Hi all; NitecoreStore.com sent me the EA42 to test so I wanted to post my thoughts.
This is Nitecore’s 3rd generation for it’s 4xAA format and besides it joining the Nitecore 1,800 lumen club, this one is a little different, having a side-by-side battery configuration in super-strong and lightweight polycarbonate handle, instead of the previous all metal design, a new boost mode in the UI. If side-by-side configuration and AA’s are your thing, then say hello to the new Nitecore EA42!
Link to manufacture product page: http://flashlight.nitecore.com/product/ea42
Overall, the draw for this light is the almost 2000 lumen output for 4xAA format with the comfortable side-by-side configuration. I also really like the 2-button interface which has turbo “boost”. The use of the poly-carbonate body is a bit unique but not something that I’d say contributes much except making it a tad more lightweight.
- Spare O-ring
- Manual (pdf)
- Warranty Card
Is there only one version.
Current price is $70 (buy links at the very end of the review)
LOOK & FEEL
The most interesting part of the great new look; the design is the highly textured poly-carbonate handle. The plastic is comfortable but also has good grip. The side by side configuration also makes this light easier to put in a back pocket. Viewing the light in some angles, the color of the handle is a bit more grey than the head. The light features a very familiar 2-button interface, seen many times in the “explorer” series and the buttons have rubber covers which also stick out a little bit which makes them very easy to find in the dark. The light can surprisingly tail stand on a nice flat surface.
The batteries are removed by unscrewing the metal ring between the head and the body; once removed, the body tube pops right out. The ring has to be spun and almost 7 full rotations, a but much in my opinion. Contacts are gold/brass plated and springs are ‘double-springed’ for increased tension and probably current capacity. The body and the head have matching guide points so the tube can only be oriented one way. To align thest is a bit tricky and would imagine impossible in the dark especially since you have to apply pressure to bring the head and the body tube together in order to get the guides to align the light. You have to continue to apply pressure until you’ve finished tightening the ring.
The holster is a typical nylon material and the main flap is secured using hook-and-loop closure. The whole thing can be retained using the sewn in belt-loop, the over the belt hook-and-loop closure, or the plastic d-ring.
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.
Nitecore does not advertise the angle of main LED but from what I’ve collected it seems to be a 60 total degrees dim spill with a very bright 20 total degree spot.
The first rectangular graph is cut across the beam and 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).
The second, polar graph, is a simulation of the light along the beam.
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 EA42 (left) is generally cool with a yellow/green spot compared to the Nichia 219B led (generally neutral) in the Nitecore MT06MD penlight.
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 through all the output modes. Below that, there are stills of all 5 primary modes.
All the pictures below are taken with the light in TURBO.
The light does not come with batteries but below are the allowed battery types. NiMH are the way to go if you want the most out of this light. Also, for whatever reason, primary (“disposable”) lithium batteries are not recommended.
When the light is off, single tap the mode button and the indicator will blink blue to relate the remaining power:
- 3 blinks = power more than 50%
- 2 blinks = power less than 50%
- 1 blink = power less than 10%
LOW POWER WARNING
When ON, if the battery is below 50%, the indicator will automatically blink slowly. When less than 10% it will automatically blink quickly.
DROP & FIND (POSITION)
AKA Position Indicator, is a repetitive indicator that blinks every 3 seconds or so to show the position of the flashlight and can possibly be used to find the light in the dark. To this on, turn on the light, then press and hold the power button until the light turns off and the indicator light blinks once. The drop & find mode will be completely disabled if the user turns the light back on or performs a battery check.
NOTES ON METHODS
I measured the light output in relative LUX and factored it into a percent. I have not spent time yet to calibrated for lumens. 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.
Due to the high intensity of the output I had to set my sensor into HIGH SENSE mode which introduces a lot of noise.
It’s worth to note that the runtime table provided by Nitecore states, “Runtime for TURBO is the testing result before starting temperature regulation” so there isn’t physically reproducible in my tests.
PWM check using a 50 millisecond test period with a sampling rate of 3,000 times per second.
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.
BATTERIES USED FOR TEST
I used basic 2000 mAh Panasonic Eneloops.
Turbo is a large spike that decreases over the first 5 min and then drops down to about 30% of the initial output. I reset the output once then after it settled I reset many times to test the temperature so sorry if it looks messy. The light output is the green line, the out-the-front temp is the orange line, and the body temp is the red line.
It’s plain to see that the light is temperature regulated and the max body temp observed was 125 degrees F when really pushed. The max out-the-front temp, right in front of the glass, observed was 182 degrees F.
There appears to be no significant PWM on any constant 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 17hz.
Frequency is 1 quick flash every 2 seconds.
The light uses 2 buttons (power and mode) and are both single-stage electronic switches. There are various shortcuts, which I like, and an electronic lock-out is most welcome in this scenario.
The only trade-off the the previous versions of the UI is that there is now, what I call, a turbo “boost”, in the ON mode, instead being able to access strobe from ON, and I think this is OK since this is not a tactical flashlight.
One thing to mention is that if you use the shortcut to ultra low or turbo but turn off the light right after, that setting is not remembered; you have to cycle the light normally to ultra low or turbo for it to be remembered; generally kind of like this since there are already shortcuts to these ends, but it is something you should know.
One area of improvement is the “drop & find” mode. If you enable it but then turn on and off the light normally, you loose it. If I’m walking in the woods, I want it on that whole time and I don’t want to have to do a long press on the power button to turn it off every time! Also wish the indicator light was brighter.
- Very bright AA based light
- Innovative material combination
- Boost mode (momentary turbo)
- Really like the 2-button interface with shortcuts to ultra low and turbo
- Wish the drop & find indcator would not be completely canceled by turning on and off the light. I really like how it comes back on the MH23 if you turn on and off the light.
- It would be hard to change the batteries in the dark as the battery tube alignment is hard to determine
- Strobe is not accessible from ON
- Tube color is just a touch grey
- The battery tube ring has to be spun almost 7 revolutions to close the light
The current price for the light is about $70 USD, and if you appreciated my review and would like to support me, feel free to check out this product on nitecorestore.com using my affiliate link (does not cost you more, but gives me very small % of their profit):
- CivilGear Reviews received this product for testing and providing an honest review.
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- CivilGear Reviews is a participant in the NitecoreStore.com affiliate program