Convoy L8 Flashlight Review
The Convoy L8 is a new flashlight from Convoy that uses a single 26800 cell. Fortunately, the QB26800 is included! Read on for more testing.
Official Specs and Features
Looks like there’s just one version of the Convoy L8 flashlight at this time!
The going price of this great thrower is currently $89.24.
Rare is the case that the hype train for a cell is higher than for a flashlight. But the QB26800 has hit hard. And with good reason! This high current 26800 cell does hit hard. But the Convoy L8 is worthy of praise on its own. This single emitter light really has great output and is just overall so flashlighty. To me, it definitely seems worth the going price.
The Big Table
|Convoy L8 Flashlight|
|Price in USD at publication time:||$89.24|
|Turbo Runtime Graph||Other Runtime Graph|
|Quiescent Current (mA):||0.03|
|Charge Port Type:||USB-C|
|Power off Charge Port||With cell: Yes
Without cell: Two modes
|Claimed Lumens (lm)||6400 (technically they describe this as the “theoretical output”)|
|Measured Lumens (at 30s)||4404 (68.8% of claim)^|
|Candela per Lumen||118.3|
|Claimed Throw (m)||1461|
|Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s)||13700lux @ 6.144m = 517158cd|
|Throw (Calculated) (m)||1438.3 (98.4% of claim)^|
|Measured CCT Range (K)||5300-6100 Kelvin|
|Item provided for review by:||Convoy Store|
|All my Convoy reviews!|
^ 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).
- Convoy L8 Flashlight
- QB26800 6800mAh 26800 cell
- 26980 extension tube
- Charging cable (USB to USB-C)
Package and Manual
There is no manual included.
Build Quality and Disassembly
I usually tend to think these larger Convoy flashlights have a higher build quality than smaller Convoy flashlights. That’s the case here too. The build quality is just a good clean high level of quality. There’s nothing to really say bad about it.
Convoy here uses a grip pattern in the cell tube that I don’t think we’ve seen before. On this large light (with the 26mm diameter cell) the pattern is great! It’d probably be great on smaller lights, too.
The cell tube is not reversible. (And there’d be no point in reversing it, really.)
Check out the contacts inside this light. The tailcap gets a long super beefy spring. The head doesn’t have a spring, but this brass contact is also quite beefy. And otherwise, just check out all this contact area for these potentially high currents – there’s a lot of brass and aluminum here!
I’m not going to talk too much about this extension tube, but here’s the extension that would allow using a single 26980 cell. I’m not even sure you can get a 26980 cell now, so I’m not entirely sure what’s the point. I don’t think this could be used with any 2-up setups, either. The product page does not list a working voltage range, so I’d be skeptical putting two cells (whatever cells you’re thinking) in series in this light. Also unfortunately this extension tube can not replace the main cell tube and allow the use of, say, a single 26350. Now that’d be a fun shorty Convoy L8…
The head and part way down the body has some very good cooling fins.
Size and Comps
Head diameter: 81mm
Battery tube diameter: 35.5mm
Flashlight length: 191mm
flashlight weight: 470g
battery weight: 110g
Total weight: 710g
If the flashlight will headstand, I’ll show it here (usually the third photo). If the flashlight will tailstand, I’ll show that here, too (usually the fourth photo).
Here’s the test light with the venerable Convoy S2+. Mine’s a custom “baked” edition Nichia 219b triple. A very nice 18650 light.
And here’s the light beside my custom engraved TorchLAB BOSS 35, an 18350 light. I reviewed the aluminum version of that light in both 35 and 70 formats.
Retention and Carry
Nothing is really included for carrying of the Convoy L8. If you happen to have your own lanyard, you could attach it through either of the sets of holes in the tailcap, though.
But otherwise, there is nothing: no pocket clip (belt clip? any kind of clip…) or pouch.
Power and Runtime
As stated ample times above – the Convoy L8 is powered by a 26800 cell. You should buy the one offered by Convoy, too. Unless you already have one, at least – I’m not sure what other 26800 cell you can even buy at this time!
These cells (separately) aren’t cheap, either. In fact, the parts alone from this L8 make it quite a value – this 26800 cell is probably around $10 by itself, and the emitter used here is Not Cheap™. I’d hate to quote a price but I think I’ve heard the emitter can run around $75… This means just these two parts make the total value of the light. Incredible.
Anyway, the lithium-ion cell is installed into the L8 in the usual way – the positive terminal goes toward the head.
You could go either way here – tailcap off or head of, but since the tailcap threads are anodized (and the head threads aren’t), the user experience will be much better doing cell swaps through the tail end.
Hopefully we’ll never see button top or protected 26800 cells, and we can always trust that these are exactly the named dimensions (26mm x 80mm). This cell is of course a flat top.
It’s really not a small cell.
However, we do have other cells that are similar enough. The 26650 for example is the same diameter, but the 26800 is just 15mm longer. So while comparatively rare, the 26800 won’t really feel too dissimilar to other cells you’ve probably had.
Here are a couple of views of the L8 with the extension tube installed.
Despite checking the Convoy L8 flashlight page over and over, it never described a stepped output setup. Ramping is great of course but for testing purposes, it’s nice to be able to test something specific. So what I’ve tested here is simply the highest output level and “some other level.” That should adequately describe the driver performance though (probably.)
The product page only says that 6400 lumens is the theoretical max, but in reality, I’m sure Convoy expects something lower. And per the test above, something lower is what we see. Still, well over 4000 lumens for a minute is not bad at all.
The switch does begin to blink when the cell voltage is low. On bench power that red blinking indicator seems to be around 2.9V.
The Convoy L8 includes built-in charging, too. There’s a USB-C port in the head, opposite to the switch.
This charging port cover is “fine” but I could stand for it to be a bit sturdier. It’s just a little flimsy. It does fit well, however.
Here’s a charging graph using the intended charge method: USB to USB-C. Convoy claims charging at 3A, and that’s actually what I did observe. I’d be surprised if most USB ports could output 3A, so be sure to charge this from a high-quality source.
During charging, the switch blinks red. When charging is complete, the switch turns green.
While I was able to get one USB-C to USB-C charging setup to work (technically), all the other C to C setups I tried did not work. So I don’t think the L8 really works C to C. And if so, it still seems to be at 5V and 3A.
By the way if you’re thinking “3A well now that’s fast charging isn’t it?” It’s plenty quick (just over 3 hours) but it’s not at all too much for the cell. That’s well under 0.5C for this 6800mAh cell (3A/6800or 3000/6800 = 0.44C). Most lithium-ion cells are perfectly happy being charged at 1C, and 1C shouldn’t affect the cell life, either. That said, charging this cell at 0.44C means that charging will be helping to prolong the lifespan by charging at a nice comfy cozy rate.
Modes and Currents
|Mode||Mode Claimed Output (lm)||Claimed Runtime||Measured Lumens||Tailcap Amps|
|Turbo (Ramping)||6400||–||4738 (at 0 seconds)
4404 (at 30 seconds)
|Level 4 (Stepped)||–||4577 (at 0 seconds)||>18|
|Level 3 (Stepped)||–||1206||4.59|
|Level 2 (Stepped)||–||421||1.99|
|Level 1 (Stepped)||–||37||0.14|
Notably, the highest and lowest ramping output seem to match the highest and lowest stepped output.
Pulse Width Modulation
Any mode except Turbo does use PWM. The PWM seems very fast to me though, and I didn’t notice it during use.
For reference, here’s a baseline shot, with all the room lights off and almost nothing hitting the sensor. Also, here’s the light with the worst PWM I could find. I’m adding multiple timescales, so it’ll be easier to compare to the test light. Unfortunately, the PWM on this light is so bad that it doesn’t even work with my normal scale, with is 50 microseconds (50us). 10ms. 5ms. 2ms. 1ms. 0.5ms. 0.2ms. In a display faster than 0.2ms or so, the on/off cycle is more than one screen, so it’d just (very incorrectly) look like a flat line. I wrote more about this Ultrafire WF-602C flashlight and explained a little about PWM too.
User Interface and Operation
The Convoy L8 has a single e-switch for operation. This switch is an indicating e-switch that can indicate in red or green.
Here’s a UI table!
|Off||Click||On (Mode memory)|
|On||Hold||Ramp (Ramp will be the opposite direction of the previous ramp)
Increase through 4 levels if in stepped
|Off||Click 4x||Tactical Mode (Momentary Turbo only)|
|Tactical Mode||Click 4x||Unlock|
|Any||Click 5x||Cell charge level indicator (blinks indicate change level)|
|Strobe||Click||Previous State or mode|
|Off||Click 6x||Switch between stepped and ramping|
The switch is “fine” but it does need to be pressed right in the center. Pressing on the edge doesn’t always give the desired result (that is, a click) so sometimes you might end up ramping up instead of down (because your first click didn’t register). But with practice or just with being deliberate, you shouldn’t have any problems.
LED and Beam
Convoy uses a Luminus SBT90.2 emitter in the L8. As I said above, this emitter alone is quite costly, so the value of the Convoy L8 as a whole is quite great!
Convoy pairs this big emitter with a big smooth reflector.
On the bezel are flutes of a sort, and light will escape when headstanding.
LED Color Report (CRI and CCT)
Again there aren’t any stepped output levels, so I’ve just picked a couple of middle outputs along with the lowest and highest. Even at the highest output level, we’re only seeing around 6100K, which isn’t too cool. CRI is unfortunately low, though.
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!
Honestly, all those people making hacked setups to charge their 26800 cells should just buy this light as a charger if for no other reason. It’s a great light, and the value is definitely there.
What I like
- Fantastic value
- Cell is included (and it’s a great cell)
- User interface is not complicated
- High output
- USB Charging at 3A is good, taking just over 3 hours
What I don’t like
- Extension tube seems unnecessary
- No lanyard
- Switch requires deliberate action right in the center
Ramping output only (no stepped modes)Update: stepped modes are available actually!
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