JetBeam PC25 Review


   

The Jetbeam PC25 is a flashlight in the 1x18650 format which utilizes the new Cree XML emitter.  The feature that most stands out on this particular model when compared to other flashlights in the same battery format is the side switch on the tailcap which controls the modes.  The XML emitter produces a great amount of brightness, rated at 400 Ansi lumens.  This model uses a side-mode switch on the tailcap for mode operation.

Manufacturer specifications

Manufacturer Specifications
Cree XML LED  (50,000 hour lifespan)
Battery: 1x18650 or 2 cr123 (lithium)
Dimensions
-Length: 143mm
-Diameter Tube: 25.4mm
-Diameter Tail: 26 mm
-Weight: 108 grams (excluding batteries)
- Four Digitally-regulated brightness levels
- Reverse Polarity Protection
- Tactical push-button tail cap switch for momentary-on
- Tail cap side switch for simple, fast operation of modes.
- Constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum
- Toughened ultra-clear double glass lens with anti-reflective coating
- Removeable tactical grip ring.
- Lightweight design (108 g)

Output Modes
-Turbo: 408 lumens, 2 hours 15 minutes
-High: 160 lumens, 5 hours 
-Mid: 45 lumens, 19 hours
-Low: 8 lumens, 273 hours
-Strobe: 408 lumens

-Waterproof: IPX-8, 2 meters


The Jetbeam PC25 arrived in a very professional looking case which made a great first impression.  Instead of the traditional cardboard/plastic mix, the PC25 came packaged in a solid black plastic case which doubles as a carry case for the light.  The case is padded inside as well for maximum protection.  Inside the case were the flashlight, a very well made user manual, a jetbeam warranty card, a holster, a lanyard, 2 spare o-rings, and a spare rubber tailswitch.  Starting with the manual, it was nice to finally see more presentable documentation, as flashlight manuals tend to be very simple and hard to read.  Especially if the flashlight is given away as a gift, the manual is quite important.  Combined with the very presentable hard plastic case, it almost seems as if Jetbeam purposely made the PC25 very gift-friendly. 









The lanyard is a nice quality one.  It has a plastic size adjuster which is designed to prevent having the light slide off your wrist.  This plastic adjuster is not as strong as others I have seen however, and it tends to slide when the PC25 is hanging from it.




The rubber tailswitch and the o-rings are good quality replacements.







The PC25 comes with a nice holster that is standard quality.



The PC25 is geared towards tactical use, which is quite evident in its size and construction.  As opposed to many of the flashlights I have seen in the 1x18650 configuration, the PC25  has no clip.




This flashlight is very well built and is well designed.  The flashlight is a tactical design with a thin body tube which increases in diameter the closer you get to the bezel and the tailcap.  This, of course, is because the reflector is designed to be larger so therefore this increase of diameter gives the flashlight the potential for more throw.





One feature which was surprisingly missing on the PC25 was the complete lack of knurling.  There is one strip of what might look like knurling near the head, but this is mostly as aesthetic feature as the head does not need to be rotated for operation.  The PC25 seems to favor the tactical design in order to provide grip, which works, but it still would have been nice to have at least some knurling on the tailcap or the center of the body tube. 






On the topic of grip, the flashlight came installed with a plastic tactical ring.  This is the first time I have seen these rings constructed of plastic.  To be honest, I don’t really see this as an issue, even though I tend to prefer all-metal construction, because the tactical ring is not a structural part of the light and therefore it does not need to be all metal.  The plastic seems to work very well and it even has a benefit in that it makes the flashlight lighter, which was one of the features that Jetbeam was trying to incorporate into this design.  This ring is also incredibly easy to remove.  You simply unscrew the tailcap and the ring screws right off.  The tactical ring also has a small hole in it for lanyard attachment.





The PC25, as with some other 1x18650 flashlights I have tested, does not come with a clip.  This might be something someone is looking for and it’s important to recognize that you won’t be able to clip this onto your pockets. 
 

The  aluminum on the PC25 is fairly thin and this is shown clearly in the weight.  However, it feels sturdy and well made.  I also want to mention that the body of the flashlight heats up a bit after its been left on high modes for a while, meaning that the heat-sinking is working as it should.





The threads on the PC25 are standard triangular threads.  With newer flashlights starting to move towards squared threads, I would have liked to see those incorporated into the design.  I believe they are a large benefit since they provide a tighter seal and prevent thread grinding.  Having said that, the threads on this model are very smooth and operate as they should.  (also, keep in mind that the threads are not hard anodized.  I am assuming this is done because of the multi-mode tailcap.)





There are two o-rings on the PC25.  One on either side of the battery tube.  I actually like the fact that they are red because it makes it easier to see them and to see if they are in good shape.  The black ones tend to blend in with the flashlight body and are harder to see.








Size/Balance:
As with all tactical flashlights, balance is a very important aspect since the flashlight needs to be able to be comfortably held in a tactical grip for prolonged periods of time.  The PC25 has a center of balance that is a little off center, towards the head of the flashlight.  It is a very small amount so the balance is very good.  It is very comfortable to hold in both the palm of the hand as well as in a tactical grip.  It was actually surprising to me to have the balance there since I thought the large head would make the flashlight much more top-heavy.  Since the body is very ergonomic, there are no objects or rough patches getting in way of your fingers.  Overall a very comfortable flashlight to hold.

                                               



          



The tailcap has what seems to be a brass cover over the spring mechanism which comes into contact with the battery when it’s inside.  This is a nice feature which is especially important in flashlights which will be using rechargeable batteries like the 18650.  I have had cases where this spring starts to scratch off the metal of the battery.  In the PC25 I don’t have to worry about it.  It’s also nice to see dual springs on either side of the battery.  This gives it a nice amount of shock protection in case the flashlight were to be dropped, protecting both the flashlight and the batteries.









Design (head and reflector):

The PC25  is a flashlight which is seemingly geared towards having an even mix of throw and flood.  This is evident in the design of the head, which is larger in diameter than the rest of the flashlight body.  The reflector that it uses is slightly orange-peel.  When compared to similar 18650 sized flashlights such as the Lumapower Trust 2, the NexTorch T3, and the Eagletac T10, the PC25 has the nicest mix of throw and flood. 



LED/Beam:

The PC25 uses a Cree XML LED which is housed in a module which is not easily removable or replaceable.  This XML LED puts out a very bright beam which is rated at an ANSI standard of 408 lumens.  I really like that Jetbeam has moved over to the ANSI standardized lumen rating system.   It takes the guess work out of the process of trying to determine exactly how much light it puts out in comparison to other models and brands.  Big thumbs up to Jetbeam for that.

I will note that the tint of the XML led emitter on the PC25 is a very nice white color, with no hints of blue whatsoever.  I have noticed that on some XML flashlights, the lowest levels of output are plagued by a bluish tint.  On the PC25 for some reason that is not the case.  The tint is very easy on the eyes and thus makes it great for outdoor use. 

     
                                                                    Jetbeam PC25 on far right

User Interface:
The PC25 uses a mode-switch system that, as stated previously, has its own button on the side of the tailcap.  This is the first time I have seen a dedicated mode button on the side of the tailcap in a flashlight.  The order is always:  Ultra low(8 lumens) à Low (45 lumens)à Medium (160 lumens)à High (408 lumens)  This order repeats itself once the highest setting is reached.  Once the desired setting is reached, you can simply turn the flashlight on and off with the tailcap button and it will remember the mode that it was turned off at and will turn on at the same mode.  The strobe is accessed by pressing and holding the side mode button. (It must be held down in order to work.  You can’t activate the strobe and leave the flashlight on a table for example since the button needs constant pressure) 

                                              


I was very intrigued by it and was curious to see how it would work over time.  The idea itself is very good.  By having another button to change modes, mode operation becomes very straightforward and easy.  This is especially important when giving the flashlight as a gift.  You simply turn on the flashlight by the tailcap and then use the other button to change the mode.  When you are holding the flashlight in your hand and staring at the mode-change button, the operation of this system is very easy.  The mode button has a nice feedback to it.  It is also a huge benefit in a tactical sisutation to be able to have quick access to strobe mode.  The PC25 gives you this with the mode button.  Simply press this button while the flashlight is off and the goes into variable strobe mode ( a very effective strobe system I will add).





Unfortunately, for my personal use, this small side switch on the tailcap is hard to feel with gloves on and the button is impossible to see at night since it is black.  This means that I have found myself wasting time feeling the flashlight body with my fingers in order to try and find the mode switch button, rotating it slowly until my finger came across it.  Sometimes I also rotate the flashlight body slightly while holding it without even noticing, and the mode button is not where I think it is.  To me this is a big drawback of this system.  I believe the way to make it work in the future is to have perhaps a glow-in-the-dark system on the rubber tailswitch for the mode, and to make this button larger and have it stick out further so that it is easier to find simply by feeling it with one’s hand.


Batteries:
The PC25 accepts either an 18650 or 2 cr123 batteries.  Different from many other flashlight models, you won’t destroy the drivers and circuits by mistakenly inserting the battery the wrong way so this is one less thing you will need to worry about.

                             


Conclusion:
The PC25 is a very impressive flashlight which has its build quality, case, brightness, and dedicated side-mode button as its primary selling points.  It is very lightweight for its size as a 1x18650 flashlight and this is a nice benefit for tactical reasons.  The XML LED does not need much explanation.  It is simply the best LED in terms of brightness and runtime that is currently in production at the writing of this review ( October 2011).  It is good to see companies like Jetbeam taking advantage of the superior advances in technology.  While there were some issues with the operation of the side mode button, the design is very innovative and can be very effective.  I am always one to applaud companies that make changes in designs and take risks in order to create a product that is both different yet effective.  Jetbeam has done well on this aspect and we are all looking forward to other innovations by the company in the future.





4 comments:

JHK said...

This torch looks great. Thanks for the review.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the info. Are you going to do a comparison between this flashlight and other 18650 flashlights? I'm looking for the best one in that size range and I've been considering a couple.

Mike Harding said...

I was actually wondering the same thing about the small mode switch. I think it would be hard to locate and would make it a pain to switch modes. Very helpful review, thanks.

Kelevet said...

Looks like a good flashlight. I have a couple jetbeams and i've been happy with them.

Post a Comment

Newest Reviews

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

 
Light Reviewers Flashlight Reviews | All Rights Reserved