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Mini Mag-Lite LED......

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by clipse, Sep 1, 2006.

  1. clipse

    clipse Empty Pockets

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    (click on the thumbnails to veiw larger pics)
    [​IMG]
    I have always like the form factor of the 2xAA lights. They are small enough to pocket and use batteries that are very commonly available. For along time it was difficult to get a decent 2xAA LED light without going to custom route. That changed with Streamlights Jr. Luxeon. I have a 1st generation one that I really like. The came the Nite-Ize LED drop in for the Mini MagLite. Not a great deal of output but pretty decent runtime. Many other companies have come out with 2xAA LED flashlights as well but they are either two expensive or not great quality. Enter the Mini Mag-Lite LED.

    In the last week or two, Wal-Mart shelves have been seeing a new addition. Its a Mini Mag-Lite but not the same old tired Mini Mag-Lite that we are used to seeing. No, this one is different.........very different. Mag-Lite as finally stepped into the LED world. While thier C and D cell LED upgrades leave a bit do be desired (bad heat sinking). The new 2xAA version is actually quite nice. Its sports a Lux III emitter and as a regulation circuit to keep output from dimming imediatly. Pretty nice IMHO.

    [​IMG]

    What makes this different than other 2xAA LED lights? Well, for one, like other Mag-Lites, it had a focusable beam. That is cool. You turn the head to turn it on and when it first comes on you get a decent flood light with a small but distint hotspot in the middle. Turn about a quarter of turn more and you get a very distint (brighter) hotspot with less side spill. Both beams are very usable for thier uses.

    Flood on left, focused on right.
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    The flood beam is actually reall useful. I recently had to do some work in our attic. I used my new Mini Mag-Lite LED and was able to see everything I needed to. Me falling through the ceiling was my fault and not he becuase the light wasn't bright enough to see the rafters because it was bright enough for the job. In fact, it was perfect.

    I have notice this new Mini Mag-Lite is a bit longer than the old Mag-Lite. Here is a comaprison shot of the two.

    [​IMG]


    Please excuse the wide angle lens look. The picture was rushed with a crappy camera. (camera does what I need it to)

    Even with the longer profile, this light is still perfect for me. I usually wear carpenter type jeans and this fits perfectly into the side pocket. I can actually forget its even there.

    Bezel size is still the same as you see in this picture.
    [​IMG]

    I will have beamshots of this light vs. other typical lights I have around the house later today.

    Untill then.............enjoy.
     
  2. Craig720

    Craig720 Loaded Pockets

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    Dude, are you on the mend?
     
  3. clipse

    clipse Empty Pockets

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    I'm fine just scrapes and bruises. I was able to latch on to one of the rafters on my way down and ened up hanging in our living room.

    clipse
     
  4. greenLED

    greenLED Empty Pockets

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    Glad to know you're not severly hurt.

    Thanks for posting this review! We've waited a long time for a Lux minimag. Sounds like it's an OK light; my hope is it'll get more people interested in better lights.
     
  5. clipse

    clipse Empty Pockets

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    Beamshots..........

    First lets see what the old Mini Mag looks like. :D
    narrow beam on left, wide/flood beam on right.
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Now the new Mini Mag-Lite LED
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    First off, I have to admit, I did have about 1 1/2 - 2 hours of use on these batteries for the new mini mag LED. I changed the batteries and here is the difference.

    old batteries on left, new batteries on right.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Not a whole lot of difference. Pretty darn nice if you ask me.

    Now how does it compare to other lights? Well, I took some beamshots(camera setting should be the same throughout.)

    L1T high on left, L1T low on right.
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Minimag LED Flood on left, Nite Ize LED module on right.
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Amilite Neo T3
    [​IMG]

    Fenix P1
    [​IMG]

    Dorcy Super 1 Watt
    [​IMG]

    Streamlight Jr. Luxeon (1st gen)
    [​IMG]

    HDS EDC U60 (primary)
    [​IMG]

    HDS EDC U60 (high)
    [​IMG]


    There that should give you alittle idea of how bright this light is.

    clipse
     
  6. Lee1959

    Lee1959 Empty Pockets

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    Glad to hear you are not hurt. Nice review, I have been waiting for a month now for my Walmart to ger them, still nada today. Maglight is also making a 3 AA LED Minimag which is likely the one I will pick up first since I have so many LED modded 2 AA Minimags and I have always thought a 3 cell minimag would be interesting.
     
  7. Lugsalot

    Lugsalot EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Thanks for all those pics, clipse. I'm going to keep my eyes open for one of these!

    Close call! Glad you're okay!
     
  8. Lee1959

    Lee1959 Empty Pockets

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    I hope so too, at the very least, it will give the Maglight dedicated consumers a decent LED light with decent runtimes. I have always said Mag had a HUGE built in loyal consumer base just waiting for them to bring out a decent product. As long as they work well, last and have the warrantee their other lights had, they will probably grab tops in the LED market eventually. Heck, I still have half a dozen incand. mags that work as well as the day I bought them almost 20 years ago, they never gave me any trouble, and I know a lot of others who are loyal to them for the same reasons.
     
  9. clipse

    clipse Empty Pockets

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    I decided to see how long I could run this thing and still get usable light. During the course of the test I periodically(every two hours) measured the voltage of one of the batteries (should have done both) and the current. Here is what I came up with.

    start: 1.62 volts, 450mA
    2 hours: 1.27 volts, 370mA
    4 hours: 1.14 volts, 350mA
    4.5 hours: .83 volts, 300mA---->rapidly started dimming and in the course of 5 seconds it would go from 300mA to 120mA.

    My conclusion: This light with 4.5 hours regulated with a bit of dimming but not much. Then at the 4.5 hour point it dropped out of regulation and when into direct drive mode with a very small amount of light but enough that you could use to get some new batteries.

    For 4.5 hours this light was much brighter than the Nite-Ize led drop-in.

    So now you know.

    clipse
    __________________
     
  10. Lee1959

    Lee1959 Empty Pockets

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    Hmmm 5 hours approx. Not exactly what I would call stellar battery life. I think I may try the 3 AA, but stick with my Mini-mags modded with MJleds in the 2AA package, and their 30 hour runtimes.
     
  11. VT-aroo

    VT-aroo Loaded Pockets

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    Any info on the package that would indicate weather or not new LED-Mags will run or NiMH batteries? I put some into a mag with a led module a year or two before the Nite ize module and it stopped working. But they were nice and replaced the part. And I feed it copper tops.
     
  12. greenLED

    greenLED Empty Pockets

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    Actually, for a regulated light, that's great runtime. I'm guessing it's not overly bright (comparatively speaking), otherwise the runtime would be closer to 45 minutes to 1hr.
     
  13. Lee1959

    Lee1959 Empty Pockets

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    I was wrong about the new Minimag MagLED, compared them wrongly to the my old MJLED and SMJLED modded Minimags for runtimes which is completley unfair to them. In point of fact they should be closer compared to lights like the Inova X03. Here is a review I wrote for another site on the one I just won yesterday in a raffle. It shows my complete eye opener on this new series of lights.


    [​IMG]


    I won a prize in a local Boyscout raffle, and got the prize yesterday, it was, SURPRISE a new flashlight, lol, just what I needed, well it WAS one I have been considering actually, so that was nice. It was the new Maglite MagLED 2 AA Minimag, they also have a 3 AA version. They are something that those people who still have a love affair with the old Minimags will feel comfortable with as they are nice and familiar.

    The new light is found at stores all over, Walmart, Target, Lowes, Home Depot to name a few. Price generally runs about $27, but I did see them advertised at Lowes last week for $23 I beleive it was.

    I will use the old AA Minimag as comparison flashlight because almost everyone either has one, or has used one and they are the most likely encountered personal carry flashlights currently. For this light I am including what is considered the highest selling flashlight in the world, the ubiquitous Eveready 2 D cell economy plastic light, you know the type. I will also use the Inova X03.

    The light is activated by twisting the head of the light, just like the old Minimag, it is in function exactly the same and will be a very comfortable change to anyone who purchases it who has used the old Minimag.

    I drop tested it from 5 feet onto my wood deck half a dozen times and then dropped it in a pail of water and it was not effected by either test what so ever.

    Specifications: (some technical specs beyond my ability borrowed from www.flashlightreviews.com I will use their output and throw specifications for review against other lights on their site which I highly recommend one peruse before buying any flashlight )

    MagLED Minimag 2 AA

    Length: 6.75 “
    Light Source: 1 - 3 Watt LED
    Battery : 2 AA batteries
    Output: 2730
    Throw: 1280
    Battery Life: 4 hours
    Weight with battery : Unknown but on par with the AA Minimag

    Minimag AA Comparisons:

    AA
    Length: 5.75 “
    Light Source: Minimag Incandescent Bulb
    Battery: 2 AA Alkaline or Lithium Batteries
    Output: 580
    Throw: 884
    Battery Life: 40 minutes to 50%, 5 hours to dead


    Eveready 2 D cell Economy light
    Length: 8 “
    Light Source: Standard flashlight bulb
    Battery: 2 D Alkaline Batteries
    Output: 1000
    Throw: 884
    Battery Life: at my test on the last one of these I had last year was 3 hours to dead

    Inova X03
    Length: 6“
    Light Source: 1 Luxeon III 3 watt LED
    Battery : 2 CR123 lithium batteries
    Diameter: 1 1/4”
    Output: 2850
    Throw: 1960
    Battery Life: 2.5 Hours to 50%, Approx. 5.5 hours to dead (my test)
    Weight with battery : Unknown but slightly heavier AA Minimag

    First impressions:

    This light is very familiar in the hand. It is basically the same flashlight I have used for almost 20 years I would guess. At first glance however one thing becomes immediately obvious, it is slightly longer than the old AA Minimag, 1 inch longer in fact. About half of this difference is in the head and about half in the body. It is very very slightly thicker in the head, but it is unnoticible unless you put them together head to head. It has the same serrations on the head, and checkering on the body which helps with the familiarity.

    Pluses:

    Familiarity to the Nth degree!! One could pick this light up in pitch black and know how to use it by instinct, at least I can after so many years. The fit and finish is what one would expect from Maglite. The body is the same diamter so the Minimag accessory pocket clip if you have one would fit. It is BRIGHT and THROWS very nicely, perhaps amazingly so if this is your first LED or modern flashlight.

    It is much brighter than the standard Minimag giving about 4 times the output and throw. It gives in fact about almost twice the output and throw as the standard 2 D cell flashlight. And this is an LED so the life is roughly 100,000 hours for the bulb.

    Battery life is roughly on par with the old Minimag, if one only compares that some light is coming out of the flashlight. But this deceiving as the last 4 hours of the old Minimag is increasingly dimmer and the last hour or so all but unusable. The new light is regulated, meaning the output is controlled and is constant along the entire battery life.

    The head adjusts the beam just as with the old light. The head unscrews completely and the base slips into it making for “candle mode” just like the old light, but a much brighter and more effective candle light. The light fits into my old Uncle Mike's Minimag velcroed belt carrier, which I was happy for, but only because the end is open and allows the light to slip down farther. A closed ended case would be too short.

    Minuses:

    The light is slightly longer, making it slightly less pocketable, but not overly so. The 3 AA version is considerably longer and would make this more of a concern perhaps. The holster that comes with it is open topped, and flimsy, I would replace it with something more substantial. Holsters designed for older lights, if closed on the bottom, will most likely now work withthe new light, if they especially if they have a flap. I did however put my old MJLED modded Minimag in the new one for a backup for my hunting bag, so it got used. I had an old open topped case and lost my old Minimag while out hunting one day. I found it the next day and bought the Uncle Mikes case and it never slipped out again. SO I highly recomened a good holster if you belt carry. 

    The new tail cap is not cut out and drilled for a lanyard like the old one. I liked this feature and hope they will include it eventually. I think, but have yet to test as I have not found my kit yet, the old Minimag accessory kit rubber square head cover and colored filters will NOT work with the slighty thicker head, but I could be wrong, it is close.

    The light is fully regulated and I understand, have not yet encountered it as I have not run my own tests on battery life yet, that the light will go dim and die very fast once the batteries are depleted. This could be surprising to someone used to a light that slowly goes dead.

    Conclusions:
    This new Minimag will perhaps mainstream LED technology to the multitudes of loyal Maglite customers. It is familiar in look, use, and hopefully ruggedness to most people. It is made by a company they have learned to trust for many years which will hopefully help them move on to the benefits of LEDs.

    It is bright and runs a very long time on 2 AA batteries. Testing it against my other lights puts it in the class of the Inova X03 which is my favorite “tactical” light, with better battery life than the X03. It should be a very good buy for anyone as I have to bet that Mag tested them very hard and they should be as durable as any other Maglite, time will tell on this one.

    It just might be the top new light, or series of lights if you include the other MagLEDs, of the decade, just like the Minimag was in the past years. It has a built in loyal customer base that should boost its sales very strongly, and keep them there even against companies which may bring out new products and inovations faster.

    "I got my Maglite, I don't need no other fancy flashlight" is a statement I have heard MANY times when I have extolled the virtues of newer lights too, usually those who are slow enough to be forced to listen. This sentiment along with what seems to be a very nice new product line should help them keep their place in the market for a long time to come