[Review] JETBeam M-PA10 (T6 XM-L2 CW, 1x AA / 1x 14500)

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[Review] JETBeam M-PA10 (T6 XM-L2 CW, 1x AA / 1x 14500)

Battery: 1x AA, 1× 14500
Modes: 6 (Turbo-High-Medium-Low-Strobe-SOS)
Switch: Forward in the tailcap, twisty.
Date: January 2015

JETBEAM launches the new M-PA10, a new flashlight into the “performance” line of legendary Asian manufacturer. It is a multipurpose flashlight medium-large sized compatible with primary or rechargeable AA batteries (NiMH, NiCd) and Li-Ion batteries (14500), promising high output for this type of multi chemical lights.

The product presentation, thankfully, abandons the idea of blister and returns to the classic cardboard box, much more comfortable and practical.

Inside along the flashlight,we have a paracord wrist strap, a set of spare o-rings and switch coating, and the usual documentation in which we find the warranty card and user manual.
JETBEAM again dispenses a holster between the included accessories.

I don’t lie when I say that my first impression when removing the flashlight from the box, my thought was that it was an error and I was getting another model instead because due dimensions of the flashlight is easy to think that this is a compact 1× 18650 / 2x CR123A . But nope.

It is a robust oversized flashlight, wherein the wall thickness of the aluminum pieces that compose is imposing.

With a weight of 83 grams (excl. battery), 120mm long and 25mm in diameter, we are surely facing one of the largest AA flashlights on the market.

The exterior finish stands out for its dark gray anodized, very nice and uniform over all parts. Logos in white laser etched on different parts, all perfectly defined and readable by the high contrast to the background.
The head of the flashlight features a smooth bezel, slightly crenelated. In the neck there is a machining in which there are a number of flat spots that keep the flashlight from rolling when placed on a flat surface.

The optics of this M-PA10 is composed of a glass lens with AR treatment, a smooth reflector and a decently centered XM-L2. Inside we find the driver, with a mechanical against reverse polarity in the form of a ring surrounding the positive pole contact, which can cause some problems when using a 14500 with positive top not too sharpened.

The threads have a trapezoidal cut, raw aluminum for the head and anodized in the tailcap. Come clean although no traces of grease.

The tube features a clip which is clamped by pressure, and can be installed only in one direction. Clip tension is medium-low, and appears to clamp only 50% of the diameter of the track, so can easily “pop off”. The tube walls have 4mm aluminum, a considerable thickness.
The tailcap has the flashlight only knurled area, so it is easy (even with dry threads) unscrew the cap to replace the battery. The forward switch has a good feel, similar to the typical Nitecore forward switches, in which momentary activation is approximately 40% travel to click.

Two battlements surround the button, both perforated to provide an anchor point to the strap. Unfortunately, the button profile protrudes a few tenths of a millimeter on these battlements, so that the flashlight may be placed in tailstand, albeit unstable.

The user interface of the M-PA10 is similar, identical, to that we saw in the Nitecore Multi-Task range. The flashlight has two main modes, with the Turbo as common mode and the second configurable.

  • On and off: The M-PA10 turns on and off using the forward switch on the tailcap.
  • Momentary On: This button can turn the flashlight momentarily, for making point on or bursts / morse code without pushing the button until the click.
  • Changing Modes: The modes are changed by partial or complete screw head. We have the Turbo mode with fully threaded head, and a second configurable mode by slightly unscrewing the head.
  • Mode Configuration: To select the secondary mode, with head slightly unscrewed, we momentary activate the flashlight to toggle between the 5 modes available in the following order: High-Medium-Low-Strobe-SOS. When we find the mode we want to fix, fully press the switch to memorize. Thus we have available the Turbo mode with fully threaded head, and the second custom mode by slightly unscrewing the head.
  • Special modes: Strobe and SOS modes are in the configurable modes group, so that both can be stored as a second mode.
  • Block-out: The M-PA10 can be blocked mechanically by partially unscrewing the tailcap threads. Being anodized, we interrupt the circuit and avoid accidental or involuntary activations.

(All measurements are taken following the procedure ANSI NEMA FL1. More details here.)
Jetbeam has specified 660LM maximum output for this M-PA10. Presumably for that figure, they played with very low internal resistance batteries and very favorable laboratory conditions and perhaps with a bit of imagination from the Jetbeam team. In my humble test with worldly batteries, Eneloops and Sanyo UR14500P, I get very different figures from those specified by the manufacturer, also on both sides of specifications.

Turbo mode, both AA and 14500 has a time-controlled stepdown, which reduces drastically the flashlight output about 5 minutes of continuous use. A second stepdown shows into action this time commanded by the battery voltage, lowering another mode when the battery cannot maintain regulation. After this second stepdown, now with an agonic battery, the light begins a gradual unregulated fade out.

Compared with other compatible with both chemicals flashlights, the M-PA10 offers a good compromise between efficiency and raw power thanks to stepdown, more or less linear regulation in both chemical:

How it couldn’t be otherwise, the M-PA10 with its smooth but only ~20mm diameter reflector provides a medium-large size hotspot well defined and a more than acceptable spill for this type of multi-task flashlights.

The XM-L2 T6 tint is quite good, with complete absence of the typical greenish tones.

JETBEAM has been one of my benchmark brands in quality offered within a large range in the world of well finished and reliable specifications flashlights. It was a surprise for me to see how, after quite some time since the separation of the brand with its former partner Sysmax, quality of finishes has been maintained, but the attention to detail seems to have diminished considerably.

Eneloop AA • JETBeam M-PA10 • JETBeam BA10 • Balder SE-1 • Nitecore MT1A • Fenix LD12

Negatives: Of course the volume of this flashlight, although feeling good in hand, is excessive for the battery used. It is even amply longer than many compact 1× 18650 flashlights. The user interface, handy for people who adhere to two modes for constant use, it certainly cumbersome as it is easy “unconfigure” the second mode by performing shorts activations closely spaced in time with the head partially unscrewed. The clip seems a rather poor, unreliable and almost improvised solution. The fact that the rubber coating prevents a firm tailstand, although easily solved by installing a washer between the switch and the flashlight body, denotes certain carelessness in the flashlight finishing. Finally, large inconsistencies between specified and measured make me completely lose confidence in the numbers JETBEAM published in their other recent releases.

DQG Tiny18650 v2 (18650) · Nitecore EC2 (18650) · JETBeam M-PA10 (AA) · Fenix PD32 (18650)

Positives: Like everything in life, some will positively assess the excess volume in a flashlight, since surely make it more robust and able to withstand routine abuse over ultra-compact options. I also like the tint green-free. This is undoubtedly a clear example of misunderstood flashlight, which I predict a future away from the popularity and fame.

Edited by: UPz on 02/22/2016 - 12:46