Today I have the Nitecore MH12S, this is a new model in a long light of MH series lights from Nitecore. It’s marketed as multitask hybrid series light. It produces 1800 lumens, contains a 21700 battery that’s included and is USB-C PD rechargeable. Nitecore did provide this light to me to review.
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Packaging & Accessories
The MH12 comes in a typical Nitecore retail package in the trademark black and yellow color scheme. Something that’s a little different is it doesn’t have the typical runtime chart on the back, only a long list of features, and on the side a list of use cases and accessories. Accessories included with the light itself is a 5000 Nitecore (non proprietary) button top 21700 battery, a 18650/CR123 Battery magazine, tactical holster, USB-A to C charging cable, lanyard, 2 spare o’rings, and a pocket clip, along with your normal paperwork.
The MH12s is made from aluminum and anodized black. Machining & fit and finish are good, with no obvious problems detected. At the tail cap there is a quiet tall mechanical switch that protrudes and it takes some effort to actuate. The lanyard attachment point is on the rear tail cap and decent sized hole. Inside there is stiff springs at either end, and threads are anodized, fine and well lubricated.
The body tube has minimal knurling but does have some on each end, you have 3 areas in the middle for the clip or tactical finger loop (not included) should you want. The body tube is glued to the head. There is a minimal anti roll ring at the front, it’ has limited effectiveness with anything but a flat surface.
The button (eswitch) on the head is aluminum as well, with a hole in the middle for power indication status, the button is relatively small and hard to find at night by feel alone, especially with gloves. There is minimal fins for heat dissipation. Opposite the button there is the USB-C charging port, the silicon cover here is well integrated and stays put without trouble.
Up at the front there is a minimal bezel that does allow light to escape when standing on its head, it protects the anti reflective coated glass lens, and smooth bezel underneath.
Size and Weight
I measured the overall length at 141mm, max diameter on the head at 29.5mm, minimum diameter on the body at 25.5mm. Weight with the included battery was 149.2g. The light is IP68 water rated and submersible to 2M along with the standard 1M of impact resistance.
It’s a long long light but within 5mm of the Thrunite TT20 and Olight M2R Pro, but narrower then both.
The MH12S has quite a few retention options. It comes with a pocket clip, lanyard and a tactical hostler but is also compatible with a tactical ring that Nitecore offers separately. The pocket clip can attach facing either direction on any of the 3 ribs in the middle of the light. It’s not a deep carry clip as a good ¾ of an inch sticks op out of your pocket when put in the lowest position. My clip was slightly out of spec and doesn’t make contact with the body of the light. A little modification with some pliers should improve this situation but is a little disappointing to see on a brand new light.
You also get a plastic belt holster that the light can be pushed into. You can put it in heads up or heads down, and it’s a tight fit. If done correctly at allows you to mount to access both the side buttons and top button from the holster. The lanyard attachment point should you choose to use that is on the tailcap.
LED & Runtime
The light features a Luminis SST-40 W LED in cool white at 6500k. The good news here is that it’s not as blue as some older Nitecore lights which I appreciate. On ultralow and low power modes I get a slight green tinge but this disappears at higher power levels. The beam itself is small defined hotspot in the center and a large spill of less light. True to it’s name this is a nice all around beam, good for walking the dog, hiking, or more tactical uses if you wish.
There are a handful of battery options here, the light comes with Nitecore 5000mAh 21700 battery, which will be most users primary cell, but with the battery magazine (Spacer) the light comes with it will also run 18650 and 2x CR123A batteries or RCR123. A battery capable of 8A discharge or more is needed to be able to access Turbo’s 1800 lumens or you will be limited to High’s 1050 instead. No PWM was present in this light, and I did verify this with my oscilloscope.
Official outputs are listed as the following.
- Turbo – 1800 Lumens
- High – 1050 Lumens
- Mid – 300 Lumens
- Low -50 Lumens
- Ultra Low – 1 Lumen
- Strobe/Beacon/SOS – 1800 Lumens
Heat & Runtime
I did my runtime and heat tests with the included 5000mAh Nitecore battery in uncooled conditions (More realistic). Turbo had a pretty quick step down from the 1800 lumens within the first minute and a half but it was a gradual step down and continued this trend from the 0:43:00 mark to 2:46:00 it was quite stable at 40% relative output, before it did it’s LVP warning and stepping down to 5% relative output and shutting off at 3:23:00. Max heat I saw during this time was 46C at 0:10:00.
I also ran a runtime test under the same conditions but only going to high mode, and here the light was able to sustain a much higher output for longer in comparison to turbo. Around 80% relative output or better for 3:26:00, with at total runtime of right at 4:00:00. So if you don’t need turbo this is the best mode to use for sustained output and runtime.
The light has 2 modes, first the daily mode which is the lights default and how I tested and then a tactical function. When in daily mode the light does have a memory function for all modes except SOS and Beacon. When in tactical it will only memorize turbo or strobe.
For daily mode the light turns on with the tail switch, and then you use the e switch up front to change modes, and it cycles through all 5 non blinking modes. There are no shortcuts to jump to turbo or turn on ultralow when off. If you press and hold the mode button when on the light will go to strobe instead of cycling through modes. It’s a little different from many lights but is easy enough to understand but might be hard to remember if switching to many other lights.
The MH12S has onboard USB-C charging, thats capable of being charged via USB-C to C and USB-C PD, another nice change to see. USB-C to C is finally going mainstream on flashlights. I charged the included 5000mAh Nitecore battery (non proprietary) from LVP at 2.947V to full at 4.198V in 3.5 hours. Max charging rate I saw was 1.9A at the 1:30 mark. The charging curve here looks a little funny with a lot of drops to near zero as detected by my meter, this also caused it to cut a little short the graph. I don’t think this is a problem for charging the cell just a bit different. The light will also charge 18560’s with the adapter if you want to.
- Simple interface but lacks shortcuts to moon or turbo.
- Good all around beam
- Not as cool white as past Nitecore Lights.
- Wide selection of compatible batteries (21700, 18650, CR123A, RCR123A).
- Seems long
- Pocket clip did not make contact with the body without modification and it’s deep carry
- Only one LED and tint option
- UI has no practical shortcuts, requires cycling through brighter modes to go lower.
The Nitecore MH12S is a solid general use light. I like that NItecore has taken a step away from ultra blue emitters but do wish they would offer a more neutral or warm tint option, in the MH series of lights since I believe these better represent the multifunction roll the lights were designed for.
This isn’t a light I will probably EDC in my pockets due to the clip design and relatively long nature of the light, I do like it’s slim nature though. I think this is a better jacket pocket light or utilize the holster it comes with. The UI here isn’t my favorite but I can live with it. Overall I like the beam profile here of the light, and with the 21700 it has a great runtime, and it’s super great to see USB-C being implemented with full support and PD support.