The MiniMag LED is a Product of Mag
Instrument Inc. This is the latest version of their
original MiniMag. They have replaced the incandescent
bulb with a 3 Watt LED, larger reflector, and boost
circuit. This solves two problems at once: the generally
poor runtime of the original and the fact that they
burn out bulbs at a pretty high rate. As a result of
the new bulb, circuit, and reflector, the MiniMag LED
is a little longer than the original.
The Minimag models are general all-around use lights
and are very popular due to their design and versatility.
This new model really raises the bar for all flashlights,
since the Minimag is often the "standard"
upon which other lights are rated.
Body: The body of the Minimag is anodized aluminum
and is checkered for grip around the body and has grooves
around the head and tailcap. The tailcap is flat, allowing
the light to stand on its end. Unlike the original Minimag,
it lacks the hole for lanyard attachment.
Bezel/Head: The bulb is a 3 Watt LED. As such,
no spare bulb is needed and the light is much more shock
resistant than the original. The reflector is smooth
silvered plastic, and is deeper than the original, which
makes the head a little longer. The light can be focused,
allowing the beam to go from a wide flood to a narrow
Output: Output is great! At the start with new
cells this light is producing about 5 times the light
of the original MiniMag. The beam now lacks the expected
rings, holes, and blotches, with only mild variations
in the beam pattern now visible. Throw is improved over
the original as well. It won't light up the side of
a barn at 100 yards, but it'll sure help you find a
dropped screwdriver in the garage.
Beam at one meter at target center, narrow and wide
Runtime Plot: The runtime plot shows another
huge improvement over the original. It will run almost
3½ hours before reaching 50% starting output.
At about 3:45, output drops to almost nothing, indicating
it is time to change the batteries.
completed with Duracell batteries. More information
on runtime plots is available HERE.
Switch: The head serves as the switch. Rotating
the head turns the light on and off, and changes the
focus of the beam. This does mean that every time you
turn on the light you need to adjust the focus. The
head can be completely removed and if placed face down,
the tail of the light can be placed in the head opening,
creating a stable base for the light. This is commonly
called "candle mode".
Seals: The light is sealed with O-rings at all
access points to the case. Water resistance is good.
Use it in the rain with no worries. Don't take it diving.
Shake it off if it is dropped in a puddle. I would call
it "very water resistant".
Ergonomics: Nothing to report here - same as
a Minimag AA, but a little longer.
Size compared to a common 2AA aluminum light
Batteries: The MiniMag LED uses 2AA alkaline
batteries. Unscrew the tailcap to change the batteries.
Make sure you put in the cells + first! Putting the
cells in backwards will damage the LED, and there goes
your brand new light up in smoke.
Accessories: A nylon belt sheath is included
in the package.
What I Liked: Water resistant,
Impact resistant, Bright, Easy battery change, Lightweight,
Stands up, Great size
What I Didn't Like: Lack of reverse
polarity protection; don't put the batteries in backwards!
Other Things I Noticed: Inside
of tailcap was slightly crushed in the sample I received,
but this had no operational effect.
Conclusions: It's now official;
the LED flashlight is here to stay! This is a great
replacement for those aging MiniMags you have hanging
around. This is a very good light, and a huge improvement
over the standard MiniMag. The body of the Mag is pretty
tough and can take a fair beating, and now with the
LED and DC-DC boost circuit you get much better runtime
and even better shock resistance. This may be THE big
consumer light of 2006.