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Review of Xtar's BK12

posted Apr 13, 2014, 10:04 AM by Low Kian Seong   [ updated Dec 13, 2014, 9:41 PM ]
I have always wanted to try out Xtar's range of torch lights, so recently when Ken of Xtar offered me to review the BK12 from their lineup, I jumped at the opportunity. I always wondered about how good Xtar's torches are and they are not easy to get over here in Malaysia. They look really good from their catalogs.

The torch light itself comes in a breathtakingly beautiful case cum bag with a charger and other accessories. This is definitely a plus point. What I like about Xtar products in general is that they really "optimize" what you pay them and you feel that what you pay goes a long way with their products.

Take a look at what is offered below:

Take a look at that bad ass bag that they provide to come together with the BK12! A thing of beauty no ?

Definitely something I would not mind lugging around showing off my torches in ! I love this! Well what is the contents ?

Inside the bag you get:
  • One charger which can double over for a usb charger for your phone
  • One bicycle holder if you want to attach your torch to your bike for night riding
  • Guarantee cards and manuals
  • Car adapter to charge your batteries from your car.

As you can see here, it's a nice torch .... with innards built as great as what is outside. Let me tell you when you hold this baby in your hands there will be no doubt in your mind where all the quality of this item is. The torch itself is built like a tank from the inside and carries the beauty of a bat mobile from the outside.

In terms of competitors, this is closest to Fenix PD32 (That's the other torch that I have), their feature set is very similar so I put them as competitors. Lets look at the torch itself. The torch uses one 18650 battery. Mine came with one of Xtar's 18650s. The torch itself feels solid in the hand and handles well. The size is just a few centimeters longer than PD32 and has a slightly bigger diameter compared to PD32.

Functionality / Functions

The torch itself in terms of modes has about the same as the PD32. It has 4 modes which is "High", "Mid", "Low" and "Signal". The control for the unit is a via a turn knob at the back of the torch light. I wonder about how durable is this knob as it looks and feels a bit fragile compared to the rest of the torch light, but then I did not face any problems in the time I was using it.

The on/off switch is at the back of the unit. Will it stay if you lay it flat ? No. By itself no, In the handling, actually I prefer the mode switch to be via a small switch at the front of the torch somewhat like PD32's as with BK12, I found that most of the time I could not change the mode of the light using just one hand. Having the mode switch at the front where the thumb can easily access it just feels like a more natural position for me.  Most times in order to change modes especially in my non-dominant hand, I found that I had to resort to using both of my hands.

The light itself has a bigger "center section" compared to PD32. This is where the BK12 wins over PD32. I like the brightness of BK12 better.

As an EDC, BK12 will be a tad challenged as it does not have a clip like PD32 and the unit itself has a slightly bigger diameter and bigger girth. The light itself is a natural light and is more natural on the view compared to PD32. The comparisons can be seen below. The light has a slightly yellowish tone compared to the natural color of Fenix's entry:

This first one is the light from BK2

Another photo of the same light's

Now lets take a look at PD32's light

From what I can observe from seeing the center circle side by side, BK2 and PD32 intensity seems to be the same, the difference seems to be that the BK12 intensity seems to "bleed out" outside of the center circle more.

Built / Ruggedness

In terms of drop test / under water tests, this torch passes with flying colors, though I would say drop it too many times and you are liable to have a
really ugly torch. It will work but then it won't really win any beauty contests as the paint will chip off the body. The o-rings in the torch looks seems to keep water out well and during my initial test with the unit no water breached the hull sort to speak. The larger diameter of the unit lends itself to a more natural "hold" in the hand and it will end up something that you will like to hold through out the day. The tapered middle section feels very natural in the hands. The on/off switch is not protruding like PD32 and this enables Xtar's BK12 to stand upright on either end.

You can see the side by side comparison of the two torches below:

Safe for a few cosmetic differences, they look and feel like identical torches.


What can I say, when a company gives such value for money there is very little room they can go wrong. I absolutely love this torch, in summary the only few niggles I can think of is:

  • The lack of a clip to make this an effective EDC
  • That selector at the back seems a bit weak/fragile compared to the rest of the body.
  • The longer form factor will be a stretch to carry in the pocket

These few details though does not stop me from bestowing a 4.5/5 for this great torch light. A must get for your collection!

To try one out you can head over to Amazon: XTAR 600Lm 4 mode bike light on Amazon