[Review] Nitecore MH23 ... 1.8k lumen + USB charging + pocket thrower

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[Review] Nitecore MH23 ... 1.8k lumen + USB charging + pocket thrower

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Hi All! Nitecore sent me the new MH23 to test and I wanted to share with you my thoughts. 


This is Nitecore’s 3rd iteration of this this “pocket thrower” which uses a camera shutter (two-stage) switch and features USB charging (typical of the MH-Series). If you are looking for a pocket thrower meet the exciting arrival of the upgraded MH23!

Nitecore MH23 Flashlight Review CivilGear 003

Link to manufacture product page: http://flashlight.nitecore.com/product/mh23



Overall, this is a great pocket thrower which uses large and tactile 2-stage electronic switch and has some nifty bells and whistles. My main issue is that the there is a noticeable black dot right in the middle of the beam, which you’d likely see on the ground. I also wish the body had smoother curves but that seems to more the look of the E-Series and Concept Series.









Length 111.3 mm / 4.38 in
Head Size 31.8 mm / 1.25 in
Weight 96.2 g / 3.39 oz



  • MH23 Light
  • Holster
  • Deep-carry pocket clip
  • Micro USB cable
  • Lanyard
  • 2 Spare O-rings
  • 1 Spare USB Cover
  • Manual (pdf)
  • Warranty Card

Nitecore MH23 Flashlight Review CivilGear 021



There is only one version currently.



Current price is ~$100 USD (see purchase links at the end of the review)




What appeals most to me about the MH23, and so did the other MH20’s, is its large tactile switch, which is very easy to find in the dark and even use while wearing gloves. The USB cover is very functional and one of the easier covers I’ve seen and also helps provide more grip. The diamond knurling is very smooth which contrasts with the many semi heat sink fins. On the head there are three square cut rectangles which makes a bit of a hard edge which isn’t uncomfortable but feels a little scratchy. Happy to see knurling on the tail cap. The tail cap if very flat so good tail-standing is always nice. Lanyard hole is pretty small so no paracord lanyards possible here. Incredibly short length.



Wow the tube is a tight fit for protected cells. There is a pretty beefy spring in the tail cap which may be putting more pressure than before. I found that it’s easier to actually unscrew the head to take out the battery, instead of removing the tail cap. Overall, unprotected cells may be the way to go for this one. No rattling can be heard.



This comes with a “deep carry” style clip which allows the whole light to be hidden in a pocket but still clipped. The clip is titanium coated so is very strong and resilient. I’ve used a few of these now (on other lights a well), and this style is nice, but be aware that when you want to pull off the clip, you kinda have to pull right in the middle, which lifts up the clip and once the clip pops off, your fingers get a nice pinch.

The holster is a nice touch and the light fits nice and snug. The light only fits with the head sticking out. It is a standard nylon material and has hook and loop closures. The holster can be retained using the belt loop, the hook and loop closure, or a plastic D-Ring connector.

Not that I’ve ever had to change one yet, but a little surprised there isn’t a replacement switch cover.





The light features a newer domed CREE XHP35 HD E2, (CREE Spec Sheet). This is the LED they have been putting in all their newer lights.



*NEW* I purchased a new sensor that can measure beam angle and I have combined it with my light sensor to be able to help show flood vs throw.

Nitecore does not advertise the angle of main LED but from what I’ve collected it seems to be about 25 total degrees with a little bit of a fluffy corona and some dim spill. The first rectangular graph helps a bit better to see what angle the spill starts at as usually it is quite a bit dimmer then the center. It’s quite possible that a very low lumen outer spill might not register using these methods. The percentage is a relative comparison to the brightest light recorded (generally, in the center). Currently, these readings are strictly sensor recorded, and are not adjusted based on human perception of light but may be an interesting idea for the future.



The MH23 is a fair bit cooler than the neutral white of the Nichia 219B on the right (in the Nitecore MT06MD penlight)

Nitecore MH23 Flashlight Review CivilGear 033



I’m pretty easy to please for output levels, but it’s easy to be satisfied  when there are a total of 5. Below is a night shot video of me going threw all the output modes. Below that, there are stills of all 5 primary modes.

Here are the levels from Ultra Low to Turbo



 All the pictures below are taken with the light in TURBO.

Nitecore MH23 Flashlight Review CivilGear 025

Nitecore MH23 Flashlight Review CivilGear 024

Nitecore MH23 Flashlight Review CivilGear 023




No battery is included in the standard packaging. However, Nitecore did supply a new cold weather 18650 battery in order to conduct testing, details in the performance section.

Below is the list of recommended batteries as provided in the user manual, note that a cell that can provide 8A or more is highly recommended.

MH23 Battery


The light does have battery indicators for checking current battery voltage and for a low voltage warning. To check the current battery voltage, loosen the head or tail cap a quarter turn, then re-tighten, the blue indicator light will then blink out the voltage, where a pause is a decimal point. Also, when the battery can no longer sustain an output (could be either voltage or current I’m not sure) the indicator light will blink rapidly. 

I’ve just realized that Nitecore should actually consider making all their indicator lights yellow to represent their brand a bit more.

Nitecore MH23 Flashlight Review CivilGear 001



Overall, the battery supplied to me by Nitecore (2,900 mAh) took about 7h 20m to charge in the light. The average current supplied was just over 0.5 A; I wish it could be 0.8 A in case I only get 6 hours of sleep before having take it off the charger and take it to work. 

Charging the light is very easy and the USB cover lifts up and is very much out of the way and cable provided fits in perfectly.





I measured the light output in relative LUX and I have not spent time yet to calibrated for lumens or factored % of max output. The charts I’ve provided, while are literally quantitative, I suggest using as a qualitative reference for how the output may behave over time; typically lights aren’t left on this long and the max output can be reset. It’s worth to note that the runtime table provided by Nitecore states, “Runtime for TURBO [and] HIGH is calculated based on theoretical arithmetic.” so there isn’t physically reproducible in my tests.

Temperature measurement condition is at room temp and currently no fan cooling.

I am still very new at doing these types of measurements so I am no authority on on this subject, but please let me know if things don’t look right or you see anything that I could do to improve for next time.


The below battery was either provided or recommended by the manufacturer. Make sure that you carefully research any cell you are considering using before purchasing.

  • Brand: Nitecore
  • Model: NL1829 LTHP
  • Positive Contact: button-top
  • LVP: protected
  • Voltage: 3.6
  • Capacity: 2900 mAh
  • Current: 8A (MAX Continuous)
  • Power: 10.44Wh
  • Length: 69mm
  • Diameter: 18.5mm


It appears Turbo last for only 20 seconds and is a super spike that I couldn’t even measure properly. There is also another major step down at the 50 min mark.



There appears to be no significant PWM on any constant mode. I did measure a Xms refresh cycle where the lx varies by about Xbut does not drop to zero lx on any but the U.LOW mode.

For comparison, the second graph shows PWM varying from 0 to 120 lx on the LOW mode on the Nitecore R25 flashlight.


Strobe frequency is about 17.5hz and appears to be a full power.



Frequency is 1 flash about every 2 seconds, with the flash lasting about 27 milliseconds.



 A max temp of 111°F was observed for TURBO. Usually Nitecore’s temperature “limiter” is set to 120°F but maybe they lowered it to 110°F, the manual doesn’t say.




Overall I really like this 2-stage interface but feels like it’s missing 2 important features:

  1. Access to strobe from off. This could have been accomplished by making a full double click to access strobe from off or on, which has been pretty typical in other Nitecore lights.
  2. Access to turbo that latches. Perhaps a long half press of 1.5 seconds?

Other thoughts and suggestions:

  • You can also lockout the light by loosening the head or the tail cap
  • I think it’s confusing that from Off, a long half press takes you to latched Ultra Low, but when the light is on, a long half press is momentary Turbo. If strobe can be accessed by a full double click, this could be sorted out by having a full long press always be momentary Turbo, then make the shortcuts to latched ultra low and turbo be a 2 step while doing a half long press. From off or on, half long press after 0.5 sec would be a latched ultra low; if you keep holding, for another second perhaps, it would jump to turbo and be latched.



Here is a line up of some other Nitecore flashlights for a size comparison. I’m surprised how short it really is. 

Nitecore MH23 Flashlight Review CivilGear 022




  • Super compact
  • Love the large 2-stage AND illuminated switch!
  • Very easy to charge


  • Would have liked curved dips in the head instead of long square-cut rectangles, for more of an every-day-carry feel
  • Battery tube is a bit short, or the new spring takes more space then before, this puts extra pressure on longer cells
  • Lanyard hole is pretty small
  • Need high amp battery to reach turbo
  • Takes a while to charge
  • Doesn’t come with battery



The current price for the light is about $100 USD and if you appreciated my review and would like to support me, feel free to check out this product on amazon using my affiliate link (does not cost you more, amazon gives me very small % of their profit):

Amazon Link: NITECORE MH23 1800 Lumen USB Rechargeable Compact Mini Flashlight




  • CivilGear Reviews received this product for testing and providing an honest review.
  • CivilGear Reviews was not paid for writing this 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 03/12/2018 - 15:15