Nitecore UT27 Headlamp Review

Nitecore UT27 Headlamp Review

Nitecore has released the UT27 headlamp. This innovative headlamp uses two Cree XP-G3 emitters in different CCT for different purposes!


Official Specs and Features

Here’s a link to the Nitecore UT27 headlamp product page.

Versions

Only one version of the Nitecore UT27 headlamp is available at this time.

Price

The going price for this new Nitecore UT27 headlamp is $54.95.  They’re available for purchase now at NitecoreStore.com.


Short Review

I love seeing this warm emitter in a headlamp!  Using the warmer emitter as a spotlight is a bit unusual (and great).  I’d love for the flood to be warmer too – beside the 3000K spot, a 5700K flood looks very cool.  Even something at 4000K for example, would be great here.  The battery setup here is great too.  A package including the HLB1300 lithium-ion is smart, but the UT27 will run on 3 AAA cells as well – a great backup plan.

Long Review

The Big Table

I don’t know the best way to present the tables exactly, so I’ll just do a bunch of them. This includes data for both battery setups (lithium-ion and AAAx3) as well as data for both emitters and the combo emitter.  It’s a bunch of data!

Nitecore UT27
Emitter: Cree XP-G3 (Both)
Price in USD at publication time: $54.95
Cell: 1xHLB1300
Turbo Runtime Graph
LVP? Yes
Switch Type: E-Switch
Quiescent Current (mA): ?
On-Board Charging? Yes
Charge Port Type: USB-C
Power off Charge Port Yes
Claimed Lumens (lm) 520
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 379 (72.9% of claim)^
Candela per Lumen 5.3
Claimed Throw (m) 103
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 269lux @ 3.089m = 2567cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 101.3 (98.3% of claim)^
Claimed CCT 5700K
Measured CCT Range (K) 6900-7100 Kelvin
Item provided for review by: NitecoreStore.com
All my Nitecore reviews!
Nitecore UT27
Emitter: Cree XP-G3 (Spot, 3000K)
Cell: 1xHLB1300
High Runtime Graph
LVP? Yes
On-Board Charging? Yes
Charge Port Type: USB-C
Charge Graph
Power off Charge Port Yes
Claimed Lumens (lm) 400
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 421 (105.3% of claim)^
Candela per Lumen 8.4
Claimed Throw (m) 128
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 302lux @ 3.335m = 3359cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 115.9 (90.5% of claim)^
Claimed CCT 3000K
Measured CCT Range (K) 2900 Kelvin
Nitecore UT27
Emitter: Cree XP-G3 (Flood, 5700K)
Cell: 1xHLB1300
High Runtime Graph
LVP? Yes
Quiescent Current (mA): ?
On-Board Charging? Yes
Charge Port Type: USB-C
Charge Graph
Power off Charge Port Yes
Claimed Lumens (lm) 200
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 196 (98% of claim)^
Candela per Lumen 1.2
Claimed Throw (m) 31
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 37lux @ 2.869m = 305cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 34.9 (112.6% of claim)^
Claimed CCT 5700K
Measured CCT Range (K) 3185 Kelvin
Nitecore UT27
Emitter: Cree XP-G3 (Both)
Cell: 3xAAA
Turbo Runtime Graph
LVP? Maybe
Quiescent Current (mA): ?
On-Board Charging? No
Claimed Lumens (lm) 520
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 405 (77.9% of claim)^
Candela per Lumen 5.2
Claimed Throw (m) 103
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 386lux @ 2.57m = 2549cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 101.0 (98.1% of claim)^
Claimed CCT 5700K
Measured CCT Range (K) 6600-6700 Kelvin

 

Nitecore UT27
Emitter: Cree XP-G3 (Spot, 3000K)
Cell: 3xAAA
High Runtime Graph
LVP? Maybe
Quiescent Current (mA): ?
On-Board Charging? No
Claimed Lumens (lm) 400
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 394 (98.5% of claim)^
Candela per Lumen 9.4
Claimed Throw (m) 128
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 337lux @ 3.15m = 3344cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 115.7 (90.4% of claim)^
Claimed CCT 3000K
Measured CCT Range (K) 2900 Kelvin

 

Nitecore UT27
Emitter: Cree XP-G3 (Flood, 5700K)
Cell: 3xAAA
LVP? Maybe
Quiescent Current (mA): ?
On-Board Charging? No
Claimed Lumens (lm) 200
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 187 (93.5% of claim)^
Candela per Lumen 1.4
Claimed Throw (m) 31
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 47lux @ 2.603m = 318cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 35.7 (115.2% of claim)^
Claimed CCT 5700K
Measured CCT Range (K) 3200 Kelvin

^ 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 UT27 headlamp what's included

  • Nitecore UT27 headlamp
  • Nitecore HLB1300 lithium-ion battery (not pictured)
  • Charging cable (USB to USB-C)
  • Carry bag
  • Manuals etc

Package and Manual

Nitecore UT27 headlamp manual

 

Nitecore UT27 headlamp manual Nitecore UT27 headlamp

Build Quality and Disassembly

Nitecore UT27 headlamp

This is a plastic headlamp.  That might lump the Nitecore UT27 into the “hiker” category of headlamps for you – it’s understandable.  Many brands like Petzl and Black Diamond use mostly plastic, and those have proven popular with some groups.

Nitecore UT27 headlamp back

One downside of plastic parts on this headlamp is this hinge right here.  I had fine luck with this headlamp thus far, but another Nitecore I own and still use (the Nitecure NU17) has nearly the same hinge (actually a worse version of it, I think) and that headlamp has broken off the hinge.  I think the hinge here is a bit more robust, but it’s still plastic.  If something breaks, then this is no longer a headlamp, it’s a handheld rectangular light.  I would much rather see this be a metal connection of some sort.

Nitecore UT27 headlamp headband

To reveal the battery, just flip the back down.

Nitecore UT27 headlamp battery

Nitecore UT27 headlamp opened Nitecore UT27 headlamp opened

You can see the o-ring there on the case.  Inside the case are diagrams to demonstrate which way cells go.

Nitecore UT27 headlamp internals

 

Size and Comps

​Dimensions:
55.4mm x 42.5mm x 32mm (bracket included)

Weight:
30.5g (bracket included, headband and battery excluded)
74g (bracket, headband, and battery included)

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).

Nitecore UT27 headlamp in hand

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

The Nitecore UT27 headlamp is a headlamp and really only a headlamp. It ships attached to this stretchy headband.  The band is grippy and comfortable.

Nitecore UT27 headlamp headband

The UT27 doesn’t really come off of the headband very easily – really I can’t say why you’d want to do that but it’d be nice, anyway.

Nitecore UT27 headlamp headband

There’s a good bit of adjustability on the headband, but probably not enough to use this light as a waist light.  Maybe an upper thigh light?  Did you skip leg day though?

Nitecore UT27 headlamp headband

The photo below is intended to demonstrate that the light is not removable from the band.

Nitecore UT27 headlamp headband

But after all my testing and work with the light, I realized I could push the plastic out of the hinge part and it comes out pretty easily.  The part attached to the headband remains attached to the headband.  In the photo below, the hinges are the outermost connection points.  Those two inner connections are the ratchets that help hold the light at different angles.  They work well.

Nitecore UT27 headlamp headband

Another option for carry when the light is not in use is this white nylon bag.

Nitecore UT27 headlamp carry bag

I actually love little bags like this and this one is particularly good.  It’s right-sized, thin and light, and has a drawstring.

Nitecore UT27 headlamp carry bag Nitecore UT27 headlamp carry bag Nitecore UT27 headlamp carry bag

It’s an absolute magnet for dirt though!

Nitecore UT27 headlamp carry bag

Power and Runtime

Nitecore includes the lithium-ion battery suitable for running the UT27.  That’s the HLB1300, a custom battery by Nitecore which seems to be special for the UT27.

Nitecore UT27 headlamp included battery

To access the battery, raise the tab shown below and twist the back case downward.

Nitecore UT27 headlamp battery label

The HLB1300 will fit into the case in only one direction. There’s really no way to do it incorrectly – it’s physically prevented.

Nitecore UT27 headlamp included battery installed Nitecore UT27 headlamp included battery installed Nitecore UT27 headlamp included battery installed

Nitecore UT27 headlamp included battery installed

Here’s the main physical prevention.  Below you can see that little plastic tab that will allow only one orientation of the battery.

Nitecore UT27 headlamp included battery installed Nitecore UT27 headlamp included battery installed

Since all the contact points are inside the light (and not the back case), the HT27 will work with the back case open.  As you can see that does leave the USB-C port exposed.  And yes, in fact, you can use the UT27 with the battery plugged into a USB-C source.  It’d be cumbersome, but that could get some extended runtimes for certain.

Nitecore UT27 headlamp working without being closed

I didn’t get any photos with the AAA cells.  The cells are in series and have a specific orientation.  Output is essentially the same with AAA cells, but the runtimes are shorter.

Speaking of runtimes, here are some graphs.

Charging

The Nitecore UT27 headlamp itself does not have charging built-in, but the included battery does.  This HLB1300 has a USB-C port on the back (“back” or “side” or whatever you want to call it.)

Nitecore UT27 headlamp usb-c port

Nitecore includes a USB to USB-C cable.

Here are a couple of charging graphs.  Both USB and USB-C sources work fine!  While charging, there’s a red indicator on the battery (right near the charging port).  When charging is complete, this indicator turns to green.

Modes and Currents

HLB1300:

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Measured Lumens Tailcap Amps
Turbo 520 Initial: 521
30s: 379
1.18
High – Spot 400 6h 421 1.04
Low – Spot 100 10h 100 0.17
High – Flood 200 8h 196 0.43
Low – Flood 55 13h 47 0.08
Red 16 6h ?

AAAx3:

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Measured Lumens Tailcap Amps
Turbo 520 Initial: 522
30s: 405
High – Spot 400 4h 394
Low – Spot 100 6h30m 100
High – Flood 200 5h 187
Low – Flood 55 8h 46
Red 16 4h30m

Pulse Width Modulation

There’s really no PWM at all on the Nitecore UT27 headlamp!

Lithium-ion:

AAAx3:

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

Two switches control all operations of the UT27.  These are side-by-side on the top of the headlamp and are e-switches.

Nitecore UT27 headlamp dual e-switches

The action on the switches is very low, and because they resonate through the body a bit, they’re somewhat loud.

One more note about these switches – they do basically the same thing for their respective light.  When worn properly, the spotlight (warm) is on the right side, and the floodlight (cool) is on the left.  The right switch (“T”) controls the spot and the left switch  (“W”) controls flood.

Here’s a UI table!

State Action Result
Off Click Either Battery indicator with red flashes^
Off Hold:
T (Spot)
W (Flood)
Low
Off Double Click Either Red
On Hold Either
On Click Switch of light that is on Mode advance
For White: low to high
For Red: Steady to Warning flashing
On Double Click Either Turbo
On Click Switch of light that is not on Switch to Low for other emitter

^ The battery indicator blinks as follows:
Three red blinks: >50% power
Two red blinks: <50% power
One red blink: <10% power

LED and Beam

Nitecore uses two of the same emitters of very different CCT in the UT27.  They are Cree XP-G3 emitters.  Not traditionally my favorite emitter, but I have to say that the 3000K is quite nice!

Each emitter has a different style of TIR.  The warm (left, below) has a TIR making the output a tight beam.  The cool output is very floody.

Nitecore UT27 headlamp emitters Nitecore UT27 headlamp TIR

LED Color Report (CRI and CCT)

These should really look the same – the only difference the battery makes is the runtime.  Still, I’m including the data.

Lithium-ion:

AAAx3:

Beamshots

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

Lithium-ion:

AAAx3:

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.

Lithium-ion:

AAAx3:

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

Conclusion

What I like

  • Great use of TIR for different profiles from the same type of emitter.
  • Good to see 3000K being used
  • White outputs start on low
  • Battery indicator

What I don’t like

  • 5700K appears much too cold when the 3000K is used
  • “5700K” is really more like 6900K (which is in fact extremely cool)
  • Plastic hinge

Notes

  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.org.  Please visit there for the best experience!
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2 thoughts on “Nitecore UT27 Headlamp Review”

    1. I wouldn’t say “no” to that but my first (or second or third or fourth) impression of the bag was not that it could be used as a lantern. But yes probably, that’d work!

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