Review: Hypetac P1A SS (1x AAA)

Hypetac P1A SS 1xAAA

Reviewer's Overall Rating: 90%


Battery: 1x AAA
Switch: Reverse Clicky
Modes: Mid - High - Low
LED Type: XP-G R5
Lens: Glass
Tailstands: No
Price Payed: USD 23,45
Date Ordered: May 2012


  • Build quality
  • Fit & finish
  • very practical brightness levels
  • no strobe


  • weak pocket clip
  • switch could eventually be engaged in your pocket

(With this review I changed from the five stars rating to a percentage rating. I think it is more flexible that way. So, one star equals 20% if you want to compare.)

Although I do have a couple of 1xAAA lights, I was still looking for my perfect edc light.

For me, an edc flashlight needs three modes:

- low has to be low enough for comfortable reading and to provide long runtimes even from a single AAA
- medium as the allround mode with reasonable output for everyday situations, like looking for dropped keys or checking dark corners for spiders etc.
- a high mode for emergency use that squeezes as much light as possible out of the battery

I don't need a split ring because I don't like a flashlight hanging on my keys, and I favour a pocket clip over a lanyard on a light of such a small size. Besides, I don't like twisty lights, so my options are greatly reduced.

Now we all know that there is no such thing as a perfect flashlight (or else we wouldn't constantly be buying new ones), but this one comes close.

So, what is it? Here are some specs:

* LED: Cree XP-G R5 LED, Max 90 Lumens
* Battery: 1x AAA alkaline or NIMH
* Materials: Stainless steel
* IPX8 waterproofing
* Reflector: Orange peel
* Accessories: two spare O-ring
Output & Runtime:
Medium 28 lumens / 3.5 hours - High 90 lumens / 1.2 hours - Low 3 lumens / 40 hours

Press the tail switch will turn on/off the flashlight
Chang brightness levels (medium - high - low)by pressing light tail switch
Flashlight will go to medium automatically for every start if turning light off over 5 seconds

Dimension: 11.3cm x 1.4cm <-- This is actually wrong, the length is 10.2 cm!
Weight: 44.5g (excluding battery)

Features / Value: 95%

It comes in a nice package which looks very non-budget. Instructions are on the back of the box, only accessory inside is a little plastic bag with two o-rings. Bright and shiny stainless steel finish. Overall feel is that of a non-budget, high quality light. But: No attachment point for a lanyard (only -5% because I don't like lanyards on small AAA flashlights anyway).

Design / Build Quality: 70%

It is not exactly the smallest light for a 1xAAA, but it should fit in any kind of pocket there is. The stainless steel should make it durable enough to take some beating.
When I first got it in my hands, I was suprised how hefty it feels. Probably too heavy for a dress shirt pocket. Now some folks might prefer an EDC to be as light as possible, but I think heavy is good. Heavy is reliable. If you run out of batteries, you can always hit someone with it (thumbs up if you get the movie reference).
Of course you could buy the aluminum version if you prefer a lighter flashlight.

The surface is bright and shiny, absolutely flawless. The reverse clicky switch is a lot quieter to click than the usual rubber-booted tailcap switch. It feels like something you would find on a precision instrument. However, you don't need to use great force to engage it and thus it might accidentally get turned on when loosely flying around in your pocket (-5%). Furthermore, with the protruding switch the light cannot tailstand (-5%).
If I were to make an improved version, I would leave a metal rim around the switch. That way the switch would be protected inside your pocket and the light would be able to tailstand.

When I first put a battery in and screwed the light together, a bit of the o-ring got stuck and squeezed out between the two parts. When you screw it together, you have to pay attention that the o-ring sits firmly in its groove and doesn't get squeezed out of it. The head part seems to put a lot of pressure on the o-ring to achieve IPX8 waterproofing. Two spare o-rings are supplied, so this shouldn't be an issue.

The lens is made of glass and the reflector is a very low orange peel type.
The beam is a very practical flood kind with a large hotspot.

About the only drawback I can find is the pocket clip. It looks like one from a cheap ballpoint pen and doesn't match the high quality finishing of the flashlight. Besides, it feels a little flimsy and there's not much pressure on it (-20%). And I would absolutely love it if the clip would be reversible.

A closeup of the clip

Battery Life: 100%

Current draw with eneloop cell (runtime calculated):

Mid: 0.3 A (2.7 hours)
High: 0.9 A (0.9 hours)
Low: 0.1 A (8 hours)

Measured values are rounded because it was a little hard to maintain a good connection (on this light the head screws off so you can't measure at the tailcap).
So it maintains the highest brightness for almost an hour or gives you an emergency light for a whole night. Nice!

Light Output: 95%

The stated brightness levels of 90, 28 and 3 lumens are very reasonable. Compared to my Ultrafire A3 (which draws 2 ampere and delivers maybe 60-80 lumens), this provides more light with longer runtime. Nice!
The brightness levels are exactly what I need for daily use. And it starts in medium mode, which is convenient becasuse that one will probably get the most use.
The lower modes are achieved by PWM, but the frequency seems to be quite high. You can hear the buzz only if you hold the flashlight close to your ear. But, -5% because the buzz is there.

Summary: 90%

Hypetac surely put some thought in creating this sexy looking flashlight. Brightness levels are fine, machining is fine, overall feeling is fine. In an improved version I'd like to see a protected tailcap switch and a better, stronger pocket clip. Make it reversible and you've got a happy customer!

Some Pictures:

Reflector and XPG LED

Size comparison: Hypetac P1A, MXDL 3w clicky, Ultrafire A3, Maglite Solitaire

White wall shot (spill area is bigger than the picture):

If you have any questions or if you would like to see more pictures, feel free to ask.
Have a nice day!

Great review Steve, thanks for taking the trouble I don't normally like the penlight form factor (not sure why, just never been keen) but that is one nice looking little light! Shame about the pocket clip; I guess that's one area where this type of torch really can't get away with weakness. Maybe it'll turn out to be stronger than it feels.

Thanks for the great review. I've been thinking about getting the 2xAAA version, as $27 seems like a really good deal for a SS flashlight.

Question: is the clip removable?

Thanks guys!

The clip is removable. You have to unscrew the metal cap around the switch, it holds the clip in its place.

I just did that and bent the clip a little in shape, it has more tension now. It was bent quite easily though, don't know how long it'll hold the tension.

Very nice review Steve!

I was just looking at these on SB Yesterday. Thanks for the review.

Thanks for your nice comments.

Yesterday I wasn't able to take a good makro shot of the clip because of the lighting. Today was better so I edited it into the review. It's hard to take good photos of shiny things though...


Are we in for a bunch of XXXtac names now that XXXfire has pretty much been mined out?

Very nice photos Steve!

That new pic of the clip is encouraging; to be honest I was expecting it to look much more frail.

I meant to ask you about the switch. Does it stay locked down when the light is turned on?

The switch sticks out 3 mm no matter if it's on or off.

Nice! Decent price for a Shiningbeam light. Thanks so much for the great review! Frontpage'd and Sticky'd.

Yesterdays Fire is today's Tac!


Wait, no more fandyfire?!? No!!!

Thank you Mr. Admin!

BTW, maybe I should reserve the brand name "FireTac"

Over on CPF is a review of the Bronte RA02. This is probably the same light as the Hypetac P1A in a slightly different exterior and with minor tweaks on the electronics. By the way, that review is a lot more thorough than mine and every interested user might want to double check, because most of it applies to the P1A as well.

The packaging looks the same, overall design is the same, the underside of the circuit board looks the same, brightness levels are also in the same range.

I think that Hypetac and Bronte are just sales brands and their flashlights are manufactured in the same factory.

After having used this light for some time I discovered a little design flaw that sometimes shows when using rechargeable batteries.

I noticed that sometimes when shaking the light it would flash on even with the switch in the off-position, other times after switching off it would stay on and needed a few shakes to go off.

To illustrate what was going on, first I'll show you a side-by-side-shot of an alkaline AAA cell and a rechargeable AAA cell. Note that on the rechargeable cell the negative pole takes up the whole area of the cylinder bottom:

And here's a schematic drawing of the P1A battery tube (click to enlarge):

At the end of the battery tube, there is a metal ledge around the spring with very little clearance to the negative battery end. When using a rechargeable battery, the negative pole sometimes touches that ledge and, bypassing the switch, closes the circuit.

My solution was to cut out a washer with an outer diameter of 10mm and an inner diameter of 6mm and place it inside the battery tube on top of that ledge. At first I cut it out od a .5mm guitar pick, but that was already too thick. I am using .2mm carton now and I didn't encounter this effect ever since.

I guess in Germany you have different types of batteries. In the US negative poles are always flat and take up the whole end.

That's interesting, didn't know that! That means even more batteries would be affected.

Of course there's also a possibility that my particular light is missing some isolation piece in the bottom, but I somehow doubt that. And I won't order a second one to check