More control rings to the rescue. Sunwayman continues to release new lights based on the simple UI they were founded on. Does this new light live up to its storied heritage?
Meat and Potatoes
The Sunwayman M11R claims to be simply an iterative improvement over the original M10R released early on in Sunwayman’s existence (back when they were known as SunwayLED), but truth be told, it feels far more like an entirely new flashlight model than simply technological advancements.
Sporting the same L-M-H sequence as the M10R, the 11 variant this time offers more definition between the modes. Medium and High have gained a readily apparent difference that makes them far more distinguishable and thereby useful. Low mode carries the same 4 lumen rating, along with it the same “moon mode” feel of it’s predecessor. Medium is a very useful middle of the road split between today’s screaming available top ends, but still remains as bright as many of the brightest lights of yesteryear. It’s truly high High mode is something to behold. Claiming output of 230 lumens, this tiny powerhouse is definitely capable of running with the big dogs of the present as well.
UI is likely the largest change between this and the M10R. The M11R simply doesn’t have a tailcap switch. The control ring has an “Off” position that suffices for that function, however by the very nature of such a design, this does allow for a minute parasitic drain on your cell. Sunwayman claims an ultra-low 50μA standby current though, which translates to an incredibly long time before you would ever notice any reduction in runtime. The remainder of the output modes are simply accessed by dialing up the ring until you get enough light. It is a fantastically intuitive interface. SOS and strobe mode are available as well, though thankfully tucked away far enough to prevent them from accidental activation.
The relatively narrow, textured reflector geometry and ostentatiously large die of the Cree XM-L creates a wide flood beam that illuminates a broad swath of nearly everything around you. This setup yields a beautiful smooth profile with gradual transitions from spot to corona to spill the likes of which the original XR-E was utterly incapable. There are some hints of ringyness to the outside edges of the beam, however they are extremely minor and don’t come into play during real-world use at all.
Fit and finish of the M11R are completely top notch as expected from Sunwayman. To date, I believe I haven’t yet had any reason to nitpick the quality of physical workmanship coming from Sunwayman. Normally my review samples have been a rather standard thick anodizing (though originally with a rather unique color cast) but this particular model was given to me as a method of showing how they are branching out in their available finishes. The Natural anodizing appears to be just as solidly thick as the colored variety has been in previous models, but it carries a rougher, grippier exterior to the table as well. This combined with the standard diamond knurling instead of the previous machining style gives a light with a very solid grip.
Easily matching with the fantastic fit and finish is the Titanium, deep-carry pocket clip. In concept this clip is truly fantastic. It is very sturdy and extremely attractive. It does tend to ride on a smooth spot on the head of the light, rather than the body which makes it quite likely to leave a nice long scratch when you need to change batteries, however this is relatively easily avoided. Its biggest fault lies in conjunction with the ease that the control ring rotates. What this looks like in real world use is the light constantly tending to turn itself on when you attach it to your pocket. I tended to carry it on my left side, clipped to the pocket edge, and if I placed the light and then slid it aft, it would almost inevitably be on, at least in Low mode, sometimes higher. By default I think that this might have been somewhat mitigated by simply carrying it right side, however a flashlight wasn’t about to supplant the knife I’ve been carrying there for more years than I knew quality flashlights to exist. I’m not exactly sure what can be done to circumvent this scenario, but I certainly wish it wasn’t an issue. Sunwayman did include a decent quality holster with the light, but with a clip as nice as this, it really seems like you’re underutilizing it by not pocket-carrying.
Also of moderate frustration is the location where the clip rides. The edge of it just lands on the head of the light rather than some flat or smooth round of the body. This creates a minor problem where you need to take care as you change the battery or you will find yourself wearing a nice long scratch into the head as you rotate it under the clip. I would prefer to see this located elsewhere but honestly, the easiest fix for this is to remember carefully hold the clip away from the body any time you need to change the cell.
The Sunwayman M11R is a relatively worthy successor to its supposed forefather, however I personally view it as the start of a whole new line of lights. It seems high quality and is very easy to use. Good looks are just the icing on the cake.
Provided for review by the kind folks at Sunwayman.