MakeBlock | xTool D1 Pro
Product Name: xTool D1 Pro
Product Description: I have had a straight up BLAST playing with the xTool D1 Pro. Its top speed of 400mm/s is legitimately impressive and I’ve spent a lot of this review just wondering what I could lay down with the beefy 20w diode laser module they offer.
Offer price: Starting at $889.99
A Great Laser with Software Issues
The xTool D1 Pro is a technically impressive laser, though there’s definitely room for improvement in several key areas including software and usability – and that’s why we’ve rated it a 7.6 out of 10. A good machine to grab on sale if you know what you’re buying, what you’re getting, and what you aren’t.
CONTENTS & ASSEMBLY – 8/10
HARDWARE & SPECS – 8/10
LASER MODULE – 9/10
PERFORMANCE – 9/10
SOFTWARE & USABILITY – 6/10
COST & VALUE – 6/10
- Very easy to assemble and maintain
- Impressive speeds and accuracy
- Amazing diode module that packs a punch
- Mature but frustratingly basic proprietary software
- High cost compared to other entries in the diode market
- Some misleading marketing material
While I did receive this review unit for free, I was not paid for a review (positive or otherwise) and the opinions shared in this video are completely my own. While I’m grateful you guys value my opinion, make sure to always do your own due diligence before deciding to make a laser purchase.
The D1 Pro is one of the most costly diodes on the market right now and so it’s about time we gave this thing a once over. Is the xTool the magical diode laser it’s made out to be, or is it all just smoke and mirrors? We’re going to cover EVERY aspect of this machine in the deepest of dives. Let’s put MakeBlock’s marketing to the test and see if it holds up to the high standards we expect from a top tier machine.
The xTool D1 pro is MakeBlock’s follow up to the immensely popular xTool D1 diode laser and features a host of improvements including new top speeds, refined design and access to higher wattage diode modules. My configuration of the machine includes the xTool D1 Pro, the 10w Diode Module, their RA2 Pro rotary system and an 8 pack of their z-depth risers. With an MSRP $1,148.99 MakeBlock is positioning the xTool D1 Pro at the very top of the diode food chain so our expectations going into this review were definitely high.
CONTENTS / ASSEMBLY 9/10
Out of the box the D1 Pro has literally everything you need to get laser marking right away including assembly instructions, testing materials, laser hardware, cheap safety glasses, and the 10w diode laser module. If you want to see everything included out of the box check out our unboxing video, I’ll include a card on screen here as well as a link in the description.
I really don’t like seeing glasses with nothing printed on the lenses and no documentation. It’s an issue that plagues the laser industry and even more specifically the diode market. If a machine costs more than a thousand dollars there’s no excuse in my mind to provide inadequate low cost eye protection with your machine. In the future I’d really like to see eye wear with the OD for the relevant wavelengths printed on the lens. A spectrum chart detailing the protection offered by the lenses would be a nice bonus on top of that.
The D1 Pro is definitely a laser that requires assembly but compared to some of the diodes I’ve seen Kyle assemble I’d say this is probably pretty straight forward in contrast. It took me about 45 minutes to assemble with distractions. The instructions were mostly large photos printed in a very pretty instruction booklet. There was text but it was 100% Chinese which added some challenge. I had to rely on a little critical thinking to get the job done but there’s so little assembly required I was able to make pretty quick work of it.
One of the biggest annoyances when building Chinese lasers is when the tolerances are off and you’re inserting screws at weird angles and things just don’t quite line up correctly. The tolerances on my machine were absolutely perfect and everything lines up nicely when mounting rails and tightening screws.
Belts are pre-set and tensioned out of the box and while it’s very easy to adjust the belt tension with a single screw for each belt I didn’t find my review unit required any adjustment. Additionally the diode module is easy to install. No switches or wiring to be found – just plug and play – which is great, especially if you’re planning on picking up the 20w module or IR module in the future.
All of the boxes for contents and assembly are checked for me except for the notable lack of English instructions. If a laser company can afford all the man hours to engineer, design and build these units why can’t they get someone on payroll to handle translations? Just a shower thought for consideration.
ROTARY – Supplementary
The D1 Pro configuration I was sent included the RA2 Pro rotary kit and I’m so glad they sent this my way. In short it’s super effective and easy to use. It’s a hybrid roller/chuck system and swapping back and forth between the modes is a few grub screws and a minute or two of swapping parts. I spent most of my time with the chuck as the rollers are the hotdog roller style which while nice to have – are limited in functionality. The chuck performed great in all of my testing though.
I was pleasantly surprised by the RA2 pro and I only have a few small complaints. The rotary setup works significantly better in LightBurn than MakeBlocks own proprietary xTool Creative Software suite. Here are two photos of the same exact job on the RA2 Pro rotary with the XCS execution on the left and the LightBurn execution on the right. We’ll be talking about software a little later on in the review but I wanted to mention it now while we were on the subject of rotary.
My only other gripe with the RA2 Pro is that there is no angular adjustment on the chuck which can make leveling and aligning tapered cups and tumblers unnecessarily difficult. I feel in most cases the ability to adjust the angle of a chuck would be considered standard and since that’s missing here we’re left literally physically raising or lowering the entire rotary assembly in order to get tapered items level. It’s not ideal, but the rest of the rotary package is so well built and executed I can certainly look past it – though it’s definitely something I’d want improved on future revisions of the hardware.
HARDWARE / TECH SPECS 9/10
One of the big draws to the xTool line of lasers over the competition are the impressive specs they love to boast about in their marketing material. I made it a point to thoroughly test these claims during my testing as a lot of these stats can be difficult to confirm.
One of the biggest claims that they make in their advertising is that the xTool D1 Pro can scan at a whopping 400mm/s, that’s 24,000mm/m. You know that’s impressive when they’re using speed scales usually reserved for their galvo operated counterparts.
I was motivated to test the scanning speed in the first place because of the mixed messaging in their advertising for the D1 Pro. 400mm/s is referenced in multiple places but there are also a few references to the max speed being listed as 10,000mm/m. That translates to 166.7mm/s which is a far cry from the advertised 400mm/s. I had to be sure which number was accurate.
In order to test this I created a line 400mm wide and did my best to time how long it takes to scan from one end to the other. I’m happy to report that despite the unscientific method of my testing the xTool D1 Pro does indeed seem capable of achieving these speeds. It’s an impressive feat to be sure.
I’m still not exactly sure in what situation you would need to use speeds like this. When testing high speeds with photos your line accuracy is miserable and raster images come out looking muddy and blurred because you just can’t get straight scans from a diode at 400mm/s. I don’t even use speeds that fast to do photo work on my CO2 lasers. Additionally, the 10w diodes aren’t capable of putting out enough power to be useful when scanning this fast for vector work, though, if I ever get my hands on the 20w module perhaps that will change my mind.
MakeBlock says a big reason they were able to achieve these high speeds comes down to their new all-steel wheel and shaft that supports their gantry system. Kyle and I have never seen this configuration in a diode unit we’ve reviewed so it’s definitely novel, and the fact is the unit performs so they must be onto something. They also claim the steel wheels offer better life expectancy over the traditional plastic or rubber wheels which is certainly believable, though we haven’t run the machine (or really any of our diodes) long enough to be able to confirm. That said, it certainly feels sturdy, especially alongside the closed loop belts used to drive the axis. Nothing is worse than having to deal with the crappy alligator clips that keep open loop belts together on these systems and with the xTool it’s a total non-issue. As I mentioned all of the belts come pre-installed and the tensioner systems are built into the frame so it’s a completely integrated system that requires no direct intervention from the user.
My only real complaint about access to these high speeds is that I noticed some jittering during our testing. This only occurred at speeds above 300mm/s and pausing the job then resuming it was enough to get it to stop. Until you intervene though, the jittering continues. I did attempt to update the firmware to see if it fixed the issue – but it didn’t. This might be alarming to most but it actually wasn’t that big of a problem. There were only a couple of occurrences during our entire time with the machine. I very nearly forgot to include these incidents in the review but it is something I think you guys should be aware I experienced.
The workspace is standard for a full sized diode, you get 430mm along the x-axis and 400mm along the y-axis when using the 10w module. If you opt for the 20w module you lose 10mm on the y-axis due to the increased thickness of the beefier diode – leaving you with a workspace of 430mm wide by 390mm high. Thankfully, they make it easy to account for the size difference on the D1 Pro in the event that you want to switch between modules. On the underside of the unit you can actually change the position of the limit switch triggers allowing you to use either module on the same frame. I’m impressed with the foresight on this and I’m looking forward to testing this out for myself in the future.
When facing the unit you’ll notice the single large silver button used to control some basic machine functionality which we’ll be coming back to in a bit. Nearby on the right side of the machine you’ll find the USB port, power port and main power switch for turning the unit on and off.
On the underside of the unit the front panel also hides a discreet wifi antenna so the motherboard can communicate with your computer without the metal frame interfering with the signal. You can get a good look at the motherboard itself simply by turning the laser around which exposes all of the wires, chips and connections that bring the machine to life. Notable here are the micro SD card slot, upload switch and reset button. We’ll touch on those a little later on in this review.
The D1 Pro offers a comfortable 50mm of z-depth within the confines of the frame which is more than enough for any flat stock you’d want to work on. For larger objects my configuration also included the 8pc riser set. Each set of four risers will buy you an additional 45mm of height off the work surface which was sufficient for use with the RA2 Pro rotary when working on steel pint glasses. The risers are sold as a stand alone item on xTool’s website so in theory you could continue to add risers to meet your needs though it may affect the stability of the gantry if taken too far.
The design overall is very sleek and minimalistic which certainly gives off an “Apple” vibe, but its beauty definitely comes at a cost. It doesn’t take long to notice the lack of a dedicated emergency stop or keyed on/off – both disappointing discoveries when approaching the design with a safety oriented mindset. Furthermore the lack of any dedicated screen or additional buttons to control the machine means the functionality of the SD card slot is severely limited. We’ll be chatting more about that later on in the review as well.
This isn’t to say the xTool D1 Pro doesn’t have any safety features. It does have an effective tilt detection system which worked very well in our testing, alongside a very sensitive flame detection system built into both the 10w and 20w modules supported by this laser.
LASER MODULE 10/10
The fire detection is just one of the awesome features that make the D1 Pro’s module options one of the more impressive components of this system. Both diode modules support air assist out of the box and feature a red cross alignment system that is supposed to make aligning your work easier than using the diode dot itself to frame out jobs.
The red cross system works by offsetting the start position of jobs by about 16mm to the left so that when the job is initialized the diode laser begins where the red cross was previously viewed. This is a great attempt at simplifying the framing experience for diode users but I’d like to see it a little more refined in future revisions or iterations of the hardware. Both the proprietary xTool Creative Space software and LightBurn allow for adjustments to be made to the offset value used in this calculation but in my testing after discovering it did not come pre-adjusted from the factory, I found it easier to simply turn the mode off altogether and opted for the traditional diode framing experience with the blue laser itself. I’m sure if one took the time to dial this in it would be a sufficient means for framing jobs but at the end of the day I think I still prefer the accuracy of using the actual diode module to frame for better consistency and repeatability. Still, kudos to xTool for attempting to solve an issue that hasn’t really been addressed in the growing history of at-home diode laser technology.
That’s about where the similarities between the modules end. There are currently two modules available for the D1 Pro, the 10w and 20w diode. My configuration shipped with the 10w diode though I’m hoping to take the 20w module for a test drive at some point in the future.
The 10w module was accurate and consistent during our use and provides a lot of power despite being the smaller of the two siblings. 10w was plenty of juice to punch through eight inch ply and hardwood and only struggled a little with denser materials like cork and leather. Since it’s a lower wattage module it also has the benefit of the smaller dot size, great if you plan on tackling photo or high detail projects with your laser. xTool lists the dot size at .08mm x .06mm. We attempted to confirm this by administering a single line test on stainless steel to yield the thinnest line without having to deal with area of effect or splash damage to consider. Despite the heat affected zone which was clearly visible we were able to record dot sizes as small as .1mm wide by .05mm high. I was definitely thoroughly impressed by these results which are extremely close to the claimed specs, especially when older much lower wattage units offer very similar performance.
While I could take or leave the red cross bar alignment system, I was super happy with the performance of the 10w module over all. I only wish I had the 20w here to compare the two – perhaps that will be the subject of a future video.
During my time so far with the xTool D1 Pro I’ve had the chance to work on a wide variety of materials and performance across the board has been satisfactory to say the least. Cork engraves wonderfully and cuts fairly well with the 10w module though this is one of the places I think the 20w definitely would have resulted in a cleaner cut. It’s also where I noticed the first big issue with the flame detection system. It was impossible to make it further than an inch or so into the cut before the flame detection would kick in and stop the job. I’m really really glad that xTool allows for changing of the detection sensitivity from within their xTool Creative Software suite. Changes made here do seem to carry over to LightBurn as well which is excellent. I was able to set the sensitivity to low, complete the cut, then switch it back to high without further issues. The software does allow the option for disabling the flame detection completely which I would recommend against but if you are in a situation where you simply can not complete a job with it be sure to reactivate it before moving on to your next project.
I’ve also been seeing some amazing results on diode lasers with glass recently. With the help of some friends I was able to get some nice looking marks on some provided glass samples using nothing but blue masking tape. I think the 20w would be more effective here and while I was able to accomplish some glass marking it was short lived. My glass etchings didn’t survive being poked and prodded during weeding of the left over masking tape which was unfortunate. That said, I’ve seen other people achieve stellar results with this machine and method so I’m going to chalk it up to user error. I hope I can spend more time refining this in the future because it really is impressive and fun.
Leather performed extremely well with this module. The markings were crisp and clear on every type of leather I attempted to mark and after a few tries I was able to dial in the cut settings to the point where I was getting clean even cuts every single time.
Slate was another material that had just excellent performance. I was able to lock in a bright white setting with two or three attempts and it was extremely repeatable on both coated and uncoated slate. My slate tests were the projects that brought the issues with the red cross alignment to light as even when creating a center circle jig to accurately set my origin I was still getting results that were off center on my slate coasters. Switching to the blue diode laser for framing immediately fixed the issue. As I mentioned earlier it’s a pretty simple task to dial in the red cross using the offset features provided in LightBurn and the xTool Creative Space. One note here: be aware that when setting the offset in lightburn you are setting the total offset from the diode point to the red cross intersection. When setting the offset in the xTool Creative Space software you are making adjustments to the pre-established offset. Thus your offset value will be much higher in LightBurn when compared to the value entered into xTool Creative Space which has a max input value of five.
xTool includes a very basic stamp making kit in their test materials which includes a small wood base block, a small ink pad and some rubber. I had never had the opportunity to make a stamp before so I figured I’d give it a try and it was a lot easier than I was expecting. I found the most success by running repetitive low power passes to shave layers of rubber off the surface and cutting was quick and easy. My first ever stamp turned out great, though I forgot to reverse the text so room for improvement next time I feel like getting crafty.
Since my initial diode review featuring the Ortur Aufero Laser 1 I’ve been really impressed with modern diode lasers’ ability to oxidize the surface of steel so I figured we had to put the D1 Pro through its paces here as well. In a little more than 5 hours of testing I was able to lock in four or five solid colors that I was really impressed with. I will warn you though that this process generates a crazy amount of heat and thinner metals absolutely will warp, bend, and dent. I ditched the thinner stainless steel cards pretty quickly and had the best success with thicker steel bottle openers which marked cleaner, with more consistency, without affecting the integrity of the steel.
Lastly we can’t move on in this review without talking about photo quality which is, in my opinion, the reason every single laser engraving professional should own a diode laser – even if they have more powerful machines at their disposal. In short, the 10w module on the xTool knocked it right out of the park. My only serious note would be to remind you all that when attempting photos to keep your speeds low. At first when I fired up the D1 Pro I was all too excited to push this thing to its limits and whip photos out at high speeds. Unfortunately in my experience speeds over even 500mm/m resulted in wobbly lines and inaccurate scans. The results are mediocre but if you want strong and stunning raster images with a diode laser, low and slow is the way to go. Reducing your speed to about 300mm/m provides crystal clear lanes with pinpoint accuracy and the resulting photos are a thrill to create and stunning to look at. Of course I used the xTool to cut out a quick base to display my photo upright as well. The whole process was easy and fun and I’m glad I took the time to really get it right with this machine.
Across the entire spectrum of materials we put in the path of this diode laser we got consistently impressive results with a little tinkering here and there to get things just right, but there ARE some characteristics about this machine that do affect its usability score and a good chunk of it unfortunately has to do with marketing, poor design choices, and poor software implementation.
SOFTWARE AND USABILITY 7/10
First of all we have to examine the wifi features of the D1 Pro. The first thing to note here is that the WiFi capability is ONLY operational when using xTools proprietary xTool Creative Software suite. According to a post from LightBurn staff on their support forum the mode in which the software communicates with the hardware via WiFi is proprietary and thus unsupported. It’s also worth noting that there is no mobile app support for the D1 Pro. The original xTool D1 was compatible with xTool’s Laserbox software on Android and iOS but that support was not carried over to the D1 Pro.
The WiFi connection is not direct between the PC and the laser hardware either, you have to have both devices connected to the same wifi network which means you won’t be using the WiFi features outside of your shop or home. The lack of bluetooth support also means if you’re away from a WiFi network you won’t be sending jobs to this machine without a USB tether.
All of these issues aside, the WiFi DOES indeed work when you’re using the proprietary xTool Creative Space software on PC or MacOS. It’d be nice for someone who has a large shop and doesn’t have the laser right next to their workstation but again – only if you plan on not using LightBurn.
The next thing we have to take a critical look at is the implementation of the sd card slot. Yes, it exists, no it’s not a reliable or convenient way to send jobs to this machine. On this machine the sd card acts as a buffer for incoming jobs. Rather than translating the instructions to the machine in real time the instructions are sent as gcode to the card and stored there until the job is complete. From what I can tell you can not export gcode, drop it on an sd card, and run jobs from it that way. If you did find a way to get this to work there’s no way to tell the xTool D1 Pro which file you actually want to run since there’s no way to interact with the hardware directly – so you’d be limited to one file per SD card. The only official use for the SD card as far as executing jobs is to send a job to the laser via WiFi then disconnect the machine. From that point on you will be able to replay the last job you sent over the WiFi connection. NOTE: This ONLY works via the WiFi connection. Jobs that are sent over the USB connection or from LightBurn do NOT remain on the SD card for replay.
Between the issues with WiFi implementation and the SD card issues we just highlighted you’re basically anchored to your shop setup via a wired connection unless you want to bring your computer and a router with you everywhere you want to bring the xTool to execute work.
I have a few other points I want to mention about the user experience that are easily overlooked in the manual as well. Before you attempt to update the firmware you have to make sure the upload switch on the motherboard is actually set to upload. If that switch is disengaged the firmware upgrade will fail.
Another is that the sd card MUST be inserted at all times in order for this machine to function properly. If you try to operate the xTool without an SD card the job will fail with errors. If you’re getting strange errors and you don’t know why your machine won’t execute jobs, check the SD card slot first to make sure you’ve inserted the card correctly and completely.
Finally, while we’re going to talk about how the xTool works with the compatible software – it does not seem to work with LaserGRBL which is very strange. I’ve tried just about everything I can think of and I can not get the two to connect or function together. Seems like an oversight that the #1 free option for running grbl lasers is incompatible with a $1000 diode laser. I’d love to see better support for it in the future. LaserGRBL isn’t the best software in the world but it’s something literally everyone can use and I was disappointed to see the compatibility just wasn’t there.
Since there’s no free open source option for controlling the xTool D1 Pro I feel it’s relevant to discuss the xTool Creative Suite software here in a little more depth. It’s not all bad but it does have its quirks and I want to make sure we cover them. First off for importing we have support for SVG, DXF, PNG, JPG, and BMP. A fair collection. I’d love to see EPS support in the future but honestly I don’t expect it and SVG gets the job done for most vector applications. Importing artwork is quick and easy and I didn’t notice any import errors or weird geometry issues during my time with the machine.
Created to replace the aging Laserbox software, on the surface the xTool Creative Software actually feels pretty mature despite it being a new addition to the xTool ecosystem. Most of what you would expect from a free basic laser software is here. For artwork you’re able to create text and vectors, draw lines, use boolean operations like unite and subtract, build arrays, create offset outlines and a lot more. As far as laser control goes you have access to setting the speed, power, pass count and resolution as well as jogging, framing, flame detection sensitivity and a bunch of other stuff we don’t have time to cover in today’s review. Honestly as a whole it’s fairly impressive. Even updating the firmware is just 2 clicks from the main menu and the process is completely automated.
Connecting the XCS software to the D1 Pro via WiFi only takes a minute. Just connect the laser to the computer via USB, click to set up your WiFi connection and enter the username and password for your network. It will scan to make sure it can see the laser on your local area network and once it’s found it’s one click to connect. You only have to do this once and the network login information is stored on the machine so that it connects to the network automatically each time the laser is powered on. A note about the setup process, make sure your computer is connected to WiFi, even if your PC has a wired ethernet connection. If you are only connected to your network via ethernet the XCS software will NOT be able to find the laser. If your hardwired PC does not have WiFi capabilities you won’t be able to connect to the laser wirelessly at all. As I mentioned earlier, the last job you send to the laser via WiFi can be replayed at any time, and though the use cases are limited it’s still a neat party trick I suppose.
I do have some pretty big complaints about the software itself though, that unfortunately put a huge damper on the xTool Creative Software experience. First, I’m not sure what’s going on in the back end of their proprietary software but it doesn’t seem to me that they do any compensation for the offset issues that are fixed by LightBurn’s scanning offset adjustment. For most diode lasers this isn’t really a problem because the scan speeds are so low that the diode modules don’t typically face this issue. When you have a diode laser scanning at 400mm/s, though, all of a sudden it becomes a big issue. In this series of photos we can see the same exact job run via XCS and LightBurn. The XCS run is clearly ghosted with what look like offset lines. Even if they’re compensating for this offset in software I could find no way to adjust how they have it set so if it’s off and needs fine tuning unfortunately it’s out of reach.
Another problem I’ve found with the XCS software is the list of available choices when setting resolution. Instead of simply being able to type a number in and go, you’re forced to choose from a pre-set list of resolution options. To make matters worse the resolution is selected in lines per centimeter. Whether you’re used to using lines per inch with the imperial system, or line intervals in millimeters with the metric system, you’re going to be doing some sort of conversion to get the correct value. When you complete the conversion you’re then faced with the choice of whether to round up or down, due to the limited choices available to you for resolution. Everyone who engraves bitmap raster images knows how important having an accurate resolution set is to the process and when the software strips your ability to measure and enter your resolution with precision it can really affect your work.
Finally there doesn’t seem to be any changes to vector optimizations you can make in XCS. If you send a vector to the xTool D1 Pro that hasn’t been completely welded the machine will decide what order it wants to engrave each shape in. This is particularly noticeable when using the rotary tool as the chuck ends up moving back and forth dozens of times to complete the job rather than just scanning through the entire vector from left to right. This is a massive waste of time on the rotary and added dozens and dozens of minutes to my runtimes until I figured out a workaround. If you do plan to use the RA2 Pro rotary (or any rotary for that matter) with your xTool D1 Pro make sure that your vectors are completely welded or united before processing the job and sending it to the machine – or you will be plagued by this issue as well.
It isn’t all bad. The xTool Creative Software suite has a cool little project tab with files and projects ready to go to help break in your new machine. If you find one you like it’s one click do download and import the project into XCS and each project includes instructions and settings to get the job done based on your laser. There’s a whole bunch of projects to choose from so I was happy to find this engaging way to encourage new users to experiment with their new lasers. To top it all off all of the project files are absolutely free so there won’t be any microtransactions to worry about while you’re trying to find your footing.
THANKFULLY with the notable exception of WiFi support, the xTool D1 Pro is a dream to use on LightBurn. Everything works exactly the way you would expect it to. The laser is responsive, accurate, and free of bugs.
xTool had the foresight to include a ready to use LightBurn device profile on their website as well which includes all of the configuration set up for you. Even the laser offset for the red cross pointer is pre-configured – though I would definitely take a few minutes to dial it in before trusting it to align important jobs or paid work.
The RA2 Pro rotary setup from xTool also enjoys smooth compatibility with LightBurn. If you struggle with getting new rotary tools set up like me xTool also provides a screenshot of their recommended LightBurn rotary configuration for the RA2 Pro on their website as well, something I was very appreciative of while working on the review.
The beautiful thing to me is that LightBurn strips away all of the novelty and marketing that went into the xTool branding and allows it to shine for what it is at its core: a sturdy reliable diode laser marking machine. Honestly, the D1 Pro would have scored much higher in this section if they put a lid on the excessive marketing of extra features that don’t work sometimes or only work in certain configurations or at certain times. If xTool hadn’t advertised SD card support or their proprietary WiFi I’m not certain they would have even made it into the review, however, features like these and others have become so integral to the marketing of these machines I believe it would have been an oversight not to shine a light on their true, and frankly disappointing functionality.
Although the xTool D1 Pro has seen some significant price drops since its launch it’s still one of the most expensive diode lasers on the market today. Though it’s currently on sale as of this recording for just over $860.00 it typically MSRP’s for $1148.99. Yikes. So if a serious chunk of the flashy features start to fall apart upon closer inspection, what is the value proposition here? Let me be perfectly clear. The xTool D1 Pro is a beast. It’s rock solid, it’s got a great module and it’s incredibly good at what it’s designed to do. It’s a great L A S E R, but if you’re buying the D1 Pro for any reason other than the fact that it’s a solid machine – I would peg this unit as a mediocre value at best. A solid handful of the cutting edge features that they push so hard in their marketing are followed by a list of exceptions and asterisks in the fine print that undercut the brilliance of what they’re trying to sell you.
In my opinion the features they’re advertising that set the xTool apart need to undergo some serious refinement before MakeBlock can demand a premium over similar brands with similar offerings, especially on the software side of things. The good news is software can be improved over time and I’m looking forward to seeing some more advanced settings and features that will allow me to better take advantage of the blazing fast speeds, wicked 20w modules and wireless solutions they’ve engineered. Finally I think the lack of bluetooth is a huge oversight, especially considering the sd card is already being used as a buffer. It’s seriously disappointing that there’s no option to bring the xTool out and about without a wireless way to send jobs to the laser. I don’t mind using proprietary software to get the most out of a piece of equipment, but that software needs to be complete and polished. For the asking price, especially at MSRP, I just don’t think their software can back up the hardware they’re putting on the table.
If you can catch the xTool D1 Pro on sale, and they seemingly go on sale fairly regularly, I think it could be a solid investment. At MSRP I’d like to see something like even a small screen or offline controller to take advantage of the sd card slot, improvements to advanced settings in their xTool Creative Software, and parity on features inside and outside of XCS like the instant replay feature or WiFi functionality. I just can’t shake the feeling that operators would be paying for additional functionality that when in use feels incomplete or inaccessible, despite being highlighted in the advertising and that’s what really hurts the xTool D1 Pro when it comes to value.
RECOMMENDATION – GOOD | 46/60 | 7.6/10
This is hands down one of the strangest reviews I’ve ever written. On one hand I’ve gotten to enjoy an amazing piece of hardware that features real innovations packaged in a modern and seamless design. On the other hand I’ve struggled to find the value in the sea of half baked featurettes that serve as the backbone of the MakeBlock marketing machine.
I have had a straight up BLAST playing with the xTool D1 Pro. Its top speed of 400mm/s is legitimately impressive and I’ve spent a lot of this review just wondering what I could lay down with the beefy 20w diode laser module they offer. The 10w module I did get to play with has still been one of the greatest surprises here. I’m elated by its super small dot size and the easy air assist integration. These specs and features, when paired with LightBurn’s software, make the D1 Pro a capable choice for just about any kind of work you’d want to throw its way.
If you can brush the novel marketing points aside and just appreciate the engineering that went into making this machine possible, it’s a stellar piece of kit. Still, the fact that so many people are sold on tricks you can pull off with the software, when that software itself feels incomplete, is a major setback. After my time with it I’ve found the xTool D1 Pro to be a great machine hidden in a confusing maze of marketing terms, fanfare and hype that obscure the details of its true capabilities and faults.
The xTool D1 Pro is a technically impressive laser, though there’s definitely room for improvement in several key areas including software and usability – and that’s why we’ve rated it a 7.6 out of 10. A good machine to grab on sale if you know what you’re buying, what you’re getting, and what you aren’t.