SolarStorm X2 — Reviewed and tested
SolarStorm X2 is a Chinese made LED light that is claimed to output over 1000 lumens, has a full-aluminum body and a battery life of over two hours at maximum brightness. The best part? All this costs you less than 20€. Sounds too good to be true, but is it? We are about to find out.
At first glance
SolarStorm X2 arrives packed in a simple box alongside with the battery, battery pouch, charger, and a pair of elastic loops. If you need more than the very basics, such as a helmet mount, you can get them as additional extras. Or buy one of those bundles with a lot more accessories on the side.
Right off the bat, the build quality of the main unit impressed me. The unit has a nicely machined aluminum body and it looks a lot more expensive than it is. Unfortunately the same can’t be said about the battery and charger. The charger feels as cheap as it gets, but the battery is even worse. There’s literally nothing protecting it apart from a thin plastic wrapping and cardboard end caps! There are reported cases of these batteries bursting into flames during charging and burning down houses. Not saying that it happens often, but it’s better to keep an eye on them during charging.
The main unit
The light has a beautifully machined and finished housing. It feels sturdy and well made. One of the most noticeable features is the twin LED design with two separate lenses. The light is claimed to output anything between 1500 to million Lumens, but in reality, I’d estimate the light output to around 1000 lumens. At the back of the unit, you will find a power button and three LED lights indicating the charge level of the battery. The unit itself is very small and lightweight, which makes it practical to use it as a helmet light. The curved mounting part has a rubberized pad/surface, which makes the light a lot less prone to slipping on the mount.
Unfortunately, the cords (light and battery) are rather short with a total length of around 1.1 meters. So short that tall riders might be unable to put the battery in their jacket/jersey pocket depending on how the light is mounted on the helmet. However, if you use a hydration pack and store the battery in it you shouldn’t have any problems with the cord length.
Battery and charger
It’s obvious that the battery and charger are where the costs have been cut. Let’s start with the charger. The unit feels light and flimsy. It’s also quite large considering how slowly it charges the battery, I’d estimate the charge current to be around 0.5 A. Apart from a single LED indicating whether the battery is full or charging there’s no other marking/indicators on it.
The battery is sketchy, to say the least. It’s claimed to be a 5200 mAh 7.4 V battery, which might be true or completely bogus. You never know about Chinese made batteries, especially ones that are this cheaply made. The battery itself is made out of 18650-cells in a 2 x 2 configuration. It’s covered only by thin plastic wrapping and cardboard end caps, so it’s advised to handle the battery (like all batteries in general) with care.
SolarStorm X2 tested
At the time of writing this review, I had been using SolarStorm X2 exclusive as my helmet light for nearly a month. During this period, it never caused me any problems whatsoever. I could even go as far as saying it works very well for a sub 20€ light.
An interesting thing about the dual LED beam is just how focused it is. I was expecting a much wider beam with the separate LEDs pointing at slightly different points. Instead, both of the LEDs seem to be focused on a single point. That one point is very bright, much wider than the surrounding area. Many people, including me, like having a more focused light on their helmet and a much wider beam on the handlebars. Hence, I consider this light better suited for helmet usage. Nothing stops you from using it on the handlebars, but the further the light is pointing the less it will illuminate the area right in front of the bike.
The claimed runtimes (+2 hours on full brightness) seemed to be fairly accurate. I never managed to drain the battery completely during rides up to two hours with full brightness on most of the time. The runtime is heavily dependant on the ambient temperature though. So in cooler weather, it’s a good idea to place the battery somewhere warm or improvise a warm battery pouch for it. A sock could work.
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For the price, SolarStorm X2 offers unbeatable quality and decent power. The light is brilliant, but the battery and charger are as cheap as it gets, to a point that fire hazard is present. So keep that in mind when charging these cheaply made battery packs.
- Good build quality on the light itself.
- Decent light output.
- Very affordable.
- Like with all cheap Chinese products, the quality can be a hit or miss.
- Battery and charger are poor quality.
- The beam might be a bit too focused for general use.
- The combined length of the cords/cables is rather short.