Nitefox UT25 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 handled a few Nitefox lights (here are those reviews).  Generally I’ve been impressed especially at their cost.  The UT25 is one of the newer offerings.  A dual switch ‘tactical’ light.  Here’s the review!


Official Specs and Features

Versions

There’s just one version of this light!

Price

The going price is around $40 – currently $42.90 on the Nitefox official amazon.com store.


Short Review

This is a sturdy light, and the dual switches are nice.  I like the simple UI, and the build quality is acceptable.  I’d like the price to ease down into the $30’s max for this to be a great value.

Long Review

What’s Included

  • Nitefox UT25 Tactical Flashlight
  • Nitefox 18650 cell
  • Nylon pouch
  • Charge cable
  • Lanyard
  • Spare o-ring
  • Paperwork

20180416-IMG_2451.jpg

Package and Manual

The Nitefox UT25 ships in a slip-fit cardboard box, with convenient grooves for easy opening.  There’s a bar code sticker to identify the light.

The manual is surprisingly comprehensive, and well written (in English).

Build Quality and Disassembly

The UT25 is a nicely built light.  The anodizing has a good feel.  Feels thick, and not cheap.  The knurling, which is diamond pattern, isn’t the highest quality knurling, but it’s not strictly bad.

20180416-IMG_2484.jpg

Overall this is a good quality mid-tier level light. The threads are anodized and of good quality (square cut with the right amount of lube).  There are fins on the head for heat dissipation.  The side switch is metal, and actually very nice.  The surface has machining such that there’s just the right amount of grip across the surface.  The edges are chamfered, and comfortable.

The tailcap has the typical retaining ring – in this case it’s aluminum. The spring here is long and springy (stiffish).  The body tube doesn’t separate from the head.  The head end had a brass button, not a spring (dual spring would probably be good for an actual tactical light).  The bezel unscrews off the head easily, but the reflector doesn’t come out this way.

Size

Officially the UT25 is 5.7 x 1.4 x 1.4 inches.

This is a feature-rich light, and has the size of a light like that. Here’s the UT25 beside the Klarus XT11GT, a very similar light.  The XT11GT has three switches (including a paddle switch on the tail).  Otherwise these are fairly similar lights!

Retention

The nylon pouch included with the light is pretty standard fare for pouches.  The light surprisingly fits either direction.  The belt loop has a snap, not just velcro.

Also included is a lanyard, which can connect on the tailcap, and also on a hole in the tactical ring.

Speaking of the tactical ring, it’s just a friction fit ring, not threaded on or anything.  However, it doesn’t really spin freely.

And of course there’s the pocket clip, which fits only on the tail end of the light.  The clip doesn’t interfere with the tactical ring at all, and is not in the least bit a deep carry clip.

20180416-IMG_2482

Power

There are two options for powering the UT25.  Primarily, a single 18650 (which is included).  Secondarily, two CR123a’s may be used.  No working voltage is mentioned in the manual, and as a result I wouldn’t trust using two 18350’s, or 16340’s.

With a spring on one end and a button on the other, any type cell should work fine in this light.

The runtime on turbo is nothing to write home about.  Essentially after the turbo drop (probably a timed stepdown), the output consistently falls off very likely tracking cell voltage.  There’s even a second stepdown (suspiciously at exactly 100 minutes), and when I stopped the runtime, the cell voltage was 2.67V.  The light does not shut off, but the side switch does flash red to indicate that cell voltage is low.

Runtime.png

Temperature in the graph above bounces around tracking room temperature; actual light temperature never really blips too high at all.

The second “Power” feature of the UT25 is on-board charging.  It’s not proprietary – it’ll charge any regular 18650.  (And since you shouldn’t use any rechargeable short cells 2-up in this light anyway, I don’t have to give you the usual “don’t charge cells in series” warning.)

Charging proceeds at around 0.8A, which isn’t bad.  The charge port is plugged with a rubber boot.  It’s a little difficult to pick out (which is probably the better option than being very easy to get out.)

Chargetime.png

Note that charging will only occur if the tailswitch is in the “on” position.  This is required because of the mechanical nature of the switch – if it’s not on, then the circuit isn’t complete.

There’s also a built in battery check!  Read about that in the UI section, though.

User Interface and Operation

There are two switches.  There’s a tail clicky – a forward mechanical switch.  It has a rounded rubber boot, and has the usual clickiness from these switches.

20180416-IMG_2480.jpg

The other switch is a metal side indicating e-switch.  Quite a feature rich switch!

20180416-IMG_2483.jpg

The UI is very simple.  The tail switch controls on/off.  With this switch off, nothing can happen (including charging).  Since it’s a forward clicky, there is a momentary option.  Once this switch is clicked into the “on” position, the side switch takes over.

Here’s a UI table!

State Action Result
 Off Click (Tail Switch) On (mode memory)
 Off Half Press (TS) Momentary (mode memory)
 Off Any (Side Switch) No action
 On Click (SS) Mode advance (LMH*)
 On Hold (SS) Strobe
 Strobe Click (SS) Previous regular mode
 Strobe Hold (SS) Strobe Advance (Disorienting, SOS, [Unnamed mode**]
 Off Hold (SS), Press (TS) Battery check ***
 On Double click (SS) No action

* Yes the manual says HML but my experience is LMH.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
** Unnamed strobe is weird.  It’s basically: every 5 seconds, fade from off to on (~50%) to off.  The manual doesn’t mention it, either.
*** Battery check!!  What a nice feature on a kind of random light!  And it’s clever too.  Green blinks the “ones” of Volts, and red blinks the tenths!  So 4 green then 1 red = 4.1V cell voltage.  Very clever, and I really like this.

Modes

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Mode Measured Lux Tailcap Amps
High 1380 1.5h 20800 3.19
Medium  300 3.8h 12400 1.41
Low 30 120h 967 0.07

LED and Beam

It’s noteworthy that the manual seems to say that the emitter here is the Cree XP-L2.  I think it’s actually a Cree XP-L HD, and that’s really the more logical emitter for this light.  Not because it’s better than the XP-L2, just that it’s much more common and a bit more budget friendly (due to ubiquity) than the newer XP-L2.

20180416-IMG_2479.jpg

20180416-IMG_2494.jpg

Tint vs BLF-348

20180410-IMG_1804.jpg

Beamshots, Runtime, and Lux Measurements

Nitefox UT25
Emitter  Cree XP-L HD
Emitter Notes
Cell 18650
Glamour Shots Beamshots [0.3″, f/8, ISO 100, 5000k]
Runtime Chargetime
LVP? Switch Warning
Claimed Lumens (lm) 1180
Lux (Measured) 939 lux @ 4.151 m
Candela (Calculated) in cd 16179.7
Throw (Calculated) (m) 254.4
Throw (Claimed) (m)  –

Random Comparisons and Competitive Options….

Cree XP-L HD lights are plentiful.  Dual switch lights are plentiful.  Lights with on-board charging are numerous.  This is really a saturated field, indeed.  This is a solid offering for a reasonable cost.  A complete package (cell included!) with on-board charging for around $40 is a fairly good deal!

Conclusion

What I like

  • Clever Battery check
  • Complete package including cell
  • On-board charging quality is respectable

What I don’t like

  • Build quality could be a touch better, or the price a touch lower
  • Tactical ring is unnecessary.  (Doesn’t really seem like much of a tactical light)
  • Mode memory

Up Next

I have another Nitefox light, but that’s unlikely to happen this week.  Due to travel, being sick, and getting back in to Fallout 4, reviews have slowed a bit.  I do have an exciting few items from a new supplier, which I’m excited to get into!

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. It’s possible to subscribe and get notifications when the sheet is edited!!

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