USB charging seems to be one of the fastest growing buzzword features in flashlights. Does Xtar add anything into the mix that backs up the gadgetry with gear level quality?
Meat and Potatoes
The Xtar R30 rechargeable flashlight is a very unassuming holsterable light. It mostly resembles a standard 2-cell size, however don’t be fooled into trying to use CR123A cells. This light has a maximum input voltage of 4.2V so your only option is to use rechargeable 18650‘s. Of course, this makes perfect sense since the premier feature of this torch is its rechargeability. Directly across the barrel from the side-mounted electronic switch is a charging port that virtually eliminates the need to ever open the flashlight again once a cell is installed.
The R30 comes standard with a USB charge cable and an AC USB adapter. When you plug this light in, an LED lights up directly behind the power switch letting you know the status of the charging cycle. It uses an obvious red/green scheme that is inherently understandable without checking any manuals. The Red LED is also used as a power indicator letting you know when your power supply is getting low.
Fit and finish of the R30 is very nice indeed. It is an extremely solid light. It has thick walls and a heavy duty, heat-absorbing section surrounding the sensitive electronics. The deep rectangular knurling coating the handle is very grippy without any hint of abrasiveness. And to top it all off, the entire light is coated with an anodizing layer that looks incredibly thick and protective.
Nestled at the base of a stippled reflector is the Cree XM-L LED that gives this torch it’s power. Capable of a massive 800 lumens, arranged into a useful multi-purpose mid-focus beam without a hint of distracting artifacts. PWM is unfortunately in use to regulate the output levels, but I’ve definitely seen worse frequencies. It doesn’t prove too distracting at all during daily carry.
The R30 uses a basic 4 mode user interface, with mode memory. Since Xtar chose to use an electronic switch instead of the standard forward or reverse clicky, the mode switching and powering off is a little different than most lights. The first click turns the light on in whatever mode was last used, but the next click advances the mode, rather than switching back off. I don’t know what it is about this particular setup, but I find myself advancing the mode literally every time I intend to turn the light off. I don’t know why I am having such a problem with this particular light since in practice it feels very similar to some of the other oddball user interfaces I’ve used over the years. I would prefer a 2 button setup, but at least changing up the UI so a single click will turn the light back off would be an improvement.
The side mounted switch on the R30 is covered with a white silicone rubber button that is very comfortable to use. Unfortunately it is located directly across the body from the charge port that is also covered with the exact same silicone rubber in a similarly shaped dust flap. This setup makes for some nearly guaranteed fumbling around for the correct white circle to press every time you pick up the light. You know what they say, location, location, location. Xtar seems to have chosen the wrong one here for one of these two items.
Bright, durable, and super convenient on the recharging front. Xtar has built a light with a lot of items in the “Pros” column. There are a couple snags in the user experience that detract from this, but as a whole the R30 is a solid performing light.
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