Warning: even more pic heavy than usual!
Niwalker is a new Taiwanese flashlight maker (at least under their own name – they apparently used to be an OEM manufacturer for Tiablo). I have previously reviewed a couple of engineering samples of their inaugural 750 model – a high-output, thrower-style 2x18650 light. This review will look at the final shipping version, known as the 750N1.
To differentiate the shipping 750N1 from the early engineering samples, I will refer to the last pre-production version I tested as the "NWK750 ES-II" in this review.
Note: as always, these are only what the manufacturer/dealers report. To see my actual testing results, scroll down the review.
- LED : Cree XM-L U2 50,000 life span
- Output: High: 720, Mid: 220, Low: 80 lumens ANSI standard
- Run Time: High 1.5hrs, Mid 4.5hrs, Low 12hrs
- Operation: Head tightened High/Low, Loosened High/Mid/Low/strobe with mode memory
- Reflector: Smooth polished reflector creates maximum throw
- Waterproof: IPX-8 standard
- Working Voltage: 2.7V-9V
- Dimensions: Length: 263mm Bezel diameter: 59mm Body diameter:33mm
- Weight: 380g
- Light Body: Made of durable aircraft-grade aluminum
- Body Finish: HA III Mil Spec hard anodized mat black
- Lens: Toughened ultra-clear glass lens
- Product Character: Rugged construction, long throw and user defined output
- Lockout: Assures the 750N1 will not inadvertently turn on
- Design Features: Specially designed for security, military, police, law enforcement, hunting, search & rescue and outdoor sports
- To operate the light, press the switch lightly for momentary on and fully pressed for constant on. When the head is tightened you can choose High or Low, when the head is loosened for High/Mid/Low/Strobe with memory. The 750N1 gives warning blink when battery dropped below to 3V for 1-18650, 6V for 2-18650. Please charge the batteries in time for your using purpose.
- MSRP: $155
Inside the cardboard box with packing foam you will find the light, 2x18650 battery extender, belt pouch/holster, wrist lanyard, extra o-rings, spare GITD boot cover, warranty and manual. The belt holster will fit either length (i.e., the bottom extends beyond the holster)
From left to right: AW Protected 18650; Karus XT30; Jetbeam M1X V2; Niwalker 750N1, NWK750 Engineering Sample II; Crelant 7G5-V2; Sunwayman T40CS.
Actual Measured Dimensions
All dimensions were personally measured, and are given with no batteries installed:
Niwalker 750N1: Weight: 408.0g, Length: 269mm, Width (bezel): 58.6mm
Niwalker NWK750 ES-II: Weight: 396.8g, Length: 264mm, Width (bezel): 59.0mm
Sunwayman T40CS: Weight: 296.7g, Length 227, Width (bezel): 63.5mm
JetBeam BC40: Weight: 226.3g, Length: 224mm, Width (bezel): 48.5mm
Tiablo A60G: Weight: 297.8g, Length: 256mm, Width (bezel): 56.8mm
Thrunite Catapult V3: Weight: 434.8g, Length: 254mm, Width (bezel) 58.0mm, Width (tailcap) 35.1mm.
The 750N1 is a very substantial light – second only to my Thrunite Catapult V3 in overall weight and body thickness. It is also marginally longer than the Catapult. Definitely beefy!
Styling has been updated from my earlier engineering samples, and the 750N1 now sports a lot of different body elements. Anodizing remains a matt black finish (type III/hard anodized), with no nicks or scratches on my sample. Knurling has been added at a couple of points, but it is fairly smooth. Still, with all the body elements, I would describe overall grip as good.
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. On the Engineering Samples, I had difficulty with some of my wider protected cells (i.e., inner body tube diameter was a bit too narrow for them), but everything fit fine here on the shipping 750N1.
There is a clip/lanyard attachment point on the tailcap, and the light can tailstand stably.
Screw threads are anodized for tailcap lockout. The threads use a triangular cut, they are thick and of good quality. Tailcap uses a forward clicky switch.
Turn the light off/on by forward clicky switch in the tail (i.e. press for momentary, click for locked-on).
To switch between possible output states, loosen or tighten the head against body/battery tube. With the head tight, you have the choice of Hi or Lo, and with the head lose you get the choice of Hi > Med > Lo > Strobe, in repeating sequence. Switch between the modes by flashing the tailswitch, or clicking off-on quickly.
The light does have mode memory, but you have to wait a fairly lengthy ~5 secs after turning the light off before re-activating, or you will advance to the next mode instead.
I suspect many would prefer the light be single-mode Hi when fully tightened. I understand from the dealer that Niwalker is planning to make that change.
For more information on the light, including the build and user interface, please see my new video overview:
As always, videos were recorded in 720p, but YouTube typically defaults to 360p. Once the video is running, you can click on the configuration settings icon and select the higher 480p to 720p options. You can also run full-screen.
I see no visual evidence of PWM on the 750N1, and my oscilloscope setup finds no evidence either.
I did observe some frequency noise (~17 kHz) on the Lo and Med levels:
This circuit noise not visible to the eye, however. The light appears flicker-free at all levels.
The 705N1 has a strobe mode of 7.6 Hz:
The 750N1 uses a Cool White XM-L emitter, well centered on my samples (with a white centering disc around it). Reflector is smooth finish and extremely deep – one of the deepest I've seen (likely accounting for the overall length of the 750N1). Throw is likely to be very good.
And now, what you have all been waiting for. All lights are on 2xAW 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.
Note: The 2nd generation engineering sample is labeled as "NWK750-II" below.
The 750N1 seems pretty similar in output and beam pattern to the 2nd generation engineering sample. As you would expect for such a deep reflector, you get excellent throw, with a fairly narrow spillbeam.
One interesting feature about this light is how well it performs on a single 1x18650. Here is a direct comparison:
The 750N1 is one of the brightest and best-throwing 1x18650 lights I've seen to date. Scroll down to my summary tables for detailed comparison specs.
Of course, these sorts of reviews are never complete without outdoor beamshots. These are all done in the style of my earlier 100-yard round-up review. Please see that thread for a discussion of the topography (i.e. the road dips in the distance, to better show you the corona in the mid-ground).
To start, here are some shots of the second NWK750 engineering sample that I tested (which looks exactly the same on Hi):
And now a new comparison, including a zoomed view of the hotspot. Please ignore the red-tint in the lower-right corner of the first panel of shots (I was wearing a brighter-than-usual red headlamp during this excursion ).
As mentioned above, spillbeam width is narrower than typical, due to the deeper than usual reflector. But you certainly get plenty of throw.
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 devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values (ROV) to estimated Lumens. See my How to convert Selfbuilt's Lightbox 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.flashlightreviews.ca/FL1.htm for a discussion, and a description of all the terms used in these tables. Effective July 2012, I have updated all my Peak Intensity/Beam Distance measures with a NIST-certified Extech EA31 lightmeter (orange highlights).
The 750N1 is quite not as heavily driven as some of 2x18650 lights I've tested, but it is still quite respectable for the class (i.e., you aren't likely to be able to tell the difference between low 700 lumens and high 700 lumens lights). Throw is definitely toward the high-end of this class, at least comparable to my Thrunite Catapult.
Note that output and throw seem largely unchanged from the previous engineering sample.
I've included the 1x18650 results in the table above, as it illustrates that the output doesn't drop much when carried this way. That's a fairly impressive showing for a 1x18650 light. Let's see how it compares to others of that class:
The 750N1 is definitely one of the brightest 1x18650 lights I've tested, along with the best throw I've seen.
On Hi, the 750N1 has excellent output/runtime efficiency, compared to the rest of its class. On Lo/Med modes, the 750N1 remains very good – although not quite as high as some of the other current-controlled lights in this family. It still outperforms PWM-based lights at these levels, though.
On 1x18650, you get a fairly typical direct-drive-like pattern of slowly dropping output. The 750N1 again appears to be extremely efficient on Hi, and reasonably good on Med.
Without the battery extender, the light can be run 2xCR123A or 2xRCR/18350. Runtimes are very short on the lower capacity protected RCR cells, so you may want to use 18350 in this configuration instead.
Again, on Hi, output/runtime efficiency remains excellent.
Spillbeam width is narrower (but brighter) than most lights in this class, due to the very deep reflector.
Light rolls easily.
Memory feature requires you to wait ~5 secs after turning off the light before re-activation, or you will advance modes. I recommend this time be shortened.
I also recommend Niwalker remove the Lo mode from the head-tight state (i.e., single output Hi only in this state). I understand from the dealer that Niwalker is indeed planning to make this change on the next batch.
Light lacks a true Lo mode on 2x battery configurations. And the circuit doesn't support 4x battery configurations.
Niwalker is somewhat atypical for a new manufacturer – rather than rush to market, they have gone through several iterations of pre-production testing before releasing their first light. If you are curious, you can see my review here of the first two engineering samples of this model.
I am glad Niwalker has ditched the proposed dual-circuit design (with different tailcaps for different feature sets). I've tested a few lights with these sorts of secondary circuits, and it always results in visible PWM and reduced efficiency on low modes. The more traditional setup of a clicky for mode changes (and a head-twist for selection of output states) is appreciated. It has resulted in this case of very good/excellent efficiency at all levels, with a more familiar user interface.
That said, I wish they had checked with me ahead of time about including both Lo and Hi on the head-tightened state, and about using the relatively lengthy memorization delay on the head-loosened state. But I understand the former issue will be rectified on the next batch (i.e., Hi only with head tight). Hopefully they are listening for the memorization timing as well.
Niwalker clearly has a lot of experience in the physical building of lights (they were apparently an OEM maker for Tiablo). The 750N1 is a remarkably robust light, second only to my Thrunite Catapult in overall weight and size. The reflector characteristics are very similar to the Catapult or the Tiablo A60G. Expect a very throwy beam here.
Another impressive feature is how well the light performs on the single 18650 body tube. For the moment, the 750N1 is best throwing 1x18650 light in my collection (marginally, virtually tied with the Crelant 7G5-V2). But you also get very good performance on 2xCR123A or 2xRCR/18350. Note that comes at the expense of not supporting higher voltage sources (i.e., the light is rated at 2.7V~9V only). Do not try running 4xCR123A or 4xRCR – you will blow the circuit.
With the slight UI tweaks I proposed above, I think the 750N1 will be a very strong contender in the high-output thrower class of 2x18650 and 1x18650 lights. Welcome to the party Niwalker!
Niwalker 750N1 provided by goinggear.com for review.