M3X Triton Review: A Svelt Tactical LED Torch

D-batteries haven't been in your stereo since the late 1980s, so why are they still in your torch? It's the 21st century, our batteries are smaller and our bulbs are brighter. So stop lugging around that unwieldy hunk of aluminium (no matter how tough it makes you feel) and pick up this 1000-lumen submersible spotlight.

What Is It?

The replacement for your D-cell Maglite from Olight.

Who's It For?

People that don't naturally posses cat-like night vision.

Design

The M3X is shaped like a normal torch light but much skinnier than similar-length Mag Lights, measuring just 2.5 inches in diameter. That's due to the fact that the Triton runs on a trio of R123A batteries (with an optional grip extension to use four). It can also be adapted to run Li-on 18650s. Both ends of the aluminium body have a scalloped rim, allowing it to securely stand on either end. The CREE XM-L2 LED bulb outputs 700 lumens using the standard R123A battery configuration but can be increased to a full 1000 lumens using the added casing adaptor.

Using It

It's a torch, people. Click the power button located on the back end of the torch to turn it on, twist the front bezel for a lower output mode, twist it right to engage high output. Twist it left, then quickly right to start the emergency hazard strobe.

The Best Part

This light has a big, beautiful beam bright enough to illuminate a wall 15m away in broad daylight and a maximum range of about 500m at night. You normally won't have much call for seeing that far, but it's nice to know you can when investigating whether its racoons or a mountain lion that's prowling out on the edge of your property.

Tragic Flaw

The integrated belt clip is perpetually digging into my palm and seems rather redundant since the product comes with a belt-mountable carrying pouch.

This Is Weird...

From the right angle, this thing almost looks like a lightsabre.

Test Notes

  • Impact resistant to 2m
  • Waterproof rating of IPX-8! That means it's fully waterproof and can be operated continually after being submerged.
  • Can get finicky when using the battery case extender. Random jiggles and bumps will break the circuit, requiring you to whack it again to re-establish it. This did not happen when using the standard three-battery set.

Should I Buy It?

OK, look, I know $80 sounds like a lot of money for a torch. It is. But look at it this way: a standard four D-cell Maglite will set you back about $20 at Cheaper than Dirt, a quarter of the price of the M3X, while Duracell alkaline Ds retail for around $12 / 8-pack. And if you don't already have a set of R123A's, a starter pack runs $30 at Amazon. At those rates, you'd have to run through just 10 sets of batteries -- five packs' worth -- to recoup the initial higher outlay (15 sets or eight packs if you needed the battery set too). And plus, for that extra up-front cost, you're getting a torch with 10 times the Maglite's output (122 lumens) at a quarter of the weight (264g vs 1kg) that can go underwater.

M3X Triton Specs

  • Bulb:CREE XM-L2 LED
  • Output:700-1000 lumen
  • Power source:(3) CR123A or (2) 18500, case extension carries extra CR123A or (1) 18560
  • Runtime: 30 minutes to 5 hours depending on brightness and battery type
  • Dimensions: 210mm x 64mm x 64mm
  • Weight: 264g
  • Price: $80 from Amazon