Palight HXM-900LS U2 (2013-04-28)

Palight XHM-900LS U2
*Light provided for review by Aurabuy.com

PROS

  • Exceptional build quality and flawless finish

  • Nicest reflector I’ve seen yet

  • Starts on high every time

  • Very compact for a 26650 light

  • Extremely stable tail standing

  • Complete package plus gift box

  • Fantastic value!

CONS

  • Goofy mode order

  • Haven’t figured out how to replace the switch

  • Low quality cell included

  • The included charger in my example did not work.

Specifications:

Brand:

PALIGHT

Model:

HXM-900LS U2

Product Color:

Black

Material:

Aluminum alloy

Emitter Brand:

Cree

LED Type:

XM-L

BIN:

U2

Color:

Cool white

Number of Emitters:

1

Voltage Input:

3.6~4.6V

Battery Configuration:

1 x 18650 (not included) or 1 x 26650 (included)

Circuitry:

2400mA

Brightness:

900lm

Runtime:

2~3 hours

Number of Modes:

5

Mode Arrangement:

Hi > Mid > Lo > Fast Strobe > SOS

Mode Memory:

No

Switch Type:

Reverse clicky

Switch Location:

Tailcap

Lens:

Tempered glass

Reflector:

Aluminum Smooth / SMO

Strap Included:

Yes

Clip Included:

No

Beam Range:

100 meters

Other Accessory::

1 x Flashlight

 

1 x 2-Flat-Pin plug power adapter (100~240V)

 

1 x 26650 battery

 

1 x 18650 battery holder

 

1 x Strap

Dimensions:

5.12 in x 1.81 in x 1.81 in (13.0 cm x 4.6 cm x 4.6 cm)

Weight:

5.61 oz (159 g)

NOTED SPECIFICATIONS:

Number of Modes 6
Mode Order H-M-L-Strobe-Turbo-SOS
Mode Memory No
Switch Type Reverse Clicky
MCPCB Diameter 20mm
Driver Diameter 17mm
Pill Diameter 26mm (25.87)
Pill Thickness 10mm (9.86)
Reflector Diameter x Depth 38mm (37.76) x 27mm (27.2)
Lens Diameter x Thickness 38mm (37.6) x 1.3mm
O-ring Locations Bezel, Lens & Battery tube
Tail Standing Yes (solidly)
Waterproof Yes
Cell Included Yes, Palight brand 26650 unprotected
Cell Capacity (actual) 2735 mAh to 3v @ 1A discharge
Charger Included Yes
Charger Output 600 mAh
Other Accessories included 18650 Adapter tube, Lanyard, Gift box
Provided by Aurabuy.com
Purchase Price $30.12

PERFORMANCE SPECIFICATIONS

Mode Palight 26650 King Kong 26650
Low 8  OTF 16 OTF
Medium 176 OTF 287 OTF
High 376 OTF 615 OTF
Turbo 487 OTF 863 OTF
Lux @ 1m on High 12,670 23,900
Lux @ 1m on Turbo 15,000 30,300
Throw Distance on High 225 meters 309 meters
Throw Distance on Turbo 244 meters 348 meters

CONSTRUCTION

This light is a joy to look at and to hold!  The finish on my example is flawless with perfect machining and nice matte finish on the HAIII anodizing  All components have great tolerances and all threads are anodized .  O-rings at all junction points ensure water proofing at what I’m confident at guessing to be 1-2m depth.  As pretty as it is on the outside, it is just as pretty inside.  With the head apart the inside of the head is as nicely machined and finished as the outside and the reflector is a solid piece of aluminum.  The reflector surface and finish are the best I’ve ever seen and the beam is perfect with a nice hotspot and smooth spill.  The reflector really impresses me and it put a real smile on my face when I took it out and beheld it.  Any doubt I may have had about being a flashaholic was confirmed when I took out the refelctor and thought to myself, “Wow, now that’s sexy!”, as only a flashlight geek would think such a thing.

The included charger is your average universal wall wart type and it works fine but at just 600mAh output it will take a while to charge the included 26650 cell.  As for the cell itself, it is perfect for gifting with the light as well as for the buyer if this would be your first 26650 cell flashlight.  I ran a full discharge test on it with my Imax hobby charger and the capacity is just 2735mAh but for just $30 for a complete turn-key setup it is quite the bargain.  You can always get yourself a highend cell, like a King Kong, if you don’t already have some.

PERFORMANCE

Palight uses the strangest mode setup of any flashlight manufacturer I’ve seen.  6 modes but with Turbo mode stuck between strobe and SOS (true SOS).  Aurabuy lists it as 5 modes but Turbo is not that much brighter than High and I had to test it over and over before I was able to visually confirm it wasn’t my imagination that the extra high mode was just a little brighter than regular high.  If you never use the Turbo you won’t miss it as it is very nice on high with a sharp, focused hotspot and smooth spill.  The emitter is an XM-L U2 but the color appears to be a 1C as it is a little on the NW end of CW.  Very pleasing color to it with no blue or green tinit.

I tested the light with the included 26650 cell and again with a King Kong 26650.  WOW!  The light is ok with the included cell but with a quality King kong it really comes to life and performs as advertised!  The included cell works but does not provide the amperage the light craves.  863 OTF lumens on Turbo and 348 meters of throw from this compact litle light.  Exactly what color is “impressed”?   I need to check in the mirror because whatever color it is I am rocking it!

The driver can easily be swapped out since it is a standard 17mm but the driver retaining ring is threaded so using a driver like a Nanjg 105c with components on both sides of the PCB might be an issue.

TEARDOWN PICTURES

Now for my favorite part of reviewing – glamour and teardown pics!

The HXM-900 comes in a solid, corrugated gift box.  The light is in a heavy bubble sleeve and all accessories are inside under a compartmented section.

Here is the light and all accessories.

It comes with an unprotected Palight brand 26650 cell.

Now for the best thing in the box, the light!

Aside from the beautiful finish, the first thing you notice about this light is the gorgeous SMO reflector.

All laser engraving is clean and solid

The usual “Caution Hot” label is replaced with a tasteful symbol.  Nice fins machined into the solid head aid in dispersing heat generated by the XM-L U2.

Brand and model are engraved into the body tube.

Knurling machined into the tail piece helps with grip.  The knurling itself is super clean and deep while not being too agressive.

The switch assembly is held with a solid machined nugget in the tail.  I have not figured out how to remove the switch assembly but fortunately the switch feels very solid and sturdy with no trace of flickering.

My favorite part of the light, the reflector.  The emitter is perfectly centered by the insulator ring over the LED.

A look inside the battery tube reveals a thick sping at the base.

Now to the head. The pill is very solid and heavy with a brass retaining ring holding the driver.  The scratches in the ring are from my pliers slipping when I first tried removing it.  The threads on the head are fully anodized with just the contact point having exposed aluminum where it sits tight against the battery tube.

All machining is sharp and clean with no burrs or rough edges.  The anodizing is heavy and tough.  All parts are the same color with a nice matte finish.

Threads are deep and well machined with little slop in the threads.

Anodized threads in the body are the same great quality of those in the head.

With the pill remocved we can see the rear of the reflector.  The reflector sits snugly inside the head with very little gap.  You could apply thermal grease  around the reflector if you wanted to.  It fits that well inside.

Threading on the fairly massive pill is deep and clean.

Here we see the 20mm MCPCB .  Solder joints are exemplary and the wires very thick gauge.  Thermal epoxy secures the star and the isolator ring centers the emitter perfectly in the reflector.

Here you can get an ide of how thick the pill is.

Here is the centering ring itself along with a nylon bushing isolating the anode spring from the ground.  Made of brass, the threads are super clean.

The driver is a Palight brand that I believe is used in all of their XM-L lights.

Here you can see the components and heavy wire used.  The pocket inside the pill is not that deep though but it makes for a very solid pill.

The bezel is aluminum and has an o-ring to seal against water ingress.  It is very tight in the head and wasn’t easy to grep and unscrew. I almost thought it was glued but it wasn’t.

Here is a better shot of the bezel and o-ring.

The lens and o-ring.  The o-ring for the lens sits between the glass and the bezel as a proper light should for best waterproofing.

Look at that beautiful finish on that reflector!  It really is gorgeous!!

A solid piece of machined billet.  Fits perfectly into the head with very little play.

The finish on the inside of the head is just as nice as the finish on the outside.

One more shot of the head assembled.

The main body is mostly smooth with a few grooves machined into it along with the two flats.  The battery is swapped out through the front since the body and tail are one piece for fewer joints and better waterproofing.

Super clean knurling in the tail of the body.  The lanyard holes will take one of the Stainless steel pocket clips that can be bought from Fasttech.  The notch allows the lanyard to sit inside so tailstanding isn’t affected by it’s use.

Here are the specs on the charger that is provided with the flashlight package.  Designed for US outlets, it provides just 600mAh output. (Update 4/30) This would be great but my example did not work.  I didn’t realize it at first because I used my hobby charger to run charge and discharge testing on the included Palight 26650 cell.  It wasn’t until I tried to use it to charge a 16340 cell last night that I discovered the darn thing didn’t even work.  A quick test with my DMM confirmed there was zero output to the charging posts.  I disassembled the charger but could see no loose connections or obvious issues.  For a $3 charger it’s just not worth the trouble.  I will be converting it for use as a cell cradle for my hobby charger.

The plug prongs fold in for travel and storage.  They engage solidly and the charger seems to be ok for a universal charger.  No different from any other I’ve seen or used but this particular example that came in my light was non-functioning.  Hopefully the one you get with yours will be.  If it works it can be used for all Li-Ion cell types including protected 18650/26650 cells.

Here is the unprotected Palight 26650 cell in the charger.  There are still a few mm of travel left in the contact spring to accommodate protected cells if you have any.

Waterproof? No, but then the manufacturer never claimed it was. Water resistant? As long as you don’t leave it under for more than a minute, most likely. I left it in the drink for 30 minutes and it came out nice and dry, or so I thought. After standing on it’s head over night, after the dunk test, I pulled the cell and found some water in the back of the battery tube. I am thinking that a little bit of water got past the switch assembly in the tail and worked it’s way into the battery tube overnight. I sure wish I knew how to get the switch assembly out of the light. I’m sure it could be corrected.

Some beam shots to show hotspot and spill…

And now a shot of the HXM-900 alongside it’s closest competitor in the 26650 size, the Trustfire A8, and also a standard that most know, the Solarforce L2T.  You can really see just how compact this light is and how impressive the performance it is considering it’s size. 😉

CONCLUSION

A definite “JohnnyMac Approved!” for the HXM-900!  $30 for this entire package is a steal even if you don’t use the included cell and charger.  Get yourself a quality 26650 cell or a quality 18650 cell (if you don’t already have one) and this light is IMPRESSIVE!  It’s an awesome light with only it’s quirky mode order as it’s only major drawback and it’s low quality battery and non-functioning charger it’s only drawback.  Even without the charger and cell it’s a great light and worth the price.  If they could package it without the charger and cell and knock $5-$10 off the price it’d be a steal! The light reeks of quality and is very compact with a fairly large head for a tube style light.  I highly recommend it!

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