HuntLight FT-01XSE Cree

5 Stars

Light Type: Cree XR-E LED
Light Class: Outdoor / Specialty

Here's another beauty using one of the new high efficiency Cree XR-E LEDs. This is the HuntLight FT-01XSE. It is available with two different reflectors, one smooth for great throw, and one textured for a smooth beam. It is able to use 123A cells or 18650 rechargeable Li-Ion cells for power and sports 7 different lighting modes: 5 levels of dimming and both SOS and Strobe modes. Note that there are several versions/models of this light; please see "Model Number Mayhem!" way below for an explanation.

Body: The body is made of thick machined aluminum with a hard anodize (type III) coating for serious durability. On the side is a black finish clip held on with two very unique screws with a triangular head. I've never seen these before and so I don't know if you can get a driver bit to remove the clip or not. There are three rings of checkering on the light. One is around the base of the head, one around the center of the body, and one around the tailcap. The mild checkering doesn't help all that much with grip by itself, but the multiple steps and flanges on the body tube allow for a good grip. The light can be fully disassembled. It is not glued or locktite'd at any of the screw-thread joints. Machining fit and finish is very good.

Bezel/Head: The front of the light head has a scalloped design for two purposes. First it serves to allow light to seep out if you place it down face first while on, thereby reminding you that you are burning up your batteries, and second the raised teeth could serve as an impromptu striking surface in a self-defense situation.

Smooth reflector left, textured on right

A lens window protects the reflector and Cree XR-E LED inside. The front of the head can be removed, exposing the reflector. The reflector can then be removed and replaced. There are two reflectors for the light - one smooth for greater throw, one textured for a smoother beam and wider hotspot for closer-range applications. Both reflectors are made of aluminum with a highly polished coating inside. Be aware that an O-ring fits in the base of the reflector module and needs to be in place for proper alignment. It is the smaller of the spare O-rings included with the light.

Output: The white light produced by the LED appears ever so slightly purplish relative to direct sunlight, but you'll never notice it in actual use. In a dark room it appears pure white.

By my estimates it is producing about 139 lumens on the High setting, which means it outclasses both the P60 and the brighter P61 incandescent modules used in many Surefire 2x123A lights in terms of lumens output. It also beats them in runtime. It runs for about 1.5 hours regulated with two 123A cells while the P60 runs for about an hour with declining output, and the P61 only runs 20 minutes. By the way, the Low setting with 123A cells produces about 13.9 lumens. See this page about how I calculated these lumen estimates.

With 123A cells, output is regulated until the batteries can no longer supply enough current. It can also use 18650 rechargeable 3.7V Lithium-Ion cells (commonly known as the Pila 600P) to produce diminishing output over time, but longer runtimes.

Dimming is achieved with the use of a Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) circuit. The PWM circuit fools your eyes into thinking the light is being dimmed by strobing the light faster than your eyes can normally detect. (This works as a result of a perceptual feature of our brain called "persistence of vision".) Move the flashlight, or your eyes, rapidly and the illusion is shattered. The flicker becomes quite evident and may be especially noticeable when reading in the dark. This can be very annoying to some people, especially at slower flicker rates. Other people, it seems, are not bothered by it at all. The benefit of using a PWM circuit for dimming is that the battery life, and therefore runtime, is extended since the LED is actually "off" and not using power some of the time while it is in one of the PWM controlled dim modes.

Please don't ask; I'm not going to take readings for all reflector and output level and battery combinations. That would be easily 60 separate readings. Here are 123A and 18650 highest (level 5) and lowest (level 1) readings. 123A readings were completed with new Titanium 123A cells. 18650 readings were completed with Pila 600P 18650 cells.

123A Level 5 Smooth
4000 (63.25)
10000 (100.00)
123A Level 1 Smooth
430 (20.76)
1000 (10.00)
123A Level 5 Textured
2820 (53.10)
as above
123A Level 1 Textured
295 (17.18)
as above
18650 Level 5 Smooth
3670 (60.58)
7600 (76.00)
18650 Level 1 Smooth
370 (19.24)
800 (8.00)
18650 Level 5 Textured
2480 (49.80)
as above
18650 Level 1 Textured
266 (16.31)
as above

All throw readings are in Lux at one meter. The numbers in parenthesis are for comparison in the Comparison Charts.

"Cool Mousover Beamshot Picture"
Beam at one meter at target center with the Smooth reflector
Put mouse on top of image to compare against the beam from the Textured reflector

Runtime Plot: All of the runtime data is courtesy of, and used with permission from, Roger H. (a.k.a. Chevrofreak on CPF). Thanks, Roger, for allowing the use of your work (it saved me a huge amount of time and effort, for sure)! He completed runtimes with Energizer 123A cells, an 18650 lithium-ion cell, and two 750mAh rechargeable 123A cells.

Time to 50% Starting Output
Battery Type  
Level 5
Level 4
Level 3
Level 2
Level 1
Lithium 123A
2 hr 01 min
2 hr 49 min
3 hr 53 min
6 hr 39 min
22 hr 02 min
Li-Ion 18650
3 hr 50 min
5 hr 53 min
8 hr 14 min
13 hr 40 min
31 hr 34 min
Li-Ion RCR123
1 hr 12 min
1 hr 38 min
2 hr 10 min
3 hr 37 min
10 hr 27 min
All data © Roger H. (Chevrofreak) - used with permission

Here they are in the order of the five general lighting modes:

Level 5 (High) Runtime:

All data © Roger H. (Chevrofreak) - used with permission

Level 4 (Medium-High) runtime:

All data © Roger H. (Chevrofreak) - used with permission

Level 3 (Medium) runtime:

All data © Roger H. (Chevrofreak) - used with permission

Level 2 (Medium-Low) runtime:

All data © Roger H. (Chevrofreak) - used with permission

Level 1 (Low) runtime:

All data © Roger H. (Chevrofreak) - used with permission

Switch: The switch is reverse clickie that works in conjunction with the internal circuitry to allow the user to move through the 7 lighting modes. Click on for High, then half-press until the light extinguishes (don't click) and release to move to each of the other modes in series. A full click of the switch turns it off. Leaving the light off (from either a half-press or full click) for more than 2 seconds restarts the sequence at High. Anything less than 2 seconds moves you to the next mode. the rubber switch cover does protrude beyond the tailcap ridge just enough to prevent the light from standing on end.

Seals / Water Resistance: O-rings protect the light at all potential points of water entry. Dunkable at the least.

If it gets wet inside, just disassemble as much a possible without tools and let it dry before using again.

Ergonomics: It's about the same size as most 2x123A cell lights, so no surprises here.

Size compared to a common 2AA aluminum light

Batteries: Two 123A cells power the light. I would recommend Titanium brand cells for $1.00 each (here's a review) or BatteryStation or Surefire brand cells for less than $2 each. I would not recommend purchasing these cells at retail stores since they cost $10 a pair or more in most retail stores! Be aware that there are some inherent risks in using lights powered by multiple 123A cells, so take appropriate precautions. Insert the batteries positive first. POSITIVE always goes toward the head of the light.

Don't be surprised when your normal 123A cells have some extra room around them when you put them in. A single 18650 rechargeable (Pila 600P) Lithium Ion cell can also power the light, and so the barrel of the light is cut extra wide inside so that this type of battery can be used.

To change out the batteries: unscrew the tailcap, drop out the old cells, place in new cells observing proper polarity. Reattach the tailcap and you're ready to go.

Accessories: The sample received includes 5 spare O-rings and a textured reflector (smooth was installed).

Conclusions: A super light overall! Great throw and output, great beam, easily changeable reflectors. Is was only a matter of time before emerging LED technology put "high power incandescents" to shame, and the FT-01XE is a case-in-point. The reflector does a very good job of working with the LED to produce a very usable and functional beam. The multiple output functions provide excellent battery life and long runtimes. I'm impressed, and I think you will be too.

Quick Facts Table:

Item Reviewed.......................... HuntLight FT-01XSE
Review Date ............................. February 2007
Country of Origin ...................... China
Case Material ........................... Type III anodized aluminum
Case Features .......................... Textured for grip, pocket clip
Case Access Type .................... Unscrew tailcap
Switch Type ............................. Reverse clickie
Reflector Type ......................... Smooth or textured
Lens Type ................................ AR coated glass
Bulb Type ................................. Cree XR-E LED
Beam Type ............................... Spot-type
Beam Characteristics ............... Depends on reflector
Throw (Lux) at 1m (click for description) see table above
Overall Output (click for description) see table above
Battery / Power Type................ 2 x 123A or 18650 Li-Ion
Battery Life (advertised) ........... n/a
Battery Life (test results) ........... see charts above
Environmental Protection ......... O-ring seals
Weight (oz.) with batteries ....... 5.3 oz. (need to convert to grams?)
Special Items of Note ............... Accessories included.
Warranty .................................. unknown
Retail Cost ................................ ~85.00-100.00 US$ at time of review. See this page for dealers or

Model Number Mayhem!

I can't keep track of the model numbers that Huntlight has for the various versions of this light, so I'll let Roger H. (of the runtime graphs fame) explain it for us:

Huntlight actually has quite a few different models of the FT01 and they have different letters frollowing the model name of "FT01".

The FT01PJ was the second version, which made the light brighter and allowed it to run on the higher voltage of 2 RCR123's.

They then brought out a hard anodized version with the "natural" colored anodize that had a U bin LuxIII in it. That one was called the FT01XSE.

There is also now a T bin version of the FT01XSE that is less expensive. They are also now making a black hard anodized version of the FT01 XR-E light and it still has the FT01XSE model name.

Huntlight is using the letters PJ on their type 2 anodized lights, and XSE on their Type 3 hard anodized lights, regardless of color. They are also using the same bodies for the new XR-E lights, so the PJ and XSE are unchanged.

I just thought I would point this out, since there are actually 2 Luxeon FT01XSE's as well as the new FT01XSE with the Cree XR-E in it.

Maybe you could call it the FT01XSE XR-E or FT01XSE Cree. Personally I leave the PJ and XSE off when refering to it and just call it the FT01 XR-E since at this point all of the XR-E lights use the same circuit and LED, just a different type and color of anodize.




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