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Acebeam L19 Review
Table of contents
Acebeam L19 specifications
|LED||OSRAM Olson KW CULPM1.TG|
|Lumens||1650 Lumens (white LED)|
|Beam intensity||422,407 cd|
|Review date||February 2021|
At last! I had been eagerly anticipating the newest L series tactical thrower since Acebeam announced it in December 2020, and now I have it for review. This is the latest iteration in Acebeam’s L1x series long distance best tactical flashlights. I reviewed the L17 and L18, and came away impressed with both of those lights, with each putting up great throw numbers. Each new model had new designs and improvements, and the L19 looks to have some further design improvements in place as well. It seems Acebeam has once again listened to the consumer and made improvements we were looking for. Or have they? Let’s see!.
As expected, the Acebeam L19 came in a nice, if not unimpressive retail package. This one can hang on a hook or sit on a shelf in a retail store. The overall package design is nice, and you can tell right away what the L19 is all about, with “1300 Meters” prominently printed on the front. The flashlight rides in a thin molded plastic carrier with all the accessories hiding in the cavity underneath. As usual, Acebeam includes a nice assortment of accessories with all the necessary accouterments to get started. Surprise! Acebeam’s IMR21700NP-510A 5100 mAh 21700 was hiding in there. I love surprises so thanks, Acebeam!
Here’s what you get:
- Acebeam L19
- Nylon holster
- 2 spare o-rings
- Spare switch boot
- Charging cable with power bank adapter
- Lanyard with cinch
- Warranty card
- Lithium ion battery warning card
Once again, Acebeam didn’t cheap out on the accessories, which look to be high quality. The lens came with a protective cover, and the battery loaded in the light had an isolator to keep it from making an electrical connection during storage.
Handling of the light
The Acebeam L19 has grown since the L18. It is longer with a much wider head, but the ergonomics haven’t changed much. It still feels great in the hand with good balance and really grippy finish. The added weight is a bonus here since it feels more substantial without being heavy. I’m okay with the fact Acebeam chose to omit the pocket clip for this one since I don’t think a light this big would be comfortable to carry while clipped to a pocket. There’s an aluminum tactical ring for a cigar-type grip and easy manipulation of the rear switch. The ring also has the hole for the lanyard, and it can be taken off, but the rear o-ring must be removed first. Combined with the finish, I had no trouble with handling the L19. The tube is short enough to reach the rear switch with your thumb.
The L19 features the same electronic switch from the L18. It’s metal button sits flush with the tube to prevent accidental activation. I had concerns it would be hard to locate by feel, but it sits in a flat area of the head so you can easily find it. The travel is really short and this time it feels a tad mushy and not as ‘clicky.’
The rear switch is unchanged. It’s a forward clicky and is only for activating turbo or momentary use. The click action is very positive and audible. The tailcap has also undergone a redesign. It’s longer and now has raised sides that allow tail standing. They also added anti-roll features to the head to keep it from rolling away. Those helped, but it still wanted to roll around. To prevent this, you need to attach the lanyard. The head design resembles the Acebeam L17 in some ways, which I like. Since this is a ‘tactical’ 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 1.5” scope rings.
Build Quality, and Warranty
For quality, it’s typical Acebeam, so you get fantastic build quality with excellent fit and finish. You get a limited lifetime warranty, 5 years for factory defects, and 24 months free repair which is among the best in the industry.
The light is made from aircraft-grade aluminum with type III hard anodizing. Acebeam’s finish is one of my favorites, not glossy, but not all-out chalkboard. It’s perfect; no thin areas, and no blemishes. The machining is exemplary. 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. About what I expect at this price point.
Dimensionally, aside from being wider, the head is slightly longer and has extra cooling fins forward of the switch.The sand blast finish stainless steel bezel has been redesigned as well, with closely spaced crenulations. I actually like this design and it reminds me of the Olight Javelot’s bezel. There is no knurling on the light this time, but the battery tube has square relief cuts for gripping, and the tailcap has grooves cut in the sides for grip.
All electrical contacts are all gold plated, and there are thick springs on the driver and tailcap. The tailcap switch PCB has 2 contact points. One interfaces with a sleeve 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 fully anodized with plenty of lube out of the box. Of course, they were buttery smooth. For water resistance, the L19 is rated for IP68 so no worries if it goes for a swim.
The included lanyard is one of the better quality ones with an adjustable cinch. The included holster seems to be of decent quality. It has a plastic hanger and Velcro-backed belt loop on the backside. I did notice the tactical ring gets hung up on the bottom when pulling it out of the holster though.
LED, Lens, Bezel, and Reflector
One thing I had been longing for with the Acebeam L18 was an emitter upgrade, and Acebeam obliged. I couldn’t get the bezel off this time to verify the actual emitter, but Acebeam is pretty forthright so I’ll take their word for it. It’s still an OSRAM LED, (they have brought back an optional green emitter), but this go-around the CSLPM1 has been replaced by the Oslon CULPM1. Also known as the Boost HX, this emitter was designed primarily for automotive applications, while the former is for effect and stage lighting. Both are domeless LEDs meant for projecting a narrow high intensity beam of light, but the main difference between them is the Boost HX sits on a 4040 size package with better thermal performance, while the latter is 3030 size. Thanks to the improved thermal capabilities and slight efficiency increase, the Boost HX can also be driven harder and has higher output potential.
One thing that has not changed is the optic since the Acebeam L19 sports a PMMA plastic TIR (total internal reflection) optic. The new optic is larger than the L18’s (60 mm vs 48 mm), and it’s a different design with a smooth reflecting surface as opposed to the stepped design. The optic is protected by an AR-coated mineral glass lens. As you would expect, the beam is very focused, with a small intense hotspot. The spill seems about the same as the L18, but nothing like you get with a reflector light since there’s no sharp cutoff between spill and hotspot like some throwers. While some might be turned off to this, I like the beam and it suits the intended purpose just fine, which is projecting light long distances. Alas, a little more visible spill would have been nice.
Acebeam L19 dimensions
The L19 is slightly taller and the head is wider than the L18, but otherwise it’s still pretty compact for a long distance thrower.
- Height: 163.8 mm / 6.44 inches
- Head diameter: 60 mm / 2.36 inches
- Body diameter: 25.4 mm / 1 inch
- Without battery: 196 grams / 6.91 oz. With Acebeam 21700 battery 279.3 grams / 9.85 oz
Acebeam Tactical Flashlight comparison
Group 2: C8, Skilhunt E2A
Driver & User Interface:
I liked the Acebeam L18’s UI, so naturally, I like the L19’s because it’s the exact same. I like it because it’s a very user-friendly UI with 6 modes and mode memory. Operation is simple: Press the side switch for on or off and to switch modes. To cycle through the modes hold the switch down: L-M1-M2-H. Turbo can be called up from on or off with a double click. As mentioned, the rear switch is for turbo only.
To activate the mode memory, switch to the mode you want, unscrew the tailcap until the light turns off, then tighten and the light will start in the last mode. Moon, strobe, and turbo are not memorized. There is an electronic lockout. From off, press and hold the side switch for around 5 seconds and the light turns on in moonlight, turns off, and is locked. Reverse the procedure to unlock.
Since you can run 2 x CR123A batteries, the L19 uses a constant current buck driver, so naturally there’s no PWM visible in any mode and you get nice, linear output during runtimes.
- Press and Hold: For 3 seconds activates moonlight. After 5 seconds, electronic lockout.
- Single-click: Turns on in last memorized mode
- Double-click: Turbo
- Triple-click: Strobe
- 4x click: Strobe
- Press and Hold: Cycles through the brightness levels from last memorized mode.
- Single-click: Turns off
- Double-click: Turbo
- Triple-click: Strobe
- 4 clicks: Strobe
- Yes, last mode memory.
Low voltage warning:
- Battery indicator light: Green > 30% Red 30% to 10% Flashing Red <10%. LVP will drop the output very low then turn the light off.
- 1 strobe
- Electronic lockout is activated by pressing and holding the switch from off for 5 seconds.
Additional info: The battery state indicator lights up only when the light is turned on to show battery condition. If you have a mode selected using the side switch and activate turbo, the light turns off when you release the rear switch. Turbo, strobe, and moonlight are not memorized. You can also lock the light out by unscrewing the tailcap slightly. The LVP kicks in around 3 volts under load. I measured the battery after the high runtime and it was 2.85 volts.
Batteries & Charging
The L19 is designed around a single 21700 lithium-ion cell, and per Acebeam you can also use a 18650 or 2 x CR123A cells. Take that last part with a grain of salt because I couldn’t get an unprotected18650 to fit. A protected 70 mm long cell fit, but rattled around a lot in the tube so I don’t recommend it unless you wrap it in tape or something. A standard length (Samsung 30T) 21700 also didn’t fit well enough for a reliable connection, so for this one you are stuck with using protected 21700’s.
Acebeam included their IMR21700NP-510A 5100 mAh protected button top cell with built in USB type C charging. 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. I don’t have a charger big enough to fit a cell this long (almost 78 mm), so I can’t say whether it can be charged that way, but I imagine it would.
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. Not too bad. You should be able to mostly charge a 3000 mAh cell phone with the battery.
Acebeam L19 performance
The Boost HX LED is a very welcome upgrade along with the new optic and extra cooling, but has Acebeam done additional upgrades elsewhere to reach the 1300 meter throw and 1650 lumens advertised output?
I used my Radio Shack T-RMS multimeter with 16 gauge wire directly in the meter to measure the current. This was tricky since there are two contact points on the battery tube. The contact points are tiny ridges, so getting 16 gauge wires on them was challenging. Here’s what I came up with:
- Moon: 3 mA
- Low: 149 mA
- Med1: 430 mA
- Med2: 1.02 A
- High: 2.5 A
- Turbo: 8.7 A at turn on, 7.5 A at 30 seconds
The parasitic draw current was 0.16 mA.
The runtime test was done on all modes except low and moon because it would run for days straight. I used the 30 cm integrating sphere calibrated with a light of known output. I used the Digi-Sense 20250-00 data logging luxmeter, and temperatures were measured with my Ames non-contact thermometer. The battery was fully charged for each test.
Turbo started stepping down gradually, decreasing the brightness until the first big step down to 770 Lumens at the 2 min. 35-second mark. It stayed at this level until the light shut off abruptly at 1 hr. 23 minutes. Acebeam specifies 1 hr. 30 minutes. I was able to use low and moonlight modes, but med 1, med 2 only lasted for 30 seconds before the light turned off.
There’s no visual notification to alert you to the battery condition other than the brightness ramping down, but the indicator light on the side will start blinking red to warn you that shutdown is imminent. I did notice the temperatures were a little lower this time, with the head getting up to a max of 61 degrees C (down from the L18’s 74+ C) so the extra heat sinking did its job.
The high mode looks very similar to turbo, and after the step down to around 630 Lumens, it maintained that for the remainder of the run. Head temperatures hovered around 55 to 58 C and the total time was 1 hr. 50 minutes, down from Acebeam’s specified 2 hrs. 15 minutes.
Medium 1 and 2 were more of the same with nice consistent output. Medium 2 ran for 4 hrs. 14 minutes (Acebeam spec 5 hrs.) and medium 1 ended at 10 hrs. 10 minutes, which is down almost 2 hours from Acebeam’s 12 hour advertised time. I was able to use the lower modes after the tests just fine, but high was only usable for about 30 seconds. I like that you can still use the flashlight in the lower/medium modes even when the battery is pretty flat.
Overall, the driver in the L19 is dialed in pretty well to work with the OSRAM emitter, and more and more I’m liking boost and buck drivers in flashlights due to the nice linear and consistent output you get throughout the battery discharge curve. The runtimes for the lower modes were a little off, but some of that might be due to the batteries.
Lumen measurements (for each mode)
Lumen measurements were taken using my homemade 30 cm integrating sphere calibrated with a light of known output using the Digi-Sense 20250-00 data logging luxmeter. All readings were taken from the fully charged battery at 30 seconds. I did not measure strobe mode. My numbers are on the left, and advertised in the far right. Moon was so low it didn’t register on my luxmeter.
|Moon||No reading||1 Lumen|
|Low||67.9 Lumens||60 Lumens|
|Medium 1||206.3 Lumens||220 Lumens|
|Medium 2||392.7 Lumens||420 Lumens|
|High||728.2 Lumens||870 Lumens|
|Turbo||1242.36 Lumens (1378.02 at turn-on)||1650 Lumens|
The trend with the low output figures continues with the L19. Turbo was the biggest gap, and even at turn on it was still over 200 Lumens short. I was a little disappointed with the numbers this go-around since I was anticipating higher output. The Boost HX is being driven hard enough to get higher numbers, so maybe light is being lost in the optic?
Acebeam claims the L19 throws 1300 meters, which for a light with a 60 mm TIR is pretty fantastic. I used the Uni-T UT383S lux meter for this test. Throw numbers taken outdoors at 10 meters at 30 seconds. Acebeam’s advertised numbers on the far right.
|Low||21,700 cd, 295 m||13,188 cd, 230 m|
|Medium 1||58,700 cd, 482 m||46,104 cd, 429 m|
|Medium 2||123.900 cd, 709 m||93,541 cd, 612 m|
|High||199,000 cd, 892 m||176,983 cd, 871 m|
|Turbo||430,300 cd= 1,312 m||422,407 cd, 1300 m|
Acebeam didn’t list any figures for the moonlight mode, and the luxmeter did not return any readings. The rest of the modes are all coming in slightly over Acebeam’s advertised figures. I tested the light at 5 meters also to make sure my numbers were right. This is fantastic performance from a light with a 60 mm head.
The new optic and LED improves the throw, and we can see the tint is a tad warmer than the CSLPM1 in the L18. The C8’s SST40 is 5000k, so the L19 is probably around 5800k to 6000k. The throw is awesome, but again, not much illumination from the spill. The trees are 150 to 200 meters away.
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.
- Fantastic build quality, fit and finish
- Stable output
- Same intuitive UI
- Better heat management
- Amazing throw
- 5-year warranty
- Still doesn’t meet advertised Lumen output
- Restricted to protected 21700 cells
- Not much side illumination from the beam
4.5 stars: ★★★★⋆
While our star rating provides a reliable indicator, we encourage you to read the full review to make an informed decision based on your own needs and preferences.
One of the things I really appreciate about Acebeam is they listen to the customer then put those suggestions into production while maintaining an ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’ philosophy. Acebeam didn’t just stick a Boost HX into the L18 and call it good, but made some necessary design improvements and changes to get the most out of it. There’s a lot I like about the Acebeam L19, starting with the awesome build quality, and I appreciate the design improvements to keep the temperatures down. Moreover, the redesigned optic really hurls the photons out there. For a 60 mm head the throw is outstanding. If I had to pick on the L19, I was really expecting more Lumens out of it, a more useful beam, and it’s lame that you are restricted to using protected 21700’s. That’s not a huge deal since we’re getting good quality protected 21700’s these days. Make no mistake, this is an extremely capable and well-made thrower. 4.5 stars all the way.