First Impressions: Streamlight MacroStream USB Flashlight

by | Mar 30, 2020 | EDC, Gear, Lights, Navigation, News, Off the Grid, SHTF, Survival, Tools

At SHOT Show 2020, we got our hands on the latest every-day carry flashlight from Streamlight: the MacroStream USB. This light is the big brother to the popular MicroStream USB, and offers a bigger aluminum body, higher-capacity battery, and increased lumen output. After the show, we were excited to try out this flashlight in the real world, so we requested a sample from Streamlight. The company kindly sent us one of the pre-production models so we could familiarize ourselves with the light. Read on as we share some of our first impressions.

Compared to the MicroStream, the MacroStream’s dimensions are noticeably bigger. It measures 4.5 inches in length and 0.8 inches in diameter, as opposed to the Micro’s 3.9 inches and 0.6 inches. Weight is up by a full ounce, but this light still weighs only 2.2 ounces including the battery.

Speaking of the battery, it’s powered by an included 3.7V 800mAh Lithium-ion cell. Like the MicroStream, this flashlight’s housing fits a standard alkaline battery (AA for the Macro and AAA for the Micro) but the light can only be used with the included Li-ion battery. This is unfortunate — we know the USB functionality won’t work with an alkaline battery, but it would’ve been nice to be able to use one as an emergency power source.

The Macrostream’s blue lithium-ion cell next to a standard CR123 and 18650.

The micro-USB charging port is hidden under a sliding, O-ring-sealed metal shroud around the light’s head. Pushing the shroud forward reveals the port, which lights up red (charging) or green (full) when the light is plugged in. Streamlight says the battery can be fully charged in about four hours.

Functionally, the MacroStream USB should feel familiar to anyone who has used a Streamlight handheld in the past. Rapid half-presses of the power button toggle between 500-lumen high mode and 50-lumen low mode. However, unlike similarly-sized ProTac models, this light does not have a strobe function or the ability to change mode order with Streamlight’s Ten-Tap system. It also doesn’t have a crenelated bezel or shrouded tail cap switch.

Size comparison between the Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA and MacroStream USB.

The MacroStream USB is rated IPX4 water-resistant, which means that it should hold up fine to rain and occasional splashes, but should not be submerged or heavily soaked. It’s also impact-resistant against drops up to 1 meter. The light includes a removable, bi-directional pocket clip that can be used to attach the light to apparel, packs, or the brim of a hat for hands-free use.

As usual with Streamlight products, street prices are far below the official MSRP. In this case, MSRP is $90, but this light can be pre-ordered from various online retailers for roughly $50.

Overall, the MacroStream USB feels great in the hand, is easy to operate, and offers two useful brightness levels. We also appreciate the convenience of onboard USB charging. However, due to the non-standard battery type and inability to accept off-the-shelf batteries in a pinch, we prefer the versatility of the ProTac 1L-1AA from an emergency preparedness standpoint. That said, the MacroStream USB is great as an EDC utility light, and a nice complement to the smaller MicroStream USB.

For more information on the new MacroStream USB, go to Streamlight.com.

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