Saturday, July 09, 2016

Review: Maglite XL50 3-Cell AAA LED Flashlight

Looks like I'm putting together a Maglite collection at this point. This was my first flashlight from the XL series that I'd seen available for a while now. I chose the XL50 because of the low-beam setting and price.
Maglite XL50 LED Flashlight in the package
x1 - Maglite XL50 3-Cell AAA LED Flashlight

Paid: ~CA$ 40.00

Blister packaging? If Maglites comes in anything else -- they should -- I haven't seen them. Got poked but not too hard. The flashlight rolled out and the batteries stored in a separate compartment followed closely after a bit of coaxing.
Maglite XL50 Tail Cap
The Maglite XL50 unscrewed at the tail-cap and out came a battery mounting apparatus. It was mostly plastic with some metal parts. My batteries snapped right in and it felt like the mount had a pretty tight fit for them -- they went in easily, coming back out was more difficult. Also, instead of using the provided Duracell AAA batteries, I used the brand new set of Amazon Basics AAA rechargeable batteries.

I did not, unfortunately, remember which way the battery-mount came out. That led to a minor bit of panic. Oh crap, which way does this thing go back in?

Checking the instructions included in the XL50 package revealed a diagram showing, somewhat vaguely, the proper orientation of the batteries -- there also may have been a note below it. I followed that and managed not to have anything explode on me, so I think I got it right. The light turned on too.
Maglite XL50 LED Turned On
Design / Construction
I gave the Maglite a quick whirl and thought it felt like a Maglite: black shiny exterior and what felt like a metal tube. The switch on the tail-cap also screamed Maglite because it felt like an exact copy of the switch on my Maglite ML300LX I bought recently. Having a battery-mount slide out of the tube was a bit new though.

How was it?
The main feature that sold me on the XL50 was the ability to set it to high or low output. I like having the option to save battery power and lower the light output to significantly dimmer levels if desired. According to the package, the lamp was rated at 200 lumens on high and 25% of that on low so about 50 lumens. My Solitaire LED from 2014 should have been in the 30 lumens range. Doing a side by side comparison, the Solitaire did appear dimmer than the XL50 by a bit -- it wasn't a scientific comparison since there were so many variables like lamp age and batteries used.

Even better was when I found out that the reflector up front could be adjusted to spread the light out enough to create that black hole in the center. Having a really bright center spot can be distracting and harder to work with at close ranges. For example, my ML300LX has a focusing reflector, but it still has a fairly large hot spot when unfocused at shorter ranges indoors. Another thing I noticed was that the beam pattern of the XL50 did not appear to be as even as my Maglite Solitaire LED from 2014 when unfocused.

I liked the size of the XL50. It didn't feel too long or too small. While I love the Solitaire, it can be hard to find in my pockets when I need it at night. And unlike the longer Maglite Mini AA and AAA, the shorter length of the XL50 seemed to be easier to handle for me. Having a rear button was also a huge plus, allowing it to be handled with only one hand free.

The rated battery life of more than 6 hours on high and 25 hours on low looked good on paper. I didn't bother to test it out so we'll see how it really works out over time. Speaking of, I wrote this review relatively shortly after purchasing so keep that in mind.

An interesting and new to me flashlight from Maglite. The XL50 impressed me with its high and low output settings, size, and rated battery life. Price was pretty reasonable at about CA$ 40. My biggest complaint was the battery mount. The batteries fit in very securely but maybe too securely. Getting them out without using my nails was difficult.

No comments:

Post a Comment