Massdrop Brass AAA EDC Review

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will34
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Massdrop Brass AAA EDC Review

Massdrop Brass AAA EDC Review

Hello all, this is the review of a very interesting new AAA light developed by the Massdrop community and manufactured by Lumintop. So, what is Massdrop in the first place? For those who are not familiar, they are basically groupbuy organizers for nearly every type of product money can buy: flashlights, clothing, knives, PC accessories, photography stuff, high end audio, EDC items… you get the idea.

There is a large EDC community on Massdrop and they had the idea of creating an custom compact flashlight, one that is made from Brass, uses readily available AAA batteries, produces enough light for everyday tasks, and that is easy on your wallet. I’ve been a member on massdrop for many years and they contacted me to review it, but note that my unit is still a prototype so a couple details can still change on the final revision.

The Massdrop AAA Brass EDC will go live on 1/31/2017 6AM PST, with a price tag of $24.99.
Link: (They say it should be up anytime now) https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-brass-aaa-pocket-flashlight

Quick description and Specs by the manufacturer:
The Massdrop Brass AAA Pocket Flashlight is about the size of a tube of chapstick—but it pumps out up to 110 lumens and casts a beam as far as 154 feet. Despite measuring less than 3 inches long, it weighs 1.5 ounces for a substantial feel in the hand. And thanks to its solid brass construction it will develop a natural patina over time, unique to each user.

Material: Brass
LED: CREE XP-G2 R5
Max beam intensity: 553 cd
Max beam distance: 154 ft (47 m)
Battery: 1 AAA
Low mode: 5 lumens, 36 hrs
Medium mode: 32 lumens, 4 hrs
High mode: 110 lumens, 30 min
Removable pocket clip
IPX-8 waterproof
1.5 m impact resistant
Working voltage: 0.9 – 1.5V
Dimensions: 2.9 × 0.6 in (7.4 × 1.5 cm)
Weight (with battery): 1.5 oz (42.5 g)

It also comes in a Nichia 219B version, with a variation on the performance:
LED: Nichia 219B LED
Max beam intensity: 304 cd
Max beam distance: 111 ft (34 m)
Battery: 1 AAA
Low mode: 3 lumens, 36 hrs
Medium mode: 18 lumens, 4 hrs
High mode: 80 lumens, 30 min

Unboxing

The Massdrop AAA ships in a sealed vacuum bag to avoid unwanted patina and comes with a plastic box. If you had a Maratac AAA in the past this packing should look pretty familiar to you.

It also comes with 2 spare o-rings and a keychain clip.

Build Quality, fit and finish

Upon first picking it up I immediately noticed the substantial, hefty feel to it, because of the brass construction and metallic tail cap. The finish is shiny bare brass, no machining marks to be seen. Of course this pretty finish won’t last very long due to development of patina, although brass does last a little longer than copper. I guess many of you have already noticed the similarities with the well known Lumintop Tool Ti, except for the material of course. Smile

The gold plated clip is stiff enough to securely hold the light in your pocket. It presses against the body and doesn’t affect when turning the head.

Size and Weight:

A look from the back, here is where it attaches to the keychain

A closer look at the tail switch which is made of titanium. This is an electronic switch meaning that there’s no latching action, but instead a very short travel click with good tactile feedback.

Closer look at the head, it has a GITD o-ring, AR coated glass and OP reflector. Here you can see the knurling in detail, it is very light but I find it adequate for the size and weight.

My unit came with a perfectly centered CW XP-G2 R5 emitter

Size comparison vs the Maratac AAA, which is also manufactured by Lumintop

Finish comparison vs my Prince Brass (also Lumintop :P). This is a couple weeks worth of patina and very light use.

Compared to the Nitecore tube, it is much slimmer and for most people it goes easier on a keychain.

Size compared to some small objects

And some EDC items

Couple more pictures

It disassembles in 3 parts: tail, body and head

The threads are triangular cut, arrived very clean with no left over debris from the machining process.

Closer look at the driver and tailcap. Because the switch is electronic, there are some components in the tailcap. Even though the body is made from bare brass, lockout is still possible by loosing the head 1/4 of a turn.

UI and performance

UI: The Massdrop AAA has 3 modes: Low, medium and high. The light always starts at medium, a single click turns it ON and OFF. A quick double click toggles the mode to LOW, and again to High, then repeat. There is no memory and no blinky modes of any kind. This UI was voted favorite by most because it is easy to use and medium mode offers enough output for most close-up situations.

Note: when inserting batteries into the light for the first time you might notice it won’t immediately turn on, don’t panic! This is normal due to the electronic switch design, it uses a small capacitor/battery to toggle between on/off status and this battery discharges over time. Just leave the AAA battery for a couple minutes and it should turn on after that.

The Massdrop AAA officially supports Alkaline, NiMH and Lithium primaries, Li-ion 10440 also works by sacrificing the modes (will always stay on high), but not recommended due to the high current delivered to the driver and LED.

Current draw on NiMH and Alkaline:

Output and Beamshots

Spec’d trow: 553cd
Measured throw: 765cd measured at 3M

The beam produced by the massdrop AAA is the floody type with a smooth spill-spot transition, as expected from a small OP reflector. My tint was pure white, with a slight tint shift in the lowest mode. The closest light to compare the output with would be the Nitecore TIP CRI on high mode, where both lights have almost the exact same output, but the AAA having a much tighter hotspot.

Camera setting: F4.0; 1/30s; ISO200

Low

Med

High

Runtime figures from the specs:
Low mode: 5 lumens, 36 hrs
Medium mode: 32 lumens, 4 hrs
High mode: 110 lumens, 30 min

In my tests the runtime on high was spot on with an Eneloop AAA, delivering pretty much flat output over 34 mins. With the Alkaline cell the initial output is similar to NiMH but it slowly drops over time and it runs for a little bit more than an hour before shutting down.

On medium mode total runtime with Eneloop was 3hr 42min, again flat output with a small peak before the drop.

—————-

Final words: A solidly built and great looking AAA light that combines uncommon material with familiar looks, performance and reliability. I for one would love to see an AA version, with higher output and full li-ion support.

The good:
-Solid brass construction, functional pocket clip
-Good output and flat runtime on NiMH
-AR coated glass and GITD o-ring
-Great price!

Room for improvement:
-Official li-ion support would be nice
-Availability of higher bin XP-G2 such as S4

Thanks for reading and I hope this review was helpful!

Edited by: will34 on 01/26/2017 - 11:57
Trevi_lux
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Nice light! I am interested.
your link to massdrop….not run ok for me.

MiG0
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The Nichia 219B version of this device should produce more pleasing light.
Regarding the 10440 option: forget it with the current design of the electronic tail switch.

Paul321
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Waiting for the drop

Paul-

akhyar
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Waiting for the drop too to match the Lumintop Tool Ti that I just received from GB for less than 25 bucks

joechina
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Can someone make this lamp a BLF GB?

Coppet
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joechina wrote:
Can someone make this lamp a BLF GB?

This is a great idea!

Sorry for my bad english:-) 

will34
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Trevi_lux wrote:
Nice light! I am interested. your link to massdrop….not run ok for me.

Should be up soon!

Coppet wrote:
joechina wrote:
Can someone make this lamp a BLF GB?

This is a great idea!

I believe this is going to be a Massdrop exclusive, not sure if later on Lumintop will release their own version, but unlikely since this is produced exclusely for massdrop, like the Maratac lights for countycomm.

Gunga
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Nice price. Good review!

The Miller
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hey, two reviews about the same light
cool light that is, wonder who makes them. And probably read over it in the other review, because I see Limintop, question answered
thanks for the review!

joechina
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Well, I think not many outside the US would order at Massdrop.
So I save money. Smile

Edit:
Lumintop would be mad not to sell this light. It has a more classic look than the Cu Tool with the rubber switch and black clip.
And I’ve read the Ti with nicia tends to overheat (don’t know if that’s still true) with brass it should take a lot of heat.

It’s the first light in two years where my first thought was: OK, what’s the price?
I think that will sell like hell.

chinooker
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my first impression is that it mimics the Tool Ti and therefore will not accept 10440 due to the eSwitch

264
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akhyar wrote:
Waiting for the drop too to match the Lumintop Tool Ti that I just received from GB for less than 25 bucks

If Ti GB is still active could you please PM me who i should contact about the code. Thanks.

264
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I enjoyed your review also. Thumbs Up

Hunter
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Nice light, nice reveiw (one of) Big Smile

Kusie
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Well, that´s supposed to be more of a collectors item, right? I already have the Tool TI and Tool Copper, and the TI is near perfect, very light and durable. Why should I prefer the much heavier and much softer brass version (scratches easily) over the already existing Titanium version?
K.

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Kusie wrote:
Well, that´s supposed to be more of a collectors item, right? I already have the Tool TI and Tool Copper, and the TI is near perfect, very light and durable. Whay should I prefer the much heavier and much softer brass version (scratches easily) over the already existing Titanium version?
K.

Brass will patina over time Love

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Frank A.
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Is the order M-L-H? Thanks.

Coppet
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No, it is L-M-H

Sorry for my bad english:-) 

StandardBattery
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Frank A. wrote:
Is the order M-L-H? Thanks.

They can’t make up their minds yet… but this is not really a review of the MassDrop light that’s a bit of slight of hand because they have not shipped them yet. It’s a prototype and as it says in the review it has the sequence M-L-H.

HOWEVER… MassDrop says the shipping version will be different and at last report it was to be L-M-H in sequence, but until we get the news from the Canary anything is possible…. even inconsistencies.

jon_slider
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Frank A. wrote:
Is the order M-L-H? Thanks.

Maybe join the discussion on the preorder site:
https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-brass-aaa-pocket-flashlight

I have not heard if the Low will be 1 lumen or 3
let us know what you find out

tekwyzrd
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I seriously considered it but ultimately decided against buying. If it was aa rather than aaa I wouldn’t hesitate but I find aaa provide less current and runtime than I’d like.

Past and future alpha tester for BOINC! The avatar photo is my mug, still as received. Why did I detach from BOINC!? It took me 18 hours to find the cause for benchmark results favoring windows vs linux and 6 months to implement my fix.

Sullysat
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Just ordered one of each emitter type. Looking forward to this drop very much.

WWEFANS
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It is available again, price is getting higher, 29.99$.

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I.was kinda annoyed but shipping to Canada went down so the price difference is only around $2.5.

Sullysat
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Looking for alternate points of view here…

I bought the massdrop lights (I like the brass) in both tints, and I like the light.

What I don’t like – and I have the same problem with my Lumintop tool – is that the dang thing sticks out of my pocket so far that I keep getting stuck on it or catching it an pulling it out of my pocket.

Overall I love AAA torches for EDC and I carry my 348, or my Jetbeam-u all the time.

I carry in my left front pocket usually. Does anyone else have this issue with these lights that don’t clip for deep pocket carry?

chinooker
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I like these brass units that are rated for 10440 batteries
and output up to 370 lumens

http://www.hkequipment.net/product-p/utk187br.htm

Sullysat
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chinooker wrote:
I like these brass units that are rated for 10440 batteries
and output up to 370 lumens

http://www.hkequipment.net/product-p/utk187br.htm

I’ve got one of these on order. Can’t wait to get it.

jon_slider
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Sullysat wrote:
catching it an pulling it out of my pocket.

agree, too much sticks out
you can get a tighter clip, new preon

pic is a link, courtesy of ven

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Which Spyderco knife is that in the comparison to small objects picture?

Still a bit dim

Paul321
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Sullysat wrote:
Looking for alternate points of view here…

I bought the massdrop lights (I like the brass) in both tints, and I like the light.

What I don’t like – and I have the same problem with my Lumintop tool – is that the dang thing sticks out of my pocket so far that I keep getting stuck on it or catching it an pulling it out of my pocket.

Overall I love AAA torches for EDC and I carry my 348, or my Jetbeam-u all the time.

I carry in my left front pocket usually. Does anyone else have this issue with these lights that don’t clip for deep pocket carry?

I have the brass version with the same issue , I can’t find the right spot on my pocket edge to clip the light . I am searching for a good method to use the lanyard hole to attach the brass light to my keychain. The hole is very small diameter. not many split rings that I can readily find to fit in there.
I have the SingFire 348, but I find it slippery to hold. I like it I just find it slippery

Paul-