Author Topic: Review: Supbeam X60 (5 x XM-L2 | 6 x 18650)  (Read 13221 times)

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Offline _the_

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Review: Supbeam X60 (5 x XM-L2 | 6 x 18650)
« on: February 22, 2014, 06:07:34 PM »
Supbeam X60 (5 x XM-L2 | 6 x 18650)

This flashlight was provided for review by Supbeam

Reviewer's Overall Rating: ★★★★★



 

Summary:
 Battery:   6 x 18650 
 Switch:   Tail switch (forward clicky) and Magnetic control ring 
 Modes:   3: Low, Infinitely variable brightness & Strobe 
 LED Type:   XM-L2 (CW, bin not specified)   
 Lens:   Glass, AR coated 
 Tailstands:   Yes 
 Price Payed:   Review sample (current retail price $339) 
 From:   Supbeam 
 Date Ordered:   January 2014 

Pros:
  • Bright! And I mean BRIGHT!!
  • Great UI
    • Magnetic control ring with infinitely variable brightness
    • Forward clicky tail switch
    • Cruel strobe (conveniently at the other end of the magnetic control ring for quick access)
  • Automatic step down at 3min to prevent overheating
  • Near perfect regulation
  • Good runtime
  • Good thermal characteristics
  • Low mode is low enough! (not 10lm as advertised, but 3lm!)
  • Current controlled modes -> No PWM
  • Nice tint (for CW)
  • Great design & build quality
    • Good anodizing
    • AR coated lens
    • Battery indicator
  • In-light charging that really works! (charge in parallel, run in series - yes, that's true!!)
    • Wall, car & USB chargers included
  • Throws well (with pure power!)
  • Not too heavy for the size (& power)
  • Comes in a classy aluminum case, great for gifting!
  • Good operating instructions included (in English!)
  • Did I mention that it's bright? Like 5000lm OTF bright.  8)
Cons:
  • No stand by mode in magnetic control ring (although the low-low 3lm mode is almost the same)
  • Not available as NW


Features / Value: ★★★★★

The light comes in a very classy aluminum case:


Inside the case you can find car and wall chargers, USB charging cable, carrying strap, manual, warranty card, six 2600mAh cells, and the light itself. All well packed:


Here's a photo of the chargers: Wall charger (mine came with EU type plug) with magnetic plug and car charger, which uses USB cable with magnetic plug. Very convenient, allowing charging almost in any situation. Charging cells in light is not safe you say? Well.. That's usually the correct assumption, but not here. This light does it in the safe way. Read forward to see how that's done. ;)


The light itself features a huge head (108mm diameter) with five state of the art XM-L2 CW emitters:


Features are very good: All modes are current regulated, without any PWM. Strobe mode is there if needed, conveniently placed to the end of magnetic control ring movement -> doesn't bother the user in normal usage.

One of the main features of this light is the safe in-light charging: The cells are charged in parallel, making the charging process significantly safer. This means also a lower charging voltage, allowing the charging from USB output (= car charger, charging from computer, etc.). For technical details, look at the photos at tear down section of this review.

UI is very good:
- tailcap has a main switch, which is forward clicky, allowing momentary on
- between the head and body, in a convenient place, there is a magnetic control ring:
    - on the leftmost end, there's a nice low mode of 3lm (labeled as 10lm)

    - turning the ring right over the first notch brings up the infinitely variable brightness mode, starting at 67lm

    - turning the ring further right allows to select any reasonable amount of light for the current task, up to over 5000lm (where the ring stops to another notch)

    - turning right over that notch brings up the strobe, which is very cruel, bright and disorienting (the most effective strobe I have seen in any light!)


High mode has an automatic step-down feature: After 3min on, the light steps down to about 3300lm to prevent overheating. If you would like to continue with 5000lm mode, just turn the light off and on again (from the tail switch).

The light can be locked out by unscrewing the body tube for about half a turn. This prevents the light from accidentally turning on when transported in bag or something similar.

Value for money: Good!


Design / Build Quality: ★★★★★

Design is very nice and functional. Even though the head is large, the whole light is surprisingly light at 1200g (ready to use). Bezel is lightly scalloped, allowing to see if the light was left on by mistake, but not too aggressive. Glass is thick (3.5mm) and AR coated:


Head has a lot of cooling fins, which are very necessary when pushing out so many lumens.


Another view on cooling fins. They are also deep enough and able to keep the light cool when running on max power.


Let's see some other details..

Body has a smooth and nice anodizing. There's no real knurling, but the cut pattern makes the light feel good in hand without being slippery at all.


Emitters are well centered, as seen in this shot taken when light was in low (3lm) mode:


Here's another photo in 67lm mode (for comparison):


..and here's a shot when light is turned off, showing the reflector quality. Totally flawless and beautiful:


The tail cap features (from up to down) battery & charging indicator light, magnetic charging plug, and forward clicky main switch:


The switch is located near to another edge, with a nice cutout, making it easy to access. I was surprised that it was easy to turn on / off even with only one hand:


Threads of the body tube are not square, but well lubed and of good quality:


Here the opposite part of those threads (in head). Nice and smooth. Also the spring is thick and works well with the high current and voltage needed for over 5000 lumens:


This end of the battery holder looks familiar. Very similar to the one used in K40 (and TN31/32/..)


..but the other end is something totally different. It has three contacts and the screws are glued in. What's this? Red forward and you'll understand.. ;)


When the cells are taken away the holder looks like it would be 2S3P.. Wrong! It's 6S, giving out whole 25V. So there must be some magic in the holder. And believe me, there is!


Also the tailcap has three contacts. Hmm..


The springs are thick and sturdy. Threads are not lubed, as this end of the light should not be opened in normal usage:


Also the threads on the tail end of the body tube are smooth and flawless:


Continuing to open the head.

The reflector is surrounded by a thick O-ring, pressed down by lens and bezel. Seems to be water tight:


Reflector is made of aluminum and the emitters sit on a one huge star:


Didn't want to mess with thermal paste, so I just removed the screws and lightly scraped the screw holes to check the thickness and material of the star: It's copper and about 2-3mm thick! Very good for thermal transfer. There's also suitable amount of thermal paste. Well done!


A look from the other side tells us that the copper star sits on a thick platform (unibody design, again good for thermal transfer!)


A couple of shots of the driver: This side looks quite simple..


..but the other side doesn't: :) Silicone wires are used. I estimate the thickness to be 18-20AWG, which is enough for this short wires.



Edit: Turns out that the driver is updated after my sample was sent out. Here's what the currently used driver looks like (photos provided by Supbeam):







A look to inside of the tailcap: Lots of electronics here. On the left is the charger input, on top the indicator led, and on bottom the clicky switch.


Ok, maybe it's time to investigate the charging mechanism a bit more. Let's start with the cell holder. I said that this end looks similar to the K40 one, but I was wrong: The screws are insulated from the disc with small plastic washers (2 in each hole):


..and here's why: The poles are used as positive electricity paths:


Same thing in the middle section:


The other side of the middle section shows some complicated traces..


But what's behind these glued screws?


Well, you guessed it, a lot of electronics..


So, what seems like a pretty standard 2S3P battery holder, turns out to be a complex piece of electronics, which allows the light to run in 6S configuration (25V to driver), but charge safely in parallel configuration (5V input). A lots of thinking was definitely needed to develop this, but the end result is brilliant and safe in-light charging system (without the need of having only 4.2V output to driver). Investigating this was a very educating and fun experience. Thank you Supbeam! :)


Some measurements:
Length: 278mm
Head diameter: 108mm
Body diameter: 49.0mm
Body wall thickness: 3.25mm
Tail diameter: 49.0mm
Lens diameter: 100.0mm
Lens thickness: 3.5mm
Reflector diameter: 94.6mm (~40mm / 25mm effective)
Reflector depth: 42.0mm

Weight:
- 919g without cells
- 1200g with 6 x 18650 cells (= ready to use)
- 1243g with cells and strap


Compared to other lights:



In hand:


Light hanging from the included strap:


And the bottom line in the quality: Supbeam is known of good quality lights and this one continues on the same level. Good job!


Battery Life: ★★★★★

Very good!

Measured runtime on high with a included 2600mAh was 1h37min, so estimated runtime with good 3400mAh cells is full 2h!

And, as this light has lots of power, and it features infinitely variable brightness, the user can always use the correct amount of light => best possible runtime for each use case!

 
Light Output: ★★★★★

Runtime graph:


This runtime test was performed indoors, with ambient temperature of 26C, without any additional cooling (except the table fan on low where stated on graph). This light seems to be well regulated and handles the heat very well. Maximum temperature measured (before using the fan) was 63C, but simply holding the light in hand or having a slight breeze will keep the temperature low enough for the full runtime.

What would happen if I would reset the light straight after the step down kicks in? Let's try:


Very nice. Some thermal sag brings the output slightly below 5000lm OTF, so in real life situations (outdoors) the output can be kept over 5000lm for more than 10min.

This light does have a low voltage warning, which is shown in the battery indicator light at tail cap.

My measurements are very similar to the graph shown on Supbeam website (except that theirs was obviously with some slight cooling and with 3400mAh cells). So they did a good job measuring the light & providing correct information!

Here's the graph for easy comparison:


Light output on different modes is (OTF, after 30s):
- whooping 5274lm on High
- 67lm on lowest infinitely variable brightness mode
- 3lm on Low mode

So you can freely select the desired output between 67 and 5274 lumens. That's something very amazing, and can't be really understood without seeing it. I would like everyone to be able to see this in real life, but as that's not possible, I tried to capture the feeling on video:
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/65LWAbOukcw" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/65LWAbOukcw</a>

Measured throw was 160kcd / 800m. Again, a nice figure for a "floody" light. Isn't it? :)

White wall beamshots (1/200s, f/4, ISO200, WB: Daylight)


Beam angles  (1/400s, f/4, IS200, WB: Daylight)


Outdoor beamshots:

All shots 0.5s, f4, ISO200, WB:Daylight.



Control:


Known reference (Skyray King NW - original with 3 toroid driver, 2000lm OTF):


Supbeam X60:



Summary: ★★★★★

Great flashlight for many purposes. Very powerful, but also easy to control. Generous amount of flood, but also throws well, making it a perfect light for most situations.

In-light charging makes the light even more usable, allowing you to recharge the cells in car on the go or even from any USB output (like computer).

All that, combined with good ergonomics, runtime, and great build quality.. I can't think of much more to ask from a flashlight.

Verdict: Highly recommended!

 
The End (pun intended):


Thanks for reading & watching. Hope you enjoyed the review!

And special thanks to Supbeam for providing this light for review.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 03:55:49 PM by _the_ »

Offline _the_

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Re: Review: Supbeam X60 (5 x XM-L2 | 6 x 18650)
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2014, 08:15:03 PM »
Mouse-over comparisons:

X60 vs. SRK NW: (mouse over for X60)


X60 vs. BTU Shocker NW: (mouse over for X60)


X60 vs. K40 (mouse over for X60)


Offline MRsDNF

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Re: Review: Supbeam X60 (5 x XM-L2 | 6 x 18650)
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2014, 08:47:02 PM »
What a light. Thanks for the review _the_. Unfortunately this will not be making its way into my stable any time soon.
When the big picture is to big, look for a point you can start at and build from there.

Offline _the_

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Re: Review: Supbeam X60 (5 x XM-L2 | 6 x 18650)
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2014, 04:09:55 PM »
Thanks MRsDNF!

I think I'll just mod this light with NW emitters and use it as photo / video light. The beam pattern is just perfect for that, and infinitely variable brightness is a cherry on top. :)

Offline Spasmod

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Re: Review: Supbeam X60 (5 x XM-L2 | 6 x 18650)
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2014, 07:13:35 PM »
Yeah that's one hell of a light, absolutely fantastic output with some brilliant uniformity. Perfect for your photoshoots. It's really nice to see the ability to use your own cells with this, instead of one of the proprietary packs.

Thanks for a great review too, it's very detailed and those beamshots just round it off perfectly! :)

Offline JohnnyMac

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Re: Review: Supbeam X60 (5 x XM-L2 | 6 x 18650)
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2014, 05:26:44 PM »
Another excellent review of an extremely impressive light, my friend!  Awesome!

Thanks for sharing it with us  8)

Offline _the_

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Re: Review: Supbeam X60 (5 x XM-L2 | 6 x 18650)
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2014, 06:19:20 PM »
Thanks guys! :)

Offline picrthis

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Re: Review: Supbeam X60 (5 x XM-L2 | 6 x 18650)
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2014, 01:07:06 AM »
@ _the_

Excellent review, Thanks!  Question in your review you mentioned REV 02, do you know what was changed/why and the date when the change occurred and starting with serial no. ?

Again Thank you so much, I really enjoyed the tear-down pics


Offline _the_

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Re: Review: Supbeam X60 (5 x XM-L2 | 6 x 18650)
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2014, 06:51:59 AM »
Glad you liked the review. :)

As far as I know, the driver was already updated in the first batch of production version. My driver seems to contain the same components, but with different layout. That makes me think that the change was only aesthetic and maybe to save some cents in manufacturing cost (with more effective component layout -> smaller board).

Offline Cereal_Killer

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Re: Review: Supbeam X60 (5 x XM-L2 | 6 x 18650)
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2014, 12:32:22 AM »
_the _ do you still own this light or do you have any more detailed pic's of the driver in which it's possible to read the markings on the uC? It's definitely a microchip PIC, looks like a 12F683 maybe? There is a character after that, if its a letter it's not very important but if it's a number it is (as a 12F683 is an entire different generation of silicone than a 12F683x [4 digit PN] is). 

It's not super important, I'm just keeping record of lights that use PIC's for personal research.
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