The ProductNitecore sent me two of their newest lights to take a look at, and their P12GTS was one of them. This was also fun because it’s not a light I asked for, it just showed up in the mailbox one day. The light is a classic tube light with a forward clicky switch on the tail and an indicating side switch, and it uses an XHP35 in a smooth reflector.
SpoilerThis dual switch tube light form factor is extremely common. I’ve never seen the real appeal of it until using this light. Momentary access to the last used mode is very handy, and the UI has a few really nice touche that make the light awesome. I’m happy with the beam, and the output from a light this compact is great. If you’re in the market for a dual-switch light, there aren’t any serious drawbacks that would make me hesitate to suggest this one.
BuildThis is my first light from Nitecore, and the build quality on the outside looks great. The body is a bit busy, with all sorts of knurled sections, smooth sections, cooling ribs, an anti-roll section, the tactical grip ring, the switch groove, and some other details - but it all seems to go together really well. This style seems to be characteristic of what Nitecore likes to do with their lights, and I like that each design element is functional. I will note that the light is a bit longer than I would think necessary - the longest of all the tube lights I currently own.
The side button on the light is pretty unique as well. It’s a metal button, with a clear ring around it that lets the blue indicating LED shine through. The ring illuminates evenly when lit. The button has a great click to it, and feels very responsive. Just below the button, there’s a slightly wider section of the light with 6 flat sides cut into it. This doesn’t add much girth, but is enough to stop the light from rolling when it’s placed on a table without the grip ring installed.
The cell tube of the light has flat, diamond shaped knurling. There are some grooves cut along the length of the light through the knurling, which both look great and help with grip. There are also two rounded cutouts in the knurling for the product labeling, one on each side of the light.
Towards the tail of the light, there’s a friction fit pocket clip. This clip has a good hold on the body of the light. There’s a small gap between the mouth of the clip and the light body, which helps it slide over a pocket easily. This also means the hold the clip has on fabric, especially thinner fabric, may not be as tight as some others, although I had no issues in my use. The clip does not carry very deep, leaving just over 4 cm of the tail exposed from a pocket.
What’s IncludedNitecore sent this light as an early sample, so there was no packaging included with it. The package they sent included the light itself, a cell for testing, a lanyard, the grip ring (installed), the pocket clip, and a spare o-ring. The product page indicates that the retail version will ship without a cell, but will include a holster and, presumably, a package of some sorts.
Modes and InterfaceThis light has 5 output levels, all of which are in the main group. Like most lights with this switch setup, there is mode memory. The tail switch can be held half pressed to momentarily activate the last used mode, or depressed fully to lock the light on. When the light is on, a single press will cycle through the modes. The extra features this UI adds really makes this light great to use.
- If the tail switch is activated while the side button is being held, the light will start in ultralow instead of the last used mode. Perfect for making sure I don’t blind myself if I’m just trying to find some socks in the morning.
- When the light is on, holding the side button will momentarily activate turbo. Releasing will go back to the mode you were in. This is a great ‘look over there’ feature.
- Strobe is accessed by a quick double press of the side button, and cycled with a long press to SOS or beacon. A short press will exit these special modes. Strobe will be memorized like the main group and accessible vial the tail switch if it was last used, but the other two won’t. I don’t personally use strobe very often, but I like that it’s not in the main mode group. It’s also variable and randomized on this light, which is supposed to increase the disorienting effect it has if it’s pointed at your eyes.
When the light is on, the side switch will start to blink when the cells are half empty, and will flash continuously if the cells are nearly depleted.
Light Quality and BeamThe XHP35 HD used in this light is cool white. Nitecore claims a maximum output of 1800 lumens, which is impressive for a 25 mm tube light. This emitter is not as large as the XHP50 or XHP70, which means the light is still reasonably throwy when coupled with the smooth reflector. The spot of the beam is a great, pure white. The corona and spill show a bit of tint shift, but I didn’t find this distracting in real use. Overall, I found the beam very functional.
|P12GTS vs. 5000K 219C in Skilhunt H03|
Power and RuntimeNitecore provided one of their own 3500 mAh NL1835HP cell for testing. I had asked for this, since I was under the impression that almost all of their products needed button top cells - but that’s not the case. This light has nice, double springs at both ends of the cell tube. These are long enough that they provide good contact even with a flat top unprotected cell. Nitecore also claims support for 2xCR123 cells and 2x16340 cells, although these were not tested. Given the wide range of supported cells, I would not be surprised if 2x18350 cells worked as well, although I don’t have any to test with.
Tear DownThe bezel of the sample I received unscrewed with a bit of effort. This revealed that there was some thread lock holding it in place, but mine came open without any heat or tools. Note that the presence of thread lock makes it clear that Nitecore would probably prefer if you didn’t take your light apart to this extent, and doing so may cause troubles if you ever need to file a warranty claim. This revealed an o-ring and the threads holding the head in place. The reflector is threaded into the head of the light.
The MPCB looks like a fairly standard butterfly shaped unit. There’s also a screw next to the MPCB, presumably to stop it from moving around, and some thermal paste to ensure a good path from the LED to the aluminum body of the light. If you are inclined to swap out the emitter in this light, it shouldn’t be too challenging if you can get this far.
- Indicating switch with batt check
- Great output and very balanced beam profile for this form factor
- Shortcuts to ultralow and turbo
- Great feel in the hand
- Great support for a variety of cell types
- Long light, especially the portion above the clip
- Two different voltage indications
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