Xiaomi Flashlight/Powerbank Review

Preface
Official Specs
Versions
Price
Short Review
Long Review
  What's Included
  Manual and Packaging
  Build Quality and Durability
  Size
  Retention
  Power
  User Interface and Operation
  LED and beam
  Tint vs...
  Beamshots, Runtime, etc table.
  Comparisons
Conclusion
  What I like
  What I don't like
Up Next
Notes

Preface

This unusual light just showed up in the mail one day.  It’s not one I’d ask for and not something that would be in my normal rotation, but I figured ‘why not’?  So here’s the Xiaomi LED 240Lm Minimalist Portable Flashlight.


Official Specs and Features

Versions

Only one version.

Price

At GearBest it’s currently $20, which is probably around the going price.


Short Review

I can say honestly that I like this way more than I expected to.  The output is positively flat until the light shuts off, and the UI is good with no silly strobe modes.  It’s not all that bright, and the emitter is dated, though.

Long Review

What’s Included

  • Xiaomi Mi flashlight
  • Charge cable
  • Lanyard
  • Manual (completely in Chinese)

20171225-IMG_8978.jpg

Package and Manual

This light ships in a clear plastic tube.  There’s not much useful information for the end user on this package.

The manual is completely in Chinese, rendering it completely useless for me.

Build Quality and Disassembly

The light has a surprising feel, much like that o the XTAR Over 4 Slim I recently reviewed.  It’s a soft (coated?) plastic, and quite grippy.  The head has a satin feel.

The build quality is probably approximately that of a $20 light.  The body feels good quality, but the emitter is not even specified, and looks to me to be a very dated one.

To be perfectly honest I’m not sure yet how to disassemble this light.  There are no visible connections, and the head twists freely in both directions.  The TIR is stationary.  The tailcap is probably the means of ingress.

Size

Officially 12.02cm long x 2.55cm wide.

This is by no means the smallest light, but I can’t think of a smaller light that has on-board charging and may be used as a powerbank.  So it’s feature set makes it a reasonable size.

Retention

Xiaomi provides a silicone lanyard, which connects to a small hole in the tail end of the light.  The silicone lanyard is fitting to the overall feel of the light.

There’s no pocket clip.  In fact this light doesn’t lend itself to that kind of carry at all: it’s a completely straight featureless tube light.  There’s nowhere for a clip to attach.

Power

This light (which seems to lack a proper name) is powered by a non-replaceable cell.  Very likely a single 18650, of course.  Below is a runtime on the highest mode.

Runtime.png

That output is quite unusual – almost perfectly flat, until the light shuts itself off.  There’s no stepdown, no nothing else.  Just solid runtime until off.  The rated runtime on this mode is 216 minutes, but the light falls a little short of that.  It looks like the output might vary with room temperature in fact, but only very slightly (probably the difference in emitter efficiency at 22 vs 24 degrees, as specific as that seems.)

This light also boasts on-board charging, which is done by micro-USB.

20171225-IMG_8993.jpg

Note that those two plugs aren’t sealed in any way at all.  This is a huge downfall!  But as a bag light, possibly not a deal breaker.

20171225-IMG_8994.jpg

Here’s the provided power cable plugged in the light.

20171225-IMG_8997

Below is a charge test, started at the end of the runtime above.  Initial rate is around 0.8A, but stabilizing at around 0.65A.  I am not sure why there’s dropouts as seen up to 150 minutes, but that seems to stop, and charging continues as it should.  The cell looks to be around 2600mAh, which again is reasonable for an 18650.

Chargetime.png

The final power option for this light is the USB-out powerbank feature.

User Interface and Operation

There are two inputs on this light.  The first and main is the twisty head.  Twist one way for on and twist the other for off.  The twist is very low friction, but still has a clicky detent where the modes change.  The light will click through 3x turns before it comes on.  It’s also an e-twisty.  By that I mean it will twist continually in either direction, and it’s essentially firmware (not hardware) that advances the modes.

The second option is the indicating e-switch on the tail.  This switch is involved in turning on and off various features of the light.  For example, if the light is on, pushing this switch will turn it off.  But both micro-USB charging and USB out start automatically when connected.

The tail switch may also be triple clicked for SOS.  During SOS the twisty does nothing, and the switch must be actuated to turn off SOS.  Clicking this switch while off will give an indication of the battery level, too.  Green indicates charged (and so on – I can’t read the manual, but red of course indicates that it’s time to charge the cell.)

LED and Beam

The emitter isn’t mentioned in the product listing.  And based on what I know about emitters, this one is quite dated.  That’s actually quite disappointing and unfortunate.  The light otherwise has a fairly good niche use, and a good emitter would round that out nicely.

20171225-IMG_8992.jpg

The emitter is behind a TIR, and the beam profile is quite a spot with little spill.  There’s a fair bit of green in the beam, too.  At a distance, it’s not that bad.

20171225-IMG_8995.jpg

Tint vs BLF-348

20171231-IMG_9237.jpg

Beamshots, Runtime, and Lux Measurements

Xiaomi LED 240Lm Minimalist Portable Flashlight
Emitter  –
Emitter Notes  –
Cell  Internal (18650)
Glamour Shots Beamshots [0.3″, f/8, ISO 100, 5000k]
Runtime Chargetime
LVP? Shutoff
Claimed Lumens (lm) 240
Lux (Measured) 394 lux @ 3.294 m
Candela (Calculated) in cd 4275.1
Throw (Calculated) (m) 130.8
Throw (Claimed) (m)

 

Random Comparisons and Competitive Options….

To be honest there are a number of cheap powerbank lights on amazon (et al) that compete with this light, but this might be one of the better built ones.  I happen to typically like Xiaomi items (see my keyboard review here).  Is this one worth $20 over the others?  I haven’t had those but they do look cheap.  This one overall feels decent quality but would benefit from an emitter swap.

Conclusion

What I like

  • Unusual body is nice to hold.
  • Twisty is different and easy to use (and I don’t normally like twisties).

What I don’t like

  • Emitter is dated
  • Built in cell is not swappable
  • Built in cell has low(ish) capacity
  • Too big for comfortable pocket carry
  • No waterproofing (!!!)

Up Next

Next another inexpensive light, the Eagle Eye X1.  I’m hoping to finish my second Zebralight by Friday, too.

Notes

  • This light was provided by GearBest for review. I was not paid to write this review.
  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.wordpress.com.  Please visit there for the best experience!
  • Whether or not I have a coupon for this light, I do have a bunch of coupons!!  Have a look at my spreadsheet for those coupons.  Note I’ve upgraded that sheet so that now, you may subscribe and get notifications when the sheet is edited!!

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