Astrolux FT03 Cree XHP50.2 Flashlight Review

I reviewed the FT03 a while back, but that was the SST40 flavor.  BangGood wanted a review of the XHP50.2 version as well, so they sent this one over for review.  The light is fundamentally the same, but with quite a different emitter.  Read on for more!  Or just hit up the table to see some differences.


Official Specs and Features

Here’s a link to the official product page.

Versions

There are two Cree XHP50.2 options – this 5700K and a 6000-6500K (cooler) version.  And beside this XHP50.2 version, of course there’s the Luminus SST40 version, which I already reviewed.  There are three temperatures of that emitter, too:


Short Review

Great size, great output.  USB-C charging, multiple cell size support.  This is a nice light!

Long Review

The Big Table

Astrolux FT03
Emitter: Cree XHP50.2 (5700K)
Price in USD at publication time: $49.95
Cell: 1×26650
Turbo Runtime High Runtime
LVP? Yes
Switch Type: E-Switch
Quiescent Current (A): 0.00011
On-Board Charging? Yes
Chargetime
Power off Charge Port with no Cell? 3 modes without cell, All modes with cell
Claimed Lumens (lm) 4300
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 4094 (95.2% of claim)*
Claimed Throw (m) 735
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 5230lux @ 5.415m = 153355cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 783.2 (106.6% of claim)*
All my Astrolux reviews!

*Standard measurement disclaimer:  I am an amateur flashlight reviewer.  I don’t have $10,000 or even $1,000 worth of testing equipment.  I test output and such in PVC tubes!!  Please consider claims within 10% of what I measure to be perfectly reasonable (accurate, even).

What’s Included

  • Astrolux FT03 Flashlight
  • Spare o-rings (2)
  • Lanyard
  • Cell size adapter (26650 to 18650)

Package and Manual

The FT03 ships in a nice Astrolux box, with the light illustration embossed.  A sticker on the end describes the emitter tint, and on the bottom is a SKU sticker.

The manual is pretty, and descriptive.  It’s a manual that’s generally been used in other lights, since the firmware is one Astrolux uses a lot.  That’s fine… makes for nicely fleshed out manuals.

Build Quality and Disassembly

No build quality complaints.  This is a nice sturdy light.

The anodizing feels nice.  Slick, smooth.  Not overdone with knurling, not overdone with fins in the head.

The head has very minimal fins for cooling.

The diamond pattern knurling has deep grooves.  So even though there’s minimal knurling, the body is still plenty grippy.

Here’s the light apart.  The cell tube comes completely off the head and tail.

Both the head and the tail have massive double wound springs.

The cell tube is not reversible, because one end (the head end) has unanodized square cut threads, and the tail end has very lubed trapezoidal threads.

The included cell tube adapter is plastic, and only fits around the body of the cell.

Size and Comps

Officially:
Weight: Approximately 295g without cells
Dimensions: 170mm * 69.5mm * 34.5 (length * head diameter * body diameter)

It’s not really a small light.

Retention and Carry

The included lanyard attaches on the tailcap, through two holes.  There’s a relief, which allows flawless tailstanding – a nice touch.

There is no pocket clip, or anything else included for carry.

Power and Runtime

The FT03 has a few options for power.  Primarily, this is a 26650 light.  Or at least, at the maximum, it’s a 26mm in diameter light.  The cell cavity and double springs also allows for longer cells, like the 21700 variety.  I opted to use a 21700 cell, and I’d recommend that for you too.  The reason is that 21700 cells are more easily available in higher drain capabilities, and with this being a FET light on Turbo, you’ll benefit from a higher current cell.  I tested this exclusively with a high drain 21700 cell.  The included adapter also allows 18650 use.  Even that might be a better choice than 26650, because most 26650’s I know aren’t really high drain.  But if you need the larger capacity, by all means….

Below is a 21700 – the Vapcell INR21700.  As you can see the cell sort of swims in this big cell tube, but the springs do hold it in place well, and contact is good.  I’d really rather the cell adapter have worked for 21700 cells instead of 18650….

Maybe what we need now is a 26700?

Turbo (ie the double click maximum) steps down hard most likely due to thermal considerations.  Output after that drifts off to almost nothing, and finally the main emitter begins to flash warnings, and ultimately shuts off.

Yes, the runtime on High (which is the highest point in the ramp) is shorter than Turbo, but that’s because it’s driven just hard enough to not cause temperature to step output down.

The light has LVP at around 2.7V, at which point the main emitter flashes and then the light goes off.  Interestingly this LVP warning isn’t from the switch….

The light also has on-board charging.  It’s unusual in that it’s USB-C.  This is a nice addition to lights, and I hope we see much more of it.

One interesting thing about the charging in this light is that if the cell inside is over 4V, the charge circuit can’t initiate charging.  If the cell has been charging since below 4V, then it’ll charge to full, no problems.

PWM

Here’s the PWM charts for the five discrete modes.  PWM disappears on the middle mode and Turbo.  I don’t consider it “bad” PWM though – I can’t notice it on any mode.

I’m going to include the PWM measurements from the FT03 SST40, because mode 4 (stepped, of course) shows PWM which I didn’t see in my scope of the XHP50.2.

For reference, here’s a baseline shot, with all the room lights off and almost nothing hitting the sensor.  And here’s the worst PWM light I have ever owned.  Also one of the very first lights I ordered directly from China!

User Interface and Operation

There’s a single indicating side e-switch on the FT03.  It’s a responsive and clicky button.  The FT03 has NarsilM which is a ramping UI.  Ramping is all the rage, and I do like ramping just fine.  The Narsil version of ramping is good, too.  (Narsil also has a stepped option, which is what I generally opt for, at least for testing purposes).  The PWM tests above, for example, are of the stepped modes.

Just like another light with NarsilM I reviewed, the Astrolux S43, I won’t put NarsilM in a table.  I’ll link this awesome flow chart type table, and leave it at that.

There are two groups.  One group has ramping, one group has discrete modes.  It’s possible to switch between ramping and discrete easily.  The default is ramping, and to switch to modes, firs turn the light on, then hold the switch for 3.2s.  It’ll blink twice, pause, and blink once.  At that point, click once.  This disables ramping.  Once this is done, put the light down so you don’t change other settings (which is very easy to do.)  There are other things you could do to expedite termination of programming, but just skip it, and wait.

NarsilM is wonderful firmware.  It’s extremely versatile, and possible to change many (most? all?) of the settings about the light.  I still don’t think it’s suited for a table, so I’ll leave the UI at the flow chart above, for now.

Again, here are the two manuals.  They’re worth reading, since there are some differences from “normal” Narsil.  (These links are for the S43, but are .pdfs, unlike the .docx on the FT03 page.  I prefer the .pdf files.)

Click Here To Get: User Manual 1
Click Here To Get: User Manual 2 (Detailed Explanation Of The Manual)

Interestingly the FT03, like the S43, seems to always have a Moon mode activated.  So selecting a discrete mode group set can be confusing, since, when picking the default stepped group, which is 4 modes, you get 5 (since moon is always added).  It’s a little confusing.

The switch does have some indicating functions, too.

Modes and Currents

Stepped modes.

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Measured Lumens Tailcap Amps
Turbo 4218 [FET] (Willing to take >10A)
High 1574 2.00
Medium 173 0.34
Low 14 0.03
Moonlight ~ 0.0

LED and Beam

The emitter in this copy is a Cree XHP50.2.  Mine is stated at 5700K, and is cool and … looks on the wall like an XHP50.2.  The reflector is smooth, deep, and wide.

These beamshots are always with the following settings:  f8, ISO100, 0.3s shutter, and manual 5000K exposure.

Tint vs BLF-348 (Killzone 219b version)

I compare everything to the Killzone 219b BLF-348, because it’s inexpensive and has the best tint!

Conclusion

What I like

  • Multiple cell size options – particularly 21700 cells
  • USB-C on-board charging
  • Great throw and output
  • NarsilM UI
  • NW and CW both available

What I don’t like

  • The temp based throttle on Turbo is a little annoying.

Notes

  • This light was provided by BangGood for review. I was not paid to write this review.
  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.org.  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. It’s possible to subscribe and get notifications when the sheet is edited!!

Author: zeroair

6 thoughts on “Astrolux FT03 Cree XHP50.2 Flashlight Review

    1. Click through the link provided in the review and see – I’m pretty sure BangGood ships to Australia.

  1. Your con is a little puzzling since you can adjust the thermal temp default or completely switch it off. By default it’s set a little low

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