Sunday, April 17, 2011

Muyshondt Aeon Review

Which light do you carry the most? Aside from keychain lights, which are always on you, which light is it? I am pretty fortunate to have quite a few nice lights in my collection--Surefires, a McGizmo Haiku, some nice 4sevens lights, but the light that is on my person most often is a tiny speck of a light--the Muyshondt Aeon. The Aeon is a custom/semi-custom light that was based on an exceedingly small run (6 or 7 lights) pure custom called the Larry Light, something of a T206 Honus Wagner of flashlights. Here is the Aeon in a size comparison (Aeon, AA, and CR2):

Here is the Muyshondt Aeon's product page. Here is my fawning EDCF review. Here is a CPF review. Here is a good street price (actually, they are the same price everywhere). I own the Aluminum version, but there is also a Ti version available for about three times the price. Muyshondt has also added to the line up by including WARM LEDs. So you have four choices: Al or Ti in Regular or Warm.

There is nothing about this light, even three years later, that is done better elsewhere. In the EDCF review, I did a comparison between the Aeon and other CR2 lights (which I have decided on including in this review, see below), but even now, a year after that review and three years after the Aeon was released, it is still an amazing light.

Design: 2

Like a well designed house or piece of furniture, the Aeon is a model of restrained perfection. There is nothing extra, nothing superfluous, and nothing that doesn't just WORK. And as a tool, something that always works to perfection is exactly what you want. The UI is a twisty, with a...twist. Instead of the usual single activation twisty, this light has a two-stage twisty. Twist a little, it goes to low. Twist a little more, it goes to high. The tailcap is also a great design. The massive brass heat sink does a good job of lending the light just enough heft and dissipating heat well.

Fit and Finish: 2

Every material and component uses the highest grade material. The interior has that golden hue we all like to see (Chemkote), the lens is a sapphire lens, and the HAIII coating makes the light practically a key bully (see here). The head sinks into the threads on the body tube with almost magnetized ease. I have had to clean the threads and contact with contact cleaner (DeOxit Red, see here). But I use the light so often that I don't think this is a drawback, just something you have to do to good tools.

Grip: 2

This is a very tiny light, but a few careful grips allow for tons of dexterity and utility. The knurling is grippy but not overly aggressive. Here is my favorite grip ("The Green Lantern"):

Carry: 2

This light's size makes a pocket clip impractical. There is a great little brass lanyard for keychain use, but my favorite carry is to slip the light into a dress shirt top pocket or a jeans coin pocket. Its size makes it perfect to drop in just about any piece of clothing, even in a suit pocket. And again, the brass head heft makes it noticeable in your pocket without being intrusive. Here it is with what I call my "office EDC":

Output: 2

A very good low and a stunning high, given the light's size and power source. The low is very useful and the high is plenty bright for most EDC tasks.

Runtime: 2

The runtime on low is simply amazing. I have used three batteries in this light for the entire time I have owned it (since August of 2010). There is nothing I can say other than this--no life has better runtimes than this light. It comes very close to destroying the original FlashlightReviews axiom ("Runtime, output, small size: choose two.").

Beam Type: 2

This is an almost pure flood beam, but it does OKAY on throw. As a flood light, it works wonderfully, but here is the cool thing--even as a throw light it does okay. For the size and application I certainly can't complain about anything. On a football field I can hit stuff at the other end on a clear dark night.

Beam Quality: 2

The output is a bit green, but that is okay. The hotspot to spill transition is nice and silky smooth (not Haiku smooth, but nothing is...).

UI: 2

Well, this is perfect. I can hand the light to a non-flashlight person and explain how it works in one sentence ("Twist a little to turn on, more to get brighter..."). Can't get better than that.

Hands Free: 2

With a great little tailcap and a sunken lanyard, this baby tailstands perfectly. It does roll, but it is really too small to use on its side.

Total Score: 20/20

There is no light I carry more than this. It is a great little all around light. It is great in the workshop--lighting up tight spaces in casework with ease. It carries nicely in a suit pocket, a dress shirt pocket, and in jeans. It works sublimely well, runs forever, and is plenty bright. The second perfect light.

EDIT: One thing I forgot, there is simply no better customer service anywhere than Enrique and his people at Muyshondt. I have emailed them a couple of times with questions and a reply never takes more than a day or two and it is always helpful. A few others places and folks are just as good, but really no one is better. Hard to rate that, but it is worth mentioning.

BONUS: Battle Royale with other CR2 lights (taken from my EDCF review):

"...When doing research into this light there were a few competitors that I considered purchasing. I started the search after seeing this great comparison review of microlights found here. Some of the lights in the comparison didn't really suit my needs (not enough output) and some were out of production. The list below represents the lights I considered prior to purchase, though, of course, it is not an exhaustive list of lights that fit the criteria above (super small, regulated, multi-mode output). I will go through each of them one at a time, with the specs following my comments.

Lummi RAW: This was actually my first choice. It was a close call between the Aeon and the RAW, but the higher lumen count and the possibility of tritium inserts swayed me in this direction. Unfortunately, Lummi seems to be more in the website full of great pictures/vaporware business than the flashlight business. See my Jeer here. After thinking about the light I think my decision to purchase it was a mistake. I was lured in my the idea of preinstalled Tritium inserts, ignoring everything else that was a problem about the light. The lack of a hard coat and the need for a very specialized rechargeable only battery meant that the light would be very cool but not very practical. As such, the combination of an impossible to purchase (or more accurate: deliver) light and the less than practical designs choices make me glad this light never came. This light comes in four materials (cheapest to most expensive): Nickel Silver, Aluminum, Stainless Steel, and Titanium. The Titanium model is about twice the price and all prices vary because of the exchange rate between dollars and British pounds. The lights are also not "ready to ship" and some, such as the Aluminum model, as of 9/26/10 aren't even in production.

Size: 1.77 inches long, .7 inches in diameter
Weight: 1.41 ounces or 40 grams (with cell)
Output/Runtime: Low: 20 lumens for 10 hours/High: 200 lumens for 25 minutes
Cost: $125 for RAW NS with Tritium inserts

Surefire Titan T1: This is the light that got me thinking about a CR2 light. There is a newer model, the T1A, that uses a CR123A battery, but I wanted something even smaller. Word to the wise, though, this light is out of production, costs at least $500 (when you can find them), and can’t tailstand (though there is a custom tailcap being made by CPF people, I have no idea if it will fit both this and the T1A). Still, the infinite variable brightness combined with the as good as custom Surefire design and execution made me think long and hard about tracking one down. The fact that the Muyshondt is just as durable and one-fifth the price and is much smaller (see below) pushed me away from this rare Surefire. Still, it is a sweet little light.

Size: 3.15 inches long
Weight: 1.9 ounces or 54 grams
Output/Runtime: variable output from 1 lumen to 65 lumens (2 hours on high)
Cost: $500 and out of production

4Sevens Mini Quark CR2: This is a really nice light, especially for the price. I have used one and own a Preon, which has an identical UI. The UI, however, is not the easiest to use, especially when compared to the dead simple operation of the Aeon. For the price though, $37 (with eco friendly packaging) for the Aluminum version, this is a great substitute if you can’t swallow the Aeon’s $125 price tag. Also, the High is brighter than the Aeon and there is a third mode, a moonlight mode. All of this comes at the cost of run time. The High on the Aeon is 114 lumens for 90 minutes. The High on the Quark CR2 is 180 lumens for 40 minutes. And the low, well, there is no comparison. The low on the Aeon is 10 lumens for 40 hours. The low on the Quark is 3 lumens for 29 hours. More than three times the lumens for almost double the run time. It is here where the Aeon’s superior design is best displayed. That said, it is a close call between the Mini Quark CR2 and the Aeon solely because of the price difference. It depends on what you are looking for—the Aeon has undoubtedly superior materials and production design. See In Use below for more on that. Also there is a Titanium version of this light available for $99. That is a bargain for a Titanium light.

Size: Just under 2 inches long, .75 inches in diameter
Weight: .6 ounces or 17 grams (without cell)
Output/Runtime: see above
Cost: $37 for Aluminum version with eco packaging

Nitecore CR2 EZ: This is a straight up copy of the Aeon. I will be honest and tell you that the shameless pillaging of the Aeon's design leaves a very bad taste in my mouth and that, aside from any performance issue, is the reason I avoided this light. Why buy a copy when you can buy the original? Also, it is hard to say how nice the light is. It has received good reviews. But the design is a knock off of the Aeon right down to the distinctive brass heat sink being exposed under the head. I like Nitecore products, but this one has very few full specs on line, which is not a good sign. The interface is the same as the Aeon, a two-stage twisty, and the output is allegedly higher (130 lumens), but again a lack of details has me very concerned. Are the lumens out the front or at the emitter? The EZ does not use the same high grade materials as the Aeon and I am sure, based on prior experiences, that the fit and finish aren’t as nice. That said, it is a good facsimile of the Aeon at a third the price. If the lumens ratings are at the emitter, then the light is about the same brightness as the Aeon with significantly worse run times.

Size: 2.4 inches long, .63 inches in diameter
Weight: .70 ounces, 20 grams (without cell)
Output/Runtime: Low: 10 lumens for 15 hours; 145 lumens for 50 minutes
Cost: $40-50

JIL Light J2: There is no doubt that this the choice for the fashion conscious (not me, I haven’t combed my hair in more than a year, I just cut it short). It has some beautiful extras: a leather pouch and a spy capsule for your keychain that holds a battery rattle free. The design looks like a prop from the Firefly movie Serenity. It is a beautiful light in either finish. But there are two problems: 1) it is hard to track down; and 2) it is not regulated. The lack of regulation killed the light for me. But I can definitely see its appeal. It also uses top shelf materials, like the Aeon (sapphire window, high grade metals…). There are two variations on this light: the regular Titanium version and a heat treated version for about $200. Both, of course, look awesome, but the heat treated version looks like no other light I have ever seen. High marks for style, but again, style is not that important to me.

Size: 2.12 inches long, .77 inches diameter
Weight: 1.19 ounces or 43 grams (without cell)
Output/Runtime: 80-90 lumens for 15 hours (but output is unregulated, so no idea about runtime on max)
Cost: $125 for Ti version

Modomag’s Draco/Drake: These are a pair of full custom lights from a CPF member. I have no experience with them, but they seem to be TOO small for me. Also, the lack of a regular and easily replaceable batter scared me away. They have a great reputation though. Search Modomag Draco or Modomag Drake for specs..."

If I had to rank them it would be as follows:

1. Aeon
2. 4Sevens MiNi CR2
3. Surefire T1 (not T1A) Titan (VERY hard to find)(tie)
3. Nitecore EZ CR2 (tie)
4. Draco/Drake (if you can find one, good luck!)
5. 4Sevens MiNi CR Ti
6. Jil Light J2 Reg Ti
7. Jil Light J2 HT Ti

Based on my troubles and others, I would not buy a Lummi light, unless I could get it second hand.


  1. Love my Aeon. Great review. Thanks

  2. Street price link no longer working.

  3. There might be a few out there in retailers' hands, as there were when I bought mine, but right now the only source seems to be the Muyshondt website or the forums. Enrique is batching them out and I am not sure if he plans on having a lot of stock on hand. Contact him for more information.