[Review] Nitefox UT-20

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sacrileizei
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[Review] Nitefox UT-20

The light review sample was provided to me by Nitefox.

Packaging:
Upon opening

 

The light comes in a package of thick cardboard box unmarked 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.
In the box is a foam inlay with the light and accessories. It comes with:
- 2600mA protected battery
- 2 spare o-rings
- lanyard
- pocket clip
- USB cable
- tactical ring/cigarette ring
- spare tail switch cover
- manual and special note

Quick manufacturer specs:
Manufacturer specs:
LED: CREE XM-L2 with 50 000 hours life span
Battery: One 18650 Li-Ion battery.
Reflector: aluminum alloy smooth reflector.
Lens: Anti-reflection coating tempered optical lens.
Body: Aerospace grade aluminum alloy with durable Type ? hard anodize coating.
Mode: Outdoor mode 4 output levels(moon-low-medium-high-strobe), tactical mode 2 output levels(High-Strobe-low)
Circuit: High efficient constant current circuit, constant output, more brightness and longer run time.
Reverse polarity protection to prevent damage from improper battery installation.
Waterproof: IPX8 waterproof, works in rain or shallow water
Included accessory: pocket clip, lanyard, nylon holster
Size: 139 mm (length) *25mm (body diameter)
Net weight: 93 gram, light weight and easy carry.


Head:
The head is removable leaving just a tube when the tail-cap is also removed.


The side-switch (and USB port) are located on an octagonal section which consists of alternating flat sides and grooved sides.

 

The side switch is also functioned as battery level indicator. It will automatically check and display battery status when the light is turned on. Green means battery capacity is ample, yellow means okay (around 50%), and red is critical.


The two (side-switch and USB port) sit opposite of each other. The USB cover sits pretty tight and seals the light, it can’t come loose by accident. The side-switch is convex and appears to be made of metal. It has a very good feel to it and is easy to find just by feeling for it.

 

Led/Lens:
Nitefox UT20 utilises CREE XM-L2 LED with SMO (smooth) reflector that resulting a throwy profile.

The lens is well AR coated and is perfectly clear.

 

Barrel:
The threads and o-rings were lightly lubricated. Threads were rather smooth and clean (no gritty feeling).

Anodizing of the light is uniform without any missing specs it is shiny and smooth it has no visible defects.

The knurling is not too agressive and comes with a small diamond pattern.
The tube threads are square cut and fit nicely.


It holds the optional Nitefox non-proprietary 18650 2600mAh battery. 18650 3500mAh batteries should be able to fit as well.
It has a solid feel to it, with no sharp edges and no sign of imperfection.

Tail:
The tail-cap is removable and features a stout spring on the inside of the cap. On the end of the tail-cap is the tail-switch, covered with a rubber cap. The tail-switch has a good feel to it and provides good feedback when pressed and released. It does have an audible click, but it isn’t loud. There are two U-shaped cutouts with one side having two small holes for the lanyard. The tail-cap allows for a tail stand enough just to balance it, but given it's small circumference it is not that stable. It is anodized and the inner section is machined, the tail PBC contains a switch and stiff thick steel spring.


The flashlight also came with a tactical/cigarette ring that can be optionally installed.
The tactical ring is used for attaching lanyard, provides additional anti-roll feature, and helps holding the flashlight in cigar/syringe grip style.

 

UT20:
Beam color is cool around 6500K with a Cree XM-L2 , the beam has no artifacts and a good hotspot and some spill
1080 lumens output and has two group modes called “outdoor” and “tactical” mode.
The light has a some mass to absorb and spread heat, it gets 46°C hot when turned on at highest mode, it has unfortionately a timed stepdown, which ramps the brightness down to medium mode. This light could run constantly on highest level without a problem.


The mode spacing is good in this light as well. 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, 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.

Operation:
Tail switch is used as power button. It’s used for turning the flashlight on or off while the side switch is used for changing brightness levels.
When the flashlight is turned on, a LED inside the side switch will shine in green color indicating that the battery is full and red when the battery is running out.

Modes/UI:

Nitefox UT20 has two group modes: regular/outdoor and tactical group mode. Regular group has four brightness levels (low, medium, high, turbo) with memory while tactical group has three modes (turbo, high, strobe) and always starts in turbo mode.
To switch from one group mode to another, long press the side switch for about 3 seconds when the flashlight is turned on. After the LED blinking, it’s a sign that we have successfully switch modes.

The light has 2 different settings, hold side switch 3 seconds to switch between them.

1. In tactical, you operate the light only with the tail switch.

the light always come on in high mode, half press the switch changes modes
High —> strobe —> low

2. In outdoor mode (The light came in this mode).

Tail switch turns the light on
it has 4 modes with hidden strobe
Moon —> low —> med —> High
Strobe is activated press and hold 2 seconds, but it starts to strobe in the lower modes with low strobe, only after you release the button the strobe turns to max brightness, if you hold 1 sec longer it changes between the 2 major settings.


Tint & CRI:
Nitefox did not disclose the tint and the CRI for the LEDs used in their light. For this light, an educated guess 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 world usage.

Waterproofness IPX8:
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.
A quarter turn (anti-clockwise) of the head or tail portion of the light will enable mechanical lockout.

Below are beamshots and creative shots of the light:

Distance from me to tree is 85 feet / 26 meters.

Low:

Medium:

High:

Turbo:

Distance from me to target plants is 26 feet / 8 meters.

Low:

Medium:

High:

Turbo:

Creative shots:

 

Summary:
To sum up, I believe that the most important part of any review is if given the chance to purchase the same light for my own EDC, would I still purchase it?
For this light, it is a definite YES. Specially if you are looking for a complete flashlight.
Scrutinizing the light over throughout the review, I am 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.
I think the UT20 is an excellent choice for those who want a lot of flashlight for a very good price. With everything included in the package, the cost difference between the UT20 and those cheap superstore flashlights becomes moot once you consider the cost-savings that will be realized by the rechargeable battery. The added power, user options, run-times and build quality are significant improvements too.
Nitefox certainly did a very good job for the UT-20, certainly a value for money!


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

 

Light on brothers!

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