Well the long awaited EYE-30 from Niteye has arrived, courtesy of Viola from Niteye. This is my first multiple XM-L flashlight and my first multi 18650 light as well.(4x18650) I was always leery of multiple battery flashlights as I'd heard of accounts of lights exploding. I've been assured that with decent quality batteries and proper battery management, i.e. keeping batteries at a similar charge state, that it would be safe. The light was received in a nice quality aluminium case. Upon opening, the light sits in foam with the included accessories of a carrying handle, car charger, holster, and a spare o-ring. Right off the bat when handling the light you notice the quality of this light. The machining and anodising is top notch, with no flaws visible to the naked eye. There's some nice and functional cooling fins around the head, and not too aggressive knurling on the battery tube.
The main feature of this light beside the 3 x XM-Ls is the magnetic dimming ring. On this particular sample it is a bead blasted stainless steel ring(basic model has a black aluminium ring). The light has 6 positions, starting from all the way to the left is strobe, then Off, Low(60LM/55H/1 led), Middle(300LM/12H/2 leds), High(1000LM/3H/3 leds), and Turbo(2000LM/2H/3 leds). If you switch strobe off then on again quickly the light goes into a beacon mode, flashing every 3-4 seconds. Great feature to have in an emergency and would probably last a very long time. Each level is easily detected as there are detents for each position. Another nice feature of this light is the built in battery indicator, which uses 4 orange leds to give you a visual indication of the batteries charge state. It will light up for a few seconds whenever entering into a new mode. This light also has a built in charging port to allow you to charge the batteries in the light. Be cautioned that there is no built in balancer for the batteries, so you should occasionally take them out to give them a charge. For a quick top off when travelling or for daily use this feature is very handy.
I expected this light to be unwieldy since it uses 3 leds and 4 batteries, but to my surprise it is actually very compact(145mm(D)x66(L). The beam is also very nice with the three spots blending together very nicely with minimal rings. It's more of a flood light, but because of the smooth reflectors and the sheer power of the light on turbo it can definitely reach out and illuminate at a distance(380m). The light appears to be able to withstand the elements, as it uses o-rings everywhere, and the charging port has a rubber stopper which must be pulled out to insert the charger. An interesting observation about this light is how it manages the leds. If you turn it on low(single led lit) and turn it off and on, it will switch to the next led. I guess this is so use is spread out.
Some final notes, this light does get quite hot with extended turbo use, but if hand held it is tolerable. The light will also drop into a lower mode if overheating is detected. For a general purpose flood light that is high quality and versatile with great output, and appears durable I think Niteye has produced a winner in the Eye 30. At the time of this review it can be purchased for about $270CAD on eBay. Stay tuned for a video showcasing this light's ability in the dark.
There's news of an Eye 40 which uses 4xXM-Ls and I eagerly await it's arrival to do a comparison with the Eye 30.