[Review] Nitecore TINI ... 380 lm + TIR lens + USB charging

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CivilGearReviews
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[Review] Nitecore TINI ... 380 lm + TIR lens + USB charging

>Mobile Friendly Version<

Hi all; Nitecore sent me their new keychain light to test so I wanted to post my thoughts. 

****

Here is yet again a brand new keychain light from Nitecore as they quest for the perfect keychain light.  One of the lights that got me started with Nitecore was there very affordable TUBE keychain light and I love it, so lets see if the TINI is my new favorite.

Nitecore TINI Keychain Light Review CivilGear 001

 

OVERVIEW

Overall, I’m very impressed with the new beaded TIR optics, (a first for Nitecore!), and the brightness packed into such a small form factor. What I don’t prefer is how long it takes to turn on the light, non-latching TURBO, and non-tactile buttons. I also would have preferred a lockout mode instead of the daily/demo modes.

OPTIONS

The TINI currently has only 1 LED option (CREE SP-G2 S3) but you can pick from 7 different body colors (grey, green, blue, red, gold, silver, and black).

PRICE

Price at the time of writing ~ $30 USD

INCLUDED

I was sent an early release version so I did not received the final packaging but not much else comes with the light.

  • TINI
  • Several keychain loops and hook
  • User manual
  • Warranty card

SPECS

Here is the spec sheet from Nitecore’s TINI product page. Here is the TINI user manual.

flashlight.nitecore.jpg

LED SPECS

Type: (1) XP-G2 S3 by Cree @ ~380 lm (domed)
Color: To me, the light has a pretty uniform beam with slight tint of blue

SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Small metallic body
  • TIR optical lens!
  • USB charging (micro)
  • Battery saver mode
  • 7 color options (red, green, blue, gold, silver, gray, & black)
  • Wide degree beam angle
  • Constant current circuitry (non-PWM)
  • Low stand-by power drain (not verified by CivilGear)
  • Built-in battery
  • IP54 rating
  • Demo and Daily switchable modes

STANDARD FEATURES

  • Automatic temperature regulation (ATR)
  • Overcharge/discharge protection
  • Impact resistance of 1.5-meter drop
  • Aero grade aluminum alloy with HAIII hard-anodized finish

DIMENSIONS

  • Head diameter: 0.95″ (15.04mm)
  • Size (LxWxH): 1.7″x1″x0.45″ (43.3mmx25.4mmx11.5mm)
  • Weight: 0.47oz (13.4g) (with built-in battery)

LOOK & FEEL

The light is quite small but is little wide. The buttons are inset a bit to help prevent activation. The buttons have a very quiet click when pressed. The buttons are plastic which can light up to display the battery level when the mode button is pressed but rattle a little when the light is shaken. I think the body, overall, could have used a little more texture for increasing grip. I also did notice that the silver bezel is plastic as well.

 

COMPARISONS

Nitecore is on the quest for the perfect keychain light and has developed now 6 different types, I believe, of keychain lights. I have the TUBE, TIP, and now TINI. I’m a bit torn between the TUBE and TINI. I love the thin and tactile feel of the TUBE but love the TIR optics of the TINI. I kind of wish for a mashup of the LED of the MT06MD with, perhaps, a reflector-less TUBE for somthing in the 100+ lumen category

  • T0, T2, T5 -> single AAA battery type with rotating head, sub 65 lumen
  • TUBE -> poly carbonate plastic, thin and wide, single button, built-in battery w/ USB charging, 45 lumen, only $10 USD!, now multiple body color options, and LED color options, uses PWM for lower modes, has output ramping
  • T360 -> large TUBE on a swivel for headlamp or magnetic base, still 45 lumen and built-in battery w/USB charging
  • THUMB -> tilting head, longer TUBE with twin LEDs, 85 lumen, secondary red side light with a dedicated button, built-in clip, plastic body, and built-in battery w/ USB charging
  • TIP -> high 360 lumen output, back-light dual-button interface, CRI versions, removable clip, metal body, constant current, multiple body colors, built-in battery w/ USB charging
  • TINI -> high 380 lumen output, TIR beaded optic lens, back-light dual-button button interface, metal body, constant current, multiple body colors, built-in battery w/ USB charging

BEAM PROFILE

160 degree spill with very minor 30 degree spot

 

Low->Mid->High->Turbo

 

USER INTERFACE

This UI is a departure from Nitecore’s typical 2-button interface which I’m a bit sad to see. Highlights: has mode memory, battery indicator, direct turbo access. Comments: no lock out, no direct low, no latching turbo.

As I said before, the UI seems to suffer from too many measures against accidental activation, so a single click to power on has been removed and they added a time out feature where if the buttons aren’t pressed within 30 seconds the light turns off. I’m not sure my pockets have ever done a 2-button press to unlock one but maybe many others have? Also, I think the naming it a whole other mode is a bit misleading as none of the user interface changes; overall, it’s more of a setting.

Nitecore TINI USER INTERFACE DIAGRAM CIVILGEAR 01_2_narrow

POWER

BATTERY

The light has a built in 280 mAh li-ion battery.

INDICATORS

You can check the remaining battery life, when the light is off, by taping the mode button once; the buttons will both blink blue; 1 blink = battery is less than 10%, 2 blinks = battery is less than %, and 3 blinks = battery has more than 50% power.

When the batter is low, the buttons will blink once every 3 seconds.

CHARGING

It uses micro USB to charge the battery and, for me, it took about 2 hours to fully charge. Similar to the TIP, the light can operate, on any mode!, while being plugged in. When charging, the buttons will blink; when finished charging the lights will be steady on.

PERFORMANCE

Overall, my runtime numbers line up with Nitecore’s except on TURBO and the temperature doesn’t appear to be regulated very much

RUNTIMES

Duration estimated from beginning of highest output measured between 30 sec – 2 min to the time of the 10% of that value. Light is measured in relative LUX, I have not calibrated for lumens estimation. All run-times are measured without fan cooling in a room about 75°F (24°C). I am still very new at doing these run time measurements so I am no authority on on this subject, but please let me know if things don’t look right or you see anything that I could do to improve for next time.

 Test Results TURBO
380 lm
HIGH
145 lm
MID
38 lm
LOW
1 lm
 Measured  1m 50s  50m  3h 45m  N/A
 Advertised  15m  1h  4h  60h

PWM CHECK

As advertised there is no PWM and I have confirmed that there is no PWM on any constant output level. Below is a plot of the MID mode, which shows the LUX only varying by about 4 over a 50 millisecond test sampling 3000 times per second. For comparison, the second graph shows PWM variance of 120 LUX used in the LOW mode on the Nitecore R25 flashlight.

TEMPERATURE

I measured the temperature on all my runtime tests and found the hottest it got was 102.2°F (39°C) on the HIGH mode

NITECORE - TINI - TEMP - HIGH

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Great optics!
  • Bright output in an even smaller body
  • Battery indicator
  • Bright back-light buttons
  • Momentary turbo
  • 5-year warrenty

COMMENTS

  • I do not like waiting 2 seconds to turn on the light
  • Feels a little overboard on preventative measures against pocket turn-ons (sorry that sounds weird), like the 2 second turn on time, the inset buttons, and the demo timed-off mode.
  • I think the only necessary preventative measure needed on a 2-button interface is 2-button hold lockout, which is Nitecore’s tried and true UI feature used in major series such as the E, NU, and other series.
  • I would have preferred rubber button covers
  • I like momentary Turbo but wish I could also have the option to latch it in
  • USB cover is in the way during charging, needs a bit longer of a tail.
  • The attachment loop coming off the light is durable but still prefer the solid and more spacious attachment of the TUBE
  • The light comes with so many key rings I’m not sure if I’m supposed to use them all or what the right order is
  • Seems to get a bit warm for a keychain light
  • Wished that the ramping that was in the TUBE would come back but have mode memory, I really don’t mind PWM on a keychain light.

IN-USE

All the pictures below are taken with the light in TURBO.

Nitecore TINI Keychain Light Review CivilGear 020Nitecore TINI Keychain Light Review CivilGear 018Nitecore TINI Keychain Light Review CivilGear 019Nitecore TINI Keychain Light Review CivilGear 017

WARRANTY

Below is Nitecore’s warranty statement. Worth mentioning that it is also important to purchase Nitecore products from authorized dealers so not as to jepordize the warranty.

All Nitecore products are warranted for quality. Dead-on-arrival or defective products can be exchanged for a replacement through a local distributor/dealer within 15 days of purchase. After 15 days, all defective / malfunctioning Nitecore products will be repaired free of charge for a period of 60 months (5 years) from the date of purchase. After 60 months, a limited warranty applies, covering the cost of labor and maintenance, but not the cost of accessories or replacement parts.

The warranty is nullifed in all of the following situations:

  1. The product(s) is/are broken down, reconstructed and/or modified by unauthorized parties.

  2. The product(s) is/are damaged through improper use (i.e. reverse polarity installation).

  3. The product(s) is/are damaged by leakage of batteries.

PURCHASE

The current price for the light is about $30 USD and ff you appreciated my review and would like to support me, feel free to check out this product on amazon using my affiliate link (does not cost you more, amazon gives me very small % of their profit):

Amazon: NITECORE TINI 380 Lumens USB Rechargeable Keychain Flashlight

 

 

THANKS FOR READING!

Disclaimers:

  • CivilGear Reviews received this product for testing and providing an honest review.
  • CivilGear Reviews was not paid for writing this review.
  • CivilGear Reviews is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com
Edited by: CivilGearReviews on 01/06/2018 - 00:46
Terry Oregon
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Thanks for taking the time to do this. It appears the output on HIGH is very well regulated.

 

One thing I would clarify;

Quote:
Overall, my runtime numbers line up with Nitecore’s except on TURBO

In all fairness to Nitecore, the runetime on Turbo is listed as 15min with an * which leads to:

Quote:
Runtime for turbo mode is calculated based on theoretical arithmetic
 

That's a phrase they use on many of their lights. Always thought that was an odd way to put it - but it means the runtime would be 15min if it were possible to maintain turbo continuously.  In other words, if one were to cycle Turbo repeatedly (with cool-down in-between), it should run for 15 min.

 

My own experience with Turbo, is that after two minutes, it gets too warm to hold comfortably.

 

CivilGearReviews
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Thanks for the feedback Terry! I knew there was probably some kind of catch to actually get a 15 min runtime. Big Smile 

Agro
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I got a TINI today, but it seems dead.
Is there some kind of blockade that I am supposed to remove? Sad

Newlumen
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I just got mine yesterday in green.. i charge the battery first.. hold power and mode button at the same time to switch to outdoor mode.. it works perfect..

CivilGearReviews
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Hi Agro Smile there shouldn't be any pull tab but the light is very slow to turn on, you have to hold down the power button for almost 3 seconds before it turns on. Hopefully that helps.

Newlumen
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Great review.. OP mentioned, “ I do not like waiting 2 seconds to turn on the light”..

I think its a great feature for the keychain light!

Agro
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Problem fixed. Smile
It was not compatible with the micro-USB cable that I tried. I changed that to another, the buttons started blinking while it charges.
I turned it on, it indeed takes forever. But maybe I’ll get used to it.

Agro
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I’ve been using Tini for the last 2 weeks.
Looooooooooooooong-press-to-turn-on is still annoying, though slightly less than initially – because the key is easy to find with touch and I learned to start pressing even before I pull the light from under my shirt.

But I have another problem.
The light keeps turning off after 30 seconds.
I recognise this is a demo mode. I know that I should keep both button pressed for a while to get out of it. But it keeps returning and I have no idea how….
Suggestions?

Newlumen
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Agro wrote:
I’ve been using Tini for the last 2 weeks.
Looooooooooooooong-press-to-turn-on is still annoying, though slightly less than initially – because the key is easy to find with touch and I learned to start pressing even before I pull the light from under my shirt.

But I have another problem.
The light keeps turning off after 30 seconds.
I recognise this is a demo mode. I know that I should keep both button pressed for a while to get out of it. But it keeps returning and I have no idea how….
Suggestions?

Press both button at the same time and hold..

Venice
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Got mine a few days ago when they came out with it in copper. The minor inconveniences are easy to get use to and are designed to minimize accidental activation. Incredible output
Great light.

Agro
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Newlumen wrote:
Agro wrote:
I’ve been using Tini for the last 2 weeks.
Looooooooooooooong-press-to-turn-on is still annoying, though slightly less than initially – because the key is easy to find with touch and I learned to start pressing even before I pull the light from under my shirt.

But I have another problem.
The light keeps turning off after 30 seconds.
I recognise this is a demo mode. I know that I should keep both button pressed for a while to get out of it. But it keeps returning and I have no idea how….
Suggestions?

Press both button at the same time and hold..


I don’t think I do so accidentally from time to time because I never turned the light on by accident.