Nitecore P18 Flashlight Review
Nitecore has released the P18, an e-switch flashlight that runs on a single 18650, and has an interesting design. Read on for testing!
Official Specs and Features
Just the one version.
This is a fun light, with a nice form factor. I like the simple Nitecore UI, but the main button is a bit finicky for me. The secondary switch is great though.
The Big Table
|Emitter:||Cree XHP35 HD (Red secondary)|
|Price in USD at publication time:||$99.95
Buy yours at NitecoreStore.com!
|Turbo Runtime||High Runtime|
|LVP?||No (Switch to low)|
|Quiescent Current (A):||0.00005|
|Claimed Lumens (lm)||1800|
|Measured Lumens (at 30s)||1299 (72.2% of claim)^|
|Claimed Throw (m)||182|
|Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s)||399lux @ 4.652m = 8635cd|
|Throw (Calculated) (m)||185.8 (102.1% of claim)^|
|All my Nitecore reviews!|
^ 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).
- Nitecore P18 Dual emitter Flashlight
- Nitecore 3100mAh 18650, flat top
- Nylon Pouch
- Spare o-ring (1)
Package and Manual
Standard Nitecore package! The light is in a plastic tray inside.
The Nitecore logo has a bit of peel-off plastic. 🙂 Worth it. Here’s a direct link to the pdf manual, or just see below.
Build Quality and Disassembly
The P18 is built well and has a very interesting design. This is probably the vape-y-iest flashlight I know of…. if you’re looking to disguise your flashlight as a vape then… maybe this is the light for you!
Otherwise, the light just has a great shape for in-hand. There are some “apart” photos later in the review relevant to their sections, but I didn’t disassemble the light. I’m not even entirely sure how the light comes apart. It’s possible that once the bezel is removed, the internals can be accessed, but I’m not even sure about that. The area with the Nitecore logo appears to be a small access panel, but it’s unclear how that comes off.
The tailcap unscrews easily, but to put the cap back on, you must press it in in order to depress the brass button. That’s not hard, but if you’re not careful, you can miss align the threads, and end up with a mess. The threads are tough though, and I never damaged them during use.
Speaking of the brass button – it’s a brass button but also a spring.
The head end of the light also has a spring.
Size and Comps
Dimensions L-4.15″ x W-0.9″ x H-0.9″
I measure 5.27oz with the cell in place.
23.23mm on the narrow side, 31.8mm on the wide side, and 105.74mm long.
The light is bigger than you might guess, too. There has to be an interesting bit of tech going the length of the light… otherwise I’d like for the light to be shorter.
Here’s the test light with the venerable Convoy S2+. A very nice 18650 light.
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
A nylon pouch is included, and it fits the light in only one orientation. The thicker dimension of the light will be outward in the pouch, so the light rides a bit thick. The clip prevents putting the light in bezel up, but if the clip is off, either direction would work.
Also included is a pocket clip. It’s a pretty nice pocket clip and carries the light well. It’s not nearly deep enough though, and being a single screw design it’d have been simple enough to make it a deep carry clip. The body of the light has an unusual feature of demanding the orientation of the clip with some divots – it’s impossible to install it incorrectly.
Power and Runtime
Nitecore includes an 18650 for this light, and with good reason. The light draws over 5A on turbo, so a quality cell is needed. That said, the included cell doesn’t maintain turbo output for very long.
Turbo steps down a few times, approximately to the lower modes, and then finally steps down to a lower-than-low output. It never shuts off, at all. Around 2.0V, when the voltage is too low to crest the forward voltage of the emitter, the light no longer operates, but I hardly call that “shutting off.” But no LVP isn’t unheard of on this type of light, so I see this as a planned option.
The output on High is equally flat once it stabilizes, and runs at High for over an hour.
Nitecore includes the cell below, a 3100mAh 18650.
It’s a flat top and labeled as 20A continuous. It should be a very high-quality cell
The cell goes into the light with the positive terminal toward the head, as seen below.
Modes and Currents
|Mode||Mode Claimed Output (lm)||Claimed Runtime||Tailcap Amps|
Pulse Width Modulation
No PWM was detected on any mode, including red.
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, with 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
The UI is a dual switch, with one of those being clicky, and one of them being a two-stage switch. The most prominent has a power logo and is the control of the white light. The side button, round and clicky, controls the red. This side button feels metal, while the larger switch on the tail is likely plastic. Both can be operated utterly silently.
Here’s a UI table!
|Off||Click Side Switch (SS)||No Action|
|Off||Hold SS||Red Steady|
|Red Steady||Click SS||Off|
|Off||Fully depress Tail Switch (TS)||On (White emitter) (Mode Memory including strobe, excluding Beacon/SOS)|
|On (White)||Fully Depress TS||Off|
|On (White)||Less than fully depress TS (not “half press”, specifically)||Mode advance (LMH direction)|
|Off||Press both switches||Ultralow|
|Off||Hold TS||Momentary (White) (Mode Memory)|
|Momentary Mode Memory (White)||Fully depress TS||Momentary Turbo|
|On (White)||Less than fully depress TS||Momentary Turbo|
|On||Fully depress TS >1s||Strobe|
|Strobe||Fully depress TS >1s||Beacon|
|Beacon||Fully depress TS >1s||SOS|
|Any special mode (Strobe/Beacon/SOS)||Less than fully depress TS||Previous mode|
Note the access to Ultralow and Turbo from off and the access to Turbo from any state. That’s not a bad UI at all! Might take some learning though.
Also, note that the emitters can be used concurrently. Basically, they operate completely independently.
LED and Beam
The emitter in the P18 is a Cree XHP35 HD. The red emitter looks to be “unspecified.” The main emitter has a deep smooth reflector, which yields a very defined hotspot, with reasonable spill. The red beam is basically all spot, but more of a donut spot than anything.
These beamshots are always with the following settings: f8, ISO100, 0.3s shutter, and manual 5000K exposure.
Tint vs BLF-348 (KillzoneFlashlights.com 219b version) (affiliate link)
I compare everything to the Killzone 219b BLF-348 because it’s inexpensive and has the best tint!
What I like
- Full package light.
- Good cell included
- Robust feel, and shape has useful dimensions
- Very good pocket clip
- UI is extremely versatile
What I don’t like
- Tailcap can be a bit fiddly
- Quite big for what it is
- UI might take a bit of getting used to
- Based on the size I’m quite surprised that there isn’t charging built-in
- This light was provided by Nitecore for review. I was not paid to write this review.
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