Sunday, March 4, 2012

JetBeam M1X Review and Comparisons


JetBeam M1X Review and Comparisons

The M1X is JETBeam attempt to establish a high-powered thrower searchlight with the new Cree MC-E emitters produce. This differs from many manufacturers, who usually tries to design reflector systems, underscore the "floodier" The nature of the Quad-Cree M-CE and SSC P7. A limited first batch of them were made ​​and sold here at the beginning of this year, but a final version is now in production (and evaluated here).

Specs (from the manufacturer):
  • Max Output: 450 Lumen (Torch Lumen) / 700 Lumen (LED Lumen)
  • Reflector: aluminum reflector
  • Lens: Toughened ultra-clear mineral glass with anti-reflective coating
  • Material: T6061 T6 aircraft aluminum alloy
  • Finish: HA III Military grade hard annodized
  • Battery: 3xCR123A, 3xRCR, 4xCR123A, 4xRCR, 2x18650 Li-ion
  • Input voltage: 6.5-18V
  • Switch: Forward clickie switch
  • Waterproof: Accord to IPX-8 standard
  • Dimension: Bezel diameter 63mm, Body/Tail diameter 25.4mm, Overall length 198mm
  • Weight: 285g
  • Output & Runtime: 3xCR123A Max Output (450 Torch Lumens) for 100 mins, Min Output (10 Torch Lumens) for 150 hours
    4xCR123A, Max Output (450 Torch Lumens) for 130 mins, Min Output (10 Torch Lumens) for 200 hours
    2x18650, Max Output (450 Torch Lumens) for 3 hours, Min Output (10 Torch Lumens) for 300 hours

The M1X comes in a large box with a hard magnetic closure flap. Inside, in layers of foam cut-out, the lights, battery extender, instruction manual, warranty card, extra o-rings and end cap are key replacement coverage.

With battery extender in place:

The general shape and design is comparable to other JETBeam lights, with typical anodizing JETBeam knurling and their classical natural type III (hard anodized). The writing is very sharp and clear on my sample (typically better than JETBeam, to be honest). The stainless steel bezel has a mild scallops - a style that I hope for his continued JETBeam other lights.

Dimensions (no batteries installed):
Height: 204mm (239mm with battery extender)
Width: 25.9mm (tailcap), 22.3mm (body tube), 62.7mm (bezel)
Weight: 275.8g (no extender), 295.8g (with battery extender)

The M1X comes with a protruding forward clicky tailcap switch with a good feel. Seems similar to the Jet-III M. Note the all-metal construction inside.

Screw thread action is smooth on all sections, although my sample came with virtually no lube. Note the M1X lacks the square-cut screw threads of the Jet-III M. They are however anodized, so tailcap lock-out is possible. Tailstanding is not possible.

Note the brass contact ring on the inside of the head - this presumably allows switching between max output (head tightened) and the user-defined mode (head loosened). See below for a discussion of the User Interface.

The M1X has a surprisingly deep orange peel reflector. In fact, it seems to have two distinct phases - a very steep drop-off in the vicinity of the reflector, and a traditional slope in the 2/3rd front of the reflector. The unique design is to maximize probably throw a quad-die M-CE reflector.

The lens has a certain anti-reflective coating - you can see the blue color in the pictures above and below.

Personally, I find the overall heft and dimensions of this light to be pretty good - although it is a bit top-heavy. It is not as bulky overall as my other P7/M-CE lights, and fits comfortably enough in the hand with batteries installed. Here's how it compares to the competition (with and without battery extenders in place):

(from left to right, AW 18650 protected battery, JetBeam M1X, Tiablo ACE-G, Lumapower MVP TurboForce P7).

Here is how the reflectors compare:

User Interface:

The M1X has a similar interface to the Jet-III M (and other "broad power" JETBeam offers). This makes the M1X the first continuously variable M-CE light in my tests.The original IBS lights were Li-ion and had only 3 separate programmable output modes (each in the order from a soft key of the reverse Clicky tail accessed switch). They could be set to any output along the continuously variable range, or on one of the many SOS / strobe modes. The revised Jet-III M broad-voltage circuit was Multipower (up to 15V) and has two output states - Max power output (head tightened against the body) and a programmable output mode (head slightly loosened). The programming of the set mode was easily able to account for the new forward clicky switch (the original IBS lights were designed to work with a Reverse Clicky) changed.The M1X uses a variant of the new broad-voltage circuit, power is multi (from 6.5 V to 18 V in this case), so that you can run 2x18650, or 3xRCR/CR123A 4xRCR/CR123A. This is a little different from most other M-CE or P7 offerings, which typically 2x or 4xRCR/CR123A (though often without full power to 2xCR123A).From the head relaxed position, you can "adjust brightness" mode of the M1X by rapidly pressing the clicky 3 times within access of a second, then hold the button down halfway or fully switched on to the exit ramp should be (the light from Start to start if you want to program). To select the level, simply release the switch, or click from you, when it reaches the desired location. Wait at least 2 seconds for the light to your setting before you even realizing it on again.To the SOS / strobe modes to access the switch flashes during the brightness ramp. This will take you to the "Special Functions" mode, which contains a number of SOS / strobe modes advance. If you again while flashing in the Special Functions mode, you get to the reset function mode to promote. This has not much use now as it was for the original IBS circuit developed, when it reset all 3 programmable modes to factory settings. Easy to flash again to get back on the brightness setting mode.Note that the manual that came with my sample is rather sketchy - it's not specific to the M1X, but is a general "Military series" instruction manual simply says that the interface offers (but no details about the build, battery configurations, which are acceptable, etc.). Worse yet, it seems that this brochure is a holdover from the first batch for the Jet-III M, which is mistakenly repeated the "Brightness Setting" text under "Special Features" produced. I hope JETBeam uses configured properly to accompany the manual shipping lights.As with all JETBeam IBS lights, PWM is used for continuously variable modes - but with a sufficiently high frequency that I can not see it with the eye or measure it with my setup.
Comparison Beamshots

Both lights are on 100% on 2x18650 AW protected Li-ion. Distance is about 0.5 meters from a white wall.

As you can see, the M1X has a narrower spillbeam than the ACE-G, and greater throw. It also has the typical center-beam "donut" hole, like my MVP P7 (which otherwise has a spill profile closer to the ACE-G). This is quite common on quad-die lights - the shallow reflector ACE-G is the exception in minimizing its effects.

These pictures are a bit misleading. Some of the competition to fully illuminate my yard, which is wider than the camera's field of vision, resulting in a dimmer view of performance in the narrow context. On the other hand, the M1X is throwing focused than the other lights, so that a quantity of the total output directed to the center beam.

And here are some low exposures are compared to show you the hotspots better:

As you can see, the M1X has the brightest hotspot of the group. What you can't see so well is the donut hole on most of the P7/M-CE lights. But this is consistent with real life - you only really notice it when shinning on a uniform surface.

Output/Runtime Comparison

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