Sunwayman has firmly established themselves as a company where you can find a number of fully variable options. Does the newest member of the family continue the tradition, or bring shame to the fold?
Meat and Potatoes
At first glance, the V11R appears to be nothing more than a minor collection of updates to the venerable V10R from recent times, When it boils right down to it though, is there really anything wrong with that? The V series has been one of my favorite lines since they were first introduced. Pressing for more refinement from a long standing winner is usually a positive experience.
Output on the V11R comes thanks to the premium Cree XM-L LED. Sporting such a large die nestled in such a small and narrow reflector, the V11R is most definitely a short range floody light, rather than a distance illuminator. The beam has a hint of ringyness to it when hunting the elusive white wall, but in all world practical use, no distractions present themselves taking away from the smooth wide beam of light. The beam profile is very similar to that which is found on the recently reviewed M11R, suggesting the likelihood of shared parts. This is completely to be expected, and in no way a negative.
Output as well is quite incredible. My 16340 punches an unbelievable 500 lumens out of this tiny beast. The low end is a very respectable fractional lumen as well, allowing it to function as well for checking the baby in the middle of the night as it does checking what went bump in the back yard. A standard CR123A cell does have a much lower 190 lumen rating, but also lasts correspondingly much longer.
Control of the V11R is exactly identical to the “10” model preceding it. A tail cap power switch with a completely variable control ring sitting directly behind the distinctive cooling fins on the head. Fit and finish on this model mirror what we have come to expect from Sunwayman both in machine work and anodizing, except standard diamond knurling has taken the place of the more signature shaping we have seen previously. This diamond knurling does have one significant upside though, allowing better recognition of the control ring simply by feel rather than having to search around for it. The tailcap does possess the same scalloped compromise between both easy access and full tailstanding, but I don’t see this as the same level of detriment as I usually do because the scallops are so shallow.
One of the biggest f it and finish “features” that have been added to the V11R is the inclusion of a metal switch cover (possibly even Titanium, I’m not a metallurgist though so I can’t be certain) . While this does add a significant level of visual polish to the light, there are some serious drawbacks. During everyday use, this metal cover has a drastic tendency to grind against the switch retaining ring, apparently made from the same metal. Unless you are applying pressure exactly along the axis of the light, there is a very unpleasant grittiness to its operation. While this has appeared to smooth out with extended use, it is something a consumer of a flashlight of this caliber shouldn’t have to deal with. I have heard rumor of some steps being taken by Sunwayman to correct this for future customers, and possibly for existing ones as well, but I haven’t heard anything official about it yet. If I do, I will be sure to update here with further information.
UPDATE: Yes, I have heard definitively that Sunwayman is willingly correcting this switch issue for its customers by shipping out a replacement switch and cover that is identical to the one found in the V10R. This definitely lacks the pizzazz of the Titanium one, however it is much more invisibly functional. I guess at this point once again, it boils down to personal preference. Can you put up with the grittiness in favor of the spectacular looks, or do you need the much more smooth travel of the black rubber cover? I haven’t yet decided myself, I suspect I will waffle between them for a while before I land in one camp.
One place where I think that Sunwayman dropped the ball during development of the V11R is the clip. Instead of emulating the excellent clip of the M11R, they included a simple tension mount clip that hearkens back to the early days in Sunwayman history. Though they came out of the gate with very strong and capable lights, their clip design was originally quite lacking. Unfortunately this model has more in common with those premier models than I would like. Obviously a tail mounted clip like the M11R would not work verbatim, but I’m sure the designers would be able to come up with something approximating the same level of quality.
The V11R may not be an incredible amount of innovation, nor even the perfect light to carry (with its current switch maladies) but it is still a shining example of the excellence of work that is produced by Sunwayman. It is simple to control and incredibly versatile.
Provided for review by the kind folks at Sunwayman.