[Review] Nitecore MT21C (1000 lumens, 184 meters, 1x18650, adjustable streamlined/L-shaped flashlight)

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[Review] Nitecore MT21C (1000 lumens, 184 meters, 1x18650, adjustable streamlined/L-shaped flashlight)

Hello everyone, thanking them for the trust granted me, today we will review the Nitecore MT21C that was kindly provided by Nitecore itself.
Zoom in (real dimensions: 1024 x 578)

CLICK HERE to go to it official page on the Nitecore website.

I want to clarify that my reviews are made at an amateur level and without the aid of scientific instruments or tests in cutting-edge secret laboratories and therefore, among the lines that follow, there will also be my humble impressions.

Official features:

- multifunctional 90° adjustable flashlight
- utilizes a CREE XP-L HD V6 LED
- max output up to 1000 lumens
- integrated "Precision Digital Optics Technology" provides unparalleled reflector performance
- boasts a peak beam intensity of 8500cd and a max throw of 184 meters
- side switch controls 5 brightness levels and 3 special modes
- high efficiency constant circuit provides unwavering output with runtime up to 700 hours
- integrated power indicator light displays remaining battery power (Patent No. ZL201220057767.4)
- power indicator displays battery voltage (accurate to
- Advanced Temperature Regulation module
- polarity reverse protection
- toughened ultra-clear mineral glass with anti-reflective coating
- constructed from aero grade aluminum alloy with HAIII military grade hard-anodized finish
- waterproof in accordance with IPX8 (tho meters submersible)
- impact resistant to 1 meter
- magnetic base and tail stand capability

Where to buy it

The MT21C can be purchased at the Nitecore store

The package and the accessories

The MT21C was sent to me by Nitecore without the packaging but with all the accessories that you will find in the buyable box.
NB The flashlight is sold without a battery. The one that you see in the photos was sent to us only to make the tests for the review. But to use the flashlight you must keep in mind that the battery must be purchased separately.

The items I found in the package are:

- the MT21C
- a 18650 with a nominal capacity of 2600 mAh (inserted inside the flashlight but not included in the package for sale)
- the metal clip
- 2 spare O-rings of different thickness
- the wrist strap

The manual is available on the site of the company, easily accessible by clicking HERE . Clicking on the link will automatically start downloading the manual.
For convenience, I have reported the parts written in English and Italian.

The flashlight

The MT21C is among the most recent flashlights able to be powered both by 1x18650 and 2xCR123A putted on the market by the Nitecore brand.
It is a linear cigar-shaped able to tilt its head of 90° and become a L-shaped.
Its body is almost entirely in aluminum and on it and on the tailcap has small rhomboidal knurls that help us to have more grip.
The only flashlight switch is surrounded by a blue circular indicator and control the whole UI. It has a short stroke and an almost inaudible click. From it start three small grooves that improve the dissipation of heat in excess.
It is impossible not to notice the metal D-ring that allows us to anchor the flashlight to lanyards, hooks or branches when it is in L-shaped version.
The lettering on this side

 and on this other is perfect and does not present smudges.

In the head there is a CREE XP-L HD LED, centered by a black led-trimmer and surrounded by a SMO dish. It has a CW tint even if, at low modes, it tends slightly to the yellow.

The lens has an anti-reflective treatment and the bezel has a slightly pronounced crenellation and not too sharp edges.

The electronic key, despite being small, has been made well protruding from the flashlight body thanks to a small basin. There are no problems in looking for it in the dark and without wearing gloves.
The D-ring is not particularly large or bulky and its shape does not allow it to rotate completely around the head of the flashlight. So it is free to move only on the right side of the switch.

On the opposite side of the D-ring, you can see the pin that allows you to rotate the flashlight head from 0° to 90°.

The 0° position is that in which the flashlight is a classic lined. Simply push the opposite side of the pin to change the head's position, stopping at 4 pre-established angles. The "clack" that will be heard will not be excessively noisy.
Following, there are pictures of the head locked in every possible position, from 0° to 90°.

As I anticipated, in the L-shaped position you can take advantage of the D-ring to tie a lanyard or hook and keep the flashlight hanging ... hooking it to a tree for example.
Zoom in (real dimensions: 578 x 1024)

At about the half of the body there is a single groove where we could insert the clip that is comed out of the package. It has a good grip on the flashlight body but it is not enough to make it remain anchored to the clothes too thin.
We could direct the clip to both the head and the tail sides without having to worry about having problems with the switch or the articulated head.

Another function of the clip is to provide a hole to insert the wrist lanyard.

The flashlight tailcap is completely flat, allowing it to stand upright on a horizontal surface. But, thanks to the magnet placed inside it, you can also attach the flashlight on metal parts.

And here it is attached to the car.

The flashlight body is divisible into 3 sections: the head, the body and the tailcap. The central part has 2 anodized threads, and therefore allows a physical lock-out, with a similar pitch but different length. In case of incorrect insertion, we will not be able to tighten optimally to the flashlight and it will not turn on.
If you notice well, each thread has its own O-ring and, both he and the threading, arrive well greased. All this allows the flashlight to resist water and dust according to the IPX8 standard.

At the positive pole we find a raised golden contact (which allows to use the flashlight also with flat top batteries) surrounded by visible circuitry.

At the negative pole, however, we find a single wide golden spring. There seems to be no way to remove it and, therefore, I believe that the magnet placed under it can not be extracted.


As I said in the first paragraphs, this battery is not included in the MT21C package but I still preferred to test it because was supplied to me.
This is a 18650 protected button top with a nominal 2600 mAh and with the sheath of the brand, model NL1826.

At a discharge test with Opus (at a speed of 500 mA), the battery is 2692 mAh.

Here is the protruding positive pole of the cell,

and the negative one. Note that the name Nitecore is engraved on it.

And here is all the information on the sheath.

How does it work

The Nitecore MT21C has 8 modes selectable in total, and 3 of these are special ones (to be recalled).

According to the official data of the brand, normal modes have the following characteristics:

- Turbo -> 1000 lumens for 1 hour
- High -> 400 lumens for 3 hours and 45 minutes

- Mid -> 190 lumens for 7 hours and 30 minutes
- Low -> 50 lumens for 25 hours
- Ultra-low -> 1 lumen for 700 hours

On / Off

Pressing the switch, less than one second, always turns the flashlight on at the Ultra-low mode (since it has NO memory). Another prolonged pressure, always less than one second, turns it off.

Change modes

With the flashlight on, simply press the switch once to cycle them all in ascending order. Obviously, once you reach the Turbo mode, it will all start looping again.

Quick access to the Turbo or Momentary-On

When the light is off, the turbo can be quickly accessed by holding the key down for 1,5 seconds. If you immediately release the key, the turbo will remain active otherwise, if we pass another second (so for a total of 2,5 seconds since we begin to press the key) we will activate the Momentary-On. So if we leave the switch, the LED will go out.

Special modes

The special modes of the MT21C are the Stobo, the Beacon and the SOS.
To activate them, press the key 3 times in rapid succession, both with the flashlight on and off.
The Strobo will be activated first and the other loop modes will cycle at each successive pressure. A prolonged pressure will turn off the LED. Obviously, since the flashlight has no memory, the last special mode used will not be remembered.

Luminous alerts

A blue circular indicator is around the switch. With it you can know both if the battery has reached a low voltage and the same voltage of the battery.

The first operation is automatic. In fact, when we are using the flashlight and the cell is reaching a critical voltage, the indicator will start to flash quickly.
The second operation tells us, with an approximation of ± 0.1V , the cell voltage with flashes and can work both if we insert a 18650 or two CR123A.
The flashlight will emit a number of flashes, followed by other flashes interspersed with a pause.
Example, if the indicator flashes 3 + 8 times, it means that the cell will have 3.7V. Simple, or not?
This control can be done either automatically (every time we tighten the tailcap) or manually (with the flashlight off, just press the switch once).

ATR system

This is the Nitecore system to adjust the light output of the highest mode of the flashlight depending on the outside temperature. More the conditions are favorable to the flashlight (low temperatures / cool wind) and more, the high mode, will emit light.

Dimensions: weights and dimensions

The Nitecore MT21C is 13.18 cm long and has a minimum diameter of 2.22 cm and a maximum diameter of 2.54 cm.
It weighs 105 grams without anything and 150 grams with the 18650 given included. The battery alone weighs 45 gr.

Next, there is the dimensional comparison with a big BIC lighter and a 18650, both in a lined position

than L-shaped.

Here is the MT21C in the middle of the Rofis TR18 (on the left) and the R3 (on the right). Always in the lined position

and L-shaped.

Lumens, runtimes, candles and beamshot

NB The tests below were made with the 18650 included in the package. Everything was done in a home environment at 21 ° with and without forced ventilation.

The following values were taken with the 18650 charge and are considered peak .

The following values were taken with the 18650 charge and are considered peak .

NB The discharge curves are obviously indicative, the result could vary in positive or negative depending on the batteries used by the end user or the conditions of use that may vary from mine during my tests.

Any slight discrepancies related to the tests carried out on the same mode can be attributed to a different positioning of the measuring equipment. my tests.

The Turbo mode starts from just under 1000 lumens and, for the first 3 minutes, both the ventilated test and the non-ventilated test have the same behavior. After they differ a lot, the flashlight in ventilated one has a notable decrease of lumens.
The High and Mid modes start from just over 400 and 190 lumens respectively and, for the first 10 minutes, they have a regular course.

Here you can see the differences between the unvented flashlight test and the ventilated flashlight test. In the first case, the trend will be similar to the one of the High mode. Obviously, in the second case, the highest output will affect the general runtime.
The High mode, after a slight step down that will led it to about 320 lumens, will have a constant trend for about two and a half hours before it go into direct drive.

The Mid mode will remain adjusted for about 5 hours and 30 minutes before going into direct drive.

The following values were taken with the 18650 charge and are considered peak .

All the following photos were taken with the white balance set to 5200k.
This photo was taken at a distance of 40 cm from the wall. At a distance so close and on a white background, I noticed that the spot takes a slightly square shape but that, in everyday use, you do not perceive in the slightest.

Beam width

Beamshot at the Turbo, High, Mid and Low modes. The tree line is at 25 meters away. The spill, with the spot facing the infinity on the horizontal plane, starts from about 1 meter and 20 feet from the feets but there is a slight under-spill that is closer to us.

The house at the end of the road is at 70 meters away. The modes used are the Turbo, the High and the Mid .

Here's how is the flashlight at the mid mode attached to the car, thanks to the magnet in the tail, to illuminate the area of the engine

or the wheel.

Personal considerations

This Nitecore MT21C is among the latest models of the brand and is a classic cigar-shaped that has been provided with a tilting head and also an additional magnet in the tail.
Like all the cigar-shaped, the maximum mode is about 1000 lumens peak and the parabola not too deep makes them reach the 80 meters reals (with the battery charged).
Obviously the throw is not its prerogative since the magnet, the joint and the D-ring orient it towards more close uses.
Here, if you are looking for a handyman flashlight that can cover your needs, this MT21C can be for you.
Some users will undoubtedly appreciate the presence of the "multimeter" function, while others (perhaps) will not choose it due to the absence of a charging circuit.
To remedy this, just buy a battery with attached charging circuit like the NL1826R (I inserted one of another brand, 7,06 cm long and with a maximum diameter of 1,84 cm, and came scrabbling slightly at the edges but the flashlight work fine) or buy a reliable charger. Staying in the Nitecore brand and wanting to spend a little, I see that the Nitecore F1 could be a good choice.

What do you think about it? Would you buy it?