Author Topic: Review: Wolf-Eyes Seal (XM-L2 U2 | 1x18650 or 2xCR123A)  (Read 14599 times)

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Offline _the_

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Review: Wolf-Eyes Seal (XM-L2 U2 | 1x18650 or 2xCR123A)
« on: May 02, 2014, 09:40:28 PM »
Wolf-Eyes Seal (XM-L2 U2 | 1 x 18650 or 2 x CR123A)

This flashlight was provided for review by banggood.com

Reviewer's Overall Rating: ★★★☆



Summary:
 Battery:   1 x 18650 (Li-ion) or 2 x CR123A (Lithium primary) 
 Switch:   Tail switch, Forward clicky (+ mode selection with ring) 
 Modes:   6: High, Med, MedLow, Low, Strobe1 (1Hz), Strobe2 (8Hz) 
 LED Type:   XM-L2 U2 (CW) 
 Lens:   Glass 
 Tailstands:   Yes 
 Price Payed:   Review sample. Retail price $149.99 
 From:   banggood.com 
 Date Ordered:   March 2014 

 
Pros:
  • Good build quality
    • Feels solid
    • Thick & hard anodizing
    • Thick O-rings everywhere
  • Throws well as stock (>150kcd!)
  • + has huge modding potential
  • A reflector head included -> transforms from thrower to general usage light in seconds
  • Forward clicky switch for momentary on (I like forward clicky switches as long as there is another way for mode selection)
  • Mode selection ring at tail (sounds tacticool, but feels quite nice in use, allowing one-handed operation - see also cons)
  • Pretty good runtime
  • Well spaced modes (the low could be even lower for my taste though)
  • Good thermal characteristics - temperature raised only to maximum of 51C during a 2.5h run indoors (ambient temp 24C)
  • Good lanyard (better than the ones used in most budget lights)
  • Comes in a nice retail box, good for gifting!
Cons:
  • PWM on lower modes (pretty fast, but still noticeable)
  • No low voltage protection (this can be seen also as a pro: allows long period of emergency light)
  • Regulation far from perfect (at least with 18650), see runtime graph
  • Included reflector head was SMO, I was hoping for OP (as shown in photos at BG)
  • De-focused mode could be wider (only 28 degrees)
  • Mode selection ring doesn't move smoothly when new (on the other hand, doesn't change modes accidentally)
  • Low mode could be lower
  • Not available as NW (not a big deal in a thrower)
  • Not exactly a budget light (but then again, build quality and throw figures are better than average too)
Features / Value: ★★★☆☆

The light comes in a retail box which contains the light itself, 2nd head (reflector), lanyard, and a manual (in English).




Looks good, but unfortunately the extra head was placed against the tail cap in the box. Don't know who to blame about this, as it could have been the manufacturer or reseller (doing some QC), or even Finnish customs officers (playing with the light, as the packet was there multiple days). Anyways, the plastic bag looked pretty bashed..


..and there are some visible scratches in the reflector head:


However, those scratches were not through the anodizing as can be seen in this photo (can be considered as a good thing: ano seems to be thick and hard)


The adjacent corner with some damage was found from the tailcap:



This light has four well spaced modes and two strobe modes. UI is either good or bad, depending on your usage patterns:

The forward clicky tail switch is used only for turning the light on / off, allowing also momentary on. Modes are changed with selection ring on tailcap. So far this sounds like a dream! However, the ring is a bit stiff / hard to turn when new (better after being used some time)



Modes are in order: High (100%) -> Med (50%) -> MedLow (20%) -> Low (2%) -> Strobe 1 (1Hz) -> Strobe 2 (8Hz), which means in practice a couple of things:
  • High mode and strobes are easy to find (at the end of ring movement)
  • From high to strobe requires almost full turn -> too slow in some cases?
  • Finding 2% low is not so easy (you might get strobed by accident)
This light is a thrower and designed for hunters, soldiers, and similar, for whom high and strobe can be considered to be the most used modes => UI is good for that kind of use.


Another very nice feature is the replaceable head, which easily transforms this light from a dedicated thrower to a good general usage light.

The other head, while not being used, is protected with a screw in cap:



The head is screwed to the body and secured with a locking nut, which doubles as a anti-roll device in case of smaller head.



Value for money: Considering the high price, somewhere between "ok" and "good".


Design / Build Quality: ★★★★☆

Design is somewhat extraordinary with all the knurling, grooves, tactical tailcap, and of course the huge aspheric lens. But I like it. I actually like it a lot, especially because I know that the big aspheric comes with a big modding potential!


The anodization is good overall (except the scratches caused by wrong packaging). Knurling is pretty aggressive, which suits the light well.


Bezel in the aspheric head has non-symmetric "waves", which are large enough to protect the lens when head standing.


Aspheric lens is large, clear, and flawless. A real gem!


 
The reflector head has significantly smaller cut outs. Not a real attack bezel, but enough to see if the light is on even when head standing.


Lens is glass, and very clear - but doesn't seem to be AR-coated:


Reflector head is significantly smaller than the aspheric head:


..which is good, as it makes the light almost as small as a well known C8:



There was a weird misprint in my sample. Let's see if you can find it from this photo:


I think one of those should be called "Seal-Lens".. Well. Mistakes do happen. ;)


Let's see some details..

Tailcap taken away. Here we can see the very well lubed, anodized threads and thick O-ring. Tailcap has a brass blob instead of a spring. (There's a spring at the driver end)


Threads are triangular, anodized, well lubed, and very smooth.



Electric path from tailcap to the driver is made with a brass insert in the body tube. Rarely seen, but very effective solution.


Brass pill is screwed in to the other end of the tube. There is an O-ring, threads are tight, and sealed with silicone. Springs are thick and feel sturdy.


Center spring is connected to the plate with a rivet:


Emitter sits on a thick piece of aluminum, which is press fit to the brass pill. Leads are thick and there seems to be enough thermal paste too.


Driver has 9 x 7135 and the pill has enough space to stack more on top of them:


Business end has a well centered XM-L2 and an insulation ring. Note that there's no thick light blocking centering ring, as that's not needed because of tight manufacturing tolerances: Emitter stays well centered even when changing the head.


The head is connected to the body with these threads. Note also the thick O-ring.


..and secured with this large "locking nut":


The internals of the reflector head: Smooth aluminum reflector, O-ring, thick lens, and retaining ring:


Here the reflector and O-ring are installed, lens & retaining ring still missing. O-ring sits tightly in a slot and tightens the head very well. Good job!
Reflector is smooth & flawless.


The included lanyard is very long, round-shaped & thicker than normal, and has tightening device in between. it allows to carry the light in the "BTU Shocker style", using the lanyard as a handle. It must be one of the best lanyards I have seen!


Battery Life: ★★★★☆

Good! With Keeppower 3100mAh cell, the measured runtimes were:
1h15min to 50%
2h05min to 10% (ANSI FL1)
At 2h35min low voltage warning: the light blinked and changed to about 1lm low mode.

At 3h light started flickering with sub-lumen output

At 9h: still flickering, battery at 2.63V when taken out (!!) => there's no low voltage protection (and the current draw is so low that the battery protection circuit doesn't kick in => very long period of emergency light (with a possibility to ruin your cell - but on the other hand, that won't happen without the user noticing anything)

Don't leave this light on unattended or it will ruin your cell!


Light Output: ★★★☆☆

Runtime graph:


So the output is ok, but the regulation not so.. Instant minus 1 star. I'm wondering how it would be with 2 x CR123A, but I don't have a pair of those right now. Sorry!

The initial light output on High was 767lm and ANSI-reading (OTF, after 30s) was 729lm on High

Those measurements show somewhat lower values than advertised. :(

Measured throw was 158kcd / 795m with aspheric head and 32kcd / 360m with reflector head.
Now, those figures make me want to mod this beauty with a dedomed XP-G2 and a bit more current.. Stay tuned for that.. ;)

White wall beamshots (1/500s, f/5, ISO80, WB:Daylight)

Reflector head, High


Reflector head, Medium


Reflector head, MediumLow


Reflector head, Low


Aspheric head, Zoomed out


Aspheric head, Zoomed out

 

Beam angles:

Reflector


Zoomed out


Zoomed in



Summary: ★★★☆

Good single cell thrower with added versatility of the reflector head. Price is above the normal budget price range, but then again: so are the quality and features. If the small annoyances like PWM or regulation would be fixed, this would be a real winner!

As a mod host, this sounds very promising. Let's see what I can make out of it.. ;)

Verdict: Recommended!  [Highly recommended for modders, I think..]


The End (pun intended):


Thanks for reading & watching. Hope you enjoyed the review!
« Last Edit: May 05, 2014, 05:43:30 PM by _the_ »

Offline MRsDNF

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Re: Review: Wolf-Eyes Seal (XM-L2 U2 | 1x18650 or 2xCR123A)
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2014, 09:56:38 PM »
Thanks for the review. How does the beam and light output compare with the XinTD C8?
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: Wolf-Eyes Seal (XM-L2 U2 | 1x18650 or 2xCR123A)
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2014, 05:38:29 PM »
Thanks!

Beam is a bit tighter and more ringy.

Here's a white wall comparison between XinTD (NW) and Seal reflector head:


Offline MRsDNF

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Re: Review: Wolf-Eyes Seal (XM-L2 U2 | 1x18650 or 2xCR123A)
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2014, 09:22:47 PM »
Thanks for the picture. i gather the rings aren't that noticeable outside?
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: Wolf-Eyes Seal (XM-L2 U2 | 1x18650 or 2xCR123A)
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2014, 09:24:25 PM »
Not that noticeable, but still are.. I'm planning to stipple the reflector because of those.

Offline JohnnyMac

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Re: Review: Wolf-Eyes Seal (XM-L2 U2 | 1x18650 or 2xCR123A)
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2014, 04:06:59 PM »
Nice review, =the=!  That aspheric lens sure is a gem.  I could get lost in that thing! :)

Offline JohnnyMac

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Re: Review: Wolf-Eyes Seal (XM-L2 U2 | 1x18650 or 2xCR123A)
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2014, 04:08:40 PM »
I find myself wondering what an XP-G2 in that with a 3A driver would do.  Would make one hell of a jacket pocket thrower!

I don't recall seeing it in your review...how large (diam & thickness) is that lens?
« Last Edit: May 06, 2014, 04:11:04 PM by JohnnyMac »

Offline _the_

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Re: Review: Wolf-Eyes Seal (XM-L2 U2 | 1x18650 or 2xCR123A)
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2014, 04:16:04 PM »
I suppose you meant de-domed XP-G2 with 5A driver? ;)

Offline _the_

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Re: Review: Wolf-Eyes Seal (XM-L2 U2 | 1x18650 or 2xCR123A)
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2014, 04:19:51 PM »
Lens is 78mm (IIRC, and I need to measure the thickness)

Offline _the_

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Re: Review: Wolf-Eyes Seal (XM-L2 U2 | 1x18650 or 2xCR123A)
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2014, 07:39:01 PM »
Effective diameter of the lens (measured inside the retaining ring) is about 68mm. The diameter of whole lens must be about 78mm. Height about 25-30mm (I'm too afraid to scratch the lens -> can't get the retaining ring out)

Offline JohnnyMac

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Re: Review: Wolf-Eyes Seal (XM-L2 U2 | 1x18650 or 2xCR123A)
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2014, 01:25:06 AM »
Damn!  That's a huge lens!  I don't blame you for not wanting to take it out.  I'd be afraid to scratch it too. :)

Offline Spasmod

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Re: Review: Wolf-Eyes Seal (XM-L2 U2 | 1x18650 or 2xCR123A)
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2014, 12:40:04 PM »
Awesome review as usual :) That light has so much serious modding potential... 5a De-domed XP-G2 works for me :P

Offline _the_

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Re: Review: Wolf-Eyes Seal (XM-L2 U2 | 1x18650 or 2xCR123A)
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2014, 08:52:08 PM »
Preliminary mod results:
Swapped in a XP-G2 R5 1A de-domed on 20mm SinkPAD, added 4x7135, braided the driver springs => ~500kcd (1400m)

Measured about 4A at tailcap.

Now this light is a real lightsaber!!  8)

Offline MRsDNF

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Re: Review: Wolf-Eyes Seal (XM-L2 U2 | 1x18650 or 2xCR123A)
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2014, 09:26:19 PM »
You would have to be happy with that. Sounds like a real weapon.
When the big picture is to big, look for a point you can start at and build from there.

Offline Spasmod

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Re: Review: Wolf-Eyes Seal (XM-L2 U2 | 1x18650 or 2xCR123A)
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2014, 12:39:30 PM »
Preliminary mod results:
Swapped in a XP-G2 R5 1A de-domed on 20mm SinkPAD, added 4x7135, braided the driver springs => ~500kcd (1400m)

Measured about 4A at tailcap.

Now this light is a real lightsaber!!  8)

 :o :D That's quite incredible, we NEED to see those beamshots :P

How fast does the heat ramp up ? pretty quick I'd imagine...