EagleTac D25AAA Review

   03.05.15

EagleTac D25AAA Review

I’ve mentioned often that we are in a Golden Age of Gear. If you don’t believe me, then just grab an Eagletac D25 AAA. For $30 you get an amazing amount of technology.

This is a light that just two years ago would have cost two or three times more, and it compares quite favorably to one of my favorite lights of all time, the Peak Eiger. And unlike that specialized piece of tech, the D25 AAA gives you everything you want in an even smaller, easier to use package. It’s not quite as versatile as the Eiger, but it’s darn close. But here is the thing–my Eiger, decked out and suped up, cost over a $100. The D25 AAA delivers 99% of its performance for $30 shipped. Simply put, if you are looking for a very small EDC flashlight, the D25 AAA has everything you need.

Description

The D25 AAA is a 1xAAA light from Eagletac. Here is the product page. It is part of the D25 line, which includes a 1xAA, 1xCR123a, and a 1×18650 flashlight, all of which are aimed squarely at the EDC market and all of which are very competitive, both in terms of performance and price. These are some of the best sub-$100 lights out there. The light is exceedingly small. It has a washer-style pocket clip, a magnet in the tail, a twisty UI, and a space-saving TIR optic instead of a traditional reflector (here is more on Total Internal Reflectors).

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The light is about the size of your pinky finger. It has three output modes: low, medium, and high. It comes on in low, and you change modes by twisting the head of the light, which turns the light on and off.

The light comes in a few different colors, but the colored section of the light is nothing more than a small band around the head of the light.

The D25 AAA I have runs a Nichia 219b emitter for very high color rendering (here is more on color rendering). It is available in a regular emitter as well, with slightly higher output. On high with primaries, the Nichia 219b version produces 85 lumens. The light can run on primaries and rechargeables (rechargeables produce more light).

Testing

I carried the D25 AAA for more than a month. In that time, New England was pummeled by snow and I did lot of work outside at night removing snow. I also had to crawl into the underbelly of my house (the room housing our oil tank and the basement rafters) following pipes and making sure everything was working. In that time the D25 AAA was one of two lights I used (the other being the always excellent HDS Rotary–one of the best emergency lights available). I used the D25 AAA in my hands, as a tailstanding candle, and between my lips. This wasn’t moving around in the woods, but it was a pretty good test of what a home owner would use a light for on a daily or weekly basis.

Design

Everything about the D25 AAA was designed to minimize its footprint.

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The twisty UI saves space over a clicky, the TIR shortens the head (or at least lets the head be same size with a better beam pattern), and the clip, while functional, is low-profile. Simply put, the D25 AAA is absolutely tiny. It’s right at the edge of the “too small” category.

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I have a few lights smaller, like the 40DD. That light, while very useful, just doesn’t fit in the hand well enough for regular EDC use. But fortunately, the battery format forces the D25 AAA to be a certain size, and that size is sufficient. Not great, but sufficient. The notion that you don’t have room to EDC a flashlight is pretty much silly when there are lights the size of the D25 AAA out there.

Size is not the only thing working for the D25 AAA. Eagletac’s designers took care to include some of the best features on modern flashlights. Interestingly, only one of those features was expensive (the emitter). The rest were just smart.

Implementation

There is a lot to like here, but one thing instantly bugged me: the clip.

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The clip is just too big for a light this size. It borders on absurd and was a snag magnet from the moment the light came out of its package. Worse still, there is no clean way to get rid of the clip. You should just be able to unscrew the end of the light and slide the clip off, but you can’t. 555Gear‘s mod is probably the best–he just broke it off. As it is, mine is bent out of shape (hey, I used the phrase and didn’t have it mean angry).

The rest of the light is pretty darn awesome, especially when you factor in the pittance you paid for it. The emitter is awesome, thanks in large part to being filtered through the always great TIR optic. The anodizing is nice and sturdy. The magnet on the end of the light, which I thought might just be a gimmick, turned out to be amazing.

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One super cool tip–it sticks to most light switch plates thanks to the metal wall box.  In power outages, that’s a great place to stick a light as switches are systematically placed throughout your house.

Conclusion

The D25 AAA is a great light, regardless of budget. The inclusion of both a Nichia emitter and a TIR optic for under $30 is staggering. This just isn’t technology that was expensive three years ago. It was technology that didn’t exist in consumer products five years ago. That’s how fast things change.

There is a lot of competition at this price point. The 2014 edition of the venerable Fenix E05 is excellent, but not quite as good. The L3 Illumination L10C, a 1xAA light, is probably better–a better clip and a not so fiddly size, but it is not clearly superior. In the 1xAAA market you need to pay a LOT more to do WAY better. Peak lights and customs like the Tain made stuff are better. SureFire’s two 1xAAA lights come out soon, but regardless of those gilded torches, for $30 the D25 AAA is amazing.

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