Klarus has been pumping out new flashlights for the better part of a year now, so anyone who thought they’d be just about out of ideas is about to be sorely disappointed. Witness the XT12S, the newest monster to come out of Klarus’s laboratory. The theme of the experiment this time was shrinking, and Klarus has done incredibly well in this respect. But we’ll look at this light one step at a time, same as any other light, and give you our best appraisal possible.
First, the body. The body of the Klarus XT12S flashlight remains largely unchanged from its predecessor, the XT12GT, with one striking exception: it’s been shortened from six and a half inches, to about five and a half inches. It’s the difference between a light you can easily slip in your pocket and one you can’t, and it’s a really nice change. As I stated, though, the body is otherwise the same. The head has a silver, crenulated bezel, useful for self-defense, which is also removable. Below the bezel are some helpful and stylish anti-roll grooves. Just below these, where the head starts to meet the body, are the heat vents and magnetic charging port (the magnetic charging system has also seen some small changes, which I’ll get into shortly). The body proper has a pineapple anti-slip texture which is effective and comfortable to hold. The tailcap has more anti-roll grooves, and the light’s only two switches.
This brings me neatly to the interface. This light is a step back from the programmable XT11GT and its rich but admittedly complex three-button interface. However, the Klarus XT12S is also programmable, using just the two switches on the tail. This gives the user the option of a fully tactical interface with touch-to-strobe, or an instant-moonlight function more suitable to outdoor recreation. Klarus regularly prefers its patented dual-tail switch system, deviating only for flashlight models designed around the principle of total simplicity like the ST series, but for the most part they stick to this design because it works. Like with the XT11GT the programming function can take a few tries to get the hang of, but once you understand what the light wants you to do it comes very naturally.
Now, let’s get to the meat of the thing: the beam. What’s a flashlight without a good beam? Well, in the case of the XT12S, the beam is….excellent! Despite having shrunk the light by about an inch, Klarus has kept the XT12S at the same 1600 lumens of its predecessor. That’s an awesome amount of power for a hand-sizzed light. Unfortunately, something did have to give, and in this case it was the beam throw. This light’s papa, the XT12GT, could throw its beam an incredibly 600 meters. Basically, if it was on the ground and in your eyeline, you could shine a light on it. To make this light shorter, clearly something had to give, and it looks like that something was the reflector. A shallower reflector means a shallower throw.
Now, it’s definitely worth noting that, for its size, the throw on this light is still fantastic. 402 meters That’s still the length of nearly four and a half football fields end-to-end. So it would seem the focus of the XT12 series is still beam throw, but with the XT12S, Klarus is trying to bring some inredible beam throw to a smaller package. I’d say they’ve succeeded. But if you’re used to the old 603 meter beam throw, this will seem a little lacking.
Now on to the recharging system. This is probably my favorite aspect of the XT12S. The XT12GT built on the original XT12’s charging system but brought an attachable key fob into play. This key fob acted as the bridge between any micro USB to USB cord and the metal charging port. For the XT12S, Klarus has done away with the fob, returning the recharging system to using a specialized cord with a magnetic end. I’m not sure how to feel about this – it’s like, would I rather worry about losing a special cord or a key fob? I guess at least with the key fob I could keep it, you know, on my keys, but I guess I’m not too concerned about it either way.
What I am excited about is they’ve kept the new magnetic charging system, so this light can recharge any 18650 lithium-ion battery and not just Klarus’s special bi-directional batteries, as has been the case in the past. For me, this was the biggest problem with the old XT12, and I was overjoyed when the XT12GT did away with it, so I’m really glad they’ve kept it so I can charge any battery in this light.
So let’s talk about accessories and wrap up. The light comes with a great collection of little accessories. A tactical ring makes it easy to hook to something by split ring, and gives the light much better anti-roll. The pocket clip and lanyard make it extra easy to attach the light to your person. Of course, it comes with the magnetic charging cord. What’s really great is that this light not only comes with a battery, it comes with a very, very nice battery. The Klarus 18GT-36 battery is a 3600mAh battery, which means it has the best capacity of any Klarus 18650 lithium-ion battery. The result is some startlingly long run times for this light. At its lowest brightness setting, the Klarus XT12S can actually run continously for weeks. Meanwhile its full-blast 1600 lumen setting can last well over an hour.
Bottom line: If you’re looking for distance and portability, this is the light for you. It’s small enough to be pocket-sized while still outstripping most other tactical lights on beam throw. Plus its cool magnetic charging system gives the light maximum waterproofing and just an overall cool factor. Take a look at this light, check up on everything I’ve said, and I think you’ll be impressed.