" is for the strobe. Each of the modes has output options which are controlled by pressing and holding the center electronic switch.


The outer Function ring has aggressive ridges to enable one handed rotation. It is fairly stiff but workable with one finger in either direction. When changing functions from one to another the light never flickers. Going from white, or any of the colored LEDs, to the next in front or behind, the light never winks out or skips a beat during the change. In the exact center of each function selection is a smooth "snick" as the control ring locks in.
The center output level switch has a fairly firm and audible click. Thanks to the outer ridging in the function control ring, finding the controls is pretty easy to do in the dark.


One thing I found very interesting is that Powertac never mentions that the RGB modes contain two output levels plus strobe. They only mention one steady mode plus strobe. It's a really nice feature that I'm surprised they completely ignore in their advertising copy.




USER INTERFACE



  • A single click turns the X3000 On or Off
  • Each setting on the outer Function ring will hold the output in memory of each sub-level.
  • Press and hold while On cycles through the available modes depending on which setting the function ring is set.
    • W (White)
      • High
      • Medium
      • Low
      • Firefly
    • R (Red)
      • High
      • Low
      • Strobe
    • G (Green)
      • High
      • Low
      • Strobe
    • B (Blue)
      • High
      • Low
      • Strobe
    • S (Strobe)
      • RGBW (RGB LEDs cycle in strobe while main LEDs strobe. Like a "puke light" strobe and exTREMely effective!)
      • Red & Blue Police strobe

Notice in the picture below that only one XM-L2 is lit. This helps to keep a standard spill pattern in all modes but High. As you cycle through the white modes only one of the 3 LEDs will light through Firefly, low and medium.


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Once High mode engages all the LEDs will light.


15355418802_c13ea01c16_z.jpg



The next time you enter the three lower modes the next LED will light. This will continue to change the LED in round-robin fashion so that each LED takes its turn in the lower 3 modes. This encourages longer overall life for all 3 LEDs and puts no single LED in constant stress.


15169034430_74c558a768_z.jpg



Each of the colored XP-E emitters has two output levels plus strobe. Each setting of the function ring has independent memory so the next time you return to that particular setting it will be where you last used it. The fact that they use colored Cree XP-E LEDs instead of colored 5mm LED diodes makes it far better than most other RGB lights on the market.


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OUTPUT


OTF (Out The Front) lumen output on High as measured by me is a bit lower than Powertac claims but the other modes are pretty spot on with their claims. Throw is pretty good for a triple LED light especially considering it's comparatively small head diameter. My only real complaint with the X3000 is the visible PWM in Low and Firefly modes. In a day and age when some $20 lights have no visible PWM, find visible PWM in a $370 light is not acceptable. It's a simple programming change in the controlling chip to increase the frequency to where it cannot be detected by the human eye. Having visible PWM in a $370 light in the first place is a mistake. Leaving it in there unchanged in a gen2 version is unacceptable. It is not the slowest PWM and most users will not notice it in use but those who are sensitive to visible PWM will find it very distracting at minimum and sickening at worst.


Fortunately this is not a light designed to be used in firefly and low output levels very often. It is designed to light large areas at large distances and to disorient. It excels when used for the purpose it was designed for. The strobe is downright brutal with the addition of the RGB LEDs pulsing away along with the standard white LED strobe. It can overwhelm those unfortunate enough to be in front of its fury.


15706197675_47a51b29d9_b.jpg



Here are some beam shots taken at about 70yds from the lights to the trees. They do a pretty good job representing the differences between them. I chose to compare the X3000 to a ThruNite TN30 and an Acebeam K40M since they are all roughly equivalent in output and overall size. It's hard to find a good spot in the city to take beamshots and there is a fair amount of ambient light. In person they are a bit brighter but it's pretty close to what I saw with the naked eye.





Next we'll have a look at how it compares to the ThruNite TN30 and the Acebeam K40M. These three lights are all roughly the same size and output but with uniquely different beams. The X3000 has a more traditional and throwy beam which is rare in a multi-LED light. Output is about 400 lumens less than the TN30 but it does seem to throw a tad better. The smaller spill of the X3000 could be said to improve distance vision due to less peripheral spill to create glare.





The TN30 has the more traditional multi-LED beam pattern with wider spill than the X3000. The TN30 is a very good thrower for a medium sized triple emitter light.





Next up is the Acebeam K40M, a single MT-G2 light equal in output to the other two lights. It's hard to argue with the big MT-G2 emitter!





And finally all three lights back to back...





I will be updating this review ASAP with a video demonstration of the controls and all the LEDs in action.

Back to the Details and Impressions...

At the tail are several lanyard holes. All pieces are well machined with no sharp edges to cut paracord lanyards. The wide base and cutouts allow it to tail stand solidly on most any surface.





At the rear of the light you will see a single button with a clear boot. Pressing this displays battery charge via the 3 light blue LEDs. All 3 lit indicates a full charge. The fewer the lights, the lower the charge in the battery pack. It's merely a rough estimate of but it's enough to let you know if you need to plug the light in before heading out on the road with it. The indicator LEDs also show charging progress. When charging the lights will blink then turn solid as voltage in the charging pack increases. Once the charge is full all three lights will be lit solid.





Under the outer port cover/plug you will find a standard USB port for charging mobile devices in a pinch. This is really handy when camping and away from an outlet. With a dying or dead cell phone battery it could mean life or death and is a great feature to have even day to day. Under the center cover/plug is the charging port for the light. This is where the end of the charging cable is inserted when charging the X3000. Both port covers seal well and give a satisfying "pop" when opening them to expose the ports.





Cree XM-L2 CW emitters sit inside very nice reflector cups. Along the perimeter of the reflector face sit 3 smaller reflectors, each with a one color XP-E emitter, red, green and blue. Each of these XP-E color LEDs can be lit individually for high, low, or strobe output.







The thick, clear lens is AR coated





The crenellated stainless steel bezel has polished edges for no sharp edges anywhere while maintaining good edges for defense.





A nice thick lens sits between the incredibly smooth threaded bezel and the reflector face. Unfortunately there is no O-ring to be seen to be seen which explains the water resistance rating of only IPX-6 (protection from a 12.5mm spray of water (100 liters per minute) from any direction for at least 3 minutes.). I would not recommend submersing the X3000 but then neither does Powertac. ;)





Threading on the X3000 is perhaps the nicest I've experienced on any flashlight. It arrived prelubed but more importantly the threads are like butter. Super smooth! An O-ring protects the main body/battery compartment and the driver from water ingress.





A look at the driver and battery pack faces. Positive current travels through the thick brass center contact while negative current is conducted through the outer brass ring of the carrier face.





A slightly better look at the inner threading and anode spring. Brass to brass contacts ensure solid electrical connections.





Removing the 4 Phillips head screws in the face of the battery carrier allows us to peek inside where we find 4 18650 ICR Li-Ion cells. For the top dollar being charged for this light I am disappointed that they are not using quality Japanese cells instead of Chinese. I have had top quality Chinese cell manufacturers admit they cannot match the quality of the cells produced by the top Japanese companies (Panasonic, LG, Samsung, Sony...). They may be top quality for Chinese cells but they aren't the best available.





The cells in the light are manufactured by Chongdiontou in China and are rated at 2600mAh each with an internal resistance of 70 milli-Ohms





Here is some info I've dug up on the cells. They seem to be very good quality for Chinese manufactured cells.


15509049889_697f648c5f_z.jpg


Physical Comparison to Other Flashlights


The X3000 bears a strong resemblance from the waste down to the other two lights. Overall it is a bit more compact compared to the other two lights and is quite a bit heavier with a rock solid heft the other lights can't match. From left to right: Acebeam K40M, Powertac X3000, and the ThruNite TN30.





Considering the small diameter of the reflector cups of the X3000, it does a pretty good job of keeping up with the much larger reflector cups on the TN32




PROS


  • Excellent build quality!
  • Unique and simple user interface. Pretty awesome IMO.
  • Really nice reflectors
  • Perfectly centered LEDs
  • Individual mode memories
  • Perhaps the smoothest threading I've seen in any light
  • Fantastic knurling throughout the light
  • Internal charging port means no disassembling of the light to charge the cells.
  • 2A charger provides decent charging times
  • Power level indicator LEDs
  • Zero sharp edges anywhere on the light
  • Good throw for a triple LEDs in a medium sized head
  • No PWM in Medium and High modes
  • Solid feel. Like holding a solid block of metal in your hand. No rattles or play anywhere.
  • AR coated lens
  • Sturdy storage case
  • Lifetime Warranty

CONS


  • Let's face the elephant in the room...the price. Yes it's steep but for a professional that uses his/her light as a potentially life saving tool it's not a bad investment.
  • Would be nice if it had U2 binned XM-L2 instead of T6.
  • Choice of NW emitters would be nice to have.
  • PWM in Low and Firefly modes. Not acceptable in a light at this price.
  • Proprietary battery pack
  • Really should come with a 12V vehicle charging cable as a compliment to the 120V charger.

CONCLUSION


At a retail price of roughly $370 USD the Powertac X3000 instantly out of consideration for many buyers. But there are still many professionals, LEOs, Emergency Responders, SAR persons, hunters and diehard flashaholics that don't mind spending that much coin for a light that is reliable, functional and/or unique and comes with a lifetime warranty. For those people this is a very good light that deserves serious consideration for that spot on their belt or under their truck seat. It's not the brightest light available but it is very bright. Its beam doesn't have the most flood nor is it the farthest throwing but it does both very well. Its unique RGB LEDs and plethora of modes and output levels make it extremely versatile. The UI is the only one of its kind to my knowledge and works extremely well. The Pros and Cons I list above pretty much say all I could possibly say here so I will stop before I continue repeating myself any more than I already have.


For those who would seriously consider this light I give it 3 out of 5 stars. The visible PWM on the lower two modes would normally take it to a 3/5 rating but the great UI and RGB functions along with the great output in the higher modes help me see past the PWM and give it 4/5. The inclusion of Chinese cells (even if they are decent, which I don't doubt they are) in a light of this caliber take it back to a 3/5. Build quality is great and should provide years of service especially with the lifetime warranty. If they can resolve just a few simple issues in a future revision this already good light could be great. ;)


* Special thanks to Powertac USA for giving me the opportunity to review their flagship flashlight.


 
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magellan

Honorary Aussie
Joined
Feb 3, 2014
Messages
5,006
Location
USA
Wow, a very cool light. Thanks for the great review. I am going to give this light serious consideration despite the price. I have several other big lights like this just not quite as expensive, but they don't have the features this one does.

Pink batteries. Ha-ha. Doesn't exactly inspire confidence given that they're obviously Chinese cheapos.
 
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