The new Niteye MS Series has now been released. The MS stands for Military Soldier and from all appearances it looks like it fits that role quite nicely. Thank you to Niteye for supplying me with two models from the series for review. The two are the MSA10, which runs off of 1xAA and the MSC20, which runs off of 2xCR123A, 1x18650 or 2x16340 batteries. The other two lights in the series are the MSA20, which runs off of 2xAA batteries and the MSC10, which runs off of 1xCR123A battery. For those of you who are into the latest and greatest in led flashlight technology, you probably are already aware of Niteye and their fairly recent appearance onto the flashlight scene. For those of you who are not aware, they are a company based in China who are the OEM manufacturer for other well established flashlight companies, such as Jetbeam. Quality and design wise they share many similarities to some of the other higher end brands out there.
This new MS Series grabbed my attention because of their novel use of the selector ring. Instead of having it near the head area they have incorporated it into the tailcap along with the clicky switch. This puts all of the controls into one convenient location. The rest of the light is fairly standard for a high quality light using today's latest technology. It uses the XM-L U2 led and has an aluminum body with a nice dark grey hard anodised finish. The knurling is medium grippy and has a stainless steel bezel ring to protect the head from drops. It also has rings machined into the head to help with heat dissipation, and the lens is glass with an anti-reflective coating. The accessories included are a removable clip, which can be pushed into place and two spare o-rings. The lights also come well packaged in sturdy cardboard boxes with foam inside.
The first light, the MSA10 which uses a standard AA battery and outputs 160 lumens is a perfect EDC sized light. It is 105mm long and 24mm wide and weighs 77 grams. The rotating tailcap has 4 positions. All the way to the left is your Strobe, then Off, User Selectable Mode(holding button down allows you to ramp up or down) which the light remembers, and all the way turned to right is High Mode. You can also turn the light off by clicking the tailcap button. A very cool feature is the built in battery indicator, which is in the clicky button. When you turn the selector ring to the off position(2nd from left), it lights up for a few seconds. If it lights up green you still have plenty of battery life and if it lights up red it is probably time to swap out the battery. I noticed on this model that when you switch to this mode the light also comes on in low for a few seconds as well. The MSC20 model does not do this. The website states that this light has a working voltage of 0.9-1.6 volts, but curiosity got the better of me and I tried a lithium 14500 battery which is rated at 3.7 volts. Instead of smoke and flames I was rewarded by a wall of light that I estimate to be about 500 lumens...nice!! It did warm up quicker but the heat did not make the light too hot to handle. With a standard AA the custom output is 5-80 lumens, but with the 14500 it is probably the same as the MSC20, which is 25-200 lumens
The second light, the MSC20 is also quite compact, especially for an 18650 sized light. It measures 122mm long and 24mm wide and 73 grams, which is lighter than the MSA10, which has thicker walls. This model outputs 500 lumens, and with the medium textured orange peel reflector puts out a flood of light. The lowest output is about 25 lumens according to the specs., and this is perfect for navigating around the house at night. It might be a little too bright though and it would be nice to have a lower low.
This new series I think is an excellent addition to the ever expanding Niteye line up. Fit and finish on these lights as with their other ones is outstanding. Function and feel of the rotating tailcap is very intuitive and you don't have to contort your hand or thumb to operate this light across it's full range of functions. I also like how the clicky is silent almost like the piston drive lights from Nitecore. The tailcap is also flat which allows for tailcap standing if you want to use this light like a candle.
I look forward to carrying and using both of these lights more in the upcoming winter months and will report back any issues or updates. If you have any questions or comments please don't hesitate.