Nitecore TIP2 Keychain Flashlight Review
Nitecore has released the TIP2 flashlight, a Cree XP-G3 dual-emitter keychain light with a magnet and an internal battery. Read on!
Official Specs and Features
So far it seems that there’s just one version. I fully expect there to be other colors available in the future. Of course this is the second iteration of the TIP, and there were many versions of the TIP.
This is a fun little light. I don’t really consider it for keychain use (for myself) but it fits very comfortably in the pocket (disappears practically). The charging is good, the output is good, – basically a fairly well thought out update to the TIP! I would like to have seen a better emitter choice than XP-G3, though, and I don’t believe modding this light will be very straightforward.
The Big Table
|Emitter:||Cree XP-G3 S3 (Dual Emitter)|
|Price in USD at publication time:||$44.95|
|Turbo Runtime||High Runtime|
|Quiescent Current (A):||–|
|Power off Charge Port with no Cell?||–|
|Claimed Lumens (lm)||720|
|Measured Lumens (at 30s)||779 (108.2% of claim)^|
|Claimed Throw (m)||93|
|Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s)||147lux @ 4.13m = 2507cd|
|Throw (Calculated) (m)||100.1 (107.6% of claim)^|
|All my Nitecore reviews!|
^ Measurement disclaimer: Testing flashlights is my hobby. I use hobbyist-level equipment for testing, including some I made myself. Try not to get buried in the details of manufacturer specifications versus measurements recorded here; A certain amount of difference (say, 10 or 15%) is perfectly reasonable.
- Nitecore TIP2
- Split ring and latch
- Pocket clip
- Manual etc
Package and Manual
This light arrives in a very typical Nitecore package.
The manual is also typical of Nitecore. Very useful, of course.
Build Quality and Disassembly
The TIP2 is a sturdy, dense little light. Once all the accessories have been removed it’s clear (by the weight vs the size) that there’s not much extra space inside this little aluminum body.
The tailcap comes off, to reveal two magnets and one charge port. There doesn’t actually seem to be an o-ring here, but the closure seems quite… o-ringy. Also the magnets used here are very strong.
See those two screws in the tailcap, above? Those screws hold down a ferrous plate to which the magnets on the body are attracted. Those are tinnny Torx screws – I did not attempt to remove those.
Interestingly the clip has an angled front edge, such that the light just barely slips out under (and also through!) the plastic.
A slightly annoying feature of the very strong magnets is that the clip is very attracted to these magnets, and never seems to be where I want it to be for easy grasping.
Size and Comps
Length 62.6 mm
Head Size 26.9 mm
Weight 38.3 g
It certainly fits in the hand easily, but I’ve found using it with two hands is easiest.
The first thing I thought when I first held this light was “this is just like that Olight.” And indeed it is quite like the Olight Ion. It’s almost as if the TIP2 was designed as a response to my main criticism of the Ion: “Mode switches are very hard to feel and use.”
And here’s the light beside my custom engraved TorchLAB BOSS 35, an 18350 light. I reviewed the aluminum version of that light in both 35 and 70 formats.
Retention and Carry
There are a number of ways to retain the TIP2. Probably first is the clip, which attaches to a ring on the tailcap. It’s practically necessary to leave this ring attached because it’s needed for pulling off the tailcap cover. That’s how strong the magnets attach! The tailcap is realistically intended to live on a keyring, and the body to be detached during use. It’s not a bad setup.
Next of course, are the magnets. These are quite strong, and of course hold the light when the tailcap is off, against a metal surface so that the light points straight outward.
But the magnets are also strong enough to hold the light in the manner seen below:
And finally, the pocket clip. I find the clip to be useful and comfortable, and as short as the TIP2 is, the light practically disappears on a pocket. The clip also leaves both switches completely and easily accessible. The clip is directional, and works perfectly on the bill of a cap. The clip is completely plastic.
Power and Runtime
The cell on the TIP2 is internal, and not at all user-replaceable. The battery is stated as a 500mAh lipo.
Here’s a runtime on Turbo. The light fades from turbo output as seen in the inset, so I figured why not reset it to turbo a bunch of times to see what happens. What happens is that the output stays just about at Turbo levels, but the duration is a bit shorter each time. The light heats up, but not to a level of discomfort.
Runtime on High is pleasantly boring, and flat for much of the run.
Charging is just under 1C, which should be good for the battery. Charge takes almost 2 hours, which is a long while, but ultimately not that bad. Charging happens over USB. A USB to micro-USB cable is not included. Any USB source should easily provide power to charge this light.
During charge, the indicator between the switches will blink slowly. Once charge is complete, the indicator between the switches, and I quote “will become steadily turned on.” I don’t need to know about your personal life, charging indicator.
Modes and Currents
|Mode||Mode Claimed Output (lm)||Claimed Runtime||Measured Lumens||Tailcap Amps|
Pulse Width Modulation
No PWM at all on any mode here. Yay!
For reference, here’s a baseline shot, with all the room lights off and almost nothing hitting the sensor. Also, here’s the light with the worst PWM I could find. I’m adding multiple timescales, so it’ll be easier to compare to the test light. Unfortunately, the PWM on this light is so bad that it doesn’t even work with my normal scale, which is 50 microseconds (50us). 10ms. 5ms. 2ms. 1ms. 0.5ms. 0.2ms. In a display faster than 0.2ms or so, the on/off cycle is more than one screen, so it’d just (very incorrectly) look like a flat line. I wrote more about this Ultrafire WF-602C flashlight and explained a little about PWM too.
User Interface and Operation
There are two switches on the TIP2. Both are e-switches, and both share an indicating function. The are hard plastic (or possibly coated metal) and have a positive but very soft (quiet) click. With the pocket clip in place, they’re just a little recessed and harder to access, but still completely usable. The two switches are labeled with a power symbol and three lines. Three lines is the mode button.
Notice between the switches – there’s a three LED indicator, which shows how charged the battery is. When the light is off, pressing the mode button will give a power indication.
Three flashes: Power >50%
Two flashes: Power <50%
One flash: Power<10%
Note that it’s a number of flashes, not a number of the circles being lit here. So every time, all three circles have blue light showing. (IE these holes share a blue emitter.)
There are two user modes for this light. Daily and Demo. The light of course ships in Demo mode. In Demo, the light shuts off after 30 seconds. In Daily mode, the light does not shut off after 30 seconds. To switch between the two, hold both buttons and wait for a flash. One flash indicates Demo, two flashes indicates Daily. The light can be on or off before making this change.
Here’s a UI table!
|Off||Click Power Switch (PS)||No action|
|Off||Click Mode Switch (MS)||Battery indicator|
|Off||Hold PS||On (Mode memory)|
|Any||Hold MS||Momentary Turbo|
|On||Click MS||Mode advance (LMH)|
The UI is really not all that complicated, but importantly lacks direct access to the lowest mode, which I feel is a massive failing.
Also, note that to turn the light on with the Power Switch, there is a 2-second delay. There isn’t a 2-second delay for Turbo, though. I have been told that this 2s delay is to prevent accidental activation. Note that there does not seem to be a fully locked out option in the UI…. This could be sort of simulated by switching to Demo mode.
LED and Beam
Both of the emitters here are Cree XP-G3 emitters. These are not great emitters, and I’d love to see this light with a mod for [practically any other emitter]. The fringe tint shift is dramatic(ally yellow).
These beamshots are always with the following settings: f8, ISO100, 0.3s shutter, and manual 5000K exposure.
The beam profile is nice though. Notice that the beams from both emitters blend together very well to a single spot.
Tint vs BLF-348 (KillzoneFlashlights.com 219b version) (affiliate link)
I keep the test flashlight on the left, and the BLF-348 reference flashlight on the right.
I compare everything to the Killzone 219b BLF-348 because it’s inexpensive and has the best tint!
What I like
- Size and shape
- Very solid build
- Strong magnets are useful for more than just holding this light
- Can be used on a cap for forward illumination.
- UI is uncomplicated and easy to use
What I don’t like
- Cree XP-G3.
- No access to low
- No actual lockout
- This light was provided by Nitecore for review. I was not paid to write this review. Buy yours at NitecoreStore.com
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