[Review]Nitecore MH12GTS (1800 Lumen, 18650, 1” Tactical)

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liquidretro
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[Review]Nitecore MH12GTS (1800 Lumen, 18650, 1” Tactical)

The NItecore MH12GTS is the upgraded version of the popular tactical MH12GT. It features and upgraded LED, 1800 lumen max output, microUSB charging, and an included 18650 battery. Thanks to the NitecoreStore.com for sending this to me to take a look at.

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/9gaIWVC

The YouTube version of this Review:

Packaging
This light comes in a Nitecore standard black and yellow retail box. On the outside there is quite a bit of info on the light. On the inside the light sits in a plastic tray with all the accessories and manual underneath. Included accessories are the light itself, lanyard, microUSB cable, pocket clip, tactical ring, NL1835HP 3500mAh button top battery extra orings and a velcro pouch.






Construction
The Nitecore MH12GTS is made of machined aluminum and his hard anodized a mostly glossy black. Starting at the tail cap, it has large lanyard holes on either sides, and does tail stand. The sides are cut down to allow for a finger or thumb to access the off center silicon textured button. It’s a pretty stiff button for a full click and mechanical. Opposite the button is a flat facing port cover for the USB charging port. The cover stays in place pretty well. The USB port underneath is waterproof and I will test that later in the review. Spring inside the tail cap is stiff and dual construction



This uses a dual tube style construction, from what I can tell the inner tube is not removable. Threads are a steep ACME cut and unanodized at top. The tactical ring on this light is threaded. I like this and means that it won’t’ freely spin like happens on many other light designs with a similar ring.There is an oring above the tactical ring.The body tube has smooth knurling but has horizontal lines milled in to break this up and then for the flats where the labels are they are milled a decent amount lower. This provides a bit more grip. The body tube looks like it’s removable but I can’t get it to budge. Further up the light has an anti rotation ring that’s small.



The head of the light has minimal heat syncing and heat hasn’t been a major issue here because the light does step down. The button is metal and has a clear Status indicator ring around it with a blue LED underneath. The head is pretty smooth. The bezel is smooth and the glass is anti reflective coated. The reflector is fairly deep for a 1 inch light and the LED is nicely centered.

The pocket clip on this light slots in right below the tail clip on the body tube. My first clip didn’t fit very close to the body of the light. I contacted Nitecore store and they promptly sent me a new one which was a much better and closer fit. I would prefer a clip that allows for deeper carry personally but this seems to not be what is done on most lights similar to this one.

Size/Weight/Water/Comparison
I measured length at 144mm. Maximum diameter is 35mm at the tactical ring, max diameter of the body is 26mm. Weight with the battery and pocket clip is 153.1 grams.

Size comparison with the Olight M2R Warrior is that they are very similar in diameter. The light is shorter at about 15mm. The nitecore is slightly lighter.



LED/Beam/Runtime
This light uses a Cree XHP35 HD LED in cool white. It’s capable of producing upto 1800 lumens in turbo mode. It throws pretty well due to that deep reflector. Overall the beam has a hot center and about 4 distinct rings. It’s not a very smooth transition to spill. The brightest hot spot has a bit of discoloration in the very center. This is easily noticed straight on against a surface that’s all the same texture and color such as drywall or concrete. It’s noticeable at distance as well.

Turbo 1800 Lumens
High 900 LUmens
Mid 240 Lumens
Low 70 Lumens
Ultra Low 1 Lumen
Strobe/SOS/Beacon 1800 Lumens

Power and Runtime
This light is capable of running on 18650’s, CR123a, and RCR123A. 2× 18350’s is not recommended due to too high of voltage. To access Turbo you need cells capable of 8A or more. Total runtime with the included 3500mAh battery was 142 minutes. Turbo run time starts decreasing almost immediately. It has a run time of about 3 minutes. When the light steps down you are getting about 45% relative output for about 20 minutes. Between 20 minutes and 142 minutes the light is pretty stable between 45% and 35% relative output for 120 minutes. Heat is pretty well managed.


Turbo Runtime

Full Runtime

One thing worth noting is that the manual says “When using an IMR 18650 battery and the power level is low please stop using the product when the power level is low to prevent damage to the battery. An IMR battery is what the light ships with. This suggests that the light doesn’t have low voltage protection for this type of battery built in, so using protected cells would be a good idea. Lucky the one that ships with the light is protected.

UI
The tail switch on this light functions as only an on and off. It takes a decent amount of force to press, I think this is good for a tactical light.

For normal operation this light has 5 modes, UltraLow, Low, Mid, High, and Turbo. When the light is on the mode button cycles through them. Memory mode is strong on this light and works everywhere except strobe.

Momentary access to turbo is possible if the light is on by holding the Mode button for 1 second, if you let off it returns to what mode you were in previously.

Strobe on this light isn’t at just one rate. It’s pretty fast and then alternates between fast and really fast. I like it, I just wish strobe wasn’t so easy to access with just a double click of the mode button. When in st4robe you can also get to Beacon or SOS by long pressing on the mode button. To exit a special mode just short press on the mode button to return where you were previously.

Direct access to moonlight mode can be accessed with the light is off by pressing and holding the mode button, while actuating the tail button, so it’s a 2 hand operation.

Recharging
This light has recharging via microUSB on the tail cap of the light. There is a rubber flap that protects the port from dust and moisture. The port is also conformally coated, so it’s protected from moisture even if the flap is open. To test this I dunked it in water and then blew some air in the port with my mouth and proceeded to charge it without issue. There is also a small blue LED built into the tail cap to show charging status. Blinking blue means it’s charging, solid blue means it’s full.

The disappointing thing about charging via USB on this light is the speed. I saw charging speeds at it highest at only 0.64A. So for the included 3500mAh battery that means a full charge took me 10 hours, 9 minutes. This is really slow in 2018 for a premium light. I would expect a minimum of 1A these days, if not closer to 2A to cut down on the charging time substantially.

Pro

  • Comes with a nice high capacity Nitecore battery
  • Waterproofing even with the USB protective cap off
  • Quick access to ultralow 1 lumen mode

Con

  • Slow onboard Recharging .64A means using onboard recharging takes forever.
  • Beam throws well but has a slightly more dim area in the direct center.
  • Not a big fan of double click to strobe, I would prefer double click of the mode button to go to turbo and triple click for strobe.

Conclusion
The Nitecore MH12GTS is a pretty nice tactical style light with a good amount of throw for its compact size. The UI takes a little while to get used to but if this was a light you used often I think most would like it. I like how it’s able to use a pretty wide variety of power, including primary and flat top unprotected 18650’s. I like that Nitecore has put a lot of effort into making the USB port waterproof. I can get past the beam irregularities in normal everyday use, but the slow charging time is hard to live with on a premium light. Overall it’s a nice showing here from Nitecore and one that will be especially useful for a nice throw in a small diameter light.

Link to the NitecoreStore for the MH12GHTS https://www.nitecorestore.com/MH12GTS-1800-Lumen-Long-Throw-Flashlight-p...

Lightbringer
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So whut’s the ‘S’ for?

Eg, you got the MH20GT which is Greater Throw than the plain ’20, so I’m curious about the ‘S’ here.

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bmengineer
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Lightbringer wrote:
So whut’s the ‘S’ for?

Eg, you got the MH20GT which is Greater Throw than the plain ’20, so I’m curious about the ‘S’ here.

Nitecore has been updating a ton of their lights with this emitter and the ‘gts’ suffix. I don’t think it means anything in particular.

EDCba
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Lightbringer wrote:
So whut’s the ‘S’ for?

Eg, you got the MH20GT which is Greater Throw than the plain ’20, so I’m curious about the ‘S’ here.

“GTS” seems to be GT with the XHP 35, which is a bit weird because it actually throws less than the GT, even with more lumens.

liquidretro
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EDCba wrote:
Lightbringer wrote:
So whut’s the ‘S’ for?

Eg, you got the MH20GT which is Greater Throw than the plain ’20, so I’m curious about the ‘S’ here.

“GTS” seems to be GT with the XHP 35, which is a bit weird because it actually throws less than the GT, even with more lumens.

This is correct.