NOTE: This is not a review because I have the prototype (along with a few other folks) and there will be two changes between the prototype and the production model: 1) the switch boot and 2) the clip. On the proto was a bit gushy. It will be much firmer on the production model. Additionally the proto and all of the photos on Enrique's site show the friction fit clip. It will be replaced by a bolt on model in the production version.
When you start really looking at the intellectual tradition of the West, time and again you come back to Aristotle. Virtually ever academic discipline originates or was first systematically analyzed by Aristotle. Many of his works were state of the art until more than a thousand years after his death. Even today, more than two thousand years later, scholars still take his work on ethics very seriously. Many of the most influential ethics thinkers take their starting point from Aristotle. One of my favorite public intellectuals, Michael Sandel, starts with Aristotle.
But here is crazy part of this--all of these works (or almost all of them) are really just lecture notes from Aristotle's classes. The actual works themselves have been lost in the mists of time and what we have left are his notes and drafts. Yes, the most influential thinker of all time is known by his notes only. Or put another way, Aristotle's notes are better than almost everyone else's studied and considered works, matters they worked on their entire life. It is a sad and humbling thought, a good indication of just how important and intelligent Aristotle was. There is you and me, then there are really smart people, then there is Aristotle, way, way, way far away from us.
That long winded and rambling discussion serves to illustrate a point by comparison. There are folks that make and design flashlights. There are folks that do that well. Then there is Enrique Muyshondt.
I have had lights from the best. They are good. But after handling the Mk. III prototype I think it is safe to say, Muyshondt is the best. There are no better EDC lights than those designed by Enrique. Why do I think his lights are that good? Because I basically conscripted him to make the Mk. II to my personal preferences (which he kindly obliged) and even with my "perfect" light in hand, I think the Mk. III is just better. How is that possible? Enrique is that damn good.
As shipped the prototype is one of the best lights on the market, regardless of price, for EDC carry. The two main flaws, the clip and the switch boot, aren't big deals at all. Left as is, the Mk. III is as good as anything out there. Its close between it and the S1 and the HDS Rotary, but given the option (and I am fortunate enough to be able to make this choice) I'd take the Mk. III everyday. But that's not the light that will be on sale. That light is better. And then there are the high end options like Timascus and Mokume Gane. I am not a bling person, but if I were, those would be my number one most coveted items for EDC. Simply put, the Mk. III is the ideal EDC light.
The clicky UI is good, not better than the Mk. II's twisty, but still very, very good. Its the same mode memory UI (L-M-H) that the McGizmo Haiku uses and it is still more than competent (though behind the oLight S1 Baton's UI). The fit and finish is insane on this little booger.
The machining is a step up from the Mk. II. This means that the feel--one of perfect solidity--is intact, but this time it is accompanied by a more sophisticated look. I would note that the tail cap area has some pointiness to it, but nothing all that bad at all.
The light is small and carries very well in the pocket. Its smaller size lends itself well to the clicky UI (this is one way in which the clicky is superior to the staged twisty of the Mk. II).
The beam and the output were great, with 200 lumens coming out the front for a true, do anything you need, EDC. This isn't a search and rescue light by any means, but you know that going in. I also liked the tint here, with a Hi CRI emitter.
Overall, the prototype is a great light, among the best as is. The production versions, which will come in four price ranges $295 for aluminum, $450 for titanium, $1495 for mokume gane and $1795 for timascus (and #1 seed for the pocket frosting competition at the next Olympics). Personally, I'd opt for the aluminum, as Enrique makes it plenty tough (his old site had an image of the old Mk. I grinding through a Mag light--that is some tough coating).
Honestly, I couldn't imagine a better EDC. For all of the S1's awesomeness (and it is awesome), this light is just better--a bit easier to use, a better emitter (for tint), and a better beam. Its not price justified, of course, but unlike with some custom knives, you still do find superior stuff in the custom light world and this is example. That last 10% of performance and design perfection will cost you a ton, but that is the way it always is. Going from a Corvette to a Veyron is a huge price increase for an extra 60 or 70 mph.
The lights are on Enrique's site right now and they aren't sold out. The lights should ship in February or March (you can contact Enrique for more details). If
you can (or you have some Christmas money left over), go grab one. You
won't be disappointed. You will be amazed at how often you drop it in
your pocket. It will go in one day, then rotate out the next, the back
in on the third day, and suddenly you realize you haven't carried
another light in two months.
Go buy this light.