Nitecore LR50 Lantern Review

Today I have in for review the new Nitecore LR50 lantern.  It’s an interesting lantern, offering more than just…. lanterning.  It has charging, and can serve as a powerbank, too!


Official Specs and Features

Here’s a link to the official product page.

Versions

Only one version!

Price

This lantern goes for $44.95 currently, without cells.


Short Review

I’m tempted to call this one less of a lantern that can be a powerbank, and more of a powerbank that can be used as a lantern.  The powerbank feature is very good, and the on-board charging works well too.  As a lantern it’s great too, but the powerbank is the real standout!

Long Review

The Big Table

Nitecore LR50
Emitter: side light
Price in USD at publication time: $44.95
Cell: 2×18650
Runtime (Highest mode, all emitters going)
LVP? Yes
Switch Type: E-Switch
Quiescent Current (A): ?
On-Board Charging? Yes
Chargetime
Power off Charge Port with no Cell? Yes, High Only. (All Modes with charging and cells in)
Claimed Lumens (lm) 250
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 239 (95.6% of claim)*
Claimed Throw (m) 24
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 69lux @ 0.815m = 46cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 13.5 (56.3% of claim)*
All my Nitecore reviews!

 

Nitecore LR50
Emitter: front light
Claimed Throw (m) 24
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 39lux @ 0.965m = 36cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 12.1 (50.4% 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).

What’s Included

  • Nitecore LR50 Lantern
  • Charge cable (USB to micro-USB)
  • Manual and paperwork
  • (in my review sample) Nitecore 18650 x 2, NL1834 – 3400mAh

Package and Manual

Typical Nitecore package and manual.

Build Quality

Having had a few other lanterns, I can say that this one’s quite nice.  The diffuser material is thick and while it might scratch, I don’t imagine it’ll be easy to break.

The body of the light is also nice quality.

This charge port cover fits in very snugly.

These little latches that allow removal of the diffuser are a bit hard to push in – it requires some dexterity to get it right.  Both must be squeezed in, and held while the diffuser is being pulled.  Not a big deal, but still – the seal of the o-ring around the base must be overcome, and the required grip makes it a cumbersome motion.

The cells are easy to access, and not hard to remove.  When the cover is off, the emitters are just there, bare.

The thinnest part of these tabs that keep the cover on is over 1mm thick, and the tabs themselves are very short.  I don’t worry too much about these breaking, but if they did break, there’s going to be no way to fix them.  The diffuser might stay in place just by virtue of the good seal of the o-ring, but …. just don’t break the tabs.

Size and Comps

Officially 119.8mm x 57mm x 30mm, and 110g.  My measurements corroborate this.

Retention and Carry

There are a number of options here.  First example is the magnet in the base.  The magnet holds the light sideways or vertically, with two cells in place.

There’s also a loop, which could make this a great porch light or tent light.  The loop is removable.

Power and Runtime

There are a number of options for powering the LR50.  I tested with the two Nitecore 18650 cells provided to me – 3400mAh NL1834’s.  These worked quite well, and also have a high capacity for great runtimes.  Any type 18650 will work, from the shortest unprotected cell, to longer button tops.  The light can also be powered by CR123A cells – two per bay (4 total).  The light will operate if only one bay is filled, too (either bay).

The bays are labeled for cell orientation.

(The spring end almost always gets the negative side of the cells; just something to remember.)

I performed an uncalibrated runtime (since output was really too low for my meter, in my calibrated setup).  So “250 lumens” is based on what Nitecore claims, and goes from there.  Also this is with all the emitters burning – top and both sides.  I tested only the highest output, and the runtime is quite long!  The light has LVP, too.

On-board charging happens via the micro-USB port under the yellow boot.

Nitecore provides a very nice cable, too.

When charging is happening, the blue emitter on the top of the light blinks.  When complete, the blue emitter is solid.  The blue UI may be used for a battery check – click either button, and the blue emitter will blink as follows:

  • Three blinks for >50% power
  • Two blinks for <50% power
  • One blink for <10% power

Charging for both NL1834’s is as follows:

Very respectable charging!

Also the LR50 has USB-out…. Haven’t had a light with that in a while, but I dusted off my USB-out testing equipment and here’s the result.  Very good USB-out!  I was able to pull almost 4 Amps before the voltage broke USB spec….  Of course the unit is rated to 2.1A – it does that very easily and for quite some time too.  I did not test til empty, but the voltage is a steady >5V for the duration.

Modes and Currents

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Measured Lumens Tailcap Amps
High 250 10h 239*
Mid 65 22h
Low 6 100h
Beacon 250
SOS 250

* 239 lumen rating is only from a startup of 250 lumens, presuming Nitecore’s claim is 250 from startup.  That is, after 30 seconds, the output dips a little.  The point here is less that the output drops by “11 lumens” and more that the output fades slightly (even dramatically?) on the highest mode.

User Interface and Operation

There are two buttons on the LR50.  They are e-switches, and on opposing sides of the base.  They don’t have any indicator function, and have yellow covers.  They’re moderately clicky, and not terribly hard to find on the device.  Nitecore calls these “Dual Power Buttons.”

Here’s a UI table!

State Action Result
Off Click Either Battery Check
Off Click Both No action
Off Hold Either No action
Off Hold Both On Low, but “Mode memory” in that the same emitters will be powered*
On Hold Both** Off
Off Keep Holding Both Low, Beacon, SOS
On Click Either Mode advance (LMH)
On Hold Either Switch Combination of active Emitters (All > Top only > One Side only > One side + Top > All)
On Hold Both (past “off”) Locator Beacon (very low Blue light)

* This means it’s possible to turn the light on with mode memory of any combination of emitters, not just specifically “low.”
** The manual says “short press both” to turn off the light but I found it requires a long press.  Short press both from on does nothing.

LED and Beam

I don’t believe the emitter is named specifically, but Nitecore does give some specs:  High CRI (CRI>90), 4000-4500K temperature.  The light is very pleasant, and a good temp for a lantern.  The diffuser makes the light very diffuse… does its job well.

These beamshots are always with the following settings:  f8, ISO100, 0.3s shutter, and manual 5000K exposure.  There’s really nothing to see here, with the way this lantern works.

Tint vs BLF-348 (Killzone 219b version)

I compare everything to the Killzone 219b BLF-348, because it’s inexpensive and has the best tint!

Conclusion

What I like

  • Very lanterny!
  • Extremely good powerbank features
  • Ease of access to cells make this as much a charger as powerbank as lantern.  It’s very multi-functional.

What I don’t like

  • Removing the diffuser requires strong hand
  • Tabs on diffuser could break and aren’t replaceable.

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!

Author: zeroair

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