ZeroAir Reviews: Lumintop SD26 (26650, XP-L HD, On-Board Charging)

Preface

Here’s another Lumintop from GearBest.  I’ve started liking this brand more and more – quality lights, and often things others aren’t making!  Read on to see the testing and results!


Official Specs and Features

Versions

There’s just one version of this light, the XP-L HD version.

MSRP

Lumintop has a store on their site which links to amazon.com, where this light is $69.90.

Here’s the link to GearBest, and I have a fantastic coupon for this light!!! The code 3RDGB26 will bring the price down to $34.99.  (That’s better than the flash sale price, too!)


Short Review

I like this light a lot – I feel like more than I “should.”  The build is great, and it is a great size in-hand.  I like the beam profile, and on-board charging is a nice bonus!

Long Review

What’s Included

  • Lumintop SD26
  • (Orange!!) Lanyard
  • Charge cable (USB to Micro-USB)
  • Carry Pouch
  • Manual

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Some of the branding seems to indicate a Lumintop 26650 cell is included: it’s not – I also don’t see a separate package which might contain a cell, though it seems other users did receive packages which contain cells! So, I don’t know…

Pictures

Here’s an album of photos, a beamshot album, the runtime, and the chargetime.

Package and Manual

Much like the Lumintop EDC25, the package for the SD26 is quite refined.  It’s a simple cardboard box, but the back has detailed printed info, and the light is held securely inside the box with foam surrounds, and all the accessories are in a tiny little box.

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The manual is terse but informative, but basically covers only the UI – the back of the box actually has more specs and info than the manual.

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Build Quality and Disassembly

Much like the other Lumintop lights I’ve tested, I’m quite pleased with the build quality of the SD26.  It has a fantastic hand-feel; it just feels like quality!  There are springs on both ends – just stainless (not gold plated), and the tailspring is a gigantic affair.  The head spring is a small, tight spring, which will allow this light to work with protected or unprotected cells.  The knurling is great – flat diamonds, which are a little grippy and very comfortable. (I don’t like aggressive knurling, and this is not aggressive knurling.)  The cell tube is directional.  The mating surface is different on either end, and the size is also just barely different – it’ll only work one way.  (I like this, too – I hate the notion that I may have the cell tube in a non-factory orientation, and this releases me from that thought.)  The lens is AR coated, and the reflector is very smooth.  The micro-USB port cover is very snug and gives me no concerns.  The head has some nice thick fins, and is also slightly ‘squared’, which functions nicely as an anti-roll feature.

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Of course the above parts unscrew off very easily.  The bezel ring looks like it’d unscrew too, but I was unable.  I would like to though because I think this light would be great for an emitter swap, to something more …. Nichia.  The driver does not remove through the cell-side, and since I can’t remove the bezel, I can’t say how everything’s connected in there.

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Oh, the threads are also very beefy ACME threads, with a good amount of lube.

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Size

38/33/123mm.  It’s a 26650 light with a head for moderate throw, and on-board charging – it’s just the size you think it might be, if not a little smaller.  I think the size is fantastic and I have actually edc’d this light on a number of occasions.  Lately I’ve said that with the size of lights like this (and particularly the DQG Tiny 26650), I can see the new Tesla cell allowing for some nice pocketable lights? I still believe that.  Even 26650 cells are close to working for me.

Retention

There’s a pouch and a lanyard, but no pocket clip.  I believe the body has a tiny place on both ends designed for a spring clip, but one isn’t provided.  (And it’d have to be one of those thin/small clips like is used with Convoy S2+.)  Otherwise, the pouch and lanyard are your options.  Of course the lanyard is fantastic, because it’s orange.  It’s a fairly basic lanyard, which connects on the tailcap.  There is just one hole to connect, which means the lanyard will cause the light to sit just barely not-flush any more.  The pouch is nice and thick, formed, and branded. A very nice pouch, if you’re into pouches.

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Power

A single 26650 powers this light.  It doesn’t care what type cell is used:  protected/unprotected, button/flat top.  Even the on-board charging doesn’t need any special cell characteristics (no proprietary cell!, thank you Lumintop!!).  (I’m sure this light will work with a single 18650 as well.)

I performed the runtime test twice on Turbo.  I was convinced that the first test failed in some way, but in retrospect both were fine.  The first one, I stopped around when the indicating switch began flashing.  The second one, I waited til the light (per the manual) switched to the Low output.  Charging data is from this second run.

Not that this is a huge difference, but most lights seem to regulate around 40° C, but the SD26 seems to hover in the 45° range, with a max before stepdown, of 47°.  And Lumintop does claim thermal regulation, not timed… (the difference in my testing probably due to my setup of the test.)

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Charging on the SD26 claims to ‘reduce charge time due to larger current in 2A.’  The charge tests I ran do not confirm that statement.  The charging only approaches 2A when the cell is nearly full, and even then is still well away from an actual 2A charge rate.  Furthermore, my equipment samples once per second and the charging dropped to 4mA at least every 4 seconds (being generous) for the whole runtime.  Really it dropped every 2 or 3 seconds.  I purposefully left the graph as ugly as it is to show the drops in charging.  I’m not sure what that means but it could be done to modulate the temperature of the cell, though I doubt it (ie, charging a 26650 at 2A for very long will result in some heat, and dropping charging every third second would be one way to still claim 2A charging but keep the heat down).  Note that the EDC25 I just tested did not do that.

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The micro-USB port on the SD26 is nice, and covered by a thick (very thick!) boot.  The port itself is seated very snugly.

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User Interface and Operation

There’s a single side switch on the SD26.  It’s a nice big round silicone switch with some knurling (or “grip”).  It’s also an indicating switch!  So when the voltage gets low, the switch will let you know by blinking green.

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The UI is a common one by today’s standards.  Click to turn the light on to the previously used mode.  Then click to advance through the 5 modes.  (in the low to high direction).  Hold the switch to turn the light off.  If you hold the switch while the light is off, you’ll enter the strobe group.  When in the strobe group, clicking will advance through three strobe modes – just hold the switch to turn the light off.  (Regular modes can’t be accessed from the strobe group. Strobe group can’t be accessed from the regular modes.) ((I liiiiiiike that feature!!)).  There’s also an electronic lockout: Enter the lowest mode (“moonlight”) and hold the switch for 8 seconds.  The light will flash (brightly) 5x and enter locked out mode.  To get out of lock out mode, one must unscrew the tailcap and screw it back.  This requires about a quarter turn.  Not much, but an unusual return to non-locked out.

I often drone about switches being hard to find, particularly when there’s a usb cover in a similar position.  In this case, however, that’s not a problem.  The usb cover is quite proud and also surprisingly firm, and it’s fairly easy to differentiate these two.

LED and Beam

There’s a Cree XP-L HD in this SD26.  It’s a fine emitter but no tint specification is offered – it is quite cool. And unfortunately there aren’t any variations.  I would love this light if it was just warmed up a bit!!

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The beam is as you’d expect from a fairly large head and a completely smooth reflector – it’s got a nice tight spot with an extremely well defined spill.  For this application I think this beamshape is fantastic.  It’s not a “thrower” but it does throw – the spot is possibly a bit large at distance, though.

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Beamshots, Runtime, and Lux Measurements

Brand Lumintop
Model SD26
Emitter Cree XP-L HD
Emitter Notes
Runtime AA/14500
Beamshots [0.3″, f/8, ISO 100, 5000k] AA/14500
Claimed Lumens (lm) 1000
Lux (Measured) 1650
At (m) 3.876
Candela (Calculated) in cd 24788.57
Throw (Calculated) (m) 314.89
Throw (Claimed) (m) 205

Random Comparisons and Competitive Options….

There’s really not a lot else out there that’s this kind of package with this kind of emitter.  Furthermore this light as a whole package is great.  I’d even vote it as great for an emitter change, since I love the size/shape and it’s nice quality.

Conclusion

What I like

  • Size and shape
  • On board charging works (unless anyone can say why the dropouts every few seconds are bad
  • Nice intense spot but without tons of throw
  • Indicating side switch
  • UI is simple and easy to operate
  • I still really, really like this orange lanyard

What I don’t like

  • The dropouts on the charging, and that it doesn’t charge at the rated 2A.
  • Tint
  • No mode shortcuts whatsoever
  • Mode memory

Parting Shot

More bunny!!

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Up Next

My goal is to get the Oveready BOSS done next, but I may finish the Thrunite Ti4 first.

Notes

  • This light was provided to me at no charge by GearBest.  I was not paid to write this review.
  • Be sure to see at the top for the great coupon!!
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