Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight Review

Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight Review

The Nebo Micro Redline OC is a tiny CR123 flashlight favored by famous makers. It has a zoomy feature and is inexpensive. Read on for testing!


Official Specs and Features

Here’s a link to the Nebo Micro Redline OC product page.

Versions

There’s just one version of this specific light, the Nemo Micro Redline OC.  Nebo has many other similar lights, though, in various sizes.

Price

I bought this on Amazon for $14.99.  You can read the review to see if you want this light, but here’s an amazon referral link either way.  Clicking that helps this website, whether you buy the Nebo or not!


Short Review

First of all, I love the look of this light.  I like that redline (Redline®) – it’s neat.  But that’s about all going for this light.  The PWM is very, very bad.  The emitter is bluer than any (not actually blue) emitter I’ve had.  The user interface is not great (strobe in the main modes).

Long Review

The Big Table

Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight
Emitter: unstated (Flood)
Price in USD at publication time: $14.99
Cell: 1xCR123
High Runtime Graph
LVP? No
Switch Type: Mechanical
On-Board Charging? No
Claimed Lumens (lm)
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 58
Candela per Lumen 1.8
Claimed Throw (m)
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 19lux @ 2.199m = 92cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 19.2
Claimed CCT
Measured CCT Range (K) 12000 Kelvin
Item provided for review by:  ZeroAir.org and Patreon subscribers!
All my Nebo reviews!

 

Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight
Emitter: unstated (Throw)
Price in USD at publication time: $14.99
Cell: 1xCR123
LVP? No
Switch Type: Mechanical
On-Board Charging? No
Claimed Lumens (lm)
Candela per Lumen 166.1
Claimed Throw (m)
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 75lux @ 4.965m = 1849cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 86.0
Claimed CCT
Measured CCT Range (K) 20000 Kelvin
Item provided for review by: ZeroAir.org and Patreon subscribers!
All my Nebo 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

Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight

  • Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight
  • Nebo CR123

Package and Manual

Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight

That box is pretty neat in that it secures the light.  There is no other packaging.  I suppose this could damage (or ‘wear’) the light – you’ll see later if that’s the case.

There is no manual.  (The product pages states there should be a manual.)

Build Quality and Disassembly

Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight

You may recognize this flashlight as one Adam Savage uses (and loves, if I recall correctly).  I can’t find better proof of that than this post on reddit.

This information surprises me.  Mr. Savage seems to love this light (and in some video provides ample reason).  The build quality is not good.  As you see from the packaging above, the light can suffer wear just from living in the box.  That’s no big deal if the anodizing is good, and/or the edges aren’t sharp.  But in this case, neither of those is true.  The anodizing is thin, and there are tons of sharp edges that get worn easily

Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight

Usually, I spend a lot of time removing dust from photos like these.  Most of what you see here in these photos is actually anodzing wear!

Now there’s one feature I like, and I’ve already mentioned that.  It’s this Redline around the head.  This allows a little light to escape when the light is on.  Normally I like for a light to have a bezel that isn’t flat so that if on and face down, it’s noticeably on.  In this case, a flat bezel is fine because this redline is clearly lit.  (Note that it’s lit from the main emitter, not a secondary source.  So as the modes go down, so does this red line output level.)

Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight

Below you can see the tailcap threads.  These are unanodized threads.  Fortunately, they’re short, but otherwise, they aren’t great at starting, so always feel quite iffy.  You can see the tailcap spring as well.

Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight

Builds like this (that is, the tailcap is the male part, and the body is the female part) are for some reason often seen in low-cost lights.  (Counterpoint is something like the Convoy S2+, which has the opposite – the male part is the cell tube, and female part is the tailcap.)  Is either better?  Who’s to say, but we can safely say that higher-quality builds usually use a different setup.

Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight

Here’s another sign of low build quality.  Inside the cell tube, where the positive terminal of the cell contacts the MCPCB, there is no extra contact.  No spring, no button, nothing.  Just MCPCB.  As long as you use button-top CR123 cells (and I guess that’s all really exist), then it’s not a problem.  But it’s indicative.

Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight

Size and Comps

  • Length: 2.625”
  • Diameter: 0.8125” (barrel) / 0.875” (head)

Here’s the first demonstration of the zoomy feature (or “Focusable” I think is what I should be calling this, actually).  The head twists and the light goes from all even flood (as seen above) to completely zoomed in (as seen below).  The light’s probably around 1cm longer in this extended format.

If the flashlight will headstand, I’ll show it here (usually the third photo).  If the flashlight will tailstand, I’ll show that here, too (usually the fourth photo).

Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight

Here’s the test light with the venerable Convoy S2+.  Mine’s a custom “baked” edition Nichia 219b triple.  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 friction fit pocket clip is included and attached from the factory.

The clip is a high point of the light and doesn’t interfere at all with the zoom action.

Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight

The tailcap also has a magnet.

Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight

I think that little metal (non-anodized) ring you can see directly around the white switch cover is probably the magnet.  As you can probably guess, this magnet isn’t strong enough to do very much.

Power and Runtime

Power is provided to the Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight by a single CR123 cell.  That’s a primary cell, with a voltage of 3V.

Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight

There is no manual, but the box does not indicate that a 16340 cell will work.  A 16340 cell is over 3V, of course, and could damage the driver or emitter or both.

Nebo includes this button top CR123 with the purchase.

Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight

As stated on the side, this is not a rechargeable cell.

Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight

Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight

This CR123 goes into the Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight with the positive terminal toward the head.

Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight

Here’s just one runtime.  I didn’t feel compelled to run CR123 cells through this light, and anyway I think the output on High gives a pretty good indication of the light.

Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight

Modes and Currents

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Measured Lumens Tailcap Amps
High 0.31
Medium 0.18
Low 0.07

Pulse Width Modulation

Below you can see the PWM for three modes.  Note that these are in the order of High Medium Low, just like the mode order.  PWM is so bad on all three levels (yes even High) that the usual timescale (50us) is not useful.

So if we back out to a longer timescale (1ms) we can see clear on/off pulses of the PWM.  This is quite bad and if you need a light to “see if you can see PWM” then this isn’t a bad choice just for that.  Low and medium will appear nearly stroboscopic.  It’s not pleasant.

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).  10ms5ms2ms1ms0.5ms0.2ms.  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

Nebo put a mechanical switch in the Micro Redline OC.  It’s a reverse clicky.

Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight

Unfortunately, this switch cover is a little proud over the tailcap, and so doesn’t allow very smooth tailstanding.  Secondly, there’s just too much space under this white (actually glow in the dark!).  So when you press this switch, there’s a big dead zone, then you hit the actual reverse clicky.  The feeling is “extraordinarily cheap.”

Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight

The second means of operating the light.  The head can be twisted to extend.  Extended, the light has a very tight beam profile.  This is another bright point of the light – the twist-action is very good, and easy to do in one hand.

Here’s a UI table!

State Action Result
Off Click High
High Tap Medium
Medium Tap Low
Low Tap Strobe
On Click Off

That’s it for the user interface.  There’s nothing hidden and nothing extra.  Unfortunately, this means Strobe is in the main mode order, but if you wish to miss strobe, simply turn the light off.  At least you’ll know the light is going to start in High when turned back on.

LED and Beam

The emitter used is not identified.  I was also unable to identify it.

Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight

Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight

I believe Nebo calls it a “high power” LED and “ok” about that.  Most importantly is: can you modify it.  Probably, but you’ll need to disassemble the light further than I did.  The bezel unscrews easily, but I wasn’t able to pry out (or unscrew) the Redline®.

Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight Nebo Micro Redline OC Flashlight

LED Color Report (CRI and CCT)

This is easily the worst emitter I’ve ever tested – it tests at over 10,000K, which is way bluer than what anyone even calls “angry blue.”  This is along the lines of “I wonder if something’s wrong with this one.”  But it’s off the shelf, so it is what it is.

Flood:

Throw:

Beamshots

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

Flood:

Throw:

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.

Flood:

Throw:

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

Conclusion

What I like

  • Zoomy (focusable) action is very good
  • Pocket clip is fine.
  • Low cost

What I don’t like

  • Terrible PWM
  • White emitter that is so high in CCT that it’s “blue”
  • Build quality

Notes

  • 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.com!
  • Use my amazon.com referral link if you’re willing to help support making more reviews like this one!
  • Please support me on Patreon!  Feeding flashlights is expensive!  And funding Fun Fund Friday even more so.  I deeply appreciate your support!
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