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Thread: Nitecore EC4GT (XP-L HI V3, 2x18650 or 4xCR123A) Review

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* candle lamp's Avatar
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    Party Nitecore EC4GT (XP-L HI V3, 2x18650 or 4xCR123A) Review

    The EC4GT features an emitter XP-L HI V3, uni-body design, dual switch, temperature regulation, and brief power indicator. It is a compact 2x18650 light and it's also quite throwy, thanks to its relatively deep reflector.
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    Packaging is Nitecore's current standard cardboard box, with some measured data in accordance with ANSI/NEMA FL1 and information printed on the box. Inside, included with the light are user manual, warranty card, wrist lanyard, and holster with velcro closing flap.
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    Manufacturer Specifications from user manual :

    • A rugged, lightweight flashlight made with uni-body die-cast technology
    • Utilizes a CREE XP-L HI V3 LED
    • Maximum output up to 1,000 lumens
    • Maximum throw up to 475 meters
    • Driven by two rechargeable 18650 Li-ion batteries for runtime up to 380 hours
    • Dual switch design offers unprecedented ease of use
    • Thumbscrew lock on tailcap doubles as a tripod connector
    • 5 brightness levels and 3 special modes available
    • Direct access to ultra-low and turbo output
    • Features advanced temperature regulation (ATR) technology
    • A power indicator built into the on/off switch indicates remaining battery power (Chinese patent NO. ZL201220057767.4)
    • An SMO reflector offers blinding and far-reaching beams
    • Stainless steel retaining ring protects core components from damage
    • Reverse polarity protection
    • Toughened ultra-clear mineral glass with anti-reflective coating
    • Solid, lightweight aerospace grade aluminum alloy construction
    • Waterproof in accordance with IPX-8 (2 meters submersible)
    • Impact resistant to 1.5 meters
    • Tail stand capability
    • Length : 6.1” (155mm)
    • Head diameter : 1.58” (40mm)
    • Tube : 1.58”×1.12” (40mm×29mm)
    • Weight : 6.03oz (171gram) (without battery)




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    The hard (type III) anodizing is a slightly glossy black and consistent throughout with no chips or damage of other faults to be found. Black anodizing is excellent on my sample. All labels are sharp, clear, and minimal. Labels are bright white. The head and the body are cylindrical and rectangular shape respectively. This shape provides nice anti-roll feature. There is a raised checkered grid pattern over the two narrow sides of the body tube. The light has no tail switch. Fit and finish look very good.
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    The light has 2 parts. The body is one piece with the head (i.e., unibody die casting design). The light opens at the tailcap only.
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    The head has cylindrical design with cooling fins on both sides of the side switch which provides good grip. The head tip is flat shape. There are a positive and negative contact point in the head, and there are two black tiny protruded pins around the positive contact. These pins feature the physical reverse polarity protection of the light, so true flat-top batteries will not work.

    Nitecore applied ATR (Advanced Temperature Regulation) technology to EC4GT and it adjust output level based on internal temperature of the light. This prevents damage from overheating.
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    The distinctive aspects of the light are the dual-switch control in the head and the power indicator. The dual-electronic side switch is conveniently located right by the cooling fins for on-off and mode changing. The lower is the on-off switch, and the upper is the mode changing switch. The side switch cap is silicone rubber. The switch cap is slightly protruded from the body. The blue LED is located underneath the lower switch.
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    If press and hold the lower switch for more than 1 sec to turn the light off while on, the blue LED indicator will blink once every 3 seconds. This will help users locate the light in the dark. The manual says the light will keep operating with 2x18650 for over 6 months in this mode.

    Also you can check the battery power briefly from the blue LED signal when you first connect the tailcap to the body tube. Also with the upper (i.e., mode changing) switch being pressed while off, the blue LED indicator will blink to indicate the remaining battery power.
    i.e., 3 flashes indicate battery power is above 50%. 2 flashes signify less than 50%, and 1 flash means the battery power is close to depletion. In this case, you need to replace or charge the cells.
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    The light uses AR coating lens and the purple hue is reflected on it. The smooth aluminum reflector is very deep. Surface finish on the reflector was perfect from visual inspection. Centering of the XP-L HI V3 emitter is good at the bottom of the reflector cup on my sample.
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    The other distinctive aspect of the light is the unibody die-cast construction which is good for both better heat dissipation and higher durability.
    The battery tube has a rectangular tube design and accommodates either 4xCR123A or 2x18650 cells. The body tube has no knurling, but there is a raised checkered grid pattern over the two narrow sides of the body tube. The body has each wide ridge where manufacturer & model name are printed on. Battery well is wide and long enough to accommodate wider and longer protected 18650 cells. The grid pattern is of moderate aggressiveness on the body tube. When combined all the other grip elements (e.g., cooling fins, side switch, etc.), overall grip is good.
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    Both male and female threads on tailcap and body end are well machined, with the those not being anodized. This doesn't allow the light to be locked-out physically when the tailcap is slightly loosened. But EC4GT has an electronic lockout function in the side switch.

    There are two bolts around the positive contact. Like the head, these bolts feature a physical reverse polarity protection of the light as well.

    Threads on the tailcap mate well with the body tube with no issues of cross-threading or grinding. The screws threads on the tailcap are nearly square-cut of good quality.
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    The tailcap has a thick and wide rubber ring for good waterproofing. There are two guide plates and a thumbscrew in the tailcap for right position fitting and tightening together body tube and tailcap. The thumbscrew is not protruded from the tail end. The light can tailstand in its default stock form. The side of the thumbscrew has aggressive knurling. This gives you good grip. There is a tripod screw mounting point in the middle of the thumbscrew. There are a couple of small wide loops for wrist lanyard attachments at the tail end.
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    User Interface

    There are two modes (i.e., general mode & flashing mode).

    On-off is controlled by the lower power switch and output mode switching is controlled by the upper mode changing switch.
    Click the power switch to turn the light on at the memorized general output level. Click the power switch again to turn off. Click the mode switch to advance through the output states.

    1) General mode
    The general (or constant) mode is the default setting when you turn the light on. Press the mode switch to cycle through Ultra Low -> Low –> Med. –> High –> Turbo output, in a repeating cycle. The light has mode memory, and remembers the last output level used when you turn the light off and back on, even after a battery change.

    2) Flashing mode
    The “hidden” Strobe, Location Beacon, SOS are accessed by pressing and holding the mode switch.
    Press and hold the mode switch for more than 1 sec to access Strobe when on. To access to Location Beacon mode, press and hold the mode switch for more than 1 sec again. To advance to SOS, press and hold the mode switch for more than 1 sec again.
    A single press on the mode switch will return to the memorized output level in general mode. Or click the power switch to turn the light off.
    Note that the flashing mode has no memory.

    3) Direct access to Ultra Low / Turbo
    Press and hold the power switch from Off for more than 1 sec to access to Ultra Low directly. Press and hold the mode switch from Off for more than 1 sec for Turbo. You can cycle through output levels in general mode or turn off as above. You can also activate directly in Strobe from Off by a double-click of the mode switch.

    4) Lockout / Unlock
    When on, press and hold both switches for more than 1 sec to lockout the light. The light turns off and the main LED will flash once to indicate the lockout state. Press and hold both switches for more than 1 sec from Off will unlock the light. The light will return to the memorized output level in general mode. It's an electronic lockout feature.
    According to the manual, the light will keep operating with 2x18650 for over 1 year in this lockout mode.
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    Standby Current Drain

    Due to the electronic switch design, the EC4GT is drawing a small current when the batteries are installed and the tailcap connected. I measured this current as 189.4μA. Given the batteries are in series in the light, it means that 2600mAh Li-ion would be fully drained in about 1.5 years.

    I recommend you store the light by removing the batteries from the light when not in use for a long time.
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    From left to right, VicLite 18650 (2600mAh) protected, Olight M23 Javelot (Dedomed XP-L HD), Jetbeam 3M Pro (XP-L HD), Nitecore EC4GT (XP-L HI), Rofis TR51 (XM-L U2), Fenix TK35 2015 Edition (XM-L2 U2), Supbeam K40 (XM-L U2).
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    From left to right, Olight M23 Javelot (Dedomed XP-L HD), Nitecore EC4GT (XP-L HI), Fenix TK35 2015 Edition (XM-L2 U2), Supbeam K40 (XM-L U2).
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    Measured Dimensions & Weight

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    The light comes with a nylon holster with a velcro strap. The light fits in the holster either head-up or head-down. But it fits better in the holster head-down than head-up.
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    The entire light's compact & rectangular body design make it feel very comfortable when held in hand, comparing other 2x18650 class lights. The wall thickness of the body is thick (2.2mm), and the light feel solid. It is good size to hold and can be used as an compact search light. Overall build quality is excellent.
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    PWM


    No sign of PWM at any level of the light, leading me to conclude the light is actually current-controlled. I notice there is no buzzing sound at all output levels.
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    Runtime


    The runtime to fall to 10% of its initial output from 30 seconds after the point the light is first turned on (i.e., based on ANSI FL-1) for Turbo is as above graph.
    EC4GT has a built-in thermal sensor which is a nice safety feature for the high output light. There is no thermal step-down on Turbo on 2x18650, thanks to fan cooling during testing. Instead, fan-cooling gives you a minimal drop (only 3~4%) in output during the extended runtime. The unibody die-casting design and 2x18650 form factor allow output to drop just a little bit. Runtime performance is very good and flat regulation is evident on Turbo I tested.

    As expected, the higher capacity cell gives you longer runtime. The light should abruptly shut-off in regulation, without prior step-down.
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    This is a comparison with and without fan cooling to compare how the light activate. The lack of cooling cause a series of step regulation after initial drop in output for about 13 mins, but it's practically impossible for you to see the output difference visually. Then the light more rapidly but still gradually steps down, taking about 10 mins to level off for preventing the light from overheat. This means you are unlikely to notice the step-down on the light in practice.
    Then I let the light cool down with fan cooling from 24 mins to the rest of runtime. This does make it come back on to the Turbo output perfectly, thanks to the high voltage of the cells and the unibody die-casting design. This is the advanced temperature regulation (ATR) function. The regulation pattern and runtime efficiency of the light seem excellent.
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    The light is a heavily driven light for this class. Compared to the other 1x18650 class light, the EC4GT shows very good excellent efficiency and output.
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    Beamshot

    1. White door beamshot (about 50cm from the white door) on max. output on 1~3x18650 (2600mAh) VicLite protected cell
    - ISO125, F/8.0, 1/25sec, Auto white balance


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    - ISO125, F/8.0, 1/100sec, Auto white balance


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    - ISO125, F/8.0, 1/800sec, Auto white balance


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    - ISO125, F/8.0, 1/2000sec, Auto white balance



    The light has a small sized bright white hot spot. A soft corona surrounding the hotspot is very slightly greenish yellow. The spill beam width is quite narrower than others at this distance, and its tint is very slightly bluish. Beam pattern is good, free from any artifact. The overall beam tint is very close to pure white on my sample.
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    2. 7m Indoor Beamshot on max. output on 1~3x18650 (2600mAh) VicLite protected cell
    - ISO125, F/2.8, 1sec, Auto white balance

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    The spill beam width is narrower than others at this distance as well.
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    3. 85m Outdoor Beamshot on max. output on 1~3x18650 (2600mAh) VicLite protected cell
    - ISO125, F/2.8, 1sec, Auto white balance

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    The EC4GT is an outstanding thrower with a balance of narrow spill beam, given the small size of the head for the class.
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    The light gives you a nice Lower Low output level.
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    Overall Impression

    • Excellent build quality
    • Unibody die-casting body construction
    • Anti-roll indentations on the body
    • The light can tailstand
    • Electronic lockout function in the switch
    • Physical reverse polarity protection function
    • True flat-top batteries will not work due to physical reverse polarity feature
    • Mode memory for general mode except flashing mode
    • Small standby current drain (198.4uA) is inevitable, but not a concern
    • Thermal step-down feature on Turbo
    • Excellent output-runtime efficiency
    • Lower low mode is available
    • Mode spacing is good
    • Brief battery power indication function
    • No battery warning indication function when on
    • No sign of PWM flickers at any output modes
    • Very good throw with a balance of narrow spill beam
    • Beam pattern is good
    • Overall beam tint is close to pure white

    Nitecore EC4GT provided by Nitecore for review.
    Last edited by candle lamp; 07-22-2016 at 05:49 AM.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* CelticCross74's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nitecore EC4GT (XP-L HI V3, 2x18650 or 4xCR123A) Review

    awesome review candle lamp! Had this light a couple weeks now and am just amazed that it can maintain its max output until the cells give out. Smaller than I thought it would be holding it bezel to bezel to my EA41 I find it kind of odd that the EA41 has a much wider beam and hot spot but then thats the really deep reflector wells on most HI V3 lights nowdays. I would complain about the no low voltage warning but only being able to use protected cells in it the cells would trip after a dimming it should be obvious. Interesting light very intersting. Like the design like the big buttons the output seems dead on. Like the holster as well. Kind of getting tired of the HI V3 usual ultra bright white tint with a hot spot half the size of an old XML2 thing but hey XHP emitters are here now so we will see what happens. Just got the 2016 TK32 thought I would add here...only a 4k CD increase in main beam which somehow in my copy is not just bright white despite being HI v3. Main beam is roughly 15% more narrow than the XML2 version. The red and green emitters are incredible! They are extremely bright and actually focused! It is a tri flector though so the secondary wells leave a half orb double bubble artifact on the profile. EC4GT totally out throws it not by much though.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* candle lamp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nitecore EC4GT (XP-L HI V3, 2x18650 or 4xCR123A) Review

    Thanks a lot for your support and detailed feedback. CelticCross74!

  4. #4
    Flashaholic Octavian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nitecore EC4GT (XP-L HI V3, 2x18650 or 4xCR123A) Review

    As usual very nice review Candle Lamp, beautiful and detailed pictures, very good observations !
    Many things what you observed was what I observed at firsts impressions when I receive the light.

    Even if I repeat what you already told, but...build quality is high, throw is impressive for this size (I believe is more like 60000+ cd...) , power bank is more than enough for this size, nice spill...what can I say more that not repeat what you told...
    Is a nice product from Nitecore.
    Now that I have EC4GT, the EA45GT (when I play with both) seems to be flood...

    The color light is a pure white, I see that you did't succeed to catch on camera the color, is not blue or cold white, just pure white.

    Few pics below from me, the beam is compared with EA45S

    http://s280.photobucket.com/user/rac...?sort=3&page=1

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* candle lamp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nitecore EC4GT (XP-L HI V3, 2x18650 or 4xCR123A) Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Octavian View Post
    As usual very nice review Candle Lamp, beautiful and detailed pictures, very good observations !
    Many things what you observed was what I observed at firsts impressions when I receive the light.

    Even if I repeat what you already told, but...build quality is high, throw is impressive for this size (I believe is more like 60000+ cd...) , power bank is more than enough for this size, nice spill...what can I say more that not repeat what you told...
    Is a nice product from Nitecore.
    Now that I have EC4GT, the EA45GT (when I play with both) seems to be flood...

    The color light is a pure white, I see that you did't succeed to catch on camera the color, is not blue or cold white, just pure white.

    Few pics below from me, the beam is compared with EA45S

    http://s280.photobucket.com/user/rac...?sort=3&page=1
    Thanks a lot for your support and informative feedback. Octavian!

    Yup. It seems my camera dosen't catch the tint properly for auto white balance condition.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: Nitecore EC4GT (XP-L HI V3, 2x18650 or 4xCR123A) Review

    Are there fake EC4GT lights please?I ask,because I found one of those limited edition blue bezel lights, at £49.00 with free postage.
    What do you suggest?

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* CelticCross74's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nitecore EC4GT (XP-L HI V3, 2x18650 or 4xCR123A) Review

    no fakes I know of. Just sounds like the retailer is trying to move stock. The price is good I would go for it

  8. #8
    Unenlightened
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    Default Re: Nitecore EC4GT (XP-L HI V3, 2x18650 or 4xCR123A) Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Theodore41 View Post
    Are there fake EC4GT lights please?I ask,because I found one of those limited edition blue bezel lights, at £49.00 with free postage.
    What do you suggest?
    I saw these advertised on banggood - Nitecore produced two limited edition versions (one with red ring at bezel end, and one with blue ring). Only 1000 of each to be produced and they have unique serial numbers.

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