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Acebeam L19 2.0review: thrower flashlight test
Acebeam L19 2.0 specifications
|Brand & Model||Acebeam L19 2.0|
|Beam intensity||293,222 cd|
|Review publication date||July 2022|
Acebeam is widely considered one of the premier manufacturers of flashlights and accessories, and the consensus has always been unanimous: They make nice, high quality lights for enthusiasts and professional users (like hunters worldwide). A few of their lights that made waves in the market were the L-series long-throw tactical-use flashlights. Starting with the L17 introduced in late 2019, it was the longest-throwing tactical flashlight, with a reach of 700+ meters from a 39 mm head thanks to the Osram CSLPM1.TG LED and a narrow-angle TIR optic. The L18 that followed bumped it up (a lot), to 1000 meters, and the last version L19 proved that a compact tactical light could reach 1300 meters (with a 60 mm head, no less). It’s still the farthest-throwing tactical flashlight out there. Now there’s a new L19, the 2.0. You might be thinking, “Nick, jeez, the L19 was pretty good as-is. How did they improve on the original?” Well, not much because the new light retains the original host and TIR. Aside from an inconsequential weight increase, the big difference is the LED. The original Osram Boost HX has been supplanted by the new kid on the block high intensity LED from Luminus.Guess which one (there will be a quiz later). Acebeam sent one for testing, and I’m excited to see how the L19 platform will benefit from this LED. It gets quite a bit brighter, so I’m expecting a nice bump in output, and I’m sure all the usual Acebeam accouterments will be present and accounted for.
Acebeam’s packaging is retail friendly for sure, with nice graphics and lots of specs and feature blurbs all over for nice eye candy. I always liked the color schemes and layout, but I don’t like the inner packaging too much because it’s always the same blow-molded thin plastic carrier holding all the bits. These bits fall out all over when you pull out the inner packaging. Acebeam, take a hint from Fenix on that one. Here’s what’s inside:
- Acebeam L19 2.0 flashlight
- Acebeam IMR21700NP-510A 21700 battery (loaded in the light)
- Warranty card
- Spare switch boot
- 2 spare o-rings
- USB type A to C charging cable with OTG adapter
Overall, this is a complete kit, expected in a flashlight of this type and price. It’s RTR (ready-to-run) and includes Acebeam’s high quality INR 5000 mAh 21700 USB rechargeable battery. Just open the box and get on with it. The accessories are nice and seem to be of great quality. Just what I expect from Acebeam.The lens came with a peel off protector, and the battery had an isolator to prevent it from draining. Alas, I am not a fan of this packaging though, as all the accessories fall out when you pull out the tray.
Flashlight in use
The L19 2.0 is pretty compact for a light capable of high output and long lange. Use cases? The L19 is in its element as a long-distance inspection, spotting and observation (e.g. hunting light), or for a first responder who needs a great deal more throw than their Acebeam L35 can manage. It’s also good as a general purpose light..
Handling-wise, it’s a bit front-heavy, but nicely balanced. The body feels fantastic in the hand, and it’s very maneuverable and points naturally in the saber and ice pick grip. Cigar grip, however, is a bit clumsy due to the front–heavy balance. The body has grippy blocks instead of knurling, and they’re very effective. The aluminum tactical ring is removable as well and also has the hole for the lanyard. Acebeam includes a nice belt holster that secures the L19 in the bezel up position, but it was a lot easier to extract from the holster with the tactical grip ring removed. There’s no pocket clip, and that might be a nuisance to someone who would like to clip the L19 2.0 to their MOLLE, web gear, turnouts, or battle rattle.
Combined with the finish, I had no trouble with handling the L19 2.0, and it carries forward the rear clicky side e-switch as the predecessor. The rear forward clicky switch feels great with nice feedback and snappy action, although it seems a bit less clicky than the first version. The e-side switch is a bit of a letdown (again). It has a metal button which sits flush with the tube to prevent accidental activation. The button has been “blacked out” with a dark gunmetal gray color (identical to the bezel). It sits in a flat area of the head, and like the original L19, it’s a bit hard to find by feel until you get used to it. I found myself more than once fumbling for the switch in the dark. Acebeam, can we get an indicator or raised button, please?. The travel is really short and this time it feels a tad mushy and not as ‘clicky.’ Since this is a tactical-use light, the tailcap can be swapped out for Acebeam’s ARPS-R02 remote pressure switch if you wanted to mount the light on a rifle or shotgun. It looks like the tube would fit in 1.25” scope rings, or you can pick up Acebeam’s Mount 900 Picatinny rail mount. Tail standing is a no-go this time, and it’s pretty stable on an incline, so it won’t easily roll off table.
Build Quality, and Warranty
For quality, it’s typical Acebeam, and I could go on and on about it, but take my word for it. You get fantastic build quality with excellent fit and finish. For the price, I’m a bit confused here because the L19 2.0 is coming in a bit cheaper than the original. Expect to pay around $120 US for the kit, down from the first L19’s $150 price point (note that Acebeam is listing the L19 at $119.99 currently). Still, it’s competitively priced and competes with the Speras T3R, Olight Warrior X Turbo, Nitecore P30i, and Fenix T18.
The light is made from aircraft grade aluminum with type III hard anodizing, which I suspect is real MIL-A-8625 spec. Acebeam’s finish is one of my favorites, nicely matte, but not all-out chalkboard. It’s perfect; no thin areas, and no blemishes. The machining is exemplary with no burrs or machine marks, all the parts fit together perfectly with no gaps, or rattles, and all the edges and heat sink fins are nicely chamfered with no sharp edges.
All electrical contacts are all gold plated, and there are thick springs on the driver and tailcap. These are important in a tactical-use light because they act like shock absorbers to soak up recoil energy and absorb shocks from impacts to prevent damage to the driver and maintain a positive electrical connection. The tailcap switch PCB has 2 contact points. One interfaces with a signal tube in the battery tube so the driver can work with the electronic and clicky switch. The tail cap has a single o-ring for sealing, and it’s pretty thick. The rear threads are thick, square cut, and unlike the L19, these ones are bare. They had plenty of lube out of the box and were buttery smooth. For water resistance you get IP68 for up to 5 meters of immersion (Per Acebeam), instead of the typical 1 or 2 meters. Very impressive!
LED, Lens, Bezel, Beam, and Reflector
For the LED, the original came with the Osram Oslon KW CULPM1.TG. Enthusiasts know it as the Boost HX, and it’s great for throwers, with a low Vf and good efficiency it’s perfect for buck drivers. However, times change, and the Boost HX has been usurped by the Luminus SFT-40-W. This is a 3 volt domeless monolithic 5050-size LED, and this isn’t a dedomed SST40. It features an improved design with 4 bond wires imbedded in the substrate for higher current handling. The die size is about 4 mm2, so about the same size as the Boost HX, which comes in with a light cd/mm2, but in luminous flux, it’s no contest. Whereas the Boost HX starts falling off at about 9 amps and 1600 Lumens, the SFT-40 laughs it off and says, “Please sir, can I have some more?” If properly cooled, 11 amps and 2200 Lumens isn’t asking too much of this LED. The SFT-40-W only comes in cool white, and the Opple Lightmaster Pro showed 6577K with an RA of 67.6 on Turbo. Duv comes in at 0.0030, so a bit on the warmer side compared to other SFT LEDs I’ve tested.
The L-series employ TIR (total internal reflection) optics instead of reflectors, and at first glance, the optic seems the same as the regular L19. It’s a 59-ish mm diameter PMMA plastic TIR. The optic is protected by an AR-coated mineral glass lens so it won’t get scratched or damaged. The bezel is a very nice finely crenulated blacked-out (probably PVD coated) stainless unit. The first L19’s bezel was a matte finish silver, and I think I like the blackened bezel a little better this time. The lens is recessed about 4 mm from the bezel edge, so it’s well protected, and having a lens in front of the somewhat easily-damaged plastic optic is a huge bonus, since it’s cheaper to replace the lens than the optic. One of my gripes about the L19, although an upgrade from the L18, is the beam was very narrow and didn’t have much side illumination. Not so with the SFT-40-W. There’s a nicely focused hotspot and decent spill. The beam is still pretty narrow, but with more side illumination, it’s more useful and still has lots of reach.
Dimensions and size comparison
|Acebeam L19 v2 dimensions||Millimeters||Inches|
|Acebeam L19 v2 Weight||Grams||Oz.|
Group 2 left to right Acebeam flashlights: Acebeam L17, Acebeam L18, Acebeam L19 1.0, Acebeam L19 2.0
Group 2 left to right: Acebeam L19 2.0, Convoy L21B, Speras T3R
Group 3 left to right: Thorfire C8, Acebeam L17, Acebeam L19 2.0, Fenix TK20R V2
Driver & User Interface:
I don’t know what kind of driver is hiding in the head, but it’s probably a constant current regulated driver, maybe a buck driver.
The UI is the same as the original L19, and it’s a very user-friendly UI with 6 modes and a single Strobe. and mode memory. The side switch (Functional Switch) can handle on/off duties, Strobe, Turbo, and mode switching, while the tail switch (Tactical Switch) is for momentary Turbo.
Available modes: Moonlight, Low, Mid1, Mid2, High Turbo, Strobe.
- Press and hold Functional Switch: Turns on in Moonlight
- Fully click Tactical Switch: Turns on in Turbo
- Half press Tactical Switch: Momentary Turbo
- Press and hold Functional switch: Strobe: Turns off
- Single click Tactical switch: Turns off
- Press and hold Tactical switch: After about 1 second, activates Strobe
- Single click Function switch: Changes modes E-L-M-H-T-E
- Yes, remembers the last used mode when switched off
- Pressing and holding the Functional Switch from off activates Moonlight
- Triple click the Functional Switch activates Strobe
Low voltage warning:
- The LED indicator shows battery level: Solid green LED 100% to 30%, solid red 30% to 10%, flashing red 10% or less. The manual doesn’t specify a visual LVP warning besides the indicator LEDs.
- Yes, Strobe
- Yes. Pressing and holding the Functional Switch for 5 seconds from off will activate the electronic lockout. The light blinks 3 times in Moonlight mode to indicate the lockout is active. Repeat the process to unlock.
- None and not visible by camera
Additional info on the UI:
- Again, this is an identical UI to the original L19, so I’m glad it hasn’t been monkeyed with. Generally, this is a very sound and effective UI for professional-use and tactical use with instant Strobe available from the Functional Switch and instant or momentary Turbo available from the Tactical Switch. Although mode memory is a bit taboo on a tactical-use light, I think it’s okay here and adds useful functionality to the light. The two switches work independently of each other, and clicking the rear switch if the light is turned on with the side switch overrides that mode, and if the light is turned on with the Tactical Switch, clicking the Functional Switch does nothing.
Batteries & Charging
The L19 2.0 is designed around a single 21700 lithium-ion cell (yep, same as the original L19), and unlike the original, Acebeam includes their excellent IMR21700NP-510A 5000 mAh 21700 by default. Before it was an (expensive) optional add-on. It’s a protected button top with built-in USB type C charging. I don’t know what’s under the wrapper, but It’s rated at 20 A discharge and it can double as a power bank when you use the included adapter. It’s a short USB type C plug on one end and a USB A male and female input/outputs. I tried charging the battery with it, but that was really difficult since the lead is so short. You’re better off using it for the power bank.
Using the included adapter and a regular USB type A to C cable, the cell charged at 5.2V 1 A, so that means it would take around 5 hours to charge a depleted battery, which is really slow. Most lights are now adopting on board charging at 2 amps for the higher capacity cells we’re getting these days. It barely fits in my VapCell S4+, in fact it’s still a tad too long. A USB type C to C cable did not work.
For the power bank side, I tried charging my tablet using the adapter and my USB tester showed around 4.98V and 1.44A, so around 7 watts. I tried charging some other flashlights and got between 980 mA and 700 mA, so it was a bit disappointing there. You should be able to mostly charge a 3000 mAh cell phone with the battery.
Lumens are measured using my home made 50 cm integrating sphere, and I use a Digi-Sense 20250-00 datalogging luxmeter. The sphere has been calibrated using many lights of known output and is accurate within 10% of actual output. All measurements taken at 30 seconds with the fully charged Acebeam IMR21700NP-510A 5100 mAh battery. Amps were measured with my Radioshack T-RMS multimeter with 16 gauge wires in the meter and my current clamp.
|Mode||Amps at Start||Specs||Lumens @turn on||Lumens @30 sec||Lumens @10 minutes|
|Mid 1||440 mA||300||288||288||–|
|Mid 2||1.09 A||630||585||585||585|
|Turbo||6.75 A||2200||1905||1845 lm||1380|
Take the current figures with a grain of salt since this is a buck driver and we’re reading the input current here, not the output current. The actual current at the LED may be lower or higher. I’m coming in low for the Lumen figures, not surprising given the low-ish drive currents for each mode. 2200 Lumens in a SFT-40-W requires at least 9 amps.
- 2.1 µA
Runtimes were measured in my home made 50 cm integrating sphere. I use a Digi-Sense 20250-00 datalogging luxmeter. The sphere has been calibrated with many lights of known output and is within 10% of actual output. I used the fully charged IMR21700NP-510A 5100 mAh battery for each test. I tested Mid 2, High, and Turbo modes.
|Mode||Specified runtime||Measured runtime (ANSI)||Time till shut off|
|Moonlight||1488h (62 days)||–||–|
|Mid 1||9h 45m||–||–|
|Mid 2||4h 8m||3h 58m||3h 58m|
|High||1h 38m||1h 53m||1h 53m|
|Turbo*||1h 37m||1h 17m||1h 29m|
The light was nicely regulated, no surprise since it’s a buck driver. It’s nicely thermally regulated as well, with no abrupt changes in output with thermal throttling. The temps never crested 65 C, and the body only became uncomfortably hot 30 minutes into the Turbo test at 58 C. The other modes kept the light hand-friendly at all times. There is LVP notification, with blinks spaced 2 seconds apart for a 5 minute span at the end of the Turbo test.
ANSI FL1 standards: The runtime is measured until the light drops to 10% of its initial output (30 seconds after turning on). This does not mean that the flashlight is not usable anymore. The last column shows how long the light actually works till it shuts off. If there is a + symbol, it means that the test was stopped at that particular point, but the light was actually still running. This happens on certain occasions, with certain drivers, firmware, or batteries.
Throw numbers: Peak beam intensity
Throw was measured indoors at 5 meters using the Uni-T UT383S luxmeter. I usually measure lights rated for 1000+ meters at 10 meter outdoors, but the TIR is pretty narrow, and the beam should be fully converged at 5 meters. Measurements taken at 30 seconds. I used the fully charged IMR21700NP-510A battery.
|Mid 1||36,100 cd||39,825||399||436|
|Mid 2||76,729 cd||86,250||587||642|
|Turbo||293,222 cd||292,750 cd||1082||1183|
Extra info: Peak beam distance according to ANSI FL1 standards: The calculated value of distance in meters at which the flashlight produces a light intensity of 0.25 lux. (0.25 lux is about the brightness of a full moon shining on an object).
For the long-range photos, I compared the L19 2.0 to:
- Acebeam L19 1.0
- Acebeam L18
- Speras T3R
- Convoy L21B
Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to me for review at no cost by Acebeam. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.
- Awesome build quality and finish
- Simple UI
- Increased output over prior L19
- Meets throw specs
- Beam is more versatile than the original
- Includes battery with onboard charging and power bank
- Nicely regulated driver and output
- Didn’t meet Lumen output specs
- Side switch is vague and hard to find by feel
Explanation on star ratings:
1: Avoid: my phone flashlight would be a better choice – 2: Poor: significant defect or issues; almost unusable – 3: Average: some defects or issues; but still usable 4: Good: recommended (minor issues) – 5: Great: highly recommended
5 stars: ★★★★★
Well, the saying goes if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I think that applies here too. The original L19 was truly a revolutionary flashlight. It was a compact tactical-use single-cell light that managed 1300+ meters with a 60 mm head thanks to that huge TIR. Although it didn’t meet the factory spec, it produced a decent amount of light. Consider that a low-end LEP at the time couldn’t match those specs, and you see why the L19 was special. Fast-forward a year and now we have a new LED encroaching on the Boost HX’s harem, the SFT-40-W. I can almost hear the Acebeam engineers saying, “Why not stick it in behind that big ol’ TIR and see what happens?” Well, the result is about what I expected: More output and really good throw, all packed in the most excellent, high quality L19 host. Paired with a fully regulated driver that’s been nicely tuned to work with the Luminus LED, and the increased side illumination, you get a really decent professional-grade tactical-use flashlight.
Although it doesn’t meet the Acebeam spec, it sure does for throw, and the runtimes are decent as well with great regulated output. The build quality is top-notch as well. The fact that Acebeam decided to actually include a battery this time is a nice bonus since on the first L19, a battery wasn’t included and was a $20 add-on (thanks, Acebeam). Although it doesn’t meet the Lumen spec, it still gets quite a bit brighter than the original L19. Lastly, I don’t like the side switch (again), so I hope Acebeam addresses that (with the L19 3.0, maybe?) since it muddies an otherwise excellent flashlight. Even so, 5 stars for the L19 2.0.
Acebeam L19 v2
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