[The Lite Review]: Nitefox UT20 Review

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mcorp
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[The Lite Review]: Nitefox UT20 Review

Preface

The original review can be found on TLR's website: Click Here

This might be the best "budget-friendly" but quality gift light for yourself or loved ones.

If selected with the 18650 battery option, you can pretty much operate & recharge this light off any USB port capable of providing ~1A power.

Let's put this light through its paces and see if the first impression holds true.

>> Click HERE to check out how you can get this light with the following discount -- purchase 1 for 15% OFF, purchase 2 or more for 20% OFF <<

Note: discount code expires 28th Feb 2018.

Packaging & First Impressions

This is what the light will come with as shown below.

  • Comes in an unmarked (no mention of "UT20") cardboard packaging box which is minimalist but sturdy.
  • A transparent rubber band is used as a double precaution - probably to ensure the box does not open itself during shipment.
  • The threads and o-rings were lightly lubricated. Threads were rather smooth and clean (no gritty feeling).
  • The tail and side switches require a firm and deliberate press to activate and helps in preventing any unwanted activation of the light.
  • Anodizing of the light is uniform without any missing specs.
  • The provided lanyard is able to support the full weight of the light and should hold up to the test of time.
  • Holster provided is of decent quality and should withstand day-to-day abuse without issue.
  • Battery compartment holds the optional Nitefox non-proprietary 18650 2600mAh battery OR KeepPower 18650 3400mAh battery with sufficient room for a slightly thicker battery width. 18650 3500mAh batteries should be able to fit without issue as well.

Front:

Sides:

Box Contents:

Quick Overview (Manufacturer Specifications)

  • Body Material: Black HAIII Aluminium
  • LED: XM-L2
  • Battery Format: 1 x 18650 ONLY
  • Output & Runtime (with 18650 3400mAh battery):
    • Moonlight (1 lumens / 20days)
    • Low (60 lumens / 28h)
    • Mid (300 lumens / 6h)
    • High (1080 lumens / 1h)
  • Max Beam Distance: 350m
  • Beam intensity: 25,000cd
  • Waterproofness: IPX-8 Standard (2m)
  • Impact Resistance: 1.5m
  • Dimension: 139mm (length) x 25mm (body diameter)
  • Weight: 93g (excluding batteries)
  • Battery reverse polarity protection
  • Accessories Included:
    • 1*Nitefox BR18-26 (18650 2600mAh) battery [optional]
    • 1*Micro-USB Cable
    • 1*Tactical Ring
    • 1*Clip
    • 1*Lanyard
    • 1*Holster
    • 2*Spare O-rings
    • 1*Spare Rubber Switch Boot
  • MSRP: ~$30 (without battery) & ~$37 (with battery) [See Where to Buy for special discount]

UI (User Interface)

UI for this light is perfect for Every Day Carry (EDC) as it is relatively simple and straightforward to use.

There are 2 modes (TACTICAL and OUTDOOR) and dual switches (SIDE and TAIL) to operate the light.

Momentary activation is possible with the TAIL switch.

TACTICAL Mode

From OFF:

  • 1/2 Press (TAIL) - Mode change per every press (light cycles through HIGH, STROBE, LOW -> HIGH, STROBE, LOW).
  • 1 Click (TAIL) - Direct access to HIGH.
  • Battery Capacity Indicator - the SIDE switch will glow one of the following colors after first activation of light
    • Green (20% ~ 100% battery capacity)
    • Red (10% ~ 20% battery capacity)
    • Flashing Red (less than 10% battery capacity)

From ON:

  • 1 Click (TAIL) - Light will switch OFF.
  • 2 Click (TAIL) - Mode change per every 2 Clicks (light cycles through HIGH, STROBE, LOW -> HIGH, STROBE, LOW).

OUTDOOR Mode

From OFF:

  • 1/2 Press (TAIL) - Direct access to MOMENTARY (MOONLIGHT, LOW, MID or HIGH modes) -- last mode memory.
  • 1 Click (TAIL) - Light will switch ON to last brightness level used (last mode memory).
  • Battery Capacity Indicator - the SIDE switch will glow one of the following colors after first activation of light
    • Green (20% ~ 100% battery capacity)
    • Red (10% ~ 20% battery capacity)
    • Flashing Red (less than 10% battery capacity)

From ON:

  • 1 Click (SIDE) - Mode change per every click (light cycles through MOONLIGHT, LOW, MEDIUM & HIGH).
  • HOLD (SIDE) [~2 sec] - Direct access to STROBE.
  • 1 Click (TAIL) - Light will switch OFF.

Switching Modes (TACTICAL ⇔ OUTDOOR)

From ON:

  1. HOLD (SIDE) [~3 sec] till the flashlight LED will blink 3 times (i.e. Light has successfully switched over to other Mode).
  2. Release SIDE switch after step 1 is completed.

In short, the TACTICAL Mode limits the UI to TAIL switch only and has direct access to HIGH but loses MOONLIGHT & LOW modes in the mode cycling whereas OUTDOOR Mode allows both TAIL & SIDE switches usage but loses direct access to HIGH whilst retaining all mode levels.

Note: there is a slight pre-flash on all mode levels.

Form Factor

For flashlights that are intended to use on a daily basis (EDC)/tactical EDC and for possibly a long period of time, form factor is extremely important.

This light feels well balanced in a medium sized hand (not head/tail-heavy). Switching between overhand and underhand holding method is easy with its form factor. The knurling and addition of tactical ring on the light enables the light to be sufficiently "grippy", even with wet hands/gloves.

The light is able to tail-stand by itself (even with the lanyard attached) without having to slot the light into the side of the holster. However, it is not exactly stable due to the design of the tail cap; a slight push and the light will topple.

The light fits into the the holster snugly even with the lanyard and tactical ring attached.

Charging Process

With the provided Micro-USB Cable, the battery was charging at ~0.81A which is close to the recommended 1A charging rate.

In order to start the charging process, 1 Click (TAIL switch) to ensure the light is ON before plugging in the Micro-USB cable.

The light is unable to operate on any modes when charging.

The slow flashing RED (once every ~2 sec) indicator depicts charging in progress and GREEN indicator depicts charging has completed.

Beam Style/Beamshots

For this light, the spill, corona and hotspot is somewhat predictable due to the fairly deep Smooth Reflector. With the XM-L2 used, the beam is still sufficiently “throwy” for recognising items in the near to mid-range distance.

The above beam profile is a rough interpretation of what is seen when white wall hunting. The beam has a distinct hotspot with some slight corona and a fairly wide usable (slightly squarish) spill. It also helps that the XM-L2 led is perfectly centred in this sample. There are some slight rings in the beam when whitewall hunting but not visible in real world usage.

All of the beamshots taken below are done so with the following camera settings (MOONLIGHT: 1.3, F3.5, ISO100, LOW, MID & HIGH: 1/4, F3.5, ISO100, Daylight WB).
Some pictures have been adjusted slightly to depict as close as to what is seen in real life. The distance of the light from the door is 4.6m.

Control shot:

MOONLIGHT (1 lumens):

LOW (60 lumens):

MID (300 lumens):

HIGH (1080 lumens):

Mode (Output) Spacing

Mode spacing appears to be progressively brighter to the eye and the modes are well spaced enough to be able to know which mode one is currently in. With that in mind, TLR tend to view mode spacing as battery life indicators (amount of runtime left) rather than the specific output (lumens).

The LOW mode of 1 lumen which essentially is what most would call a moonlight mode and is perfect for night-adjusted eyes and midnight snack runs. This makes it a great bedside light besides a main EDC.

Tint & CRI

Nitefox did not disclose the tint (color temperature) and/or the CRI (Color Rendering Index) for the LEDs used in their light. For this light, a guesstimate would be in the 6000K and 70CRI ballpark.

However, due to the emitter used, there are tint shifts throughout the beam profile. The hotspot is cool white whilst the corona possess a slight yellowish tint; and the spill having a slight purple tint.
This is however, not as noticeable in real life.

Waterproofness

The light was subjected to warm water submersion, followed by cold water submersion and left under room temperature running water tap whilst running on Turbo.

No signs of water intrusion in the head, switches or Micro-USB port was seen.

Lockout Capability

No electronic lockout but mechanical lockout is possible when needed, like during transportation in a bag.

A quarter turn (anti-clockwise) of the head or tail portion of the light will enable mechanical lockout.

Summary

To sum up, we believe that the most important part of any review is if given the chance to purchase the same light for our own EDC or to gift to our loved ones out from one's pocket (wallet), would we still do it?
For this light, it is a definite YES; especially if you are looking for a complete flashlight set (with the optional battery included).

Scrutinizing the light over throughout our review period, we were hard pressed to find any flaws at this price point. If we were to nit-pick, it would be the slight pre-flash that occurs upon first activation of any of the mode levels.

Here is a size comparison between the UT20 against a much pricier tactical EDC - the Klarus X2TCR we reviewed recently.

As with all gears, two is one and one is none.

Stay safe,
The Lite Review


Disclaimer: Light & battery was provided for by Nitefox (manufacturer) for this review. No other compensation was provided.


Where to Buy Links

Click HERE to check out where to get this light at a special limited discount.

The Lite Review (click for my Review website!)

Edited by: mcorp on 02/25/2018 - 02:02