(Review) Nitecore LR10 Pocket Lantern

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Tahts-a-dats-ago
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(Review) Nitecore LR10 Pocket Lantern

It has been said that one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Perhaps that is a lesson that I needed a refresher course in, because my first impression is vastly different from my conclusion.

My thoughts upon opening the LR10 for the very first time were that my review would consist mostly of talking about how much kids love the little Panda light. The lantern is very well made, has a nice solid quality feel to it, but…

There’s a smiling Panda face right on the front of the lantern. Yes it is cute, and yes everyone (I do mean everyone) I showed the lantern to absolutely loved it. Young, old, male, female… it didn’t matter: everyone immediately loved the LR10.

I’ve shown a lot of people a lot of different flashlights; trying to gauge their interest in the item I was reviewing. I wanted to know what they liked, what they didn’t like and how interested they really were. To date, no flashlight has garnered the positive attention that this LR10 has.

Women and kids tended to notice the Panda face right away, with most of them going on and on about how cute it was. Men and older boys tended to gloss over the Panda face at first, asking how the lantern worked and talking about how useful it would be. They were more interested in the hanging hook, the magnetic tail, and the small size. Both genders loved the fact that the LR10 is rechargeable, and both genders talked about how great the “Panda Lantern” would be for camping, chores, emergencies, and reading at night.

Everyone I showed the LR10 to wanted to know where they could buy the Panda Lantern – well, not everyone. Two of the men did ask if they could buy the same lantern without the Panda face (the answer is yes).

Aside from the Panda face, the first thing most people noticed is the diminutive size of the LR10. It’s roughly 1.5 times the size of your average Zippo lighter. It easily fits in your pocket, purse, glove-box, back pack, etc.. It’‘s small enough to fit into tight spaces that need to be illuminated, but large enough that it’s very easy to operate even if your hands are very large.

What really caught people’s attention was the light output once the LR10 was turned on. They couldn’t believe how much light was coming from such a small lantern. But the best thing about that light isn’t the maximum output (although that too is impressive) – it’s the usability of the light that is being output. Thanks to the milky outer shell, that light is evenly dispersed, filtered light – smooth, relaxing and very comfortable on our eyes. With it’s high CRI (90) LED’s the light allows us to see colors the way they actually are; it’s roughly the equivalent of gorgeous early morning sunlight in the palm of your hand.

With a light temperature of 4500K, the light output is warm, but it isn’t yellow. The maximum distance is rated at 24 meters, but I’d guess that the usable distance is closer to 15 meters; it isn’t the choice for long distance viewing.

Where the LR10 absolutely excels is fill lighting: it would be a great light for photography (nice filtered light) but the perfect use (in my mind) is camping. There are few things I enjoy more than sitting outside with a group of friends at night, as we drink coffee (or something a bit more uplifting) and enjoy the nearby fire while the conversation carries through the evening. On those occasions, which don’t happen nearly enough for my liking, the campfire usually isn’t enough light and other lights are typically too much light for the proper ambiance. The LR10 is perfect for those memory-making times; set on low it will last far longer (38 hours) than any of us can, while producing the perfect amount of light (just enough to see our coffee cups, but not so much light that it overtakes the spirit of the moment).

Specs

9 high CRI LEDs

Height – 2.57 inches
Width – 1.97 inches
Depth – 0.98 inches

Weight – 2.08 oz. (including battery)

Maximum 250 Lumens
Maximum distance – 24 meters
Maximum run-time – 38 hours (low setting, on a full charge)

Built in 1200 mAh rechargeable battery (can be recharged over 500 times)
Intelligent charging via USB (cord included in package)
Battery status indicator (doubles as a locator signal)

Over discharge protection
Constant current circuit
Temperature regulation (prevents damage and provides optimal performance)

3 regular modes
3 special modes

Magnetic Base
Hanging bracket (bottom of lantern)

IP66 (weather resistant – rain/dust won’t harm it)
Impact resistant to 1.5 meters

1 year warranty (limited warranty beyond 1 year)

UI/Modes

The LR10 has one button located on the side of the lantern. That button operates all of the functions.

Press and hold the button (about 1 second) to turn the lantern ON/OFF.

Once ON, press/release the button to change the regular modes. There are three regular modes: low, medium, high. They run in a cycle – low, medium, high. The lantern always comes on in the low mode (there is no mode memory).

Low Mode – 8 Lumens, will run for up to 38 hours.
Medium Mode – 65 Lumens, will run for up to 5 hours and 15 minutes.
High Mode – 250 Lumens, will run for up to 1 hour (before output is reduced due to temperature regulation).

There are 3 special modes: caution, SOS, beacon.

From the OFF position, double click the switch to enter the caution mode. From there, press/release the switch to enter SOS mode. From there, press/release the switch to enter beacon mode. There is no mode memory; the lantern always comes on (special modes) in the caution mode. I really like the caution mode – it would be ideal for vehicle breakdowns or for use while riding a bicycle or walking at night.

Checking the battery – press/release the switch. The lantern will flash (red). Count the flashes: 3 equals battery over 50% of capacity. Two equals battery below 50% of capacity. One flash equals battery below 10% of capacity.

When the battery is low (8%) the lantern will not go to the high mode. When battery is depleted, LR10 cannot be turned on, and the red indicator light will not come on (protection from over discharging).

Location signal – with flashlight ON, press/hold the switch for 3 seconds. Flashlight will turn OFF and red signal light will flash every 2 seconds. The flashes will give the battery status. On a fully charged battery, the location function can run for up to 6 months of use (before depleting the battery).

Charging the LR10 – the outlet cover is located on the bottom of the LR10. Remove the cover and plug the micro end of the USB cord into the outlet. Plug the other end of the cord into the power source. While charging, the led will glow red. Once charged, the led will glow green. Charging takes roughly 3 hours from the depleted state.

Conclusions

One of my favorite products I’ve ever used. I love the light output, the diffused light, and the light color. The magnetic base is very useful and quite strong. The hanging hook is a great idea for those times when the magnetic base isn’t an option. I love the simple interface, and (in an unusual move for me) I find the caution mode to be potentially very helpful (typically I dislike the special modes). I think I’d probably prefer the caution mode to be red, but the white output is very effective.

The LR10 is a very well made little lantern. It really is a pocket lantern – easy to carry about and easy to use. The small size is deceptive; as the output is quite remarkable.

I love the fact that the LR10 comes with a rechargeable battery. With over 500 charges, it will easily pay for itself (many times) over time. A quick example: the included battery is roughly the equivalent of 4 AA batteries. If you change all 4 AA batteries out 500 times, you will spend somewhere around $1200 just for batteries. The LR10 cost (including the built-in battery) is roughly $38.95 – meaning you could buy roughly 31 LR10 lanterns with the money you’d spend on AA batteries. That is an amazing value.

It is available in different colors and you can buy it without the Panda face, but do yourself a favor and get the Panda face – it’s actually really cute and people love it.

Nitecore Website

LR10 Owner’s Manual

Nitecore sent me a copy of their LR10 for evaluation purposes. I’d like to thank Nitecore for the opportunity to voice my thoughts on their product.

ChibiM
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Location: Holland/Japan

Thanks for the review

Did you do runtime tests?