This year (2017) I purchased the Solaray Pro ZX-1 with the sole intention of reviewing it on this site and also comparing it to other highly recommended flashlights. I was skeptical at first glance but now I see the light (that was a good joke).
The Anatomy of The Solaray Pro ZX-1
The Solaray Pro ZX-1 is very similar in overall design to multiple flashlights I have reviewed on this site (Ghost Vapor, Uoline, Urpower), but the first in this higher price range. The size was 5.5 inches long which extended to 6.25 inches when the adjustable focus was out. The width was 7/8 of an inch around the body which flared out to 1 inch around the head of the flashlight. This measured almost exactly to the cheaper options I mentioned above.
The weight with an 18650 installed is 6.3 ounces which was a little above the average flashlight I have reviewed, but less than the other cheaper options. It definitely feels solid in your hand however the grip is not that great. Solaray makes up for this by including a carry strap with the Pro ZX-1 which you can use for additional security. It also makes it effective for self defense by extending the range of the flashlight when swung as a weapon and increasing the overall speed.
The Solaray Pro ZX-1 uses either 3 AAA batteries or a single 18650 battery. Both options are included with the Pro ZX-1 kit (battery tray for AAA batteries and battery tube for 18650). I tested both options with a multimeter to read the average amperage draw of the LED. With the 18650 battery, the LED pulled an average of 1.23 amps and with the AAA batteries it pulled 1.01 amps. With the included 3000mAh 18650 battery, you can expect about 2.5 hours of run time which reduces to just under an hour with the AAA batteries. The lower battery life with the AAA batteries is a result of the Peukart effect.
The Pro ZX-1 has similar functions to lower priced flashlights (like the Peakplus), which include High, Mid, Low, Strobe and SOS. Mid and Low drastically reduce the amperage draw of the LED bulb, extend battery life, but also mean lower light output.
What You Get with the Solaray Pro ZX-1
I said above that the Solaray Pro ZX-1 is very similar in design to some other cheap flashlight models like the Ghost Vapor GVX-8700 or the Peakplus, but what I did not mention is what makes them different. My personal favorite aspect of the Pro ZX-1 is everything you get with the flashlight. You get two 3000mAh batteries (the most I got was 1 2000mAh battery with a cheaper option), which means longer run times and an extra battery when the first one dies. When those batteries lose charge, just pop them into the included dual battery charger included. Every other battery charger I have received with a flashlight plugs directly into the wall which is not very convenient since it blocks two outlets. The charger included with this package uses a 3 foot extension cord to allow you use almost any outlet. Buying all of these accessories individually would probably put you back $25 or more without the cost of the flashlight.
The Light Tests
The Solaray Pro ZX-1 is known for it’s light output in both close quarters and long distances. To test whether this was true, I performed both my “Light the path” test and a distance test. The “light the path” test was done using a measuring tape in my garage, holding the flashlight at waist height and shining it at a 45 degree angle toward the ground. The Solaray covered an area of 47 square feet which measured 6 feet wide by 10 feet long. This is above our average of 33 sqft feet we measured during all of our flashlight testing.
The distance test also held up to the reputation that follows this flashlight. The adjustable focus allows the beam to tighten over long distances and light up objects far off in the distance. In the photo below you can see a set of trees that are 40 yards away, which the Pro ZX-1 clearly lit up. The max effective distance I found during my testing was about 100 yards, making it one of the highest distance flashlights I have reviewed to date.
The Final Verdict
At the end of the day, the Solaray Pro ZX-1 was one of the better flashlights I have reviewed. While it is similar in design to other flashlights on the market, it separates itself with a multitude of accessories that make it more reliable and tactical than competitors. Overall I am award the Pro ZX-1 9 stars out of 10.