Nitecore P26 Review Infinitetly Variable Brightness

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everydaysurvivalgear
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Nitecore P26 Review Infinitetly Variable Brightness

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Nitecore P26 Review No modes No worries

Hey folks today we will be reviewing the Nitecore P26. The P26 features infinitely variable brightness control so this light has no modes. The P26 lets you chose any output between 0.5-1000 lumens. So if you are not good at deciding modes maybe not the light for you lol or actually maybe it will perfect partner?.
The Nitecore P26 was sent to me for review by Fasttech so I will leave a link below to where it can be purchased. Plus a discount code!

Nitecore P26

Coupon: Savings

What is included? (More like what isn’t included?)

  • Nitecore P26
  • Holster
  • Clip
  • Lanyard
  • Tactical ring
  • Spare tail cap
  • 2 spare O-rings
  • Instructions
  • Warranty card

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Build

The Nitecore P26 is part of Nitecore’s precision series which is aimed at the tactical market from what I can tell?
The P26 is built like a tank every thing is plus size and extra beefy! The P26 feels solid and strong in the hand. It feels like a weapon like a baton of sorts but obviously to small. I am willing to test this theory if any one want to volunteer to get hit? Lol
Nitecore do say the crenelated bezel can be used as a striking weapon or it can be used to smash a window.

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I was going to say the P26 is not EDC friendly but it really is! As for me personally seeing as its fairly heavy and I always wear shorts probably not great I may get daxed. (pants pulled down) (gravity aye).
It does have a clip which is reversible and is made out of stainless steel that is titanium plated. Sounds fancy to me! The Nitecore P26 also includes a holster so the P26 can be used as an EDC. Preferably if you are wearing a belt or carry a EDC bag.

While we are here the included holster is great its good quality and looks similar to the holster included on the Concept 1. The holster has a belt loop, Velcro strap and D ring to attach to stuff. I am not holster expert but I have seen much worse.

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The P26 weights a whopping 128.5 grams which is lighter then a C8 right? They are two different classes of lights but 128.5 grams that’s not even that much! In size the P26 is much smaller then the C8 so you can get a feel to how heavy duty the P26 is built.
I use to have a fascination with tactical flashlight. I some what still do i guess they always looks awesome and the P26 is no different. The Nitecore P26 certainly looks the part of a tactical flashlight. With the included crenelated bezel and tactical ring and overall beefyness of the light. I own a few one of my first statical flashlight was the Jetbeam 3M pro.

Size Specs

  • Weight: 128.5 grams
  • Length: 149mm
  • Head diameter: 31.8mm
  • Tail diameter: 25.4mm

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I have recently been reviewing mostly small and light weight lights so this is defiantly different. The trade off here is the P26 can easily handle the high mode output for a good amount of time. When compared to a smaller lighter flashlight. Nitecore does included ATR (Advanced thermal regulation) to take of heat management. I have personally found ATR to be a great system but some time step down is a bit aggressive. I have not noticed any step down as of yet except for battery drain step down.

Any ways kind of lost track here back to the build! The Nitecore P26 is using Nitecore’s typical shiny anodizing I prefer the anodizing on the Concept one and the HC33. I love the matte look! The anodizing is hard anodizing type 3 and the P26 is made from Aero grade aluminum alloy all the usual here.
I think this anodizing is probably harder wearing as its got more gloss to it. I did put the clip on and remove with no issues not a mark. That is plus.
The Nitecore P26 came looking perfect from the factory every thing is in place with the P26 I wouldn’t expect any thing less from Nitecore.

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The threads are well cut and came very well lubricated taking of the tail cap off you will notice there are heaps of threads to turn this will help with waterproofing. There are the usual O-rings back and front of the battery tube. They could have used double O-rings for extra protection but I guess Nitecore didn’t feel as they needed it.
The knurling on the body of the P26 is fairly aggressive but not to bad I would say in between maybe? Still super grippy. The knurling on the tail cap is the same as the battery tube. The knurling on the rotary switch is much more aggressive its very bighty for easy one handed operation.

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You do get the added tactical ring that is made from metal (non specified metal). The tactical ring is threaded in place so that will help with grip if you are wearing gloves. Or you are out hunting and have wet hands. All these additions help in many situation and make one handed operator super easy. The tactical ring also acts as an anti roll device! The head of the P26 does have a flat spot so the P26 will not roll even if the tactical ring isn’t being used. I must add when the P26 has no tactical ring on it. It looks a bit weird because of threads that are now uncovered.

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Build specs

  • Hard anodizing type 3
  • AR coated glass
  • SMO reflector
  • Aero grade Aluminum alloy

Durability specs

  • IPX8 2 meters submersible
  • 1.5 meters drop resistant

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Design
The First thing you will notice on the P26 is the rotary switch which is used to select output. The rotary switch has good actuation (Fancy word lol) plus its got good feedback overall. My only snide is it does have a slight issue where if you get to close to strobe while trying to access the highest mode it activates strobe accidentally.
This may disappear after a bit of use and the rotary switch becomes loser. I may try and oil it see if that helps. The rotary switch itself has ample grip and can be used single handed easily. I should add that strobe is accessed by clicking further on the rotary switch.

The overall design of the P26 is very well thought out with a lots of useful features. This light is built for extreme outdoors use. So many thing on the P26 are very heavy duty. I would say the P26 doesn’t really stand out in any way its got no bling. Only part that will catch peoples eyes is the rotary switch. Other wise the P26 is all black even the clip is black.

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The P26 packs some different design features one of these being a patented design by Nitecore for recoil. The Front spring on sits up really high and has a rubber insulator around it which is meant to help with recoil and the battery. The insulator around the positive spring means you have to use button top cells.
By far my favorite addition to the P26 is the fact that you can reverse the clip. The clip can be used as normal clip or a reversible clip. Nitecore made the clip usable in both positions. I love it! Good work Nitecore! I wonder if its to heavy for my hat.

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The beam profile on the Nitecore P26 is great its a good mix between throw and flood. The P26 is using the usual Nitecore system digital precision optics what is it? Stuffed if I know, but it does work. I like the beam pattern on the HC33/30 and they use the same system.
Basically the P26 is using an SMO reflector with the Cree XPL-HI it does have a little hot spot but the P26 is not really built to be a thrower. Throw is good considering how small the reflector is I mean the head is only 31.8mm in diameter. Nitecore rate the throw at 24000cd and 310m of throw.

Throw specs

  • Highest mode: 24000cd at 310m
  • Lowest mode: 15cd at 7m

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Performance

The P26 is defiantly feature packed in the performance department you can never fault Nitecore in this way. Nitecore use good quality parts here. Plus Nitecore always make good drivers probably the best driver that are available on stock flashlights.
The P26 is feature packed in the driver department. We will go over this after firstly we will talk output. The Nitecore P26 is good having a max of output of 1000 lumens. So the included XPL-HI is driven well I wonder if Nitecore would ever over drive the LED? I will add my own output test after.

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The Nitecore P26 is using the Cree XPL-HI in a cold white tint to achieve its max output of 1000 lumens. The XPL-HI in the P26 is a V3 bin generally doesn’t mean much to most people. This just means its a top bin LED. At 3 amps the P26 should have no issue giving you more than an hour of run time on high mode.
Interestingly even though Nitecore include the ATR system (thermal regulation) they still state the run time as 1 hour on highest output 1000 lumens so step down wont be a major issue.

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The real charm here that makes the P26 stand out from the crowds the infinite output select so you have no modes as I have said. Any output you want between 0.5-1000 lumens.

I personally feel the output is good at 1000 lumens but its not amazing. I think the bigger selling point of the P26 is the mode select and the ruggedness and overall build quality.
Seeing as the P26 is a fairly small package it should do okay attached to a rifle. Plus Nitecore sell all the accessories you need for this light like pressure switches and mounts.

Nitecore has added features like a constant current driver to the P26 so the P26 has a clean and good output that is well regulated. As they say no PWM!
You should see close to max brightness for the majority of the time this also depends on the cell used and it thermal regulation steps in.
Nitecore also added there ATR system Advanced thermal regulation to manage heat and to step down if need. The ATR system also will step current back up if the light is getting cooler.

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A notable mention here is the fact that the P26 is using a forward clicky switch. The switch is only used as an on and off and the mode control is handled by the rotary switch. The P26 does feature monetary on by partially clicking the rear tail switch down.

There is always a trade of between output and run times. What is more useful a 1000 lumens light that can hold 1000 lumens for a substantial amount of time or 1600 lumens for a few seconds then the light drop down to 700 lumens?

Considering this market is fairly flooded with 1000 lumens lights. I would love to see a XHP35HI edition if this light.

Driver features

  • Reverse polarity protection
  • Constant current driver (No PWM)
  • (ATR) Advanced temperature regulation
  • Memory Mode
  • Infinitely variable mode select
  • Monetary on (forward clicky switch)

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UI
The best part by far i have nothing to write about lol. I guess the P26 still has a UI considering you can change the output but it has no modes so its as simple as moving the rotary switch to change the output. Push the rotary switch upwards to make the output brighter and pull the rotary switch downwards to make the output dimmer. Easy as that! The P26 does actually have one mode that is strobe you have to click into that mode select for strobe to work.

Output

  • Highest mode: 1000 lumens at 1 hour
  • Lowest Mode: 0.5 lumens at 500 hours
  • Strobe: 1000 lumens

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Battery
The Nitecore P26 accepts a few different kinds of batteries but will work best with 18650s. You can also use of the shelf CR123 if in a pickle this may come in handy and the P26 also accepts RCR123 (16340) cells.
The best 18650s to use are button tops none of my flat top cells made proper contact with the P26. The device Nitecore used to help with impact absorption make the button on the positive spring sit flat. No special high drain cells are need for this light so you may as well use a 35000mah cell.

  • 18650
  • CR123
  • RCR123

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Overall
Overall the Nitecore P26 is a task specific flashlight and it handles that task very well. The P26 is a tad heavy for its size but this is testament that it is built good and is solid. Plus the infinitely variable output control is hard to pass up.

All these pics are taken at ISO800.
Its been raining here for a few weeks so every thing in the yard looks wrecked plus it was raining on me so the damp is absorbing some of the light.

Lowest mode 0.5 lumens
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Quarter way up maybe 250 lumens?
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About half way 500ish lumens
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One more twist maybe 1/3 like 750 lumens
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Highest output 1000 lumens rated by Nitecore
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Tree is 100m
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Tint is okay!
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Left P26 and Right is the Rofis KR20 same setup XPL-HI and same size SMO reflector
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Left P26 and Right lumintop TD16
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Left P26 and Right is the Jetbeam Jet 3M Pro
!3m pro!

Thanks for taking the time to read!

Regards Chris

Edited by: everydaysurvivalgear on 06/08/2018 - 23:34
SKV89
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Thank you for the review. I was disappointed with the 1,000 lumen max, which I’m sure alot of people are but after reading your review, I deduce the reason for Nitecore to set 1000 because they wanted a max mode that can actually be sustained unlike the many other lights out there that have have turbo modes good for a minute if not seconds. I’m thinking this would be a good light to swap your favorite emitter in if the threads are not glued. The head size looks pretty big too, so I wonder if someone can mod a noctigon quad to fit.

everydaysurvivalgear
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SKV89 wrote:
Thank you for the review. I was disappointed with the 1,000 lumen max, which I’m sure alot of people are but after reading your review, I deduce the reason for Nitecore to set 1000 because they wanted a max mode that can actually be sustained unlike the many other lights out there that have have turbo modes good for a minute if not seconds. I’m thinking this would be a good light to swap your favorite emitter in if the threads are not glued. The head size looks pretty big too, so I wonder if someone can mod a noctigon quad to fit.

Hey mate the threads are glued down i tried to take the light apart but its glued. I will try and use some heat and see if i can get it apart.

This made me think i wonder if we could change the driver to ramping software and use the rotary switch instead of the side switch?

I think lumens sell so big lumens always sound good. Some times you dont need a million lumens to get a job done. Plus the light is priced okay even compared to no name lights. On the other hand the lights weights a bit so i don’t think it would be an issue to handle 1800 lumens for a few mins.

SKV89
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Glued sucks! Theres no point of ramping when the rotary switch does exactly that but even more intuitively and faster.a

nottawhackjob
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Hey dang good review too! Beer

“In many things in order to truly understand the small picture you have to understand the big picture first.”