Nitecore TINI Cu Flashlight Review

Preface

Nitecore has recently released a couple of special edition small lights, the full copper TIP and TINI.  While I’ve reviewed the TINI before, I thought a full copper version might warrant an updated review!
As a result of this basically being an update, this review might use parts from the original review, and might also be a bit brief!


Official Specs and Features

Versions

There are a bunch of colors of this light, but they all have the same specs (well, except the weight of the copper version).  There’s green, blue, black, red, silver, gray, gold, and copper.

Price

The copper version comes in at $31.95.  The rest are $29.99.


Short Review

These are neat little lights.  I think the copper is a nice touch, and for just $2 more, I’d almost universally recommend that version.  It’s a good simple keychain light, but lacks lockout.

Long Review

The Big Table

Nitecore Tini Cu
Emitter: Cree XP-G2 (S3)
Price in USD at publication time: $31.95
Cell: Internal
Turbo Runtime High Runtime
LVP? No
Switch Type: E-Switch
Quiescent Current (A): ?
On-Board Charging? Yes
Chargetime
Power off Charge Port with no Cell? ?
Claimed Lumens (lm) 380
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 480 (126.3% of claim)*
Claimed Throw (m) 64
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 84lux @ 3.68m = 1138cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 67.5 (105.5% 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 TINI Cu Keychain flashlight
  • Split ring and keychain hook
  • Manual and paperwork

ZeroAir_Nitecore_TINI_CU-05.jpg

Package and Manual

This special edition copper light warrants Nitecore to stray from their normal black and yellow package!  This is a slim package, with nice photos and a feature list.

As the light is bare copper, Nitecore smartly packages it in a sealed plastic pouch.

Here’s a direct link to the pdf manual for this and all TINI lights.  The manual is the same as for the TINI that I originally reviewed.

Build Quality and Disassembly

The body of this light is copper, and in two parts.  That’s always been my biggest complaint with the other small lights like this; that the body is two parts, requiring a seal between the parts, and around the micro-USB port the seals were questionable.  The TINI is much more solidly constructed.  The halves match up perfectly, and everything is completely snug (to be fair the TIP is like this too, but I do feel like the TINI is more solid).
ZeroAir_Nitecore_TINI_CU-19.jpg

 

 

ZeroAir_Nitecore_TINI_CU-20.jpg

Size

Officially 43.3mm x 25.4mm x 11.5mm.  The TINI is in fact tiny!

The aluminum TINI and the copper TINI are the same in size and guts.

This is indeed a small light.  Below, it’s with the Olight I1R.
ZeroAir_Nitecore_TINI_CU-17.jpg

Retention

This is a keychain light, so there’s a keychain loop on the body.  And Nitecore includes the pieces needed to attach the light to a keychain too.  Even a reasonably quick quick release.  There’s no magnet or any other way to retain the light.
I carry this in the pocket though, without any attachment.  I prefer it that way.  It’s semi-possible to lock the light out, by switching to the “DEMO” mode.  The light will turn off after 30 seconds in this mode.  But it’s still not a proper lockout.

Power

TINI Cu has a built-in internal cell, which is claimed at 280mAh.  Nitecore has been accurate in the past with their other similar models.  This isn’t a user-replaceable battery.
Here’s a runtime on Turbo – I actually used a clothespin to hold down the button for the whole runtime.  As far as I can tell that’s the only way to keep the light on Turbo!
ZeroAir_Nitecore_TINI_CU-21.png
Though the light only claims 380 lumens, I measured it much higher than that, at around 480 (30s).  I don’t think this is due to the difference in material or heat managing ability of the copper.
Here’s a runtime on High.  This is a very stable output for over 50 minutes!
ZeroAir_Nitecore_TINI_CU-22.png
In all my tests, the light only switched to very low output (read as “0” on my apparatus), but never actually shut off.
Charging is by micro-USB.  A cable is not included, so be prepared to bring your own!
ZeroAir_Nitecore_TINI_CU-13
Here’s a chargetime, showing the battery is around the claimed capacity.  When charging is complete, there does not seem to be any trickle charge.  This is a small battery (claimed 280mAh) and charges at around 0.27A, which is approximately 1C.  Good charging.
ZeroAir_Nitecore_TINI_CU-23.png

User Interface and Operation

Two indicating switches are on the side of the TINI.  One is the “Power switch” (PS) and the other is the “Mode switch” (MS).  There are two mode groups on the TINI, as well.  One
ZeroAir_Nitecore_TINI_CU-09.jpg
Here’s a UI table!

State Action Result
Off Click Power Switch (PS) No action
Off Click Mode Switch (MS) Battery Check*
Off Hold PS On (mode memory, no turbo)
Any Hold MS Turbo (momentary)
Off Both (>1s) Switch mode groups**
Off Double click (either) No action
On Click PS Off
On Click MS Mode advance (L>M>H)

* Battery check:
3 flashes = Battery > 50%
2 flashes = Battery < 50%
1 flash = Battery < 10%
** One flash indicates Demo Mode, two flashes indicates Daily Mode.
Demo mode: Light will turn off after 30 seconds.
Daily mode: Light must be turned off manually.

Modes

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Measured Lumens
Turbo 380 15m 471
High 145 1h 189
Medium 38 4h 40
Low 1 60h 1

LED and Beam

A Cree XP-G2 is in the TINI, behind a TIR with texture.  The beam has a typical TIR shape but the stippling on the TIR diffuses the edges of the spot more than with clear TIR’s.  I’d say this is a good keychain beam profile.
ZeroAir_Nitecore_TINI_CU-10
ZeroAir_Nitecore_TINI_CU-18.jpg
The beam is a spot with very smooth rolloff.

Tint vs BLF-348

The tint doesn’t look “great” here but in reality, I find it to be quite pleasant!
ZeroAir_Nitecore_TINI_CU-28.jpg

Random Comparisons and Competitive Options….

Nitecore makes some of the main competition in this class, and among all those I’d pick the TINI.  Acebeam has the UC15, which is similar but really more in the class of the TIP.  I reviewed the UC15 here.

Conclusion

What I like

  • Actual, uncoated copper, firm (ie fitment) body
  • Nice big lens (bigger than TIP’s)
  • Good output from tiny light

What I don’t like

  • Can’t leave the light on in Turbo
  • UI is a little unusual

Up Next

More lights!  More lights are up next.  And I have a couple of one-off type items that I hope to finish soon, too.  Stay tuned!!

Notes

  • This light was provided by Nitecore 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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