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  • Stephen Knight

Flashlight Review: Skilhunt / ESKTE MiX-7 (RGB-W-UV)

Updated: Apr 30

This review is of the Skilhunt / ESKTE MiX-7 Multi-color 18350 Magnetic Charging LED flashlight/torch. This tiny 18350 battery format EDC flashlight, has 7 LED emitters - 3 white, red, green, blue, and UV. The world needs more RGB flashlights, so it is fantastic to see Skilhunt release this concept.


Skilhunt / ESKTE MiX-7 Flashlight
Skilhunt / ESKTE MiX-7 Flashlight

Disclaimer


The MiX-7 was sent to me by Skilhunt for an honest review. This flashlight is reviewed from the perspective of a light painting photographer and flashlight enthusiast. Skilhunt are in the process of re-branding to ESKTE.


Construction and Design


The Skilhunt MiX-7 is a compact and unique red, green, blue, white, and UV (RGB-W-UV) flashlight, that uses a 18350 battery. The light is available in multiple body colour versions (Black, Green, Blue, Orange, and White MAO), and two white LED versions - Cree XP-G4 cool white 6500k, or high CRI Nichia 519A neutral white 4500k. The light is operated by a side switch. It looks to me like a "Very Mini Olight Warrior Mini" but with UV instead of a long throw central LED.


The MiX-7 has a head diameter of 32.5mm, length of 78,8mm, and weight of 63.5g (excluding battery). The light has a side switch, which doubles up as a magnetic charging port. The light has an IPX-8 rating, and is claimed to be impact resistant to 1m. Depending on the chosen configuration, the price varies between US$69.90 to US$122.48 (price at the time of writing).


The Skilhunt MiX-7 arrived in ESKTE branded packaging. The package also included a 18350 Li-ion battery (inside the light), magnetic charging cable, side clip, lanyard, instructions, ZWB2 filter, and spare O-rings.


The light comes with a 1100mAh 18350 Li-ion battery, which is half the length of an 18650 battery. This can either be charged in a dedicated Li-ion charger, or with the light's internal charging system. The light uses a proprietary USB-A to magnetic charging cable that attaches to the opposite side of the light to the side e-switch. Charging time was 100 minutes, and the charging rate is at 1A. Battery charge terminated correctly at 4.19V.


For the creating light trails part of light painting photography, the MiX-7 does fit into the Light Painting Brushes Universal Connector, where the side switch is partially accessible. Personally, I would spend a little bit more on the RGB Critter 2.0 instead. The MiX-7 is not compatible with other light painting systems. The MiX-7 is however, very suitable for illumination side of light painting and night photography. It is compatible with Kaidomain D37 diffusers, Spicy3Dprint wand, and can be tripod mounted with a Small Rig Super Clamp (or alternative).


Skilhunt / ESKTE MiX-7 Packaging
Skilhunt / ESKTE MiX-7 Packaging

Skilhunt / ESKTE MiX-7 Packaging
Skilhunt / ESKTE MiX-7 Packaging

Skilhunt / ESKTE MiX-7 Accessories
Skilhunt / ESKTE MiX-7 Accessories

Skilhunt / ESKTE MiX-7 with 1100mAh 18350 battery.
Skilhunt / ESKTE MiX-7 with 1100mAh 18350 battery.

Skilhunt / ESKTE MiX-7 Optics
Skilhunt / ESKTE MiX-7 Optics

Skilhunt / ESKTE MiX-7 Magnetic Charging Port
Skilhunt / ESKTE MiX-7 Magnetic Charging Port

Skilhunt / ESKTE MiX-7 Magnetic Charging
Skilhunt / ESKTE MiX-7 Magnetic Charging

Size comparison L to R - Skilhunt MiX-7, Olight Arkfeld Pro, Convoy S2+
Size comparison L to R - Skilhunt MiX-7, Olight Arkfeld Pro, Convoy S2+

User Interface


The Skilhunt MiX-7 uses a side e-switch for the UI. The below instructions are adapted from the Skilhunt website.


On/Off

Single click the side switch. Last mode memory.


Change Brightness Level

When the flashlight was OFF status:

  • Single click switch to Main Group (H>M1>M2).

  • Quickly double clicks switch to Turbo Group (T1/T2).

  • Quickly triple-click switch to Strobe Group (S1>S2>S3>S4).

  • Hold press switch 0.5 second to Low/Color Group (L1/R1/G1/B1/UV1,L2/R2/G2/B2/UV2).

When the flashlight was ON (Turbo Group, Main Group, Low/Color Group):

  • Press and hold the switch to automatically cycle, the level is selected when the side switch has been released, turn off memorised.

When the flashlight was ON Main Group(H>M1>M2):

  • Quickly double clicks switch transfer Main Group to Turbo Group(T1/T2), repeat quickly double clicks switch back to Main Group.

  • Quickly triple clicks switch transfer Strobe Group(S1>S2>S3>S4), repeat quickly triple clicks switch back to Main Group.

  • Quickly click and hold switch transfer Main Group to Low/Color Group, repeat quickly click and hold switch back to Main Group.

When the flashlight was ON Strobe Group(S1>S2>S3>S4):

  • Quickly double clicks switch transfer S1-S2-S3-S4, turn off memorised.


Lock Out and Location Indicator

When the flashlight is off, quickly click switch 4 times to access the button lockout

mode (location indicator activation at same time, the indicator light flashes every second.

Double clicks can turn on/off the indicator). Quickly click switch 4 times, the button

unlocks and activates Low mode.


Low Voltage Indication

When the battery voltage drops below 3.0V, the indicator flashes twice every 2 seconds.

When the battery voltage drops below 2.7V, the light will turn off.


Battery Power Indicator

Every time the light turns on, the side indicator will light for 5 seconds to display the battery power.

Constant blue indicator: 100%~80% power

Blinks blue indicator: 80%~50% power

Constant red indicator: 50%~20% power

Blinks red indicator: 20%~0% power


Whilst there is some complexity and a learning curve, I do like the user interface. There are 4 mode groups, and each is accessed from off by a different number of clicks or hold. Each of these 4 main groups has last mode memory, so it is for example possible to memorise (White) High in the Main Group, and, and Red High from the Low/Colour Group to be used consecutively for light painting/night photography. This is very useful, and a big improvement over the Olight Marauder Mini that lacks last mode memory for the RGB LEDs. There are a few annoying quirks, like cycling through Strobe mode is inconsistent to cycling through the other mode groups.


There are four strobe modes. White (alternating frequency), Red SOS, Red beacon, and Red>Green>Blue. None of these are particularly useful for light painting photography. A constant frequency strobe, and faster RGB strobe would have been more useful.


The side e-switch is rather sensitive, and I did accidentally activate the light on a few occasions. The light can be electronically or mechanically locked out.


Skilhunt MiX-7 User Interface (click to expand). Source: Skilhunt
Skilhunt MiX-7 User Interface (click to expand). Source: Skilhunt

Skilhunt / ESKTE MiX-7 Side e-Switch
Skilhunt / ESKTE MiX-7 Side e-Switch


Beam, Output, and Runtime


The Skilhunt MiX-7 uses the following emitters:

  1. Triple white LEDs - Cree XP-G4 6500k 70CRI, or Nichia 519A 95CRI/R9080 4500k.

  2. Red LED - Cree XP-E2 Red 620-630nm.

  3. Royal Blue LED - Cree XP-E2 Royal Blue 450-460nm.

  4. Green LED - Cree XP-E2 Green 520-530nm.

  5. UV LED - Seoul Viosys UV Z5-1B 365nm (with optional ZWB2 filter).

The white and RGB LEDs are arranged in a pattern of 6 LEDs, with the 7th UV LED being placed in the centre. The LEDs are all placed in orange peel reflectors. The beam profile is what I would call a "general purpose beam", having a good mix of flood and throw. The white LEDs have a wider 95 degree spill beam than the RGB LEDs with an 80 degree spill beam. There is a slight edge cut off for the spill beam for the RGB LEDs, but that isn't noticeable in real world use.


It is great to see Skilhunt offer a choice of more efficient 6500k LEDs to maximise lumens, or high CRI 4500k to maximise colour rendering of illuminated objects. As a night photographer, I generally recommend selecting the Nichia 519A R9080 4500k version for better colour rendering of illuminated objects. However, the cool white XP-G4 6500k version will also work well when contrasted with against primary colours in night photography.


It should be noted that the Blue is Royal Blue, sometimes known as Forensic Blue. This can highlight fluorescent objects, but also rapidly over-saturates camera sensors. I would have prefered a "normal" Blue 465-485nm as per the Olight Marauder Mini. Some Astro-photographers may have preferred a Deep Red instead of Red, for improved night vision.


Claimed Brightness/Runtimes:

  • Turbo 1 - 2300lm XP-G4 / 1500lm 519A / 56mins (step-down to High 1 after 1 minute).

  • Turbo 2 - 1250lm XP-G4/ 800lm 519A / 60mins (step-down to High 1 after 5 minutes).

  • High 1 - 680lm XP-G4 / 420lm 519A / 60mins.

  • Medium 1 - 230lm XP-G4 / 135lm 519A / 180mins.

  • Medium 2 - 65lm XP-G4 / 40lm 519A / 9h.

  • Low 1 - 6lm XP-G4 / 4lm 519A / 28h.

  • Low 2 - 1lm XP-G4 / 0.5lm 519A / 180h.

  • Red 1 - 165lm / 85mins.

  • Red 2 - 20lm /12h.

  • Green 1 - 340lm / 70mins.

  • Green 2 - 70lm / 10h.

  • Blue 1 - 45lm / 65mins.

  • Blue 2 - 7lm / 9h.

  • UV 1 - 1000mW / 140mins.

  • UV 2 - 200mW / 9h.


Claimed Peak Beam Intensity:

  • Turbo 1 - 8300cd (182m) XP-G4 / 3300cd (115m) 519A.

  • Red 1 - 950cd (61m).

  • Green 1 - 2300cd (96m).

  • Blue 1 - 40cd (12m).


Brightness (lumens) and runtimes with the Nichia 519A emitter were tested to be within +/-10% of the manufacturers specification. I tested Turbo 1 to be 1,605 lumens, and High 1 to be 440 lumens, slightly higher than specification. I tested peak beam intensity on Turbo 1 to be 4613cd (135m), though my Opple Light Master 3 Pro does tend to overestimate lux/cd. For the light's compact size, the maximum and sustained brightness are quite impressive. Sustained brightness (lumens) is similar to a Lume Cube 2.0, but with far more throw.


The RGB-UV LEDs also have a decent regulated output with no brightness step-down. The RGB lumen output and peak beam intensity was tested to be higher than the Wurkkos WK40, LED Lenser P7QC, and Olight Marauder Mini. In terms of peak beam intensity, the MiX-7 outperforms the aforementioned RGB flashlights, and pocket LED panel lights (which are designed for nearfield illumination), but cannot compete with the Convoy S2+ CSLNM1 colour versions.


Despite it's name, the MiX-7 cannot colour mix. If you want colour mixing from a flashlight, your best choice is the Ants On A Melon RGB Critter 2.0 which has a single 3W RGB LED module. The Critter has 39 colour modes, and 10 brightness settings. If you want colour mixing with a very floody beam for nearfield illumination, then you are better off with a pocket RGBWW panel light such as the excellent Weeylite RB9, Viltrox Retro 12X, or Zhiyun M20C. These have hue, saturation, and intensity adjustment. I'll note that whilst the Wurkkos WK40 can technically do basic colour mixing, it was so bad at colour mixing that it is not worth considering for that that purpose.


The UV LED has a wavelength of 365nm, which is preferable for making things fluoresce. The light includes a ZWB2 filter which filters out most visible light. Due to a patent troll in the USA, for users in the USA, this has to be installed by the user. As I'm based in Australia, it was pre-installed on my sample. Many serious users of UV lights will like that feature, but personally I like it to be a bit more obvious when a UV light is turned on and will probably remove the ZWB2 filter - but so far I've been unable to unscrew the bezel. Never look directly at UV LEDs, and do not use UV lights for prolonged periods of time. I'll note that the Royal Blue LED will also make some things glow with better colour fluorescence compared to UV that just makes things fluoresce white.


Due to the impressive brightness, and small 18350 battery, it is no surprise that the runtimes are relatively short when used on maximum brightness. This is not a problem if the light is only being used whilst light painting/night photography, but I would not use it as a primary flashlight for long explores or night hikes. I would like to see an 18650 tube version of this light, which would allow runtimes to be tripled.


White light hotspot correlated colour temperature (CCT), colour rending index (CRI Ra), and tint/DUV for the Nichia 519A LED:

  • Turbo 1 - CCT 4447K, CRI 96.9 Ra CRI, Tint -0.0013 DUV.

  • High 1 - CCT 4351K, CRI 97.6 Ra CRI, Tint -0.0008 DUV.

  • Medium 2 - CCT 4293K, CRI 97.9 Ra, Tint -0.0008 DUV.

As expected for the Nichia 519A LED, the CRI is excellent at >96 Ra, and Tint is perfectly neutral (no green or magenta hue). This means that objects illuminated by the Mix-7 with 519A LED will have colours (notably reds and browns) rendered much better than 70 CRI cool white LEDs found on most flashlights. With a CCT in the 4200-4500k range, the beam is at the warmer end of neutral white.


No Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) was detected visually, or by my phone camera.



Skilhunt / ESKTE MiX-7 Optics under UV Light
Skilhunt / ESKTE MiX-7 Optics under UV Light


Skilhunt / ESKTE MiX-7 Beam Profile - Nichia 519A 4500k White
Skilhunt / ESKTE MiX-7 Beam Profile - Nichia 519A 4500k White


Skilhunt / ESKTE MiX-7 Beam Profile - Cree XP-E2 Red
Skilhunt / ESKTE MiX-7 Beam Profile - Cree XP-E2 Red

Outdoor Beam Shots. f/5.6, 1.6secs, ISO1000.


Light painting with the Skilhunt MiX-7. f/8, ISO100, 113 secs.
Light painting with the Skilhunt MiX-7. f/8, ISO100, 113 secs.

Conclusion


Positives:

  • Fantastic "5 lights in 1" concept, combining RGB-W-UV in a compact flashlight.

  • Choice of neutral white high CRI, or cool white for max output.

  • Decent maximum and sustained brightness (both white and RGB) for the light's size.

  • Last mode memory for all modes.

  • Integrated charging.

  • Moonlight mode.

  • Compatible with diffusers, wands, Universal Connector, and can be tripod mounted.

  • It's cute!

Negatives:

  • No RGB colour mixing (this would ideally require a single chip RGB LED).

  • Side switch is rather sensitive.

  • I would prefer Blue instead of Royal/Forensic Blue.

  • Relatively short runtimes due to the 18350 battery.

  • Charging isn't USB-C.

  • Strobe is alternating frequency.


The Skilhunt / ESKTE MiX-7 is very innovative flashlight. It could also be described as a "Swiss Army Knife" flashlight for illumination with so many emitter options. Combining impressive maximum brightness, choice of high CRI neutral or cool white, and bright RGB-UV LEDs, it is one of the best compact flashlights available for light painting illumination and night photography. I'm sure many other users will find this light fun to use.


I would like see an 18650 battery tube, and "normal" Blue LED in future versions. If you require RGB colour mixing, or an RGB flashlight for creating light trails, then there are other flashlight alternatives which have been discussed in this review.




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