[Review] NITECORE Concept 1 (XHP35 HD, 1x 18650 / 2x (R) CR123)

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UPz
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[Review] NITECORE Concept 1 (XHP35 HD, 1x 18650 / 2x (R) CR123)


NITECORE CONCEPT 1
LED: CREE XHP35 HD CW
Battery: 1× 18650, 2x ®CR123a
Modes: 5 intensities, 3 stroboscopic modes
Switch: Digital, head.
Date: July 2017
Links:
Nitecore.com · RdL · ForoLinternas.com

INTRODUCTION
Nitecore has just released a new flashlight, this time something different to what we have been accustomed by this brand. The name of this new model already hints us a little about what type of flashlight we are about to know: Concept 1. As Nitecore describes, the Concept 1 is a simile to what in the automotive world is known like the designs of vehicles concept : Normally a daring design and ahead of its time in which the designers and engineers of the mark show the world a kind or technological goals that the brand has in mind.

Unlike in the automotive industry, where conceptual designs serve only for presentations and fairs, Nitecore has marketed Concept 1 so that end users have the opportunity to acquire a model on this novel and striking role.

The flashlight box is different from the usual Nitecore packaging, and instead of following the strict color scheme of the brand, this time we find a completely black box in which an illustration of the flashlight presiding the center of the front , with the rest of texts and data minimalistic and very discreet.

In the interior we find a plastic tray with flashlight, a textile holster, paracord wrist strap, spare o-rings, and the usual documentation that accompanies all the products from this brand.

Note that recently Nitecore is translating their user manuals into several languages other than the usual two (Chinese and English) and we can now read it in Spanish.

The included holster is the typical one that can be seen in other models of the brand. It also gives you the feeling thatit’s a bit oversized. In this case, the holster has nothing conceptual.

EXTERNAL FINISH
The Concept 1 is a fairly original flashlight in its design. In general, its lines are simple and not complicated, and it is striking that given the figures that Nitecore announces, the flashlight does not have any type of dissipation fins or other body mechanized elements to multiply its surface in contact with the air.

The top has a smooth finish with a few engravings of logos on the head, and both the bottom cuarter and the tailcap have a not too aggressive knurling finish but providing enough grip when unscrewing.


The dimensions are contained, although we are not on an ultra-compact flashlight such as DQG Tiny18650. With something more 110mm long and a diameter of 25mm in optics, and a battery-free weight of about 62g, the Concept 1 stays in simply compact.

The optics is composed of a flat bezel, glass lens with AR treatment, smooth reflector with the XHP35 HD correctly centered. The overall finish of the optics, as is usual in this brand, impeccable.

Next to the head we find something new. It is a switch concept something different from the typical silicone coating or metallic button.

What Nitecore has implemented in the Concept 1 is a kind of side switch that, via a small-switch located at the bottom, acts on the light circuit. The button is made of metal, presumably stainless steel, and is fastened by a small phillips screw. As you may have imagined, this design makes accidental activations extremely easy if we carry the flashlight in a pocket. The switch also has some slack, transmitting a rattle when we put our finger on it.


The clip is secured by screws to the head. The design of the clip is similar to what could be found in the old Nitecore EX11 / D11, only that instead of titanium the one which we find in Concept 1 is black lacquered steel.

The flashlight can be disassembled into three parts. The loose head has a considerable weight, which denotes the use of high density metals in its internal construction. The contact for the positive pole protrudes over the profile, so we can use flat-top batteries without any problem. The threads have a standard triangular cut, are anodized and come clean and correctly greased.

The tailcap has a completely flat base, allowing to place the light in tailstand in a stable way.

The space for the battery is generous, with sufficient housing to use protected 18650 batteries.

Underneath the spring located inside the tailcap there’s a magnet that allows to fix the light to iron surfaces. I must say that the magnetic power of the magnet seems rather short, and it is convenient to make sure that the torch is securely sticked.

USER INTERFACE
The Nitecore Concept 1 has a fairly complete user interface, and with only one switch the handling and access to all modes and functions consists of different combinations and sequences.

  • Switching on and off: Holding the switch for approx. 0.5sec turns on the light. To turn it off, a single click does the trick.
  • Mode groups: The Concept 1 has two groups of modes: General and Tactical. The difference between the two modes is that the General has direct access to the Turbo, while the Tactical has direct access to the strobe. To know in which way we are, we will slightly unscrew the tailcap and, with the switch pressed, we re-thread it: a flicker denotes that we are in General mode, two for Tactical mode. To select the other group simply repeat the operation.
  • Changing modes: The mode selection must be done from the off, holding the switch pressed the flashlight will start to alternate between the five intensities upwards, with an interval of approximately 1 second in each mode. When you are in the desired mode, simply release the switch to enter that mode.
  • Memory: The flashlight will remember our selection of last mode and in the next activation we will go direct to that mode. If we keep the switch pressed the alternating between modes will start from the one we have previously memorized.
  • Direct access to Turbo / Strobe: As I said, depending on the group so that we find the flashlight will have direct access to the Turbo or strobe. To access these modes directly from standby is enough to perform a rapid triple tap. Similarly, with the flashlight on, simply hold the switch for momentary access to the Turbo, returning to the previous mode after releasing the switch.
  • Direct access to Lower: From OFF state, a double click will activate the Nitecore Concept 1 straight in the Lower mode. (Thanks Firelight2!)
  • Special modes: Strobe modes are hidden. To accede to them, it is enough to make a triple pulsation from on, acceding to the stroboscopic mode of variable frequency. If we hold the switch for approx. 0.5sec we will go to SOS mode, and if we repeat, we will go to beacon mode.
  • Battery Voltage Reading: Each time we thigh any threads of the flashlight completely, the flashlight will read battery voltage, and will show us a sequence of flashes: ie: four flashes, followed by a pause and two Flashes more tell us that the battery is at 4.2V.
  • Block-out: Unfortunately, the Concept 1 lacks an electronic lock to prevent accidental activation. However, having both threads anodized allows, with a slight unscrewing of either of the two, preventing the flashlight from turning on accidentally when, for example, we carry it in a pocket and at the same time eliminate any standby current always present in flashlights with An electronic switch. After my own measurements, I have noticed that the circuit of the Concept 1 requires a standby consumption of around 0.011mA, a fairly low current.


(All measurements are taken following the ANSI NEMA FL1 procedure, taking as value the highest point of the reading between the second 30 and 120 after activation)
The distribution of intensities is, in my opinion, fairly well spaced. The lowest mode offers little more than one lumen. The Low and Mid modes are very well located, with consistent intensities for everyday use. The High mode is practically the higher mode that we would find in any compact 18650 … and we have the Turbo which, depending on the kind of battery we are using offers a really impressive output for the size of flashlight. There is no presence of PWM in modes, all appear to be achieved by regulated current.

PERFORMANCE
This new family of high-output LED emitters needs, as it could not be otherwise, batteries capable of delivering steady high currents. That is why Nitecore recommends the use of an IMR battery or, failing that, one that is capable of delivering a constant discharge of 6 amps. In my case, I have tested the flashlight with several batteries and I have been able to see how with the typical protected batteries the flashlight is unable to reach the Turbo mode, and either shut off by the battery circuit or automatically go back to the low mode.

For the usual test in the mode of maximum performance I have used an IMR18650 of those Nitecore markets for its TM28, and to check the difference I have repeated the test with a common NCR18650A. You can see how the discharge curve is quite different between both batteries: The IMR offers a much higher initial output, and seems to maintain a constant struggle for not lowering a mode, while the Panasonic three minutes after activation is no longer able to supply the necessary power and seems to stabilize at an intensity around 730lm. The difference in behavior between the two batteries is probably because the IMR is the thermal management that decides the maximum output of the flashlight, while with the NCR18650A is decided by the voltage of the battery.

In this zoom view (at the maximum resolution that my measurement and data-logging instrument allows me) we can observe the behavior of both batteries during the first minute of continuous use. Both curves show a curious little bump around the seventh second, that the IMR seems to try to overcome it. Curious…

Firelight2 wrote:
… If you press and hold the button down while it is dimming it will instantly revert back to max turbo. However, if you do this a lot it gets burning hot.

I just did a quick test to see how the Turbo with switch pressed affects to the performance of the flashlight:

As you can see, I’ve tested the Concept 1 while continuously holding pressed the switch after a shortcut-access to Turbo mode. I also tested the light with a INR18650-30Q and obtained better initial output and overal performance than with the Nitecore IMR18650 “for TM28” battery.

The stepdown must be (unconfirmed) by temperature. At the moment the light dropped the output it was really unconfortable to hold on the hand.

Compared to other high-performance compact flashlights, the Concept 1 seems to benefit from the extra efficiency its XHP35 offers versus the classic XM-L2 or XP-L.

BEAM PROFILE
The projection is quite common, very similar to what we will find in most compact single-LED flashlights.


We have a clearly flooding profile, but thanks to the use of a smooth reflector and the perfect centering of the LED emitter, the Concept 1 has a well-defined hotspot and, according to manufacturer, has a maximum throw of 220 meters ANSI.

The tint is cold white with a slight tendency to greenish, especially visible in the corona that surrounds the hotspot. This type of chromatic distortion has already become common for flashlights using the latest CREE emitters.


PERSONAL CONCLUSION
This Concept 1 has left me a bit with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I expected a more compact flashlight and perhaps something more innovative, but on the other I didn’t expected these levels of efficiency at such high output as I have been able to verify.



MecArmy PT18 · Manker U11 · Nitecore EC21 · Nitecore Concept 1 · Convoy S2Plus

Negatives: The switch is, in my opinion, is a bit of nosense. Besides not contributing anything (beyond a “futuristic” aesthetic), it makes the flashlight extremely easy to be accidentally activated. We are talking about a flashlight that momentarily emits real 1800lm, which with the view adapted to the darkness can give us a good disgust. The user interface lacks an electronic block-out, which would be very useful. I also do not like having to turn off the flashlight to change a mode, and it is not the first flashlight I have seen in recent times that needs this type of combination to go from, say, low to medium. On the other hand, the magnet in the tailcap is rather flimsy, and by placing the flashlight parallel to the ground, there is a good chance that the flashlight will “slip” down, even dropping. On the other hand, I think the conceptual design, beyond the aforementioned switch design, has very little, and I expected a more compact flashlight than what I’ve found. Even the Nitecore EC21 (from 2014) is shorter, and has a double switch more or less in the same place as this Concept 1.

Positive aspects: The first thing that caught my attention when turning on this flashlight in Turbo mode was, besides than the amount of light emitted, how quickly the head rises in temperature. By disassembling and holding only the head one can already intuit how Nitecore has used high density metals in the interior design, able to better tolerate the high temperature that the XHP35 generates when we give it the according current. Thermal management is a good alternative to time-controlled, and will allow greater output if environmental conditions allows. The mechanical finish of the flashlight is impeccable, as well as the anodizing and well-defined engravings. The spacing of the modes is very well achieved. The voltage reading function seems to me a much more useful solution than the mere indication of state with 4, 3, 2 or 1 flashes. The possibility of choosing between a direct access to the strobe or the turbo is very well brought.

Nitecore Concept 1 sample provided by Nitecore for test & review.

Edited by: UPz on 07/14/2017 - 17:12
CRX
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Nice review, thanks. Maybe a piece of compressible foam cut to size and placed under the switch would help with accidental activation and the space getting filled up with debris. Not too keen on the UI.

Firelight2
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Warning: This is a Nitecore light so everything is threadlocked. That includes the small phillips screw that keeps the switch from flipping up. Do NOT attempt to unscrew that without first doing something to weaken the red threadlocker around it or you WILL instantly strip that screw like I did.

Holding the tip of a soldering iron to the top of the screw before unscrewing might work.

EasyB
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Thanks for that tip Firelight2.

That UI is strange. It almost seems like nitecore was trying different stuff for its own sake, with the switch and UI. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but in these cases it doesn’t seem like it adds anything and might detract for some people. I do like the “momentary” style turbo, but that could be done without the unusual feature that prevents switching modes while on.

UPz
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A pair of macro shots of the switch:

Ragsy
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Hi UPz
Thanks for the good and objective review

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Thanks a lot! Quite disappointed with output. People can complain how a light steps down after a couple of minutes, but this thing only has significantly more output than an XP-L for only a couple of seconds. 10 seconds and you’re at 1400 lumens, which visually is not much brighter than an XP-L at max output. Just not worth it.

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Here’s my assessment, having EDC’d a Concept 1 for the last week and a half:

  • Hand feel. I like the smooth tube-shape of the Concept 1. Feels good in the pocket. The slightly recessed body tube feels more distinct than a plain tube and the knurling on the back half of the light provides a good grip.
  • The UI is adequate. At least it has shortcuts to moonlight, turbo and off. But it’s definitely harder to use and less functional than the Olight UI. I agree it does feel a little like nitecore is trying to reinvent the wheel here and doing a poor job. Still, this is far from the worst UI I’ve ever seen in an e-switch light. It’s adequate. (Astrolux S42 has the worst e-switch UI I’ve ever seen … leagues of magnitude worse than the Concept 1’s UI.)
  • Output is adequate. Quite nice at turn-on, but then dimming rapidly as it heats up. If you press and hold the button down while it is dimming it will instantly revert back to max turbo. However, if you do this a lot it gets burning hot. My modded Jaxman E2L triple XPL HI with FET driver and running on an IMR 18500 is considerably brighter and maintains that brightness longer than the Concept 1. heatsink fins make a real difference.
  • The head. The clean head feels good in the hand, but the lack of heatsink fins was a poor decision. A light like this needs heatsinking. Not having heatsink fins sacrifices a bit too much functionality for form.
  • The switch. I agree that the switch is awful. Far too easy to activate without offering any functional advantage over a traditional switch. If Nitecore was really set on having a rectangular switch look like this they should have just installed a conventional button switch and then had the rectangular portion on top be a protective cover that the user would have to flip up to get to the switch. Such a design would largely have looked the same, would look cool, and would solve all issues of accidental activation.
EasyB
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What is the shortcut to moonlight?

Firelight2
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EasyB wrote:
What is the shortcut to moonlight?

2 clicks from off – moonlight. Well not really a moonlight. More of just a “low”
3 clicks from off or click and hold while on – turbo.
1 click from on – off

Note that this is in the “non-tactical” mode. In tactical mode 3 clicks goes to strobe.

EasyB
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So long click from off goes to last used mode. Does quick click from off do nothing?

will34
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Thanks for the review!

I didn’t quite understand the UI with a single click doing nothing while off, but now that you point out how easily one can accidentally activate the switch it makes sense. The name sure fits this light, probably their attempt to play with new concepts.

Firelight2
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EasyB wrote:
So long click from off goes to last used mode. Does quick click from off do nothing?
  • Long-click from off goes to the saved mode, not the last used mode. If you keep holding the button down after it turns on this way, the light will start cycling from min through mediums to max turbo, and then back to min. Release to stop cyclilng and save the mode. If you last-used min or max via the double or triple-click shortcuts, those won’t override the saved mode. When combined with the shortcuts, you basically have instant access to 3 different modes from off (min, max, and your choice of 1 other mode). This is a good thing.
  • The “long-click” to turn on to the saved mode isn’t that long…. seems to be require holding the light down for just 1 second. I actually like that much more than lights that require you to hold the button down for 2 seconds or longer.
  • Surprisingly, a single quick click from off does absolutely nothing. If the goal of not having a single quick-click do anything was to provide more protection against accidental activation Nitecore royally failed. This light activated accidentally within 30 seconds the very first time I stuck it in my pocket. Unless you use the tailcap lockout this light is more prone to accidental activation than any other light I’ve ever tried. Even more so than the old Zebralight SC51.
EasyB
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I agree that quick access to low, memorized, and high modes from off is great and IMO necessary for a good UI. This UI has those, but not being able to switch modes while on is just different. It’s not necessarily bad, but it’s so different from my other lights that it would probably dissuade me from buying it.

I felt the same way about the skilhunt H03 UI. Single clicks while on changed modes and a long click turned off. This was different enough that I just didn’t want to deal with the potential confusion when switching between lights.

Luckily there are great FWs that the community has developed and resources to learn how to flash them to your drivers. For me the golden standard for UI is: access to low, high, and memory from off, and the ability to go up and down in brightness. Toykeeper’s clicky and e-switch ramping FWs, as well as Narsil, allow this.

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Light has so much potential, hopefully they get rid of that switch and flip the clip around in the next version of it

G’day!

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I got my Nitecore concept 1 in 9 days from banggood shipped to united states. user interface is very easy to use. It’s small and bright. thanks Nitecore and banggood.

UPz
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Thank you all for your comments!

Firelight2 wrote:
… If you press and hold the button down while it is dimming it will instantly revert back to max turbo. However, if you do this a lot it gets burning hot.

I just did a quick test to see how the Turbo with switch pressed affects to the performance of the flashlight:

As you can see, I’ve tested the Concept 1 while continuously holding pressed the switch after a shortcut-access to Turbo mode. I also tested the light with a INR18650-30Q and obtained better initial output and overal performance than with the Nitecore IMR18650 “for TM28” battery.

The stepdown must be (unconfirmed) by temperature. At the moment the light dropped the output it was really unconfortable to hold on the hand.

I’ll be updating the review to include this “feature” and also to modify the mode measurement chart with new numbers.

Cheers!

UPz
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Firelight2 wrote:
EasyB wrote:
What is the shortcut to moonlight?

2 clicks from off – moonlight. Well not really a moonlight. More of just a “low”
3 clicks from off or click and hold while on – turbo.
1 click from on – off

Note that this is in the “non-tactical” mode. In tactical mode 3 clicks goes to strobe.

Thanks for this. I wasn’t aware of this shortcut. I’ll add this to the review too. Beer

firedome
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Thanks for the review! Big Smile

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.

-Plato

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Thank you for your very detailed and very valuable review.

I like lights that have the option of releasing the power of the cells in the shortest time for maximum lumens in short burst. Of course, I can choose lower mode for power conservation and longer run time and also for heat management.

This light occupies a salient position in the size/power ratio continuum, therefore, I am interested. I will ask (again) Going Gear when they will have this item.

Acebeam X45vnXHP70.2, K70vn, EC50vn, two X65Vn. Eagletac SX25L3 MT-G2, MX25L4CvnT XP-L. Fenix TK75vnQ70 dome on. 47's MMU-X3. Manker MK34Vn. Nitecore TM06Svn 4 x XHP50.2. Niwalker MM15, and MM15MBvnSpec1. Noctigon Meteor M43vn XP-L dd. Olight S2 Baton. P60vn Quad XP-L HD 2 cell host Cryos Cu head. Thrunite TN36UTvn, TN42vn.

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I do like the Concept 1. The UI is decent. It feels good in the pocket and it feels good in the hand.

It’s a good light. But to be a great light, Nitecore needs to redesign the switch.

richbuff
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I see that the topic title shows “Updated” in red in the sub-forum topic listing. I see that means that the first post was edited, in this case, to add extra information.

Thank you again for your very detailed review.

By the way, GG has recently, in the past few hours, added this item to their list of new items.

Acebeam X45vnXHP70.2, K70vn, EC50vn, two X65Vn. Eagletac SX25L3 MT-G2, MX25L4CvnT XP-L. Fenix TK75vnQ70 dome on. 47's MMU-X3. Manker MK34Vn. Nitecore TM06Svn 4 x XHP50.2. Niwalker MM15, and MM15MBvnSpec1. Noctigon Meteor M43vn XP-L dd. Olight S2 Baton. P60vn Quad XP-L HD 2 cell host Cryos Cu head. Thrunite TN36UTvn, TN42vn.

Newlumen
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Here is a concept 1 beamshot on high.
IMG_20170714_213844228

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Hello

I got this light today and i dont like it !!!
Side button too easy to accidentally turn on
Heat too much and stepdown…

I prefer a S2+ and its 1\4 the price or this nitecore

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Hello,

Is it normal for this torch to have a really small purple dot in the middle of the beam? I order the klarus xt2cr and it has the same thing, that coloured dot in the middle of the beam. Or does gearbest keep sending me defective lights?

Thank you

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bdogsp wrote:
Hello,

Is it normal for this torch to have a really small purple dot in the middle of the beam? I order the klarus xt2cr and it has the same thing, that coloured dot in the middle of the beam. Or does gearbest keep sending me defective lights?

Thank you


It is viable when you shine at short distance
Because the xhp35 is quad-core led, that’s a problem of all quad-core leds

Forgot my pen

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Yep, purple dot, check..

Got one in today, ordered recently, coupon made it affordable (enough).
It’s a nice little thing, i like it.
Want to put in a XHP35 HI 80CRI (more throw), but didn’t realise the bezel is glued.
I’ll get it open with some heat, i hope..
If not, i might put a mild diffuser on the lens (less throw)

Once you have your ‘normal mode’ level selected it’s quite a usable UI i.m.o.
I like the momentary ‘turbo’ function.

Looking for:

5” parabolic reflector (for recoil light)