Review: MXDL FN-1W 1xAA


Reviewer's Overall Rating: ★★☆


Battery: Single AA
Switch: Reverse Clicky
Modes: 1
LED Type: Generic
Lens: ?
Tailstands: No
Price Payed: $5.40
From: QualityChinaGoods


  • Very small
  • Affordable
  • Excellent runtime
  • Good build quality
  • Fairly bright


  • Ugly and cheap initial appearance
  • Can't tailstand

Features / Value: ★★☆

I am designating this flashlight as the MXDL FN-1W per the description on This is a very generic, high-volume flashlight that really doesn't have a proper model name, and as such, is sold at numerous online retailers under various names. However, it does appear to be made by MXDL, which interests me because apparently it is manufactured by the same company that makes Romisen, as the following footer from their website suggests:

What appears to be the same flashlight is also available from many other retailers, but I decided to try out QualityChinaGoods for the first time. The price was about right at $5.40, the pictures were detailed, and it's clearly labelled as MXDL, so I was reasonably certain that I was going to receive an MXDL and not some flickery, junky, generic clone, like I once received from eBay. So, I ordered it on 31-January-2010, and it arrived surprisingly quickly a bit less than three weeks later, just as described on the product page. Interestingly, QualityChinaGoods ships from Singapore via Singapore Post, not from Hong Kong. My first impression of this light is that it is tiny! At first I feared that maybe they made a mistake and sent me a AAA light. According to the description, it is 94mm long and between 18mm and 19mm in diameter. Here is a really terrible picture so you can see how small it is:

Top to bottom: AA Alkaline, MXDL FN-1W, AA Powerlight, Akoray K-106, Tank007 TK-566-5, SmallSun ZY-C41

Unlike most lights in this price bracket, the MXDL FN-1W has threading on both ends of the midsection, allowing both the head and the tailcap to screw off. I personally prefer designs that only unscrew below the head, because less joints mean less failures and gaps for water to leak in. However, both ends have O-rings, so it should be fairly water resistant, and it actually claims to be "waterproof". The light only has one rather bright mode. Some of the other websites that sell an apparently identical MXDL light claim that it has a glass lens, but I tend to doubt that because of the price and because of the mild scratches on the lens of my sample. Unfortunately the tailcap switch bulges out a few millimeters, which prevents it from tailstanding. It comes with a generic lanyard with a quick-disconnect. This light has no unique features, but the price is right, and the quality is considerably better than my 1xAA Powerlight for only $1.00 more, so I'm giving it 4-stars for Features / Value.

Build Quality: ★★☆

The build quality of the MXDL FN-1W won't take your breath away, but I think it also won't disappoint for the price. The threading on both ends of the midsection is surprisingly smooth for the price, and the threads are well lubricated with a rather thick lubricant that gives sort of a heavy feel to the threads. They feel much nicer than the threads on the tailcap of my 1xAA Powerlight. O-rings are present where they should be. To my eyes, the design is not as appealing as the 1xAA Powerlight, as I'm not a fan of the smaller diameter of the midsection. The black paint shows no flaws, but doesn't look very eye-catching. They put 6 superfluous notches about 8mm long around the bezel, which serve no purpose. There is a 1cm section of knurling a few millimeters above the tailcap. I wish all or most of the body had the knurling. The tailcap switch is easy to operate and emits a high-pitched "clink". There are no signs of flickering, and the battery doesn't rattle. Despite some claims by certain sellers that the lens is glass, it would appear to be plastic, judging by some minor scratches that arrived with the light. On one face of the midsection the white painted label says MXDL and the opposing face says 1w Super Bright Waterproof USA. They definitely could have left off most of the ugly lettering. The light is almost weightless, they claim 42g on their product page.

Battery Life: ★★☆

Quite a few generic 1xAA LED lights are unsung heroes when it comes to battery life, and the MXDL FN-1W also shares this advantage. Although they are generally un-advertised and scorned by flashlight professionals, most generic LED lights handily beat their more expensive brand name counterparts in battery life. I'm not sure why, but maybe the cheaper generic LED emitters can't be driven as hard as a Cree, so they don't drain the battery as quickly. Or maybe they really are efficient. At any rate, those looking for long battery life should really consider a cheap flashlight with a generic LED, especially if only a single mode is preferred. The MXDL FN-1W would be a very good choice. In fact, I would probably have given this flashlight 5-stars for battery life if it weren't for the existence of lights like Nitecore and the Gerber Infinity Ultra, that have runtime in the league of many days or even weeks on their lowest "moonlight" mode. But for $5.40, I am delighted with the battery life of the MXDL FN-1W. I put in my usual extremely cheap "Rayovac" alkaline AA, turned it on, and let it run... At first the output was quite bright, and it got suprisingly warm for a low-powered generic LED light. I suspect that the small body mass means their is less heat sinking ability. It won't burn your hands, but it's still quite a bit warmer than my 1xAA Powerlight. I suspected that the battery would quickly be depleted by the high output, but surprisingly after several hours of the brightest output, it settled down into a slightly lower but still fairly bright output, and there it stayed for hours and hours. About 15 hours later, it was still very usable for reading or walking around the house and finding things in the dark. I shut the light off after nearly 20 hours when it was finally possible to stare directly at the emitter without discomfort. Later on in the day, when the battery had rested a bit, I turned the light on again, and was once again treated with several minutes more of bright output. Several days later, still with the dead battery, I once again switched on the light, and it is producing very good output. This light will result in virtually endless runtime for owners who leave it in a pocket or a toolbox and use it briefly for a few minutes every day, especially given that the battery recuperates its energy potential a bit after a time of rest. Even with the deadest of cheap batteries, the MXDL FN-1W will produce some light. Quite impressive.

Light Output: ★☆☆

The light output of the MXDL FN-1W is good, but unexceptional. It is quite bright, and the rather high output is palpable in the uncomfortably warm temperature of the body after 20 minutes of operation. The LED is a typical generic type, with a slight bluish tinge. The reflector is smooth. This combination produces a decent beam that is very usable both indoors and outdoors. The hotspot has a bit of a black dot in the middle, and it is fairly wide, but it is bordered by some rather strange faint lines, as though it were surrounded by an octagon or maybe some fine wires around the hotspot. From there the aura is uniformly dim. Compared with the MXDL FN-1W, my 1xAA Powerlight has a much nicer beam in terms of both color and beam quality. But the quality of the Powerlight is highly variable. Therefore I'm labelling the FN-1W's output as average, 3-stars.

Summary: ★★☆

In summary, the MXDL FN-1W is a solid 4-star light featuring surprisingly good quality, great portability, and excellent runtime for a grand total of $5.40 shipped. I like it. Recommended.

If you own the MXDL FN-1W, please give it your own star rating below!

Nice review man..........

The burn time sounds excellent!

From what I can tell from the pictures it doesn't look like it can tailstand. Correct?

Also any guess as to the lumens? Is it about the same as the 30 lumens for a good BLF DeLight? Brighter?

Any guess as to an equivalent emitter... Luxeon I ? P2?

Yes, this model usually can't tailstand, especially when the lanyard is attached. But the switch boot is highly variable across hundreds of thousands of samples they produce, so I'm pretty sure that some of them might be able to tailstand without a lanyard.

As for lumens, I would say that it's close to a good BLF DeLight (I own three of them). Possibly a bit dimmer.

The advantage of this model is, again, the very compact size. I would also recommend the Silver colored 1xAA Powerlight, which is bigger, but cheaper, and it also has a really beautiful beam.