WUBEN L50 review3/21/2018
With the Wuben L50 it is very easy to forget the fact that it is a $27 flashlight. In fact I’m not quite sure how Wuben manages to combine such high quality with such a low retail price, but they did. Maybe that’s why Wuben has been in business since 1981?
Upon seeing the L50 for the first time, my thoughts immediately leapt to old James Bond movies where the famous British agent had access to a bevy of technologically advanced, sleek and sophisticated, tools of the trade. I can easily see Bond owning the L50 from Wuben; deftly removing it from some inner pocket of his jacket, then wielding it to his advantage as he saves the day from yet another super villain. All while the audience gasped in amazement as they openly wondered if such a wonderful tool could ever become a reality.
Rugged, yet elegant at the same time, the L50 features a style all of its own. The flat black anodizing is smooth – make that smooooooth – as silk, but not slick or slippery. Concentric grooves cut into both the head and the tail, combined with horizontal grooves cut into the body and tail, provide excellent grip. Aided by the included clip, the L50 is roll-resistant, and the (included) lanyard’s attachment method allows the L50 to tail-stand fairly well.
On the end of the tail-cap one finds the lone switch (ON/OFF and mode changes) and the micro USB port (for charging). There are sturdy springs located on both ends (tail and head) to help provide protection against shock (impacts). Only the tail-cap is removable; the threads (square) are well cut and slightly lubricated. Removing/replacing the tail cap shows no signs of grit or other obstructions; the cap screws ON/OFF with barely a whisper and the perfect amount of tension.
The reflector is vacuum-plated aluminum alloy; smooth and fairly deep (for the size of the flashlight). The lens is double coated glass and provides light transmission of 99%
The included clip is stout; enough so that it is very unlikely that it will accidentally come off the flashlight. The spring section (of the clip) is less stout, but still sufficiently strong to provide a secure attachment.
The L50 is at the upper limits of being a pocket-able EDC flashlight; measuring 5.45 inches in length, it will fit inside larger pockets quite comfortably.
With the impressive light output (maximum of 1200 Lumens) I was surprised by the L50’s ability to run (high mode) without stepping down. I did not time it, but it does seem to run @ 1200 Lumens for a good amount of time. The flashlight does have temperature protection, so it will step down when the flashlight gets too hot. I did notice that the head will get warm, but it never became uncomfortably warm in my use.
In the Box
Wuben branded 18650 battery (2600 mAh)
USB cord (very nice quality)
LED – Cree XP-L2
Maximum distance – 200 meters
Length – 5.45 inches
Diameter – 1.02 inches
Weight – 128 grams (without battery)
IPX-8 – waterproof to two meters
Impact resistant to 1.5 meters
5 year Warranty
Limited Lifetime Warranty (customer pays for parts after 5th year)
Reverse polarity protection
USB Charging Port
Low battery Indication
Charging Status Indicator
Double coated optical lens
Next to the USB port (on the tail-cap) is a small led. It serves as the indication for low battery warnings, and as the status indicator while charging the battery.
Low Battery Warning – the tail-cap led will flash 3 times (any mode) when the battery level is below 30% capacity. Then it flashes every 5 minutes, until the battery is completely drained.
While charging the battery, the tail-cap led will glow red. Once charged, the tail-cap led will glow green. Any other combination (blinking red, blinking green, combination of the two) indicates an issue (poor contacts, flashlight power left on, etc..).
Operation is simple: Press/release the switch to turn the flashlight ON/OFF. While the flashlight is on, half-press the switch to advance through the modes. Modes run in a cycle: Eco, Low, Medium, High, SOS, Eco, etc..
Modes can also be advanced by full clicks (press/release switch) done one after another.
Flashlight will recall the last mode used, when turned back on the next time. If the flashlight is turned back on before a couple of minutes go by, it advances to the next mode (in the cycle).
Eco Mode – 5 Lumens, will run up to 143 hours
Low Mode – 75 Lumens, will run up to 8.5 hours
Medium Mode – 400 Lumens, will run up to 2.5 hours
High Mode – 1200 Lumens, will run up to 1.5 hours
Beam and Light Temperature
Definitely a cool white, the L50 has a good balance of throw and flood. The beam does a good job of illuminating objects out to 150 yards or so. Beyond that distance it was difficult for me to really see how much light was hitting the target. 1200 Lumens is a lot of light – far more than what is needed to light up the typical back yard.
I love the styling of the L50 – a combination of rugged beauty with sophistication, the L50 is far more than its price tag would suggest. Smooth in the hand; it practically begs to be used, and it can easily withstand the rough stuff too. I think the best way to describe the L50 is ‘simple, rugged, elegance.’
At 5 Lumens, the Eco mode is low enough for my tastes (some might prefer it a bit lower) and I find the mode spacing to be right on target. I would prefer that the SOS mode is hidden, but clicking past it isn’t a chore.
Well suited for a variety of normal tasks (walking the dog, checking out the back yard, etc..) I believe the L50 is an especially good fit for camping and hiking use. There its features (waterproof, impact resistant) would really come into play, and the simple user interface (along with the reliability) would be deeply appreciated.
Wuben deserves a lot of credit for bringing so much at such a low price. I can’t wait to get my hands on some of their other products.