Sunwayman V11R XML2  review:

Sunwayman V11R (infinitely variable output)

Low-light flashlight champ

Sunwayman has had a good reputation in the past for producing high quality flashlights. It was probably the number 1 company with variable output flashlight. And this “V11R revolution” being one of them!
After buying the V11R Mirage, with its older XM-L U3, I decided to buy the upgraded V11R XM-L2, for which this review is written.

 

What you get:

Rather than the tin box that I got with the Sunwayman V11R Mirage (special edition), this time they chose to supply the V11R in a normal package.
Nothing fancy, and a kind of cheap looking, but for the money they could have provided a better package.

  • Simple package
  • Holster
  • Lanyard
  • 2 Spare O-rings (white)
  • 1 Spare metal clicky to replace the original plastic/rubber switch.
  • Spare rubber boot
  • Papers (warranty card/manual/brochure)

To read a Spanish review on this flashlight visit my friends website: http://reviewsdelinternas.blogspot.nl/2014/07/sunwayman-v11r-l2.html

package

Handling and Close ups:

Since I owned the special edition Sunwayman V11R, I am used to handle it, but it is always a pleasure to have this in hand.
Not only because you can use its variable output magnetic control ring, (I LOVE IT) but also the size and fit in my hand.
It`s hefty enough so that you can hold it in a fist, while not being afraid to damage it if you drop it or bump it on a hard surface.
It has good knurling , and including the clip its easy and comfortable to handle, even with 1 hand. Knurling is aggressive enough. In this flashlight review I will be going around a few more specifics and find out how it stacks up agains the V11R with older XML.

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spring

Spring inside the battery tube

Well centered XML2

xml2-closeup
Lens tint

AR coated lens

The thing I like a lot about Sunwayman lights, is that they have the rear switch in combination with the magnetic control ring

It also makes this light able to do morse-coding with its momentary-on. And it will not have any paristic drain (my main point), which could result in a dead battery after a long time not using the light.
The anodization is of excellent quality, I believe.. as I`m not going to test that...(yet)
So far I haven`t seen any blemish on the anodization, just like I haven`t seen that on any of my other (10) Sunwayman lights

One thing that need to be said is this, and is a Con:
In combination with the AA battery extender AP-05,the light could be turned off accidentally while turning the control ring...
But this is quite rare.. and usually can happen when wearing gloves, when its`s difficult to “FEEL” the beginning and end of the movement of the control ring.
Unlike the V25C (18650) which has a 360 degrees variable control ring, this Sunwayman V11R revolution makes it possible to turn it to High as well as in Moon-mode,(you can move the ring left or right), without watching.
The V25 is just impossible to Feel or See in what output level it sits in Off mode.
The main reason I only used it for about 10 minutes before I sold it.

The magnetic control ring has enough grease, so it moves smooth and with the same sensitivity.
Comparing this to the V11R Mirage, it feels much better..
Mainly because the Mirage sometimes spins a little (with increasing/decreasing output, depending on how you push the ring, up or down.  That is something I just noticed now, while I first thought that was normal with the Mirage... now I know that it isn`t. This is due to the grease getting less/bad. So you sometimes have to replace the grease on these type of lights.

The prints on the light are good but not as clear as I hoped for.
This could definitely be improved on future Sunwayman products. I already noticed that on the M10A I have, and they haven`t changed it much over the last couple years.
The Mirage has different style prints, and look to be made in a different way, or at least in a diffferent font/size.

Dimensions and weight: (Identical to the V11R Mirage)

AA style: (With AP-05 extender) (optional, not included in the package)
Length: 100mm Diameter: 23mm
Weight: 59grams (without battery)

CR123A style: (without extender, without battery)
Length: 85mm Diameter 23mm
Weight: 50 grams

First of, it`s obvious that they are identical in size and structure.  But there are some noticeable differences as well., besides the color of course. Length wise its only 1 cm shorter than its brother the SWM F40A

  • The Mirage has no Output labels below the control ring, which makes it impossible to see in what output level it currently sits
  • The revolution has labels with Min and Max, with an indicator on the magnetic control ring to see in what level it currently is
  • The reflector on the Mirage is slightly more aggressive OP, with the revolution having a smoother reflector.
  • The revolution comes with a spare metal switch, which looks great!
  • The revolution has more text and different text on the body.
v11r-extender-without

Without the extender

With the extender for using AA/14500 battery

v11r-extender-with

User Interface

Modes: infinitely Variable

How? Just turning the ring from Min (sub 1 lumen) to max (approx. 500 lumens with 16340)
No blinkies! yep, they are impossible to find!! they are just not there!

I can`t praise these variable magnetic control rings enough..
Even if its pitch black, you can turn it on in the lowest or highest mode, with 1 hand.
I use the V11R Mirage as a bed-side light, and its great...
Love it!
The only negative side it has, is that it draws more current with same output than other lights.

PWM:

There is none to be found, not in low, nor in high.

No PWM visible in Medium output

No PWM visible in Lowes mode either

Performance:

This is what most people are interested in.
(while this is a main factor for flashlight users, you should not overlook some other very (maybe even More) important aspects of a light: size/ modes/ anodization/ handling/ tint/ accessories/ upgradability/warranty etc)

The batteries used were and AA eneloop, 16340 trustfire, Panasonic CR123A and a Trustfire 14500. Just like with every battery, there is always some difference between batteries, even from the same brand. These are just meant for averages. If you want to know more about eneloop batteries, check out eneloop101.com. For other battery tests, check out HKJ battery reviews and comparisons at: Lygte.dk.

Numbers:

Output in lux (Ceiling bounce!) not throw. Note: These numbers are not here to compare to other people`s lux numbers.
They are only to compare with the other lights I tested with the same setup and same conditions.

Setting on my HS1010A light meter is x2000, which I tend to use for all the flashlight reviews on 1lumen.com
For Lowest mode,a ceiling bounce is impossible, so I shine the light directly on the white dome of the Lux meter.... so the numbers between Max and Min can`t be compared.

Comparing the V11r mirage vs V11r revolution.

AA eneloop @ 1.3V

  • Max (ceiling)
    Revolution XML2:  20 @ 2.3Amp
    Mirage XML U3: 14 @ 2.2Amp
  • Min (direct)
    Revolution XML2: 4 @ 0.04Amp
    Mirage XML U3: 0 @ 0.04Amp 

16340 Trustfire flames @4.24V

  • Max (ceiling)
    Revolution XML2: 88 (64 after 30seconds) @1.55Amps   
    Mirage XML U3: 76 (66 after 30 seconds) @1.64Amps
  • Min (direct)
    Revolution XML2: 13 @0.014Amps 
    Mirage XML U3: 4 @0.015Amps

CR123A Panasonic @3.2V

  • Max (ceiling)
    Revolution XML2:   28 @ 0.84Amps (28 after 30 seconds)
    Mirage XML U3:  28 @ 0.8Amps (27 after 30 seconds)
  • Min (direct)
    Revolution XML2: 5 @ 0.02Amps
    Mirage XML U3: 2 @ 0.02Amps

14500 Trustfire flame @4.18V

  • Max (ceiling)
    Revolution XML2: 78 (66 after 30 seconds) @1.55Amps
    Mirage XML U3: 77 (71 after 30 seconds) @1.85Amps
  • Min (direct)
    Revolution XML2: 7 @ 0.014Amps
    Mirage XML U3: 2 @0.014Amps

Beamshots V11R-revolution, compared to V11R-mirage

beam1control
beam2-v11r-mirageAA
beam3-v11r-revolution
beam5-v11r-16340-revolution
beam4-16340-mirage
beam6-v11r-mirage-cr123a
beam7-v11r-revolution-cr123a
beam8-v11r-mirage-14500
beam9-v11r-revolution-14500
beam10-c10a-16340

Conclusion

The difference between the 2 lights is not enough to really say that the V11R XM-L2 is an improvement over the older XML U3.
Switching on both lights will give a little headstart for the revolution with its XML2, but after a minute the Mirage holds its own..
Not sure the reason, maybe the higher voltage the XML2 needs? Or thermal conductivity is better on the Mirage?

The good:

  • Fully adjustable brightness with Magnetic Control Ring (MCR)
  • Great machining
  • No sharp edges
  • Anodizing is great
  • many battery options
  • No PWM
  • Indicators for Min and Max (that are not on the Mirage)
  • Extendable with AP-05 sunwayman extender for use with AA /14500 batteries
  • Bright on 16340
  • Control ring has enough grip, much better than the older Sunwayman M10A and V10A

The bad:

  • 10% drop in output within the first minute
  • Grease needs to be changed about once a year/2years for the magnetic ring.
  • Price, not budget
  • Sometimes switches off, when turning the MCR too strong (Because it will break contact/lock out)
  • O-ring that came with extender was too thick (this is not part of the V11R set) and didnt make good contact
  • AP-05 extender is optional, and isn`t cheap
  • Draws more current on identical output than others (but they don`t have a magnetic control ring)
  • Output of the light changes a bit. This is due to the driver/magnetic control ring

Where to buy Sunwayman V11R or alternatives