The JetBeam T6 is a mid-sized flashlight, small enough to fit into the back pocket of your jeans, but one that packs a powerful 4,350 Lumen Turbo-mode punch. This flashlight is easily the most versatile flashlight I own and it has become my go-to flashlight in any situation.
Jetbeam is a respected brand but not as well known as its very popular sister brand Nitecore. I would think most flashlight aficionado’s have at least one Nitecore battery charger in their collection (I have three or four). Both JetBeam and Nitecore are brands of SYSMAX Industries.
The flashlight is relatively small. It is 6″ in height (~15cm), 2″ in width at the base (~5cm) and 3.4″ in width at the front (8.5cm”). It fits my hands well and, as mentioned before, my jeans’ back pocket.
Without batteries the JetBeam T6 weighs in at 1 pound and 3.3 ounces (545 grams).
It is dwarfed by my Lumitop SD75 (also pictured with my Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone) despite having slightly more maximum light output!
The T6 is powered by four 18650 lithium cells. Included with my T6 were four 3,400 mAh OLIGHT cells. OLIGHT is a respectable manufacturer which adds protection to the ubiquitous Panasonic NCR18650B. Unfortunately the protection circuitry on the cells I was sent did not function correctly. During testing I managed to discharge these cells below 3 volts.
The T6 has four CREE XLamp XP-Ls, each of which have a theoretical maximum output of 1150 lumens. The T6’s stated Turbo output of 4,350 Lumens is easily achievable with these LEDs.
JetBeam T6 has four modes (plus SOS). The modes are:
- Turbo 4350 Lumen *
- High 1500 Lumen
- Medium 350 Lumen
- Low 30 Lumen
Comparing the Lumen output to other flashlights, I believe they are accurate (or at least as accurate as my eyeballs are). I took the below photos with my camera on full Manual mode (to avoid the camera compensating for different light levels). The tree in the photo is 100 yards away.
Switching between modes is easy. Double pressing the “on” button always switches the light to Turbo mode. Pressing the “on” button once turns on the flashlight to the last mode, and pressing again cycles through the different modes (Turbo > High > Medium > Low). Double pressing the SOS button always switches to Low mode. A single press of the SOS button activates the strobe function.
My main criticism of this flashlight, and of all multi-led flashlights, is that the beam is not perfectly round and so light is lost on the edges. The beam is cross shaped as you can see in the photo below:
The atrocious diagram I drew below shows the beam angles, from the hot spot in the middle to the edge of the main beam.
The small size of the flashlight comes with a compromise. It lacks a large heatsink and so the output is thermally throttled. If it overheats, the light output will decrease. This is only going to affect Turbo mode, which I found started to be throttled as it heated up to ~105 °F (~40 °C). The photo below shows the temperature, measured by K-type thermocouples, of the head and of the body just as it began to throttle.
At an ambient temperature of around 69 °F (~20 °C) the flashlight took about 15 minutes before it started throttling output. The flashlight in this test was standing on its base, so it was a worse case measurement. If it had air moving around it (such as if you were carrying it) I would expect it to operate at a higher intensity for a longer period of time. According to the manual, it throttles output slowly until it is under 70% of the original output, or under 3000 Lumens.
I am quite happy with this compromise. I would rather have a small flashlight that decreases in output as it heats up, over a much larger flashlight, such as my SD75 which does not throttle but is about twice the size.
The runtimes are:
- Turbo 1:48 hours (as measured by me) *
- High 4-5 hours (as measured by me) **
- Medium 21 hours (according to the specifications)
- Low 300 hours (over 12 days, according to the specifications)
* I measured and wrote down exactly 1:48 hours, which believe it or not is exactly, to the minute, what the official specifications are. I can barely believe I have finally found a company that does not lie about the flashlight runtimes!
** The official runtime for High mode is 4:30 hours. I roughly got 5:30 hours, but in this test I over-discharged the batteries. I roughly estimate I got a good 5 hours.
When the batteries are below 20% an LED built into the buttons slowly flashes blue, when battery capacity drops below 10% the blue LED starts flashing fast.
The flashlight is well constructed. It has IPX-8 (immersion) water protection to a depth of 2 meters (6.5 feet). I did not test the water protection because I could see that the seals were more than adequate and well lubricated with silicone grease.
The specifications say it has 1.5 metres (4.9 feet) impact resistance. The glass has a double multi-coating (the blue tint seen in the photo above) for excellent optical transmission. The flashlight has standard 1/4″ tripod mount underneath, with plenty of space to actually attach to a tripod without any adapters (unlike my Lumitop SD75).
Included in the attractive box is a manual, a spare o-ring, a shoulder strap (the clip on mine broke) and a free mini-keyring flashlight.
The T6 was supplied with a Nitecore Intelli i4 charger. This is easily one of the most popular chargers for 18650 batteries. It also charges Ni-MH and NiCad batteries.
Jetbeam offers a 24 month warranty on both the flashlight and the charger.
The flashlight comes in three packages. The first is just the flashlight for $199.85, the flashlight plus batteries is $219.85 and flashlight+batteries+charger is $274.85. It can be purchased from Amazon or from Bensnail.com
As of September 2016, Using the promo code TFBT6D90 on Amazon knocks 10% off the regular price (I don’t know when this expires).
I wholeheartedly recommend this flashlight. It is incredibly powerful, but small enough to use day to day. The issue I had with the batteries is minor and I am sure they will replace my cells under warranty. If it worries you, just buy the T6 without batteries and use your favorite brand of batteries.