Nitecore TINI Review

Preface

TINI is tiny. As in like seriously tiny!

It is such a marvel of the LED and battery breakthroughs that was made in the last few years which makes this light possible.

Aside from its size and output, is the TINI worth getting?

Packaging & First Impressions

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

  • Packaging looks attractive and has a quality feel to it.
  • The electronic switches require a firm and deliberate press to activate and helps in preventing any unwanted activation of the light.
  • Aluminium body feels sturdy without any flex when pressed.
  • Key chain provided is of good quality and should withstand day-to-day abuse without issue.

Front:

Back:

Sides:

Top:

Box Contents:

Quick Overview (Manufacturer Specifications)

  • Body Material: Black Aluminium (Other Colors Available: Gold, Green, Blue, Red, Gray & Silver)
  • LED: XP-G2 S3
  • Battery Format:  Built-in Li-Ion 280mAh Proprietary Battery
  • Output & Runtime:
    • Low (1 lumens / 60h)
    • Mid (38 lumens / 4h)
    • High (145 lumens / 1h)
    • Turbo (380 lumens / 15min)
  • Max Beam Distance: 64m
  • Beam intensity: 1,020cd
  • Waterproofness: IP54 Rating
  • Impact Resistance: 1.5m
  • Dimension: 43.3mm (length) x 11.5mm (height) x 25.4mm (width)
  • Weight: 13.4g (including batteries)
  • Accessories Included:
    • 1*Key Clasp for Key Chain
  • MSRP: ~$30

UI (User Interface)

UI for this light is great for keychain or pocket duty due to its relative ease of operation.

There are 2 settings (DEMO and DAILY) and 2 side electronic switches (POWER and MODE) to operate the light.

There is no STROBE or SOS (blinky) modes for this light.

Low Battery Indicator – the MODE & POWER buttons will blink once every 3 seconds.

From OFF:

  • HOLD (POWER) [~2 sec] – Light will switch ON to last brightness level (LOW, MID and HIGH modes are memorized).
  • HOLD (MODE) [<~1 sec] – Direct access to MOMENTARY TURBO; releasing it will switch the light OFF.
  • 1 Click (MODE) – Battery Capacity Indicator (MODE & POWER buttons will flash as below)
    • 3 Flashes (<50% battery capacity)
    • 2 Flashes (10% – 50% battery capacity)
    • 1 Flash (<10% battery capacity)

From ON:

  • 1 Click (MODE) – Mode change per every click (light cycles through LOW, MID & HIGH; TURBO is not part of the sequence).
  • HOLD (MODE) [<~1 sec] – Direct access to MOMENTARY TURBO; releasing it will switch the light back to last brightness level.
  • 1 Click (POWER) – Light will switch OFF.

Switching Modes (DEMO ⇔ DAILY)

From OFF:

  1. HOLD (MODE & POWER) [<~1 sec].
  2. Release buttons after seeing the LED flash(es).
    • 1 Flash (DEMO mode is activated).
    • 2 Flashes (DAILY mode is activated).
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 till desired mode is activated.

DEMO mode will cause the light to switch OFF after 30 seconds (no matter which mode one is in) whereas DAILY mode does not have this shutdown timer (i.e. see above on how to switch the light OFF manually). The DEMO mode is an available option as there is no (mechanical or electronic) lockout for this light.

Form Factor

The light is tiny and is barely bigger than Small size thumb.

Owing to its light weight and size, it will slip into a pants coin pocket, keychain or any place you would like to carry it and you probably wouldn’t notice it is there till you actually need it.

It is a little harder to activate the light with wet hands/gloves due to the tiny electronic buttons used.

The light is unable to tail-stand due to the keychain attachment point at the tail of the light.

Charging Process

The light does not come with a Micro-USB cable.

Using an Olight branded Micro-USB cable, the built-in Nitecore battery was charging at ~0.28A.

The light is capable of operating on all modes even when charging (at the expense of a slower charging rate). However, it is recommended to use “LOW” mode only to ensure that the battery does get charged.

The slow blinking BLUE indicators depicts charging in progress and BLUE (no blinking) indicators depicts charging has completed.

Beam Style/Beamshots

For this light, the spill, corona and hotspot is somewhat predictable due to the Bead TIR optics. The LED is fully covered under the TIR (Total Internal Reflection) optics. Hence, the beam has a nice soft flood for recognizing items in the up-close to near range distance.

The above beam profile is a rough interpretation of what is seen when white wall hunting. The beam has a fairly wide circular hotspot with the corona fading out to a wider (circular) spill. There are some beam artifacts when whitewall hunting but not visible in real world usage.

All of the beamshots taken below are done so with the following camera settings (LOW: 4, F3.5, ISO100, Daylight WB, MID: 0.8, F3.5, ISO100, Daylight WB, HIGH & TURBO: 1/2, F3.5, ISO100, Daylight 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:

LOW (1 lumens):

MID (38 lumens):

HIGH (145 lumens):

TURBO (380 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 LOW mode of 1 lumen which essentially is what most would call a moonlight mode and is perfect for night-adjusted eyes and midnight snack runs. It is a great bedside light besides being on a keychain.

Unfortunately, there is no way to get an actual TURBO mode – MOMENTARY TURBO is available only. This is something we hope will get addressed in the next TINI revision.

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.

Waterproofness

As the light is IP54 rated only, the light was subjected to being left under room temperature running water whilst running on HIGH.

No signs of water intrusion in the head, side switches or Micro-USB port was seen. However, the light flickered a few times after the water test; leaving it on HIGH helped solve the flickering issue.

Lockout Capability

There is neither electronic nor mechanical lockout available when needed, like during transportation in a bag.

Instead of the usual electronic lockout on the previous T series (TIP,  etc.) lights, Nitecore incorporated a DEMO mode to help prevent accidental activation. In theory, having a light with a 30 second timer and requiring ~2 seconds to switch ON the light would be alright for most users but it isn’t the best solution for preventing accidental activation on a keychain, pocket and etc..

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 or to gift to our loved ones out from one’s pocket (wallet), would we still do it?
For this light, it is a possible YES if the ~2 second delay to switch ON the light is not an issue for your usage.

The nice soft floody beam profile on this light is perfect for up close usage. Needless to say, the size and output of this light is astounding to say the least! The icing on the cake was the ability to charge up the TINI anywhere with any generic Micro-USB cable – the 280mAh battery gets juiced up rather quickly.

While we lament the lack of any form of lockout on this light, the ~2 second to switch ON the light might be the deal breaker for some. In most cases, we found ourselves using the MOMENTARY TURBO from OFF when we needed light quickly. The light was also left in DEMO mode permanently to prevent unwanted battery drain if an accidental activation occurred.

Hopefully there will be a High CRI version of the TINI (like the TIP version), as it would benefit greatly from the Bead TIR optic used.

Here is a bonus size comparison picture next to the Fenix E01 (runs on a single AAA battery) we recently reviewed, to illustrate how small the TINI is.

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

Stay safe,
The Lite Review


Disclaimer: Light was provided for by FastTech for this review. No other compensation was provided.


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One Reply to “Nitecore TINI Review”

  1. Nice! It looks so cute.

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