If you have already read about the Nighthawk 2000 flashlight, then you already know I sort of obtained these UltraFire XML-T6 lights by mistake, if not you can read all about that here. Since they are in my possession anyway, I figured I might as well test ’em out and write up a bit of a review.
You will find these lights for about $10 on Amazon or can buy in quantity for about half of that direct from China so this is a light that certainly falls into the budget friendly category.
I’ll start out by saying if you look at the reviews of the UltraFire XML-T6 elsewhere, you will see they are mixed, some people love them and some people hate them. I can only assume that this is because quality control is not something you find regularly with products coming from China, which is where these lights are made. I bought two of these lights and one of them broke the first night I tested them out. After disassembling, I found that it seems like it might just be a poorly soldered connection, although it certainly smells a bit burnt as well despite no visible burn indications. Being the UltraFire brand, I am really not surprised since I am yet to see any real quality product come from them. I had previously bought some 18650 batteries of theirs which simply do not have the output or capacity they claim so I do already have some preconceived opinions here. Despite 1 of 2 lights breaking within the first use, we will continue on with more details.
Let’s start with the housing, the UltraFire XML-T6 is all machined aluminum which seems to be pretty durable so far. The housing telescopes to allow for changing the diameter of the beam by moving the LED farther from the lens (the second image above shows full extension). The two images below show both extremes in the woods, on the left is a fully extended light which focuses the beam to the point that the light is square like the LED and on the right the beam is as wide as it goes (as you can see my camera barely was able to pick up the entire diameter).
Unfortunately, that lens is plastic which can scratch easily over time…although it is recessed quite a bit which should help minimize the wear depending on how you store it. The button is at the rear and is a simple push button with 5 settings and seems to have a slight glow to the rubber cover when exposed to light. Push once for full strength, twice for medium, three times for low. Push again for strobe and a fifth time for an SOS signal. Having these 5 options is great, but the button just seems to toggle through the options making it a bit of a challenge to get the option you are looking for the first time you turn it on. Here are a couple short videos demonstrating the 5 options and focusing. The first video shows just the focusing functionality which I later realized was on the low beam setting. The second video cycles through all 5 settings of High, Medium, Low, Strobe, and SOS.
Every threaded connection (3) on this light has a rubber gasket which held up to my test of being fully submerged in about 6″ of water for 30+ minutes. When removed and completely disassembled I found no real leaks and had maybe a drop or two of water inside.
The UltraFire XML-T6 can be powered either by a single rechargeable 18650 battery or supposedly can also be powered by 3 AAA batteries if you happen to have the battery housing that it doesn’t come with. I would assume that if it can run off of an 18650 that you could also run it off two CR123 batteries as well but I have not tested this.
Some sellers are pushing these lights as 2000 lumen, which is simply false. The LED used in them is supposedly the Cree XM-L (looks familiar doesn’t it?) which according to the manufacturers website is only rated for 1040 lumen so there is no way of pushing 2000 lumen out of it.
Maybe tomorrow we will give it a crush test in the driveway and see how it handles being run over just for the hell of it.
To wrap things up, the UltraFire XML-T6 is a $10 flashlight that has a 1000 lumen LED and runs off an 18650 battery. The light works and works well if you happened to get one without any defects and it might drive you a bit nuts pushing the power button 4 times to just turn the light on. Does it compare to something like a Fenix? Certainly not, but its also just a fraction of the price. I can buy 6 of these to one 1000 lumen Fenix. I tend to lose stuff all the time which is why I tend to give reviews on lower end gear quite often, it sucks when you lose a hundred dollar light, it doesn’t really suck when you lose a $10 one. With that said, is the light worth the money? Yeah I think I can say it is. I will re-solder the loose connection to confirm if the LED burnt or not, and then exchange it for another one if I can’t fix it myself. These lights certainly wont be coming out with me as my only light source in the woods, and will definitely not be getting mounted on any firearms. Where you need something you can depend on, spend the extra money on a Fenix or other great well known brand and keep it in your go bag or mounted on your firearm so you know 100% when you need it and grab it, it’s going to work. The UltraFire, well use the hell out of it, beat the hell out of it and if it breaks or you lose it, who the hell cares? Just buy another and keep movin’ on. Hell at $10 keep 3 in each vehicle just in case, that is exactly where these two will end up spending their life.
I know we have been very quiet and inactive lately, it has been a very busy year for several of us at CRRT. Thank you very much for keeping with us, there is certainly more to come in the future.