Actually it's not so new. Picked the first one up at Lowes about a year ago as a replacement to a 2AA krypton mini maglite that I lost. Originally bought it to serve the same purpose as my previous mini maglite - as a backup flashlight on hunting, fishing, and camping trips. Have been so impressed with it that I made it a primary flashlight on these trips and just recently bought another one to keep in my vehicle. Maglite released their new LED technology in Fall 2006.
Been a user of maglites since I bought my first traditional 2AA mini maglite in 1986 and later a 2 D cell maglite in 1990. Never was a huge fan of the large heavy D cell maglites, but back then I kept the D cell maglite in my car or truck and had one mini maglite on my night stand, another mini with my hunting gear, and a third mini in my school backpack. I can say for certain that this new 3 watt LED 2AA mini maglite is a very big improvement over their traditional incandecent krypton mini maglite. It's also a vast improvment over the after market 1 watt LED upgrade kits such as those from Nite-Ize. So much so that I say don't even bother with those after-market LED add-ons, just buy the real thing, it's worth the money.
How much better is the 3 watt 2AA LED maglite over the krypton bulb version?
1. To start with the new LED gives a much brighter, whiter light. The LED beam quality is also 90% better with almost no artifacts, holes, or much distortion to it. It also focuses for both distant or close-in use like the original. One of my two complaints about the traditional krypton bulb maglites was that the beam was terrible, full of artifacts, holes, and too much distortion.
2. The brighter, whiter LED beam stays brighter and whiter much much longer than the krypton bulb version ever did. I mean you are operating above 90% power for the first hour, then you still get 70% battery power for the last 2 to 3 hours. I can get over 4 hours total run time with regular Rayovac alkaline AA batteries. Shortly thereafter the batteries die rather quickly. My second complaint about the traditional krypton bulb maglites was that for the first 5 minutes you would get a very bright powerful light beam, but after that the flashlight was operating at 50% power or less for the duration of the long battery life, giving you a dim orange beam. LED is much better, The LED version's light throw is also slightly, but noticeably farther than that of the krypton version beam. About 50 yards of useful light beam.
3. It's built just as tough as the traditional maglites we are all used to. Tough as a tank!! I have noted that the rotating head on the LED version seems better fitted with no slight wiggle to it at all. The LED module bulb will last up to 10,000 hours or more before it burns out. I've also heard and read that LED bulbs are also much more shock resistant than traditional bulbs. Only cosmetic differences are that the flashlight head and the body tube are slightly longer than the older krypton 2AA version, making it about 1inch longer overall. No lanyard hole. Also unlike the traditional mini mags, each new mini LED version is engraved with it's own serial number on the flashlight body tube.
What I like most: It's a very bright, long lasting, very dependable, and durable flashlight in a very small convenient size. Also relatively inexpensive to buy and keep in operation.
What still slightly bothers me: The on/off switch is still operated by rotating the flashlight head on to the desired focus. Wish maglite would have redesigned it by adding a tail cap push button on/off switch. Also wish the lense would have been upgraded with tempered mineral glass instead of plastic.
One very minor gripe.....always thought that the aluminum anodized finish on all maglites was way too highly polished and shiney for my tastes. It still is on the new LED version.
I've had many occasions over the years while piloting an aircraft, hunting, camping, hiking, fishing, traveling, or just plain sitting at home where a flashlight saved the day or the night. In fact on board an aircraft, a flashlight was an essential and nessesary piece of equipment. I wish this LED maglite existed back then. While this flashlight would not be my first choice for tactical use. I will say that for any other situation where a good useful bright reliable light is needed, this $22 small package gives a whole lot of useful light. I highly recommend it to any sportsman.