Nitecore TUP Review (XP-L HD)

Preface

The Nitecore TUP is the latest from Nitecore’s T series, which is the same series as the Nitecore TINI, TIP, TUBE and more.

While the TUP isn’t the replacement model for the Nitecore TINI, it can be thought of as a progression from it.

Note: The model reviewed here is the Metallic Grey version.

Packaging & First Impressions

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

  • The flashlight is sealed and tightened down with Torx Screws (T3) from factory – disassembly is not recommended.
  • The non-reversible fairly deep carry pocket clip comes pre-installed from factory. Its orientation allows for attachment to a baseball cap for hands-free usage.
  • The clip has sufficient tension to ensure that the light will stay clipped to any material to prevent the light from falling out.
  • The 2 side electronic switches require a relatively light press to activate. The slightly raised metal surrounding the switches does help mitigate the possibility of unwanted activation of the light.
  • The OLED display is legible in almost all lighting conditions and at various angles.
  • Anodizing of the light is uniform without any missing specs.
  • No holster and/or lanyard is provided.
  • The provided keychain clasp is of a fairly decent quality to be able to support the full weight of the light and hold up to the test of time.
  • Scanning the QR code with your phone/tablet on the box’s back would bring up the Nitecore TUP’s product page.

Note:

  • The flashlight comes with a screen protector film on the OLED screen that can be removed.

Front:

Back:

Top:

Box Contents:

Quick Overview (Manufacturer Specifications)

  • Body Material: HAIII Aluminium
  • Colour Options:
    • Hi-Tech Black
    • Metallic Gray (as reviewed)
  • LED: XP-L HD
  • Battery Format: Built-in 3.7V 1200mAh battery
  • Output & Runtime (with built-in 3.7V 1200mAh battery):
    • Ultra-Low (1 lumen / 70h)
    • Low (15 lumens / 19h)
    • Mid (65 lumens / 9h 45min)
    • High (200 lumens / 3h)
    • Momentary Turbo (1000 lumens / 15min) – there is a temperature-based output step down.
  • Max Beam Distance: 180m
  • Beam intensity: 8,130cd
  • Waterproofness: IP54
  • Impact Resistance: 1m
  • Dimension: 70.3mm (length) x 29.5mm (height) x 26.2mm (width) [including clip]
  • Weight: 53.2g (including batteries)
  • Accessories Included:
    • 1*Built-in 3.7V 1200mAh battery
    • 1*Keychain Clasp
  • MSRP: ~$61

UI (User Interface)

UI for this light is suitable for Every Day Carry (EDC) and tactical usage as it is rather straightforward to use.

There are 2 settings (DEMO and DAILY) and 2 electronic switches on the side of the flashlight – MODE button (closer to the head) & POWER button (further from the head) to operate the light.

Switching ON and OFF is done by the electronic switches on the side of the flashlight. There is momentary activation (MOMENTARY TURBO) using the MODE switch.

Normal Operation

From OFF:

  • 1 Click (POWER) – Light will switch ON to last used Mode (last mode memory).
  • 1 Click (MODE) – OLED Display will switch ON and show the following information:
    • Current Battery Voltage
    • Battery Indicator Bar
    • Mode Level (LV. 1, 2, 3 or 4)
    • DAILY or DEMO Mode
  • HOLD (POWER) [~1 sec]  – Direct access to ULTRA-LOW.
  • HOLD (MODE) [~1 sec]  – Direct access to MOMENTARY TURBO.
  • HOLD (TAIL) – Direct access to MOMENTARY TURBO, releasing switch will switch OFF the light – progress bar will show remaining seconds left before HIGH will be activated instead.

From ON:

  • 1 Click (POWER) – Light will switch OFF.
  • 1 Click (MODE)  – Mode change (light cycles through ULTRA-LOW, LOW, MID & HIGH -> ULTRA-LOW, LOW, MID & HIGH). TURBO is not part of the mode change cycle.
    • LV. 1 is ULTRA-LOW.
    • LV. 2 is LOW.
    • LV. 3 is MID.
    • LV. 4 is HIGH.
  • HOLD (MODE) – Direct access to MOMENTARY TURBO, releasing switch will return to previous mode.

Note:

  • “LV.” for the OLED Display information is short for “Level”.
  • If OLED screen is not ON when during Mode Change, 1 Click (MODE) first to switch ON the OLED screen before another 1 Click (MODE) to switch modes.
  • There is no STROBE or SOS (blinky) modes for this light.

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).
    • Alternatively, viewing the OLED Display will show the current Mode, as seen below.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 till desired mode is activated.

Note:

  1. 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. The DEMO mode is an available option for those who prefer to not use the electronic lockout for this light.
  2. DEMO mode will show a 30 seconds countdown timer on the bottom left of the OLED Display.
    1. Switching ON the flashlight within 3 seconds after the 30 seconds, will put the flashlight into temporary DAILY mode until switch OFF.

Electronic Lockout

There are 2 Electronic Lockout mode options:

  1. Half Lockout (Lockout 1): POWER switches is locked out. MODE switch can still be used to activate MOMENTARY TURBO.
  2. Full Lockout (Lockout 2): All switches (MODE & POWER) are locked out.

From ON:

  • HOLD (POWER) till OLED display “Lockout 1 Logo” – Lockout 1 is activated, release POWER switch for Half Lockout mode only.
  • Continue HOLD (POWER) till OLED display “Lockout 2 Logo” – Lockout 2 is activated, release POWER switch for Full Lockout mode only.
  • 1 Click & HOLD (POWER) – Lockout is disabled (this works for Lockout 1 or 2) and light will switch ON in last used Mode. The OLED Display will show a “loading bar” style to indicate unlocking in progress.

Half Lockout (Lockout 1):

Full Lockout (Lockout 2):

Unlocking Electronic Lockout:

OLED Display

When the flashlight is ON, the OLED will display 5 types of information in the following sequence:

  1. Mode LV. Status, DAILY or DEMO Mode & Mode Level Lumens
  2. “Nitecore” brand wording
  3. Mode LV. Status, DAILY or DEMO Mode & Estimated Runtime on current Mode Level

For MOMENTARY TURBO mode, it will also display the MOMENTARY TURBO period (minutes).

Mode LV. Status, DAILY or DEMO Mode & Mode Level Lumens:

“Nitecore” brand wording:

Mode LV. Status, DAILY or DEMO Mode & Estimated Runtime on current Mode Level:

MOMENTARY TURBO:

Form Factor

The TUP is about the same size as most car key fobs and it borders on the line of being a little too large for keychain edc, with the included keychain clasp. That said, it falls nicely into a similar sized 18350 or CR123A-style EDC flashlight with the included fairly deep carry pocket clip.

This light feels rather well balanced and compact in a small to medium sized hand (not head/tail-heavy). Switching between overhand and underhand holding method is not easy due to its short form factor. There is no knurling on the light but the less conventional shape and pocket clip enables the light to be sufficiently “grippy”, even with wet hands/gloves.

It is not able to tail-stand with the protruding keychain attachment point on the tail.

Although the TUP has grown in size as compared to the TINI, the boost in maximum output (albeit a MOMENTARY TURBO one) might prove to be a great selling factor for Nitecore.

Charging Process

For a purely Micro-USB chargeable-only flashlight, it is a little strange that Nitecore did not include a Micro-USB cable as part of the provided accessories with its current MSRP price. Nonetheless, Micro-USB cables is probably one of the most commonly used cables in recent years (with the exception of USB-C and Lightning cables) so it is not that hard to get one on hand to charge up the TUP.

With an Olight-branded Micro-USB Cable, the battery was charging at ~0.38A.

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 limit the usage to “ULTRA-LOW” or “LOW” mode only, to ensure that the battery does get charged.

The slow blinking BLUE indicators on the MODE & POWER switches depict charging in progress and solid BLUE (no blinking) indicators depicts charging has completed. The OLED Display will show that the battery voltage is at 4.20V when fully charged.

Note: Charging will disable the Electronic Lockout modes.

Beam Style/Beamshots

For this light, the spill, corona and hotspot is somewhat predictable due to the TIR optics. Surprisingly, the LED is not covered under the TIR (Total Internal Reflection) optics. With the LED used, the beam is still relatively “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 fairly distinct hotspot with some slight corona and a fairly narrow (squarish style) spill, with most of the lumens output focused into the hotspot. It also helps that the LEDs are perfectly centred in this sample. There are some beam artifacts 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 sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB, MID: 0.6 sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB, HIGH: 1/2 sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB, and TURBO: 1/5 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 (15 lumens):

MID (65 lumens):

HIGH (200 lumens):

MOMENTARY TURBO (1000 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.

It would be nice if the 1000 lumens mode version was an actual TURBO mode, rather than a MOMENTARY TURBO mode. However, Nitecore probably went with a MOMENTARY TURBO instead, as a light of this size would start to get uncomfortably warm rather quickly.

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 most of the spill having a slight purple tint (the furthest end of the spill portion has a slight yellowish-green 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.

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 OLED display to show “Lockout 1 Logo” or “Lockout 2 Logo”.

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 disable Electronic LOCKOUT.

Quick Comparison to Nitecore TINI

DescriptionNitecore TUPNitecore TINI
LED UsedXP-L HDXP-G2
MOMENTARY TURBO Mode Output1000 Lumens380 Lumens
No. of Modes (Excluding Strobe, SOS & Beacon)5 Modes4 Modes
Max Beam Distance180m64m
Beam Intensity8,130cd1,020cd
Dimension (Length)70.3mm43.3mm
Dimension (Height)29.511.5mm
Dimension (Width)26.225.4mm
Weight (including battery)53.2g13.4g
OLED DisplayYesNo

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 and beam profile are not an issue for your usage.

The relatively small form factor with 1000 lumens burst output, informative OLED display, relatively deep carry pocket clip and direct access to MOMENTARY TURBO and ULTRA-LOW are all plus points for this flashlight. The built-in battery might seem as a major disadvantage to some but it helps decreases the overall size of the flashlight when compared to other 18350 or CR123A flashlights. The only thing would be that if Nitecore included a Micro-USB cable to make a full flashlight package (flashlight + battery + charger) and it would make the Nitecore TUP a good option for gifting purposes and such.

Here is a bonus size comparison picture with other Nitecore flashlights/headlamps.
From Left to Right: Nitecore TINI, Nitecore TUP, Nitecore HC65, Nitecore EC30, Nitecore P12GTS, Nitecore MH12GTS, Nitecore MH25GTS and Nitecore TM10K.

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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