Nitecore P12GTS Preview/Review (XHP35 HD Version)

Preface

The Nitecore P12GTS is the upgraded version of the P12GT model.

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

Note: This is a preview/review sample as it is currently available by pre-order only (available from ~11th September 2018 onward) and came without the usual retail packaging.

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 is not included in this preview sample but will be included in the actual retail packaging.
  • Battery compartment is able to take a KeepPower 18650 3400mAh battery with barely much room to take a slightly thicker battery width. Fatter protected 18650 3500mAh batteries should be able to fit without issue as well. 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 Nitecore NL1835HP.

Preview Sample Only (Note: the actual P12GTS will come with the full Nitecore signature retail package):

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 such as the Nitecore NL1835HP):
    • 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: 145.71mm (length) x 25.4mm (head/body diameter) x 26mm (tail diameter)
  • Weight: 99g (excluding batteries)
  • Battery reverse polarity protection
  • Accessories Included:
    • 1*Clip
    • 1*Tactical Ring
    • 1*Lanyard
    • 1*Holster
    • 1*Spare O-ring
  • MSRP: ~$80

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 & 1 Click 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 or replacing the battery, 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 marketed as a tactical-style flashlight and the Tactical Ring affords it additional ways to carry it like the Rogers/SureFire hold.

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

With Tactical Ring:

Without Tactical Ring:

Without Tactical Ring & Clip installed:

With Tactical Ring and Clip installed:

More pics of the P12GTS:

Note: the above 18650 size comparison picture depicts a Nitecore 18650 3500mAh 8A battery (NL1835HP) next to the Nitecore P12GTS; it does not come with the flashlight.

Recommended Types of Battery

Nitecore recommends using an 18650 battery that is capable of sustaining a continuous drain of 8A.

As such, they do have a high capacity (3500mAh) 18650 that would suit this flashlight – Nitecore NL1835HP.

Here are some pictures of it.

Beam Style/Beamshots

For this light, the spill, corona and hotspot is somewhat predictable due to the relatively deep 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 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 sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB, LOW: 1/3 sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB, MID: 1/4 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 6000K 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.

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 body 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 P12GTSNitecore P12GT
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
SIDE Switch MaterialMetal (Stainless Steel?)Rubber (Silicone?)

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

The rather straightforward UI, 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 P12GT), in the throw department.

Here is a bonus size comparison picture with other Nitecore 1 x 18650-sized flashlights/headlamps.
From Left to Right: Nitecore NL1835HP 18650 battery, Nitecore LR12, Nitecore MT21C, Nitecore P12GTS, Nitecore HC65.

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

Stay safe,
The Lite Review


Disclaimer: Light and 18650 battery was provided for by Nitecore (manufacturer) for this review. No other compensation was provided.


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Nitecore P12GTS

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