Acebeam EC65 Flashlight Review
The Acebeam EC65 is a quad emitter flashlight featuring a metal-covered side e-switch an 21700 support. Read on for testing!
Official Specs and Features
There are two versions of this light. This is the Nichia 219c version, and there’s also a Cree XHP35 HI quad, too.
$122.90 at killzoneflashlights.com right now, which includes a little bit of a discount.
This is easily one of the most solid lights I’ve handled in a long time. It fits much slimmer than the 21700 sized cell might indicate, making it great for EDC. With some mode spacing and stepdown adjustments, I think this could be a perfect EDC light. As it is, I still love to carry it (and do so often).
The Big Table
|Emitter:||Nichia 219c (CRI90+ Quad)|
|Price in USD at publication time:||$122.90|
|Turbo Runtime||High Runtime|
|LVP?||Yes with warning|
|Quiescent Current (A):||?|
|Power off Charge Port with no Cell?||–|
|Claimed Lumens (lm)||2500|
|Measured Lumens (at 30s)||1800 (72% of claim)^|
|Claimed Throw (m)||206^|
|Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s)||142lux @ 5.174m = 3801cd|
|Throw (Calculated) (m)||123.3 (59.9% of claim)^|
|All my Acebeam reviews!|
^ Measurement disclaimer: Testing flashlights is my hobby. I use hobbyist-level equipment for testing, including some I made myself. Try not to get buried in the details of manufacturer specifications versus measurements recorded here; A certain amount of difference (say, 10 or 15%) is perfectly reasonable. I have to think that the claimed throw is just a bad paste from something else… The flood optic is extremely unlikely to provide 200m throw. Maybe with some other optic, you’d hit 200m, though.
- Acebeam EC65 Nichia 219c quad flashlight
- Acebeam 5100mAh 21700 cell
- 21700 to 18650 inner sleeve adapter
- Nylon pouch
- Spare o-rings (2)
- Charge cable (USB to USB-C)
- Manual and paperwork
Package and Manual
Acebeam uses black and orange packaging, with a photo of the light. The back is full of specifications and is overall quite detailed.
The box is sealed with a tiny sticker.
And the box is a flap-open box, with a magnet closure.
The manual is just fine. I would love for the table that’s on the back of the box to be in the manual too; seems like just an oversight. Based on my experience with Acebeam, I think manuals might not be their top concern.
Build Quality and Disassembly
Like I said in the Short Review, this light is absolutely solid. I can’t think of a more solid light that I’ve held ever, much less lately. This light just feels good in hand.
The anodizing has just exactly the right amount of matte vs polish to allow a grippy feel without feeling like a chalkboard.
The knurling is very short, and has a diamond pattern (again, something I love!). Those shallow fins on the head even provide good grip, too.
The light ships with a cover over the optic, which should be removed.
As I said, the fins on the head are quite shallow. It seems that the idea of the light was to stay fairly narrow, allowing for better EDC usage, than to deal with the heat produced with this light that draws nearly ten amps on Turbo. I really don’t mind this – I can deal ok with short Turbo runs, but I’m happy to have this light be able to fit comfortably in my back pocket.
The opposite side of the head fins are broken up by a screw hole, for mounting this light to a tripod.
I wasn’t able to remove the cell tube from the head (a trend lately?). The tailcap has a nice big thick spring, but no magnet. The head has a spring too, which together partly explains why this light feels so incredibly solid – there’s no play over the length of the light by the cell. (Acebeam adds that the dual springs mean this light is “ready to be weapon mounted” – but I wouldn’t consider it a weapon light.)
The tailcap threads are anodized square-cut threads and have “plenty” (maybe too much) lube. The anodized threads mean locking this light out is possible with just a short twist of the tail.
Size and Comps
Officially: 114.5mm (Length)30mm (Head dia.)27mm (Tube dia.)
82g without battery
This isn’t a small light. The Convoy S2+ isn’t a small light (when discussing EDC lights). But it’s completely manageable. It’s shorter than the Convoy S2+, but of course thicker. Very noticeable in the optic, where the triple of the Convoy barely reveals all of the emitters, and the quad of the Acebeam has much more reveal.
Here’s the test light with the venerable Convoy S2+. Mine’s a custom “baked” edition Nichia 219b triple. A very nice 18650 light.
Retention and Carry
Acebeam includes a nylon carry pouch, with stretchy sides and a velcro cover. There’s a metal D-ring on the back and a snap closure. It’s a nice pouch, and the light will fit in head or tail first.
There’s also a pocket clip, which is not reversible and attaches on the tail of the light. It’s not a deep carry clip, but it still strikes a nice balance of tailcap-accessibility, and weight-down to keep the light comfortably attached in the pocket. The clip is very snug. My cursory attempt didn’t budge it, but it is removable (it’s a friction clip!).
This is a very snug pocket clip. It also has a generous mouth and plenty of shoulder for thicker pockets. And although one is not included, the clip allows for a reasonable purchase to put a lanyard. (There is no other place a lanyard could be attached.)
Finally, there’s the hole in the head, with threads for a tripod mount. This is universal 1/4″ threading.
Power and Runtime
Acebeam includes the cell intended for this light. It’s a 5100mAh 21700 button top. It claims (on the label) to be a 20A cell. While the light doesn’t use 20A, it does require a high drain cell. The spring means it doesn’t have to have a button top, and a protected cell should fit fine (but is unlikely to be able to provide the proper power for Turbo).
The cell sticks out a little when installed, and the tailcap must be used to push the cell into the light for the tailcap threads to have purchase.
Acebeam also includes an adapter sleeve, which allows 18650s to be used. It’s even possible to use this adapter for 2x CR123 cells, though the max output is lower, and Turbo isn’t accessible at all.
Here’s a runtime on Turbo. I did reset the light to Turbo once during the run, and it hit near max output. Turbo stays on a very short time, during which the temperature spikes hard. There’s another temperature spike at around 75 minutes which…. I can’t actually explain. The output has remained the same, and the temp just seems to spike.
Note the 30 second output on Turbo is around 1800 lumens, which is well short of the 2500 claimed lumens.
LVP at 2.5 with warning on bench power (higher on cell power). 2.5V hard shutoff (Electrical shutoff). The warning of a low voltage cell is interesting. The light doesn’t utilize the LED above the switch. Instead, the main output flashes on and off to notify the user. It’s very effective, of course.
The runtime on high is actually a little different since the temperature doesn’t seem to hit a critical point so quickly. So while Turbo steps down to around 450 lumens very quickly, the higher output of High is maintained for the whole duration of the runtime (pending thermal throttling, which fan cooling prevented on this runtime.) And High is quite bright, at around 1000 lumens.
This light also has on-board charging, facilitated by a USB-C port in the head.
The rubber cover is one of the best I’ve experienced. It’s easy to open, but sits into the opening so well.
Acebeam includes a USB to USB-C cable, which is required for on-board charging.
The charge circuit doesn’t limit the user to charging only the included cell. It’s not a proprietary setup. Charging proceeds at well over 1.6A, all the way up to 2A in my testing (two nearly identical tests!). I measure the capacity of the cell in this test at around 4400mAh, but that’s at the USB. I did not test the cell capacity in any other way.
As far as I can tell, the indicating LED above the switch is only used as a charge indicator. When the light is charging, the LED is red. When charge is complete, the LED switches to green. This is a gross under-use of that LED.
User Interface and Operation
There’s a single switch on the EC65. It should be well known by now that I like metal switches, and that’s just what the EC65 has. The switch is a metal button, e-switch, right on the side of the head. It’s exactly opposite the rubber charge port, so it’s moderately easy to find, even though it sits absolutely flush with the body.
I really like this switch. The switch itself doesn’t have an indicator, but just headward of the switch is an indicating emitter. Interestingly many of the ‘indicating’functions of this light are done by the main emitters, not this ‘switch’ indicator.
Here’s a UI table!
|Off||Click||On (Mode Memory, excluding Firefly and Turbo)|
|On||Hold||Mode advance (FLMH)|
|Off||Hold 3s||Lockout (Really firefly then Lockout, signified by a few flashes)|
|Lockout||Hold 3s||Unlock to Firefly|
Modes and Currents
|Mode||Mode Claimed Output (lm)||Claimed Runtime||Measured Lumens||Tailcap Amps|
I’ll say it here just in case I don’t say it elsewhere: Firefly of 20 lumens is much much too high. I can barely use the light on Firefly in a dark room because it’s just overpowering for that scenario.
LED and Beam
There are two emitter options for the EC65. I have the Nichia High CRI 219c version, but also available is a Cree XHP35 HI. I’m pleased with the 219c; it’s one of the pure whitest 219c’s I’ve had.
The optic is frosted, and while I don’t think the spec sheet says it, it’s the flood optic.
This light is absolutely flood. It’s not a mule per se, but the difference in beam profile is so minimal, that it might as well be.
I’d like an optic that was at least a little narrower, and that’s coming from a guy who likes mule lights.
These beamshots are always with the following settings: f8, ISO100, 0.3s shutter, and manual 5000K exposure.
Tint vs BLF-348 (KillzoneFlashlights.com 219b version) (affiliate link)
I keep the test flashlight on the left, and the BLF-348 reference flashlight on the right.
I compare everything to the KillzoneFlashlights.com 219b BLF-348 because it’s inexpensive and has the best tint!
Random Comparisons and Competitive Options….
Here’s a relevantly filtered page on parametrek.com. I won’t even drill my parametrek link down farther than 21700 at this point. There are just not many 21700 lights out yet, and this is a fantastic entry into that category. If you’re interested in dipping your toe into the waters of 21700 lights…. well this is an expensive way to do it (The Rofis MR30 would be cheaper) but this is a nice light indeed.
What I like
- Quad. I just like quads (and triples). And this Quad Nichia 219c has a very fine white beam.
- Build quality is superb
- Full package includes a very capable 21700 cell
- Adapter for 18650 cells included
- Carries well for it’s large cell size
What I don’t like
- Indicating LED underutilized
- Firefly mode is much too high
- Would prefer a narrower beam profile
- Doesn’t hit throw claim, or output claim
- This light was provided by KillzoneFlashlights.com for review. I was not paid to write this review.
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