Wuben E12R EDC flashlight review: Osram P9, 1200 Lumens
Wuben was established in 1981 and has been producing flashlights for decades. Most of that time was spent as an OEM, but in 2016 they launched their own line of flashlights. I’ve owned several Wuben flashlights over the past few years and have been really impressed with their overall quality. My first Wuben was the I331 Iron Man. It was a very well built flashlight with handsome machining and great finish, elegant, but a bit large for a 14500 light. I have also owned the Wuben E05, which has been one of my favorite 14500 flashlights, save for hold-for-off action. And the Wuben TO50R… what an awesome flashlight. It has the most complex driver I’ve ever seen, and it’s ridiculously bright and high-CRI.
What I’ve come to expect in Wuben flashlights: wonderful presentation, amazing build quality, great regulated buck/boost drivers, and lumens that actually exceed the stock specifications. Now Wuben has released the E12R – a 1200 lumen flashlight with built-in power bank features including a full size USB-A port. Will the Wuben E12R continue the trend of great build quality?
What you’ll get:
The Wuben E12R arrived in a handsome presentation box with a clear window that allows you to see what’s inside. Sliding the formed plastic tray out of the box revealed the sturdiest tray I’ve ever seen. It’s contents were as follows:
- Wuben E12R
- Wuben 3100 mAh 18650 battery (inside the light with a protection disc)
- USB-A to USB-C charging cable
- Spare o-rings
Wuben E12R Specifications
|Brand / Model||Wuben E12R|
|Beam intensity||7985 cd|
|Review date||September 2020|
Handling of the light
The first thing I noticed about the E12R is the size… it’s big. Long and a bit thick. While I feel like it could be a little bit smaller, the thickness is largely due to the dual-tube construction that allows the charging circuit to be located in the tail. And the length is somewhat due to the addition of a full-size USB-A port in the tailcap.
Dimensions aside, the E12R feels good in the hand. The body tube knurling gives it a bit of grip. The pocket clip is very sturdy, definitely not deep-carry, and keeps the flashlight from rolling around. It appears that the clip might be reversible. It’s not – don’t try it! The front groove isn’t quite wide enough to accommodate the clip, and I scratched the finish around the front groove while attempting it.
The Wuben E12R can tailstand… if you’re careful. Mine is a bit wobbly, which seems ironic considering that it comes with a very nice diffuser which would make this a perfect candidate to use in a candle-mode fashion. The diffuser is rubbery and is stamped with the Wuben logo.
The E12R has a single switch – an illuminated e-switch behind the signature “W” button on the side of the head of the flashlight.
Build Quality, knurling, threads, and anodization
Like I’ve come to expect from Wuben, the build quality feels great. The anodizing is a nice matte black. The body tube and tailcap feature an interesting multi-stage triangular knurling pattern that I’ve never seen before. It kinda reminds me of argyle socks for some reason. It may not be for everyone, but it’s a nice departure from the usual.
The Wuben logo and model number are laser engraved, then dyed in a blue color. They look quite nice. The tailcap threads are square-cut, but not anodized to assist with passing current properly. The tailcap has a thick rubber plug that hides a USB-A port (for power bank purposes), and USB-C port (for charging), and 4 indicator LEDs for charging status.
LEDs, Lens, Bezel, and Reflector
The Wuben E12R uses an OSRAM P9 LED. I’ve seen this one pop up in a few places, but I have never really seen any tests or even a datasheet. It’s the OSRAM DURIS P 9, a 70-CRI 3737-footprint LED with decent looking characteristics. Luminous flux appears to be about the same as a Cree XP-L V4 bin. Forward voltage seems appreciably lower, though. According to datasheets, the P9 has a VF around 2.96 volts at 3000 mA, while the XP-L is rated around 3.18 volts at 3000 mA. This lower VF will allow it to run a bit more efficiently than the ubiquitous Cree LED.
The cool-white OSRAM P9 sits behind a TIR optic, which is nestled in a glued-on bezel with an interesting machining pattern that reminds me of a turbine or something. The optic is, unfortunately, a bit off-center on mine, and in reading other reviews, it seems that I’m not alone in that. The TIR produces a nice medium size spot with minimal spill. But due to the off-center optic, there is a square artifact that’s a bit distracting when wall hunting.
- Length: 13.7 cm / 5.4 inches
- Head diameter: 2.58 cm / 1.02 inches
- Body diameter: 2.49 cm / 0.98 inches
- With battery: 135 grams / 4.8 ounces
- Without battery: 92 grams / 3.2 ounces
EDC Size comparison:
Some EDC flashlights compared
- Power bank lights, left to right: Wuben TO50R, Wuben E12R, Folomov C4
- 18650 lights, left to right: Lumintop FW3B, Meote FM1, Wuben E12R, Convoy S2+, Folomov C4
Driver & User Interface:
The UI of the E12R is pretty easy to use. Overall, I like it (and I’m picky about UIs).
- Low, Med, High, Turbo Strobe, SOS
- Press and Hold: Low
- Single-click: turn on, with memory
- Double click: Strobe
- Triple-click: enable/disable Breathing indicator
- 4x click: lockout
- Press and Hold: cycle Low > Med > High > Turbo
- Single-click: turn off
- Double click: High
- Yes, it has mode memory (but not of the blinky modes)
Low voltage warning:
When you turn the flashlight on, the indicator LED under the button according to the battery level. It’ll turn off after 5 seconds unless the battery is under 15%.
- 90%+ charge: solid blue
- 40%+ charge: flashing blue
- 15%+ charge: solid red
- Under 15%: flashing red
- Double click from Off to access Strobe. From Strobe, double click again to access SOS or single click to exit.
- Yes, 4x click from Off to lock out the E12R
- No PWM was detected
- The Wuben E12R has a “breathing” green locator LED under the button. It is enabled by default. It can be enabled/disabled by triple-clicking when off. When you remove and reinstall the tailcap, the indicator will automatically re-enable itself. It’s not overly bright and it doesn’t draw much power.
Batteries and charging:
The E12R comes with a protected Wuben-branded 3100 mAh battery pre-installed. So yes, protected batteries fit. However, non-protected 18650’s do not fit! Well, I guess they fit inside the flashlight, but they’re too short to make electrical connection so they won’t work.
One of the big selling points of the Wuben E12R is that it can serve as a power bank, so it’s fitting that it has built-in charging. Lifting up the cover in the tailcap reveals a USB-C port for charging. The manual states that the E12R is capable of charging at 5V / 2A. I connected it to a 2.4 amp capable USB charger and the E12R maintained a 1.8 amp charge rate. I also tried hooking it up to a USB-PD (USB-C to USB-C) charger and it would not charge. Which is too bad because I have a lot of USB-C chargers around now, but most of them are USB-PD. When using the built-in charging, it terminated at 4.14 volts.
The same USB-A to USB-C that you use to charge the E12R with can be reversed to charge other devices with. The manual states that it can charge other devices at 5V / 1.5A. I was going to take a picture of my flashlight charging my phone, but then I realized the error in that thought process – I use my phone for taking pictures. So I used the E12R to charge other flashlights with built-in charging. The Mateminco MT07 with USB-C charged at 1.3 amps, but its battery was pretty full so that’s to be expected. It charged my Wuben TO50R with Micro-USB at 1.5 amps. And for fun, I used it to charge a power bank, which worked fine of course.
One thing worth noting, my other power bank flashlights require a special cable. If you don’t have that cable, you’re not charging anything. The Wuben E12R, on the other hand, uses an off-the-shelf USB-A to USB-C cable. Having a special cable with you isn’t a concern.
For current measurements, a 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 against several known lights. The temperature was monitored with a MLX90614 IR temperature sensor.
- Standby, no breathing indicator: 32 uA
- Standby, with breathing indicator: ramps between 0 uA and 347 uA (of course it can’t actually be 0 uA, this is likely an artifact of the measurement of a frequently changing current on an inexpensive meter)
- Low: 21 mA
- Med: 217 mA
- High: 959 mA
- Turbo: 3.4 A
The Turbo test started out at 1470 lumens and only dropped to 1426 lumens at 30 seconds. At 2 minutes, there was a timed step down to 664 lumens, where it stayed until 140 minutes into the test. The temperature topped out at only 43°C. After completing the runtime test, the battery measured at 3.10 volts.
The High test started out at 554 lumens and only dropped to 551 lumens at 30 seconds. It stayed at that level until 180 minutes into the test when it began to drop off. The temperature topped out at only 38°C.
Lumen measurements (for each mode)
- Low: 12 lm (spec 5 lm)
- Medium: 143 (spec 100 lm)
- High: 551 (spec 400 lm)
- Turbo: 1470 lumens @ 0s, 1426 lumens @ 30s (spec 1200 lm)
- 423 lux @ 5 meters
- 10,575 cd
- Throw: 206 m / 225 yd (spec 179 m)
Indoor beamshot – notice the squarish shape on one side? It seems as if the LED isn’t properly centered with the TIR optic.
Outdoor beam shots are taken at 25m (82ft) using a Pixel 3 set to ISO 200 with ½ second exposure time
Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to me for review at no cost, by Wuben. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.
- Brighter than specs
- Efficient, well-regulated driver
- Convenient power bank feature
- Great build quality
- Timed step down
Rating: 4 stars ★★★★
There’s a lot to like about the Wuben E12R. It over-delivers in the brightness department, which is in stark contrast to a lot of manufactures. Build quality is great, as I’ve come to expect from Wuben along with a well regulated driver. It runs really efficiently and hardly gets warm. Which can be good, but I also wouldn’t mind seeing it use thermal regulation instead of a timed step-down. I know Wuben has the skills to do thermal regulation, I’m not sure why it’s not included.The UI, overall, is pretty good and easy to use. Where I was disappointed, though, is the double-click action. From on, it activates Turbo (which is my preference). From off, however, it activates Strobe. I would much rather it be Turbo. And more than anything, I wish it were consistent. It’s much easier to remember button combinations when they’re the same from both On and Off.I feel like, as a flashlight, the E12R is a bit large though. It’s easily the longest 18650 tube light that I own. Unless I really think I’ll want both a power bank and a flashlight with me, I’m not sure if this Wuben would be riding in my pocket much.The Wuben E12R has a lot going for it. If you would make use of the power bank feature and won’t be bothered by the increase in size, the E12R could be a good option for you.