Reviewer's Note: The Mentor and TeleForce kit were provided for review by Lumapower. Please see their website for more info.
Warning: pic heavy as usual!
- LED: Cree XR-E, available in Q5, R2, or Q3-5A output bins (max output 200 lumens, 220 lumens, or 150+ lumens, respectively)
- OP textured reflector
- DC-DC circuit with 3 level output levels
- 2-way memory locking system
- Powered by 2 x C-size alkaline battery or NiMH, 1x C-size alkaline battery or NiMH
- Electronic battery polarity protection
- Forward clicky with momentary-on
- Type III HA coating (Black)
- Square threads + Thread lock system
- Double side AR-coated lens
- Full O-ring seal for Water resistance
- Anti-roll and Tail stand
- Standard 2xC Dimension: Overall length : 171.2mm; Max. Diameter : 45mm, Body Diameter : 33.2mm; Weight : 220g (without battery)
- Accessories: Spare O-rings, switch cap
- MSRP $70-80 (depending on model)
- Optional TeleForce kit with smooth reflector and bezel extender for max throw
The Mentor is the first in a series of new "tool lights" from Lumapower. The Mentor is very unusual as it runs on common C cell batteries, and is thus closer in size to common general-purpose lights available in retail stores. Lumapower thoughtfully provided a pair of 4500mAh NiMH rechargeable batteries for this review. Standard AA size batteries will work fine in this light, with appropriate adapters.
By default, the Mentor comes with manual, warranty card, spare o-rings, and extra black boot cover (GITD installed). Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the box , but it looks just like the packaging from my other recent Lumapower reviews.
First thing to note is that the light can run in both 1X and 2X battery formats.
The light comes with the fairly standard Lumapower black type-III hard anodizing finish (somewhat matte finish). There are no chips or blemishes on my sample. Lettering is fairly sharp and clear, although not quite as bright white as some other samples I have seen.
Screw threads are anodized throughout allowing for easy lockout when not in use. The threads themselves seem high quality, with a square cut.
From left to right: 4500mAh NiMH, Mentor, MRV (1st gen), 2-D cell Dorcy (Mag-equivalent)
From left to right: alkaline C-cell, Sanyo AA eneloop in C-cell adapter, 4500mAh NiMH, Mentor, D-mini (1st gen)
Weight: 181.4g (1X size), 219.5g (2X size)
Length: 123mm (1X), 173mm (2X), 186mm (2X-TF)
Width: 45.2mm (bezel), 35.6mm (tailcap)
The stock Mentor is relatively small for an 1X or 2X C-cell sized light (i.e. look at the 2D-cell Mag clone for a comparator). I've also shown above the comparisons to the MRV and D-mini. For its size, it is still quite "beefy" it feels very solid in the hand, and the walls are good thickness (as you can tell by the weights above). Overall, I find the Mentor comfortable in the hand.
Note that there is very little knurling on the light, so some may find it a bit slippery.
Light comes with a forward clicky that allows for momentary mode, but can still tailstand due to the built-up tail ridge.
Lumapower sells an optional TeleForce kit that contains a deeper SMO reflector for greater throw. This kit also comes with an adapter piece, to extend the head. The retaining ring on the front of the light unscrews fairly easily by hand, allowing you to change the reflector and add the extension bit.
The light uses the standard Cree XR-E emitter, with a choice of cool white R2 or Q5 output bin, and Q3-5A warm "neutral" 5A tint. For those of you not familiar with tint bins, please see my Colour tint comparison and the summary LED tint charts found here.
And now for the requisite white wall wanting hunting all lights are on Max in 2X form, about 0.5 meters from a white wall.
First thing to notice is that the stock Mentor has a much wider spillbeam than typical (due to the shallow and wide reflector). For a comparator, I am showing you the 4sevens Quark AA which has one of the widest spillbeams for any 2xAA light in my collection. The Mentor clearly trumps even it for spill - most lights are much narrower than even the Quark.
With the TeleForce kit, things change quite a bit. The overall size and shape of the reflector reminded me of the classic Lumapower MRV, so I used it in the comparison above. Note a lot of similarity?
The Mentor features Lumapower's new "Smart UI". Basically, the light works as a simple 3-stage light with mode memory but also features the option to lock it as a simple single-stage only light (at your choice of output level).
For basic operation, turn the light on/off by a click and release of the tailcap switch. To switch between output modes, soft-press the clicky: the light advances through Lo-Med-Hi in sequence, in an infinite repeating loop. This basic mode includes memory if you leave the light on for more than 1 sec in any given mode before clicking off, it will come back on in that mode when next activated.
To lock the light as single-stage light at whatever level you want, turn the light on and leave it in the output state you want for at least 1 sec. Then turn off the light and repeatedly flash the tailswitch 4 times within 1 second (this may take some practice). The light will stay locked in this one output mode indefinitely until you do another 4 time flash in under 1 sec again from off (which will restore you to basic functioning).
There is no strobe or SOS modes.
Like other recent multi-level Lumapower lights I've reviewed (e.g. Avenger GX), PWM is used generate the Lo/Med output levels. I have measured the frequency in my setup as 1.32kHz exactly the same as other Lumapower lights.
This PWM level is high enough for you to not notice it in practice (but you can detect its presence if you shine it at a fan, etc). Frankly, I consider this level acceptable.
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 (i.e. >12 hours) 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:
Even in its stock form with basic OP reflector, throw and output are quite good for a 1x or 2x NiMH-based light in fact, they either match or exceed all of my 1x or 2xAA lights.
The real difference comes in with the TeleForce reflector now, max throw is greatly increased. Consistent with the beamshots above, throw and output are actually rather similar to the original Lumapower MRV in this configuration.
Performance and regulation on all batteries is quite good and consistent with what you would expect. As you can see, output is much less on all modes for 1X versus 2X configurations.
C-cell sized NiMH are not too easy to come by, and Lumapower thoughtfully provided a pair of 4500mAh ones for this review. Alternatively, you could use Sanyo Eneloop AA cells with a C-cell adapter, but you would get much lower capacity (2000mAh) than full C-cell NiMH. But for all that, performance on standard alkaline is is quite good.
To give you a sense of the relative output/runtime efficiency of the Mentor, I am showing its performance in 2xAA mode, relative to other lights of that class. As mentioned previously, it is certainly an impressive light on Max mode. On Medium, its performance is about what you would expect for a PWM-based light (i.e. overall efficiency is similar to the LightFlux LF3XT-2AA and Lumapower Connexion 2AA). The current-controlled lights of this class have a clear efficiency advantage, as always.
Although small by C-cell class standards, the Mentor is still larger than a standard AA or CR123A-based light. However, I find the ergonomics of this light to be fairly good - it is reasonably comfortable in the hand for its size. But note there is fairly minimal knurling, so some may find the light a bit slippery.
Consistent with its C-cell stature, a traditional forward clicky near the head would be more convenient than the rear tailcap clicky. While this would add greater height to the light, it would be more convenient for traditional underhand carry.
Carry options are limited, as the light does not come with a pouch. Although there are two holes in the tailcap for a wrist strap, I doubt this would be a very comfortable or secure way to carry the light.
The Mentor is a bit of a departure for Lumapower. It is unusual to see new lights in the standard C-cell class coming from one of the major quality manufacturers. C-cell lights are usually produced by budget makers, for sale in common big-box stores (Walmart, Home Depot, etc.) and bundled with standard alkaline cells.
I'm not sure how much demand there will be for this more premium type of C-cell light, but I will say Lumapower did a good job of putting together a nice light for this target audience. Its performance on all battery types is right where I would expect for a multi-stage Lumapower light.
The flexibility to run in 1X or 2X formats - both in a regulated fashion on all cells - is impressive. The choice of output levels is similarly quite good for general purpose use, as is the sequence from Low to High. And the ability to run all possible configurations of standard batteries (i.e. AA through C) makes it a versatile tool in your arsenal.
But that's also a potential sticking point - if you don't plan to use C-cell batteries, you are putting up with a lot of extra bulk and weight (although you do get excellent throw). In my testing, 4500mAh NiMH is the clear winner for runtime. However, I don't imagine too many users will have this battery type - or a charger capable of dealing with them.
But there's also a few aspects here to appeal to the more flashaholic community. The TeleForce expansion kit is a smart way to turn this light into a real thrower. In fact, for all intents and purposes, this light could be considered the standard battery version of the original Lumapower MRV or D-mini!
Actually, for all that, I quite like beam pattern of the stock OP reflector. Due to the reflector depth and width, it provides one of the widest spillbeams I've seen, while still maintaining decent throw.
Coupled with the attention to detail in construction (e.g. square-cut screw threads, tailcap lock-out, tailstanding, etc.), smart UI for the KISS crowd (i.e. you can lock the light to a single mode state at any of the outputs), and flexibility in the reflector setup, you get a lot for the asking here. I guess the question is who is asking? Im curious to hear your views on the merit of this class of light. It's certainly the best quality C-cell class light I've come across.
P.S.: my apologies to Lumapower for the length of time it took to get this review done the real world has been impinging on my online life lately.