Nitecore TIP SE Flashlight Review

Today I have in for review the Nitecore TIP SE.  You might remember the TIP SE from earlier promo photos where Nitecore used some completely unrelated beamshots from other reviews of mine and misrepresented them completely.  But now I have the light actually in my hands, and so let’s see how it tests out.


Official Specs and Features

Here’s a link to the official product page.

Versions

There are two body color versions of the TIP SE.  Black (seen here) and grey.  The emitters are the same between them.

Price

The TIP SE is available now from NitecoreStore.com for $29.95 (referral link.)


Short Review

This is a fun little iteration on the TIP series.  It’s definitely better than the others – everything about it seems better.  I’m surprised the charging is so slow, since it’s using USB-C.

Long Review

The Big Table

Nitecore TIP SE
Emitter: Osram P8 (x2)
Price in USD at publication time:
Cell: Internal
Turbo Runtime High Runtime
LVP? ?
Switch Type: E-Switch
Quiescent Current (A): ?
On-Board Charging? Yes
Charge Port Type: USB-C
Chargetime
Power off Charge Port with no Cell?
Claimed Lumens (lm) 700
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 721 (103% of claim)*
Candela per Lumen 3.9
Claimed Throw (m) 90
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 219lux @ 3.703m = 3003cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 109.6 (121.8% 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 TIP SE Flashlight
  • Pocket clip (plastic, tension)
  • Charge cable (USB to USB-C)
  • Split ring (2)
  • Metal clip
  • Manual and papers

Package and Manual

Build Quality and Disassembly

The build quality of the TIP SE is on par with any other of the TIP lights.  It’s a metal body light, with two rubberized e-switches.

It’s a sandwich design, too – the body is two halves, each held together by four Torx screws.  I’m going to call them “probably T4” because my T5 was just too big.  As a result of that, I wasn’t able to disassemble the light.

The bezel actually feels plastic, which is a bit of a surprise with the rest of the body being metal.

The name of the light is partially molded in, and partially either silk screened or laser etched (unclear).

Here’s a better view of the Torx screws.

The image below also supports that the bezel is plastic – it’s translucent plastic.

Here’s some of the newest from PhotonPhreaks!  Go get yours!

Size and Comps

Length 60 mm / 2.36 in
Weight 26 g / 0.92 oz

The TIP SE is pretty much on par with other TIPs in size.

Retention and Carry

A pocket clip is included.  It’s a plastic tension fit clip, and is also the only means of cover on th USB-C charge port.

The clip can effectively fit in four positions.  Front or back on the light, and up or down.  It can be used to cover the switches as well, and is also the only included way to cover the charge port.

Also an option is the loops on the end of the light, which allow connection of a lanyard or keys, or the included split rings.

There are no magnets inside this light.

Power and Runtime

The battery in the TIP SE is a built in 500mAh LiPO.

There’s a power indicating option, too.  Click the Mode button while the light is off, and the switches (not the main emitter) will flash according to cell charge as follows:

3 flashes, cell is >50%
2 flashes, cell is below 50%
1 flash, cell is below 10%

The light also has built-in charging via USB-C.  This charge port does not have a cover except for the pocket clip.

A cable is included.  It is USB to USB-C.

Charging looks very good and stable but it is a relatively slow 0.5A.

Modes and Currents

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Measured Lumens Tailcap Amps
Turbo 700 15m 721
High 180 1h30m 218
Mid 30 8h 63
Low 1 50h

PWM

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 TIP SE.  They’re both e-switches, and both have a red indicator (probably one indicator that can be seen in both switches).  They’re clicky, response, and very proud.  They’re also soft, unlike the switches on the TIP2.  These switches are much more like some other TIPs – the TIP SS Tropical, for example.

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.  Interestingly, reactivating the light within 3s after turning it off in Demo mode will make Daily mode active, until the light is again turned off.

Here’s a UI table!

State Action Result
Off Click Power Switch (PS) On (mode memory)
Off Click Mode Switch (MS) Battery indicator
Off Hold PS Low
On Hold MS Turbo
On Click MS Mode advance (LMH)
On Click PS Off
Off Hold PS (>2s) Momentary Turbo
Turbo Click MS Low

The UI is really not all that complicated, but importantly adds direct access to Low, which is something I asked for from previous TIPs!

LED and Beam

In the TIP SE is 2 x OSRAM P8.  Wouldn’t have been my first choice for this cool little light, but they’re not too bad.  They are behind individual TIR optics.  By the time the beam gets any distance from the light, it’s perfectly combined.

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)

Test light is on the left!

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

Conclusion

What I like

  • USB-C Charging
  • Good UI, adding easy access to Low
  • Metal body
  • Fully meets manufacturer claims for output and throw

What I don’t like

  • USB-C Charging is strangely slow
  • Osram P8 is probably not the best choice for this little keychain light

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!
  • For flashlight related patches, stickers, and gear, head over to PhotonPhreaks, another site where I write!
  • Use my amazon.com referral link if you’re willing to help support making more reviews like this one!

Author: zeroair

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