Magicshine MJ-880 Bicycle Light: Final Review & Magicshine MJ-890 Quick Review- by Guitar Ted
Grannygear sent over the previously looked at Magicshine MJ-880 Bionic Eagle Eye light, (seen here), for its Final Review. As a bonus, I have been using the Magicshine MJ-890 commuter light, which I will also give my impressions on here.
Ride Performance: I won’t get into too much detail here, since JeffJ and Grannygear have already sussed out this product very well. Rather, I will give my thoughts on how it worked for me in the woods here in the Mid-West.
First off, I will say that the MJ-880 has an amazingly small head for the amount of light that emanates from it. When I unboxed it at the bicycle shop where I work, my co-workers and I were amazed by its power, and by its heat output! How bright is the MJ-880 exactly? Well, if all this lumens, lux, and candle power talk leaves you bewildered, consider this: I was blinded by the light of the MJ-880 as it was reflected back to me off a co-worker’s hand! Yes- be very careful when you use this light. It has enough power to actually hurt someone, and that’s no joke!
Okay, enough of that playing around. Now it was time to ride with this bit of the sun on my handle bar.
Here are two images on a XC skiing trail I took while using the MJ-880. One thing I noted that Grannygear also alluded to in the Mid-Term on this light was that it is hard to know when you have actuated the button to go to a higher level, and some of the jumps were not noticeable immediately on trail. In the “heat of battle” with your local trails, I would think that having a more positive amount of tactile feedback with the button would be good, and maybe only three levels here. Five seems a bit too many, and also, the amount of light between adjacent power levels doesn’t seem that significant to my eyes. Maybe have that customizable, as Grannygear suggested.
Another thing I noted was how the light throw was similar at different power levels as well. The images above help show this. The left image is one step above the lowest setting, and the right image is on the highest setting. You can see how there isn’t all that much more to see, but it seems brighter where it is illuminated, and maybe a bit washed out. Note: This was shown from a head level camera shot with the lights mounted on the handle bars.)
Here are a couple more shots I got out on a gravel road ride. The left shot is on lowest power, while the right is one step above that. As you can see, the light doesn’t really get thrown any further up the road, but the intensity of that light increases. Note that you cannot see the edges of the road, so not much side spill here. At the three levels above this, all I really got was less definition and more “wash out”, where detail was lost but the light- Oh yeah! It was darn bright alright!
Interestingly, I found that the lowest setting here matched my truck headlights on low for intensity, but as Grannygear noted, the color of that light was different. I agree that a warmer tone, such as a truck headlight, allows more detail and is easier on the eye than the “brash” blueish white of the MJ-880.
Living With It: With accessories, there is more than just “how it performs”, but there is also the “how it works to use” factor as well. In this regard, I only had a couple of nits to pick with this light.
The Magicshine has a long cord from the battery, which is good. It also has a long cord from the head light unit, which is good. The two together make an ungainly length of cord to deal with, and you have no other option to use. I would have been fine with the battery cord up to a short lead from the head unit, and then maybe an inter-connector which one could lengthen the cord to the length seen here, which would be useful in the case of a hydration pack stowing of the main battery and a helmet mount of the lighting unit. (As stated in the Out Of The Box post, you can actually buy an extension cord for this light if you need a longer lead from the battery.)
That lighting head was my other nit. You cannot swivel it, so if you have swept bars, it makes aiming the light impossible. Furthermore; the rubbery strap attachment system, while effective, is not going to be so effective should those rubber straps break, and the same goes for the battery pack straps.
Conclusions: The Magicshine MJ-880 is a light that gives you a lot of bang for the buck with its incredible amount of lighting power, run times, and solid construction. We feel that the light color may be a bit harsh, which makes it tougher to see detail on trail and on back roads, especially at the higher power levels. The side spill is not what we”d like to see. More here would be better, but overall, you get a nice beam pattern with no artifacting and no hot spots. The head unit is solidly constructed, but we have concerns with the rubber strap mounting system’s durability and longevity. Also, the buttons that operate the head unit are lacking in tactile feedback, making it hard to know if you’ve actually moved from one of the five levels to another. This is compounded by the fact that the light level between adjacent power ratings is difficult to see. Finally, we miss customizable button functions, since tabbing up and down through five levels is a bit annoying on a trail ride.
Still, we feel you are getting what you paid for here with the Magicshine. It’s a powerful tool with some quirks, and mainly it is the button function that is its biggest down fall. Otherwise this is a good light well worth a hard look if your needs push you towards the higher levels of light intensity that this unit can produce.
Magicshine MJ-890 Quick Review
I also received the Magicshine MJ-890 commuter light for this review and I used it for several months on commutes doing errands and on a gravel road ride or two. But before I give you my thoughts on the light, let’s take a look at what you get here.
The Magicshine MJ-890 comes with the lighting head, a USB cord to recharge this light with, and a rubber strap for mounting to a handle bar. This light does not have a helmet mount. The MJ-890 is rated at 160 Lumens on high and will run at that level for 3 hours. There is a lower setting, and a flashing mode. Hold the button on top down for two seconds and the light comes to life. You then can click through the modes starting from high, then to medium, then flashing, then back to high, and on until you hold the button down again for two seconds which powers the light down to off. Attachment with the rubber strap was straightforward and secure to any handle bar I tried it on. Note that this light does not swivel.
The light has a pleasant, softer beam pattern, and I noticed that the lens has a lot of diffusing patterns molded into it. This gives you an even, broad beam, but it is muted, and lacks the “punch” I look for on gravel rides to discern the best lines to take. The light color here was also a bit too brash. In city traffic, or on a bike path, I found it to be a great light, very useable, and it lent a really good amount of light for rides of up to 20mph or so before I started feeling that I might be “out running” the light’s throw a bit.
Conclusions: The Magicshine MJ-890 is a great little light that is easy to charge up, has good running times, and a nice light pattern. I think the diffusion in the lens maybe takes away a bit of this light’s potential “punch” and the light color is maybe a bit too blueish and not warm enough. But again, for around $40.00 you are getting this light for its power and run times, not so much for features. It lacks the ability to be aimed, and there is no helmet mount available. The light does do a decent job as a commuter light, and for that I will give it a “decent” rating. Had there been a capability for aiming this light, or to use it on a helmet, I would see more value in it.
NOTE: Magicshine sent the MJ-880 and MJ-890 at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches for test/review. We were not bribed nor paid for this review and we strive to give our honest opinions throughout.