[Review] Nitecore NU05 Headlamp 'Mate' ... Versatile Safety Light or World's Tiniest Headlamp? You Decide.

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CivilGearReviews's picture
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Location: San Jose, CA
[Review] Nitecore NU05 Headlamp 'Mate' ... Versatile Safety Light or World's Tiniest Headlamp? You Decide.

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Hi all! OK so maybe not "World's Tiniest" but certainly ONE of the tiniest wink. Anyways, Nitecore sent me the NU05 to test out and I wanted to post my thoughts. Let me know if you have any questions and I'll do my best to help out!


OK so you’ve finally picked out your first headlamp (to try out the concept), then you got a second (one with more power), now maybe your asking yourself, “do I need anymore headlamps?”, for me I’d say “the answers is always yes”, but in this case I’d say … “yes! everyone needs a reverse headlamp.” I think I’m coining a term but you get the idea. This is primarily a  safety light you wear behind your head, but there are so many other ways you could wear it. So this begs the question, are you a jogger, biker, or worker whose safety depends on being seen from front or back? If so then say hello to Nitecore’s NU05 headlamp "mate".


Nitecore NU05 Headlamp Review CivilGear 001


Nitecore NU05 Headlamp Review CivilGear 002


Nitecore NU05 Headlamp Review CivilGear 003



Here is the specs from Nitecore’s website. I ran the light on steady white and got a total rundown time of 1 hour which matches their spec. If I have time later I’ll test some of the other modes.


 Max Output:  35 lumens  Max Run time:  2 h 15 m / 0.08 d
 LED:  High performance  Special Modes:  Red Light
 Battery:  Rechargeable Li-ion battery
 Beam color:  White light  Length:  30.3 mm / 1.19 in
 Head Size:  29.5 mm / 1.16 in  Weight:  10.4 g / 0.37 oz
 Activity:  Gear
 User Manual:   Click to download the manual

There is no specific specs on the multiple LED but it does have a faint yellow color, probably due to internal reflection off of the yellow dies for the red LEDs..



First of all, the NU series have a plastic lightweight body and the NU05 is no exception … except lol that it has and almost completely see through body, much like the clear polycarbonate Nitecore TUBE keychain lights, and this makes them very interesting to look at.

One wonderful difference between the the NU05 and the TUBE is that the NU05 has a bigger button! The bigger button allows you to be able to easily turn on the light, even while wearing gloves or without even looking at it.

One nice change is that the USB cover has a raised pull tab instead of a flat one, which makes it even easier to open up. Plus the cover plugs a overall opening instead of just trying to insert itself into the little micro USB cavity. This should provide a better seal.

The bike attachment is pretty easy to use but wish the light snapped into place so that it would be a bit more secure.

The clip directly on the back of the light is more durable that I thought it would be. It also has some teeth that could have been a bit longer to grab onto fabric a bit more.

Included head band has a pull-string tension system which holds very well and is comfortable to wear. Because the clip is bigger than the band, sometimes the light gets crooked which can be bothersome for us perfectionists, lol.


There’s not reall much of a “profile” to be seen but with the protractor below you can see that there’s a pretty strong 160° angle but the spill is almost a full 360° thanks to the diffusion and refraction of the ‘clear’ plastic cover.




The light uses a single button to control the light. From off, a single, short press, will activate the light into micro red blink; single short presses will advance the light to the next output mode. Here’s all of them in order:


off → micro red slow flash → red slow flash → red fast flash → white slow blink → white constant → off

If at any time you wait more than 3 seconds, the next time you press the button, the light will turn off, pretty much the same as all the other NU series lights.


From off, press and hold the button for 2 seconds and the micro red LED will blink up to 3 times to indicate the battery’s power level.

  • 3 blinks = more than 50% battery
  • 2 blinks = less than 50% battery
  • 1 blink = very close to depletion


While the light is on, press and hold the button for about 1 second and the light will enter lockout followed by a single blink of the micro red LED. Once in lockout mode, any short presses will cause the micro red (or indicator light) to blink once, to remind you that the light is in lockout mode. By holding the button for about 5 seconds the light will unlock and begin again in micro red flash.



The light uses an integrated 120mAh li-ion battery. The battery only takes about an 1h 30min to charge only drawing around 0.1 amps which is somewhat slow; I tested the NU10 and it has a 900mAh battery and it takes the same time to charge but I’ll try some other USB cables later to make sure. The best part though is the light can be charge via external power bank!



To charge the light, simply plug in the micro USB cable into the side of the headlamp and a red indicator light under the power button, will turn on steady; once charged, the indicator light will turn steady green. Amazingly, you can also operate the light directly from an external power source; I tested this and ran it on constant white for over 5 hours without any problems.



Because the light has an integrated battery, the warranty is only for 1 year for free repair (cost of parts not included), so make sure you only buy from an authorized dealer (you can contact Nitecore’s customer service to find one) or you will possibly waive your rights to the warranty . Also, take care to store your light properly, as the warranty does not cover damages caused by batter leakage. Check their website for their full terms of service.



  • Tiniest “headlamp” I’ve ever seen and super versatile
  • Purpose built for joggers and bicyclists
  • Rechargable and can continuously operate off external USB power
  • Great emergency headlamp
  • Lots of flashing options
  • Works perfect with other Nitecore other headbands
  • Easy to use UI and battery indicator
  • Water resistant IP-66 rating
  • Wide spill beam angle
  • Very durable plastic



  • Wish there was a constant red output
  • If you are bicyclist and are interested in this, think about getting a second one to have one in front and back
  • Wish the light ‘clicked’ into the bike holder to feel more secure
  • Have to slide the light onto the bike holder a certain way, use the rubber cover of the USB port to help orient you in the dark.
  • While pressing the button to unlock the light, would have liked the green light to turn on to provide feedback to the user that the light is about to turn on.
  • Wish it came with a permanent glue mount for use on back of a helmet for non-bicycle modes such as skateboards, inline skates, scooters, balance scooters, segways, etc.



Video Demo



Nitecore NU05 Headlamp Review CivilGear 022


Nitecore NU05 Headlamp Review CivilGear 019


Nitecore NU05 Headlamp Review CivilGear 024


Nitecore NU05 Headlamp Review CivilGear 023



The current price for the NU05 KIT is about $20 USD and about $15 USD for the simple (light only) version. If you appreciated my review and like to support me, feel free to check out this product on amazon using my affiliate links:

Nitecore NU05 Headlamp Mate KIT


Nitecore NU05 Headlamp Mate SIMPLE edition




  • CivilGear Reviews received this product for testing and providing an honest review.
  • CivilGear Reviews is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com
Edited by: CivilGearReviews on 07/12/2017 - 16:18
hIKARInoob's picture
Last seen: 15 min 47 sec ago
Joined: 08/28/2016 - 08:15
Posts: 4211

Hey how are you doing man? Thanks a lot for the review. I mean, this is just another fine out of the box thinking great product by Nitecore. I’m not a Nitecore fan, as a matter of fact I have beef with them sort of… But objectively I think this is just a great product, with an awesome price.

CivilGearReviews wrote:
If you appreciated my review and like to support me, feel free to check out this product on amazon using my affiliate links: Nitecore NU05 Headlamp Mate KIT

First time I read this plain and simple truth about affiliate links. I appreciate it a lot! Thumbs Up You are one of the cool guys in my book. Cool

stephenk's picture
Last seen: 2 hours 17 min ago
Joined: 01/30/2016 - 05:09
Posts: 2394
Location: Australia

Thanks for the review. Looks good, but not bright enough for my requirements (min 70 lumens for night running).

CivilGearReviews's picture
Last seen: 2 years 9 months ago
Joined: 04/06/2016 - 12:55
Posts: 84
Location: San Jose, CA

I'm doing well hiKARInoob! You welcome! Yeah it's nice to see them branch out a bit and still keep the cost down laughing. Thanks, I'm finding honesty is the best policy innocent

CivilGearReviews's picture
Last seen: 2 years 9 months ago
Joined: 04/06/2016 - 12:55
Posts: 84
Location: San Jose, CA

Your welcome stephenk! Yeah for joggers, the forward white light is probably not needed and would probably only need the red for the rear, but for bikes I envision it being used on the bike itself and the rider would probably wear a much brighter and constant headlamp to see ahead. Thanks for your thoughts! smile

Last seen: 2 years 2 months ago
Joined: 01/16/2016 - 05:45
Posts: 602
Location: Skagen - Denmark

Thanks for the review. Thumbs Up

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light --- Plato

Last seen: 1 week 2 days ago
Joined: 05/11/2013 - 17:04
Posts: 825
Location: State Of Jefferson

I know this is an older thread but since I bought one of these recently, I just had to post how satisfied I am with this little jewel.

I noticed a picture of it in a thread about another different light and noticed how tiny it was. I decided to check one out.

I’m not a bicyclist or a runner so I had no need for the “kit” that you can get it with but that’s more expensive, I just wanted the light itself. I found they’re available for $14.99 with free shipping on a couple of Chinese sites.

This tiny guy is a gem! The UI is simple and it has a large activation button like a poster stated. This would be the ideal “necklace” light as it weighs next to nothing. The constant white light mode is a mule and lights up a goodly amount of light like for changing a tire. It also has a simple lock out mode.

I can imagine this being a warning light if you’ve had a flat or another emergency on the freeway or other road and just put it behind your vehicle with the flashing red lights. They are that bright they can be seen from oncoming traffic! You could use the other modes for other purposes only limited to your imagination! This is such tiny light, so well built and well worth $14.95!

Last seen: 16 hours 11 min ago
Joined: 02/03/2012 - 15:52
Posts: 743
Nice review, thank you!

I did pick up one of these lights, very useful.