Review: Nitecore LA30

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Narmattaru
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Review: Nitecore LA30

There are 18650 powered camping lights, there are AA and built-in battery powered, and this one stays aside – it works with both internal and external batteries. Welcome, LA30.

here is product page at Nitecore website.








PACKAGE AND APPEARANCE

As usually, this is the same good old Nitecore package. Some black, some yellow and some cardboard.
Well known design, here everything is as usually and here Nitecore don’t surprise us. Nevertheless, package looks good for a gift.

It includes modest set of LA30 itself, o-ring (not really ring though), one more small o-ring for battery compartment cover screw, manual, charge cable.

Functionality determines appearance and mostly camp lights are:
а) Cylinder (good when stays, has blind spot under when hung)
б) “Snail” (good hung, wastes a lot of lights upward when stays). This is shape of LA30.
Of course there are some other forms, but it think I counted pair of most popular.

So, Nitecore comes well known way and they dind invented some crazy form “like rabbit ears” \ “chupacabra smile” or whatever. They give us solid policarbonite body, with good plastic, no gaps, no cracks – everything seems to be solid and reliable here.

I own LR30, so I have a chance to compare them. The both are about the same size. LA30 is shorter, but wider. Overall they`ll take even space in your backpack. And, overall, again, that is definitely compact thing.

There are no design decorations, the only exception on body surface are button and charge port.
Battery compartment cover is really thick. The screw, which locks it, has big head so there will be no problem to unscrew it barehands. Though i`m not sure about doing the same with gloves in. Suppose something star-shape would work better this case. But, still, it is good as is.

I assume there a chances to loose this screw, so adding spare one to package would be great addition and sign of “we care!” from Nitecore.

Battery compartment cover is thick, with pair (I think there are two of them) of strong magnets. There is a good o-ring, so you rely on LA30`s ability to withstand rain. Lantern stated to be IP66, I put LA30 under shower, no problem, it kept working and was dry inside.
I agree with other reviewers about some anti-skid inserts on the bottom, that would be good. But lack of is no a problem anyway.

All you can see without structural devastation is a pair of lodges for AA. That is it. You cannot disassemble LA30. That is 100% normal for any brand camping light. I own almost each of them ( I mean good ones, though several bad as well) and see not exception. They all are glued, or UV-soldered, donno, but you have to use pliers\knife to get inside to see how they are consctructed.

There are 8 hi-CRI NW leds under diffusor + red and green LEDs as well.

Everything seems to be accurate and I have no complaints about appearance or construction by now.

Ok, I mentioned magnet. Here it is. It is really strong. There are pair of them, but even one keeps LA30 vertically on it`s place. BTW, here you also can see that charge process has it`s own red-green indication.

Well, that is it. You can put it on table, you can magnet it to any metal surface, you can hang it (light distribution will be best this way).
Charge port cover is quite thick. I saw better, I saw worse – this one is normal, that`ll be enough. As screw, mentioned above, adding spare rubber plug would be a great addition, as there may be situation when it is lost.

UI
Simple and convenient. Mostly, all the camp light use the same idea of UI.
I like that flashlight always starts in LOW, you will not be accidentally blinded. Yet, you have direct acces to HIGH as well.
“I`m here!” indication is also good, it would be easy to find LA30 when this feature is turned on.

PERFORMANCE

I wasn’t that happy with LR30 for it`s CW, and LA30 is a waaay better – Hi-CRI NW 4000K is what I always was looking for in camp illumination. So, compare LA30 with LR30 and Nichia 29B and regular XM-L2 6500k.

WB on pic below is set to 4500K.

One more good detail is absence of visible PWM-shimmering at any mode.

Charge amperage might be higher, 0.5A results in about 5 hours to fully charge battery. Why not 1A? That is about 0.5C – normal number. Stated capacity is reall, my tester shows somewhat about 2Ah.

BTW, at least you can charge battery, when 2xAA are in. and as LA30 always work from AA (when they are inserted), you can still have light while device is being charged. Cool.

I also measured amperage when cable is plugged in and battery is fully charged (green indication is on) – standbuy 0.017 | low – 0.027A | mid – 0.137A | high – 0.82A (0.5А after stepdown).

Seeing that I was curious about runtime from powerbank. So I run test on High mode from 10000mah Xiaomi PB, and this test lasted a while. In mid mode you may have eternal power supply (figurally eternal if you have solar charger).

And even in this case you always have DOUBLE runtime. 2xAA + built-in battery provides you with decent amount of time, 100% nightlong even in high.
And here is light itself. 3×4m kitchen.

LOW is a dim light, that I normally use for midnight rest with tea and e-book. I clearly see what is around and still doesn’t zero my night-vision. This is also good for working at laptop, such dim light eliminates contrast between display and overall light in room, eye get tired less. But in tent (regular 2-3 person tent) 8 lum is too much for night-light. Nitcore had to add one more moonlight mode for this. You can use red-low in this case, but still, 0.5-1lum would be nice.

MID is too dark to read paper books indoor (my kitchen), but it is already comfortable and bright for eyes, that adopted to darkness. And this mode will be bright in tent, good for books. For runtime\brightness I always vote for MID.

HIGH is really TURBO as it has relatively quick stepdown to somewhere about 100lums.

Before it , LA30 is really bright and still bright after.
But, you know – I seriously don’t want to wait for stepdown and waste battery to get to stabilized level which could be set as separate one.
Moonlight – Low- Mid – High – Turbo, nothing new, yeah? Why Nitecore gave us 3 of them…don’t know.

You still can use them, but what is good now, could be perfect with no expenses from manufacturer.

And here is light, also comparing with LR30. My opinion is that LA30 is 100% winner here. If Nitecore takes my (and other reviewers) notices into account and makes LA30 for 18650 with all current cool features (NW hi-CRI, support external powersources, 18650+built-in battery) – this lantern would be king. I bet it would be little bit larger than LR30, but gives user way much runtime and best color tint.


Ok, see difference. Book is placed 140cm under lanterns. Set (ISO\exposition\diaphragm to each level (low-mid-high is the same for all both lights)

I used pair of 1900mah Fujitsu AA. The same cells are used in white Eneloops. Stabilisation and runtime are both good, also you can see influence of thermal regulation (this is what you likely get outdoor) with 10000mah powerbank – more than 1 day, 30 hours in somehting about 100-110 lums!

OVERALL
I do definitely like this experimental lantern. LA30 has some CONs, but is good model overall and has more PROs

PROs
+ pleasant NW light
+ 2хАA+built-in battery.
+ full external powersource support
+ great runtime for both 2 PROs mentioned above
+ good quality (at least seems to be so)
+ Hi-CRI
+ 2 red lights (including one which is really bright)
+ no PWM-shimmering
+ comfort light overall
+ magnet

CONs
- high is really turbo, as it has stepdown. so there should be separate mode for stepdown.
- nothing really dim, like 0.5-1lum, and no separate high with full stabilistaion (the one now is turbo in reality).

May be good (but still ok without them)
+- switch between powercources
+ anti-skid inserts on the bottom.

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Edited by: Narmattaru on 07/03/2018 - 10:28
D10ten
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Looks like a nice lantern. What happens when the external power run out? Will the light stay in the same mode and just switch to internal power without interruption? How about when it switch from internal power to AA? Same?

Narmattaru
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seemed that it started to use it`s own battery, when it got little bit discharged, pb activated.
so it was sucking electricity from PB all the time
when light went wont, i disconnected pb, turn light on (in case there was some charge in LA30), light was on and quickly got dim and turned off.
so LA30 used it`s own battery, then PB. both of them were emty after test.

no switch. when AA is inside, it uses the in default.

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