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Старый 27.04.2011, 10:29 Автор темы   1
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По умолчанию JetBeam Jet-II PRO review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, etc.

JetBeam Jet-II PRO review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, etc.

This is a comparison between the new Jetbeam Jet-II PRO and the original Jet-II IBS. Note that both lights use the same "infinite brightness system" (IBS) circuit, but the updated PRO version differ in a number of build characteristics. Both lights were provided by Jetbeam for review.

Common Jet-II IBS/PRO Specifications: (according to the Manufacturer)
LED: CREE 7090 XR-E (Q5 bin)
Max Output: 225 Lumen (Torch Lumen)
Reflector: OP aluminum reflector/SMO reflector
Lens: Sapphire crystal
Material: T6061 T6 aircraft aluminum alloy
Finish: HA (Type III) hard anodized
Battery: one CR123 battery or any other batteries of the same size
Input voltage: 0.7-4.2V
Switch: Reverse clicky
Waterproof: According to IPX-8 standard
Dimension: Bezel diameter 32mm (IBS) and 29mm (PRO), Tail diameter 21mm, Overall length 96mm
Weight: 50g

Note that the only official spec that changed is the diameter of the bezel/reflector (which I can confirm). However, there are some slight differences in overall weight and length, as discussed later in this review.

Like my Jet-II IBS, this revised PRO version was also a full shipping version with all package accessories. The light comes in a thin cardboard box with foam inserts and magnet to keep it closed. Although not very sturdy, the package arrived intact in the mail (where it was just packaged in an EMS shipping envelope).

Inside, you'll see the light comes with warranty card, manual, wrist lanyard, and spare parts (o-rings, extra black tailcap cover). Quality of the lanyard seems decent.

Exterior styling is very nice. Light comes in a dark slate grey HA finish, similar to their other models. Lettering is ok, although it is not as sharp or clear as some other makers. Like most Jetbeam lights (except the MK series), the light has knurling along the body tube to help with grip. Knurling is not overly aggressive, but it is slightly more raised than most Chinese-made lights. The smooth head has indentations to also improve grip.

And of course, there's the new bi-directional clip. Although some have called this is a "reversible" clip, that is not literally correct. The clip fits on in one direction only, but is designed so that you can clip the light in a bezel-down or bezel-up orientation (i.e. attach between the curved prongs, or between the clip and the body). AFAIK, Surefire was the first to make use of this excellent design in a mass-produced light (for their E1B Backup). The Jetbeam version is not made from as stiff metal, but still works well in my practice. And of course, it also serves as a very effective anti-roll device.

For the sake of the rest of this review, close-up shots will be in comparison to the original Jet-II IBS. The Jet-II PRO is on the left for all build pics.

Above, you can see how it compares in overall height - the PRO is 3mm taller than the original Jet-II IBS (i.e. PRO is 99mm vs IBS 96mm). However, width of the bezel is 3mm less at the opening in the head (i.e. PRO is 29mm vs IBS 32mm).

The Jet-II/III series lights are designed to be "throwers", and thus come with relatively large, deep reflectors. The Jet-II PRO has a narrower reflector/head than the original Jet-II IBS. I haven't taken it out to measure yet, but I'd say a good 2-3mm less wide at the opening, but with almost the same depth. Of course, the question is how well does this smaller design throw? For that, scroll down the summary throw chart further in this review. Both samples came with a textured "orange peel" reflector, to help reduce rings - although smooth options are apparently available. My Jet-II PRO also has a noticeable red o-ring between the glass lens and bezel retaining ring.

Like many new Chinese-made lights, my Jet-IIs use the "silver" version of the Cree Q5 emitter (i.e. the area outside central die is silver in color, instead of the standard Cree yellow). These simply reflect different manufacturing plants. Although there has been some discussion of possible differences between these Cree builds, I think it's too early to draw any definite conclusions as yet. There certainly no difference in overall output (in that sense, a Q5 is a Q5).

The tailcaps are interchangeable between the two models, but there is one key difference - the Jet-II PRO has anodized tailcap threads. This allows you to lock-out the light by twisting the tailcap - a very useful feature for travelling, and one I'm glad to see Jetbeam re-introduce.

As with all Jetbeam lights, the tailcap switch retaining ring is made of plastic. This is a concern for some in terms of long-term stability, although I haven't experienced any problems as yet on any of my Jetbeam lights.

The reverse clicky switch on these Jet-II lights seems to be larger and more substantial than on the 1AA model lights (i.e. MK IBS, Jet-I PRO). It also seems less "stiff" to me, but I suspect that's partly because of the larger rounded tailcap boot (see my Jet-I MK IBS review for a comparison, and a discussion of potential mods for the 1AA lights). The protruding tailcap boot means the Jet-II series cannot tailstand like the 1AA lights, but I personally find it much easier to enter the "hidden modes" with the quick 3-time flash (see below for an explanation of the interface).

As you can see, there are substantial build differences between the lights. The original Jet-II IBS actually comes apart into 3 sections, as the head can unscrew completely from the emitter/pill (see by original Jet-II/III IBS review for more pics). The Jet-II PRO is a single piece head that can't be open, similar in design to the Jet-III IBS (again, see the earlier review). The head contact board has a spring on it, so flat-top RCR batteries can easily make contact. I don't find the increased resistance due to this second spring to be a problem with any of my protected RCRs or primaries.

Both lights come with single o-rings at both openings, although they are a bit thicker on the Jet-II PRO. While this may help with water-resistance, I've found that the tailcap o-ring on my Jet-II PRO often tends to pinch up and bulge out around the tailcap lip when tightening. Personally, I think I'm going to replace it with the spare thinner o-ring from my Jet-II IBS

Screw threads are identical on both tail ends, and have the same square design as the Jet-I PRO. Like the Jet-I PRO and other high-end Jetbeam and EDGETAC lights, the non-anodized aluminum portions of the body has some sort of anti-oxidant coating that is brassy in color.

Weights: (without battery)
Jet-II IBS: 58.3g
Jet-II PRO: 55.1g

Although slightly lighter, there's no noticeable difference in heft when handling the lights. I find both to be well balanced and comfortable in the hand, and not as all "top-heavy". The extra length of the PRO might have a slight advantage for me, since I have larger hands - but that's obviously a highly personal and subject experience!

I have noticed however that the PRO version seems to get warmer faster than the original Jet-II IBS. Of course that could be a good thing (i.e. better heatsinking of the emitter, transferring faster to the body) or a bad thing (i.e. less mass in the head, less of a heatsink). Hard to know which is the case, but a point to keep in mind if you plan to run the light at high levels for extended periods (see General Observations later in this review).

Digital control:

All Jetbeam lights use PWM, to my knowledge. On these IBS-driven lights, the frequency is high enough that I can't detect it by eye or instrument, even at the lowest output settings.

User Interface:

The UI is the same on all the IBS models. Basically, there are 3 defined output states (A, B, C) that you can set independently. The circuit features a continuously variable brightness mechanism, with presets at 5%, 50%, and 100% (as well as intermediate "Default Hi" and "Default Lo" settings), as well as several strobe/SOS modes. For info on the UI, please see my original Jet-II/III IBS review.

Comparison Beamshots

Both lights are on 100% on AW protected RCR, about 0.5 meters from a white wall.

As you can see, the overall output on max on RCR is comparable. Beam patterns are similar, although the Jet-II PRO has a slightly more narrow (and slightly brighter) spillbeam than the original Jet-II IBS. This is presumably due to the narrower reflector in the PRO version. You'll also notice it shows the "dimples" from the bezel retaining ring more prominently in the beam pattern up close (these disappear at further distances, and aren't typically noticeable in every day use).

Of course, the Jet-IIs are designed for throw, so these up-close shots don't tell you what you REALLY want to know. I'll discuss the beam patterns in more detail after the Throw/Output and runtime comparisons below. I will try to do some longer distance beamshots and add to this post when available.

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.

Throw/Output Summary Chart:

Ceiling Bounce Output: (on RCR on 100%)
Jet-II IBS: 9.0 lux
Jet-II PRO: 9.0 lux

At first glance, you can see there's no apparent difference in initial overall output between the lights on RCR (at least on med-hi levels), and a slight reduction of my PRO on primaries. I'll have more to say about this after the detailed runtimes below.

In terms of throw, note that Jetbeam sent me a textured reflector again, which helps to keep this comparison fair. Given the matching overall outputs on RCR, I think this battery type is the most appropriate way to compare the throw of the two lights. If you look at 100% or Default Hi, you'll see the PRO has only 7-8% less throw than the IBS version for the same overall output. Considering the narrower reflector, this is very impressive.

Variable Output Ramping

I haven't done a detailed ramping graph of the new Jet-II PRO, because the ramping time and relative output levels seem to be exactly the same. See my Jet-II/III IBS review for ramping details.

Output/Runtime Comparison:

RCR (AW Protected, black-label)
  • As you can see, there is basically no real difference in output or runtime between the two lights on RCR.
  • The initial output on Default Lo is lower on the PRO version - in fact, it is actually better regulated now (the IBS version starts out brighter and slowly decays to a similar regulated level).
  • Although output seems slightly lower on the PRO on the graphs above, this difference is less than 5%, and falls well within expected variability of the emitter output bin. In fact, I had noticed much same relative difference with my Jet-III PRO.
  • Runtime seems lower on 100% (i.e. 18 mins on the PRO vs 21mins on IBS). In fact, my original IBS was a consistent 20-22 mins on each of my AW black-label RCRs - but when I tested the PRO on a different battery, I got only 13 mins. This is not surprising to me, since others have reported similarly lower runtimes on their original Jet-II IBS (see my original Jet-II IBS review thread). I suspect the problem is the incredibly high discharge rate at 100%, which seems to be >3C. This is not good for Li-ion cells, so I suspect we are seeing earlier termination in some lights due to the variation in battery current draws needed to produce the max output. I personally do NOT recommend running any of these lights on RCR on 100% for any period of time - for both the heat produced and the excessive discharge rates.
  • It seems PRO runtimes are a bit longer on lower modes, but this again is not significant in my view.

Primary CR123A (Surefire)
  • Output on primaries is also lower than on my original IBS (typically, ~10% less). Again, I don't consider this to be a difference between models, but rather reflecting individual emitter output characteristics.
  • Runtime is also reduced, typically 15-20% at the higher output levels (and more at the lower levels). I can only assume that this particular emitter was unlucky in its Vf characteristics (I don't know if Jetbeam selects on the basic of Vf as well as luminous flux output bin). Although I'm not sure why that should only affect primaries and not RCR runtimes (maybe something to do with the boost of lower voltage of CR123As?). I'll have to leave that to the electronics experts to comment on.
The take home message from these results is that you should expect more output and runtime variability between individual samples on CR123A primaries than on RCRs. But I suspect this has nothing to do with PRO vs IBS, it's simply individual variability of a given emitter with the common IBS circuit.

General Observations:

I'll come right to the point: The PRO version has the added benefits of a tailcap lock-out, bidirectional clip, and smaller head - while retaining >90% of the peak throw of the original Jet-II.

I'm actually pleasantly surprised about the throw - I had doubted whether the narrower reflector of the PRO could pull this off, but I see it has pretty well. These are all impressive updates, and will make this light a top contender as a pocket thrower for travelling purposes.

In terms of beam profiles, they are generally similar - although I have noticed my PRO has a slightly less distinct hotspot than the IBS at relatively up-close/medium distances (i.e. 5-15m). The PRO also has a brighter spill than the IBS version, but again this is only noticeable at those distances. This is in contrast to the D-mini, which has a much wider but dimmer spillbeam up-close. It's really a question of personal preference, but I tend to like brighter spillbeams on my lights.

In my view, there's no intrinsic difference in the output/runtime characteristics of the two versions - the differences you see above likely just reflect normal emitter luminous flux bin and Vf bin differences. But it is important you keep that variability in mind, as any given light of either model would be expected to fall along an output/runtime continuum (which seems to be more variable for primaries than RCR). As near as I can, the circuits have nearly identical features.

On the negative side, the PRO lacks the focusing ability of the original Jet-II IBS. That's probably an acceptable trade-off for most (who will likely never use it), but it is a shame since the feature was so well executed on the Jet-II IBS.

The only other significant finding I can report so far is that the PRO version heats up faster in my hand than the IBS model, when run on comparable relatively Hi output settings. I don't know if that's a good or bad thing (i.e. better heat transfer, or poorer body mass heatsinking), but regardless, I don't recommend you run either of these lights at high output levels for prolonged periods of time - and certainly not unattended or uncooled.

That warning goes doubly for RCRs (or 14500 on the 1AA IBS models), since the battery discharge rate on 100% is >3C, which isn't good for Li-ions. This likely explains the reported variability in max RCR runtimes on these lights. If you want to run an IBS light at full tilt for extended periods of time, I suggest you go for the 18650-only Jet-III PRO, which can handle the heat and battery drain better (and has similar throw and output).

So far so good ... I'll keep you posted as I keep playing with the light!
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