Nitecore TIP2017 Keychain Light Review

Preface

This light was originally sent to u/mcfarlie6996 by Nitecore, but life got in the way and he handed it off to me.  Bonus is that he handed two off to me, so in the days to come one of those will go to live with one of you guys!!

The Tip2017 is an update to the other tips out there, and I gave it a bit of a test to see what’s up.

I’ll add that all I got was the lights themselves, so this review will be abbreviated, since there are some sections I don’t have info on.  And I did review the Tip Winter Edition already, which you can see here (and really much of the verbiage from that review is used here – but I have taken new photos and runtimes etc).


Official Specs and Features

Versions

There are seven colorways for the Tip2017, and also a TIP2017 CRI (which looks to be available in all the same 7 colors, too.

Note that the Tip2017 has a big “2017 Version” in a big red square on the box.  Be sure you grab the one you intend to grab!

MSRP

$29.95.


Short Review

A nice update, notable for the inclusion of a pocket clip, which serves multi-functional duty as a pocket clip, a button cover, and a micro-USB port cover.  The same great Tip as before, and it’s gotten better.

Long Review

Pictures

Photo album, runtime, chargetime, and beamshots.

Build Quality and Disassembly

The TIP2017 has a very nice feel – I’ll say again how glad I am that these are metal bodies, not plastic (like the Tube). The rating is IP54, which is “dust resistant” and “splash resistant”. For what it is, that’s good enough (but barely). I’d love to see a fully waterproof version of this light.

01 - Bh3qgus.jpg

The clip really adds a fair amount of functionality to this light.  I’ll talk more about how it works later but suffice to say, it’s a fairly congruous addition to the same ol’ Tip.

The body is sandwiched together by 4 Phillips screws on each side of the body. Removing those screws isn’t quite as rewarding as you might expect. The bezel seems to hold on to the body parts in some way. I hope to eventually find out how, because I’ll probably swap in a 3500K Nichia 219C to this light. The bezel is either press fit, or more likely screwed in.

Note that the body of the light itself does not indicate that this is the “Tip 2017” – it says only “TIP.”  (A quick way to check which you have is holding both buttons to see if it flashes between mode groups.)

07 - IgmEJ8R.jpg

Size

Length is 60.8 mm, and it weights 23.5g. It’s a fair bit bigger than the Nitecore Tube, a light I never really loved. The size makes it great for dropping into a pocket.  It will fit easily in a coin pocket, and is long enough that it should be easy to grasp for retrieval.

Retention

Mooooooost importantly:  This Tip has a clip.  I’m disappointed they didn’t call this one the TIP CLIP.  But credit to Nitecore for iterating the name.  I like date iterations, too, so I find “Tip 2017” to be a great name, even if they didn’t include “clip” in there.

The clip is plastic and stays attached by hugging the light.  The metal body has little divots to hold the light in any of the 4 directional possibilities.  The clip works nicely to cover the activation switches, which should (and has, for me) effectively prevent accidental activation. It also manages to keep from adding too much bulk.  Its a good-enough clip.

I can say that if the clip is designed as a means to prevent accidental activation (and it is), then it can’t really be used as it’s use namesake – a pocket clip.  Because then you have the clip itself pressing the pocket cloth (or whatever) into the buttons.  So at that point the clip actually becomes more of a housing, and not a clip.  I do like it for preventing accidental activation, but if I’m using it as a clip, then I’ll have it on the opposite side from the buttons, which obliterates it’s usefulness as a button shield.

There’s a very nice loop on the tail end of the light. And it’s not just any loop, it’s a well build loop that is attached to both sides of the body (remember I said the body splits down the middle after removing the screws). So the split ring attach point securely holds on to both parts of the body.

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There’s no magnet, though, I bet inside the body there’s room for a magnet that’ll hold this light securely.

The TIP will tailstand easily, and it’ll headstand too (though I’m not sure why you’d want to).

Power

The Tip2017 is powered by an internal (integrated) lithium ion flat cell.  This cell is charged via the built-in micro-USB port.  Here’s a charging graph of that event, indicating that the cell is somewhere around 580mAh (higher than the quoted 500mAh, which is nice).

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Furthermore, the cell is charged at a fairly high and steady rate (~0.45A). When the light is charging, the indicating switch(es?) light. Red if it’s charging, green if charging is complete.

And here’s a runtime graph.  Of course this is in the Constant-On group (because the Daily group would have shut off after 30 seconds!).  There are two runs:  Turbo and High.  Turbo steps down fairly quickly (30 seconds-ish, as Nitecore states) and it steps down to exactly High.

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User Interface and Operation

There are two black square buttons, both with indicating leds (or one led between the two, more likely). One is labeled with power symbol, and the other has 4 dashes – this is the “mode” button. It’s not really possible to feel the difference (in pocket, for example) based on these symbols. Both of these buttons are very clicky, thought they interestingly have a slightly different click. It isn’t a bad click strictly speaking, but it’s in no way quiet.

The new Tip comes with a new UI, too.  In this variation, there are two mode groups entirely.  One is “Daily” (factory default) and one is “Constant-On” mode.  To switch between these two, hold both switches until the light flashes.  One flash = Daily; two flashes = Constant-On.  Mode groups may be changed while the light is off, as well as on.  If on, the light will still be on in the same output as before.

In Daily, the light will turn off after 30 seconds. In Constant, the light will stay on until the power switch is pressed again.

In either group, click the Mode button (three lines) to cycle L>M>H.  There is mode memory in both groups, so that the light will come on in whatever state it was last in.

In either group, hold (>0.6s) the Mode button for Turbo, or the Power button for Low.

In either group,the Tip2017 will stepdown from turbo after 30 seconds (and if you’re in Daily mode, the light should then shut off.)

There’s a power indicating option:  Click the Mode button while the light is off, and the switches (not the main emitter) will flash  according to cell charge.

3 flashes, cell is >50%
2 flashes, cell is below 50%
1 flash, cell is below 10%

Nitecore says it’ll take approximately 2 hours to charge the tip.  I found that to be about right, but even a little high.  It only took 100 minutes for me to charge from depleted.

There may be some further nuances to the UI, so I’d recommend checking the manual.  This is by far the most advanced Tip UI, so it’s worth having a look at.

TIP TIPCRI 2017-UM_Page_2.jpg

LED and Beam

This Tip2017 uses a Cree XP-G2, as the other non-CRI Tips do.  The outputs are largely the same, with the minor exception of an imperceptible bump at the Mid mode.  The beam as you’d expect, is very floody due to the small orange peel reflector – Probably the ideal beam profile for a keychain light.

Beamshots, Runtime, and Lux Measurements

Brand Nitecore
Model Tip2017
Emitter Cree XP-G2
Emitter Notes
Cell Internal
Runtime Internal
Chargetime Internal
Beamshots [0.3″, f/8, ISO 100, 5000k] Internal
Claimed Lumens (lm) 360
Lux (Measured) 470
At (m) 1.538
Candela (Calculated) in cd 1111.76
Throw (Calculated) (m) 66.69
Throw (Claimed) (m) 74

I’m interested in making this table ^ better.  I’m open to your ideas.

Random Comparisons and Competitive Options….

Nitecore makes some of their own competition in this category. The Tube, the Thumb, and the variations on those two lights, make this a big category. Then there is the Mecarmy SGN3, a very similar light with more leds, and a shallower reflector. It’s rated for half the lumens of the TIP, and for a much higher cost. There is a Surefire variant.
(And in case you’re interested in my opinion, I like the three emitter options on the SGN3, but not at the added cost. I’d probably pick this TIP for price considerations, and the dual switch).

The Manker Lad is still a competitor in this category and it’s quite compelling. It has a more featured UI, more emitters (including red) and a sealed port for the micro-USB charging. It’s a worthy contender. I’d still love to compare these two lights in person!

Conclusion

I think the TIP2017 is a nice iteration on the Tip, and I’m glad this light now has a clip.  I still think it’s a nice backup or keychain light. The cool tint on this one, makes it one I might not carry that often, but it’s a well built useful little light.

What I like

  • Metal body
  • Two mode groups add versatility
  • Quite bright for size
  • Indicating switches
  • Dual switches
  • Nichia option

What I don’t like

  • Just not in love with the clip.  It’s a bit bulky.  Glad it’s there, though, and I’m not sure how I could improve the design….

Up Next

Stiiilllllll working on the TorchLabs BOSS.  Probably drop a non-flashlight on you next (Harnds Flipper knife, most likely, though the Xtar Pacer is almost finished too.)

Notes

  • This light was provided by Nitecore at no cost to me.
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