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Lumintop FW21 X1L review: Long-range flashlight
|Brand/model||Lumintop FW21 X1L|
|Beam intensity||135,900 cd|
|Review date||December 2020|
Lumintop’s lineup is growing rapidly, including this Lumintop FW21 X1L, which is a single LED flashlight thrower. It’s relatively small and easy to carry. Instead of using a traditional reflector, it uses a TIR optic. Let’s find out if it can live up to its claims.
The packaging is relatively simple. It’s the typical Lumintop style design and packaging. Inside you can find the following things:
- The Lumintop FW21 X1L
- Battery adapter to use 18650 batteries
- Pocket clip (attached by default)
- Rubber cigar grip ring
- Card to show how to insert the battery
Handling of the light
It looks just like my FW1A and FW3A with the same color and same style. It has some slight knurling on the tailcap (which you shouldn’t remove) and some knurling on the head, just below the bezel. With the lack of knurling on the body, it does feel a bit slippery.
Please keep in mind that, although you can unscrew the tailcap to insert the battery, you should remove the body from the head to insert it. This is easier than removing the tailcap anyway, and you can’t insert a 21700 battery from the back. Please make sure, when you unscrew the tailcap, to tighten it as much as possible.
The switch is located in the tailcap and is the same as the one they used on the other FW series flashlights. This is an e-switch with a switch button made of aluminum. You can also replace it with a Turbo Glow button that some stores sell. This is pretty neat.
By default, the light gets shipped with a stainless steel pocket clip attached. You can remove it and replace it with a cigar grip rubber ring. I probably attached it the wrong way, but you get the point.
Build Quality, and warranty
In terms of build quality, the Lumintop FW21 X1L isn’t bad at all. It’s built pretty well, with great materials and great anodization.
The clip is made of stainless steel, and the threads are well lubed. The only gripe I have is with the clip. The space between the body (or head) and the clip is very narrow. I would have preferred a wider gap. It would be best if you bent the clip slightly with a finger to attach it to your pants or a belt. The gap is just a little too narrow.
Troubleshooting with low output, without changing modes.
Please make sure that after you remove the pocket clip, the light still works. Mine stopped working, and I couldn’t change modes. I needed to do some troubleshooting. I found out it was the tailcap that caused the trouble. I cleaned it with 97% alcohol and made sure everything was tight. Then it worked again. So if you come across the same problem, where the light will only have 1 mode (dim), the tailcap is probably the trouble maker.
- 30 days of purchase: free repair or replacement for factory defects
- 5 years: Lumintop will repair the product free of charge if problems develop with normal use
- Lifetime warranty: if repair is required after the guarantee period, they’ll charge for parts
- This warranty doesn’t cover normal wear and tear, improper maintenance, abuse, force, or defaults by human factors.
LED, LENS, BEZEL, AND REFLECTOR
According to its specs, the Lumintop FW21 X1L uses the CULNM1.TG_CN led. This is kind of an upgrade from the very popular CSLNM1.TG which is also a 4mm square LED with 1 square mm die/phosphor (the yellow part of the LED).
While most thrower flashlight use a smooth, wide and deep reflector, the FW21 X1L is using a dedicated TIR optic. And with this optic, it’s impossible to see the actual LED. I also couldn’t remove the bezel (if there is even any) to have a look on the inside of the flashlight.
When you shine the beam on a white or light-colored wall, you’ll notice an intense hotspot with almost no visible spill. The spill is smooth without any visible rings or artifacts. For now, this looks like a great thrower with some auspicious features. We’ll test it and see if it performs as well as I think it does.
A flat bezel protects the TIR optic.
Dimensions and size comparison
- Length: 117 mm / 4.61 ”
- Head diameter: 40 mm / 1.576 ”
- Body diameter: 25.4 mm / 1 ”
- Empty: 115.3 g / 4.07 oz
- With battery: 182.4 g / 6.44 oz
Long-range Flashlights compared
Dimensions compared some of the most popular and best flashlight throwers.
Driver & User Interface:
- Eco, Low, Medium, High, Turbo
- Moon and Turbo are not in the normal menu.
- Single-click: to last used mode, mode memory
- Double-click: High
- Triple-click: nothing
- Press and hold: Eco (moon mode)
- Single-click: cycle through modes, Low-Med-High
- Double click: Turbo
- Triple-click: nothing
- Press and hold: off
- To Turbo: double click from On
- To Moon: press and hold from Off
- It does have mode memory, for low,medium and high
Blinky modes menu:
- None that I could find.
- None that I could find. This is pretty strange with this type of switch. Since it’s so sensitive, I would assume there to be a lock-out mode.
- But you can do a mechanical lockout by unscrewing the head from the body about a half turn. You need to make sure the flashlight is turned off, otherwise, you can’t use the tail switch to turn it off when you do this.
- No, nothing visible by eye.
Batteries & Charging
The Lumintop FW21 X1L doesn’t have a built-in charger, so you need to get a separate charger and battery. You can add a 21700 battery to your order of course. Please note that you can not insert a battery from the rear. You have to unscrew the body from the head, and not the tailcap!
Because Lumintop tried to keep the flashlight as short as possible, you can’t really use protected, or 21700 with USB ports.
Inside the box, they included a battery adapter to use 18650 batteries. This adapter works great with flat top, unprotected batteries. This adapter won’t fit with long, protected 18650 batteries. However, you can still use protected 18650 batteries without the adapter!
All output numbers are relative for my home-made Integrating Sphere. It is set up with an Extech SDL400 Lux Meter for measurements including a Kenko PRO1D ND-16 filter. The base measurement is done with a Convoy S2+ that has been tested at 255 lumens.
All of my readings were taken from a fully-charged Samsung 40T
|Mode||Manufacturer||@ 30 sec||@ start|
|Turbo||750||640 Lumens||668 Lumens|
Unfortunately, the claimed output couldn’t be reached with a Samsung 21700 40T.
The runtime test was done with the 50cm integrating sphere, including the Kenko Pro1D ND-16 filter and Extech SDL400 data logging Lux Meter.
If you look at the full runtime graph, you’ll notice the strange behavior of Turbo mode. It drops directly to about 30 lumens and continous this output for 30 hours. Not very fond of that. So Turbo is really just a short burst for Low mode. The little spikes in the graph shouldn’t really be there, because there are no spikes. The Google Spreadsheet software probably doesn’t know how to show the tiny difference and just shows these ugly spikes.
The next graph shows the runtime graph for the first 3 hours. This gives a better understanding of the 3 brightest modes in terms of runtime. High is probably the most desired output, because it’s 11 minutes about the same output, and then drops.. the output from then onward is pretty stable. I stopped the runtime tests at 1 point when I noticed the lux meter only showed 2 or 3 lux. They would have continued to glow, and the battery had a Voltage of about 3.2-3.3V after taking them out of the flashlight.
Since I was a little surprised by the strange behavior of Turbo mode, I decided to do another test. The behavior is similar, but not the same. Could be a difference in temperature, or the battery used. I decided to do another round, and 1 more with the Samsung 21700 30T.
Measurements were taken outdoors at 20 meters distance with a professional Hagner E4-X Lux Meter. Measurements were done 30 seconds after start.
|Lumintop FW21 X1L Mode:||Candela||Meters||Yards|
Turbo mode is speccd at 135,900 cd, and mine got pretty close.
For the following beamshots I used a Canon EOS 5D Mk2 and a 50mm lens. manual settings: ISO1600, 1/4sec , F4, 5000K
The shed is about 65 meters / 71 yards away and the reflective fence about 200 meters / 219 yards
Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to me for review at no cost by Nealsgadgets. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.
- Pocketable thrower
- Throws really far for its size
- No PWM
- No electronic lockout
- No lanyard attachment
- Tailcap can be finicky when removed. So don’t open up the tailcap.
- Turbo mode is strange
4 stars: ★★★★
There are several compact throwers with TIR optics, and this is one of them. The FW21 X1L does perform well in Medium and High mode, but not in Turbo. Because of that, it doesn’t deserve 5 stars.. but 4 stars are appropriate when you see Turbo mode as a 1-time use. The dropdown is just too harsh. Medium and High have a runtime of roughly 2.5 hours, which is good.