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The standard power levels for PFlexPRO products are determined by thermal tests. The emitter Tj (junction temperature) must remain well within the safe range with few limitations. At 3.8A, the flashlight should be handheld and there will be no run time limitations. If the light is used unattended (laying down or standing on it's tail cap), the run time on high should be limited to 5 minutes or a lower power setting should be used. While holding the flashlight, it will feel warm in your hand, but the heat is continuously being feed into your hand, so the light will never get too hot. If you run the flashlight on high and lay it down, there is not a good thermal path for the heat (still or slow moving air is not a good heat path), the heat will build up over time and when you finally pick it up, it may be too hot to hold...remember, you hand makes a great thermal path. If you're wearing gloves, hopefully, it's cold and the air around the head of the becomes much better at dissipating heat.
PFlexPRO Advance Program lights have 'Active Thermal Control' which means the light will manage the heat for you and you don't have to worry about a step down of the light being handheld.

XM-L2: Depending on the host, the XM-L2 does very well up to 3.8A and is the best choice if you want a light with direct drive. At 3.8A, the flashlight will become warm quickly and should always be hand held. Thermally, the Convoy M1 (with the MCPCB soldered) is the best choice, but the C8 and P60 format will still safely handle 3.8A. For long run times, a lower mode can be selected. The 3.8A configuration is useful for long throw, outdoor, self defense (blinding someone), knocking the neighbor's cat off the fence, and any time you just want a lot of light.

XP-L: For use in a flashlight, there is no difference between the XPL and the XML2...they both use the same die size, so the throw and beam pattern are the same. While choosing between the XML2 and XPL, you should only consider the tint and power (efficiency). If you're looking at power bins (T, U, V), be careful not to compare the power bins between different emitter platforms. A U2 in the XPL is not as bright as a U2 in the XML2. An XML2 U2 is similar to an XPL V4 or V5.

XPL HI: The XPL HI is a factory de-domed version of the XPL. The dome on an emitter is a magnifying glass... it makes the actual emitter look bigger, so the reflector reflects a larger looking emitter into a larger hot spot. Since the XPL HI doesn't have the magnifying dome, the hot spot is smaller and more intense -this means more throw. The XPL HI has about 10% less output than a comparable XPL of XML2, but it has throw up to 50% further. Since the XPL HI is built and binned without the dome, there is not green/yellow color shift that is common with mechanically dedommed emitters.

This emitter has some phosphors mixed into the dome material. Even though there is still a 'yellow emitter die' beneath, the dome itself looks yellow. The additional phosphors increases the output of the emitter, but it also makes the apparent die size look larger. A larger die will create a larger, less intense hot spot which will reduce the throw. One advantage of the XPL2 besides the additional output is the beam quality. The larger hotspot is very smooth - I think it is the best neutral white and best high CRI Cree has to offer. The XPL2 emitter has low vF and should not be used in direct driver lights. It will pull excessive power and damage the emitter.

Nichia emitters use a smaller die similar to the Cree XPG2 emitters. The smaller die will increase the throw, but they will also have lower output. Output isn't what Nichia is known for -it's the tint quality. Nichia has the best looking neutral white, high CRI emitters. The Nichia neutral white emitters usually have less yellow than the Cree neutral white emitters. Nichia emitters that are not high CRI still have a very nice tint. Nichia emitters have a very low Vf which means they will draw a lot of power in a single emitter setup. The low Vf also means they perform very well in a multi emitter light. A group of 3 or 4 emitters in direct drive will run safely because the emitters will share the high current from the battery.
Since the Nichia emitters have a low vF, they should not be used as single emitters in direct driver light. It will pull excessive power and damage the emitter. Triple and quad emitter configurations are very popular in direct driver lights because multiple emitters will share the high current. A multi emitter Nichia or XPL2 light running in direct drive mode will generate a lot of heat!