Nitecore MH23 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

I’ve long been a fan of the Nitecore MH20/MH20GT format, and Nitecore has a new similar light in the series.  It’s the MH23, and Nitecore sent one over for review.  (And to be completely honest I’m pumped to have it.)


Official Specs and Features

Versions

There’s just one version of the MH23.  As I mentioned above this is the next in that line.

Price

Base price is $99.95, but at NitecoreStore.com there are a bunch of options (cell, adapters, etc) that bump the price a little.


Short Review

I just like this format.  It has a great feel in-hand.  The steps down from turbo are quick and noticeable, but the output and beam are good.

Long Review

What’s Included

  • Nitecore MH23
  • Nylon Pouch
  • Lanyard
  • Cable
  • Spare boot for charge port
  • Spare o-rings (2)
  • Manual and paperwork

20180203-IMG_0065.jpg

Package and Manual

Absolutely standard Nitecore package here.  Photo on the front, description/specs on the back.  It’s a good package.

And the manual is standard fare for Nitecore too.  Here’s a pdf, which I’ll say yet again I’m thankful to Nitecore for providing!

Build Quality and Disassembly

The Nitecore MH23 has a nice build quality.  It feels like a Nitecore.  The anodizing is good, and the threads are quite buttery.

20180203-IMG_0077.jpg

I’ve carried this light a good bit, and wear can be seen on the anodizing.  To be honest this doesn’t bother me.

20180203-IMG_0084.jpg

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Make no mistake, the head of this light is large.  It’ll head and tailstand, of course.

The MH23 has a brass button on the head, and a thick, long brass spring on the tailcap.  The light comes apart into three sections.  I wasn’t able to get the bezel off, so I can’t speak to emitter swap potential.  The threads on both ends are anodized (and again, very smooth.)

Size

Officially the light is 4.38″ long, and has an unspecified head diameter. The head is big (diameter), and long.

One thing I like about the MH23 is one of the things I like about many flashlights.  It looks ‘flashlighty.’  Below, the MH23 can be seen with two other flashlighty lights, and also the TorchLAB BOSS.

20180203-IMG_0085.jpg

Retention

The MH23 ships with a nylon pouch, which has a large plastic d-ring and, really is a very standard nylon pouch.

There’s also a pocket clip, which will attach for bezel up or bezel down carry.  The head is specially designed so that the clip will work in either orientation, but really most comfortably carries with bezel down orientation.

20180203-IMG_0076.jpg

Power

The MH23 is a 18650 light.  The head end has a brass button and there’s a large spring on the tailcap.  As a result, the MH23 works with any type 18650 (flat/ button; protected/ unprotected).  Seen below is a rather long Nitecore cell, which naturally sticks up this far.  The tailcap has long threads, and a cell sticking out this much isn’t a problem at all.  Nitecore does recommend a cell capable of 8A discharge.

20180203-IMG_0093.jpg

Here’s a runtime on Turbo.  As you can see, the stepdown from the claimed 1800 lumens is very, very fast.  The light will reset to Turbo, but it’s not “100%” Turbo.  All in all this makes the 1800 lumen claim not all that useful, even if true.

ecbW2i6.png

The MH23 also has on-board charging, via a micro-USB port on the head.  This is covered with a rubber boot, which presses in.  As far as I can tell in the product description doesn’t say at what speed the light charges, but my experience is charging settles at about half an amp.  The manual does say charging should take 6 hours.  My charging took over 8 hours.  This is slower than I would have expected, but I don’t mind charging my cells slowly.

20180203-IMG_0086.jpg

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The light also has a battery check feature.  When a cell is installed, the indicating side switch will blink the voltage.  For example: four blinks pause two blinks, = 4.2V.

It’s also possible to use two CR123/RCR123 cells in the MH23.

User Interface and Operation

There’s a single e-switch on the head of this light.  It’s a big, textured, indicating switch.  The indicator has two blue LEDs.  I quite like this switch.  It’s a double-action, responsive clicky switch.

20180203-IMG_0090.jpg

The blue is quite bright.

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Here’s a UI table!  It’s a very thorough UI, so stay with me.

State Action Result
 Off Click Mode Memory
 Off Half Click Turn beacon on or off
 Off Half Hold Ultra-low
 On Half Click Mode advance (L>H)
 Off Full Hold Momentary Turbo
 On Half Hold Momentary Turbo
 On Full Click Off
On Full Hold Strobe
Strobe Half Click Strobe advance (Strobe>SOS>Beacon)
Strobe Full Click Off
Strobe Group Half Hold Strobe

As far as I can tell, there is unfortunately no electronic lockout! The most minimal of turns on the tailcap will disconnect the cell, however.

Modes

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Mode Measured Lux Tailcap Amps
Turbo 1800 30m 34200 3.62
High 760 1h45m 16520 2.22
Mid 260 4h45m 5640 0.59
Low 55 19h 1019 0.15
Ultra-low 1 300h 36 0.016

LED and Beam

In the MH23 is a Cree XHP35 HD, and it’s under a smooth and deep reflector.  As you’d guess, this setup makes a beam with a fairly hot hotspot, but with a good bit of spill.

20180203-IMG_0083.jpg

Low is low, but not terribly low.

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I am not sure why this light wouldn’t get the Cree XHP35 HI.  It’s clearly intended as a pocket thrower, and the beam profile of the HI emitter would have suited this light much more.

Tint vs BLF-348

20180129-IMG_9847.jpg

Beamshots, Runtime, and Lux Measurements

Nitecore MH23
Emitter Cree XHP35 HD
Emitter Notes
Cell 18650
Glamour Shots Beamshots [0.3″, f/8, ISO 100, 5000k]
Runtime Chargetime
LVP? No
Claimed Lumens (lm) 1800
Lux (Measured) 1250 lux @ 3.802 m
Candela (Calculated) in cd 18069.0
Throw (Calculated) (m) 268.8
Throw (Claimed) (m) 294

Random Comparisons and Competitive Options….

There are a few direct competitors to the MH23. I’ve reviewed at least two of them, the Skilhunt S3 Pro (larger), and the Nitecore Concept 1 (smaller). I really liked the S3 Pro, and the Concept 1 is fairly good too. The S3 Pro outthrows the MH23 by a large margin, but it would – it has a much larger reflector. It’s also not pocketable at all, but charges at 1A. Either of these two would be good choices.

Conclusion

What I like

  • Size and shape is great
  • Throw good for a small light like this
  • Immediate output is great
  • Charging is extremely stable.

What I don’t like

  • Stepdown from turbo is very fast
  • Didn’t quite meet throw claims.

Up Next

I have a bunch of Olights in for review; I can’t wait to get into those!  I also have a couple of other lights, one by MecArmy, and one by Lumintop.  Lots of work left to do on those items, though.  Stay tuned!

Notes

  • This light was provided by NitecoreStore 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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