Nextorch MyTorch 18650 review - A Layman's Perspective

AardvarkSagus

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Nextorch MyTorch 18650 - Submitted for consideration for the review forum

Hey! You got your computer in my flashlight! The Nextorch MyTorch brings current technology to a new level in portable lighting devices. Is this too much too soon, or just the next step in flashlight evolution?


Nextorch MyTorch 18650

Meat and Potatoes

You've seen me review lights with programmable modes before. You've even seen some lights with some pretty impressive programming capabilities, but thus far, I have not yet found a light with a programming interface as complex, yet intuitive as the MyTorch. All the programming for this light is done through a graphical user interface via the Nextorch Nextuner application downloaded on your PC. This program uses a USB interface to download your selected modes to your torch. Inside the Nextuner you have nearly an unlimited number of mode combinations, and even the ability to save your favorite configurations to either share with others through the MyTorch website or merely set aside for later use.


USB Port

Though Nextorch offers a quartet of options for your choice of power source, I had the opportunity to try out the premier 18650 model. This flavor has a couple of options that I don't believe are included with the other versions, but shares a large number of common features with lower end models. The fit and finish of the MyTorch is absolutely excellent. The anodizing is smooth and completely uniform and thus far it has resisted visible damage quite well in my care (it's even been baby tested!). Its chrome bezel and tailcap rings are a nice visual touch offering a classy addition to its otherwise understated appearance. The Glow in the dark tailcap switch is far better implemented here than any other I have yet seen. It is nearly flush mounted covering the extremely short throw reverse clicky, but its large contact area makes it a very easy target.


GITD Clicky

Though it is called an 18650, the cell included with this torch is notably larger than any other 18650's I have yet used. I believe this is owed to a unique contact configuration that allows it to also be charged via the included USB port. I have tried some other 18650's and they seem to power it just fine, but don't appear to posses the ability to charge the same way. Conversely, the included cell is actually so large that it doesn't fit into a single one of my other 18650 capable lights. Combined with its unique contacts it effectively makes this a proprietary power source that can handle standard 18650's in a pinch. I have no idea whether it is capable of handling the higher voltage of a pair of lithium primary CR123A's but with this much sophisticated circuitry involved, I am loath to attempt to bring forth the magic blue smoke.


Nextorch 18650

This particular model is equipped with an R5 bin Cree XP-G emitter nestled in a relatively deep lightly stippled reflector. It is capable of producing 200 ANSI FL1 lumens at the top end of the spectrum and is fairly well focused. It's definitely not an uber-thrower like some lights of similar size, but will hold its own in an outright distance comparison. Thankfully it is graced with the wide corona and bright spillbeam that is typical for this LED. Combined with extremely few artifacts and you have a resulting beam with no distractions and a wide range of usability.


Cree XP-G

Constructive Criticism

With such a heavy emphasis on programming, I am surprised to see a couple of features lacking in the Nextuner application. Each setting in the application offers you the option of a % of total luminance, your choice of strobe frequency, and a "Customize" setting. This customize setting allows you to program a sequence of flashes by delineating how many milliseconds the light will stay on and how many it will stay off. There is no pre-set SOS mode or option for variable brightness in the customize settings. I managed to fashion a relatively decent SOS, but it was something that had to be thought through. I'd love to see future versions of the Nextuner software increase the number of options it offers.

The likely reason behind the lack of brightness selection for the custom modes is that the MyTorch uses a relatively low frequency PWM to accomplish its variability in constant modes. This isn't something that causes any genuine usage distractions, but to someone sensitive to it as I am, it is readily noticeable. I am wishing that Nextorch would somehow find a way to increase the frequency to a less noticeable level.

One thing that threw me off at first was how this light seemed to have a mode memory not spoken of in any of the literature. It appeared that it was always coming on in the next mode in sequence when I turned the light on. Apparently this was really because of the inordinately long period of time before the light reverts back to its starting mode. My sample took between 15-20 seconds of being off before it came back on in first position. I wish that this could be somewhat shorter, but once I learned what to expect, it was more predictable in behavior.


Nextorch MyTorch 18650

Conclusions

Being the first mass-market USB programmable light is a huge milestone in and of itself. Doing so with this level of panache takes some real skill. Combine those with a seriously affordable price point and you have more than just a winner, you have a game changer.

Provided for review by the kind folks at Battery Junction.
 

Aircraft800

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Thanks for the review. It's amazing how far flashlights have come in the past 5 years. Although this is not a new concept, the way it is used here with usb port accessible by backing off the head is very cool. I'm sure the PC interface is far more user friendly, and upgradeable for novice users too. I look forward to seeing what Nextorch offers in the future, hopefully a XM-L and a smooth HS reflector powered by a regular 18650.

EDIT: Can you get a picture of the myTorch 18650 next to a p60 style light for a size reference, like a SF P6 or similar?
 
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^Gurthang

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Aardvark,

Nice review. Interesting concept. Now we wait for the Apple ILight version w/ 7" touch screen and wireless charging....

Its nice looking but the proprietary battery format is a non-starter for me.
 

Bass

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Great review - I have been waiting for a review on CPF of this light. It is a very interesting product and looks to have been well executed.

Personally, I think this is the future. I would love to be able to program my lights to just how I want them.

Great photos too!
 

phantom23

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EDIT: Can you get a picture of the myTorch 18650 next to a p60 style light for a size reference, like a SF P6 or similar?

I don't have picture but Nextorch is noticeably bigger - 6.14" x 1.42" vs. 5.20" x 1.25" (6P).
 

AardvarkSagus

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I don't have picture but Nextorch is noticeably bigger - 6.14" x 1.42" vs. 5.20" x 1.25" (6P).
I'll have to see if I can grab a picture, it is noticeably bigger, but not uncomfortably so.

...but the proprietary battery format is a non-starter for me.
Well, yes, it is a proprietary battery technically, but any regular 18650 seems to work just fine, sans USB charging. Also, there are MyTorch flavors in more common sizes as well (AA, 2xAA, and 3xAAA).
 

twl

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Interesting light.
Nice review!

Not sure I need to program my lights, but it's nice to see there's an option out there where I could.
 

matrixshaman

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I downloaded the programming application for this light to see what options it has. Unfortunately my anti-virus flagged it as a trojan! I uploaded it to virustotal.com to see what it would find and it had a couple hits:
Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Cutdown

SPR/AutoIt.Gen

My anti-virus rarely gets false-positives and the above ones are from other anti-virus. In my experience these are not common in false-positives so I'm a bit concerned with the programming app for this flashlight. I think Nextorch needs to be made aware of this so if it is just false positives they can clean up the app or get the anti-virus program makers to unflag it. If it is a real trojan or virus than :thumbsdow on Nextorch!
 

gcbryan

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Interesting. I don't think I want to have to use a computer to program a flashlight however. Computer operating systems change so often that my flashlight might not work or be programmable because I either have an computer that is too new or too old :)

It's potentially kind of like the keypad on the door of some cars. It's not really catching on.
 

MattK

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Major changes to computer OS's are pretty far apart and they invariably are backwards compatible so I don't really see how that could be a problem.
 

baragon

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Sorry if its been asked or answered before, but does anyone know when the MyTorch series of torches will be on sale ? I am in England.
 

gcbryan

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I'm still using Windows ME. I can't use pdf files because Adobe doesn't support ME, I get use TurboTax for the same reason nor do some Javascript applications work.

Sure, I could get a new computer but this one still works fine except for the above noted problems.
 
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