JetBeam Jet-III M (Military) Review - RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, DETAILED PICS and more!

selfbuilt

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Reviewer's Note: This is a review of the JetBeam Jet-III Military flashlight. Note that this is the first continuously-variable JetBeam IBS light than can take a full voltage input range, allowing all possible batteries configurations (i.e. 2xCR123A/RCR, 1x18650). The Jet-III M was provided for review by JetBeam.

JetBeam Jet-III M Features (from the manufacturer and dealer websites):
  • LED: CREE 7090 XR-E (Q5 bin)
  • Max Output: 225 Lumen ("Torch Lumens")
  • Reflector: aluminum reflector (both smooth and textured available)
  • Lens: Sapphire crystal
  • Material: T6061 T6 aircraft aluminum alloy,
  • Finish: HA III Military grade hard anodized
  • Battery: CR123*2,RCR123*2,18650 Li-ion
  • Input voltage: 2.7-15V
  • Switch: Forward clicky switch
  • Waterproof: IPX-8 standard
  • Output & Runtime:
  • MAX output: 225 Lumens, lasting for 1-3 hours depending on battery
  • Min Output: 2 Lumen, lasting for 200 hours
Estimated price: $85 USD

JetIIIM-0.jpg


Light comes in a hard cardboard box with magnetic closing clasp and foam inserts. This is a great improvement over the thin paper box of the original Jet-III PRO. The light features a removable bi-directional pocket clip (installed), and comes with manual, warranty card, good quality wrist lanyard (mine came with 2 for some reason), extra o-rings and tailcap boot cover.

JetIIIM-1.jpg

From left to right: CR123A, AW 18650, JetBeam Jet-III M, Olight M20 Warrior, JetBeam Jet-III PRO ST, Jet-III PRO IBS, Solarfoce T7, Romisen RC-M4.

As you can see, size is slightly larger than the more compact general-purpose 2xCR123A lights, but still reasonably small. Very similar in overall size and feel as the Olight M20 Warrior.

Weight: 127.0g
Length: 137.5mm
Width: 33.4mm (head, widest portion), 25.5mm (tailcap)

JetIIIM-2.jpg

JetIIIM-3.jpg


The Jet-III M is a very well made light - probably the best JetBeam light I've come across yet. :thumbsup:

The light is very solid, with a good sturdy hand feel. Both the bezel and tailcap come with stainless steel retaining rings, to enhance durability. A replacement bezel ring with aggressive attack ridges is now available (sold separately).

JetIIIM-6.jpg

JetIIIM-7.jpg


Everything fits together well, with double o-rings and JetBeam's high quality square-cut screw threads. Tailcap threads are anodized, allowing tailcap lockout. :) Instead of a spring mounted on the positive contact board in the head (like on the early JetBeam IBS lights), the Jet-III M has the new standard raised contact surface that provides reverse-polarity protection.

Machining and hard anodizing (in JetBeam's typical gunmetal grey colour) are flawless on my sample. :twothumbs The knurling is not overly aggressive, but grip is enhanced by all the exterior design ridges and clip. The removable clip is bi-directional - you can position the light in both bezel-up and bezel-down orientations.

Lettering is reasonably sharp and clear on my sample, although contrast with the dark grey background is not as high as some other lights. That being said, this is one of the "cleanest" examples of lettering I've seen from JetBeam. ;)

JetIIIM-4.jpg

JetIIIM-5.jpg


Unlike most of the competition, this tactical light can tailstand. :eek:oo: Light comes with a forward tactical clicky (momentary on, click for lock-on - see below for a discussion of the UI). Despite being recessed, the crenelated tailcap ring makes it still reasonably easy to activate. Note the tailcap switch retaining ring is now all metal.

The reflector is fairly deep - mine came with a smooth one installed (OP is also available, purchased separately). In my experience of JetBeam lights, the smooth version doesn't usually offer much better throw than the OP, so you are probably best stick with OP to smooth out the Cree rings.

And here is the only minor quibble I had with my light as shipped - I noticed that the reflector seemed slightly misaligned:

JetIIIM-Beam0.jpg


As you can see, the beam seemed somewhat defocused, with a slight dark shadow near the emitter (lower right in the first pic above), and a center "donut" at close-up distances (about 0.5m in the pics above).

Upon removing the bezel ring and lens, I quickly spotted the problem - a tiny sliver of the bezel o-ring had gotten stuck just under the lip of the reflector. This basically raised and tilted the reflector slightly, producing the pattern shown above. By simply re-seating the reflector and o-ring, I was good to go - scroll down for the detailed beamshots.

Since I had the head open, I thought I would take some additional shots of the insides for you. :p

JetIIIM-8.jpg

JetIIIM-9.jpg


For beamshots, below is a comparison to the Olight M20 Warrior (R2) and JetBeam Jet-III ST that I have recently reviewed. All lights on max on AW Protected 18650 (pics taken ~0.5 m from a white wall).

JetIIIM-Beam3.jpg

JetIIIM-Beam4.jpg

JetIIIM-Beam5.jpg

JetIIIM-Beam6.jpg


As you see (with the reflector properly mounted), the smooth reflector on the Jet-IIIM produces very good throw, but with the standard Cree rings. I would recommend most users consider the OP reflector, since I know these typically result in a negligible loss of throw on JetBeam lights. Jet-III M throw is certainly more pronounced the Jet-III ST. For a more detailed throw/output comparison, see my Summary chart below.

UPDATE: Some additional long-distance beamshots, to show you how the light compares to others in its class.

Please see my recent 100-yard Outdoor Beamshot review for more details (and additional lights).


Outdoor-JulyDaylight.jpg


G5-IIIM-M20.gif


User Interface:

The Jet-III M features a revised IBS interface, in keeping with its wider voltage/battery range and "tactical" focus.

The original IBS lights were 4.2V max, and had 3 programmable output modes (each accessed in sequence by a soft-press of the reverse clicky tail switch). Each mode could be independently programmed to any output along the continuously-variable range, or set to one of many SOS/strobe modes.

This new light is multipower (up to 15V), allowing you to run 1x18650, 2xRCR/CR123A. It has two output states - Max output (head fully tightened against the body) and one programmable output mode (head slightly loosened). Programming of the set-able mode has been slightly altered from the earlier lights, to take into account the forward clicky switch (the original IBS lights were designed to work with a reverse clicky).

To access the "Brightness Setting" on the Jet-III M, from off, rapidly flash the clicky 3 times within one second, then hold the switched half-pressed or fully click to start the ramp. To select the output level you want, simply release the switch or click off. Wait at least 2 secs for the light to memorize your setting before attempting to turn back on.

To access the SOS/strobe modes, flash the switch during the brightness ramp. This will advance you to "Special Functions" mode, which contains a number of SOS/strobe modes. Note the manual fails to describe these - unfortunately, the same text from the previous "Brightness Setting" section of the manual is repeated in this section by mistake. :tsk: Unlike a lot of other lights, JetBeam actually gives you a good number of different stobe frequencies and output levels to choose from.

EDIT: JetBeam has revised the manual, and EngrPaul has kindly posted pics of the instructions in post #24.

If you flash again while in the Special Functions mode, you will advance to the Reset Function mode. This doesn't have much use now, as it was designed for the original IBS circuit where it reset all 3 programmable modes to factory defaults. :shrug: Simply flash again to get back to the Brightness Setting mode to restart the ramp.

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.

Ramping sequence:

JetIIIM-Ramp.gif


As you can see, ramping is still quite linear, but the time to complete the ramp is much longer now. Not sure why they changed it, but I actually a prefer the original ramping time. :rolleyes:

Throw/Output Summary Chart:

JetIIIM-Summary.gif


Peak throw on the Jet-III M is identical to my original Jet-III PRO IBS (although that one had a textured reflector). But as others have reported, there’s very little difference in throw between smooth and OP Jetbeam reflectors.

And now the truly surprising part – the lowest low setting of the Jet-III M is very close to the minimum output setting of my Novatac 120P. :faint: That’s quite remarkable!

Output/Runtime Comparison:

JetIIIM-1-1.gif

JetIIIM-2-1.gif

JetIIIM-3-1.gif


And here is how it compares to other lights:

JetIIIM-HiPrim.gif

JetIIIM-HiRCR.gif

JetIIIM-Hi18650.gif


A few comments on Max output:
  • Max output of the Jet-III M is typically identical to my ITP C6, which is a bit less than the other lights shown here. As a result, runtime is typically quite good.
  • As expected for a multi-power CR123A/RCR/18650 light, performance on 18650 is only semi-regulated. This is common on all multi-power lights – and leads to more efficient performance.

JetIIIM-MedPrim.gif

JetIIIM-MedRCR.gif

JetIIIM-Med18650.gif


Performance on Med is pretty much as expected – except 18650 remains only semi-regulated (typically, most multi-power lights maintain complete regulation at lower output levels on 18650).

JetIIIM-LoRCR.gif


I’ve done only one relatively Lo-ish runtime on the Jet-III M, and the result is consistent with the others (i.e. similar efficiency to the Solarforce T7). Surprisingly, the ITP C6 seems quite efficient on RCR for a continuously-variable light.

Potential Issues

Honestly, I haven’t found any yet. :grin2:

UPDATE: One minor issue - due to wide bore tube to allow all protected 18650 cells to fit, there's some rattle of the thinner 2xCR123A. This is also true on the Olight M20 - and as a happy co-incidence, the spare magazine holder for the Olight M20 is a perfect fit for the Jet-III M to stop the rattle. You just can't screw the plastic cap on the holder for use in the Jet-III M.

General Observations

Simply put, the Jet-III M is probably JetBeam’s best built light to date. :thumbsup:

Components are all of high quality. The light is a pleasure to hold and use, with a very substantial feel. I like the bi-directional clip, and was surprised to find the forward clicky reasonably accessible with the tailstanding bezel ring. I would rate the overall Jet-III M quality as high as my Olight M20 Warrior – in fact, this light feels even slightly “sturdier” than the M20 (i.e. slightly heavier). Good job! :kiss:

The interface makes good sense for a “tactical” light – by simply leaving the head tightened, you can insure it always comes on in Max. The programmable user defined mode (head loosened) is a fairly good design, although it limits you to just one programmable state. Obviously, bezel twisting is not ideal for a tactical light, but this is good compromise since you can always insure it comes on in Max if you want.

The forward clicky gives you a true momentary on, which is popular with members here. Unfortunately, this complicates the programmable interface somewhat (recall that the original IBS circuit was designed for a reverse clicky). Although the IBS circuit seems to have been revised for this light to facilitate forward clicky use, it is still not fully intuitive. For example, you no longer have to start the 3 rapid flashes from the on-state, and you don’t need to end with a half-press or click-on. But if you don’t end with the half-press, you don’t know if you’ve succeeded in entering the programming mode (i.e. the light won’t actually start ramping until the next time you click on). You then need to click-off to save the brightness setting. Workable, but not ideal.

In any case, I think it’s great that JetBeam has finally revised the IBS circuit to take a wider voltage range (i.e. true multi-power capability). :D This means a lack of true regulation on 18650, but I personally find that an acceptable trade-off for multi-power support. Again, many members often complain about this, but it is a fact of life for all multi-power circuits. If you want extremely flat regulation on 18650, you will need to stick with the 18650-only IBS lights (e.g. Jet-III PRO ST and Ultra).

I’m also amazed at the incredibly low output possible on this Jet-III M light – nearly matching my Novatac 120P. :eek:oo: Not sure why you would need such a low level on a tactical light, but it should translate into phenomenal runtime for emergency purposes. It's also great for sparing dark-adapted eyes too much trauma in the middle of the night. Note that Max output of my Jet-III M is a bit less than some of the other lights shown here (although it is an exact match of the ITP C6).

Obviously, output/runtime efficiency at higher outputs will not exceed a good current-controlled light matched for the same output. If runtime efficiency matters more to you (and you can live with a limited set of defined output states and a different UI), you should definitely check out my Olight M20 review for a comparison.

In summary, the Jet-III M is very impressive light – both in its build and circuit/UI. It’s a great update to the IBS line, finally bringing fully multi-power support. As always, I recommend users carefully consider what features matter most to them, and go for the light with the best fit. I certainly have no qualms recommending the build quality of this light.

UPDATE 4/26/2009: I've discovered the diffuser and red/green filters for the Olight M20 will also fit this light. See my Olight M20 review, or this post for more details.
 
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woodrow

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Great review as always Selfbuilt! I like that the low mode can be adjusted....really low in this case. That takes care of the only drawback I see in most 2 level lights....including my TK20. I usually want a lot of light...or very little. My M20 gets a lot of use on high and low....medium is just a pass through level for me. Good job Jetbeam!

Thanks again Selfbuilt!
 

EngrPaul

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Thanks for the review, and the runtime. This is a flexible performer!

I found the textured reflector produced a very pleasant beam while maintaining throw. It's also very good looking with the textured reflector.

Jetbeam has produced some of these with neutral tint. I sold the one I had (colder than your specimen) and placed an order for this new warm version. I'll swing by and provide beamshots vs. an M20 when my light arrives (probably later this week).

I agree with all the stated pros of this light. I believe it is a MUST HAVE LIGHT.

I only found two minor cons.

(1) The last two turns installing the tailcap are very high friction on my specimen. I inspected closely and could not find the source of interference.

(2) The lens may not really be sapphire crystal, according to an independent density measurement posted elsewhere.

And I think it would be great to have a red button cover to match the o-rings ;)
 
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DM51

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Excellent review - thanks!

The formula of high quality + multi-power + ultra-low setting will mean a lot of interest in this light.

Moving to the Reviews section.
 

whc

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[FONT=&quot]Nice review, nice to see some runtime graphs :).

I don't know if you got the same manual I got, but I can see you have not mentioned the "special funktion" IE strobe which can be set to the user defined mode as well.

Here is hos to get there (the manual if fixed in the latest batch):

[/FONT](Brightness Level Programming)
1)Twist head 1/4 turn to access the secondary mode.
2)Half press tail cap button 3+ times in under 1 second
3)Now click light on.
4)You are now in program mode and will see the light slowly increase in brightness.
5)When satisfied with brightness setting simply turn light off. wait 2-3 seconds. Tuen back on and it is now memorized.

(Strobe/SOS Programming)
After step 3 from above wait another 1-2 seconds (you will see light going through different brightness levels) and turn off and back on again.
Now you are in the strobe menu. Continue on to step #5.

Else I agree with you, very nice light with superb build quality :).
 

selfbuilt

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Thanks for the support everyone. :wave:

To put the low mode in context - you can comfortably stare right into the emitter for several seconds without problem. :cool:

That kind of low is extremely useful for a middle-of-the-night light. This is why the classic VB-16 (modded with an SSC) still sits on my nightstand - nothing beats that sort of ultra low for preserving night vision.

I agree with all the stated pros of this light. I believe it is a MUST HAVE LIGHT.
The formula of high quality + multi-power + ultra-low setting will mean a lot of interest in this light.
I agree - I've always enjoyed my multi-power Jet-II PRO lights, so it's great to see them come out with a well-thought out multi-power light in this form factor. Build quality continues to improve with each JetBeam generation, and I think this could very well be the "must-have" JetBeam light for those who don't already have an IBS light in their stable. Worth checking out! :)

I don't know if you got the same manual I got, but I can see you have not mentioned the "special funktion" IE strobe which can be set to the user defined mode as well.
Thanks whc - you clearly have a revised manual. Mine mistakenly repeats the same text for both Brightness Setting and Special Functions. Glad to hear they fixed it - for those of us already familiar with the IBS circuit it's not a problem, but new buyers would be scratching their heads the first time they hit the strobe modes without warning.
 
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Mii

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Excellent review!:thumbsup:

i've been waiting for this, so that i can decide which to buy.

are those sizes correct?
Length: 137.5mm
Width: 33.4mm (head, widest portion), 25.5mm (tailcap)
at the Jeatbeam web page(http://www.jetbeam.com.cn/links/pro/jet3m/index.aspx) length is informed to be 130mm?

Jetbeam www page also indicates that JET-III Ultra's figures are:
Bezel diameter 33.5mm, Tail diameter 25.4mm, Overall length 132mm
thats about the same as JET-III PRO. Is this correct? i allways tought it to be much bigger than JET-III PRO?

I'm getting more and more confused about what i should buy:thinking:
 

selfbuilt

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are those sizes correct?
Yes, my measurements are done with a digital caliper.

The original Jet-III PRO is about 129mm in length. If you look at the comparison pic at the top of the review, you'll see the Jet-III M is definitely larger. I don't have an Ultra to compare to.
 

bluecrow76

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Thanks for another wonderful review!

It's interesting to see how much more runtime you get between the M and the ST!
 

EngrPaul

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I guess you'll be adding low runtime results... in about a week! :whistle:
 

selfbuilt

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It's interesting to see how much more runtime you get between the M and the ST!
Good observation - although I should note my ST did have lower runtimes than my original Jet-III PRO (likely due to Vf variation). Still, neither one compares to the Jet-III M on 18650.

Although many complain about the lack of flat regulation on 18650 in multi-power setups, I think this comparison shows the true runtime benefit of running direct drive on 18650.

I guess you'll be adding low runtime results... in about a week! :whistle:
Ah, sorry, in this case I meant "pending" in the sense of when hell freezes over. :devil: :laughing:

Seriously, I don't even want to try to guess how long this light would run on minimum. If it's any consolation, I am doing an impromptu min mode runtime on the NiteCore D20 on regular alkalines (light is serving as night-light in my closet at the moment ;)). Coming on 5 days now and still going strong ....
 

naked2

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Excellent review selfbuilt, but I have a question you may or may not be able to answer.

Mev at Light-Reviews reviewed the Hermes H20, and I bought his review sample. My light is almost identical (except for aesthetic differences on the exterior of the flashlight) as the one reviewed here.

The same two position UI with IBS and settable stroe (I too was pleasantly surprised with how low minimum is :candle: and find myself staring into it, it almost seems mesmerizing!). The same SS head and tail bezels, sharp lettering (of course it says "Hermes H20" w/serial #), and beautiful gun metal gray anodizing. Same circuit board with outer brass retaining ring, triangular middle, and raised center brass contact. Same square threads, red o-rings, anodized lock-out tail, switch and spring.

But it's obviously not intended to be a copy/clone, due to the distinctly different exterior, but on the interior, it's the same flashlight (kinda like a Chevy Silverado compared to a GMC Sierra!).

So here's my question: Since JetBeam was bought by a larger company to save it, do you think it's possible the Hermes is being produced in the same factory by the mother company?
 

KiwiMark

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As you can see, ramping is still quite linear, but the time to complete the ramp is much longer now. Not sure why they changed it, but I actually a prefer the original ramping time. :rolleyes:

Surely the longer ramp time makes it easier to select the exact brightness you want? It's not like you have 3 different modes to program on this light!

And now the truly surprising part – the lowest low setting of the Jet-III M is very close to the minimum output setting of my Novatac 120P. :faint: That’s quite remarkable!

I’m also amazed at the incredibly low output possible on this Jet-III M light – nearly matching my Novatac 120P. :eek:oo: Not sure why you would need such a low level on a tactical light, but it should translate into phenomenal runtime for emergency purposes. It's also great for sparing dark-adapted eyes too much trauma in the middle of the night.

Why would you need such a low level? Well it is only an option, you certainly don't have to choose it! What about a Navy seal or a Commando or a Sniper that might have to spend a couple of weeks in a jungle and wants a light that is hard for the enemy to see and gives a huge run time? I think it is good that the option is there anyway to have any light output you like from almost off to full power. Someone in security might choose to set a rapid strobe for disorienting an intruder - then the IIIM gives them full power or strobe with a quick twist, possibly exactly what they want in a torch!

I kinda like the idea of a light with only 'click on - click off' from the switch, no modes to cycle through for the best in KISS principle. The fact that you can put it into full power or custom setting mode is a huge plus because it gives the versatility to suit anyone.

I can't wait for my Jet-IIIM to arrive (warm tint, OP reflector).
 

selfbuilt

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So here's my question: Since JetBeam was bought by a larger company to save it, do you think it's possible the Hermes is being produced in the same factory by the mother company?
Hmmm, well, as you say, not really one I can answer - I suppose you'd have to ask JetBeam or Hermes. But it's also quite possible that the factory that JB contracts out the work to is doing a little "moonlighting" on the side :whistle:.

Hard for us to know - but I appreciate you sharing the info in this thread, as I wasn't aware of the Hermes product. :thumbsup:

Surely the longer ramp time makes it easier to select the exact brightness you want? It's not like you have 3 different modes to program on this light!
True, but do you need close to 40 secs to choose a level? It's just my personal preference, but I think the previous 15 secs was fine. :)
 

Burgess

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Another fine review, SelfBuilt !


Thank you for your time and effort.


CPF is indeed fortunate to have your Reviews.


:twothumbs

:goodjob::thanks:
_
 

LuxLuthor

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I got the JB-III Pro Ti which I think is the same guts as in your review. I'm not a big "Oh gee, look....yet another small LED light" fan, but your review captured why I regard this purchase as the best of the LED clone wars in which I have partaken thus far.

Very nice quality, and thorough review.
 

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