Nitecore P20v2 Flashlight Review
Today I have the Nitecore P20v2, a tactical 18650 flashlight with Nitecore’s Strobe Ready technology. Read on for testing and thoughts!
Official Specs and Features
There’s just one version of the P20v2. The original P20 is fairly similar.
In all honesty, this format is one that Nitecore has so many lights in. For example, I’ve already reviewed the P22R, which is remarkably similar (adds charging). Even the TM9K shares a UI with this light.
These are going for $69.95 at nitecorestore.com. (affiliate link)
There are things to like about this light and a couple that I really do not like. First of all, the PWM is extremely bad. I can see it on every mode all the way up to High. On low, it’s absolutely distracting. I like the dual switch interface and the indicator light on the tail. Output is pretty good and meets specifications (going by the 1000 lumen claim, that is – both 1000 and 1100 are mentioned in the product literature.)
The Big Table
|Nitecore P20v2 Flashlight|
|Emitter:||Cree XP-L2 V6|
|Price in USD at publication time:||$69.95 at nitecorestore.com|
|High Runtime||Mid (Mode 3) Runtime|
|Quiescent Current (A):||–|
|Claimed Lumens (lm)||1000|
|Measured Lumens (at 30s)||920 (92% of claim)^|
|Candela per Lumen||14.3|
|Claimed Throw (m)||206|
|Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s)||465lux @ 5.061m = 11910cd|
|Throw (Calculated) (m)||218.3 (106% 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 P20v2 Flashlight
- Nitecore 3500mAh 18650 (if you buy the kit)
- 18650 to cr123a x2 adapter
- Spare o-rings (2)
- Pocket clip
- Belt holster
Package and Manual
Build Quality and Disassembly
Build quality is good. Typical of Nitecore products.
The bezel anodizing seems to be slightly different than the body – that’s unusual.
There’s a surprising amount of mass in the head, too.
This little pin is the pivot for the e-switch. It’s very much like a paddle switch in action but still sits flush with the tailcap.
Note the three strike points in the bezel here.
The threads are long. Triangle cut, anodized, and they have a lot of lube, too.
The tailcap has a traditional spring. The brass button on the head is also springy, too.
The tailcap spring is long and thin, and also double sprung (spring inside a spring!)
Size and Comps
Prettttty long light.
Retention and Carry
There’s a friction fit pocket clip included. It can attach in three places on the body, but really the only one that makes any sense is the one shown below.
Also included, and definitely preferable for carry is this belt holster. The light will technically fit securely in either orientation, but the bezel down orientation seems to be the officially supported way.
With the bezel down, the light will still shine through the holster.
There’s also a lanyard, which seems to attach only on the pocket clip.
Also available are some weapon mounts.
Power and Runtime
The package I received included a Nitecore NL1835, a 3500mAh 18650. It’s a long button top and works great in this light. The light seems to need a long cell and/or a button top cell – a flat top unprotected cell will not work.
When a cell is inserted into the light, the indicator will flash as follows:
3 flashes = cell >50% charge
2 flashes = cell <50% charge
1 flash = cell nearly depleted
Here are a couple of runtimes. High, and the next highest mode. Both these modes step down fairly quickly, and then just trail off for hours at a lower output. I was unable to confirm if the light has LVP during this test, and also unable to on bench power. I would suspect the light does not have LVP, but that’s not at all unusual on tactical lights.
The runtime on “Mid (Mode 3)” looks about the same as High, minus the higher output. Once the light steps down, it’s just trailing off as the cell voltage drops. At around 470 minutes in the test below, I cycled the light through the modes – as you can see the max at that point is around 200 lumens. So even if the light doesn’t have LVP, it’ll be impossible to not notice – a high output will not be possible.
Modes and Currents
|Mode||Mode Claimed Output (lm)||Claimed Runtime||Measured Lumens||Tailcap Amps|
|Mid (Mode 3)||370||7h||298||0.86|
|Mid (Mode 2)||200||18h||0.42|
Pulse Width Modulation
The order below is: Low, Mid (Mode 2), Mid (Mode 3), High.
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 P20v2. The on/off is a mechanical, very proud, button. There’s also a paddle switch, which is flush with the edge of the tailcap (unusual). But it is a paddle switch; see the hinge on the side, below:
There are three mode groups on the P20v2: Daily Mode (default), Law Enforcement Mode, and Tactical Mode. To switch between these groups, turn the light off then loosen the tailcap. Hold the Mode (paddle) button and tighten the tailcap. The emitter will blink to show the selected group, as follows:
1 blink: Tactical Mode
2 blinks: Law Enforcement Mode
3 blinks: Daily Mode
Tactical Mode: only High and Strobe are available. High is always memorized. Short press paddle to activate Strobe – short press it again to get back to High.
Law Enforcement Mode: Only Mid (Mode 2), High, and Strobe are available. High is always memorized. Pressing “Mode” switches between Mid and High. Long press the paddle to activate Strobe – short press it to get back to High.
Daily modes are fairly standard and covered in the table.
|Off||Click Power Button (PB)||On (Last used mode (including Strobe!))|
|On||Click MB (Mode Button, the paddle)||Mode advance (LMH)|
|Off||Click MB||Strobe (Momentary)|
|Strobe||Click MB||Return to last used mode|
LED and Beam
The emitter in the P20v2 is a Cree XP-L2 v6. It’s centered with a black centering ring and is under a smooth, moderate-depth reflector.
These beamshots are always with the following settings: f8, ISO100, 0.3s shutter, and manual 5000K exposure. They’re in the order of brightness (but not in the order you can experience them since the two Mid modes aren’t accessible from any one group.
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.
They’re in the order of brightness (but not in the order you can experience them since the two Mid modes aren’t accessible from any one group.
I compare everything to the KillzoneFlashlights.com 219b BLF-348 because it’s inexpensive and has the best tint!
Conclusion on the Nitecore P20v2 Flashlight
What I like
- UI is not bad
- Relatively low cost for a tactical light
- Meets specs for throw and output
- Dual springs
What I don’t like
- PWM – extremely noticeable on low, noticeable on both mids.
- Seems unnecessarily long
- Can’t use flat-top unprotected cells
- This light was provided by Nitecore for review. I was not paid to write this review.
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