Review: Niwalker NWK750 (pre-production model, picture heavy !!!)

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coolperl
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Review: Niwalker NWK750 (pre-production model, picture heavy !!!)

Niwalker is a Taiwanese company specializing in flashlight manufacturing. They did a lot of OEM production for other companies (i.e. Tiablo). Now, they want the enter to the market with their own products.

As a introductory models, they are to release one big XM-L thrower (NWK750) and one small XP-E tactical light (NWK220).

In this review, I'll take a look at the bigger model - the NWK750.

Below are the manufacturer specs:

LED: CREE XM-L U2
750 Lumens for 1.5+ hours (42,000 lux @1 meter)
Tactical forward clicky tailcap switch and electronic multi-mode tailcap (optional)
Smooth polished reflector, focused beam
Digitally regulated
Working voltage: 3V ~ 9V
Supports 2x CR123A, 2x 16340 (RCR), or 2x 18650
Length: 263mm
Head Diameter: 58mm
Body Diameter: 28mm
Weight: 380g (without batteries)
Made of durable aircraft-grade aluminum
Toughened ultra-clear glass lens
Military spec Hard Anodized, matt black finish
IPX8 Waterproof standard
Rugged construction and reliable electronics
Tailcap lockout 
Accesories in retail version: lanyard, spare o-rings, holster, mulit-level tail cap

As you see, the "ratings" are rather on the conservative side (no 1000lm, 1000 meters of throw and similiar bollocks). I can tell you already, that they're  quite accurate. But more on this later.

The flashlight, I'm reviewing is just a protype sample, so it has a couple of cosmetic glitches visible on photos, but the overall visual design is finished and won't be changed.

Build, apperance, overall quality

NWK750 is suppose to be a rugged, simple, miliatry construction. No fancy features, just on/off switch and single mode operation. For those who really need additional modes, Niwalker made a special tailcap with additional circuit in it. More about it, later.



If I had to compare NWK750 to something, the closest would be the Thrunite Catapult. Both flashlights are on the "heavy" side. They share almost exactly the same reflector, very similiar stainless stell bezel and NWK750 has also very thick battery tube and overall hefty design (but not as overblown as in Catapult).



Instead of traditional knurling, the battery tube has circular ridges/grooves. It can be disconnected and we can use NWK in 1x18650 or 2xRCR/2xCR123 configuration, but due to massive current draw the latter config is not recommended. Unless you use IMR batteries and don't care about 15 min. runtime.



The machining is very well done. All threads are nicely cut (trapezoidal cut). The fitting is tight and the lettering is clear and sharp. Pretty much, this is what you expect from a quality light.



As I said before, the head is almost identical in internal construction to Catapult. What you notice in the pictures, is that Cat uses violet-hue AR coated glass, NWK750 has standard glass without coating. For those who like GITD stuff, there is a glowy oring behind the lens.



The LED is centered by a plastic disc. This is pretty common design.


NWK750 uses tactical forward switch which has similiar feel to the switches used in Catapult or Fenix TA/TK series. Rather on the stiff side with typical travel. Personally, I like it much better than swiches used by Klarus and Jetbeam - soft with long travel.

I was sent also an additional electronic switch with modes. However this switch was just in "testing phase" so it's behaviour wasn't final. The company want to get some feedback from flashaholics, so feel free to post your thoughts in comments. I'll describe you how it works, as I got it. The switch has two modes + strobe. Within the first five seconds after turn on in works in following sequence (on > hi > lo > strobe >off >on >hi....). After five second since turn on, the circuit doesn't jump to another mode, instead it turns the lights off. The whole concept of additional switch is rather uncommon and I suggested Niwalker, to incorporate modes in the main design in the way Olight and Thrunite works (modes changed by twisting the head) but the guys at Niwalker said that design with additional tailcap is more reliable. I disagree with that, but it's not my project, so I can only post my personal opinion. If you have some other thoughts about it, fell free to post it in the comments. The electronic tailcap uses PWM in visible range (270Hz for 2x18650 and 170Hz for 1x18650 configuration). I was told, that in final version of this tailcap, PWM will be moved higher, near 1kHz.

When using "tactical" switch, the NWK750 is just simple one-mode light. Turn on, turn off and thats all.


There are springs on both ends (tailcap, head), so it can be used on weapon. Springs reduce recoil effect, so they're important in such conditions.

Photos without extender - for 1x18650 configuration run:



Overall quality is quite good. The NWK750 feel is very similiar to Catapult, but NWK is a little lighter. Here's the photo with some other flashlights. From left: Thrunite Catapult V2, Crelant 7G5, Niwalker NWK750, Niwalker NWK220, Fenix TA20, Ultrafire C8.



Runtime, brightness, etc.

I did some tests with different battery configurations. Niwalker NWK750 is suppose to drive the XM-L U2 LED at 2.8A level. The brightness and throw values seems to confim that. But the runtime don't. In my opinion it should run a slightly longer, 78 minutes (on Trustfire Flame 2400 cells) is not bad, but could be better.  Just for the reference, Catapult driven at 3.5A (which is 20% higher) has runtime lower by only 6% (74 minutes on these cells). I was told that the main circuit has been also tuned up, so in retail version the runtime should be slightly longer.



Good thing is that the flashlight can run on 1x18650 with quite good brightness and efficiency.

I did also lux/1m (or candela if you like) measurements. They look following:

NWK750 - 41600 lux/1m
Thrunite Catapult V2 @ XM-L - 47800 lux/1m
Crelant 7G5 - 59100 lux/1m

Although, the readings put some difference between Cat and NWK750, in reality they're almost indistinguishable. As you'll see on the beamshots, tint is playing a big role here.

Beamshots


As usual, I took some flashlights out of the town to avoid ambient light. The camera settings were following:
t=4.0s
f=4.5
iso=200
WB=daylight
Please note, that the settings were changed from my previous reviews. I increased the exposure time to 4s (from 3.2s) to better show differences between lights. NWK750 worked in 2x18650 configuration.



For images below, do "mouse over" / "mouse out" for more precise flashlight-to-flashlight comparision.

 As you see on the beamshots, there's not much difference between Cat and NWK750 in terms of brightness. The NWK750's tint seems whiter/cooler, but no matter how would I measure, the Cat returned always better results on the luxmeter. However my Cat drives the LED at 3.5A level, comparing with retail version of Catapult, NWK750 should be 'slightly' brighter (mostly because of T6 vs. U2 bin difference). Of course Crelant due to wider and deeper reflector (and better LED), outclasses the competition.

 

Conclusion
I liked this light. Mostly because its simplicity and rugged construction. It's not as heavy as Catapult, but the overall feel is still solid. All parts are very good machined, threads are smooth and anodizing looks good. The main circuit lacks MCU (microprocessor, that is responsible for modes). This increases high temperature resistance and 'should' improve circuit efficiency. The two-tailcap design is a matter of taste. Personally, I don't think it's the best idea to carry additional stuff just in case, I'd like additional modes in the middle of the field at night. Niwalker hides behing reliability, but frankly, I haven't heard about reliablity issues in Fenixes, Olights and Thrunites that use head-twist design of changing modes. If you have some thoughts, feel free to post them in the comments. Niwalker asked me to gather some feedback from potential users, how do they rate such design. All in all, NWK750 is interesting light. Think about it as a lighter version of Catapult. Very simple and solid construction + 3 year manufacturer warranty should attract especially those who use flashlights for work, and they work in harsh conditions

Edited by: sb56637 on 08/26/2014 - 17:21
sb56637
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Incredible review Coolperl, awesome photography. That's a very handsome flashlight. So what's the approximate price of this light?

Frontpage'd and Sticky'd.

Budget Light Forum ...where Frugal meets with Flashlight!

coolperl
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As far as I know, manufacturer is still talking with dealers. For sure, it's not a budget light. Unfortunatelly Frown

The retail version with all accesories will be offered for well over 100$ but don't know how much exactly. I guess this will be priced on par with other quality flashlights like Fenix TK41, Catapult, Triton, etc.

SashiX
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Such a nice light and such a beautiful pics, Tomasz Love Please make them slightly bigger next time Silly (800 x YYY for example)

Those mouse-over comparison pics helps a lot. 

KDLST
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Amazing photo's Sealed

 

Very well done!

coolperl
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Thanks Smile They look big enough on my screen (18'' 1280x1024). I guess for those with big "panoramas" they could be indeed larger.

And wow... you know my name. How ? Smile

jacktheclipper
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I love pictures .

Mouseovers Rock .

coolperl
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Guys, I suggest to refrain from commenting the pictures and focus on the flashlight itself. Thanks Wink

SashiX
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coolperl wrote:

Thanks Smile They look big enough on my screen (18'' 1280x1024). I guess for those with big "panoramas" they could be indeed larger.

And wow... you know my name. How ? Smile

1680x1050, 22" here Silly That EOS, with great lighting... makes miracles Silly

Ho ho ho, Santa knows it all :santa:

Lensman
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Excellent review, coolperl.

Yes, I've a suggestion for all makers of longer, heavier flashlights: please stop following each other's lead with tailcap clickies! Sideswitch, preferably double sideswitch, one to turn on, the other to cycle through modes. No doubt way too late for this torch (and I'm probably in a minority anyhow) but tailswitch more or less forces two handed operation and awkward handling; why?? Is sideswitch activation so much dearer to build? Or is it just that nobody else wants this?

That said, if tailswitch is what they're offering, then a choice of switches seems like a good idea, although better if customers could decide which they want and pay only for that choice. E.g. I would only be interested in a torch like this if it came with a multi-mode tailstanding reverse clicky. Others might prefer single mode forward clicky, some would want both. Choice of bezel would also help them shift more units. E.g. I like the modest crenellations very much, but I'd greatly prefer black. SS is just too 'blingy' for me; draws too much attention. It's a working tool, not a piece of jewellery.

I don't understand the mode sequence they describe, but it sounds like they're trying to be innovative. My suggestion - since they ask - is don't. It may be be that they have a brilliant concept here, and I'm just being thick, but for my money you can't beat tried and trusted. Multi-mode, reverse clicky. Straightforward and simple. If it MUST come on in high mode by default (I hate this, low mode first would always be my preference) then mode memory is essential.

Finally, the torch should provide the facility to disable strobe and SOS for those who are sure they will never want these modes. Or just provide a version without blinkies straight out the box.

Just my 2p's worth, thanks for asking Wink

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Nice reviews + pictures!

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Wow!  I'm impressed.  I really love that light.  Nice and classy just like the Catapult V3.  The one thing I will mention if I can about lights with the stainless steel bezel is that is what causes the outer ring.  My Catapult V3 has it and you really only notice it up close.  But take the stainless steel bezel off and the outer ring is gone.  It's the reflection off the led from the stainless steel bezel.  The Sunwayman T40CS is the same way.  Remove it and the ring is gone. 

Foy
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Now that's what I call a flashlight review!

Straightforward, thorough, technically accurate, lots of personal observations and spectacular pictures.  Just when I start thinking I'm all that, I read a review like this . . .

Bravo, coolperl.

 

Foy

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2100
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Nice review and decent design. 

 

Niwalker
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WOW! Thanks Tom for your time and work. I am really impressedSurprised

I look forward to your another testing review of NWK220Cool

coolperl
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Lensman... I see your point with reverse clicky with modes. However, a "momentary-on" feature is one of the crucial things in tactical/miliatry lights. That's why almost every quality flashlight in this segment (Balder BD-4 is the only exception I can think of) has forward clicky.

As for the sideswitch design, I agree. This is good idea. But the reason it's so uncommon nowadays is probably a bit more complicated design. A tailcap switch is more simple in construction and allows for overhand grip which is more useful in self-defense (or similiar) situations.

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We need a price if you got one. 

harry25175
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i prefer Catapult V3.. Big Smile 

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Awesome review and great pics.

With Darkness, there will always be Light.

 

 

ILIKEFLASHLIGHTS
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Is there any word on a price approx?

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Excellent review and photos. Looks like a solid light and this review makes me want one immediately. To chime in on the mode/tail switch issue. The solution with this light is exactly the same as that of the Solarforce M8 I believe, and it's the one thing I'm not too crazy about on that light. I don't like the idea of having to carry an extra switch and I don't really care for the modes as the manufacturer has selected them. Same as with the reviewer (Foy) on the M8, I would want a Medium setting in the multi-mode and I would not want the Strobe at all. Of all my lights, I think the most elegant solution to multiple modes is on my Balder BD-2. Standard is 3 mode H-M-L. When the light is switched to Low, after 5 seconds it blinks once. User can then turn it off and the light switches to 5 mode with strobe and SOS. Best of both worlds. Alternative you refer to with the head twist for tactical is also a great solution, and I agree it is preferable to the two cap option presented here.

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Very nice review.  Thank you for taking the time to do all of this.  The one thing that hit me right in the face, was the difference in tint between the Catapault and the Niwalker.  The tint on the Niwalker looks like a cool white.  The tint on the Catapault looks a little warmer or even neutral, thus being more suitable to my eye.  But the Niwalker does look like a good heavy-duty light.  I would like to see a few more light options as well. 

Tony Hanna
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coolperl wrote:

As far as I know, manufacturer is still talking with dealers. For sure, it's not a budget light. Unfortunatelly Frown

The retail version with all accesories will be offered for well over 100$ but don't know how much exactly. I guess this will be priced on par with other quality flashlights like Fenix TK41, Catapult, Triton, etc.

I'd like to see this light directly compared to the Solarforce M8. From what I can tell it appears to be very similar right down to the "A.I." type switch. I'm wondering what features/quality differences push it into the "well over 100$" price range vs. the M8's $70 price tag?

Very nice review BTW.

Tony

Niwalker
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Thanks for the comments here. I am not sure if I am able to discuss our products here, might be agaist the rules? but we`re following for sure.

ri chevy
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I think this forum is much more open.  Feel free to enlighten us!  Smile

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Solarforce lists the M8 at 277g so, this light at 380g is heavier . . . also, the M8 is 245mm with 2 x 18650 and this one is 263mm.  No doubt the SS bezel adds a little weight - I actually like a little heft in a light like this.

I think I was getting just 1.57 amps with 2 unprotected Panasonic 2350s and 2.40 amps with 1 protected Solarforce 2400.  My guess is, this guy is brighter.

 

Foy

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Niwalker
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I really like BLF as here is more open.Laughing

It`s easy to get maximum brightness or throw out of a LED however we need to consider reliability and durability for long term use. There are more than 100 companies offer LED lights if you google on internet but only very few of them manufacture lights, therefore you see similarities of other brand products. We wish to be sustainable in the market so we have to be caution before we do anything.

As for NWK750 we are getting 100 minutes runtime on tactical switch now and 760 OTF lumens. We are discussing with some customers regarding the UI. We might change it later but still not "twisting" to access other modes.

Thanks again for the comments here they are very informative. If anyone has better idea please let us know too.

ri chevy
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Nice!  Thanks for listening to us!  Smile

how2
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Has the lens on this light got any anti reflective coating?

Has this light got low voltage warning like the Taiblo A7 ?

Niwalker
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We will consider AR coating on the lens.

You will know its time to change the battery when the light gets dim

Laughing