JetBeam Jet-III PRO ST Review: RUNTIMES, COMPARISONS, PHOTOS and more!

selfbuilt

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Reviewer's Note: This is a review of the new ST version of the JetBeam Jet-III PRO flashlight. The Jet-III PRO ST was supplied by JetBeam for review.

UPDATE 12/15/08: The circuit on my original ST appears to have been defective, with reduced regulation and abnormally low runtime. JetBeam has sent me a replacement model, and I've updated this review where appropriate. There are some minor build improvements too.

JetBeam recently revised all their flashlight series to include their continuously-variable circuit (IBS, or "Infinite Brightness System"). The original Jet-III PRO IBS was the first 18650-only light to use an IBS circuit, and contained a relatively "throwy" head of similar size as the original 1xCR123A/RCR Jet-II IBS.

The Jet-III series has now been updated with two new members - an Ultra version, with a slightly bigger build and larger head for even more throw, and a scaled-down "slim tube" ST version (reviewed here). Along there way, there have also been some incremental updates to the IBS circuit.

UPDATE: A full review of new member of the Jet-III family - the Military version with multi-power support - is now available.

Jet-III PRO ST specs from the manufacturer:
  • LED: CREE 7090 XR-E (Q5 bin)
  • Max Output: 225 Lumen (Torch Lumen)
  • Reflector: aluminum reflector
  • Lens: Sapphire crystal
  • Tailcap lock-out function
  • Material: T6061 T6 aircraft aluminum alloy
  • Finish: HA III Military grade hard annodized
  • Battery: one 18650 Rechargeable Lithium Battery
  • Input voltage: 0.7-4.2V
  • Switch: Forward clicky with metal switch retaining ring
  • Waterproof: Accord to IPX-8 standard
  • Dimension: Bezel diameter 25mm, Tail diameter 25mm, Overall length 120mm
  • Weight: 65g(without battery)

ST-1.jpg


First thing I noticed is the packaging has also been updated - the Jet-III PRO ST comes in a hard shell cardboard box with a magnetic retaining clasp. This is a great improvement over the thin paper box of the original Jet-III that could easily show up somewhat "smushed" in the mail. :rolleyes:

The light comes with warranty card, instruction manual, spare o-rings, good quality wrist lanyard, and an extra forward clicky switch with metal retaining ring and replacement boot cover. A standard reverse clicky with plastic retaining ring came installed in the light. Interestingly, the manual still depicts the original Jet-III PRO IBS in its illustrations.

ST-2.jpg


ST-3.jpg


ST-8.jpg


ST-4.jpg


ST-5.jpg


Please see my original Jet-II IBS & Jet-III PRO review for pics of the original Jet-III PRO.

UPDATE 12/15/08:

ST-11.jpg


The replacement ST sample JetBeam sent me came with a smooth reflector instead of orange-peel. I have updated my summary table later in this review to include both sets of values.

Build differences

From left to right: AW protected 18650, Jet-III PRO ST, original Jet-III PRO IBS, Romisen RC-M4, ITP C6, Regalight WT-1
ST-7.jpg


Jet-III PRO IBS: Weight 107.0g, Length 129.2mm, Width 23.3mm (body) 33.6mm (bezel)
Jet-III PRO ST: Weight 75.0g, Length 121.5mm, Width 23.3mm (body), 25.0mm (bezel)

A lot has changed on this model. The ST has a very streamlined look and feel in comparison to the more "bulky" original Jet-III PRO. Overall height, width and weight are all less now (although still fairly substantial with good hand feel). I no longer have my Fenix P3D to compare, but I recall it had thinner construction and shorter overall length. The Jet-III ST body tube easily accommodates all my AW protected 18650 cells.

The removable clip and lanyard attachment of the original Jet-III PRO are now gone on the ST. Overall diameter remains relatively consistent across the length of the ST, and an anti-roll ridge has been added near the base of the head. New on this ST model is a very attractive stainless steel lens retaining ring (replacing the black plastic one of the Jet-III PRO). :thumbsup:

Type III anodizing is flawless on my sample, and a bit more of chocolate-brown colour (which I personally like). Lettering is crisper and sharper than most of my other JetBeam lights. :)

ST-6.jpg


Newer IBS lights now lack the previously common JetBeam spring at the base of the light engine. Instead, the head unit has an enlarged screw base height and a new contact plate with distinct metal regions. This provides reverse battery polarity protection, which wasn't available on the original Jet-III PRO. I haven't experienced any problems with any of my flat-top AW protected 18650s making contact with this new setup.

Note the IBS circuit has also received a few upgrades, but they don't make much a difference on the 18650-only Jet-IIIs (e.g. the circuit now has improved ramping sequence and default output levels on 1.2V-1.5V AA batteries - see my Jet-I PRO EX V2 review for a discussion).

The light still retains the high quality, thick square-cut screw threads - although the anti-oxidant coating seems to be gone. Note that the tailcap has anodizing along its interior surface, allowing for tailcap lockout. :thumbsup:

UPDATE 12/15/08:

ST-10.jpg


Top is the original ST, bottom is the replacement ST. As you can see, the tailcap threads are now anodized on both the body tail-region screw threads as well as the actual tailcap threads (previously, only the tailcap threads were anodized). It is always better to have both sets of threads anodized, since otherwise a scratch of the anodizing in the tailcap could compromise the tailcap lock-out. Note that the replacement ST came with the forward clicky installed by default.


The reverse clicky spring has been elongated from earlier models. With the reverse clicky installed, the light can now tailstand, thanks to a new tailcap design. And here's something for all you "tactical" fans ;) - a forward clicky with a metal switch retaining ring is now included.

ST-9.jpg


Although the forward clicky switch assembly comes with a new boot cover (without the interior projecting nipple portion), the boot cover/switch still protrudes too far out the back with the forward clicky installed to allow tailstanding. The switch retaining ring also rests a bit further forward up the tailcap, preventing it from screwing as far down on the body (it still covers the bottom o-ring, so waterproofness should not be affected).

Note that the IBS interface was designed for a reverse clicky, so it is a bit trickier to access programming modes with the forward clicky installed (i.e. you have to fully click-and-release to turn on the light, flash 3 times, then half-press to start the ramping, and only release when you want to stop the ramp).

For beamshots, I've kept it simple with just a comparison to the original Jet-III PRO IBS. Both lights are on max on AW protected 18650 batteries, ~0.5 m for a white wall.

ST-Beam1.jpg

ST-Beam2.jpg

ST-Beam3.jpg


As you see in the pics, the beam is less ringy on the ST, but with less throw. See below for the summary chart and runtimes comparisons. Tint is also cooler compared to my Jet-III PRO IBS - although both would be considered quite white.

UPDATE 12/15/08:

Since the replacement ST came with a SMO reflector, I've done beamshots of both units side-by-side, at around the Default Hi output level.


ST-Beam5.jpg

ST-Beam6.jpg

ST-Beam7.jpg


As you can see, there is a small increase in throw with the SMO reflector, but the OP reflector does help smooth out the Cree rings. The tint of the replacement ST is also warmer, but that simply reflects the lottery for cool white tint bins. See the Summary Table below for more info on throw for the reflectors.


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.

Throw/Output Summary Chart:

ST2-Summary.gif


I've thrown a few other continuously-variable lights into the mix for comparison. All lights are 18650-only, except for the ITP C6/C6T which are multi-power lights. As you can see, the ST has less throw than the other lights (which are all bulkier with larger reflectors). See the runtimes below for a greater discussion of the output levels and their performance.

Variable Output Ramping

ST-Ramp.gif


As you can see, ramping is virtually unchanged from the original Jet-III PRO IBS.

Output/Runtime Comparison:

ST2-Max.gif

ST2-Hi.gif

ST2-Med.gif

ST2-Lo.gif


UPDATE 12/15/08:

The replacement ST sample now performs as expected - runtime performance is very close to my original Jet-III IBS PRO, which shares the same circuit.

The original ST sample had reduced efficiency (although still within the range of other continuously-variable lights), and incomplete regulation at high settings. This seems to have been an anomaly, and the replacement light is behaving as expected.


The multi-power ITP C6/C6T lights outperform on 18650 due to their partially regulated/direct-drive circuit design (which is generally more efficient that fully regulated, but less popular with many members here).

General Observations

To be honest, I had not expected to like the Jet-III PRO ST form factor as much as I do. :sssh: I tend to go for dedicated throwers in this class of lights (which are bulkier), as well as lights with removable clips or bundled holsters. But the ST is a real pleasure to hold in the hand, and has a very useful general beam for everyday use. It's also small enough to be pocketable (although there are smaller 2xCR123A lights around - like the Fenix P3D).

Build quality is very high, and the included option of the forward clicky should go some way with the tactical crowd. Personally, I'm happy to stick with the standard reverse clicky - which the IBS was designed to work with - as programming can be a bit more cumbersome with a forward clicky (i.e. have to remember to keep half-pressing after each programming step). The light can also tailstand with the reverse clicky installed, which is another bonus.

The ST is designed for those that like a smaller light with more elegant styling. :p I've noticed a strong trend recently to move away from thin-walled lights toward lights with thicker aluminium bodies and bulkier external styling (e.g. Fenix "Tank" series). I suspect the Ultra version of the Jet-III would likely fit in pretty well with these newer bulky lights. Of course, styling is a matter of personal taste. For me, I like the hand-feel the ST. And it is certainly no slouch in the build department - I no longer have my P3D to directly compare, but the ST feels more substantial than I remember the P3D being.

The newer Jet-III offerings - the slim-lined ST and throwy Ultra - are definitely worthy upgrades to the Jet-III line. IMO, the only thing missing from these lights is the ability to run on 2xCR123A primaries. However, I understand JetBeam is coming out with a Military version of the Ultra with a revised circuit that should address this issue. Of course, I would have to see the circuit performance of this new light before drawing any conclusions (e.g. multi-power lights are typically only partially regulated on 18650 - see my ITP C6/C6T review for sample output/runtime performance). Not that that is a bad thing by any means - it's actually far more efficient - but I know a lot members here appreciate flat regulation. :shrug:

UPDATE: My JetBeam Jet-III M review is now up.

As always, it comes down to your personal preference. :) I find I really like the relatively small size and smooth beam of the ST, so I plan to keep it on my desk for use around the outside of my house (right next to my RaidFire Spear and Lumapower MRV).
 
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brighterisbetter

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selfbuilt, you have outdone yourself yet again. While I'm not interested in the JetBeam line, I do enjoy reading your reviews as they're done so well. Keep up the good work, you're a true asset to the CPF community.:clap:
 

Flashfirstask?later

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And of course the Jet-III Pro IBS and ST can be had with SMO refelectors as both of yours is OP. My Jet-III Pro IBS has SMO and makes for a more defined spot for throw with the cree rings trade off. Overall I would have preferred the ST even though the original Pro is still quite compact for a 18650 thrower.
 

DM51

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Another excellent and very persuasive (!) review - moving it to the Review section.
 

Christoph

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I may have to get another 18650 sized light .Thanks for the thorough review. Do you know whether or not this is the same ckt as is in the Ti version? Would you like to review the Ti version?
C
 

selfbuilt

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my JB ST is almost as bright as my DD quad Q5 in a [email protected] 2D host + UCL :thinking:
Yeah, I've noticed that hard-driven and well-regulated 1x18650 lights (like the ST and some of the well-known throwers) can produce a lot more output than the the direct-drive 1x18650 lights. So I could see a 2x18650 direct drive not being all that much brighter. In comparison, I'd say my regulated 3xQ5 Lumapower MVP is about twice as bright on 2x18650 as any of my 1x18650 lights.

Another excellent and very persuasive (!) review - moving it to the Review section.
Thanks David ... it's never my intention to persuade people to buy a light ;), but I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by this one. The form factor is more appealing that I previously gave it credit for.

And of course the Jet-III Pro IBS and ST can be had with SMO refelectors as both of yours is OP.
Good point - JetBeam typically offers both reflector types (although dealers may vary in what they carry). However, my experience with the Jet-I PRO head showed there was very little difference in throw between smooth and textured reflectors. Could be different for this light, but I seem to recall one of the dealers testing it for the Jet-II (Citivolus?) and finding little difference.

hmmm, that M4 looks awfully familiar:thinking:
In the interest of full disclosure, I got that RC-M4 and DX drop-in in a swap with 04orgXc64. :grin2: Not a bad performer as you can see, if you can get used to dealing with the 20 or so possible modes group into 3 categories. :sigh: If the budget makers could just settle on a simple UI, they could be quite competitive.

Do you know whether or not this is the same ckt as is in the Ti version? Would you like to review the Ti version?
Not sure, you would need to check with JetBeam or one of the dealers to verify. Doesn't really make a big difference either way, except for the reverse polarity protection. I'd be happy to test one if JB or one of the dealers want to send me one, but I don't accept loaners from other members (too many potential issues - risks of damage during testing, shipping hassles and costs, etc.).
 

mikochoco

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the jet III pro ST is similar to the P3D Q5

i would have liked to see the comparison...
 

divine

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Nice review.

May I ask why the pictures I quoted show a different switch/switch cover that suggests that the light can tailstand? Mine doesn't tailstand and what you wrote suggests that yours doesn't tailstand. Are these pictures of your light or Jetbeam's pictures of another light?
 

04orgZx6r

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Nice review.

May I ask why the pictures I quoted show a different switch/switch cover that suggests that the light can tailstand? Mine doesn't tailstand and what you wrote suggests that yours doesn't tailstand. Are these pictures of your light or Jetbeam's pictures of another light?

In the review he indicates that there are two clickies for the Jet III ST, a forward, which cannot tailstand, and a reverse, which can.;)
Did yours not come with both switches?
 

selfbuilt

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May I ask why the pictures I quoted show a different switch/switch cover that suggests that the light can tailstand? Mine doesn't tailstand and what you wrote suggests that yours doesn't tailstand. Are these pictures of your light or Jetbeam's pictures of another light?
As mentioned in the review a couple of times, my light does indeed tailstand with the reverse clicky switch installed (as shipped). It is only with the forward clicky installed that it won't. Does yours not tailstand even with a reverse clicky?

And for the record, all pics in my reviews are taken by my own hands of the actual light in my possession. :)

P.S.: thanks for the comparison pic to the P3D Eric.
 

PurpleDrazi

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As mentioned in the review a couple of times, my light does indeed tailstand with the reverse clicky switch installed (as shipped). It is only with the forward clicky installed that it won't. Does yours not tailstand even with a reverse clicky?

It's possible that his came with the forward clicky installed. That's the way my ST came. I didn't even know that there was a reverse clicky for the light until I read this review.

[goes off to find box with spare switch . . .]

:)

Francis
 

Chao

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Thanks for the great review as always:twothumbs.
The default hi level runtime looks not efficient if compare with 100% :thinking:.
 

selfbuilt

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The default hi level runtime looks not efficient if compare with 100% :thinking:.
Yeah, not sure what to make of that either. I ran the Default Hi test twice, and got the exact same result both times. And that was with the same battery used on the Max run (and on the corresponding Jet-III PRO runs).
 

JKL

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Thank you Selfbuilt for your excellent and detailed review.
icon14.gif


Runtime graphs very interesting, amazing pictures and many points of view with which being in agreement.

JKL
:wave:
 
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primox1

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Great review and comparison with other lights!!!
:popcorn:

I noticed that the SS bezel on the head of your sample is different from the pictures Jetbeam provided. Theirs is gold in color, and smaller. Any idea why?

Did the light get exceptionally hot during the max mode test?

Also, your runtimes are almost the same as the runtimes Jetbeam provided. Thats good that they arent fudging numbers.....actuallly, Im wrong. HI is off by 45 minutes....thats a whole lot considering the total times are 90 and 135 minutes.

Thanks again!!!!
 
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adirondackdestroyer

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The light looks awesome and has great output/efficiency on the max mode, but we can't overlook the lack of efficiency on the high and medium modes. Medium is only a little more than half as bright as high yet it runs only 45 minutes longer??? And the high mode runs nearly the same amount of time as max but is quite a bit less bright.

I really love the function/output/look of these new Jetbeam lights, but they are still making lights that have useless modes due to how inefficient they are. Maybe someday they'll get it right.
 
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