This light was provided by Nitecore Store for review and my opinions have not been influenced.
For this review I decided to write a script that could serve two purposes, to provide me with notes during the recording and then for a written review for those who wanted to read it instead. Video is still my main thing but let me know what you think of this Hybrid format. It does end up taking a good deal more time.
Entire Photo Gallery – http://imgur.com/a/luddn
Nitecore Stepped up their construction with this light. The fit and finish of the aluminum and anodizing is really nice. The body tube is as thin as it can be, and thinner than most lights I have. I don’t think it’s overly thin.The knurling is a little more for aesthetics then functional use because they are not very aggressive. The light is IPX-8 rated, drop resistant to 1.5 meters. I did notice that the button rattles when shaken. I contacted Nitecore store about this and their response was this was consistent with all of the Concept 1 they have. This is disappointing to me. To me it looks like a bit of a design error. The recessed part of the button is too big for the screw that was used. I tried tightening the screw and it was already tight. From a practical standpoint I didn’t notice a problem with this though. Concept 1 does have a magnetic tail cap, It could be removed if you wanted, as it’s visible and held in with glue or epoxy.
0.96” Head Diameter
0.94” Tail Diameter
2.18oz Empty Weight
The Concept 1 isn’t the smallest 18650 light on the market but it’s pretty close. Here is a a photo of 5 lights to show the size differences. Olight S2R, Nitecore Concept 1, ArmyTek Wizard Pro, Lumintop Prince, AceBeam EC35.
Outputs – Beam – UI
Turbo – 1800LM – 30 min (Heat dependent)
High – 810LM – 90 min
Medium – 300LM – 4hr
Low – 80LM – 15hr
Moon – 1LM – 300hr
This light uses a Cree XHP HD E2 LED in cool white. I don’t notice any contrasting colors in the LED. The reflector is smooth, and it’s backed by an anti reflective coated glass lens. The beam has a hot and focused center with a ring of less intense light followed by a large ring of flood. This light surprised me at how well it threw light, I will show that in my night shots. Nitecore advertises this as a no flicker light and I could not detect any on my camera or by eye.
The UI of this light takes (Seperate video showing this https://www.reddit.com/r/flashlight/comments/6iyegp/nitecore_concept_1_ui_demo) some learning and getting used to. It’s a little different from others I have. The light has 2 main groups called General and Tactical. They are largely the same but in General you have a shortcut to Turbo by using a triple click from the off position, in Tactical a triple click gives you strobe and SOS. To switch between these two mode groups you unscrew the tailcap ¼ turn and then while holding the button down screw on the tail cap. The light will quickly flash 1 for general, or twice for Tactical.
Inside each group this part is the same. From Off click and hold the side switch and it will slowly begin to cycle between the 5 power levels starting off from the last memorized position. Stop on the one you want and this will become the memorized mode. While on if you click the button again you get a momentary turbo. If you want to select a new memory mode unfortunately you must turn the light off and then go through this process again. I found this part of the UI a bit frustrating but it gets easier the more you use it. I think if you have a lot of lights like I do and you change what you’re using frequently the Concept 1 will always take a second to relearn before you feel comfortable again with it. I feel like in future models Nitecore should simplify the UI.
This light has a manual lockout mode by unscrewing the tailcap ¼ turn. Nitecore recommends this to prevent accidental activation and to prolong battery life. I measured the parasitic drain at a rough average of 1ma. This light is pretty active when not in use as you can see in the video, it was bouncing between 1.8 and 0.5ma and did not stabilize. This is quite a bit higher then I would expect to see out of a modern flashlight and would drain the battery in about 4 months. I measured 3 other 18650 lights I had with electronic switches and they were all under 0.05ma.
The active heat controls in this light work well, instead of a timed mode for turbo this light measures its temperature and makes small steps down in output if it gets too warm. If I concentrated I was able to see these steps. I ran the light under cold water to cool it down and I could not tell if it got brighter again, I am pretty sure it didn’t. During my usual 1 minute turbo test the light got to 109F degrees.
Nitecore recommends the TM28 battery for use in the light. It’s a new protected button top cell with a max continuous discharge of 10A. It’s rated at 3100mAh and 11.47Wh. I was also able to use a high discharge flat top cell (Sony VCT6) in this light without rattle, due to the raised button in the flashlight and strong tail spring. This is a welcome change from other Nitecore Lights as you usually have to use button tops in most Nitecore products.
Here is a photo of the light clipped onto the pocket of my shorts. As you can see it rides head up, and unfortunately sticks up out of the pocket a decent amount, nearly ? of the light. Now in these shorts the pockets are low cut and it’s not a huge deal. But in pants that have more straight cut pockets like jeans this does stick up and is uncomfortable when sitting down. I like that the pocket clip uses 2 screws to attach and is in a fixed position. I took the screws off with a T6 Torx bit and the holes are not clear through the body.I would prefer Nitecore come up with a clip that allows for deeper carry or move the location of the existing clip further up.
Bundled in the box
You get a nice Nitecore branded nylon holster with DRing. You also get lanyard, product guide, extra orings, and manual. The box itself is a classier version of Nitecore’s black and yellow boxes with a few stats on the back.
My take away points are:
- Attractive Design + Magnetic tail cap
- Good output and little to no color contrast in the LED
- Good low lumen mode with quick access as well as Turbo.
- Active temperature controls vs timed controls we see on some lights.
- Clip positioning isn’t good for EDC because it sticks up quite a bit.
- UI has a learning curve and is a little clunky until you get use to it.
- The metal button rattles around the screw. A tiny O ring might fix this or tighter machining
- Parasitic Drain is higher than expected. Using manual lockout is a must.
Nitecore has a good physical design on it’s hands here but it needs a bit more revision to be a great overall light in my opinion. I like the instant access to turbo on this light and I think it would be pretty good choice for a walk with the dog or neighborhood walker at night with that quick access to turbo if needed. The light has an attractive physical design but the clip position is not great for EDC in the front pocket of pants. If you were going to EDC it in the included holster I think it would work pretty well.
If you are interested in this light check it out on the Nitecore Store https://goo.gl/GrZE4P