MASSDROP BRASS AAA POCKET FLASHLIGHT
LED: Nichia 219 NW (CREE XP-G2 CW version available)
Battery: 1x AAA
Modes: 3 (M, L, H)
Switch: Digital, in the tailcap.
Date: January 2017.
Massdrop, the US-based group shopping discount platform, and more specifically its EDC community has just released its first custom AAA flashlight.
This is a flashlight that many will find familiar, as it is produced by Lumintop.
The flashlight comes vacuum sealed bag, to protect the brass from contact with oxygen, thus preventing its premature corrosion.
In addition to the flashlight, we will find in the practical plastic box an alkaline AAA battery, a pair of spare o-rings and a key ring attachment.
The Massdrop Brass AAA is a small and elegant AAA flashlight machined in brass, with a polished finish very bright and homogeneous throughout all the parts that compose it.
It is made by Lumintop, and you could say that it is a Tool Ti, with the head of a normal Tool.
It has almost identical dimensions to a Tool Ti, and a weight similar to that of a Tool Cu.
The optics consists of a neutral tinted Nichia 219 emitter, with an OP reflector and a glass lens with AR treatment. The o-ring sealing the optics is green and glows in the dark.
One of the main aspects of the machining of this flashlight is the knurling that covers the three sections of the body. Although it does not have a very aggressive feel, it greatly improves the hand feeling and grip of the flashlight.
Inside the head, we have the driver visible which will be familiar if we have seen before a lumintop tool or worm.
The threads have an excellent finish, and come perfectly clean. The feel of threading and unscrewing is very pleasant, as is usually the case with brass.
The clip has been gold-plated to perfectly match the golden color of the brass flashlight. In addition to being reversible by having a track on the opposite side of the tube, we can simply swap the tailcap with the head as the threads are identical on both sides.
Speaking of compatible threads, if we have other lumintop tool we can make interesting combinations between them, since they are completely compatible.
The tailcap hides inside a tiny electronic switch, covered by a small titanium button. This type of digital switch was first used by Lumintop in its Tool Ti, and has the peculiarity of needing a few minutes with the battery installed inside to work properly in its first use, so don’t panic if your massdrop brass AAA light is not working straight out the box!
At the edge we find a small hole for the installation of the key ring. The base of the tailcap is completely flat, so the flashlight can be placed in tailstand.
The Massdrop Brass AAA features a common user interface with its Tool AAA sisters, simple but effective.
- Switching on and off: To switch on, simply click on the switch on the tailcap. To turn it off, simply repeat the operation.
- Changing modes: To switch between modes, turn the flashlight off and on (within 2 seconds) to jump to the next mode. The order of the modes in this sample is Medium – Low – High, although I think the production units will have Low – Medium – High sequence.
- Memory: The Massdrop Brass AAA has no mode memory, and two seconds after it is turned off, it will always return back to Medium mode in the next activation.
- Block-out: Although the type of switch is not prone to unintentional activations, the flashlight can be locked by slightly unscrewing the head of the flashlight.
(All measurements are taken following the ANSI NEMA FL1 procedure, taking as value the highest point of the reading between the second 30 and 120 after activation. More info here.)
The distribution of modes is quite good, without great differences between the specified and the measured. This neutral tint version with Nichia LED emitter is significantly less powerful than the cold tint version and CREE LED.
The modes are achieved by regulated current, without PWM traces in any of the modes.
The performance and efficiency is quite poor, as has been seen in recent releases by lumintop. During the first minutes with an Eneloop the flashlight seems to try to maintain a regulation and we see as even the output grows slightly before falling and start a second unregulated phase in which the output is gradually decreasing. With the alkaline is much worse, and just 30 seconds after turning it on, we see a marked drop in performance.
Compared to other Lumintop flashlights, the performance is similar. Lumintop seems to have created a whole generation of very inefficient AAA flashlights.
The beam profile is exactly the same as that found in Tool AAA.
The Nichia emitter tint is very nice, with a really good neutral tone.
Very similar to that found in the Tool AAA Copper Nichia, and (thanks god) far from the green of my old Tool AAA aluminum.
More details in the Tool AAA Copper review.
This type of EDC flashlights on not so common metals are becoming increasingly popular within the community for daily use flashlights. Not very long ago it was hard to find a keychain/EDC flashlight that was not made of anodized aluminum or steel, but little by little copper, titanium and, why not, brass flashlights are making their way into the already saturated AAA flashlight market.
The brass, as a copper alloy, has an high density and therefore a weight significantly greater than the one would be obtained with light metals such as aluminum, but on the other hand offer excellent thermal conductivity, which makes it able to dissipate much better the temperature generated by the LED, and therefore reduce the stress on the emitter.
DQG AAA Ti II · EOSLAMP SP11-S · MARATAC AAA Rev3 · OLIGHT A3T · Olight i3S CU · Klarus MiX6 Ti · Lumintop Worm Cu · Massdrop Brass AAA
Negative aspects: The poor performance is undoubtedly the aspect with more room for improvement of this flashlight. I do not know if it is due to being a pre-production sample, my own bad luck or an error when specifying the modes/runtime by the engineering team of Lumintop, but the truth is that all models of this brand that have gone through my hands in recent times share this unattractive feature.
Positive aspects: The mechanical finish of the flashlight is excellent. The detail of bathing the golden clip to match the brass tone of the body of the lantern has surprised me very pleasantly. The design, although inherited from Lumintop’s Tool AAA, is really good, and I personally always feel attracted to those lanterns in which the knurling is a predominant part of its external appearance. As always, the fact of offering two tints is something to be valued very positively.
Review sample provided by Massdrop for analysis, test & review. Thanks!