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Thread: Review: Nitecore NU05: usb-headlamp/signaling light; 2 white+2 red LEDS, (beam)shots

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* kj75's Avatar
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    Sep 2012
    The Netherlands

    Lightbulb Review: Nitecore NU05: usb-headlamp/signaling light; 2 white+2 red LEDS, (beam)shots

    I'm really a fan of compact and multifunctional lights that have several color options. Lightweight headlamps are popular at the moment but the latest NU-member made by Nitecore is more than that: This micro-usb light can be worn on your head, but can also be used as marking light, on your bike and so on. I was happy that I got the chance to test the tiniest Nitecore I've seen before. In this review I'll show you the details, compare it to an equal light, and show you the output by a couple of beamshots. Let’s have a closer look!

    a new concept designed by Nitecore

    a multifunctional light

    built-in accu


    usable as warning-light, signaling, fishing and so on..

    As usual, we’ll start by having a look at the specs, given by Nitecore:


    Utilizes 4 high performance LEDs
    Dual white and red light sources
    Built-in rechargeable Li-ion battery with max runtime up to 20 hours
    Built-in intelligent Li-ion charging circuit for Micro-USB charging
    Simple one switch control for one-handed operation
    4 special modes selectable
    Built-in power indicator to indicate remaining power level (Patent NO.: ZL201220057767.4)
    Constructed from durable and sturdy PC material
    Ultra-lightweight design for extreme portability
    1.5 meters impact resistance


    · Height: 1.16” / 29.5mm
    · Width: 1.19” / 30.3mm
    · Length: 0.64” / 16.3mm
    · Weight: 0.37oz / 10.4gram

    And the output specs:


    The NU05 is packed in a little carton that has the same looks as the latest Nitecore-line. Trough a window we see the NU05; around on the box a lot of applications that the NU05 can be used for. To me, a good package, no blister what I don’t like; but a neat box in what the light can be restored if not used for longer time. Inside we find most we need to used this light, only a charger and a holster or carrying bag is missing. But a charging-cable is delivered, together with some rubber rings and a adaptor to mount the NU05 on a bike. To, me this is sufficient: I’ve chargers with USB-out everywhere and this little light doesn’t need that much amps to charge quick and smoothly. So, overall, good package here. Below some picture that show the box and what’s in!

    compact box in Nitecore house-style

    ready to go, only a charger is needed

    inside: NU05, manual, card, headband, adaptor and rings for mounting, USB-cable


    The NU05 is a very compact light, it has about the size of a (big) coin. It is constructed of polycarbonate is a real “featherweight”. Most of the materials are translucent, so can see what’s inside. The overall build-quality is good at this tiny one, also the finishing is sufficiently done. The NU05 has nice appearance and details, this is not a thirteen in a dozen light. I like the “X-design” with the four LEDS around the button. On the back we see the clip that’s needed for the headband, and some information about the built-in battery. The letters are not that clear, but this time the information is printed on the polycarbonate and not engraved in a metal body. On the lights’ side we see the USB-charging port that’s protected by a rubber-cover. Nice fact is that the light (if used without headband) stands stable, no matter in what position you place it. Looking unto the front of the NU05, we see four LEDS through the translucent cover; at my sample they were not aligned perfectly. The rubber power-button has stiff structure and is easily to find. The yellow headband is rather weak; to me it could be some stronger. So, the overall build-quality of the NU05 is good done, I’m sure that this light will last for long time if not used for very heavy jobs. Below so can watch a couple of impressions-pictures that I took; the photos show some more details of the NU05.

    the NU05 made by Nitecore

    a compact multifunctional (head)lamp

    that has a lot of applications

    so compact, and feitherlight

    fully made of polycarbonate

    most inner parts can be seen through the cover

    stable, no matter which position used

    about the size of a big coin

    weights only about 10 grams!

    waterproof and dustproof to IP66

    the stiff power button is easy to locate

    ooking to the translucent cover we see two white and two red LEDS

    some info’s at the back about the battery

    a close-up to the side

    the charging-port is protected against dust and water by a rubber cover

    charging time: red indicator lights up during the progress

    green means: job done

    the cover fits well

    Nitecore found a lot of applications that you can use the NU05 for

    the LEDS are not perfectly aligned

    the small red indicator can be used for signaling too

    some applications shown: mounted on a bike

    as backlight

    on a traveling bag

    as safety light on a helmet

    use it during running

    can be fixed on your shoes too!

    the NU05 meets the Dutch beach

    User interface:

    The NU05 is a surprising compact light, one of the tiniest in my collection. For safety, I always add it to the headband during transport, because the risk of losing this compact one that weights only about 10 grams is high. For most applications that you use the NU05 for, the headband is needed. It is easily adjustable and you can fix the NU05 almost everywhere you want. I know it would make this light some heavy, but how about a built-in magnet? The fixation to the strap could be some better too; on the other hand: I have to admit that it never happened to me until now.

    Charging the light is a very easy job: release the rubber cover, plug in the micro-usb jack and look for power station; this can be a port at your laptop or anything like that. Red indicator will light up during the process, if it’s green the job is done. Works smooth and takes in a lot of falls less than an hour.

    There’s one button for all on the NU05. This stiff button works fine and has a clear pressure point. The light doesn’t have memory for last used mode so it will always start up at the same way. A short press will turn on the NU05. If nothing happens in three seconds, the next press will turn it off. Within three seconds you can cycle through the modes, the light has five in total. You can cycle through these five one time, next press will turn off the light. This means that mode selection is not possible three seconds after you released the button. Lights like these don’t need to adjust often during use, so this is no big issue to me. The NU05 starts in red indicator mode: this is a very low red flashing-mode that has the brightness of your car-alarm indicator. The second is slow blinking red, next step is quick blinking red. There’s no steady red available, a pity to me. The fourth mode in the row is slow blinking white, followed by steady white. Only one white output level here. Next press after this mode turns the NU05 off; you need to start again when you want to use another mode. As I said, to a light like this no big issue, but maybe a direct white mode (and also a lower one) should be a nice addition to the NU05. Now you have to pass always the red flashing-modes before you can have constant white. Good point is that the NU05 has a lock-out mode built-in. If you press and hold the button for more than a second (when the light is on) you can prevent the light against accidentally turning on. If locked, a short red indicator-flash will inform you; press and hold the button for more than three seconds to unlock the light. In standby-mode, you can check the power of the battery: Press and hold the button until the indicator lights up: Three flashes mean above 50%, two flashes less than 50 and one flash mean that the light needs to be charged very soon.

    The NU05 has an easy interface that doesn’t need that much exercise, but I'd like to see a constant red and a lower white to make this light more multifunctional. A big plus is that this light has several options that the “big ones” have, like power indicator and lock-out.


    The NU05 has three red output modes, in order of: SLOW FLASHING RED INDICATOR > SLOW RED FLASHING > QUICK RED FLASHING. The indicator and the main led have only one level. Same to the white output modes, you get: SLOW WHITE FLASHING > WHITE. The NU05 has a VOLTAGE-INDICATOR built-in; it’s also possible to LOCK-OUT this tiny light. So enough options here, I would like to have some more output levels.

    Size comparison:

    I couldn’t pick a couple of lights for comparison this time, but I found one light that’s equal to the NU05: the Fenix HL05 headlamp. Will show you show pictures later with these two when we will go outside to see how these lights perform.

    CR123A, Nitecore NU05 and Fenix HL05

    Nitecore NU05 and Fenix HL05

    Nitecore NU05 and Fenix HL05

    the heads: Nitecore NU05 and Fenix HL05

    the fronts with both two white and two red LEDS

    the backs: Nitecore NU05 and Fenix HL05


    I can’t tell you a lot about the beamprofile this time because the NU05 misses a reflector. Therefore it has a very floody beam, and due to the little lumens its only designed to light up at very close range, best up tot maximum three to five meters, if white output is used. To its size, it has surprising bright white output, that can be used best for signaling, reading or fishing etc. So this light is a very good option to be seen, but misses a beam and is there not an option to use it on a ATB-bike or something like that. But as marking light on your backpack or bike, when you’re going to school or work this is a very good option. Used it also during walking or running; personally I prefer the red output here. I couldn’t detect PWM at any mode, good point here.


    The tint of the NU05 is cool white; on the photo below you see that the HL05 has a neutral tint. The tint of the Fenix HL05 seems to have a bit purple in it. To me, to tint of the NU05 is ok.


    Let’s have a look at the beamshots now! Not a white wall and a tripod here this time, but some pictures that give you an idea about the brightness of the NU05, also compared to the other headlamp that we saw earlier in this review. Starting here with an indoor-shot with the NU05 on white mode.

    the NU05 on normal white output-mode

    Same location here, and head to head now to the Fenix HL05. Due to the translucent material and the used LEDS the NU05 is much brighter that the HL05.

    the NU05 against the HL05, both on highest white mode

    Again the same indoor location; now both lights on red mode. The Fenix HL05 has “only” 0,2 lumens, so the 4 lumens give the NU05 much better output.

    Let’s see now how this light performs outside! Starting in a shelter with the NU05 mounted on a caravan. The NU is a good marking light here, so can be used also for camping. The Fenix HL05 misses output here, and doesn’t light up some meters around the caravan.

    Camera settings: ISO100, WB daylight, F/2.7, 4.0 sec, 35mm

    The NU05 against the HL05, both on highest white output mode:

    I mounted the NU05 on a bike, this can be a good option, but only on a city bike. As you can see on the shots, the NU05 lights up several meters, but doesn’t have a far throwing beam for a speed-bike. So best used in the city or for safety.

    Showing the NU05 as a backlight now. I has only flashing options, which can’t be seen at the photo. On the second photo you can see how the standard backlight of the bike performs, after that a GIF.

    the NU05 at red mode against a standard backlight of a bicycle


    I tried out of lot of lights yet, but this was something new to me. The NU05 is a feather-light rechargeable light that’s suited for a lot of applications, but best for signaling or marking. Therefore a good option to take it with you in your car, during traveling on your luggage, when you go to work or school etc. It is built well, charges quick and easily and has a bunch of options. It is so tiny that the risk of losing it accidently is there. Would like to see the fixation to the headband stronger. Also a lower white and steady red option should be nice additions. And what about a magnet built-in?

    This is a good pick for those who look for a safety light that’s easy to carry and charge. You can store it in every pocket, charging can be done almost everywhere. The days get shorter, autumn and winter is coming; I’ll carry this light often with me in these dark seasons!

    Nitecore NU05 provided for review
    Last edited by kj75; 09-13-2017 at 01:59 PM.

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