Nitecore NU05 Headlamp Review

Preface

While most flashlight’y people don’t like a headlamp that has any plastic whatsoever, I am not in that group.  This Nitecore NU05 is a kind of novel headlamp because it’s a headlamp/bike tail light.  Regardless of it’s utility, it’s fun.


Official Specs and Features

Versions

Just one version!

MSRP

$14.95 for just the light, $19.95 for the kit.  The kit includes all the stuff you’d want (headband, bike mount, USB cable).


Short Review

This is a great fun little light.  The UI could be a bit better, and I think the green emitter is under utilized.  But it’s a fun thing to have!

Long Review

What’s Included

  • Nitecore NU05 Headlamp
  • Headband
  • Bike mount
  • USB cable
  • Manual

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Note: The product I received is the kit.  The non-kit has only the light itself as far as I can tell.

Package and Manual

Typical black and yellow Nitecore package here, with a window in to see the tiny NU05.

Here’s a pdf of the manual.  I’m really glad Nitecore provides those!  Lots of manufacturers don’t.  The manual is just fine, especially since there’s not much to this light as far as warnings and the like.  It’s a very simple unit.

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I’m not sure if the lockout was a late addition or what, but my package came with this slip of paper:

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Nice that there’s a lockout!  This information is included in the manual itself too, though.

Build Quality and Disassembly

It’s a plastic headlamp.  Those often get dumped on but honestly, I quite like many of them.  This one has great build quality – it seems to use the same type plastic that is used in the Nitecore F1/F2 (i8, etc).  And I believe the front and back are sonically welded together.  They could be separated, sure, but I believe that’d be a permanent separation.

The micro-usb port is well covered, with a rubber boot.  The boot stays in place nicely, and is appropriately sealed.

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Size

The NU05 is a small light, with small output.

Dimensions:
Height ─ 29.5mm (1.16″)
Width ─ 30.3mm (1.19″)
Length ─ 16.3mm (0.64″)
Weight: 10.4g (0.37oz)

Below is the NU05 with a Susan B. Anthony dollar coin.

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Retention

There are two ways to hold this light.  As a headlamp, on the provided headstrap.  This is a thinner headstrap than usual.  The light is easy to get on and off the strap – it just slips in the hook on the back.  It’s secure though, and I can’t imagine a scenario where it’d accidentally fall off the strap.  The strap is highly adjustable, and has a squeeze adjustment too.  It’s actually a very nice strap.

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There’s also a bike mount.  The mount itself can be left on the bike as seen below.  Then the NU05 can be put on and off easily (easier than getting the NU05 on and off the headstrap, for what that’s worth).

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This would be a nice setup as a rear light on a bike.  The red flasher is fairly bright.  It’s not a light you’d use as a front light on a bike, though.  The white light just isn’t direct enough (whether it’s bright enough or not).

Power

The NU05 is powered by a “120mAh” internal cell.  This is a pouch cell, and is not removable – only rechargeable via micro-USB.

Here’s the runtime on the white light, solid output.  It’s respectable, and seems to actually trend upward throughout the runtime.  There is a hard dropoff once the cell is depleted, and the light shuts off.

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Charging is also very solid, at 1C.  Just 0.12A charging may seems low, but remember this is a small cell.  I find this to be acceptable, and also note that the rated 120mAh cell actually looks to be a fair bit higher than 120mAh.

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User Interface and Operation

There’s a single silicone clicky in the center of the front of the light.  Maybe not the best place but certainly good for aesthetics.  It’s positively clicky and low-travel.  It’s actually a nice fidget.  20170823-IMG_3553

The UI is very simple.  The modes always cycle from secondary red, primary reds slow flash, primary reds fast, white slow flash, white solid.  To cycle the modes, one must click quickly – wait too long and the next click will turn the light off.  The only other thing one can do with the UI here is hold for 1s to lockout (or unlock) the light.

LED and Beam

There are 6 emitters in this light.  Nitecore doesn’t really go into detail on what the emitters are.  Two of these (not the main 4) are used as charging indicators.  These are red and green.  The green is used only as a charging indicator (unfortunately!).  Then there are two ‘primary’ reds, which are used for slow flash and fast strobe.  And finally the two white emitters, which have a slow flash and a steady on mode.  The beam on all modes is completely, fully flood.  There’s no focus whatsoever.  In fact the beam is so diffuse on all the modes that the only light that would show up in my normal beamshots is the solid white, and even then just barely.

Beamshots, Runtime, and Lux Measurements

Nitecore NU05
Emitter Unspecified
Emitter Notes Red secondary
Cell Integrated
Glamour Shots Beamshots [0.3″, f/8, ISO 100, 5000k]
Runtime Integrated
Chargetime Integrated
Lux (Measured) 13
At (m) 1.356
Candela (Calculated) in cd 23.90
Throw (Calculated) (m) 9.78
Throw (Claimed) (m)

Conclusion

What I like

  • Size and shape
  • Small headband
  • Bike connector is included with kit

What I don’t like

  • Underutilized green emitter
  • Beam shape is only useful for very close applications


Up Next

I have a whole host of knives to review, but next I’ll probably have the Thrunite Neutron 2C, a light I’ve been extremely pleased with.  Wait I’m not supposed to say that til the review….

Notes

  • This light was provided by NitecoreStore.com for review. I was not paid to write this review.
  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.wordpress.com.  Please visit there for the best experience!
  • Whether or not I have a coupon for this light, I do have a bunch of coupons!!  Have a look at my spreadsheet for those coupons.

Author: zeroair

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