[Review] Nitecore LA30 (250 lumens, USB rechargeable, bi-fuel camping lantern, 2xAA)

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Neil_Tennen
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[Review] Nitecore LA30 (250 lumens, USB rechargeable, bi-fuel camping lantern, 2xAA)

Hello everyone, thanking them for the trust granted to me, today we will review the Nitecore LA30 that was kindly provided by Nitecore itself.
Zoom in (real dimensions: 1024 x 578)


CLICK HERE to go to the official page on the Nitecore website.

I want to clarify that my reviews are made at an amateur level and without the aid of scientific instruments or tests in cutting-edge secret laboratories and therefore, among the lines that follow, there will also be my humble impressions.


Official features:

- dual power source, portable camping lantern
- utilizes 8 high CRI LEDs (CRI ≥ 90) and 3 red LEDs
- max output up to 250 lumens
- powered by either the built-in 1800 mAh capacity rechargeable Li-Ion battery or 2xAA batteries
- APC (Advanced Power Cut Off) technology ensures zero-power consumption in standby
- single switch to control 3 brightness levels, 2 light sources and 2 special modes
- highly traslucent PC diffuser allows all light source to be well distributed
- built-in power indicator reports remaining battery power (Patent No.ZL201220057767.4)
-
built-in red power indicator doubles as a location signal
- Advanced Temperature Regulation
- High efficiency constant current circuit with runtime up to 56 hours
- magnetic base and loop for handle free applications


Where to buy it

The LA30 can be purchased from Nitecorestore


The package and the accessories

The LA30 arrives in a cardboard box where, on the front, there is the name and a big image of the product, the bi-fuel writing (which suggests that this lantern can be feeded in two different ways and is underlined by the images and written just below), the maximum lumens (250) and two colored circles that indicate the colors available (the white border indicates the color of the lantern in the box) .



On the back are reported the characteristics of the product, the brand info, CE and RoHS compliance and a QRcode that will take us to the product page on the Nitecore website.



On both sides of the package is repeated the name of the lantern and the possibility of having a double power supply.



In the package include:

- LA30 with the integrated non-removable battery
- a USB cable -> microUSB long just over 1 meter
- 1 rectangular O-ring for the lid
- 1 small circular O-ring for the screw on the bottom of the lantern
- the manual
- the warranty card



To end  this paragraph, here are the parts in English and Italian of the manual that, alternatively, can be taken in full from HERE (clicking on the link will start automatically downloading the manual).




The lantern

The LA30 is the last lantern of the Nitecore brand. Like the previous models, this lantern has a body made almost entirely of plastic and is available in blue or yellow.
In the upper part there is a translucent white dome that does not let you glimpse inside and hides inside 8 white LEDs (NW) HI CRI and 3 red LEDs.
There are also 2 additional indicators (one green and one red) that come in handy on other occasions.
A short, moderately noisy, rubbery button allows you to interact with the UI.
Both on this facade



and on this other is engraved the name Nitecore. On the back, on the opposite side of the key, there is also the name of the model.



On one of the two short sides (on the other there is nothing) there is the silicone plug that protects the microUSB port. On the right it has a small tab that allows it to be opened.



Once removed, we find the microUSB port for charging the 1800mAh non-removable Li-Ion battery.



On the bottom there is a space with the name of the lantern, the name of the brand, information on the built-in battery and impermeability.
To the left of this space there is a metal screw that holds this "cap" that covers and protects the battery compartment tight. The screw, even if it has a slit for screwdrivers, can be easily unscrewed even by hand since there is a special knurling on its edge. It is not necessary to completely remove the screw every time we unscrew it, just a few turns and the lid comes off.

On the right side there is the joint for the metal D-ring that, once unlocked, can be useful to hook the lantern upside down somewhere, or, alternatively, helps us to remove the lid.



Once the cover is removed, we have access to the 2 compartments for AA batteries (which can be both alkaline and Ni-Mh). The design of a battery is engraved on the plastic and tells us that towards must be respected so as not to risk to put them badly.



On the other side of the lid, we can see the screw on the left and a plastic tooth on the right. This trick will not make us insert the lid backwards. Four miniscule star screws, placed at the corners, allow the cover to be removed and the magnet placed inside allow the LA30 to be attached to all metal surfaces.



And here's the lid seen from the side. Notice how it is thick. The gasket that, together with that of the screw and the rubber grommet on the microUSB port seen above, also gives to the lantern a protection against dust and water according to the IP66 standard.
Zoom in (real dimensions: 578 x 1024)


Thanks to the magnet, you can attach the LA30 to the bodywork of the car for example.



The metal D-ring is easily extracted and is useful on those occasions when the magnet can not be used



such as for hanging it on a tree branch.




The battery and the charging circuit

As anticipated, the LA30 has an integrated 1800 mAh Li-Ion battery. It is not removable and can only be recharged via the charging circuit supplied with the lantern. To use it, it is enough to have available any source of energy (such as a powerbank) and connect the cable to the microUSB port.
The speed, right away, starts at 0.53A. The indicator light in the corner of the dome will be red



and it will turn green when the recharge ends. The whole process will take approximately 5 hours.
It will be possible to use the lantern when the integrated battery is charging. If the cell voltage allows it, we could even turn on the High level. Obviously, in these conditions, the complete recharge will not respect the classic timing.



If desired, however, we can supply the lantern with 2xAA, both Ni-Mh (recommended) and Alkaline. In this way we could continue to use the lantern while its internal battery is charging.
Obviously, since the circuits are separated, the charging will not affect the AA that we are going to insert in the battery compartment. It must be remembered that, if we use the AA, we will not be able to use the internal battery of the LA30.


How does it work

The Nitecore LA30 has seven selectable modes in total. Two of them are special ones (SOS and Beacon, but only with red LEDs).

According to the official data of the brand, normal levels have the following characteristics:

- High -> 250 lumens for 4 hours with the internal battery or 3 hours with 2xAA
- Mid -> 55 lumens for 9 hours and 15 minutes with the internal battery or 7 hours and 30 minutes with 2xAA

- Low -> 8 lumens for 56 hours with the internal battery or 48 hours with 2xAA
- High Red -> 40 lumens for 7 hours and 15 minutes with the internal battery or 6 hours with 2xAA
- Low red -> 5 lumens for 48 hours with internal battery or 40 hours with 2xAA

On / Off

Pressing the button for more than one second causes the white LEDs of the lantern to turn on or off.
A double and rapid pressure causes the red LEDs to light up.
To switch off the lantern, press and hold.
Since the lantern has no memory, the Low modes will always be switched on first.

Change normal modes/ activation of special ones

The modes of the white LEDs are only 3 and will be cycled with a single short pressure once we turn on the lantern.
The modes of the red LEDs are 2 but, by cycling the latter in the same way as the modes of the white LEDs, you will have the 2 special ones: the SOS and the Beacon. These last 2 modes will have the output of 40 lumens.
In both cases, the modes will cycle in loops in ascending order.

Shortcut for the High modes

Even if the lantern is always lit from the lowest mode, you can use a shortcut to quickly activate the High mode. Even if only with white LEDs.
With the lantern off, press and hold the power button. First the Low mode will light up but, if we continue to hold down, then the High mode will turn on. When it is switched on, we can leave the button.

Locator

You can use the red lantern indicator (the one that tells us that the LA30 is charging) to be able to find the lantern in the dark.
When the lantern is on, the key must be pressed for 3 seconds. In this way the lantern will switch off but the indicator will flash once every 2 seconds. According to the specifications, in this state the LA30 can work for 6 months if the battery is fully charged.

Battery charge warning

 With the red indicators flashes, it is possible to know the approximate charge of the supplied battery.
When the lantern is off, press the button once. The indicator will flash:
- 3 times to indicate a charge > 50%
- 2 times to indicate a charge between 50 and 10%
- 1 time to indicate a charge < 10%

ATR

The LA30 also features the ATR system, the system that regulates the maximum output based on how much the weather conditions are able to dissipate the excess heat.
More the conditions will be favorable for the lantern and the higher light will emit the hight mode. Obviously, on the other hand, there will be a lower runtime compared to a condition in which there will be a higher ambient temperature.


Weights and dimensions

The Nitecore LA30 is 7.55 x 5 x 5.34 cm large.
It weighs 117 gr without anything, 167 gr with 2 Ni-MH and 164 gr with 2 Alkaline.

Next, there is the dimensional comparison with a big BIC lighter, a AA Alkalina and a 18650





and with an LR10 and an LR30.






Lumens, runtimes, candles and beamshot

NB The tests that follow were done with the battery integrated in the lantern, a pair of Alkaline and a pair of Ni-Mh . Everything was done in a home environment at 20 °, with and without forced ventilation.

The following values have been taken with the integrated battery charged and are considered to be peak .



The following values have been taken with the integrated battery, a pair of Ni-Mh and a pair of charged Alkaline and are considered to be peak .

NB The discharge curves are obviously indicative, the result could vary in positive or negative depending on the batteries used by the end user or the conditions of use that may vary from mine during my tests.

Any slight discrepancies related to the tests carried out on the same level can be attributed to a different positioning of the measuring equipment.


The High mode, according to my measurements, starts from just over 250 lumens and behaves differently depending on the temperature or if the LA30 is powered by the internal battery or by 2xAA, whether they are Alkaline or Ni-Mh.
The Mid starts at around 55 lumens and has a regulated course.


On the High mode you can see how the Alkaline make it worse than other solutions, not only as a runtime but also in light output. The built-in battery still provides excellent durability both in ventilated situations (where we also have more light at the expense of the durability) than in not ventilated situation (where we have a longer life at the expense of brightness).


The duration record on the High mode (according to my tests) wins the non-ventilated test of the li-ion, with 4 hours and a little more light. On the other hand, the Mid mode has a stable trend for a good 9 hours and 30 hours.

The following values have been taken with the integrated battery charged and are considered to be peak .



The following picture was taken to show how the beam spreads with both white and red light. The following photos were taken with a 4000K white balance. In the reality the tonality of the first two photos tends more to the yellow.









Beamshots of all levels from highest to lowest, both with white and red light. The photos were taken inside a garage to make people understand how, this LA30, makes light in the closed spaces.











 With the magnet we can attach the lantern to the car's hood in case of engine trouble





or in case of puncture.





It should be noted that the red light is particularly visible and therefore excellent for signaling problems using the two special modes.


Personal considerations

What makes this lantern special is its strong point: double feeding. I find it a not just little novelty. In fact, with the combined work of two different batteries, you can have a respectable runtime and all in favor, of course, of the practicality.
It remains a compact product (despite battery and integrated charging circuit) and nice to behold, the blue of the test is really very nice.
The operation remains very similar, or just the same, to the other Nitecore's lanterns that I tested earlier. The UI is simple to memorize and also offers a shortcut to the High mode ... what could you want more?
Both the red LEDs and special modes come in handy, either to protect the night vision, or to make yourself more visible in emergency situations.
IMHO it is a successful product. The power is adequate, even only the Mid mode is enough to illuminate a medium-sized room... imagine the inside of a tent.

What do you think about it? You would buy it?

Edited by: Neil_Tennen on 05/04/2018 - 10:28
mcfarlie6996
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The tint really interests me. Could you take a similar picture as this one but with it next to the LR30 (at similar output) so I can see the tint difference? Please and thank you.

Neil_Tennen
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mcfarlie6996 wrote:
The tint really interests me. Could you take a similar picture as this one but with it next to the LR30 (at similar output) so I can see the tint difference? Please and thank you.

not only the tint, but the size. lower than the LR10 and shorter than the LR30 but with the same 250lm of the first Wink
I will make the comparison photo as I could Smile

Neil_Tennen
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mcfarlie6996 wrote:
The tint really interests me. Could you take a similar picture as "*this one*":https://www.federeview.it/images/Recensioni/Torce/Nitecore/LA30/29.jpg but with it next to the LR30 (at similar output) so I can see the tint difference? Please and thank you.

wink
mcfarlie6996
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Oh damn. That’s much warmer. Why couldn’t they have done that with the LR30? Looks like I’ll just have to pick up this guy. Thank you for the picture!