Jetbeam PC20 flashlight review: CREE XHP35 LED 1,800 LUMENS (2019 model)
Jetbeam is a company that needs little to no introduction for most enthusiasts - they’ve been around since 2004, and their lights are well known for reliability and durability. Today I’ll be looking at their Jet-PC20; a 21700 tactical/weapon light, with an XHP35 HD providing the bright stuff.
This is the first Jetbeam light I’ve used, and I’m keen to see if they live up to the hype!
What you'll get:
The packaging for this light is quite a nice retail box, and has a large amount of information on it. The box has a few slight creases, but nothing overly worrying. Opening it up and looking inside, we find some plastic packaging containing:
- The Jet-PC20 itself, with tactical ring attached
- USB-A to USB-C charging cable, with USB-A passthrough
- A Jetbeam-branded 5100mAh 21700 battery (complete with plastic cap for shipping)
- A small bag with clip and spare o-ring
- Lanyard (and quite a nice one at that)
- User manual and assorted papers
Which is quite a well-rounded kit - this light can be bought with everything you need to use and charge it.
|Brand / Model||Jetbeam PC20 (2019)|
|LED||CREE XHP35 HD 6500K|
|Beam intensity||13900 cd|
|Battery config.||1*21700 (included)|
|Waterproof||Rated for IPX8 (2m underwater)|
|Review date||November 2019|
Handling of the light
Out of the box, the Jet-PC20 comes with a “tactical” ring attached. At first, I was somewhat dubious, but I found that while holding the light in an overhand manner, it sits very snugly between my pointer and middle finger, with my pinky resting over/slightly next to the mode change button. With gloves on, this would sit perfectly on top of it.
The lanyard included is brilliant! A good length, and with an easily-adjustable tightness bar. With this on and secured, I felt very comfortable in letting the light “drop” from my hand to simulate real-world fumbles.
In under-handed mode (that is, holding it horizontal to the ground, thumb forward), it felt slightly awkward - changing modes is fine, but turning the light back off requires you to rotate it in the hand. My reading of the marketing for the light indicates to me that this isn’t the intended method of carrying, though.
The pocket clip is a friction-clip, so it takes quite a bit of effort to put on after the tac-ring is off. I’ve probably scratched the anodisation underneath it while putting it on… but I’m not game to look, plus I like it with the clip on, anyway.
Build Quality, knurling, threads, and anodization
Build quality is as I expected given my prior impression of Jetbeam - everything lines up very snugly, and everything sits where it’s meant to.
Threads are a horizontal cut, making the tailcap easy to engage when screwing it back on. Unscrewing was slightly harder; it almost feels like there’s a vacuum inside the light exerting pressure against the unscrew, but it’s not too hard to push past that. The O-ring on the tailcap is a lovely red/orange, and is well lubricated, as are the threads.
Anodisation is on point - I couldn’t detect any blemishes or marks, just a solid coat that feels good to the hand. Not too chalky, not too smooth - just right.
LEDs, Lens, Bezel and Reflector
I can’t find any official literature that has the colour temperature of the XHP35 HD used in the Jet-PC20, but to my eye, it’s around 6500K. This is far higher than my personal preference, but for what it’s designed for, I can understand. While there’s multiple variations of this emitter, I would imagine that it would be in 70 CRI format - in a law enforcement situation, I feel that the 80 or 90 CRI emitters would be more suited, as the tradeoff for brightness vs being able to distinguish objects would be valuable.
This is all situated under a smooth reflector and AR glass. At first I wondered if having an OP (textured) reflector wouldn’t be more suited, as it’d increase the hotspot, the XHP35 HD does that job itself by nature of being a domed emitter.
A beamshot comparison below is an FW3A with the rosy sw45k, the Jetbeam Jet-PC20 XHP35 HD 6500K, and then a Convoy S12 Nichia 219C 4000K.
Driver & User Interface:
The Jet-PC20 has a “tactical” UI in that it combines the tail and e-switch for full functionality. There are five modes, plus a strobe function. Note that it cycles from Turbo down to Eco, in true “tactical” fashion.
- Turbo (1800lm), High (1060lm), Middle (360lm), Low (80lm), Eco (12lm).
- Click tail switch - On (to mode memory)
- Half-press tail switch - Momentary memory mode
- Click tail switch - Off
- Click side switch - Mode advance (Turbo > Eco)
- Hold side switch - Strobe
It’s possible to leave it to the mode you want, and then just use it as a single-mode light, if desired.
Low Voltage Warning:
The light has a low voltage warning via the side switch, although this is at around 2.8V - I’m not exactly prepared to take the battery lower than that to test actual power-off. Lockout is done by a ¼ twist of the tailcap, given the threads are anodised.
I couldn’t detect PWM with either my eyes or camera - lovely!
Batteries and charging:
Included in the box is a 5100mAh Jetbeam button-top cell, which is great for making it an all-in-one kit. There’s no markings on the battery that indicate the discharge rate, but in this light, it’s irrelevant. Note that as it’s a protected battery, it’s slightly longer than your average 21700 - it wouldn’t fit into my Liitokala Li-500, where a normal 21700 will just squeeze in. Charging within the light will be essential if that’s the case for you, too.
The cable included is a USB-A to USB-C cable, with an interesting addition - it has a USB-A passthrough, so you don’t lose the port completely. You can then connect another cable into that, and charge a second device. As the Jet-PC20 only charges the battery at around 1A, if you are connected to a 2A supply, you can then charge another device at 1A.
Charging via USB-C direct won’t work though, as the additional circuitry required for that is not present. It needs to be over USB-A to USB-C.
All of my readings were taken with the supplied battery fully charged - I recharged it between each test. I tested current with a Fluke 87 and short 12AWG wires, to eliminate losses over wire.
I tested with both the included battery and a Samsung 40T, and the results were very similar - as such, I’ve averaged the results where necessary.
Jetbeam PC20 Amp measurement (at tailcap)
- Turbo: 6 A
- High: 2.7 A
- Med: 720 mA
- Low: 186 mA
- Eco: 76 mA
As seen in the graph, we get a spike on turbo, and after 2 minutes, it is still at 90% of 30s brightness. From there it falls hard down to just under 50% turbo brightness, then with a few small deviations, holds onto that for around two hours, before stepping down to nothing slightly after 3 hours.
An interesting note on this - while the red light around the side switch was flashing, indicating critically low voltage, the light kept going - at the 188 minute mark, it dropped to 0.3% of the 30s brightness, which isn’t visible on the graph, and I then turned the light off, as it still had the emitter powered.
I’m not sure if it would have eventually turned itself off, but I will need to do another test to see what the final voltage was at that point - my DMM told me 1.7V, but I can’t be 100% sure if that was accurate. I’ll update the review with a second reading after testing again. The battery did, however, charge fine in the light after this up to 4.2V.
Jetbeam PC20 Lumen measurements (for each mode)
As my lumen tube is still being built now built but as yet uncalibrated, I will have to rely on Jetbeam’s advertised numbers for this.
- Turbo: 1800lm
- High: 1060lm
- Med: 360lm
- Low: 80lm
- Eco: 12lm
I’ve been playing with equations lately, so I’m going to wax a bit lyrical here - in the community, it’s a given that four times the lumens equals twice the apparent brightness. So after making some lovely curves in Excel, I’ve come up with the “apparent brightness” jumps:
- From Eco to low - 2.58x brightness
- From Low to Med - 2.12x brightness
- From Med to high - 1.72x brightness
- From High to Turbo - 1.3x brightness
Admittedly it goes in reverse order, so I’ll transpose that:
- Turbo to High - about 75% brightness of Turbo
- High to Medium - about 60% brightness of High
- Medium to Low - about 47% brightness of Medium
- Low to Eco - about 39% brightness of Low
So while there’s a definitive curve downwards in brightness disparities, it’s still a nice smooth transition - there’s no obvious “holes” in the mode spacing.
Measurements were taken both indoors and outdoors with the Uni-T UT383S. I took three measurements at both 5m for indoors and 10m for outdoors, and so as to account for any variance in my aim, I’ve averaged the results.
Using turbo mode, I get:
- Indoors (5m): 11425cd = 214m throw
- Outdoors (10m): 13900cd = 236m throw
I find it curious that there’s 20m of throw difference in the readings; I can’t quite account for that, but it’s within the realm of normal.
Beamshots following soon
This light was provided by Banggood for review. I have done my best to be as balanced as possible.
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