This content originally appeared on Reddit on April 16th, 2021.
The boring stuff
These lights were sent to me directly by XTAR in exchange for an honest review. There were no monetary transactions whatsoever.
Official product pages: T1, T1-UV
Price at time of writing: $35.90 for the T1, $31.99 for the T1-UV
What comes in the box?
The boxes are pretty nice. They are small, stamped metal tins with a hard plastic window on the front to show off the light. I can see these being pretty useful as small parts bins. I’m not a fan of spending a lot of money on fancy packaging, but I think XTAR did a good job by making the fancy packaging pretty useful after it’s fulfilled its intended purpose of holding the light.
Inside is everything you need and nothing you really don’t. You get the light, the manual, a carabiner & split ring, and a pleasantly short charging cable. Contents are the same for both lights. Everything seems to come with mile long cables now so this is a nice touch. They’d be great for charging your phone with a power bank in the same pocket. I measure 7.125″ (180mm) from end to end. They only carry power, no data.
These lights feel pretty nice. The anodizing is quite good and I think the T1 in particular looks excellent. The T1-UV is a little less purple than the product photos suggest, but there’s definitely some purple in the mostly grey anodizing. The window for the side emitters sticks up just a hair past the aluminum on both lights. It’s more pronounced on the T1-UV. It’s not really a problem, just a little fit & finish thing I noticed. The laser etching on the bezel and back is very nice, though I don’t see why it was necessary to include a URL.
User Interface (UI) & Switch
|off||single click||white on (mode memory)|
|any||double click||colored modes on (mode memory)|
|any||triple click||UV mode on|
|on (white)||click||cycle mode (moonlight – low – high – turbo – strobe)|
|on (colored)||click||cycle mode (red – green – blue – police flasher – RGB cycle – red beacon)|
|on (UV)||click||no action|
|off||single click||white on (mode memory)|
|any||more than 1 click||UV mode on|
|on (white)||click||cycle mode (moonlight – low – medium – high – turbo)|
|on (UV)||click||no action|
The T1 has a bug where occasionally a single click from off will do nothing. Clicking again will cause it to go into the color modes. This makes me think that sometimes it will “hear” a single click and assume a second is coming, rather than doing the single click action. It’s not a big deal, just a minor inconvenience I’ve noticed a few times. I haven’t noticed it in the T1-UV.
Overall the UI is fine. It’s very similar to the UI on the Wurkkos WK30 which is interesting. I don’t love it, but I see why they made most of the UI decisions they did. I always prefer one click on/off and hold to change modes, but hold to change modes doesn’t work well for blinky modes so I understand why they didn’t do that. I think maintaining hold for off across the UI was a good decision for continuity’s sake. It’s not hard to get used to.
There are two big issues I have with the UI, both having to do with preventing accidental activation. Since the battery is built in, there’s no mechanical lockout possible so there needs to be some kind of electronic lockout to prevent the light from turning on by accident. Additionally, I don’t think 1 click on was the best choice here. This is a keychain light so it’s likely to pointy keys pressing the button periodically and it’s a lot less likely for a key do double click a switch than it is for a key to single click a switch. I think adding 1 click to all the turn on shortcuts, and adding a lockout mode that’s 5 clicks from off would be significant improvements to these lights.
The switches are fine. They’re easy enough to activate on purpose but difficult enough that I don’t think they’re particularly likely to turn on by accident. I did have two accidental pocket activations on the T1-UV during my review process. Another time I found it was totally dead when I went to use it, so it’s possible there was a 3rd that I didn’t notice and it completely drained the battery.
|Mode||Claimed Brightness||Does it seem accurate? (T1)||Does it seem accurate? (T1-UV)|
The T1 has really good mode spacing. It’s a very even brightness increase from mode to mode. Strobe isn’t represented well here. It looks to be about the same level as medium in real life. There’s no output claim for strobe, but I think it would make more sense for it to be at turbo brightness instead of medium. It’s also relatively fast compared to other strobes I have observed. It would be great if it were removed entirely and replaced with turbo in the normal mode group.
As you can see the mode spacing on the T1-UV is wack. The manual claims the levels are the same as on the T1 but that is not the case with my sample. Moonlight and turbo appear the same between the two lights. However, the middle three modes are different. Low on the T1 appears to be the same brightness as medium on the T1-UV. High and turbo from the T1-UV are visually indistinguishable. I have no explanation for the discrepancy in the three middle modes. Xtar tells me this is behavior is not right and the modes should be the same between this and the T1. Perhaps the T1-UV I received is an early version/prototype.
There are some other strange discrepancies as well. The product page shows that the T1-UV has the same 5 modes as the T1: moonlight, low, medium, high, and strobe. However, my sample has strobe replaced with turbo in the normal mode group. In the manual I got for the T1-UV, strobe is listed but has been marked out in pen. This is a substantial improvement.
The turbo behavior is different than the T1 as well. When holding down the switch from off, the T1 goes to turbo almost instantly. However, with the T1-UV there is a substantial delay (about 1.25 seconds) and it slowly and smoothly ramps up from off to turbo over another 1.25 seconds or so, almost like a soft turn on.
The soft turn on wouldn’t be bothersome if there weren’t for the fact that it takes a full two and a half seconds after pressing the button for the light to come on. This happens when accessing turbo either via a hold from off or a click from off (when Turbo is the memorized mode). I’ve asked XTAR about this behavior but have not received an explanation yet.
As you can see, runtime on turbo is pretty short, but it exceeds the claimed runtime of 9 minutes by a bit. The light steps down to about 1/3 of maximum output over the course of two and a half minutes. It maintains that brightness until about 13 minutes, when it drops to moonlight. Moonlight continues on for awhile after that and I stopped the test before the light shut off. After it’s been drained, the switch indicator glows red and the light will not turn back on. If you let it rest for a few minutes it’ll turn back on at moonlight again for a little while. I did not test turbo on the T1 because its only accessible momentarily via a hold from off and it shuts off after several seconds.
Turbo may meet the advertised runtime, but medium on the T1 does not. I didn’t bother testing mid-level runtimes on the T1-UV because the mode spacing is so weird. The claimed runtime is 52 minutes but it only lasted about 11 which is pretty disappointing. So much so that I performed the runtime test twice just to be sure it was correct, and it was. With this little battery life, these lights just don’t have enough endurance to be my main EDC light. I’d be recharging them every single day. I think they’re small enough that they’d make good backup EDC lights though.
Emitter & Beam
Both of these lights are using a Cree XP-G3 as the main emitter. It’s not particularly well centered, but you don’t really notice that in the beam (mostly because there’s a lot of other things going on).
It sits behind a very small TIR optic. Fortunately, the bezel on the T1 can be unscrewed so I was able to take some photos. Interestingly, there’s a machined brass piece between the TIR and the PCB. I was unable to remove the bezel on the T1-UV.
The beam is usable but it’s not great. There are plenty of artifacts in the beam from the poor centering. I think it has to do with the sprue cut on the TIR making it not sit correctly in the brass… pill? There’s a dark spot in the center of the beam that’s a little browner than the surrounding beam. No PWM is visible to the naked eye. There’s a lot of purple tint going on with the T1. The T1-UV looks a little less purple.
Here’s a comparison showing the severe tint shift at the very edges of the beam, as well as how floody these beams are. These are some major tint differences.
Here’s what the beam looks like outside. These shots are on turbo mode.
The colored modes on the T1 are pretty cool. They consist of a single emitter with three dies on it.
The beam is very oval shaped thanks to the oval shaped lens but it still works well. I’m particularly fond of the police flasher mode because I was able to stick it into the brush guard of a friend’s RC car and drive it around like a police truck which was fun.
The UV looks identical to me between the two lights. I can’t detect any difference in brightness, visible light emission, or glow. The T1 has a single domed 395nm UV emitter and the T1-UV has three domeless 365nm UV emitters. I don’t really understand why the T1-UV exists if the UV doesn’t perform noticeably better than the T1. Here’s are some comparison photos. They’re pretty close to what I see in real life and they look pretty much identical.
|Light||Candela (official)||Throw (official)||Candela (measured)|
Xtar doesn’t list intensity/throw figures on their website. A rep provided me with the above official figures. The T1-UV doesn’t really look more intense than the T1, but it’s a small enough difference that it may be difficult to pick up by eye I suppose. Take these measurements with a grain of salt. I tested using the Ceilingbounce app on my phone, so it’s probably not as accurate as an actual lux meter. Based on my usage testing of these lights, I believe these measurements are reasonably accurate.
The only included carry method is the loop on the tail of each light as well as a little split ring and carabiner to go there. The loop’s internal dimensions are about 2.5x6mm. That’s a little too small for my beloved Nite Ize Microlock S-Biners, but the included split ring and carabiner work fine. The gate on the carabiner is very stiff so I don’t anticipate it’ll come off by accident. I think a pocket clip would have been nice but I don’t really miss it.
I carried the T1-UV on my keychain in my back pocket. This is how it held up after number days of carry. There is some minor wear on the bezel and on the tail from rubbing up against my keys all week. There’s also some strange wear around the side window. The glass of the window sits just proud of the aluminum body which may be the cause. It’s virtually flush on the T1 and didn’t wear like this.
I carried the T1 in my wallet/pocket organizer sandwiched between a credit-card-comb and a box cutter. This is how it held up after 7 days of carry. There’s some minor wear next to the charging port and that’s it.
Power & Charging
Both of these lights us a very small built in 70mah Lipo battery. Charging is facilitated by a USB-C port on the side of each light covered by a little rubber flap. The flap on the T1 is too easy to remove and it has come undone by accident a couple times during my review. The flap on the T1-UV is too difficult to remove and takes me a few seconds of fiddling to get it open. I’m really not a fan of rubber charging port covers because they get in the way and can be damaged easily. I don’t see why these lights have a charging port cover because they don’t claim any level of water resistance.
There’s an indicator LED behind the switch on each light. It glows red while the light is charging and turns green when charging is complete. It gets bright enough that it’d probably be bothersome at night if you charge it on your nightstand in a pitch black room. Some of the light leaks into the side window, especially green. Charging the T1 with the included charging cable took half an hour from a computer USB port. Both lights are completely functional while charging. The T1-UV will charge from an A-C cable or a C-C cable,
but the T1 will only charge from an A-C cable. Xtar has informed me that my T1 is an older version/prototype and production versions of the T1 will charge via C-C cables.
Conclusion & Improvements
Conclusion & Improvements
T1: It’s definitely got some quirks that XTAR can fix in the next generation, but overall I like it. I think it will probably replace my Sofirn C01S as my backup EDC light that I keep in my wallet. If you can carry it in such a way that the switch won’t get bumped and turned on, I think this makes a solid backup EDC light with some added utility of the side emitters.
T1-UV: It’s fine. I just don’t understand why it exists or why it has so many quirks that are different from the T1. It appears to just be a cut-down version of the T1.
Improvements: For the next generation of T1’s, here’s what I’d like to see from Xtar.
Full USB-C support. Not complying with the USB-PD spec and only supporting A-C cables is silly. The whole point of USB-C is to be able to use the same cable for everything.Apparently I have some kind of older version/prototype. Xtar says new T1’s will support C-C charging.
- Improved UI with multiple clicks to turn it on, as well as a lockout mode.
- Remove strobe from the main mode group (or entirely).
- A new variant with a nicer main emitter (neutral color temperature & high CRI), no side emitters, and a lot of extra battery to fill the space previously occupied by the side emitters.
Thanks to XTAR for letting me take a look at these cool lights!