Nitecore MH11 Review (Most Inexpensive 1000 Lumen light from Nitecore)

Today I am taking a look at a preproduction sample of the Nitecore MH11. This is the basic, budget model for Nitecore in their MH series, and they advertise it as the least expensive 1000 lumen Nitecore model available today. That said it still comes with an 18650 battery and has onboard USB-C charging or it can be ran with 2x CR123 or 2X 16340. Thanks to Nitecore for sending this to me to take a look at along with this Nitecore Tiki in blue. I previously reviewed the green glow in the dark models so ill include a link to that below. 

 

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Packaging & Accessories

The light I received didn’t come in a box, since it wasn’t printed yet, but I will include a picture of what it looks like. My light came with a USB A to C cable, 2 extra orings, hand lanyard and a pocket clip. I believe the retail light will also come with a basic holster. 

 

Construction

The MH11 is made from aluminum and anodized in a hard black finish. It appears to be the same finish as the MH12S I reviewed recently. The overall design is simpler than recent Nitecores, a cost cutting measure I would assume to make machining time quicker. At the tail cap you have a single large mechanical on off button on the tail that servers as the on/off switch and mode button. It’s flanked by wings that can protect it but also server as attachment points for the lanyard. It does tail stand either when on or off but isn’t the most stable.

 

Inside there is a dual spring in the tail cap, and threads are anodized, and ACME cut. The clip only attaches at the rear of the light. Knurling on the body is pretty standard diamond shaped, fairly knocked down, so the light isn’t super grippy. It does have 2 flats milled on the sides with the branding and model number laser engraved. 

On my sample the flats don’t line up with the head, but then again the head doesn’t have any buttons on it so is there really a top or bottom? The light does disassemble into 3 pieces. The head itself has a very simple heat diffuser at the front thats shallow. The USB charging port cover runs horizontally across the light. It’s well concealed and didn’t pop loose easily. The front has a crenulated bezel thats shallow. It has a glass lens with a smooth and deep reflector. 

 

Retention

The light comes with a branded lanyard that seems to be standard on most Nitecore lights. It also comes with a pocket clip that attaches at the rear of the light only. It’s reasonably deep carry with about 13.5mm of the light sticking out of pocket. The bad news it has a very large step off the body of the light without a ramp. It will catch a pocket every single time and requires 2 hands to put back in. Not a great design in my opinion.. 

 

Size & Weight

The length is 128mm, max diameter is 24mm, minimum diameter is 22.5mm. Weight with the battery and clip is 110.8g. The light is IPX68 waterproof, and water resistant to 1 meter. Here it is when compared with a few other lights. 

 

LED & Beam

The NItecore MH11 is running a Cree XP-L2 V6 LED in cool white, no exact tint data is given but it’s pretty typical. The beam does have tint shift across it and it’s not a super smooth beam. The center is hot and intense, with a bit of yellow/green as you move into the spill, and some blue on the outer fringes. 

 

Official Outputs are the following. There is quite a jump between high and turbo.

    • Turbo 1000 Lumens
    • High 230 Lumens
    • Mid 50 Lumens
    • Low 3 Lumens

 

My scope didn’t measure any PWM here which was a bit surprising. 

 

Heat & Runtime

I did my testing with the included 2600mAh 18650 battery. The light will also run on 2x CR123a or 2x 16340’s but you loose the ability to recharge the smaller batteries. With the 18650 Turbo is good for 4:20 before the light steps down. It will then run for 1:48:00 at about the 50% relative output. At the 2 hour mark it’s running on it’s low mode of 3 lumens for another 3:10:00 before LVP kicks in at 2.907v. Max temp I saw was 46C at 3:45.

I do wish they would have included a larger capacity battery. 2600mAh is pretty low capacity and larger capacity batteries are minimal additional cost.

UI

The UI here is very simple, the light has one button and it serves as your on/off as well as mode button. It’s a mechanical button that takes a decent amount of force to use. The light has memory that remembers where you left off, so it’s possible to turn it on in turbo if that’s what you last used. It’s a simple 4 mode light and it goes from lowest to highest output and restarts at the top. You can half press the mode button to cycle between modes once the light is on. There are not shortcuts or blinking modes. 

 

Recharging

You can recharge this light via the onboard USB-C if your using the included 18650 battery. The battery itself is a standard button top cell, so other brands will work here, nothing is proprietary. Charging does work via USB-C to C which is nice to see on a budget light. Charging here is a little strange, with it not being a constant current charging algorithm like we see in most other things. Periodically the charging rate here drops to zero every few seconds. My charging graph shows this but it’s not complete since as the cell charges it tirkcs my charger. Real charging time is closer to 3.25 hour. Max charging speed I saw was about 1.2A at the beginning of the charge. The battery measured 4.102v when full.

You do have an LED on the side of the head of the light that glows blue when charging and slowly fades in and out. When the light is full this goes solid. This same side LED acts as a low voltage warning and comes on when the light is needing recharged.

 

Pro’s

  • No proprietary battery
  • Can take CR123a, as well as 16340 batteries.
  • Simple interface, for a basic light.

 

Con’s

  •  Beam has some artifacts.
  • 2600mAh battery is included.
  • Pocket clip has way to large of step, it catches pants every time. 

 

Conclusion

The MH11 is an interesting offering from Nitecore. As a light it’s basic but does everything most people need from a flashlight. The build quality is still good, but it does feel like a more basic design and the anodizing feels the same as Nitecores more premium models. The UI is basic, but functional. While I appreciate the use of USB-C for charging and it’s C to C compatible.

While I don’t always comment on price I kind of have to here, given how this light is being marketed. The MH11 is more affordable than many Nitecore models for it’s output, it’s still more expensive than other well regarded brands that I have reviewed here that offer budget lights. 

It’s hard for me to recommend it for that reason if budget is one of your top priorities. That said if you were looking for a solid, basic light, from a company that’s been in the LED flashlight industry since the beginning this would be a decent place to start. It also has a very simple interface that anyone could understand which is a big selling point sometimes. 

Nitecore MH12S Review (1800 Lumens, USB-C PD, 21700)

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. 

Construction

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. 

 

Retention

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. 

 

UI

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.

 

Recharging

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. 

Pro

  • 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).

 

Cons

  • 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. 

 

Conclusion

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. 

Klarus E2 Review (1600 Lumens, 18650 deep carry EDC)

Today I have Klarus’s new Deep Carry EDC light, the E2. This is the second light in the Klarus E series, and I reviewed the E1 last year. Make sure to check the description for a link to that review. This light is designed with EDC in mind to minimize the size of an 18650 light while providing a good amount of output and features. Thanks to Klarus for sending this to me to take a look before it’s widely available. 

 

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Packaging

Packaging is a nice white Retail box with a red hanging tab. It has a photo of the light on the front, with the model number prominently displayed.On the back and side there are stats about the light and a chart telling more specs.

Inside the package you get the following. The light itself, along with a Klarus 3600mAh 18650 battery, deep carry pocket clip, lanyard, extra o’ring, micro USB charging cable, and small gray felt bag. 

 

Construction

The Klarus E2 is made from Aluminium and hard anodized a semi gloss black. It’s a nice fit and finish as recent Klarus lights have been. The tail and body are all the same as the E1 had. Starting at the tail cap, we have a dual switch design. The main switch is a larger round button that sits up somewhat proud, next to it is a paddle that acts and the secondary switch There is half a shroud built up around the larger button on the outside, to help it from getting pressed accidentally, and it’s the lanyard attachment point. This is nicely styled and works well from my experience but the downside is it’s not magnetic and it can’t tail stand. 

Threads are anodized, acme cut, and fairly small. There are springs on both ends of the light, and a dual ring system in the head like we saw on the Klarus XT21X. The body section of the light has concentric rings milled into it which gives some grip but not a ton. The head of the light is one piece with the body, in fact the entire diameter of the light is the same. There are no buttons and only minimal labeling. In my example the laser engraved serial number is not straight. The clip fit’s up on the head, and does rotate around, it can be removed if you wish. Up near the very top there is a very small tricolor LED on the side of the light that’s used for a power indicator and when changing UI modes. The front of the light unscrews in theory, and under it is a plastic lens I believe. Under that is the reflector which is similar to a TIR style optic. As a result you can’t really see the LED underneath. 

 

Size & Weight 

I measured the length at 115mm, and the diameter at 23mm. Weight with the included battery and clip was 110g. 

 

Comparisons

When compared to the E1 the E2 is 8mm longer, and the same diameter. For me for the lights I own, the Olight S2R II and S30R III, both being small 18650 lights with TIR style optics.. Diameter wise they are identical. 

Retention

The light carries in my front pocket really nicely. It’s an incredibly deep pocket clip that can also be used to attach to the bill of a hat to use as a makeshift headlamp in a pinch. Being a head up carry, it does require you to flip the light around in your hand to turn it on without having a side switch. I found this a little awkward and I think I prefer a side switch for this reason on this style of light but it was a minor complaint. The slim diameter, relative shortness, and deep carry pocket clip make for a comfortable EDC in my testing. 

 

LED & Beamshot

The Klarus E2 receives an upgraded LED and outputs from the E1. It’s using a Cree XHP35 HI LED in cool white. No tint data is given but it’s not crazy cool. The beam here is nice out of the TIR style flat optic, you get a hot center thats a majority of the light with minimal diffused spill and it throws further then you think with Klarus quoting 190 meters of 9025 candela.

  • High 1600 lumens
  • Medium 400 lumens
  • Low 100 lumens
  • Moon 8 lumens
  • Strobe 1600 lumens
  • SOS 60 Lumens.

 

Runtime & Heat

For my Runtime and heat tests I used the included Klarus branded 3600mAh battery. The lights high output of 1600 lumens began stepping down from the moment it came on and it was down to 46% of relative output at 1:10. This is an a much faster decline then I expected. The light does have some active thermal management and the light increased slowly over the next 4 minutes to 62% relative output before decreasing again around the 8:30 mark down to the 46% relative output. From here it sat pretty flat out to 10% relative output at 2:40:00 mark. Just before LVP kicked in on the light at the near 8 hour mark it did gain in brightness the last 20 minutes by 6 relative percent. You notice heat quickly on this light in high mode, the hottest I saw was 51.9C at the 45 second mark.

 

UI

UI on this light is the exact same as the E1 and controlled all with the switches in the tail cap of the light. Like other recent Klarus lights, there are 2 UI modes on this light. Factory default mode is Outdoor Mode, which I found to work for EDC pretty well. 

 

You have a paddle switch that starts allowing the light to work on low either in momentary if just clicked briefly or if you click and hold for about 1 second it will stay on. Once in the on position this paddle can be used to step through the lights 4 main modes in increasing order. 8LM, 100LM, 400LM, 1600LM. 

 

Also on the tail cap is a larger round mechanical switch that will give you instant access to turbo. You can half press this for momentary or full press to lock on. Once the light is on you can use the paddle to cycle between modes. 

 

To switch modes when the light is off, press and hold the paddle for 5 seconds and the battery indicator on the front side of the light will begin flashing red/green. Then click the large primary switch without releasing the paddle. 

 

The second mode is a tactical setting where the primary button turns the light on to high, then use the paddle to change modes, and in tactical the light goes from high and decreases in brightness to medium (400 lumens), Low (100 Lumens), and then Moonlight (8 Lumens). To enter the strobe while the light is on, hold the paddle for 2 seconds. When the light is off, pressing the paddle will give you direct access to the strobe. 

 

Lockout in either mode can be accomplished via unscrewing the tail slightly to reset.

 

Recharging

The Klarus E1 again uses a proprietary battery here, where both the positive and negative terminals are on the traditionally positive end of the battery. The positive terminal has a plastic spacer around it that sticks out a bit. A normal flat top battery will work in the light with a magnet spacer but you will lose the recharging feature of the light. The light uses MicroUSB for recharging which is disappointing in mid 2020.

Speaking of recharging I charged the light from LVP at 2.86V to full at 4.18V in a total of 4 hours and 25 minutes. Charge speed was around and ranged from 0.66A to right at 1A. Definitely on the slower side but safe. What I didn’t like was the light’s LED indicator on the side changed from red (charging) to green (Charged) before the light was completely full. I got the full indicator an hour before the light actually stopped using current and I tested the battery here at 4V. It would be good to see the light actually go green when it was done charging instead of being almost done.

Pro

  • Good factory deep carry clip, but it only allows for tip up carry and it rotates a bit to easily.
  • Good fit and finish, it’s a good looking production light. 
  • 2 UI modes for users to pick from. 

 

Con

  • Minimal change from the Klarus E1
  • Proprietary battery, this time it’s larger capacity at least.
  • Doesn’t tail stand, or is magnetic, because of the dual button configuration on the tail cap.
  • Wasn’t a fan of taking it out of my pocket and having to change grip to turn it on.
  • Moonlight mode here is brighter at 8 lumens than the E1 which isn’t moonlight at all.

 

Conclusion

The Klarus E2 looks familiar because it is largely the E1 that’s slightly longer, with a different LED to produce more output (still in cool white only) and comes with the battery the larger capacity E1 should have shipped with originally. 

 

I like it’s size for an 18650 light, it’s short, and about as narrow as possible. It has a pretty good UI and I love that it has the optional Outdoors mode or Tactical mode. The light isn’t perfect though, I found in my daily IT work I missed the ability to tail stand and a magnetic tail cap, and I didn’t love having to rotate the light in my hand when pulling it out of my pocket to use it. Moonlight mode is too bright here at 8 lumens, and it steps down super fast from it’s highest output. It’s good to see they went with the larger capacity battery here vs the E1. I hope before the light ships they revise the firmware to let the green charged light come on at closer to 4.2v vs the 4.0v it comes on in my example. 

 

MSRP at a few retailers who are listing the light for sale now at the time of this video is about $70 which is a little on the steep side with the competition and a big step up from the E1. A drop in price would make the light more competitive. If you liked the E1 you will like the E2 as it’s basically the exact same light with a brighter LED and higher capacity battery that’s just slightly longer overall.

Pick it up at the Klarus Store https://klaruslightstore.com/products/e2-klarus-rechargeable-tail-dual-switch-tactical-flashlight

Full Image Gallery https://imgur.com/a/6eku23l