EagleTac has continued to expand the usefulness of the solid T20C2 with the release of their new XM-L emitter drop-in. Yet again, these modules allow you to upgrade your existing light without forcing you to part with the expense of a whole torch.
Meat and Potatoes
The Cree XM-L is the newest hotshot LED on the market offering a boost in available power. EagleTac has once again put the smart money on the thought that people are going to like having more options for their lights. The new XM-L drop-in combines this larger die LED with a lightly stippled reflector to produce a moderately floody beam. While not a true flood light like other XM-L touting torches, this new model definitely spreads the light out over a wider area than either of the other available offerings. However, the 430 lumens of out the front power that EagleTac claims for this light still make it quite a force to be reckoned with. In beam spread, it is surprisingly nearly identical to what you get out of the stock P20C2 using the default XP-G R5 LED. The added lumens however are not to be overlooked.
This XM-L format definitely lends itself to a smoother beam profile, similar to what has already been occurring with the XP-E and XP-G. The base components are all there still with the spot, a good transitional corona, and wide spill. This time however it is becomming very difficult to determine a border to the spot. the over all blend of the beam is very excellent, providing you with an incredibly useful light that virtually eliminates the tunnel vision you get with a powerful thrower.
The vast majority of this light’s UI is exactly identical to what T20C2 users have come to know. There aren’t any surprises in the form of extra modes or hidden abilities. The biggest change that I have run across is that the “theater dimming” effect has become severely less pronounced with this iteration. What used to be a dramatic affair, dimming from max to min, is now so briefly truncated as to be nearly nonexistent. While, as I said previously, this is not an essential or even necessary addition to the light, but it did seem to offer a bit more perceived class and a solid quality to their product.
One of the downsides to using a cutting edge emitter has always been that of tint. A phenomenon once known as the “Luxeon Lottery” where you run the risk of a flashlight that is not entirely a true cool white tint has improved over time, but never quite been eliminated. This drop-in has fallen into this category and possesses a rather severe purple tint to it. Thankfully with any length of usage time, it is something that you just plainly stop noticing, but if you ever fire this light up next to another similarly powered one, the difference is a bit more blatant. I suspect that this particular unit is likely not representative of the whole batch (remember, I am viewing a sample set of n=1) but it is something to keep in mind during this early period of XM-L adoption.
A more floody option to round out the trio of drop-ins available for this excellent light. More power, but at the expense of a little throw. The worst part is now you have to make a decision as to how you want your light to behave today.
Provided for review by a kind reader.