Convoy C8 XPL-HI [U6-3A] Flashlight Review

Preface

The Convoy C8 XPL-HI, in the new style host (ie, integrated head), is a light I asked GearBest to send, and they kindly obliged. I am excited to get it and test it and compare it to the other C8 I have on hand to see how they stack up. And this may not be the newest light, but the XPL-HI is still current, and interesting.


Convoy C8 XPL-HI Official Specs

Convoy C8
Color Black
Mode Group 1 (3-Mode) 5% > 40% > 100%
Mode Group 2 (5-Mode) 5% > 40% > 100%> Strobe> SOS
Lens Type Glass Lens
Mode Count 3/5
Reflector Type SMO
Switch Placement Tail
Switch Type Clicky
Tail Stand Yes
Light Source Brand Cree
Light Source Model XPL HI
Lumens (Max) 992.8 LM
Batteries Included No
Battery Form Factor 18650
Required Battery Count 1
Head Dimension 44.5 mm
Length 143mm
Diameter of body 25.6 mm
Product Weight 145 g
Led Options Tint
XPL HI V2-1A 6500-7000K
XPL HI U6-3A 5000-5200K
XPL HI U3-7A 3000-3300k

The above section contains the manufacturer’s descriptions and claims, not my impressions or results.


Short Review

Convoy quality (excellent) at Convoy prices (excellent). Impossible to go wrong with this light; it’s the perfect combination of components for a small thrower. Definite buy.

Long Review

What’s Included

  • Convoy C8
  • Lanyard (attached)

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Pictures

Here are a few photos of the light, and some beamshots.

Quality, Build and Disassembly

By now everyone knows what to expect from Convoy (I hope!) – if you don’t, be advised that Convoy makes very high quality lights. This is no exception. The anodizing is nice (though, maybe slightly thin), the threads are square cut and well lubed. The head has nice thick fins and decent mass generally for great heat dissipation. The reflector was very clean and had exactly zero defects. The spring in the head is very thick and sturdy (but not bypassed or double sprung). And you can see the 7135 resistors (there are 8 total). The glass lens is held in by a crenelated bezel. I know Simon knows what he’s doing, but I’d love to see more mass in here, and some fins going up the side of the head to get rid of more heat.

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The “new version” c8 has an integrated aluminum shelf. The old version has a removable aluminum pill. If you’re building your own, note that you need a 17mm driver, and 20mm MCPCB. Both the head and tail end thwarted my attempts to unscrew the retaining ring – I am not sure if the built models from Convoy have loctite or I’m just too weak to unscrew them. I will say I was rather forceful (but add that I did not really have proper tools for that job)….

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The tailcap also has a thick spring, which is not bypassed or double sprung. It works great at keeping the battery secure, but I like the brass button on the XinTD light better. The tailcap has anodized threads, so the battery tube side with anodized threads matches up to that.

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All the parts one needs for flashlight joy.

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Package and Manual

One of the simplest packages I’ve seen thus far. A very thin cardboard box (and I do mean cardboard [not corrugated], and I do mean thin). However, mine was in a shipment box, inside a shipment bag, so it was well protected. I’m not sure how it’d ship if that’s all I ordered, but probably bubble wrap at least. (?) Has the usual GearBest sticker.

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No manual was included with the light. This is why Convoy’s official page for this light is necessary: it describes the UI and how to change the modes etc.

Power

Power is provided by a single 18650 battery. I found every type I have fit just fine (protected and unprotected, button and flat top). Convoy makes no special requirements on the battery either (ie, doesn’t require a high drain or anything).

User Interface and Operation

User input is from a single reverse-clicky tail switch. Probably easiest to paste the UI from Simon’s site and work from there (emphasis mine).

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 Default mode:   
      2 groups
           Group 1 (3-Mode): 5% > 40% > 100%  
           Group 2 (5-Mode): 5% > 40% > 100%> Strobe> SOS  

 Notes:   
 1. **Mode memory function**: if the flashlight is turned on more than 3 seconds, current mode can be memorized.  
      Turn it off and then turn it on, still the original mode.  If less than 3 seconds, turn it off and then turn it on, it goes
      into the next mode.
 2. **Low voltage protection** function: when the voltage of battery is 2.9-3.1V, the flashlight flashes 2 times/sec with 
      low brightness, it's a low voltage alarm.
 3. **Battery reverse protection**: if your battery is reversed, don't worry, no any problem will happen.

My light is the default 2 mode selection. To pick between those, turn the light into Low mode and wait 5 seconds. When the light flashes, click (half or full click will work), and the other mode group is now selected. What you’ll note here: this means every time you turn the light to “low” you’ll have a flicker after 5 seconds. Is that the end of the world? It’s not, but there should be a more finessed approach to changing mode groups. (Maybe I should be happy that mode groups are an option: my XinTD does not even have this option.)

The UI is simple and easy to grasp. It is a reverse clicky. I like forward clicky lights myself, because I like having a momentary option. If you like a reverse clicky, then this is great! If you don’t like it, then just replace the clicky with a forward, and while you’re at it, change the driver for something very fun from Mtn.

The UI as is, does have memory as mentioned above. I don’t really love mode memory (I prefer most lights to start on low). And thankfully also has low voltage protection.

GearBest only offers the default 2-mode selection. On his store site, Simon offers more choices but each of those choices has less groups. So the offering at GearBest does seem to be the most versatile of the choices.

LED and Beam

The led, a CREE XPL-HI, is surrounded by a smooth reflector. Being a smooth reflector, and an XPL-HI (ie, factory dedomed emitter), one should expect the beam to be quite intense. The Convoy C8 is. It’s a great thrower. (The best thrower your boy here has, as a matter of fact!) When testing the Convoy L6 recently, I was genuinely surprised to note that the XinTD C8 throws better than the L6. The L6 isn’t a thrower, granted, but it’s just so much light. The XPL-HI will throw better than the XinTD C8, which throws better than the L6….

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There’s light spill, but really, not much. Most of the light is nicely directed as you want – throw to an intense spot.

Runtime

Here’s the graph. I think the output of medium cooled v uncooled is actually the same – I did the tests on different days with potentially different setup, so…. essentially just observe the very minimal difference in runtime, not strictly the difference in “relative output %”.

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High terminated at 3.10 V.
Medium terminated at 2.96 V.

Note that in any mode where LVP kicks in, the light will bounce from approximately 1% output to zero…. (Light will stay on at 1% and flicker Off). I’m really not sure I love this because it does continue to use the battery – difference in my listed termination is probably when I shut the light off. IE I am not sure where the light will stop the 1%/0% flicker, or if it’ll actually drain the battery completely.

Beamshots

Flashlight 0.3s, f/8, ISO 100, CWB 5000k
Convoy C8 XPL-HI
JETBeam JET-I MK
Klarus Mi7
BLF-348 AB
Manker E14 
Astrolux S41 
Convoy L6 (5000k)
XintD C8 XP-G2 S4

All beamshots are at the same settings in practically the same conditions. Many are beamshots used in previous reviews: I have included them here just for fun.

Retention

There’s a lanyard included and attached to the light. The light will still tail stand very easily, as the lanyard does not interfere with a flush tail area. There is no place for a clip, nor should there be – the head would make it hard to pocket…. And there is no pouch provided with the light. I’d say that’s one place the package could be more robust – a Nylon pouch would be a great addition to the package.

Size

Size is quoted as 44.5mm x 143mm x 25.6 mm. It’s a pretty typical C8 size, though shorter than my XintD C8. Here you can see it sized against other lights you may know and love. Almost as long as a dollar bill, but much more narrow. The battery tube is the same length as an 18560.

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Random Comparisons….

This isn’t really a random comparison, but I did compare it a lot to my XinTD C8, which is the old model. It’s a little longer. Ok maybe a lot longer. The anodizing on the XinTD is shiny and I’d argue, thicker (maybe better). The breakdown is pretty similar. Different drivers, but that’s expected. Tailcaps are vastly different – the XinTD has a brass spring button.27 - IJmRKPN.jpg

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Summary

Pros

  • So much throw.
  • Small light (especially considering point number one).
  • Well built
  • PRICE!

Cons and Conundrums

  • I’d love to see a GITD (or even LED-lit) button come stock
  • No nylon pouch

Final Thoughts

I love this light and I’m very happy to have it in my arsenal. It’s a great thrower – all I need – and extremely well built. I recommend you buying a bunch!!

Coupon Codes

Convoy C8 Cree XPL HI, coupon code is WBC8CM, and it seems to me that works on either of the Convoy C8’s at that link (either of 2 tints GearBest stocks). (Coupon price for the tested tint is $16.73.)

Parting Shot

Maybe in your dreams.

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Parting shot for real though.

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Author: zeroair

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