2xAA Round-up Review: Fenix, Nitecore, Olight, ITP, Eagletac, Jetbeam, Mag ...

Originally posted: December 4, 2008
Last revised: May 4, 2010

REVIEWER'S NOTE: This is my first round-up review of 2xAA lights, similar in format to my Multi-stage 1AA - Part IV and 1xCR123A/RCR round-ups. In addition to the beamshot, output, throw, and runtime comparisons, scroll down for a detailed description of each light.

For a discussion of the color rendition properties of different emitters and tint bins, please see my comparison thread: Color Rendition and Tint Comparison: Cree, Rebel, GDP, Nichia

Warning: this post is pic and text heavy!

UPDATE 11/1/09: Added EagleTac P20A2, LiteFlux LF3XT-2AA, 4Sevens Quark AA-2 to the graphs/tables/beamshots
UPDATE 6/10/09: Added Olight I25 to the graphs/tables/beamshots.
UPDATE 4/8/09: Added EagleTac P100A2, Lumapower Connexion X2 2xAA extension, and Romisen RC-N3 II.
UPDATE 1/7/09: Added L91 Lithium runtimes.
UPDATE 12/18/08: Added Olight T25-T (Tactical) to the round-up.

The contenders:



From left to right: Duracell 1AA battery, Fenix L2D, Fenix E20, Fenix TK20, Olight T25, ITP C8T, JetBeam Jet-I PRO EX V2.0, Nitecore D20, Minimag incan, Lumapower Connexion X2 2xAA, Eagletac P100A2, Eagletac P10A2, and Romisen RC-N3 II. Not shown are the Fenix L2T V2.0, LD20, Olight T25-T or I25.

Testing Method: All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, a la Quickbeam's flashlightreviews.com method. You can directly compare all my relative output values from different reviews - i.e. an output value of "10" in one graph is the same as "10" in another. All runtimes are done under a cooling fan, except for the extended run Lo/Min modes which are done without cooling.

Throw values are the square-root of lux measurements taken at 1 meter from the lens, using a light meter.

Beamshots:

All up-close beamshots are at ~0.5 meter from a white wall, to show you the different overall patterns.

On Max/Turbo/100% with 2x Sanyo Eneloop 2000mAh NiMH



















Note: although not shown, the Olight I25 has the same reflector and beam pattern as the Olight T25 and ITP C8 above.

As you can see, the Fenix TK20 has a much warmer tint (likely "neutral" Cree 5A tint bin). The other lights are all standard cool white tints. The Olight T25-T is not shown, but looks identical to the regular T25 (same build).

A comment on these beamshots: Obviously, white-wall beamshots at close range don't tell you much about a light's performance in the real world. But it does let you quickly compare the beam profiles of a large number of lights at a glance. If you are familiar with any of the lights shown above, then you can quickly see how the other lights are likely to stack up against it. And that is the point here - it would be great to have outdoor pics for each light, in different environments, at multiple distances in each environment, and with different exposures to show beam vs spill for each distance, etc., etc. ... but I won't be doing them.

Weights (without battery):

Fenix L2D: 56.5g
Fenix TK20: 153.9g
Olight I25: 87.9g
Olight T25: 87.6g
Olight T25-T: 88.5g
ITP C8T: 97.1g
JetBeam Jet-I PRO EX V2.0: 68.8g
Nitecore D20: 109.3g
Minimag incan: 60.4g
Minimag LED: 72.0g
Eagletac P10A2: 96.2g

Output/Throw Summary Chart



As you can see, some lights are capable of much lower minimum outputs than others. There is also a lot different in throw (i.e. how focused the light is for centre beam. Scroll down for runtime comparisons.

Ramping Comparison:



For the lights that have a continuously-variable interface, I have presented their ramping sequences above. The JetBeam Jet-I PRO EX V2 has a longer ramp than the Nitecore D20 (or D10, shown for reference) and ITP C8.

Runtime Comparison

A comment on these graphs: It should go without saying, but there is a lot more to a light's performance than its runtime! I've tried to give some context for each light's overall performance and value in the detailed discussions at the end of the review. The purpose of these graphs is to simply let you quickly compare output/runtime at a glance.

Note also that a number of these lights can go to lower outputs than the mid-range levels presented below. But I don't do runtimes on low levels on NiMH due to the risk of damaging the cells from over-discharge (i.e. I can't estimate termination time to stop the run before complete discharge - and potential damage - occurs to the cells).

On 2x Sanyo Eneloop NiMH (~2000mAh capacity)







On 2x Duracell alkaline (standard)



UPDATE: On 2x Energizer L91 Lithium



Runtime Observations
Light Summaries:



Eagletac P100A2 (XP-E Q5)


Eagletac P10A2 (Q5):


Fenix L2D/LD20 (Q5):


Fenix L2T V2.0 (Rebel 080 or Cree Q2):


Fenix E20 (Q2):


Fenix TK20 (Cree Q2, "neutral" 5A tint):


ITP C8 (Q5):


JetBeam Jet-I PRO EX V2 (Q5):


Lumapower Connexion X2 2xAA Extension (Q5)


NiteCore D20 (Q5):


Olight I25 (Cree R2):


Olight T25 (Q5) - 2008 Model


Romisen RC-N3 II (Q5)
Some final thoughts:

I'm a big fan of the 2AA series of lights - my first "real" LED was the Fenix L2T (Luxeon III model). I still consider this one of the best form-factors for non-flashaholics, as it has the best combination of output, runtime, and easy battery availability. It's nice to see all the new entries in this space, including the development of more tactical-style lights.

As always, please don't ask me to pick the "best" light of this class. It all comes down to what you want to use the light for (and how much you are willing to pay for it ).

There are a few stand-outs. For a slim-lined light with the best output runtime efficiency, it's hard to beat the Fenix L2D. For non-flashaholics, or those with a preference for a straight-forward interface on a budget, the Eagletac P100A2, Fenix L2T V2.0 and ITP C8 (especially the Tactical version) stand out in my mind. And the Romisen RC-N3 II is a very good "budget light" choice - performance and build were surprisingly good for the price. For the tactical crowd, the Olight I25 & T25-T, Eagletac P100A2/P10A2, Nitecore D20 and Fenix TK20 are all strong contenders - depending on what features most matter to you.

We have definitely come a long way from the original 2AA minimag incandescent most of us started out with. Although I haven't covered them here, there are a lot of LED upgrades possible for this classic light (e.g. Terralux drop-ins, etc.), as well as the official minimag-LED Luxeon and newer Rebel version. Those who like a single-stage light might want to check out the budget Fenix E20 for a brighter modern equivalent.

On a final note, it's important to acknowledge that most of the world still uses alkalines in 2AA lights. For those in-the-know, the new generation of low self-discharge (LSD) NiMH batteries are a wondrous innovation. These are available under the Sanyo Eneloop and Rayovac Hybrid brands, as well as re-badged under a number of well-known names (most notable Duracell "pre-charged", but also available from Kodak, Sony, etc.). I strongly urge those still using alkalines to make the switch (the "Flashlight Electronic - Batteries Included" forum can provide a lot more info). But for those sticking with alkalines, I think you've find Fenix/Eagletac remains your best choices for output/runtime performance.

UPDATES MAY 4, 2010:

FYI, although I haven't "officially" updated this thread in a while, I have continued adding new runtimes and beamshots to the stock photos in the main review. Here are are some full reviews of lights that have been added to the comparison graphs and tables:

Olight Infinitum I25

LiteFlux LF3XT 2xAA Battery Tube
4Sevens Quark QAA-2
EagleTac P20A2

And a few more recent ones that haven't been added to the tables/graphs yet:

EagleTac P20A2 Mark II (XP-G R5)
ITP SA2 (XP-E R2)

Enjoy!

To follow the online discussions for this review, please see the full review thread at CPF.




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Page last updated on May 14, 2011 - selfbuilt (at) sliderule (dot) ca (replace the "at" and "dot" labels with the appropriate symbol for e-mail)
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