Nitefox UT20 Flashlight Review

Preface
Official Specs
Versions
Price
Short Review
Long Review
  What's Included
  Manual and Packaging
  Build Quality and Durability
  Size
  Retention
  Power
  User Interface and Operation
  Modes
  LED and beam
  Tint vs...
  Beamshots, Runtime, etc table.
  Comparisons
Conclusion
  What I like
  What I don't like
Up Next
Notes

Preface

This is the second (and final for now) Nitefox review.  This is an 18650 light with dual switches, and an indicating switch.  Nice light; read on for more!


Official Specs and Features

(That link does seem to be dead at the moment.)

Versions

Only one.  There’s an option which includes a cell, though.

Price

$30 without cell, $37 with cell.


Short Review

This is a decent quality light, and for the feature set contained, a good value.

Long Review

What’s Included

  • Nitefox UT20 Flashlight
  • Charge cable
  • Nylon pouch
  • Spare o-ring (2)
  • Spare boot
  • Spare charge port cover
  • Lanyard
  • Tactical ring
  • Manual and paperwork

20180123-IMG_9777.jpg

Package and Manual

The Nitefox ships in a nice slip-fit cardboard box, with a great relief for grabbing to separate the halves.  The box is largely without printing.  Foam protects the contents.

The manual is good enough.  It has a table with runtime and output estimates, and the other usual warranty and UI information is included.

20180123-IMG_9782.jpg

Build Quality and Disassembly

There’s nothing to nitpick about the quality of this light.  It feels just fine, and at $30, the build quality is good.  The glossy anodizing seems resilient, and the knurling is ok (but not very grippy).

20180123-IMG_9787.jpg

The light is quite long, and there are a lot of different textures going on.

The cell tube separates from the head and tail.  The cell tube is not reversible – it’ll only work in one orientation (see photo above for that).  The head and tail both have very small springs for contact.  Minimally stiff.

The thread on both ends are very nice square cut anodized threads, with a fair amount of thick lube.

The switch end has an aluminum retaining ring which unscrews.  The head on the other hand, looks to have a press fit driver, and might pose some challenges to remove (as do many lights with on-board charging.)

Size

I measure the light at about 14cm x 2.5cm.

This light is a bit long, to be sure.  Much longer than the Convoy S2+.

Retention

The UT20 has included a nylon pouch.  It’s a fine (and typical) pouch, and the light will fit in the pouch in either direction.

The lanyard holes for the included lanyard are in the tailcap.  One on each side, and they’re different, too.

No pocket clip is included (!!), but there is a tactical ring, to which a lanyard may also be attached.  There’s a smoothed spot on the body tube just for this.

Unfortunately the light doesn’t tailstand (reliably).

20180123-IMG_9786.jpg

Power

Power is provided by a single 18650 cell.  The manual doesn’t mention support for higher than 4.2V, so I wouldn’t push my luck with 2x 18350 or anything else 2-up.

Since the light has dual springs, it’ll work with any type 18650 without issue.

20180123-IMG_9801.jpg

The runtime is unfortunately very unimpressive.  It seems to indicate no regulation at all, and the output simply tracks the cell voltage through the runtime.  The side switch does provide low voltage warning, and I stopped this runtime after that, at 2.8V.

Runtime.png

There’s also on-board charging, via micro-USB.  The port is sturdy, and covered by a rubber boot.

20180123-IMG_9791.jpg

The boot is fairly thick.

20180123-IMG_9792

Charging looks much better than the runtime looked, and takes place at around 0.85A.  I can’t explain the first 50 minutes, but once the light gets up to max charge rate, it’s very steady.  This is a good CC/CV charge program.  You’ll need to click the tail switch for charging to happen…. (it’s a mechanical clicky, so the system needs it in the “on” position so that there’s a closed loop).

Chargetime.png

User Interface and Operation

The UT20 has two switches:  A side e-switch with indicating led, and a mechanical tail switch.

20180123-IMG_9796.jpg

The tail switch has a bit of (what I’d call) a ‘tactical dome’.  It’s a forward clicky, so there’s a intrinsic momentary option.

20180123-IMG_9793.jpg

The indicating side switch will tell the cell power, as follows:
Green: >20% power
Red: Between 10 and 20%
Red flashing: <10% power remaining

20180123-IMG_9805.jpg

Here’s a UI table!  This is for the non-tactical option.

State Action Result
Off Click Tail Switch (TS) On (mode memory)
Off Click Side Switch (SS) No action
On Click TS Off
Off Soft press TS Momentary (Mode memory)
On Long press SS Strobe
On Click SS Mode advance (Moon, LMHT)
On Long Press (>3s) SS Switch mode group

 

The tactical group is simpler – The side switch does nothing.  The tail switch comes on in High (and resets after a few seconds, back to high).  If clicked quickly, it cycles H, Strobe, L.

Strangely (in either group), the tail switch causes a bit of medium-ish preflash, no matter the mode.  I found this to be a bit off-putting, as most flashes are.

Modes

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Mode Measured Lux Tailcap Amps
High 1080 1h 18730  1.52
 Medium 300 6h 7330  0.93
 Low 60 28h 2070  0.20
 Moon 1 480h 28 0.007
 Strobe 1080  –

LED and Beam

The UT20 has a Cree XM-L2 emitter, and a smooth, moderately deep reflector. The beam is quite tight, but still has some spill.

20180123-IMG_9798.jpg

Tint vs BLF-348

20180129-IMG_9866.jpg

Beamshots, Runtime, and Lux Measurements

Nitefox UT20
Emitter Cree XM-L2
Emitter Notes
Cell 18650
Glamour Shots Beamshots [0.3″, f/8, ISO 100, 5000k]
Runtime Chargetime
LVP? Switch warning and Flash, shutoff ~2.6V
Claimed Lumens (lm) 1080
Lux (Measured) 847 lux @ 3.609 m
Candela (Calculated) in cd 11032.1
Throw (Calculated) (m) 210.1
Throw (Claimed) (m) 350

Random Comparisons and Competitive Options….

There are quite a few lights in this category, many which also support 2-up cells.  The Nitecore MH12, for example, is a nice competitor (in fact they practically share a body design).  Even more similar is the Thrunite TC12 v2, which I reviewed here.  All of these are good choices, but the Nitefox is less expensive.  I don’t expect any of these others have preflash, though.

Conclusion

What I like

  • Charging is good
  • Indicating side switch
  • Good build quality

What I don’t like

  • Preflash
  • Light is very long
  • Can’t tailstand

Up Next

That’s all for this week!  Next week I have on tap a Nitecore MH23, a Klarus thrower, and possibly another JETBeam, with an emitter I’ve never seen before!

Notes

  • This light was provided by Nitefox for review. I was not paid to write this review.
  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.wordpress.com.  Please visit there for the best experience!
  • Whether or not I have a coupon for this light, I do have a bunch of coupons!!  Have a look at my spreadsheet for those coupons.  Note I’ve upgraded that sheet so that now, you may subscribe and get notifications when the sheet is edited!!

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