Originally posted: December 4, 2008
Last revised: May 4, 2010
REVIEWER'S NOTE: This is my first round-up review of 2xAA lights, similar in format to my Multi-stage 1AA - Part IV and 1xCR123A/RCR round-ups. In addition to the beamshot, output, throw, and runtime comparisons, scroll down for a detailed description of each light.
For a discussion of the color rendition properties of different emitters and tint bins, please see my comparison thread: Color Rendition and Tint Comparison: Cree, Rebel, GDP, Nichia
Warning: this post is pic and text heavy!
UPDATE 11/1/09: Added EagleTac P20A2, LiteFlux LF3XT-2AA, 4Sevens Quark AA-2 to the graphs/tables/beamshots
UPDATE 6/10/09: Added Olight I25 to the graphs/tables/beamshots.
UPDATE 4/8/09: Added EagleTac P100A2, Lumapower Connexion X2 2xAA extension, and Romisen RC-N3 II.
UPDATE 1/7/09: Added L91 Lithium runtimes.
UPDATE 12/18/08: Added Olight T25-T (Tactical) to the round-up.
From left to right: Duracell 1AA battery, Fenix L2D, Fenix E20, Fenix TK20, Olight T25, ITP C8T, JetBeam Jet-I PRO EX V2.0, Nitecore D20, Minimag incan, Lumapower Connexion X2 2xAA, Eagletac P100A2, Eagletac P10A2, and Romisen RC-N3 II. Not shown are the Fenix L2T V2.0, LD20, Olight T25-T or I25.
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.
All up-close beamshots are at ~0.5 meter from a white wall, to show you the different overall patterns.
On Max/Turbo/100% with 2x Sanyo Eneloop 2000mAh NiMH
Note: although not shown, the Olight I25 has the same reflector and beam pattern as the Olight T25 and ITP C8 above.
As you can see, the Fenix TK20 has a much warmer tint (likely "neutral" Cree 5A tint bin). The other lights are all standard cool white tints. The Olight T25-T is not shown, but looks identical to the regular T25 (same build).
A comment on these beamshots: Obviously, white-wall beamshots at close range don't tell you much about a light's performance in the real world. But it does let you quickly compare the beam profiles of a large number of lights at a glance. If you are familiar with any of the lights shown above, then you can quickly see how the other lights are likely to stack up against it. And that is the point here - it would be great to have outdoor pics for each light, in different environments, at multiple distances in each environment, and with different exposures to show beam vs spill for each distance, etc., etc. ... but I won't be doing them.
Weights (without battery):
Fenix L2D: 56.5g
Fenix TK20: 153.9g
Olight I25: 87.9g
Olight T25: 87.6g
Olight T25-T: 88.5g
ITP C8T: 97.1g
JetBeam Jet-I PRO EX V2.0: 68.8g
Nitecore D20: 109.3g
Minimag incan: 60.4g
Minimag LED: 72.0g
Eagletac P10A2: 96.2g
Output/Throw Summary Chart
As you can see, some lights are capable of much lower minimum outputs than others. There is also a lot different in throw (i.e. how focused the light is for centre beam. Scroll down for runtime comparisons.
For the lights that have a continuously-variable interface, I have presented their ramping sequences above. The JetBeam Jet-I PRO EX V2 has a longer ramp than the Nitecore D20 (or D10, shown for reference) and ITP C8.
A comment on these graphs: It should go without saying, but there is a lot more to a light's performance than its runtime! I've tried to give some context for each light's overall performance and value in the detailed discussions at the end of the review. The purpose of these graphs is to simply let you quickly compare output/runtime at a glance.
Note also that a number of these lights can go to lower outputs than the mid-range levels presented below. But I don't do runtimes on low levels on NiMH due to the risk of damaging the cells from over-discharge (i.e. I can't estimate termination time to stop the run before complete discharge - and potential damage - occurs to the cells).
On 2x Sanyo Eneloop NiMH (~2000mAh capacity)
On 2x Duracell alkaline (standard)
UPDATE: On 2x Energizer L91 Lithium
- Fenix L2D/LD20: The LD20 is the new version of the Fenix L2D, but with little change to the circuit - although it does seem to have a lower Low mode now (see Summary Table). Runtime performance was generally comparable, except for Turbo output which had lower runtime on my LD20 sample. Fenix is generally recognized as the output/runtime efficiency king among AA-class lights.
- Fenix E20 is a single mode light, about the level of a L2D on Hi (not Turbo). Unfortunately, I forgot to do NiMH runtimes before selling this light, but regulation on alkalines is impressive.
- Fenix TK20 is a 2-stage light with warm "neutral" Cree tint bin (likely Q2-5A). Runtimes are as expected for a Q2 light. Note that this is the best thrower in the collection, due to its larger head/reflector.
- The continuously-variable NiteCore D20 and ITP C8 (Regular and Tactical) have similar runtime performance, although the D20 is capable of slightly greater max output.
- The continuously-variable JetBeam Jet-I PRO EX V2 has slightly lower output/runtime efficiency than the D20/C8, but has greater throw.
- The Olight T25 has similar overall output/runtime efficiency as Fenix L2D, with an extra intermediate output level and different interface - although max output is not as high as the L2D.
- The Olight T25-T (Tactical) version is driven to higher level than the regular T25, and only has 3 regular output levels (basically, levels 1,3, and 5 of the regular version, with the highest level a bit brighter). Output/runtime efficiency is the same.
- The Olight I25 is new for 2009, and features an upgraded build of the T25-T with a tweaked ITP C8 circuit and UI.
- The Eagletac P10A2 is the current max output king (consistent with other Eagletac lights, all of which are heavily-driven on max). Lo mode is about the same level as Fenix Med, with similar runtime.
- The Minimag incandescent is included for your reference.
- The Eagletac P100A2 Hi/Lo is actually fairly close in output and runtime to the Fenix L2D-Q5 on Turbo/Med
- The Romisen RC-N3 II (two-stage version Q5) has slightly lower outputs than most of the other lights shown here. Output/runtime efficiency is very good on Hi, and a bit lower than the competition on Lo.
- The Lumapower Connexion X2 2xAA is actually a battery extension tube for the 1xAA X2. Outputs are the same as the 1xAA version, and thus lower than most of the dedicated 2xAA lights. Output/runtime efficiency is typically excellent.
Eagletac P100A2 (XP-E Q5)
- The P100A2 is new entry-level model from Eagletac, featuring the smaller Cree XP-E emitter (output remains comparable to the standard Cree XR-E Q5).
- Interface remains the same as other P10 series lights - twist the head tightly for Hi, loosen slightly for Lo.
- Output levels are similar to the Fenix L2D on Turbo/Med - with equivalent runtime (apparently current-controlled).
- Beam pattern is quite good on these new XP-Es - it is actually one of the further-throwing 2xAA lights I've seen. Note that it is common for the emitters to come slightly off-center on these P100A2s. It does not generally seem to affect the beam much.
- Light features more aggresive knurling than typical, providing enhanced grip
- Feautres a protruding tailcap (forward clicky), so tailstanding is not possible. Tailcap threads are anodized, so lock-out is available.
- Overall, I am quite impressed with the build for the price - but note that it comes with no accessories (i.e. no holster, wrist lanyard, or clip). Finish can have a few anodizing chips (likely due to bouncing up against other lights during processing).
- A good competitor for the Fenix L2T V2.0 (Cree Q2). Basically, if you want a lower Lo mode and smooth finish go with the L2T, if you want a higher Lo mode and more aggresive knurling go with P100A2.
- P100A2 was purchased from eagletac-store.com. Currently availble for ~$40
Eagletac P10A2 (Q5):
- Eagletac lights use a basic 2-stage output system, controlled by a twist of the head (similar to the Fenix LxT design).
- Like Fenix, Eagletac appears to use a current-controlled low mode (i.e. no PWM). This produces very good runtime for its output level. Unfortunately the Lo mode is still extremely bright on the P10A2 (about the same as Fenix L2D Med). I would consider the two states of the P10A2 to be Regular and Turbo, instead of Lo and Hi.
- Output is extremely high on the Turbo mode, currently the brightest 2xAA in my collection.
- Reflector design on P10C is excellent, with a deep textured reflector that produces a lot throw with little evidence of Cree rings. The lens has an anti-reflective coating that seems to add a slight green-tint to the beam (see my detailed Eagletac P10C review for some beamshots).
- Light uses a forward clicky switch that is recessed enough to still allow tailstanding.
- Light has anodized tailcap threads, allowing for lock-out.
- Comes with a bezel-up clip, although I understand a bi-directional one is in development and should be available soon.
- Overall build quality is very high, with a lot of signs of care and consideration in the design.
- Bottom line, I expect this light to become the standard "tactical" 2AA model for most users - due to its strong build features and incredibly bright output.
- My sample was purchased from eagletac-store.com (4sevens). Light retails for ~$55.
Fenix L2D/LD20 (Q5):
- The Fenix LD20 (not shown) is a revised body version of the classic L2D. Circuit design is basically the same, although the LD20 is now capable of a lower Lo output.
- The original L2D (with textured reflector) was an excellent all-around performer - decent throw, decent beam, and excellent runtime. My LD20 sample has slightly better throw, but a ringier beam. Runtime performance is typically identical (although my sample LD20 has lower runtime on Turbo, likely due to random Vf differences between Q5 emitters).
- Fenix remains the output/runtime king on primary batteries - nothing else beats the efficiency of the Fenix's current-controlled Med/Lo modes.
- Light comes with a reverse clicky and allows tailstanding on both versions. A protruding forward clicky is available, but this is better suited to the simpler two-mode LxT or single-mode E20 series lights (see below).
- User interface is excellent on the Fenix lights, IMO. Twist the bezel to switch between Min and Turbo output modes. In Min mode, soft-press the clicky to access Med-Hi-SOS. In Turbo, soft-press to access Strobe.
- Build quality is very good. Fit and finish is very nice, although some find the Fenix L2D/L2T bodies a bit slippery. The LD20 body has knurling and extra ridges to enhance grip.
- Fenix pouches are also well made, although I find the new LD20 pouch is bit over-built and bulky.
- Early model L2Ds don't have reverse-polarity protection, but this feature was added to the L2D line shortly before the switch to the LD20 body design.
- See my Fenix L2D Q5 vs R100, R80, Q2, P4 Comparison Review: RUNTIMES+ for an analysis of the premium Cree Q5 and Rebel R100 heads on L2D form.
- Simply put, the L2D/LD20 is the standard to which all other 2AA lights are compared.
- Fenix L2D and LD20 were purchased from fenixtactical.ca. Currently, the L2D/LD20 retail ~$55-60.
Fenix L2T V2.0 (Rebel 080 or Cree Q2):
- I haven't done a full runtime comparison review of the L2T V2.0, since I only have the Rebel version (now discontinued). AFAIK, build is identical between the Cree and Rebel models, and is equivalent to the L2D (parts interchangeable).
- The L2T series represents a simpler circuit/interface - basically, just two output states (Hi and Lo) accessible from a twist of the head.
- The original L2T was a Luxeon III light, and the new L2T V2.0 keeps the same interface in a new body with a revised circuit and new emitters. L2T V2.0 lights are interchangeable with L2D body parts - they are not compatible with original L2T body parts.
- As expected, max output of either L2T V2.0 version is a bit lower than the premium Cree Q5 L2D/LD20.
- The currently-available Cree Q2 version of the L2T V2.0 has a lower Lo mode than earlier versions of this light.
- Light comes shipped with a protruding forward clicky (shown above), but the standard L2D reverse clicky also fits. Either version works well in this light, since output modes are controlled solely by the head twist.
- See my Fenix L2D Q5 vs R100, R80, Q2, P4 Comparison Review: RUNTIMES+ for an analysis of the premium Rebel 080 version versus the L2D form.
- Simply put, this light is a great choice as a "budget" or simplified version of the L2D. Highly recommended as gifts for non-flashaholics, or for those that prefer a simpler interface.
- You might also want to consider the Eagletac P100A2, if you prefer a higher output on Lo and agressive knurling.
- Fenix L2T V2.0 was purchased from 4sevens.com. Currently, the L2T V2.0 retails ~$45.
Fenix E20 (Q2):
- The E20 is a single-stage 2AA light with a wider head and reflector that is focusable. It is thus more appropriately a competitor to a LED-upgraded Minimag light.
- Construction of the E20 is relatively simple compared to the higher-end L2D/LD20/L2T Fenix lights. The knurling is more aggressive on the E20, but overall build quality and "hand-feel" seems lower to me.
- The E20 comes with a focusable smooth reflector that is wider and deeper than typical Fenix 2AA lights.
- I forgot to do a NiMH runtime before selling this light , but output is roughly equivalent to a L2D on Hi (not Turbo). Regulation on alkalines is impressively flat.
- Light comes shipped with a protruding forward clicky, like the L2T V2.0.
- Like all Fenix 2AA lights, the E20 comes with anodized tailcap threads, so tailcap lock-out is possible.
- Like the newer L2D and LD20 lights, the E20 also comes with reverse polarity protection in case you accidentally put the batteries in wrong.
- The focusable feature works quite well - for sample beam pics, please see my Fenix E20 review.
- Bottom line, a good replacement for a Minimag light. But unless you really need the focusable beam feature, I think most would be better served with the L2T V2.0, which has an excellent low mode and better overall build quality (IMO).
- Fenix E20 was purchased from 4sevens.com. Currently, the E20 retails ~$35.
Fenix TK20 (Cree Q2, "neutral" 5A tint):
- The "T" series lights by Fenix are designed to be heavy-duty Tactical lights. The TK20 is the first T-series light to run on standard AA batteries.
- First thing to notice is the beam - Fenix uses a "neutral" tint Cree emitter (likely 5A), which is a lot warmer than the standard "cool" tint LEDs we are all used to. The pic below shows you an outdoor comparison of the L2D and TK20, with my camera locked on daylight light balance.
- Throw is the highest of any Fenix 2AA light, due to the larger head and deeper reflector.
- As expected, build quality is very vigorous on the TK20. This has to be the thickest-walled battery tube I've seen yet!
- The TK20 uses a similar mechanism to the other T-series lights and the L2T - basically, just two output states (Hi and Lo) accessible from a twist of the head.
- Max output of either TK20 is a bit less than the L2D Q5, due to the Q2 Cree emitter. Output/runtime efficiency remains at Fenix's high standard.
- Consistent with its tactical focus, the TK20 comes with a forward clicky that is easily access due to the scalloped tailcap ridges (which still allow tailstanding).
- The TK20 comes with a removable bezel-up clip held by two torx screws (allen key provided) and the choice of yellow or gray rubber body grip. Note the grip had a tendency to slip and slide around the battery tube on the first generation of TK20
- Tailcap lock-out is available thanks to the anodized threads.
- A very impressive light, particularly for its warm-tinted emitter and larger reflector. Personally, I think it's a little heavy - something closer in thickness and weight to the Olight T25 or Eagletac P10A2 is more to my liking for a "tactical" light - but each his/her own.
- Fenix TK20 was purchased from 4sevens.com. Currently, the TK20 retails ~$60.
ITP C8 (Q5):
- ITP lights are continuously-variable, with an innovative loosen of the head to activate the ramp, tighten to save the setting (no switching required). This is probably the most intuitive continuously-variable interface I've seen yet.
- Lights use PWM to produce low modes, at an undetectable frequency.
- Beam pattern is identical to early Olights, since ITP use the same two-stage reflector (i.e. textured at the base to reduce rings, smooth along the top half).
- Runtime efficiency and regulation is quite good, typically on par with Nitecore's continuously-variable mechanism.
- Light comes in both Regular and Tactical versions. Tactical includes a protruding forward clicky and lacks the SOS/strobe of the Regular version (which is accessed by repeatedly soft-pressing the Regular's standard reverse clicky).
- Build quality is quite good, I would say generally on par with the early Olights and Fenixes.
- The head unit is interchangeable with 1xAA and 1xCR123A/RCR body tubes, sold separately (ITP C7 and C9 versions). This allows you to play "lego" with the various body/battery tubes and heads.
- Please see my ITP C8 Review for more info, and links to other ITP model reviews.
- Bottom line, ITP has probably the simplest and most intuitive continuously-variable interface I've seen yet. Very competitive for the price.
- Lights were provided by ITP for review. Now available from their US dealer shiningbeam.com for ~$45.
JetBeam Jet-I PRO EX V2 (Q5):
- JetBeam was the first to release a continuously-variable 2AA light, using their IBS (Infinite Brightness System) circuit.
- All JetBeam IBS lights use PWM, but the frequency is high enough that I can't detect it by eye or instrument.
- The Jet-I PRO EX series is designed for throw, and these are good throwers even with the stock textured reflector (although some of the newer 2AA lights can throw further).
- Maximum output is middle-of-the-pack for current 2AA Cree Q5 lights, but output/runtime efficiency is definitely less than the newer continuously-variable lights (Nitecore D20, ITP C8).
- Low output is nice and low with this circuit - second only to the Nitecore D20 among all the 2AA lights.
- Light uses a reverse clicky and can tailstand (although a bit wobbly). Clicky feel has improved from the earlier Jet-I series lights (i.e. less "stiff").
- User Interface is quite good - the IBS circuit allows you to set three defined output states (A, B, C) through a continuously-variable brightness mechanism. Pre-sets are available at 5%, "default low", 50%, "default hi", and 100%. A number of strobe and SOS modes are also available, but you don't need to see them if you don't want to. See my detailed Jet-I PRO EX V2 for more info.
- Build quality is generally excellent. Although there is an anodizing mismatch from the head to body on my sample (common for natural type III hard anodizing) and lettering is not always perfectly clear (can be faded in places)
- Tailcap threads are anodized, allowing for tailcap lock-out.
- Kudos to the JetBeam for introducing the first continuously-variable 2AA light. The 3 set-able states of the IBS circuit are a bonus, but you may want to look at the more recent competition if runtime is your key concern.
- Light was supplied by JetBeam for review. Current retails for ~$65.
Lumapower Connexion X2 2xAA Extension (Q5)
- Lumapower has just come out with a 2xAA extension tube for the 1xAA Connexion X2 (part of Lumapower's EDC line of KISS lights). The tube smoothly fits between the head and 1xAA body tube/tailcap.
- The light has 3 output levels, controlled by a recessed forward clicky switch. No strobe/SOS modes included. Memory mode is activated if you leave the light on for more than 1 sec in any given mode.
- Light is current-controlled, and thus has good output/runtime efficiency - although output modes are unchanged from the 1xAA version (i.e. typically lower than the dedicated 2xAA lights reviewed here)
- Low mode level is quite low for a current-controlled light, but now as low as some of the PWM-based continuously-variable lights. But it is one of the most efficient lights at its Lo level.
- Build quality has improved from earlier model EDC lights, and now features an accessible tailcap clicky with removable clip, type III hard anodizing, and other updates. Light is one of the smallest 2xAA lights available.
- Very smooth beam, with wider than typical spillbeam (both due to the relatively shallow reflector). The head portion with reflector can be adjusted somewhat for focus.
- Note that a new TurboHead for greater throw is available (see my review for more info).
- Light can tailstand, although head/body lock-out is not possible.
- Light was received from Lumapower for review. Current retail price of the 2xAA extension tube is not known (but the 1xAA model sells for ~$50).
NiteCore D20 (Q5):
- Nitecore's continuously-variable lights use PWM, but at a high enough frequency that I cannot detect it with my setup or see it by eye (Nitecore claims >1 kHz).
- Beam profile is revised from earlier D10/EX10 Cree lights, with a deeper reflector that produces a less defined hotspot with less Cree rings (i.e. more SSC-like in its pattern).
- Like the popular NiteCore D10/EX10 series, the D20 uses a piston-drive ("Smart PD") coupled with a continuously variable brightness mechanism that is visually linear across its ramp.
- The light can be used in both a tactical manner (i.e. momentary on) and forward-clicky-like manner (i.e. fully tightened, press-and-release to activate).
- Piston drive design has been updated from the earlier 1AA/1xRCR versions, and now has a fully-functioning lock-out feature. Note that the pressure required to activate the light is stiffer than a typical clicky switch.
- Overall build is sturdier than original D10/EX10 - the D20 is one of the heaviest 2AA lights in this round-up (consistent with Nitecore's attempt to make this more of a "duty light").
- Comes with a removable bezel-pointing pocket clip, similar to the new D10 clip (secured with two torx screws, allen key included).
- Lubrication of the piston o-rings causing "sticking" remains a known potential issue (i.e. too much applied, and too thick). Minor adjustment/lubing of the spring/contact ring in the head may also be required if intermittent contact issues arise.
- For a lot more info, please see my Nitecore D20 review here.
- Bottom line, an impressively-built light with a powerful yet elegant feature set (although there can be a few issues with lubing and piston resistance).
- Sample was provided by Nitcore for review. Light retails for ~$70.
Olight I25 (Cree R2):
- The Olight I-series lights are basically a merger of the older Olight T-series build with the ITP circuit and UI - both revised and tweaked in a new format with the latest R2 Cree emitters.
- Build is similar to the T25-T (Tactical) described below, with the addition of a removable clip and clip cover/grip ring.
- Circuit is similar to the ITP C8 described above, with a shortened ramp time and revised UI to support strobe/SOS with a tactical forward clicky.
- Please see the Olight Infinitum Round-up review for a greater discussion of the updates to this line.
- Light retails new for ~$65.
Olight T25 (Q5) - 2008 Model
- Like Fenix, Olight uses an efficient current-controlled circuit for its various output modes.
- The regular version has 5 distinct output levels controlled by the head switch (i.e. loosen-tighten twist). Switching sequence is from Min to Max output, in a continuous loop. Light has a memory mode retaining the last level used. Light also has a high brightness rapid strobe, and a high and low brightness SOS (strobe/SOS modes accessed by rapidly clicking on the tailcap).
- In contrast, the Tactical T25-T has only 3 output levels (basically levels 1, 3 and 5 of the regular version), also in a Min to Max sequence, with the tactical strobe and SOS mode following in the switching sequence. The reason for the interface change comes from the forward clicky, which allows for momentary-on and press to lock-on.
- The only build difference between the regular and Tactical versions is the tailcap, which is a bit longer on the Tactical model, with a switch/cover that protrudes further due to the forward clicky.
- Max output of the regular version T25 is not as high as some lights, but Tactical version is closer in output to the most heavily driven lights.
- Output/runtimes were generally excellent across the range of outputs, with equivalent efficiency for the the two models (which are generally comparable to Fenix).
- While the lowest setting is not as low as the PWM-based competition, it is one of the lower ones out there for current-controlled lights.
- Max throw is among the highest of the 2AA lights.
- Olight doesn't use their original two-stage reflector on these lights - the reflector is fully textured.
- Build quality is very high. Lights have a very substantial feel, a bit bulkier than the Fenix models, but with very similar overall build quality (maybe even a touch higher).
- Reverse clicky tailswitch on the regular version doesn't allow tailstanding, unfortunately. Of course, the forward clicky on the T25-T won't tailstand either.
- Anodized tailcap threads allow for lock-out.
- Olight is often regarded as a Fenix-clone with a revised interface and sturdier build. And what's wrong with that? The T25 and T25-T are strong contenders in this class. I would choose between the two of them based on your preferred interface.
- Lights were provided by batteryjunction.com for review. Lights retail new for ~$70-80.
Romisen RC-N3 II (Q5)
- The Romisen RC-N3 II is a two-stage version of the popular budget RC-N3 budget light (1xCR123A with 2xAA body tube). AFAIK, this two-stage Q5 light is only available from shiningbeam.com.
- The RC-N3 II is the first true "budget" light I've included in this review, so overall build and performance is not expected to perform at quite the same level as the more expensive "brand name" premium lights.
- Output levels are a bit lower than most other 2xAA lights. Output/runtime efficiency is very good on Hi, and quite acceptable on Lo.
- Beam pattern is quite good - reflector is textured, producing a pleasant beam. Throw is about typical for a 2xAA light.
- Light includes tailcap annodizing, so tailcap lock-out is possible. But the anodizing doesn't seem to be perfect on my sample - I found that I could still activate intermittently even when slightly unscrewed.
- Slightly protruding forward-clicky tailcap, comes with a GITD button cover. Can't tailstand, but momentary-on feature is likely to be popular.
- Interface is straight-forward - click once for Hi, click off/on again for low. Light remembers last mode when off for up to ~30 secs, and automatically advances to the next level with a click during within that time.
- Included clip is really designed for 1xCR123A operation.
- Personally, I'm impressed with the performance and build of this light for the price. While you can't expect premium brand-name quality, I would not have a problem recommending this light for general purpose use for non-flashaholics on a budget.
- Light purchased from shiningbeam.com. Retails for ~$25.
Some final thoughts:
I'm a big fan of the 2AA series of lights - my first "real" LED was the Fenix L2T (Luxeon III model). I still consider this one of the best form-factors for non-flashaholics, as it has the best combination of output, runtime, and easy battery availability. It's nice to see all the new entries in this space, including the development of more tactical-style lights.
As always, please don't ask me to pick the "best" light of this class. It all comes down to what you want to use the light for (and how much you are willing to pay for it ).
There are a few stand-outs. For a slim-lined light with the best output runtime efficiency, it's hard to beat the Fenix L2D. For non-flashaholics, or those with a preference for a straight-forward interface on a budget, the Eagletac P100A2, Fenix L2T V2.0 and ITP C8 (especially the Tactical version) stand out in my mind. And the Romisen RC-N3 II is a very good "budget light" choice - performance and build were surprisingly good for the price. For the tactical crowd, the Olight I25 & T25-T, Eagletac P100A2/P10A2, Nitecore D20 and Fenix TK20 are all strong contenders - depending on what features most matter to you.
We have definitely come a long way from the original 2AA minimag incandescent most of us started out with. Although I haven't covered them here, there are a lot of LED upgrades possible for this classic light (e.g. Terralux drop-ins, etc.), as well as the official minimag-LED Luxeon and newer Rebel version. Those who like a single-stage light might want to check out the budget Fenix E20 for a brighter modern equivalent.
On a final note, it's important to acknowledge that most of the world still uses alkalines in 2AA lights. For those in-the-know, the new generation of low self-discharge (LSD) NiMH batteries are a wondrous innovation. These are available under the Sanyo Eneloop and Rayovac Hybrid brands, as well as re-badged under a number of well-known names (most notable Duracell "pre-charged", but also available from Kodak, Sony, etc.). I strongly urge those still using alkalines to make the switch (the "Flashlight Electronic - Batteries Included" forum can provide a lot more info). But for those sticking with alkalines, I think you've find Fenix/Eagletac remains your best choices for output/runtime performance.
UPDATES MAY 4, 2010:
FYI, although I haven't "officially" updated this thread in a while, I have continued adding new runtimes and beamshots to the stock photos in the main review. Here are are some full reviews of lights that have been added to the comparison graphs and tables:
Olight Infinitum I25
LiteFlux LF3XT 2xAA Battery Tube
4Sevens Quark QAA-2
And a few more recent ones that haven't been added to the tables/graphs yet:
EagleTac P20A2 Mark II (XP-G R5)
ITP SA2 (XP-E R2)
To follow the online discussions for this review, please see the full review thread at CPF.
Return to the master review list (at flashlightreviews.ca).
For a list of all my CPF flashlight reviews in chronological order by battery type (direct link to CPF), please see here:
Candlepowerforums Threads by Selfbuilt
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Page last updated on May 14, 2011 - selfbuilt (at) sliderule (dot) ca (replace the "at" and "dot" labels with the appropriate symbol for e-mail)
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