Nitecore Concept 2 Flashlight Review

Preface

Nitecore has released a second in their “Concept” series.  This is the Concept 2.  A four cell, four emitter with on-board charging and an indicating switch.  It looks pretty spectacular on paper, especially when it’s noted that this tiny light is Nitecore’s highest output light to date!  Let’s see how it breaks down.


Official Specs and Features

Versions

There’s only one version of the Concept 2!

Price

The current price for the brand new Concept 2 is $199.95 from NitecoreStore.


Short Review

This is a spectacular light.  It’s smaller than you thought it’d be, and the output is very impressive.  I do wish the cells were replaceable, though.

Long Review

The Big Table

Nitecore Concept 2
Emitter: Cree XHP35 HD (four)
Price in USD at publication time: $199.95
Cell: Internal (18650×4)
Turbo Runtime High Runtime
LVP? Yes
Switch Type: E-Switch
Quiescent Current (A): ?
On-Board Charging? Yes
Chargetime
Power off Charge Port with no Cell?
Claimed Lumens (lm) 6500
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 5600 (86.2% of claim)*
Claimed Throw (m) 398
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 1026lux @ 6.746m = 46692cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 432.2 (108.6% of claim)*
All my Nitecore reviews!

* Standard measurement disclaimer: I am an amateur flashlight reviewer. I don’t have $10,000 or even $1,000 worth of testing equipment. I test output and such in PVC tubes!! Please consider claims within 10% of what I measure to be perfectly reasonable (accurate, even).

What’s Included

  • Nitecore Concept 2 Flashlight
  • Cells (integrated, not replaceable)
  • Wall wart (barrel plug)
  • Nylon pouch
  • Lanyard (attached)
  • Manual and paperwork

ZeroAir_Nitecore_Concept_2-13.jpg

Package and Manual

The package for the Concept 2 is quite nice!  It’s a slip fit cardboard box, and there are no reliefs for gripping to separate the parts.  However the coating on the box is such that they slide apart fairly easily.  The image you see below on the cover of the box is actually embossed!  My package had two warnings about the light getting hot.

Here’s a pdf of the user manual.  It’s a very typical, and good, Nitecore manual.

Build Quality and Disassembly

This is a little chunk of a light.  I’m going to say it’s smaller than you think it is, but it still has 4×18650 cells – so it’s probably heaver than you might expect after first sight, too.  But it’s all put together very well.
ZeroAir_Nitecore_Concept_2-39.jpg
The Concept 2 really is just a rectangular tube light.  The sides are more or less the same, except that each side has it’s own feature.  One side has the switch.  Opposite the switch is the charge port.  Another side has a pocket clip.  Opposite that is the branding.

But the whole thing is put together quite snugly, and there’s no rattle at all inside.
Now, you might be thinking that it is just a tube.  It’s not.  The [square] mcpcb rests on an actual shelf, which separates the head from the cell area.
Both the head and tail are held on with four Hex screws.
ZeroAir_Nitecore_Concept_2-26.jpg
I took the light apart as far as I could without fear of breaking it, and here are the results.
zeroair_nitecore_concept_2-61.jpg
The bezel has a black custom gasket underneath.  Once those two parts are removed, the reflector doesn’t just fall right out.  It’s held in place with a custom clear o-ring.  That took some persuasion, but a fine point to lift it worked perfectly.  After that’s gone, the reflector comes right out.

And then you’ve revealed the mcpcb.  It’s a square job, with what looks like individually rounded corners (ie, rounded off just for this light).  It’s held in place by a bunnnnnch of wires.  The green/black/red/yellow combo go to the switch.  The mcpcb is held in place on the light’s shelf by two screws.
zeroair_nitecore_concept_2-58.jpg
The tail end comes off just the same, and also has a custom gasket (different from the one on the head.)  In fact this gasket is soft, whereas the one on the head is not – it’s much firmer.
zeroair_nitecore_concept_2-60.jpg
Here’s what you reveal.  There are four 18650s being held in place by this unusual pressure mounted holder.  Contrary to what you might expect, the cathode here is not soldered.  The cathode is touched by that brass piece, and that’s soldered together in the center.  From there, a rod runs between all 4 cells to the other end of the light.
zeroair_nitecore_concept_2-53.jpg
This whole unit isn’t user serviceable.  Se below how far the cells were willing to budge, and that’s with considerable effort.  My suspicion is that the anode of these cells are soldered to wires.  That’s the kind of give the cells have.  Nitecore has a bunch of cell types, and they all have this Cohiba style line around the bottom.  That at least tells us the cell is high quality – the “worst” possibility is a 2100mAh 30A cell.  The best is a 3100mAh 35A cell.  Whatever it is, these cells provide plenty of juice for the light.

As I said, the cells aren’t soldered to the brass tension holder on the cathode.  I’ve marked one (top right) and rotated it – note the movement of the mark.  That’s about as far as it’ll turn, too.  So it’s not soldered, but it’s not free.

Size

Officially 112.5 x 40 x 40mm.  And the weight is 348g (with cells, of course).

This was very much smaller than I expected, based on product shots I’d seen.  Slimmer than the Meteor M43 (though, maybe not a huge surprise there; that has 12 emitters and the Concept 2 has 4.)
ZeroAir_Nitecore_Concept_2-36.jpg
And shorter than a Convoy S2+.
ZeroAir_Nitecore_Concept_2-35.jpg

Retention

There are three options for carry of the Concept 2.  Two are already installed.
First is the pocket clip.  Or more likely, the belt clip.  This is a beefy, springy clip, held in place by one of the 4 screws on the tailcap.  It’s removable – just the one screw and a steel plate holds it in place.  It’s quite slim, too.  Perfect for a belt.  It doesn’t overly expose the light.  That said, you’d have to really want to wear this light on the belt for it to work.  It’s 348g, after all.
ZeroAir_Nitecore_Concept_2-29.jpg
Next is the lanyard.  It connects on the tailcap too, through a very small hole.  I removed this later, and I have to recommend against that, if you ever want to use the lanyard again.  It’s a very tight fit.
ZeroAir_Nitecore_Concept_2-34.jpg
And finally, the nylon pouch.  It’s a great pouch, and fits the light very well.  The light will go up or down.
ZeroAir_Nitecore_Concept_2-18.jpg
Bezel down is probably the best option, though, because otherwise the clip gets in the way a little.

Power

As has been said above, the light has 4 18650 cells installed.  These cells are about as user-serviceable as the ram on a new Macbook Pro.  Is it possible?  Yes.  Soldering iron required?  Yes.
But based on the parts of the cell I’ve seen, these seem to be high quality cells.
I performed a runtime on Turbo.  When I initially played with the light, I thought “man this gets hot” but in truth, it doesn’t really get that hot.  And doesn’t stay that hot, either.  it’s throttled quickly.  Notably though, (as seen below), it is possible to hit turbo again, and the output is nearly equal to startup output.  But also note that the stepdown is much quicker in those cases.  Once the temperature comes back down, the light will step up. This step up, as you can see from the second graph, is really stepping into the same stepdown High goes into mode.
Turbo1.png
Below is a runtime of High.  High actually has a bit of a thermal throttle too, but lasts much longer at High than Turbo does at Turbo.  Also the stepdown isn’t into “Medium” (which is around 1000 lumens), nor is it actually “High” (which should be around 2500 lumens).  But either way, it’s very steady for the remainder of the runtime.
High1.png
Since this has an integrated cell, there’s on-board charging too.  The package includes a wall wart.
ZeroAir_Nitecore_Concept_2-37.jpg
The wall wart has a barrel plug for connecting to the light, and  although it’s a 12V system, the barrel plug is smaller than most of my other 12V barrel plugs.
ZeroAir_Nitecore_Concept_2-38.jpg
The port is covered by a rubber boot.  The connection is secure, and the boot is flush with the body of the light.  It’s a little hard to get a fingernail under, but that’s probably a good thing.

I don’t have a way to log this type of charging, but I timed it to somewhere under 6 hours and 30 minutes.  The wall wart is rated at only 1A, but I really expect it’s putting out a fair bit more than that – the light does get quite warm while charging.

User Interface and Operation

There’s a single e-switch on the head of this light.  It’s a big, textured, indicating switch.  The indicator has two blue LEDs.  I quite like this switch.  It’s a double-action, responsive clicky switch.  It’s exactly like the switch on the Nitecore MH23.  I liked the switch then, and I still like it now.
ZeroAir_Nitecore_Concept_2-28.jpg
Here’s a UI table!

State Action Result
Off Click On (Mode Memory)
Off Half Hold Lockout
Off Full Click and Hold Momentary Turbo
Off Half Click Battery Check
On Click Off
On Half Click Mode Advance (L>H direction)
On Half Press and Hold Momentary Turbo
Lockout Full Click and Hold Unlock
On Click and Hold Strobe
Strobe Half Click Strobe Advance (Strobe> Beacon> SOS)

That’s a fairly versatile UI!  And I believe a bit of an improvement from the MH23, which differs slightly.

Modes

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Measured Lumens
Turbo 6500 30m 5600 (6036 at startup)
High 2500 1h30m 2733
Mid 1000 6h30m 1087
Low 285 16h 298
Ultralow 1 2000h

LED and Beam

The emitter of choice here is the Cree XHP35 HD.  The reflectors are smooth.  This gives a surprisingly circular spot output, with four bits of spill.
ZeroAir_Nitecore_Concept_2-27.jpg

The result of the reflector, at least up close, looks like a flower.
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Tint vs BLF-348

ZeroAir_Nitecore_Concept_2-06

Random Comparisons and Competitive Options….

Here’s a relevantly filtered page on parametrek.com. What compares to this light?  Not much, to be honest.  Anything else you might chose to buy would be a tradeoff of some sort (if 4×18650 XHP35 HD light is what you were after.)  There are other “wall-of-light” lights, but I love the uniqueness of the body shape on this one.

Conclusion

What I like

  • Unique body shape
  • UI is good, and the two-stage switch is great
  • Pocket clip and pouch are both great for this light
  • Switch has battery check!

What I don’t like

  • Cells can not be swapped.
  • Output throttles a little soon in my opinion
  • I really wish this used a common 12V barrel plug, if it has to use a barrel plug.  And if the barrel plug is charging at only 1A (per the wall wart specs) then please let’s switch to USB-C.

Up Next

I have at least one more light this week – the Skilhunt H03F RC.  And possibly a couple of other random items!  Stay tuned!

Notes

  • This light was provided by NitecoreStore for review. I was not paid to write this review.
  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.org.  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. It’s possible to subscribe and get notifications when the sheet is edited!!

Author: zeroair

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