Acebeam X50 CRI Review – Brightest High CRI Flashlight Available

Contents

The Boring Stuff

Acebeam gave me a discount on this light in exchange for a honest review. Here is the official product page. Below are the official specs.

What comes in the box?

The box reflects X50’s high price tag. It’s a high quality retail box that comes with lovely graphics, a magnetic closure, a smooth finish: the works. Inside is perfectly cut open cell foam with felt on top. Moreover, the retail box came inside an airtight plastic sleeve inside a layer of bubble wrap inside a cardboard shipping box inside a layer of packing tape covering the whole thing. It is solid. This is one of the best boxes I’ve ever received for anything, not just flashlights. The following items are included in the box:

  • X50 CRI itself
  • 65W USB-C PD charging brick
  • Thick 6′ USB-C cable
  • Handle & Screw
  • Belt holster
  • Lanyard
  • Two extra o-rings
  • Paperwork

Design & Construction

X50’s design is great. It looks powerful with stainless steel button and beefy cooling fins all around.

Build quality is top notch as I’ve come to expect from Acebeam. You can feel the quality. The anodizing is thick, evenly applied, and satin-finished. It feels dense and solid in-hand with no rattle of any kind. Even the HOT logo on the bezel is nicely aligned with the button. The threads are long, anodized, thoroughly lubricated, and square cut. This is a premium build, noticeably nicer than you get from budget brands like Sofirn or Convoy.

Size & Measurements

It’s definitely big, but it’s smaller than I expected, and smaller than my two other “big” lights.

From left to right:
Sofirn BLF LT1
Acebeam X50
Noctigon K1

MeasurementMeasured (mm)
Bezel Diameter74.9
Length135.5
Switch Diameter12
Switch Proudness0.4
Body Tube Diameter (mode)51.4
Body Tube Diameter (at tail)54.0
Body Tube Length91.7
Driver Diameter~47
USB Port Width~11.2*
USB Port Depth3.8
USB Port Height7.0

* The USB port is off-center, so I measured from the center of the port to the closest side and got ~5.6mm, allowing for an ~11.2mm wide cable.

Weight: 695g / 24.5oz
Weight with handle: 732g / 25.8oz

User Interface

This is a simple, and excellent user interface.

The actions are # of presses followed by a hold (H) or a release (C). So, “1C” is one click and release. “2H” is two clicks but you hold down the last one.

StateActionResult
Off1COn (memorized level)
Off1HUltra-Low (not memorized)
Any (except Turbo)2CTurbo (not memorized)
On1COff
On1HCycle mode (middle 5, from low to high)
Turbo2CBack to previous/memorized level
Any3CStrobe

Acebeam absolutely nailed this UI. It’s just complex enough that you get all the functionality you need, but simple enough that it’s easy to use and understand. I love that ultra-low and Turbo aren’t included in the main rotation, because they have dedicated shortcuts. I love that 2C from Turbo goes back to the previous level. The only thing I can find to even nitpick about is I would have liked fewer modes, with just one medium mode instead of 3. With 5 modes in the normal rotation, it can be a little tedious to figure out exactly what mode you’re on.

Modes, Brightness & Throw

Disclaimer: Lumen measurements were taken on a Texas Ace 3.5″ Lumen Tube. A candela measurement was taken with an Opple Light Master III on the highest brightness, and other candela figures were calculated relative to that. Runtime tests were performed with the Ceilingbounce app on my smartphone. All of these tests were performed with a fully charged battery unless otherwise specified.

Level Lumens (@ Turn-On)Lumens (Claimed)Candela (@ Turn-On)Throw (meters)
Turbo185002100062500500
High7450850025169317
Medium 33950450013345231
Medium 2206022006959167
Medium 1108512003666121
Low380350128472
Ultra-Low15015050745

Mode Spacing: Mode spacing is nice and even. But, like I said in the UI section, there are a few too many modes here. It would have been nice to have a sub-lumen moonlight mode instead of the inaccurately-named 150 lumen “ultra-low” mode, but that’s definitely not something you need on a beefy light like this. The only modes I actually use are Ultra-Low (for minimum brightness), Medium 2 (for sustained brightness) , and Turbo (for max brightness).

How does it compare to the official specs? All the measurements I took are close enough to the official specs that I’m satisfied. I’m not using professional grade equipment and I think these measurements are within the margin of acceptable error.

Runtime & Currents

Performance: Turbo, High, and Medium 3 all have a timed thermal stepdown. It gets very hot so you’ll want to use gloves or the included handle for prolonged use. The sustainable output is about 2000 lumens, and Medium 2 is the highest sustainable mode. Notably, the light’s performance in these runtime tests is almost exactly as advertised. Nice work, Acebeam!

LVP: there are low voltage stepdowns that provide plenty of warning and finally a low voltage shutoff that happens in the batttery pack. As a result, the light cannot be re-activated once it’s shut itself off until you start to re-charge the battery pack.

Current: I could not do any current measurements due to the proprietary nature of X50’s battery pack.

Driver & Regulation

Acebeam is known for their well-regulated and high-efficiency drivers. The high efficiency boost driver used in X50 means that despite these very low efficiency GT-FC40 LED’s, it can still maintain 2000 lumens. Very impressive for such a high CRI light! This is one of the biggest features that separates X50 from less expensive competitors that use inefficient FET drivers.

It’s not all good news though, as Acebeam filled the driver screw heads with epoxy to prevent tampering. BOO! That makes it virtually impossible to service or mod the light at all.

The regulation is not as good as I had hoped, but is still perfectly acceptable. As the battery drains, the brightest modes will become inaccessible but most brightness levels are largely unaffected by battery voltage.

Note: All regulation measurements are taken at turn-on so they do not reflect any thermal or low voltage stepdowns that may occur. A value of 0 indicates low voltage shutoff immediately upon activation.

Thermal regulation: is not present. I performed two Turbo runtime tests, one of which had a fan blowing directly on the light, and the light’s performance in each test was identical. I would have preferred to see active thermal regulation that continuously adjusts the brightness of the light based on its temperature.

PWM: I tested each mode with an Opple Light Master III and found no PWM whatsoever.

Emitter & Beam

X50 CRI uses eight GT-FC40 LED’s in a wide, orange-peel finish, multi-reflector. Each of these emitters is a cluster of sixteen smaller diodes. FC40 is a high CRI, domeless alternative to Cree’s popular XHP70.2 (also available in X50). The light quality from these FC40’s is much higher than the XHP70.2 version, but the XHP70.2 version gets brighter. I think the XHP70.2 version is better for most people, but it’s very nice to see that Acebeam is also offering this high CRI FC40 version. The bezel appears to be glued (BOO!) so I was unable to remove it.

I did some testing of each mode with an Opple Light Master III and got a color temperature of 4900K and an Ra (CRI) of 99-100. DUV/tint is a little green at 0.0059 to 0.0075. It would have been nice to have a tint mix to lower DUV a bit.

X50 CRI

In the beamshots above, the trees where I’m aiming the hotspot are 175M away. In the beamshots below, the park bench where I’m aiming the hotspot is 42M away.

X50 CRI

The above beamshots are for comparison with other lights, but don’t accurately reflect just how bright or far-throwing X50 CRI is. I had to adjust the exposure to prevent everything in the foreground from being overexposed. Basically, it’s so bright my camera could not even photograph it properly!

During my testing, X50 put light everywhere I could see. It’s mind-blowing outdoors and I never found the throw or flood lacking.

Switch

Locked | Unlocked

X50 uses a stainless steel, electronic, side switch. It’s probably the mushiest switch I’ve seen on a flashlight. It’s hardly tactile at all, but it’s dead silent during use, so people won’t be able to hear you blasting nearly 20,000 lumens into their eyes. It’s not my favorite switch, but it works fine and I really like the stainless steel boot held on by four screws.

There’s an indicator LED to the left of the button that lights up to indicate remaining battery capacity. Green means 30-100% remaining. Red means 10-30% remaining. Flashing red means <10% remaining.

Locked | Unlocked

What makes this switch cool is the separate lockout switch right underneath! It’s an aluminum slider that prevents the main switch from being pressed. It’s got a high quality and satisfying action that can be pushed or pulled to lock or unlock the light. Because it’s mechanical, you can use this to lock the light off or on. It’s a very cool addition, and much easier to use then traditional electronic lockout or mechanical lockout. Though, it’s worth noting that mechanical lockout (loosening the body tube) does still work and you’ll want to use it for long-term storage to minimize parasitic drain.

Carry & Ergonomics

X50 fits fairly well in the hand. I usually use a forward grip with three fingers on the battery tube, my index finger on the cooling fins, and my thumb on the switch. The included handle works fine, but I find it a little bit small and front-heavy. It’s also impossible to control the light using the same hand that’s holding the handle, because the switch is on the opposite end. I prefer not to use the separate handle.

Acebeam includes a couple different carry methods: a belt holster and a lanyard. Both are well made and above average quality. The lanyard can attach to a variety of spots on the body tube and handle, or to the little screw used to attach the handle. The holster is fairly rigid with a Velcro closure. It’s got two loops on the back: one that can be opened with Velcro and one that can’t. There’s a plastic d-ring on top and it’s open on the bottom. It works fine, but it can be a little hard to get the light out because the flare at the tail of the light likes to grab at the opening on the bottom of the holster.

Batteries & Charging

X50’s body tube houses a built-in battery pack. The cells are not user swappable, and that’s the biggest downside to X50. The reason is that running cells in series can be dangerous if handled improperly, especially with integrated charging involved. My first battery pack’s charging circuit failed, and that meant I couldn’t use the light for awhile because I could not remove the charge and charge them in a normal bay charger. Acebeam sent me a new pack at no charge after some minor troubleshooting efforts, but it still took a few weeks to arrive from China. X50’s biggest competitor, Manker MK38, allows the user to choose between a tube with swappable cells and no charging, or a tube with a built in battery and integrated charging. That’s a significant advantage.

Since I had a dead pack, I decided to do a teardown. I had to scrape the epoxy out of the back screws to get them out. That revealed the charging circuit (which is what failed on my first one). The pack slides out from the back, but you have to de-solder the front first. There were epoxied Torx T6 Security bits on the front and I had to grind those off with a dremel. Once I de-soldered the beefy wires on the front I slid the pack out the back. Three Molicel P42A’s confirmed. Inside the pack there was a balance charging circuit to keep the cells balanced, very nice! I was able to disassemble the pack and salvage the cells, but they look pretty rough on the ends from the spot welds.

X50 includes a USB-C port on the side of the battery pack for charging. It’s got a high quality port cover that seals nicely and stays in place reliably. There’s a charging indicator LED to the side of the port that glows red when charging or green when finished. Charging took one and a half hours thanks to the sixty five watt included USB-C PD charging brick.

This 65W USB-C PD charging brick and thick cable are fantastic inclusions from Acebeam. This is basically a laptop charger, and that’s why it’s able to charge X50 in 1.5 hours rather than the six+ hours it takes to charge most other lights this size. Because Acebeam is utilizing USB-C PD here instead of a simple barrel connector like their other lights, you can use this brick to charge any of your USB-C devices, and can use any of your USB-C power sources to charge the light. But, you can also use the light itself to charge your USB-C devices!

X50 also acts as a power bank! The USB-C port on the battery can be used to charge other devices! And with that 45.9Wh capacity you should be able to charge your average smartphone 2-3x. You could even charge a USB-C PD laptop from X50. This is a very cool inclusion and it’s come in handy a few times while I’ve been testing the light.

Competition

Here are some lights in the same class and how they compare.

Manker MK38: Optional user-swappable cells, awesome handle with fans and buttons for cooling and controlling the light, optional throwy SFT40 LED’s, no high CRI option, poor performance (does not meet specs), weird UI, may not come with charging brick?

Imalent MS08: User-swappable cells, active cooling heat-sheild, proprietary and slow magnetic charging, a bit less expensive, no separate handle, poor performance (does not meet specs)

Astrolux EC06: similar brightness, low CRI LED’s, Anduril 2 UI, low-efficiency FET driver, poor sustained output, way less expensive, no batteries included

Convoy L6 GT-FC40: Completely different form factor (maglite instead of soda can), no integrated charging, different (throwy) beam profile, but it’s got the exact same LED and similar sustained output at a small fraction of X50’s price.

This section is not comprehensive. If I didn’t include a particular light here, it doesn’t mean it’s bad or doesn’t deserve to be here. I simply cannot list every possible competitor.

Conclusion

Before trying this light, I couldn’t understand why someone would spend hundreds of dollars on a floodlight like this when you can get something like an EC06 for one third of the price. I get it now. The quality of X50 is just next-level and you can feel it when you use it. For that higher price tag you’re getting extra features like high speed integrated charging, the awesome charging brick, a handle, and most importantly a high efficiency driver. That driver is what allows X50 CRI to sustain about 2000 lumens instead of less than 1000 lumens from lights like EC06. You’re also paying for real and accurate specs, unlike Manker MK38 & Imalent MS08, X50’s two biggest competitors.

X50 CRI is incredible and I highly recommend it. The built in battery is the only significant downside I can find in this light. Acebeam knocked it out of the park.

For most users I think the low-CRI XHP70.2 version will be a better fit due to the higher peak and sustained brightness and lower heat generation. Thanks to Acebeam for giving me a discount and the opportunity to review this phenomenal light!

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