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Speras M2R-35 review: headlamp
Speras M2R-35 specifications
|Brand & Model||Speras M2R-35|
|Beam intensity||3,900 cd|
|Blinkies||Strobe / SOS|
|Review publication date||Aug 2022|
I reviewed my first Speras light a couple weeks ago. The short of it? I was thoroughly impressed by the Speras M4. Was that a one-off thing? Or is that what I should expect of all Speras lights? Well, here is another opportunity to add to that experience: the Speras M2R-35 headlamp. It’s a compact right-angle lamp / headlamp. The specs sound pretty good: 1200 lumens, 125m throw, takes an 18350, and has 4 brightness levels. I always enjoy a well-made headlamp, as they’re so handy. Can the Speras M2R-35 live up to the high bar that was set by the M4?
Just like the M4, the Speras M2R-35 arrived in a middle-of-the-road white cardboard carton. It would hang nicely on a store’s display rack, but the branding certainly wouldn’t catch your eye. The box is almost purely white with just the brand, model, and a few key specs adorning the exterior along with a small window to get a glimpse of the light inside. I’ve seen better and I’ve seen worse, but at the end of the day, it’s just a box. It’s inside what counts. The carton contained:
- Speras M2R-35
- Battery (18350)
- USB-C charging cable
- Spare o-rings
- Pocket clip
- Head strap
Flashlight in use
Headlamps come in a few different body styles. The two prominent ones are right-angle (L-shaped) and T-shaped. They both have their advantages. T-shaped lights can feel more balanced when they’re on your head, so they’re great for dedicated headlamp use. Right-angle lamps work fairly well on your head, but also do well as utility / work lights. The Speras M2R-35 falls into the latter category.
The M2R-35 uses an 18350 battery, so it is reasonably short. There’s a single e-switch for controlling the operation, which sits on the end of the headlamp. The switch is medium-sized and rubbery; black with a little clear section in the middle for battery status indication. The button is just barely proud of the end of the light. There’s a USB-C port opposite the reflector; it’s covered by a plug that sits mostly flush with the body.
The headstrap is the style that includes an over-the-top strap. Overall, the strap feels like pretty standard stuff. The mount area consists of a couple rubbery rings that are easy to slip over the body of the M2R-35 and allow you to install and remove the light without much trouble.
The clip seems to be pretty nice and well made, but its placement doesn’t make much sense to me. It grips onto the base of the head of the light, opening down towards the tail. It clips in almost smack-dab in the middle. So it has a clip, and it’s a good clip, but its positioning baffles me. I think part of this situation came about because the M2R-35 likely is a subversion of the Speras M2R which is an identical headlamp, but uses an 18650 tube with different clip options. So I think Speras did what they could without touching the original design of the common part, the head.
In addition to the strap and the clip, there are two other ways of toting the M2R-35 around. The included lanyard is pretty nice. It mounts through a set of holes in the base of the body. There is also a strong magnet in the base of the body that helps in positioning the light on ferrous surfaces like work benches, automobile bodies, or other machinery.
If you don’t have a headlamp, you owe it to yourself to get one. I have several that I use all the time. Just this week I put one on for several trips up into my attic, times when I absolutely needed more light and couldn’t afford a hand for holding onto a flashlight. And a couple weeks ago I went catfish fishing all night long; my headlamp was an indispensable tool for that trip. With the Speras M2R-35 being 18350 based, it does have shorter runtimes, so I would use this for times where I’m not demanding hours of high-brightness. But that also means it’s smaller and lighter, which is nice for activities where you may be bouncing around a bit like jogging, hiking, biking, or walking the dog.
Build Quality, and Warranty
The M2R-35 is made of “aerospace grade” aluminum alloy. While that’s actually pretty standard, the aluminum has an excellent hard-anodized level III coating. Yes, it’s nice. The coating is smooth, and thick, and even without being shiny. The machining is really well done, devoid of any sharp edges. The bezel and button retaining ring appear to be black-colored stainless. Overall, the Speras M2R-35 feels expertly crafted. The quality rivals what I expected from much larger, well-known brands.
- The light is covered by a 5 year “life” (?) warranty
- The warranty does not cover normal wear & tear, modifications, misuse, etc
LED, Lens, Bezel, Beam, and Reflector
Speras mentions that the M2R-35 uses an “imported OSRAM LED”, but doesn’t say exactly which one. It’s likely the OSRAM P9 or something similar to that, which has been a fairly popular LED lately, finding its way into many Wuben lights, Nitecores, etc. They’re usually standard 70-CRI LEDs with an okay tint and good efficiency.
The OSRAM LED sits in the middle of an orange peel reflector, which is covered with a sheet of glass and held in place by what appears to be a black-colored stainless steel bezel ring. There is a moderately-sized hotspot with a very wide spill.
I measured the beam with my Opple Light Master at 3 meters on the High mode and got the following results:
- CCT: 5576K
- CRI: 64.5 Ra
- DUV: +0.0130
Dimensions and size comparison
|Speras M2R 35 Dimensions||Millimeters||Inches|
|Speras M2R 35 Weight||Grams||Oz.|
Headlamp comparison with its competition
Group 1: ThruNite TH20, Speras M2R-35, Wuben H5
Driver & User Interface:
E-switch UI’s vary widely. Some are fairly standard, others are great, a few are terrible, and many are “just ok”. That’s where I would put the Speras M2R-35… it’s ok. I really like the UI on the Speras M4 that I just reviewed, partially because it’s very similar to many other e-switch UI’s and has nice and familiar shortcuts. The M2R-35 is mostly good, but it switches the shortcuts up a bit.
Available modes: Eco, Low, Med, and High
Available blinky modes: Strobe and SOS
- Press and Hold: Eco mode
- Press and Hold >2 seconds: Lockout mode
- Single click: turn on, last used mode
- Double click: Strobe
- Press and Hold: increase brightness (Eco > Low > Med > High)
- 1 click: turn off
- Double click: Strobe
- Yes, there is mode memory for any of the standard modes (but not blinkies)
- To Eco: press and hold from Off
- To Strobe: double click from Off or On
Low voltage warning:
- The button has an LED in the middle that indicates the remaining capacity:
- Green LED: >70%
- Orange LED: 30-70%
- Red LED: <30%
- Flashing Red LED: <10%
- I appreciate that it has these indications, but green-orange-red is an impossible color scheme for myself (and 8% of the white male population)
- From Off or On, double click to enter Strobe
- While in Strobe mode, double click to enter SOS
- Single click from Strobe or SOS to exit
- From Off, press and hold for >2 seconds to activate Lockout
- Double click the button to unlock
- There is no PWM present
Additional info on the UI:
- The basics of the UI are good: a single click to turn Off and On.
- Double click for a lot of e-switch UI’s activates Turbo. But the M2R-35 doesn’t have a dedicated “Turbo” mode, so this button sequence activates Strobe. That’s ok if you use this light a lot and get used to the UI. But when you’re used to using double click for Turbo, you’ll be disorienting yourself pretty often.
Batteries & Charging
The Speras M2R-35 ships with a Speras-branded 1100 mAh 18350 battery pre-inserted in the light. The “PB11” battery includes a button-top protection circuit and is rated at 6 amps discharge. I also tried a Keeppower flat-top 18350 battery and it worked just fine.
Battery charge time:
Speras says that the built-in USB-C charging should take around 1.1 hours to give the M2R-35 a full charge. In my testing, it completed in 1 hours and 32 minutes. The charge rate was 0.75 amps.
The box contained a USB-A to USB-C charging cable that worked just fine for its intended purpose. However, when I tried to charge the M2R-35 with a USB-C to USB-C cable hooked up to my USB-PD supply, it would not charge. That’s not the end of the world, but a good thing to keep in mind – not just any ol’ charger will work.
For current measurements, an ANENG AN8008 multimeter and UNI-T UT210E clamp meter were used. Lux was measured by a UNI-T UT383 BT at 5 meters. Lumens were measured in a homemade lumen tube using a TSL2591 sensor, calibrated with a Maukka calibration light. Testing was performed with the included Speras PB11 battery.
|Mode||Amps at start||Specs||@turn on||@30 sec||@10 minutes|
|Eco||14 mA||5 lm||4.3 lm||4.3 lm||–|
|Low||170 mA||100 lm||81 lm||81 lm||80 lm|
|Med||770 mA||400 lm||319 lm||317 lm||313 lm|
|High||3.2 A||1200 > 600 lm||1019 lm||987 lm||362 lm|
- 40 µA
These tests weren’t terrible, and are inline with what I would expect from an 18350-based light. But my measurements do not match Speras’s claims – they’re about 20% lower. Like I’ve mentioned earlier, the M2R-35 appears to be a derivative of the M2R which is an 18650 model of this. I wonder if the M2R can indeed do 1200 lumens, owing to the stronger, larger battery and that Speras just copied over the same lumen amounts since most of the light is the same. I’m not making excuses for them, but this wouldn’t be the first time I’ve seen this.
Battery Life: Runtime graphs
|Mode||Specified runtime||Measured runtime (ANSI)||Time till shut off|
|Low||5 hr 52 min||5 hr 57 min||> 7 hr 42 min|
|Med||1 hr 30 min||1 hr 25 min||> 3 hr 8 min|
|High||90 sec + 30 min||1 hr 3 min||> 2 hr 25 min|
Overall, the claimed runtimes were pretty spot-on. After it hit low voltage, the M2R-35 dropped to around 4 lumens and would run for a couple hours. Eventually, the battery’s protection circuit would kick in and shut things down.
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.
Peak beam intensity and beam distance measurements
Measured at 5 meters after 30 seconds
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).
Beam shots of the building are taken at 15 m (16 yd) using a Pixel 6 set to ISO 200 with 1/10 second exposure time
Beam shots of the playset are taken at 30 m (33 yd) using a Pixel 6 set to ISO 200 with 1/2 second exposure time. The trees in the background are around 65 m away.
Beamshots compared to the following flashlights:
- Speras M2R-35
- Olight Array 2S
- Wuben H5
- Convoy H1
- ThruNite TH30 v2
Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to me for review at no cost by Speras. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.
- Great build quality
- Nice regulation / no PWM
- USB-C charging
- Several usage options: head strap, clip, lanyard, magnetic tail
- Not compatible with USB-PD
- Misses lumen specs
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
4.5 stars: ★★★★⋆
When I first pulled the Speras M2R-35 headlamp out of the package, I was immediately impressed with the build quality – just as I was with their M4 mini-thrower flashlight. The machining and anodizing are great. As I read through the manual to see about the UI, I was a bit less enthusiastic to find that the M2R-35 switched the UI up a bit, removing the “Turbo” mode and changing double-click to Strobe in place of Turbo.
That’s not terrible, but be warned. And unfortunately, like the M4, this does not support USB-PD charging (Speras – please add this!) and it does miss lumen specs a bit – perhaps encumbered by the smaller 18350 battery. Overall though, things seemed really good. The driver produced nice regulated modes, the indicator LED read out the remaining battery capacity, and there’s a handful of ways to use this light: headlamp, right-angle utility light, and pocket carry with the strap and/or clip. If you want a compact, do-all light with a nice driver and great quality, the Speras M2R-35 is definitely worth checking out!