Magicshine MJ-890 front light  £39.95

8/10

No frills, but a very good basic light

Weight 80g   Contact  www.magicshineuk.co.uk

by rob_simmonds   January 8, 2014  

Magicshine Go Free

Magicshine have built up a loyal following in the last few years with their low budget Cree-bay specials. They've since started selling direct from a UK base, which is where this MJ-890 light comes from.

The MJ-890 is modestly priced commuter light kicking out a claimed 160 lumens. It looks very similar to the Moon Meteor that I tested (and liked) last year, with a small flat body containing a single LED, a USB port at the back, a button on the top and all mounted on a silicone strap.

The electronics are rather more basic, with just three modes (high, low and flash). I like that kind of simplicity, especially in a commuter light, although the settings do that infuriating thing of cycling through Off, which is an offence that should have the designers d-locked to a Sheffield stand and beaten with soiled chamois pads.

My time with the 890 didn't start well. The bracket is made from a rather brittle-feeling plastic and the nubbin that the strap hooks over is very small and snapped off the very first time I tried to fit the light. I've tested any number of lights with similar mounts and had no problems, so it can't just be because I'm a ham-fisted yeti (shut it, Ed). Magicshine offer a 12 month no-quibble warranty on their lights and the replacement unit has been fine so far.

The MJ-890 is sold as a commuter light, so convenience takes precedence over power. It's very small, doesn't take up much space on the bars and only takes a few seconds to remove. It's light too and would make an ideal helmet light, if you can figure out how to mount it. The only downside is that the bracket doesn't allow any lateral movement. Charging is via a silicone shielded USB port on the back.

The top button, which doubles as a battery indicator, is large and quite easy to operate. I found that the low setting was more than enough for lit roads and paths, with the high setting being reserved for unlit lanes. I've never yet found a use for the flash setting on any light, but I guess that it may be useful in urban areas.

The beam isn't hugely powerful, but it has a decent spread of light and enough depth to keep up a decent pace. It's certainly pretty impressive for a light at this price. To forestall any muttering below the line, no, it isn't a German style beam pattern that cuts off below driver eye-level. Yes, it would be nice if it was. No, it isn't a problem, provided you angle the light correctly. Alles klar? Sehr gut.

Run time can be a tricky beast to pin down sometimes. I tried the old 'switch it on and leave it' test but the light steps down as the battery drains, so it's not easy to give precise figures. Magicshine claim 3 hours on full power which seems about right and I noticed that the light stayed on, with *just* enough glow to be seen by, for much longer. That's a reasonable runtime for a commuter light, especially if you eke it out with judicious use of the low setting.

I really liked this light, it's a measure of how far lights have come in recent years that you can get something this good for modest money (cheapest online at time of writing - just over £30). Best of all is that it 'fits into any pocket, including a top shirt pocket', which is the best bit of marketing nonsense I've ever read.

The light comparator

If you have a nice big screen you can click here for the widescreen version (1400x1000px)

Verdict

No frills, but a very good basic light.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Magicshine MJ-890 front light

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the light is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Bumf:-

This diminutive new bike light from Magicshine packs a powerful beam into compact dimensions. The latest new model from Magicshine offers legendary quality and output for a budget price. This is a real opportunity for commuters to buy into the Magicshine brand, winner of major group tests over the last 2 years, for little outlay.

Size

Measuring 8cm by 4cm, this light fits into any pocket, including a top shirt pocket. The battery is self contained so there's no fiddly connections to worry about.

Mounting

The light fits easily onto almost any handlebar using the enclosed adjustable strap. You don't need tools, meaning the light can be attached to your bike in around 10 seconds. It's that easy.

Charging

A USB charger is part of the package meaning you can charge your light up from almost anywhere.

Beam

The output is a measured 160 lumens (unlike other manufacturers who quote nominal lumens, not actual). This provides a punchy, well defined beam, brighter than anything we've seen at this price level. It's a broad beam too, providing enough angle to highlight drain covers, potholes etc. There's certainly no excuse for not being seen with this light.

Run Time

Maximum run time at maximum power is around 3 hours.

Bonita says:

I think this could well be our best selling light this season. I've used this several times at night and I can't believe we're selling a light with so much power at this price level. Also included with the MJ-890 is a soft, colour coded pouch which I think is fab!

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?

160 lumens

Silicone bracket

Li-ion polymer battery

USB charging

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
7/10

Light feels sturdy enough but bracket is made from brittle plastic.

Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
7/10

Straightforward idiot proof modes and a nice easy to operate button. Shame that it cycles through off though.

Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
6/10

Works fine but there's no lateral adjustment and the brittle plastic of the bracket doesn't inspire confidence, especially after I broke it.

Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
7/10
Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
8/10

Three hours on full power is a decent runtime for a light that is probably going to be used for commuting or on a helmet.

Rate the light for performance:
 
8/10

The lumens on offer are put to good use - it's a nice light to ride by.

Rate the light for durability:
 
7/10

The 12 month no-quibble warranty is reassuring.

Rate the light for weight, if applicable:
 
8/10

Weighs almost nothing - ideal as a helmet light if you can get it to fit.

Rate the light for value:
 
7/10

At £40 rrp it's good value, although it's up against the (more powerful & sophisticated) Moon Meteor.

Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very good.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Small but mighty.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

The bracket makes me nervous and cycling through Off is annoying.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes.

Would you consider buying the light? Yes.

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes.

Anything further to say about the light in conclusion?

Ideal commuter light at a sensible price.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 5' 8  Weight: er....85kg

I usually ride: Kona Dew Drop, Dawes Century SE, Carlton Corsa  My best bike is: Guess SC1 scandium

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, Audax and long distance solo rides

 

3 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Um...I think you'll find that Magicshine designed the original MJ808 light, that was then copied by Shenzhen's finest using CREE LEDs.

The genuine Magicshine RRP is around £90 - four to five times the 'CreeBay Specials'.

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

KiwiMike's picture

posted by KiwiMike [432 posts]
8th January 2014 - 9:08

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Great, another light for people to shine in my eyes. It seems as if everyone is enjoying their retina burning Christmas presents on my commute...

Before anyone points out the caveat in the review... how can you 'angle it correctly' if it's on your helmet?

If it's not fixed to the bike, and it hasn't got a cutoff, it isn't that suitable for the road/cycle paths.

posted by hoski [62 posts]
8th January 2014 - 10:07

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hoski wrote:
Great, another light for people to shine in my eyes. It seems as if everyone is enjoying their retina burning Christmas presents on my commute...

Before anyone points out the caveat in the review... how can you 'angle it correctly' if it's on your helmet?

If it's not fixed to the bike, and it hasn't got a cutoff, it isn't that suitable for the road/cycle paths.


I'm not a fan of helmet lights for road use, for precisely that reason. However, plenty of people use them off-road and this would make a good one. The mount isn't ideal though.

Rob Simmonds's picture

posted by Rob Simmonds [251 posts]
8th January 2014 - 16:17

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