Nitecore MH12GTS Review (XHP35 HD)

Preface

The Nitecore MH12GTS is the upgraded version of the Nitecore MH12GT model from the Multitask Hybrid Series.

This flashlight is pretty much a Nitecore P12GTS but with a Micro-USB rechargeable function.

Let’s check out the merits and demerits of this upgraded model.

Packaging & First Impressions

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

  • The threads and o-rings were well lubricated. Threads were rather smooth and clean (no gritty feeling at all).
  • The side electronic and tail mechanical switches require a rather firm and deliberate press to activate and helps in preventing any unwanted activation of the light.
  • Anodizing of the light is uniform without any missing specs.
  • The provided clip is not reversible.
  • The clip has sufficient tension to ensure that the light will stay clipped to any material to prevent the light from falling out.
  • The provided lanyard is able to support the full weight of the light and should hold up to the test of time.
  • The lanyard can be attached to either the tactical ring or either sides of the tail cap.
  • Holster provided is of decent quality and should withstand day-to-day abuse without issue.
  • Battery compartment holds the provided Nitecore non-proprietary 18650 3500mAh battery with more than sufficient room for a slightly thicker battery width. However, for this flashlight it is recommended to use a high capacity 18650 battery with a continuous discharge rate of at least 8A – such as the included Nitecore NL1835HP.
  • Scanning the QR code with your phone/tablet on the box’s back would bring up the Nitecore MH12GTS’s product page.

Note:

  • Before using the flashlight for the first time, remove the plastic wrapper from the included 18650 battery.

Front:

Back:

Sides:

Top:

Bottom:

Contents:

Quick Overview (Manufacturer Specifications)

  • Body Material: Black HAIII Aluminium
  • LED: XHP35 HD
  • Battery Format: 1 x 18650 (8A battery is required), 2 x CR123A or 2 x RCR123A ONLY
  • Output & Runtime (with 18650 3.6V 3500mAh battery):
    • Ultra-Low (1 lumen / 250h)
    • Low (70 lumens / 19h)
    • Mid (240 lumens / 5h 45min)
    • High (900 lumens / 2h 15min)
    • Turbo (1800 lumens / 30min) – there is a temperature-based output step down & 8A battery is required to access this mode.
    • Strobe (1800 lumens)
    • Beacon (1800 lumens)
    • SOS (1800 lumens)
  • Max Beam Distance: 226m
  • Beam intensity: 12,760cd
  • Waterproofness: IPX-8 (2m)
  • Impact Resistance: 1m
  • Dimension: 144mm (length) x 25.4mm (head/body diameter) x 26mm (tail diameter)
  • Weight: 99.5g (including batteries)
  • Battery reverse polarity protection
  • Accessories Included:
    • 1*Nitecore NL1835HP 18650 Batteries (3500mAh)
    • 1*Clip
    • 1*Tactical Ring
    • 1*Lanyard
    • 1*Holster
    • 1*Spare O-ring
  • MSRP: ~$100

UI (User Interface)

UI for this light is good for Every Day Carry (EDC) as it is rather straightforward to use.

Switching ON and OFF is done by the mechanical switch on the TAIL of the flashlight, so momentary activation is possible.

There is a total of 2 switches on the flashlight – TAIL mechanical switch & SIDE electronic switch.

Normal Operation

From OFF:

  • HOLD (SIDE) then 1 Click (TAIL) & release both switches – Direct access to ULTRA-LOW.
  • 1 Click (TAIL) –  Light will switch ON to last used mode (last mode memory) – any of the brightness levels or STROBE only.
  • 1/2 Press (TAIL) –  Light will switch ON to MOMENTARY last used mode (last mode memory) – any of the brightness levels or STROBE only.

From ON:

  • 1 Click (TAIL) – Light will switch OFF.
  • HOLD (SIDE) – Direct access to MOMENTARY TURBO.
  • 1 Click (SIDE) – Mode change (light cycles through ULTRA-LOW, LOW, MID, HIGH & TURBO -> ULTRA-LOW, LOW, MID, HIGH & TURBO).
  • 2 Click (SIDE) – Direct access to STROBE; HOLD (SIDE) activate BEACON & HOLD (SIDE) again to activate SOS (cycles STROBE-BEACON-SOS -> STROBE-BEACON-SOS), 1 Click (SIDE) again to switch to last used mode.

Power Indicator

There are 3 main types of Power Indicators for this flashlight.

  1. After disabling mechanical LOCKOUT mode / replacing the battery / removing charging cable after recharging, the Battery Capacity Indicator function will be activated (SIDE 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.
      • If 2 x CR123A / RCR123A batteries are used, the battery reading will be the average voltage of the 2 batteries.
  2. From OFF: 1 Click (SIDE) – Battery Capacity Indicator is activated (SIDE Switch LED will flash BLUE in the following sequence).
    • 3 Flashes – Power is >50%.
    • 2 Flashes – Power is <50%.
    • 1 Flash – Power is <10%.
  3. When the flashlight is switched ON, Battery Capacity Indicator is activated (SIDE Switch LED will flash BLUE in the following sequence) during the following instances.
    • 1 Flash every 2 sec – Power is close to 50%.
    • Continuous & Fast Flashes – Power is almost depleted.

Form Factor

For flashlights that are intended to use on a daily basis (EDC) and for possibly a long period of time, form factor is extremely important.

This light feels well balanced and relatively compact in a medium sized hand (not head/tail-heavy). Switching between overhand and underhand holding method is easy with its form factor. The knurling and Tactical Ring on the light enable the light to be sufficiently “grippy”, even with wet hands/gloves.

The Tactical Ring is removable where needed but removing it will expose the threaded area where it usually fits/sits. Hence, we recommend leaving the Tactical Ring on for this flashlight. After all, this is a tactical-style flashlight and the Tactical Ring affords it additional ways to carry it like the Rogers/SureFire hold.

The Micro-USB charging port’s rubber cover could use a slightly better fit as a slight brush on it when reaching for the tail switch, will cause it to open and expose the charging port. However, Nitecore has applied waterproofing into the charging port as well so it is still IPX8-rated to 2 meters, even when the charging port is exposed. Due diligence of drying the charging port must still be carried out before recharging with the Micro-USB charging port, if it has been exposed to/submerged in water.

It is able to tail-stand perfectly, even with the lanyard attached (either on the Tactical Ring or tailcap).

Without Tactical Ring & Clip:

With Clip:

With Tactical Ring:

With Tactical Ring & Clip:

More pics of the MH12GTS:

Charging Process

With the provided Micro-USB Cable, the battery was charging at ~0.68A.

The light cannot be operated on any modes when charging.

The blinking BLUE indicator on the tailcap area depicts charging in progress and Solid BLUE indicator depicts charging has completed.

Beam Style/Beamshots

For this light, the spill, corona and hotspot is somewhat predictable due to the relatively shallow Smooth Reflector. With the LED used, the beam is still “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 (circular) spill. It also helps that the 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: 1.3 sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB, LOW: 0.8 sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB, MID: 1/2 sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB, HIGH: 1/5 sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB, and TURBO: 1/6 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 (70 lumens):

MID (240 lumens):

HIGH (900 lumens):

TURBO (1800 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.

On a side note, it is great seeing that Nitecore went with a High mode of 900 lumens instead of 1000 lumens to ensure a longer runtime, as that difference in output is almost imperceptible to most human eyes.

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 tint; and the spill having a slight purple tint.
This is however, not as noticeable in real life.

This could have been avoided if a “throwier” LED like the XHP35 HI was used instead and would have made full use of the smooth reflector, but at a slightly lower maximum output.

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 (with & without the charging port’s rubber cover in place).

No signs of water intrusion in the head, body, switch or charging port was seen.

Lockout Capability

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

A quarter turn (anti-clockwise) of the tailcap will enable mechanical LOCKOUT.

Quick Comparison to Previous Generation

DescriptionNitecore MH12GTSNitecore MH12GT
LED UsedXHP35 HDXP-L HI
TURBO Mode Output1800 Lumens1000 Lumens
No. of Modes (Excluding Strobe, SOS & Beacon)5 Modes4 Modes
Max Beam Distance226m320m
Beam Intensity12,760cd25,700cd
Dimension (Length)144mm139.2mm
SIDE Switch MaterialMetal (Stainless Steel?)Rubber (Silicone?)
Included 18650 Battery Capacity3500mAh3400mAh
Tactical Ring AccessoryYes, included.No, not available.
Waterproofing of Charging Port (IPX8-rated for 2m)Yes.No.

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 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 YES, if the tint shift is not an issue for your usage.

The Micro-USB charging capability, included high capacity 18650, battery capacity indicator, waterproofing of the charging port, rather straightforward UI with direct access to ULTRA-LOW from OFF, MOMENTARY TURBO from ON and Tactical Ring to allow additional ways to hold the flashlight are all plus points for this flashlight.

As mentioned earlier, we look forward to the day that Nitecore uses a “throwier” LED instead to make full use of the smooth reflector and would help get rid of most of the tint shifts. This would in turn, help this flashlight keep up with its predecessor (Nitecore MH12GT), in the throw department.

Here is a bonus size comparison picture with other Nitecore 1 x 18650-sized flashlights.
From Left to Right: Nitecore NL1835HP 18650 battery, Nitecore MH12GTS, Nitecore P12GTS, Nitecore MT21C, Nitecore EC30 and Nitecore LR12.

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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