Nitecore UT32 Headlamp Review

Nitecore has released a new headlamp, which incorporates some now-common features in unusual ways.  It’s a dual emitter headlamp, with one CW and one WW emitter.  Read on for how it works, and some testing!


Official Specs and Features

Here’s a link to the official product page.

Versions

There’s only one version!

Price and Coupon

These are going for $74.95 on NitecoreStore (referral link).  They’re on pre-order still but will begin shipping soon.  They’re available on amazon for around $90 with a cell (referral link).


Short Review

This light is very unusual in a number of ways, with the most notable probably not being the design of it.  Most unusual for me in this light is that the WW emitter is the thrower.  And it has nearly the same output as the CW, too.  That’s fairly remarkable.  Otherwise it’s a pretty good design, with a good interface, too.

Long Review

The Big Table

Nitecore UT32
Emitter: Cree XP-L2 V6 (5700K, CW)
Price in USD at publication time: $74.95 on amazon
Cell: 1×18650
Turbo Runtime High Runtime
LVP? Yes
Switch Type: E-Switch
Quiescent Current (A): ?
On-Board Charging? No
Claimed Lumens (lm) 1100
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 1220 (110.9% of claim)*
Claimed Throw (m) 80
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 120lux @ 4.478m = 2406cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 98.1 (122.6% of claim)*

 

Emitter: Cree XP-L V6 (3000, WW)
Cell: 1×18650
Turbo Runtime High Runtime
LVP? Yes
Switch Type: E-Switch
Quiescent Current (A): ?
On-Board Charging? No
Claimed Lumens (lm) 920
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 1122 (122% of claim)*^
Claimed Throw (m) 117
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 263lux @ 4.125m = 4475cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 133.8 (114.4% 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).
    ^ The light had just stepped down at this point.  At 15s it was around 1100 lumens!

What’s Included

  • Nitecore UT32 Headlamp
  • Headband
  • Spare clickie covers (two, one for each side)
  • Spare o-ring
  • Pocket clip
  • Nitecore cell (depends on package purchased, not a default item.)

Package and Manual

I didn’t actually get a package with this light but I don’t expect it’d be any different from any other Nitecore item of late.

The manual is fairly typical Nitecore too, with the UI section looking a bit different than normal.  Still fine though.

Build Quality and Disassembly

Nothing surprising here.  The light is well built.  The appointments are good too.

The tailcap has most of the branding.

The head reminds me a bit of Thor’s hammer.  These circular rings are what I suppose translates to cooling fins in this format.

The knurling is fantastic – my favorite kind.

The tailcap and body both have a bit of knurling, but it’s not overly grippy and doesn’t get in the way.

The tail has a removable spring but no magnet.  The head has only a brass button.

The threads are well lubed, anodized, fine and square cut.

Size and Comps

Length 95.9 mm
Head Size 27.6 mm
Weight 82.5 g

My weights are:
Light weight: 48g without battery.
Headband weight: 34g.
Pocket clip weight: 3g.

Retention and Carry

Primary use for this light is the headband.  Its a nice comfortable headband.  Stretchy, and also surprisingly, meshy.

The top strap is removable (fairly easily removable, that is.  Not hard and semi-permanent like the Wizard Pro).

Also much to my surprise, the silicone strap is directional.  The light goes into the connector as seen below.  When being worn, the head is on the right side of your body, making right-handed use the preferred use.

I don’t really like that this is directional, and I would much rather it not be.  However, doing it this way means the light is very well balanced, and so rides better.

I didn’t find the forehead piece to be very comfortable.  It needs a bigger flatter area.

A pocket clip is also included.  The clip fits into either of two ridges in the cell tube, but not the bigger of the two headband connectors.  This means the clip allows up or down carry.

Neither direction is particularly deep.

Power and Runtime

Nitecore included a cell with my package, but you’ll need to order a package with a cell or obtain a cell separately.  What they sent is a Cold-Resistant cell, which is a nice thing to have (my first one).

This cell has built in charging, but since this review is a headlamp review, I didn’t test that aspect of the cell in this light.

The cell is a button top protected cell, again with the micro-USB charging.  Ie it’s about as long as 18650 cells get.  Maybe 5mm longer than an unprotected flat top.

But any type 18650 will work in here.  Button top, flat top, protected, unprotected – doesn’t matter.

The UT32 will also run on 2x CR123.

When the tailcap is tightened, the emitters (both) indicate the cell voltage by blinking the actual cell voltage (except with 2-up cells, in which case it blinks the average voltage).  Four blinks then pause, followed by two blinks = 4.2V.

Two run times for each emitter – Turbo and High.  LVP was observed in all cases.  Also observed were some small and also gigantic stepdowns….

The CW emitter on High is very pleasantly well regulated for almost 3 hours.

Turns out the WW emitter can be run constant, unlike what the manual says.  (The manual only implies that it’s possible.)  Anyway, here’s a corrected runtime for steady Turbo on the WW emitter!

High output for the WW emitter is also remarkably flat and well regulated.

On bench power both emitters switch to low around 2.9-3.0V.  The CW emitter shut off entirely at 2.9V, but the WW emitter didn’t ever seem to have a proper electrically “off.”

Modes and Currents

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Measured Lumens Tailcap Amps
CW Turbo 1100 1h30m 1220 2.52
CW High 410 3h45m 475 0.64
CW Mid 200 8h 224 0.26
CW Low 70 18h 74 0.09
WW Turbo 920 1h30m 1122 2.42
WW High 370 3h45m 480 0.71
WW Mid 170 8h 222 0.28
WW Low 60 18h 77 0.09

PWM

No PWM is noted.

CW modes first:

WW modes last:

For reference, here’s a baseline shot, with all the room lights off and almost nothing hitting the sensor.  And here’s the worst PWM light I have ever owned.  Also one of the very first lights I ordered directly from China!

User Interface and Operation

There are two switches on the UT32.  And they’re both needed for operation – a pinching motion.  One has a bump in the center, and the other is typical knurling.  The manual calls the bump button “Button A” and the non-bump button “Button B.”  I’ll call them BA and BB.

Here’s a UI table!

State Action Result
Off Hold Both Low – CW
On Hold Both Off
On CW Any BB On WW same mode as CW
On WW Any BA On CW same mode as WW
On Either Click Respective Either (BB for WW, BA for CW) Mode advance (LMH)
On Either Hold Respective Either Turbo (30s only)
On CW Hold Both Turbo CW
Steady Turbo CW Click BB Turbo WW
Off Triple Click Respective Either SOS Respective to switch
SOS Click Respective Either Beacon respective to switch
Strobe group Hold Switch respective to on emitter Off

think that’s the full UI, but it’s a bit unusual because of all that the light has going on.  One nice thing about the headstrap being directional is that it’ll be easier to memorize the UI this way

LED and Beam

There are two emitters on the UT32.  First (below) is the Cool White Cree XP-L2, at 5700K.  On the right below is the Warm White emitter, a Cree XP-L HD at 3000K.

The CW emitter is under a lightly orange peel reflector, and the reflector for the WW is very smooth.

This makes the CW a flood option, and the WW a throw option – another thing that’s quite unusual about the UT32!

These beamshots are always with the following settings:  f8, ISO100, 0.3s shutter, and manual 5000K exposure.

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

  • Good build quality
  • High output WW emitter
  • WW emitter is the “throw” emitter
  • Dual switch UI is good, once it’s ben

What I don’t like

  • UI can really take some work to get down.  You will likely blind yourself in the process.

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!
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Author: zeroair

4 thoughts on “Nitecore UT32 Headlamp Review

  1. Hi! Thanks for the detailed review!

    The dual beam seems to be a key feature for trail running, as a wide white beam is generally the best to run in the forest, but is very annoying under the rain or in the fog. For hiking under the rain at night, I sometimes bring a warm white thrower.

    The only thing that I’m not sure about this lamp for running is the silicone attachment (compared to the hard plastic of the Nu20/Nu25). I can’t run with my Zebralights because they move up and down at each step. Question: have you tried running with the UT32? How steady is it on the head?

    Thanks!

    1. In general I don’t think I’d want to use an 18650 light as a running light anyway…. I don’t think this one would be any *worse* than others, but still I’d likely not use it for that.

      I haven’t tried running with it, though. The top strap would certainly help with stability.

      1. Thanks for your honnest reply! So this light remains a hiking lamp rather ran than a running lamp, although Nitecore introduce it as for runners.

  2. So the UT32 must always be turn on CW first before can proceed to other modes? Can i turn on mid mode of WW first?

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