NiteCore Defender Infinity

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selfbuilt

selfbuilt

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NiteCore Defender Infinity from EDGE Tactical: RUNTIMES and more!

REVIEWER’S NOTE: This is pre-production version of the EDGE Tactical NiteCore Defender Infinity. The final shipping version will be different in a number of details - see the end of this post for updates from the manufacturer. I will be testing the shipping version as well, once it is available. Also note that this is the first invited review I’ve performed – all my other CPF reviews are based on my actual purchases of shipping lights. However, I have used the same standard battery of tests for evaluating this pre-production sample.

A few teasers to start:

NiteCore1.jpg


NiteCore2.jpg


NiteCore5.jpg


For the purposes of this review, the NiteCore will be compared to the Fenix L1DCE Q5 and Liteflux LF5.

The contenders:

From left to right: Nitecore Defender Infinity, Fenix L1DCE Q5, Liteflux LF5

NiteCore4.jpg


Beamshots:

On 2650mAh NiMH (on Max/Turbo/100%) at ~0.5m from a white wall.

NiteCore6.jpg


NiteCore7.jpg


NiteCore8.jpg


The camera is accentuating the tint differences a bit. The Nitecore Q5 is a premium white, slightly on the cool side. The L1D Q5 is also a premium tint, slightly warm. The LF5 uses a SSC emitter, and is definitely cooler. The Nitecore has a slightly smaller overall spillbeam than the Fenix, but still larger than the Liteflux.

Method: All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, a la Quickbeam's FR.com method. My relative overall output numbers are typically similar to his, although generally a little lower. You can directly compare all my review graphs - i.e. an output value of "10" in one graph is the same as "10" in another.

Throw values are the square-root of lux measurements taken at 1m using a light meter.

Summary Chart

NiteCoreSummary.gif


For more detailed comparisons, please scroll down to the runtimes below. For additional comparison purposes, here are the results of a "ceiling-bounce" test in a small windowless room, with my light meter on the floor near the base of the light (which is shining upward in candle-mode), all on 2650mAh NiMH:

L1DCE Q5: 4.1 lux
L2DCE Q5: 7.1 lux
Nitecore: 5.1 lux

To see more about the Fenix L2DCE Q5, please see my detailed review here:
Fenix L2D Q5 vs R100, R80, Q2, P4 Comparison Review: RUNTIMES+

Runtimes:

Note: The NiteCore does NOT have defined medium/low modes – rather, the light uses a continuously variable digitally-controlled brightness level. For the purposes of this review, I’ve manually set the Nitecore to ~85%, ~50% and ~15% max output in order to compare to the Fenix and Liteflux lights. These levels are completely arbitrary on my part, and are simply to facilitate comparison between the lights.

Turbo/Max/100% mode on 2650mAh NiMH
NiteCoreNIMH-1.gif


Turbo/Max/100% mode on eneloops (~2100mAh)
NiteCoreENE.gif


Turbo/Max/100% mode on Duracell Alkaline
NiteCoreAAHi.gif


“Medium” modes on Duracell Alkaline
NiteCoreAAMed.gif


“Low” modes on Duracell Alkaline
NiteCoreAALo.gif


Hi mode on AW protected 14500
NiteCoreAWHi.gif


Medium modes on AW protected 14500
NiteCoreAWMed.gif


Output/runtime observations:

  • Anyway you slice it, the Nitecore is the brightest 1AA light on regular batteries (NiMH and alkaline) that I’ve tested to date.:clap:
  • NiteCore runtime on NiMH at ~85% max output on Turbo graph was done to allow direct comparison to Fenix L1DCE Q5, matched for intial outut. As you can see, runtimes compare well.
  • Output on low self-discharge eneloops is similar to the higher capacity regular NiMHs, but less runtime of course.
  • Good output on 14500 on Hi (slightly higher than NiMH), but not as bright as some of the competition.
  • Good regulated performance on all modes on all battery types (you’ll notice the Fenix light looses the ability to run in low mode on 14500)
  • Alkaline runtimes are certainly acceptable. Although the specific lower mode I chose (i.e. ~15%) wasn't all that impressive, the light gets almost a full 2 days out of an alkaline on its lowest mode. Note that is also manages to drain a little more from the alkaline as the cell recovers (see the "blips" at the end of the runtime, which typically lasted at least half a minute each).
  • It’s clear that this light was designed to excel on rechargeables (NiMH and Li-ion). Also, the continuously variable brightness system is quite impressive, as it allows you to choose your own low mode across a continuous spectrum of outputs.
  • The light features a low battery warning on 14500. As you'll see on my graphs above, before dropping to zero output on my protected 14500, the light flickered for several minutes at a low intensity. Although this suggests you could safely use non-protected cells in the light, the manufacturer does not recommend this (and neither do I - I don't have any to test, for example).
  • Although I haven't done runtimes on Energizer e2 lithium (L91), initial output is the same as standard alkaline or NiMH on all the modes I have tried. I would expect significantly longer runtimes with the e2 lithiums, of course.

General observations:

Digital control:

I'm not sure how the Nitecore Defender Infinity regulates its low modes. If it uses PWM (and as I suspect it does from the runtimes) the frequency is too high for me to detect by eye or by instrument. Those sensitive to PWM need not worry – it is not perceptible.
EDIT: EDGE Tactical confirms that the light uses PWM, and the frequency is >1 kHz. I'm thinking it's likely considerably above, since I can't measure it with my setup, or detect its presence by eye

Interface:

The Nitecore allows you to set your low mode through a continuously variable brightness mechanism similar to Liteflux (but easier to use and more linear, as described below). The light is controlled by a forward clicky switch with momentary on, followed by a click to lock-on. Sequence is as follows:

  • With the head in the fully tightened position, momentary press or click on the switch and you get maximum brightness.
  • To get strobe, loosen and tighten the head within 1 sec. Note that the light has a memory feature, so it will come back on in strobe if you click it off in that mode. To get back to max, loosen and tighten the head again.
  • To get to the user defined low mode, simply slightly loosen the head.
  • To change the low mode brightness level (i.e. set user defined level), tighten and then loosen the head within 1 sec, and the light will ramp up to the maximum brightness (takes about 7-8 secs on my pre-production sample to cover the min to max range). Switch the clicky off to save the output setting you desire (memory will have it come back on at that level). Loosen and tighten again to get the light to ramp back down to minimum.
  • When in user defined low mode, repeated tightening and loosening of the head will cause it to ramp up or down alternately. Again, simply click off to save the setting.
And that’s it. The whole user interface is quite simple and straight-forward. I found it very intuitive. Note that my pre-production sample has a 1 sec switching time, but the shipping version is supposed to be 0.5 sec. This switching time means there is a slight lag if you want to simply go back into max output mode (i.e. it waits 1 sec after you tighten the head, in case you were in the middle of performing a switching cycle)

Variable Output ramping time

Below is a graph comparing my pre-production NiteCore to the Liteflux LF5, which has a similar mechanism. For this test, I measured output at 1 sec intervals in my lightbox as the lights underwent a ramp down from max to min, on 14500.

NiteCoreVar.gif


The NiteCore is far superior in my view since light brightness is adjusted in a visually linear manner over the 7-8 sec time frame. The Liteflux takes over twice as long, but has a curvilinear sequence that’s very difficult to gauge visually.

To explain what I mean by that, consider if you wanted to manually reach quartile outputs of 75%, 50%, 25% and 0% with both lights. For NiteCore it takes approximate 2 secs to reach each level, and you can thus predict how long it will take you to get to any point. For the Liteflux, it will take about 7-8 secs to reach 75%, then 4-5 secs to reach 50%, about 3 secs to reach 25%, and 2 secs to reach 0%. This accelerating rate makes it hard to accurately gauge when the desired low mode will be reached (in fact, for the first few secs, you aren’t even sure if anything is happening!). Coupled with the multiple SW switching required by the Liteflux, the NiteCore is a model of simplicity in comparison. :thumbsup:

Note that the draft instructions EDGE sent me says the ramping sequence should only take 3 secs. But I find this 7-8 secs on my sample much better, and will recommend they keep it for the mass production versions.

Build Quality

Note again that this review is based on a pre-production version of the light. Shipping versions will likely be different on several particulars.

Overall build quality is excellent on my NiteCore, at least on par with the higher end lights of other quality Chinese makers like JetBeam and Lumapower.

NiteCore3.jpg


Machining and Anodizing
  • Machining is very smooth throughout, no rough edges anywhere on my sample
    EDIT: That's not entirely true - the protruding sections of the tailcap rim around the switch cover are slightly sharp in places. A similar effect has been noticed on the newer JetBeam lights.
  • Diamond pattern knurling throughout helps with grip, but like on most Chinese made lights it is not very aggressive. If you like the Surefire “rip a hole in your pant’s pocket lining” type of knurling, you will be disappointed here.
  • Crenelated bezel only has 3 points, making it a bit wobbly when standing head down.
  • Anti-roll feature provided by two recessed points on the upper body ring (marked with an “X”), but I found this to be only slightly effective. Since the lower ring (located on the tailcap) is continuous and the same height as the upper ring, the light still rolls with a slight “wobble” as it goes over the upper recessed X portions.
  • Anodizing is perfect on my sample, and is a very nice dark brown/grey natural finish (HA-III). Seems very durable, as I accidentally dropped it on a tiled floor – no damage to the light, but it did chip my tiles!:grin2:
  • The tailcap threads are anodized, so you can lock out the light by twisting the tailcap (alternatively, you could also turn the light on and off like a twisty this way, if you leave the clicky in the on position) :thumbsup:
  • The lens supposedly has a “diamond coating” exterior and anti-reflective interior coating. Obviously, I have no way of testing that, but it looks clear and clean.

Body/Head/Tailcap
  • All the exposed non-anodized surfaces on the body tube seem to be coated with some sort of coating that makes it look brassier, but I don’t know its function or if it will be present on shipping versions.
  • The head is sealed in my sample, so I can’t access the circuitry. According to EDGE, the samples were sealed by hand, but a SMT technique will used in the mass production versions.
  • Also, EDGE informs me that all the exposed copper parts of the light will apparently be replaced by “glit” in the mass production version (I think they mean gold-plated?).
  • The tailcap also seems to be sealed in some way, as I was unable to unscrew the retaining ring to examine the switch in my sample.
  • The forward clicky actually produces a slightly variable output as you move from initial press across the full traverse to where it clicks. This could make signaling with the light difficult, as you may see distracting changes in intensity with just a soft press.
    [EDIT: Upon further testing, I don't think this problem is as great as I first noted - the effect is subtle, and mainly only present on initial press. I've tried momentary signaling with the light, and it works fairly well after all. Also, I've just realized the problem isn't there at all on 14500! No matter how lightly I press on 14500, no flicker appears - I'm guessing the slightly longer length on the 14500 cell is increasing pressure on the tailcap spring, but not sure why this solves the problem.]
  • The nylon “parachute cord” attachment is very high quality, but can't be used as a wrist lanyard (apparently fills some sort of "tactical" role?). :thinking:

Conclusion:
  • No bones about it, this is the brightest light on 1AA alkaline or NiMH that I have ever tested. Runtimes on Hi are very respectable on these battery types.
  • Output and runtime on 14500 is very good, with output somewhat brighter than regular batteries (although not the brightest I’ve seen – on 14500 Fenix and JetBeam models are brighter, but shorter lasting).
  • Regulated output on all battery types in all output modes is impressive (e.g. unlike Fenix on 14500, where you loose low modes until light drops to regulated level)
  • The user interface is a model of simplicity and ease of use. Strobe is neatly tucked away so you don’t need to see it.
  • The continuously variable brightness system is very well executed – better than the Liteflux in my opinion.
  • Build quality on my pre-production sample is very high quality, on par with the highest end Chinese-made lights in my collection.

There you have it for now. I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few things, but this review is long enough as it is! Keep in mind again that this is a pre-production light, and things may change in the shipping model

I’m certainly impressed enough to make it my new EDC for the time being, relegating my Rexlight 2.1 to my travel bag. I’ll continue to update this thread as I play with the light more and do the remaining low mode runtimes.

-----------------------
UPDATE: I've been in contact with EDGE Tactical, and here are some of the planned changes from this pre-production review sample that will be implemented in the shipping versions

  • Mode switching time will be reduced from 1 sec to 0.5 secs.
  • Ramping rate will be officially listed as 6 seconds in Operator's Manual.
  • The tail cap will NOT be sealed in mass production, but the head will remain sealed.
  • EDGE will work with their forward clicky supplier to try and resolve the slight flickering issue during initial soft press (note there are no guarantees here)
  • Output on 14500 will remain at current levels to optimize runtime (also due in part to the limited heat-sink ability of such small lights, as I suspected). They plan to come out with CR123 lights that will have higher output.
  • Although they acknowledge the anti-roll feature is limited, they've looked at and rejected other modifications for esthetic reasons. They note that with the cord attached, the light will not roll.
EDGE has agreed to send me a sample shipping light (once available) so that I can re-review and compare to the results. Stay tuned!

-----------------------

Cheers! :wave:
 
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StefanFS

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Re: NiteCore Defender Infinity from EDGE Tactical: RUNTIMES and more!

Sweet. Thanks.
Stefan
 
Marduke

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I nominate selfbuilt for all future manufacturer beta testing. That is an excellent, very complete review. :clap:
 
Tubor

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Super review thanks! Looking forwards to trying the "production" model, hope it's as good.
 
Phaetos

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Didn't happen to try out any Eneloop's in it did ya? That's what I'm using and would love to know how well those work out.
 
srvctec

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Awesome review selfbuilt!! I'm really glad I decided to get one of these. It will replace my L1D-CE (my EDC for the last 10 months or so) as my EDC.

Thanks for the review!!
 
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Lobo

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Re: NiteCore Defender Infinity from EDGE Tactical: RUNTIMES and more!

  • The forward clicky actually produces a slightly variable output as you move from initial press across the full traverse to where it clicks. This would make signaling with the light difficult, as you would see distracting changes in intensity.


Could you explain that a bit further? Is it very noticable? Cause it seems to me that then the momentary function would be practically rendered useless?:thinking:

And I wonder if the other reviewers have noticed the same thing?

And thanks for a great review!!!:twothumbs
 
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jirik_cz

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Excellent review thanks :thumbsup:
 
coral_seas

coral_seas

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Re: NiteCore Defender Infinity from EDGE Tactical: RUNTIMES and more!

This is an excellent review selfbuilt.
It gives me all the information I require to judge this light.
The selection of the other two lights in your beamshot compartison is showing exactly where the differences of NiteCore are.
Thanks for the big amount of work you spent.
 
NoFair

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Thanks for the great review Selfbuilt:thumbsup:

Always enjoy them and try to check them out before ordering anything.

Sverre
 
Daniel_sk

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EXCELLENT REVIEW! :thanks:

Good to hear that it has anodized threads and that the tailcap can be locked out.

I don't like that they are using loctite on the tailcap and head, maybe we should ask them not to loctite it, or put a minimal amount of glue there - especially in the tailcap. A tailcap needs to be openned from time to time, to check it and to add some lube...
 
selfbuilt

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Re: NiteCore Defender Infinity from EDGE Tactical: RUNTIMES and more!

Glad you are all enjoying the review, it certainly was a lot of work in short notice!

BTW, I didn't intend to hi-jack x2x3x2's thread here - the mod's moved my review from it's own thread into this one.

Could you explain that a bit further? Is it very noticable? Cause it seems to me that then the momentary function would be practically rendered useless?:thinking:
It's kind of like a flickering as you first press the switch. I believe x2x3x2 also pointed it out in his review.
 
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Lobo

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Re: NiteCore Defender Infinity from EDGE Tactical: RUNTIMES and more!

Glad you are all enjoying the review, it certainly was a lot of work in short notice!

BTW, I didn't intend to hi-jack x2x3x2's thread here - the mod's moved my review from it's own thread into this one.


It's kind of like a flickering as you first press the switch. I believe x2x3x2 also pointed it out in his review.

Thanks for explaining that.
I really like so far what I've seen about this light, but that part is a bit worrying. Having a momentary on that you can't signal with would be annoying. Hope they get rid of the flicker in the production version.

Thanks again for taking the time to make a great review, all of you!
 
TITAN1833

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EXCELLENT REVIEW! :thanks:

Good to hear that it has anodized threads and that the tailcap can be locked out.

I don't like that they are using loctite on the tailcap and head, maybe we should ask them not to loctite it, or put a minimal amount of glue there - especially in the tailcap. A tailcap needs to be openned from time to time, to check it and to add some lube...
Yeah excellent review thanks,but loctite on the head and tail cap lol. I do not want glue on my threads thank you very much "EDGETAC" can you pass this on to the builders "NO LOCTITE TO BE USED" :shakehead :mecry:thank you.
 
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Marduke

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Yeah excellent review thanks,but loctite on the head and tail cap lol,how do you put the battery in,I do not want glue on my threads thank you very much "EDGETAC" can you pass this on to the builders "NO LOCTITE TO BE USED" :shakehead :mecry:thank you.

Ummm...
I'm pretty sure he meant the switch and pill will sealed inside the tailcap and head, not that the tailcap and head were glued onto the body.
 
srvctec

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Yeah excellent review thanks,but loctite on the head and tail cap lol,how do you put the battery in,I do not want glue on my threads thank you very much "EDGETAC" can you pass this on to the builders "NO LOCTITE TO BE USED" :shakehead :mecry:thank you.

I believe they were referring to the internal components of the head and tail cap, not that the tail cap and head are loctited to the body.

Marduke, you beat me to it. :D
 
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M

mmmflashlights

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Another nice review. This again shows that this light is really optimal with a 14500, and still decent with a AA. I do have a question that none of the reviews have yet answered for me - have they implemented this feature, and can you tell us how it functions?

*Li-ion battery identified and low-voltage alarming system

It would be good to find out how this signals the low voltage, at what voltage it alerts you, if the light can still be used once that voltage is reached, etc. Obviously this will be especially useful with unprotected 14500s.
 
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CandlePowerForumsUser

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thanks a lot selfbuilt. I was looking forward to you review and it was well worth the wait. I'm surprised the L1D Q5 is brighter on 14500, probably direct drive but I can only guess.

Can't wait till we receive the final version.
 
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letezac

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Beautiful review, beautiful graphs, beautiful EDC, beautiful UI. I like a lot the NITECORE.

Waiting for one.

Thx.
 
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