Sunday, April 13, 2014

Review: EagleTac D25LC2 Mini [1x18650 Flashlight]

A while back I had given away my EagleTac D25A Mini to my sister who said "I'm going to take this flashlight because I know you won't miss it." Well, I did miss it a little. But it felt weird buying the same exact model again, so I decided to buy the D25LC2 Mini instead, because I was looking for some compact 18650 flashlights, and I purchased it from Amazon for about 50 bucks. An 18650 battery isn't much bigger than a standard AA cell, but the good ones have a much higher capacity than even high end rechargeable AA cells. Most of the tactical style 18650 lights are a little large for every day carry, but there's a few compact ones like this model that are worth looking into for EDC.

EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight With Friends 1
EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight With Friends 2
EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight With Friends 3

Product Description


This model takes an 18650 3.7 volt lithium-ion battery and features a "twisty" interface, meaning there is no dedicated switch; you tighten the head to turn the light on and loosen-tighten to change modes. With the latest Cree XM-L2 emitter and EagleTac's reputation for build quality, this is a solid model. It also comes with the EagleTac-standard deep carry clip.

The reason to buy a twisty style over the similar models with a click switch is: 1) twisty style lights are very compact and 2) it's a simpler design with less points of failure.

Official Specs (From Amazon)

  • Lumen Output:LED lumen: 530/172/6, ANSI FL-1 lumen: 379/124/5
  • Runtime:1.5hrs/20hrs/100hrs
  • Battery Type:2*CR123A;1*18650
  • Twisty;44.5g, IPX-8 Waterproof
EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight Product Image 1

EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight Product Contents

EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight Product Image 2

EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight Product Image 3

EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight Product Image 4

EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight Product Image 5
EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight Product Image 8EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight Product Image 7EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight Product Image 6EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight Product Image 9EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight Product Image 10




Fit and Finish


The fit and finish on my unit is excellent overall. The anodizing does look a little thin, but everything else is spot on, including the clip. Centered emitter ... check. Smooth twisty operation ... check. No scratches, marks or random chunks taken out of it ... check. I'm usually not a fan of stainless steel bezels, but EagleTac does them right at least. One of the good things about deciding what to review and buying it with my own money is that there's no way for them to know that I'm not Joe Bloe customer, so I know that what I'm seeing as far as fit and finish should be close to what others are seeing. That's why I'm always impressed to see a fit and finish this good. This is only my second EagleTac product and I'm starting to see a pattern. 
EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight: Closeup of BezelEagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight: Closeup of Threads

 

Batteries


The D25LC2 can take either two CR123A batteries or a single rechargeable 18650 3.7 volt lithium-ion cell. It could probably take two 16340 cells but I haven't been brave enough to try it. I like to put harvested laptop cells in my 18650 lights but this flashlight really only likes button top cells with prominent buttons on them--probably due to the reverse polarity protection. Mine fits an EagleTac 3100 mAh protected cell just fine.

EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight With EagleTac 3100 mAh Battery Modes


The light always starts on low and then cycles through medium and high, and there is no mode memory. I personally prefer lights to either start on low or have mode memory, so I like that this one always starts on low.

Rapidly cycling through low-medium-high two times lets allows you to access the hidden strobe and beacon modes.

My light has a slight "mode skipping" problem with batteries it doesn't like, but doesn't experience the problem with batteries it does like, such as the better brands.

Photo below taken at ISO 100 F5.0 1/30


Circuitry


The D2LC2 appears to have a constant current circuit on low and high, but utilizes high frequency PWM on medium, presumably to improve the tint. Which is fine by me because I like to have efficient low modes with long run times whenever possible. The long run times can be invaluable in an emergency.


Reflector


This model features a lightly textured "orange peel" reflector in conjunction with an anti-reflective coated mineral glass lens giving it a nice, smooth beam.

EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight Reflector Closeup


Beam


I don't know how they get such a tight hot spot out of the beam with such a small reflector. I guess it's deeper than it looks, which is a nice trick because the flashlight itself is so compact. This is no champion thrower, but it'll see across the backyard no problem.

The tint on mine to these old eyes is cool white on all modes. I prefer tints leaning towards neutral white, but at leas the tint on this one doesn't have a hideous green or yellowish tinge that some of their lights were known for in the past.

Sheath


There's a few things EagleTac seems to do better than most, and one of those things is sheaths. Though I prefer to carry mine with the deep carry clip, the attention to detail is appreciated. This is a good quality nylon sheath on par with anything similar made in the USA. It's thicker than it needs to be, the stitching is near perfect and the snap feels really solid.
EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight Sheath 1

EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight Sheath 2

EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight Sheath 3

EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight Sheath 4

EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight Sheath 5

Clip


Here's the thing EagleTac does better than most other flashlight companies: the deep carry clip. I wasn't a big fan of clips for the longest time. Most lights let you remove the clip so I always put them back in the boxes. But now I'm a convert. From a few years of carrying flashlights around in my pockets, it's just more comfortable to have one with a clip, and at my age it's all about comfort.

The anodized clip on my unit is pretty much perfect. I really can't think of any constructive criticism. So many other companies put out these great flashlights with lousy clips.

EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight Clip 1

EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight Clip 2

EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight Clip 3


Usability


With the deep carry clip, this light feels good in my jeans or cargo pants pockets. Like a larger pocket knife, this is something it's hard to forget is there, which some people like. This would definitely be something I'd clip to my pocket when I'm throwing the tool box in the truck to go help a friend work on his car. It's probably a little large for carrying around the house and looking under a desk or something.

The D25LC2 is also most likely going to be my camping lantern from now on, since I have a wand style diffuser that fits it decently.

Batteries


This unit takes the biggest protected 18650 cells I own, including the Panasonic 3400--very nice.

Run Times

All tests performed with an EagleTac 3100 mAh protected 18650 cell.

High: 4 1/2 hours

Notes--High:
  • Unit very hot after 10 minutes
  • Lost regulation and started to dim noticeably right about at the 2 hour mark
  • Hit the sub-lumen about about 4 hours even and I ended the test
  • Run time for this test was much better than manufacturer claimed 1 1/2 hours
Medium: 10 hours

Notes--Medium:
  • Lost regulation and started to dim noticeably right about the 8 1/2 hour mark
  • Run time for this test was about half of manufacturer's claimed 20 hours

Conclusions


The D25LC2 is probably the most compact easiest to carry of all my 18650 flashlights, but it's still a little big for every day carry. But for road trips or camping there's a good chance I'll have this clipped into my jeans pocket. From power outages at large hotels to broken down vehicles, I've seen it all. Whether I have it in my pocket or not,  I never like to be far from a light where I could walk for 6 hours in the dark if it was really necessary.

Most of the time when I see someone talking about EagleTac flashlights on the Internet, it's usually about their clicky models, especially the D25A clicky. But I'm a fan of their Mini models because they are so compact. While electronic switch models like my Roche F6 are just as compact lengthwise, they have larger heads to accommodate the extra circuitry and bulk of the switch. This model is the most compact of my 18650 flashlights. My Nitecore HC50 headlamp is much shorter but much fatter, so it's probably a tossup there, too.

Gallery


EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight Box 1

EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight Box 2
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EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight With Larger Lights

EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight On Scale

EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight Next To Ruler

EagleTac D25LC2 Mini 18650 Flashlight With Diffuser


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