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Thread: Niwalker NWK220 (1x18650, XP-E) "Thrower" Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO +

  1. #1

    Wink2 Niwalker NWK220 (1x18650, XP-E) "Thrower" Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO +

    Warning: pic heavy, as usual.

    As with my NWK750, this is an engineering sample review.





    Niwalker is a new manufacturer, based in Taiwan. They claim to have several years' experience manufacturing flashlights (including for Tiablo). The NWK220 is their second model to be produced under their own name.

    Manufacturer's Specifications: PENDING
    • LED: Cree XP-E
    • Max output 220 lumens
    • Working voltage is 3V-8.4V.
    • MSRP: unknown

    I don't have a lot of details on this light yet, only what Niwalker has informed me of above.



    The sample came in a traditional cardboard box with cut-out cardboard packing inserts, and a good quality wrist lanyard. Only a single-stage tailcap came with my sample, but I understand they plan to offer a multi-mode tailcap comparable to the one in my NWK750 review.



    From left to right: Redilast Protected 18650; Niwalker 220; Tiablo A9; 4Sevens Maelstrom G5; Dereelight DBS V2

    All dimensions are given with no batteries installed:

    Niwalker 220: Weight: 162.5g, Length: 164mm, With (bezel): 44.6mm
    4Sevens G5: Weight: 145.5g, Length: 156mm, Width (bezel): 38.9mm,
    Lumintop TD-15: Weight: 139.2g, Length 148.7mm, Width (bezel): 37.8mm





    The overall styling is similar to the NWK750, but on a much smaller scale. Build feels high quality and solid – slightly larger and heavier than typical for this class. The head is definitely larger than most lights, with a deep smooth reflector for maximum throw.

    Anodizing is a matte black finish, with no nicks or scratches on my sample. There is some knurling on the light, in bands on the tailcap and below the bezel, but it is not very aggressive. Main grip features come from a series of concentric ridges along the body. Lettering is bright white against the background (although there is a font change on the tailcap).

    There are clip/lanyard attachment points on the tailcap, and the light can tailstand. Screw threads are anodized for tailcap lockout. Although the threads are standard triangular cut, they seem fairly thick and of good quality.

    Light has a beveled stainless steel bezel ring. There is a spring in the head, allowing you to use the newer high-capacity flat-top 18650 cells. All my flat-top 18650 cells worked fine in the light.

    Like the NWK750, the 220 is expected to come with two tailcap options – a standard single-stage forward clicky "tactical" switch (shown above), and an optional reverse-clicky multi-mode "general" purpose switch. An engineering sample of the current multi-mode tailcap design was presented in my NWK750 review – they plan to standardize a common final shipping version between the two models. Last I heard, this multi-mode switch should consist of the choice of two sets of output modes (see below for a description).

    User Interface

    The standard switch is simplicity itself – it is a forward tailcap clicky, so press for momentary on, click and release for locked on.

    The NWK750 engineering sample multi-mode tailcap they sent me for evaluation used a reverse clicky, and cycled between Hi > Lo > Strobe > Off, in repeating sequence. On that sample, you had to wait ~4 secs before turning the light Off, or it would instead advance to the next mode (this is too long, IMO). There was no memory mode, and the light always comes back on at Hi (I would prefer a memory mode).

    The design of the common multi-mode tailcap is still in development. Niwalker informs me that the final version will likely have two sets of modes. They plan to set one mode as Low (5%) – Med (30%) – High (100%), and the other mode as Low – Med – High – SOS - Strobe. This multi-mode switch will have mode set memory, and you will be able to switch between the mode sets by pressing and holding the switch for two seconds.

    Niwalker has explicitly asked for feedback on this proposed multi-mode switch design, so please speak up!

    For a more detailed examination of the build and standard switch user interface, please see my video overview:



    Video was recorded in 720p, but YouTube defaults to 360p. Once the video is running, you can click on the 360p icon in the lower right-hand corner, and select the higher 480p to 720p options, or even run full-screen.

    PWM/Strobe

    There is no sign of PWM on the single-stage switch, as expected.

    The multi-stage switch will use PWM, but Niwalker is hoping to get the frequency up to the 2 kHz range on the final shipping version. Note however that the early engineering sample multi-mode switch they sent me on the NWK750 had visible ~250 Hz PWM.

    Beamshots:



    (sorry for the dust, it is on the outside of the light)

    The NWK220 uses a Cool White XP-E emitter, well centered on my sample (with a white centering disc around it). Reflector is smooth finish and extremely deep – one of the deepest I've seen in a light this size (likely accounting for the overall length of the NWK220). Throw is likely to be very good, with a small well-defined hotspot.

    And now, what you have all been waiting for. All lights are on 1xAW protected 18650, about ~0.75 meter from a white wall (with the camera ~1.25 meters back from the wall). Automatic white balance on the camera, to minimize tint differences.













    As expected, the light has a very small and tight hotspot. Throw is excellent for the class, but overall output is lower than some of the more recent XP-G or XM-L lights.

    Outdoor beamshots will be coming soon, check back for updates.

    Testing Method:

    All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, a la Quickbeam's flashlightreviews.com method. You can directly compare all my relative output values from different reviews - i.e. an output value of "10" in one graph is the same as "10" in another. All runtimes are done under a cooling fan, except for any extended run Lo/Min modes (i.e. >12 hours) which are done without cooling.

    I have recently devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values (ROV) to estimated Lumens. See my How to convert Selfbuilt's Lighbox values to Lumens thread for more info.

    Throw/Output Summary Chart:

    My summary tables are reported in a manner consistent with the ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. Please see http://www.sliderule.ca/FL1.htm for a description of the terms used in these tables.







    Niwalker's ANSI FL-1 output specs seem to be very accurate for this light. Throw is excellent for the class.

    Output/Runtime Comparison:







    I have only have the single-stage switch to examine, but output and runtime seem exactly what you would expect for a typical XP-E-based light on 1x18650.

    On 2x battery sources, runtimes seem a little on the low side for the output level.

    Potential Issues

    Multi-mode tailcap is still in the development stage, and the final shipping version is not known. Niwalker is seeking input from members on the design, and I have made some suggestions in the NWK750 review thread. Feel free to jump in with your own suggestions!

    In keeping with the XP-E emitter and large deep reflector, the hotspot is smaller and brighter than most lights in this class. But max output is lower than all the XP-G lights I've tested in this size light.

    Light rolls easily, as there are no indentations to serve as anti-roll stops.

    The light lacks knurling as such, although the various build elements do help with grip.

    Preliminary Observations

    Like the NWK750, this review is of an engineering sample. Niwalker specifically wants feedback for the final shipping versions. As I mentioned in that earlier review, I commend Niwalker on this approach. If everyone field-tested their models with reviewers ahead of time, we would likely have a lot fewer buggy initial launches.

    Like the NWK750, the physical build of the 220 is solid and of high quality. While not as bulky as NWK750, the 220 is still a substantial light for the class (i.e., not a pocket light). The large head and reflector – coupled with the tiny XP-E emitter – means you get excellent focused throw.

    The standard single-stage tailcap worked well in my testing. Niwalker is continuing their refinement of the multi-mode tailcap. The idea of swappable tailcap designs for different types of output control is interesting, but the is always in the details (e.g., what will be the final PWM frequency, and the control sequence and timings?). I made my comments in the NWK750 review thread, but I encourage everyone to voice their opinions here.

    As a thrower, the 220 certainly performs admirably – matching or exceeding the throw of all my XP-G lights in this size. But note that overall output is lower than all those XP-G lights.

    I am sure Niwalker will be interested to hear your thoughts about the demand for a XP-E-based thrower in the 1x18650, 2xRCR/CR123A class of lights.

    ----

    NWK220 provided by Niwalker for review.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. New: Selfbuilt's Summer Sale!
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

  2. #2
    kj2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Niwalker NWK220 (1x18650, XP-E) "Thrower" Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO +

    Thanks

  3. #3
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Niwalker NWK220 (1x18650, XP-E) "Thrower" Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO +

    Imagine they come out with the collimator head for this little monster. It throws really well. From what I remember, the best theoretical thrower is an XP-E/Apsheric driven hard. How hard did they drive this light?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Niwalker NWK220 (1x18650, XP-E) "Thrower" Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO +

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiresius View Post
    Imagine they come out with the collimator head for this little monster. It throws really well. From what I remember, the best theoretical thrower is an XP-E/Apsheric driven hard. How hard did they drive this light?
    I don't know how hard the emitter is driven directly. But as you can tell from the output levels, it is not very highly-driven compared to others in this class.

    Of course, that is just the engineering sample I reviewed here - I don't know what final production/shipping will look like.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. New: Selfbuilt's Summer Sale!
    Gratefully accepting donations to my battery fund.

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