Nitecore Concept 2 Review (6500 Lumens Powerhouse)

Preface

The Concept 2 (C2) is the latest from Nitecore’s Concept line – the first was the Concept 1 which was introduced in 2017.

This is the highest output flashlight from Nitecore with a smallish form factor – and is possibly why it is in the Concept lineup.

That said, let’s check out the merits and demerits of this flashlight.

Packaging & First Impressions

This is what the light will come with as shown below.

  • Packaging looks attractive and has a premium feel to it.
  • This flashlight tailcap is sealed and tightened down with Allen-key bolts from factory – disassembly is not recommended.
  • The non-reversible deep carry pocket clip comes pre-installed from factory.
  • The clip has sufficient tension to ensure that the light will stay clipped to any material to prevent the light from falling out.
  • The dual stage (camera-style) electronic switch has a nice tactile feel that produces an audible click upon activation (full click).
  • Anodizing of the light is uniform without any missing specs.
  • The provided lanyard comes pre-installed from factory and is able to support the full weight of the light and should hold up to the test of time.
  • Holster provided is of decent quality and should withstand day-to-day abuse without issue.
  • Batteries are non-user replaceable but feature a built-in 3.7V 12400mAh battery (sealed 4 x 3.7V 3100mAh 18650 batteries).
  • Scanning the QR code with your phone/tablet on the box’s back would bring up the Nitecore Concept 2’s product page.

Note: Our review sample did not come with any instruction manual or warranty card. However, both items will be included when purchased through Nitecore or their distributors/resellers.

Front:

Back:

Sides:

Box Contents:

Quick Overview (Manufacturer Specifications)

  • Body Material: Black HAIII Aluminium
  • LED: 4 * XHP35 HD
  • Battery Format: Built-in 12400mAh Li-ion Battery (4 x 3.7V 3100mAh 18650 batteries)
  • Output & Runtime (with built-in 3.7V 12400mAh battery):
    • Ultra-Low (1 lumen / 2000h)
    • Low (285 lumens / 16h)
    • Mid (1000 lumens /  6h 30min)
    • High (2500 lumens /  1h 30min) – there is a temperature-based output step down
    • Turbo (6500 lumens /  30min) – there is a temperature-based output step down
    • Strobe (6500 lumens)
    • SOS (6500 lumens)
    • Beacon (6500 lumens)
  • Max Beam Distance: 398m
  • Beam intensity: 39,700cd
  • Waterproofness: IP68 (2m)
  • Impact Resistance: 1m
  • Dimension: 112.5mm (length) x 40mm (width) x 40mm (height)
  • Weight: 348g (including batteries)
  • Accessories Included:
    • 1*Built-in 12400mAh Li-ion Battery
    • 1*Charger
    • 1*Clip
    • 1*Lanyard
    • 1*Holster
    • 1*Spare Charging Port Cover
    • 1*Spare Rubber Switch
  • MSRP: ~$200

UI (User Interface)

UI for this light is suitable for a Bug-Out Bag (BOB) or walking/hiking light as it is relatively straightforward to use.

Switching ON and OFF is done by the electronic switch on the side of the flashlight, so no momentary activation is possible.

The electronic switch is a dual stage style that is similar to what is found on most cameras whereby a 1/2 Press and 1 Click would result in different modes/options.

From OFF:

  • 1 Click – Light will switch ON to last used Mode (last mode memory).
  • HOLD (1 Click [~0.5 sec]) – Direct access to MOMENTARY TURBO.
  • HOLD (1/2 Press till LED flash 1 time) – LOCKOUT mode is enabled; HOLD (1 Click till LED switches on to last used Mode) – LOCKOUT is disabled.
  • 1/2 Press – Battery Capacity Indicator (Switch LED will flash BLUE in the following sequence)
    • Each BLUE LED blink signifies 1V
    • After a ~1 sec pause, the next BLUE LED blink signifies 0.1V.
    • Hence, 4 BLUE LED blinks, followed by a ~1 sec pause and another 1 BLUE LED blink – signifies 4.1V.

From ON:

  • 1 Click – Light will switch OFF.
  • 1/2 Press – Mode change (light cycles through ULTRA-LOW, LOW, MID, HIGH & TURBO -> ULTRA-LOW, LOW, MID, HIGH & TURBO).
  • HOLD (1/2 Press [~0.5 sec]) – Direct access to MOMENTARY TURBO.
  • HOLD (1 Click [~0.5 sec]) – Direct access to STROBE; 1/2 Press again to cycle through Special Modes (cycles STROBE-BEACON-SOS -> STROBE-BEACON-SOS). HOLD (~0.5 sec) to switch back last used Mode.

Form Factor

For flashlights that are intended to use for a BOB or walking/hiking usages and for possibly an extended period of time, form factor is extremely important.

It is refreshing to see Nitecore using a less conventional “boxy” style for the Concept 2, with the added deep carry pocket clip.

This light feels extremely well balanced and rather compact in a medium sized hand (not head/tail-heavy). Switching between overhand and underhand holding method is easy with its form factor. Despite the apparent lack of knurling on the light, the less conventional shape and pocket clip enables the light to be sufficiently “grippy”, even with wet hands/gloves.

It fitting in the holster snugly as well as being able to tail-stand perfectly (even with the lanyard attached) without the slightest wobble is very much desired.

Note: the above 18650 size comparison picture depicts a Nitecore 18650 2600mAh battery (NL1826) next to the Nitecore Concept 2; it does not come with the flashlight.

Charging Process

Charging is done with a Nitecore proprietary charger (that are used on most of their TM Series), charging the battery at 12.0V & 1.0A. It would have been much preferred if Nitecore had gone with a more conventional Micro-USB or USB-C charging instead.

The light cannot be operated when charging.

The Flashing BLUE indicator depicts charging in progress and Solid BLUE indicator depicts charging has completed.

Note: After unplugging the charging cable, the Battery Capacity Indicator check will be activated.

Beam Style/Beamshots

For this light, the spill, corona and hotspot is somewhat predictable due to the 4 fairly shallow overlapping Smooth Reflectors. With the LED used, the beam is still sufficiently “throwy” for recognising items in the near to mid-range distance.

The above beam profile is a rough interpretation of what is seen when white wall hunting.

The beam has a rather distinct hotspot with some slight corona and a fairly wide usable (flower petal style) spill. It also helps that the XHP35 HD LED is perfectly centred in this sample. There are some rings in the beam when white wall hunting but not visible in real world usage.

All of the beamshots taken below are done so with the following camera settings (ULTRA-LOW: 2.5 sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB, LOW: 1/4 sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB, MID: 1/8 sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB, HIGH: 1/10 sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB, and TURBO: 1/15 sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB).
Some pictures have been adjusted slightly to depict as close as to what is seen in real life. The distance of the light from the door is 4.6m.

Control shot:

ULTRA-LOW (1 lumen):

LOW (285 lumens):

MID (1000 lumens):

HIGH (2500 lumens):

TURBO (6500 lumens):

Mode (Output) Spacing

Mode spacing appears to be progressively brighter to the eye and the modes are well spaced enough to be able to know which mode one is currently in. With that in mind, TLR tend to view mode spacing as battery life indicators (amount of runtime left) rather than the specific output (lumens).

The ULTRA-LOW mode of 1 lumen which is what most would call a moonlight mode, and is perfect for night-adjusted eyes and midnight snack runs. That said, the mode spacing from the ULTRA-LOW (1 lumen) and LOW (285 lumens) is rather large and an additional mode in between would be more ideal in terms of runtime and for general up-close usage.

Note: We do not recommend operating this flashlight on the HIGH & TURBO modes for extended periods of time as they produce a fair amount of heat due to their high outputs.

Tint & CRI

Nitecore did not disclose the tint (color temperature) and/or the CRI (Color Rendering Index) for the LEDs used in their light. For this light, a guesstimate would be in the 6500K and 70CRI ballpark.

There are tint shifts throughout the beam profile. The hotspot is cool white whilst the corona possess a slight yellowish-green tint; and the spill having a slight purple tint.
This is however, not as noticeable in real life.

This could have been avoided if “throwier” LEDs like the XHP35 HI were used instead and would have made better use of the smooth reflector.

Waterproofness

The light was subjected to warm water submersion, followed by cold water submersion and left under room temperature running water tap whilst running on TURBO.

No signs of water intrusion in the head, switch or tailcap was seen.

Note: Do not attempt the above in HIGH & TURBO modes when the flashlight is already hot/warm as the air pressure & temperature difference would force water through the seals.

Lockout Capability

No mechanical lockout but electronic lockout is possible when needed, like during transportation in a bag.

See above “UI (User Interface)“, on how to activate and deactivate electronic LOCKOUT.
When LOCKOUT mode is activated, any button presses will cause the BLUE LED on the Side Switch button to flash once.

Note:

  1. It is recommended to switch the light to ULTRA-LOW mode before Electronic LOCKOUT as it will resume to that mode after LOCKOUT has been disabled.
  2. Charging the flashlight will automatically disable Electronic LOCKOUT.

Scale Comparison (Ruler)

Summary

To sum up, we believe that the most important part of any review is if given the chance to purchase the same light for our own EDC/usage or to gift to our loved ones out from one’s pocket (wallet), would we still do it?
For this light, it is a definite YES, if the tint shift is not an issue for your usage.

The small palm sized form factor, high output, deep carry pocket clip and direct access to MOMENTARY TURBO are all plus points for this flashlight. The built-in battery might seem as a major disadvantage to some but it helps decrease the overall size of the flashlight, and having a full flashlight package (flashlight + battery + charger) is always a good option for gifting purposes and such.

As mentioned earlier, we look forward to the day that Nitecore uses “throwier” LEDs instead to make full use of the smooth reflector (like in the Nitecore TM38) and would help get rid of most of the tint shifts as well.

Here is a bonus size comparison picture with other Nitecore flashlights/headlamps.
From Left to Right: Nitecore 18650 battery, Nitecore Concept 2, Nitecore MT21CNitecore LR12Nitecore HC65.

As with all gears, two is one and one is none.

Stay safe,
The Lite Review


Disclaimer: Light was provided for by Nitecore (manufacturer) for this review. No other compensation was provided.


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