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)
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?
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.
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.
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.
A USB charger is part of the package meaning you can charge your light up from almost anywhere.
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.
Maximum run time at maximum power is around 3 hours.
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?
Li-ion polymer battery
Light feels sturdy enough but bracket is made from brittle plastic.
Straightforward idiot proof modes and a nice easy to operate button. Shame that it cycles through off though.
Works fine but there's no lateral adjustment and the brittle plastic of the bracket doesn't inspire confidence, especially after I broke it.
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.
The lumens on offer are put to good use - it's a nice light to ride by.
The 12 month no-quibble warranty is reassuring.
Weighs almost nothing - ideal as a helmet light if you can get it to fit.
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
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.
About the tester
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