June 7, 2013

My Newest EDC Light: EagleTac D25A Mini

I don't know why it's taken me so long to write a post about a flashlight. I paid lip service to my Photon X-Light Micro and FourSevens Preon P1 flashlights in a previous post, but I didn't really say much about them. So, before I get to the EagleTac D25A Mini, I'll give a quick flashlight backstory.

The Photon X-Light Micro was the best thing I acquired in 2011. It still resides on my keychain, with the original battery alive and kicking. I use it almost every day; it's just great to have on my keychain. I have the high-tech looking clear version, which has a glow in the dark button. Max output is 4.5 lumens according to Photon, which is sufficient for my intended use cases: finding keyholes; navigating hallways at night; and reading menus in dark restaurants.

I tend to use the Photon's simple click-on, click-off mode. The click button, however, can also be manipulated to provide a variable output level and to select different beacon and SOS modes - pretty impressive for a nine dollar light. The Photon is very well made, too. The plastic case, the split ring and the keychain clip are all very tough, and they appear to be designed to withstand the daily abuse of keychain carry. I now have one of these lights on every one of my keychains.

Next up, the FourSevens flashlight. I purchased the Preon P1 for use as my daily pocket-carry light, and it works just great for that purpose. According to FourSevens, it is only 2.95 inches long and only 0.6 inches in diameter. It's pretty small, and it really disappears in the pocket.

The Preon is powered by a single AAA battery, and it has a max output of 70 lumens. It has a standard twisty head UI that can be used to select low (1.8 lumens), medium (8.5 lumens), and high (70 lumens) output modes. Flashlight geeks will appreciate that the Preon uses a Cree XP-G2 LED; and, yes, many people care about such specs. The UI can also be manipulated to access the "special" strobe, beacon, and SOS modes (which I only use when I want to be annoying or when I'm demonstrating the features to someone).

I Can See The Cree!
I love the easy-to-use twisty UI and the basic design of the Preon. My only gripe: the finish is too silky smooth, which makes it difficult to twist on and off with one hand. I wish it had some texture or knurling at the head.

The Preon P1 And Its Power Source
End of backstory. So what's up with the EagleTac D25A Mini? To be honest, I simply wanted to buy another flashlight. No big deal. I initially looked at other AAA lights, but soon decided on a AA light. I also considered the following AA lights before deciding to acquire the EagleTac: Maratac; Lumapower LM31; FourSevens Mini MA; and EagleTac D25A Clicky. I was about to order the titanium clicky version of the D25A, but then common sense and frugality took over.

The D25A is very small and compact. The EagleTac website tells me that the D25A is 3.1 inches long with a head diameter of only 0.69 inches. It's not that much larger than my Preon, and it also fits nicely into my pocket. I feel that the AA size of the D25A is a perfect compromise between utility and EDC capability.

D25A Mini (Top), Preon P1 (Bottom)
The flashlight has a solid and tough pocket clip that I'll never use for its intended purpose (mine is black versus the silver colored clip shown on the EagleTac website; what's up with that?). The D25A also came with a belt holster (that I'll never use) and a lanyard with clip (that I'll never use). The end of the D25A has a slot to accommodate the lanyard clip; this allows tailstanding when the lanyard is attached.

D25A Mini (Left), Preon P1 (Right)
The EagleTac D25A is compatible with AA sized batteries, including standard alkaline batteries, long life disposable lithium batteries, rechargeable NiMh batteries, and high voltage lithium ion batteries (which may result in blinding sunlight output and molten aluminum, which equals awesome). I'm using a regular AA cell at the moment, and it works just fine. I've read that better performance can be had with a Sanyo Eneloop battery, and I will give that a shot next. The housing is not much larger than the AA battery itself, as shown here:

Now, I supposedly ordered the latest and greatest version of the D25A, i.e., the one with the Cree XP-G2 R5 LED. According to the marketing department of EagleTac, this emitter generates 179 lumens on high, 47 lumens on medium, and 5 lumens on low. I am not an LED expert, nor do I care to become one. I only know these facts: this flashlight generates plenty of light for my EDC needs; the low mode is great for skulking around the house at night; and the color of the light is more of a natural and warm hue (in contrast to the Preon P1, which seems to be "cool white" in comparison).

Cree XP-G2 R5 LED
The light uses the same type of twisty UI as the Preon P1, so it was easy for me to learn how to use it. The D25A Mini also has some "hidden" modes for strobe, beacon, and SOS. I guess these modes could be useful in certain urban emergency scenarios (flagging down the car valet at the five-star hotel, signaling for help when your mountain bike tire goes flat on the golf cart path, indicating that you've raised the bid on that rare bottle of wine, etc.). Speaking of the twisty interface, EagleTac was kind enough to provide ample knurling on the body and head of the flashlight. The knurling, combined with the protruding pocket clip, makes it very easy to operate the twisty UI with one hand. For this reason, I'll be carrying the D25A Mini more often than the Preon P1.

Grip It & Twist It
So that's about it for the EagleTac D25A Mini. If and when I NEED another flashlight, I'll keep the EagleTac brand in mind.

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