Nitecore MH12 Pro Flashlight Review

Nitecore MH12 Pro Flashlight Review

The Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight uses a novel NiteLab UHi 40 LED and has great output and throw as well as USB-C charging and a dual switch interface! Read on!


Official Specs and Features

Here’s a link to the Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight product page.

Versions

There is only one version of the Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight.

Price

NitecoreStore.com has the MH12 Pro flashlight for $89.95 right now.


Short Review

There’s a lot to like about the Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight and really only two things to dislike. The MH12 Pro is a tube light and I love tube lights, so that’s great. It offers a great user interface as well as capable USB-C charging. The cost is reasonable, too. Probably my favorite aspect though is the beam shape – it’s very throwy!

Long Review

The Big Table

Nitecore MH12 Pro Flashlight
Emitter: NiteLab UHi 40
Price in USD at publication time: $89.95 at NitecoreStore.com
Cell: 1×21700
Runtime Graphs
LVP? Yes
Switch Type: Both
Quiescent Current (mA):
On-Board Charging? Yes
Charge Port Type: USB-C
Charge Graph
Power off Charge Port No
Claimed Lumens (lm) 3300
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 1333 (40.4% of claim)^
Candela per Lumen 23.09
Claimed Throw (m) 505
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 1582lux @ 6.067m = 58231cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 482.6 (95.6% of claim)^
Claimed CCT
Measured CCT Range (K) 5400-6000 Kelvin
Item provided for review by: NitecoreStore.com
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.

What’s Included

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight what's included

  • Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight
  • Charging cable (USB to USB-C)
  • 5300mAh 21700
  • Nylon holster
  • Pocket clip
  • Lanyard
  • Spare o-ring
  • Manual etc

Package and Manual

manual manual

Build Quality and Disassembly

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight

Of course Nitecore is not known for low quality flashlights, and the MH12 Pro is no exception here. The Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight has a nice build quality.

As I said above, this is a tube light. I really like tube lights! (I like flashlighty lights too, but tube lights like this one and the Convoy S2+ are favorites, too.)

There’s some grip along the body tube and it’s probably adequate in tactical situations, but it’s definitely not knurling.

The tail end of the Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight has a button for contact with the negative terminal of the included 21700 cell. This button is springy.

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight tailcap spring button

The other end has the same type of button. Both are ever so slightly springy, but they are quite stiff.

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight positive contact

Size and Comps

Length 138.5 mm / 5.45 in
Head Size 26.8 mm / 1.06 in
Weight 82 g / 2.89 oz

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

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight in hand

Here’s the test light with the venerable Convoy S2+. The version you see below is an orange Convoy S2+ host that’s been laser engraved by GadgetConnections.com. I did a full post on this light right here! Or just go straight to GadgetConnections.com to buy your Convoy S2+ now!

 

Also above is the light beside a new standard 18350 light! It’s not one I’ve reviewed yet but this is the CWF Arcadian Peanut in aluminum. This one is stonewashed and has the new Quantum Dragon driver – a whole new product! Stay tuned for a full review of this tiny powerhouse!

Retention and Carry

A pocket clip is included with the Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight but it’s not attached.

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight pocket clip off

The friction-fit clip attaches easily on either end of the light.

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight pocket clip

This is a two-way clip and it also features a lanyard hole on the top shoulder. I don’t usually love two-way clips, but I like the way this one is made.

I think Nitecore missed an opportunity here to proportion the clip so that installing it this way (below) would work to. You could achieve a flush carry.

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight pocket clip installed wrong

A nylon pouch is also included.

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight in nylon holster

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight in nylon holster

Finally, there’s a lanyard included. It’s most happy being installed through the tailcap holes, but could also be attached on the pocket clip. That’s less ideal because of the friction-fit nature of tthe clip.

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight lanyard installed

Power and Runtime

Nitecore includes a 5300mAh 21700 cell with the MH12 Pro flashlight.

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight with included 21700 cell

It’s a standard cell, even if the button is fairly short. It’ll charge in bay-style chargers.

The cell goes into the light in the usual way – positive end toward the head.

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight with included 21700 cell installed

Below are a few runtime tests.

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight runtime graph

Performance is good in general, but I did not observe the output of 3300 lumens. Even at initial output (“0s”), I’m only seeing 2771 lumens – that’s fairly close to within 10% so we can give initial output a pass (I suppose?) but at 30 seconds the light has drifted all the way down to 1333 lumens.

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight runtime graph

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight runtime graph

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight runtime graph

While it’s not an “indicating switch,” just beside the switch are some indicating emitters. The green ones indicate the battery level, as follows:

Four green: 75-100% power
Three green: 50-75% power
Two green: 25-50% power
One green: 0-25% power

Charging

Charging of the (standard) 21700 cell that’s included happens by way of a USB-C charging port. The port is on the opposite side of the head to the e-switch.

A USB to USB-C cable is included.

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight charging cable

Both C to C and A to C exhibit some weird dropping out-of-charge state. Regardless of that, charging still finishes in around 4.5 hours, which is fine. A 5300mAh cell is a large-capacity cell, after all.

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight charging graph

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight charging graph

While the light is charging, the green LEDs mentioned above display the approximate charge, in a similar fashion to what’s mentioned above. For example, three steady green LEDs indicate that the power level has been reached, and the fourth will be blinking – the light is nearly charged.

Modes and Currents

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Measured Lumens Tailcap Amps
Turbo 3300 30m 2771 (0s)
1333 (30s)
9.90
High 1200 4h30m 1234 2.88
Mid 300 8h30m 285 0.49
Low 50 50h 48 0.06
Ultralow 1 650h 0.9 [low]

Pulse Width Modulation

None of the levels use PWM.

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

The Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight uses two switches. First, and maybe “mainly” there’s this mechanical tail switch. If this isn’t in an on position, the light will not be on either.

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight mechanical tail switch

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight mechanical tail switch profile

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight mechanical tail switch actuation

Next is this e-switch on the head. This switch has a big pad and is very textured. It’s quite easy to differentiate from the charging port cover.

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight side e-switch detail

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight side e-switch profile

The action on this switch is very low.

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight side e-switch actuation

Below you can see the LED options. On the right (green) are the battery indicators. On the left is the output indication. This isn’t really an e-switch feature. These indicators are simply beside the e-switch.

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight indicators beside e-switch

Here’s a UI table! Note that there are two user mode groups: tactical and daily. Glancing back through some older Nitecore reviews, I do think this is a unique user interface, but has many characteristics of other Nitecore user interfaces.

State Action Result
Off Click Tail switch On (Mode memory, excludes Ultralow)
Off Tap tail switch Momentary (Mode memory, excludes Ultralow)
Off Hold e-switch and click tail switch On in Ultralow
On Click tail switch Off
Off Hold e-switch >5s Iterate between daily and tactical interface
On Click e-switch Daily: mode advance (Ascending, excluding Ultralow)
Tactical: mode advance (Descending, excluding Ultralow)
On Hold e-switch Daily: Strobe> Beacon> SOS
Tactical: Strobe (only)
Any strobe Click e-switch Exit strobe group to previous state
On, with proximity sensor tripped Short press e-switch Proximity sensor is deactivated
Proximity sensor deactivated After the light is turned off, turn it on again Proximity sensor is reactivated

LED and Beam

Nitecore uses a LED in the MH12 Pro flashlight that I think we’ve seen before, but I think this is the first time we have a name for it. It’s called the NiteLab UHi 40. It’s a cool little circular emitting die with a fairly big platform. The emitter is surrounded by a smooth reflector. This all provides a very nice tight beam.

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight emitter and smooth reflector

The bezel has “teeth” but they aren’t bitey. They’re just the right amount of shape to let light escape – I very much like this!

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight emitter on and headstanding

As stated above, this emitter/reflector combo provides a very tight beam. While it’s a very minor note, that the emitting area is circular really seems to be noticeable in the beam (without any specific thing that you’d say – “yep, see that?”).  I think this is what so many people like about this light – the beam is very tight and the output is very throwy. People love triples and all that, sure, but there’s just nothing like picking up a light like this and being able to throw.

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight emitter on and smooth reflector

Now, here’s the other downside. (The first one was the massive step down, in case I didn’t spell that out). The output from this emitter is quite green. You can love the throw all you want, but close up, you’ll notice this green.

Nitecore MH12 Pro flashlight emitter on

LED Color Report (CRI and CCT)

You can also distinctly notice the green in these charts -that Duv number being so far above zero indicates that this output will appear green. I am pleasantly surprised otherwise, though, as the CCT is only “cool” and definitely not “cold” white. CRI is very low, though.

Beamshots

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)

I keep the test flashlight on the left, and the BLF-348 reference flashlight on the right.

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

Conclusion

What I like

  • Very throwy
  • Nice circular hotspot
  • Complete package
  • 5300mAh 21700 included
  • Good dual-group user interface
  • Easy access to Ultralow from off!
  • Useful indicator LEDs

What I don’t like

  • Green output
  • Low CRI
  • Huge stepdown from the initial output

Notes

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