Nitecore EA4 Pioneer review (cool white)

Skyraider59

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"EA4" Nitecore Pioneer (cool white) review


EA4-6.jpg



I got mine from International Outdoor store, China and it took just over 2.5 weeks to arrive in the UK,
a little more than usual but this was to be expected at this time of year.
Anyway it was waiting for me under the tree on Christmas day yesterday!
icon7.gif

The light is also available in neutral white.


What's in the box.
EA4 light, with a small sachet of silica inside to keep moisture away, a Chinese instruction manual, no English one in my box (but not a problem as you can download a PDF manual direct from Nitecore website), registration card, a small Nitecore leaflet on chargers and batteries and a small plastic bag with an O ring, a black lanyard and a Nitecore holster.

EA4-2.jpg

EA4HS.jpg
EA4HB.jpg

EA4-1.jpg




Initial overview

This is a very compact flashlight, with a very good and sturdy hand feel, this is mainly due to its seize and weight when fully loaded with battery (277gr with Black Eneloops Xx). No knuckling on the main body, just grooves with two flat cut outs. The end cap has some knuckling helping in the unscrewing. The switch is positioned on the side of the flashlight and is a two positions camera type soft switch. On the back of the tail cap is a four branch star with a small hole for the lanyard. The light due to it size is very stable in candle mode position.
EA4-3.jpg
EA4-4.jpg


EA4-5.jpg




Manufacturer data
Dimensions
Length: 117mm​
Head diameter: 40 mm​
Tube diameter: 41.8mm​
Weight: 159g (without battery)​
Features
· Novel 'Unique Integrated Technology' offers a more sturdy and
lightweight body.
· Utilizes a CREEXM-LU2 LED
· Maximum output of up to 860 lumens
· Integrated “Precision Digital Optics Technology” provides extreme
reflector performance
· Boasts a peak beam intensity of 20,000cd and a throw distance of up to
283 meters
· Innovative single button two-stage switch offers a user-friendly interface
(patented)
· Eight rapidly switchable brightness modes to select from
· High efficiency circuit board provides up to 22 hours runtime
· Integrated power indicator light displays remaining battery power
(patented)
· Power indicator’s secondary function displays battery voltage (accurate
to 0.1V)
· Reverse polarity protection prevents damage due to incorrectly inserted
batteries
· Stainless steel retaining ring protects the core components from
damage
· Toughened ultra-clear mineral glass with anti-reflective coating
· Constructed from aero grade aluminum alloy
· Sturdy HAIII military grade hard-anodized
· Waterproof in accordance with IPX-8 (two meters submersible)
· Impact resistant to 1.5 meters
· Tail stand capability

EA4-11.jpg
EA4-10.jpg
EA4-9.jpg


runtime.jpg



Note: only AA primaries and rechargeable are supported, do not use 14500/Li-ion 3.2v batteries

Power Tips
1. When the light is on, the power indicator will blink once every two
seconds when power levels reach 50%.
2. When the light is on, the power indicator will blink consistently when
power levels are low.
3. Each time batteries are inserted or the light is put into lockout mode,
the power indicator light will blink in various patterns to indicate the
battery voltage (accurate to ±0.1V). For example, when the battery
voltage is at a maximum charge of 4.2V, the power indicator will blink
4 times in quick succession, followed by a one second pause and two
more blinks, indicating a total battery voltage of 4.2V.

Please note, I am running Eneloop Black Xx and I have used the flashlight for about 30mn in total, and on lockout mode it does read 5.2v

EA4-7.jpg

Photo showing the clear markings for battery insertion

EA4-8.jpg



Settings
The switching on/off and all the modes are accessed by the side switch. The switch itself is a soft type two stage switch as found on most camera.
Functions are:
Daily modes, is accessed from off by a quick half press of the switch. This will take you in the last memorized mode, then quick half press of the switch will cycle you through the 4 modes, Extra low 65L, low 135L, medium 300L and high 550L. To switch the light off into a standby mode, you will need to fully quickly depress the switch, this will also memorise your last used daily mode. While in standby mode a blue light ring will flash around the switch to serve as a locator, this is a great idea but badly implemented, as the light is so dim that you can not see it unless it is facing you.
While in any of the daily modes, you can access the turbo by half pressing the switch for a couple of seconds.
Turbo/search mode, can also be accessed from off by a full quick press of the switch, then a half quick press of the switch will cycle you through the turbo and high mode.
To switch the light off into a standby mode, you will need to fully quickly depress the switch, in this case the light does not appear to have a memory function
and the light always appear to switch on Turbo.


It is also interesting to note that the light has a momentary turbo function. If you fully press the switch and leave your thumb on it, the turbo light will stay on until you release the switch. There is a safety feature build into the turbo mode and the light will switch itself to high mode after 3mn.
The light has a lockout mode, to prevent accidental switching on, and to minimize the battery drain as the blue flashing locating ring will no longer be activated. There is also a very cleaver function in lockout mode to let you know what your battery voltage is. To enter the lock out mode from on: fully depress your switch for 2+ seconds, then release, the blue locator light ring will give you a series of quick flashes a one second pose and more flashes before turning itself off. The first series of flashes is your voltage( ie 5 flashes = 5v followed by another 2 flashes =0.2v giving you a total of 5,2v) Very clever!:twothumbs
Something not mentioned in the Nitecore lockout instruction but happening with mine, is after about 2 second of the full depress, my light flash telling me its time to release the switch and the light is in lockout mode.
To come out of the lockout mode, the Nitecore instruction tell you to fully depress the switch for more than a second (from the manual: press the switch all the way down and hold for more than one second), with mine all I do is depress it fully and keep it depress for about 2 seconds until the light switch itself on, then I release the switch.
:oops:
Humble apologies
It has been brought to my attention by readers that the light will also re-activate on a 2 second half press!
Unfortunately, this is correct, not good news as this could very easily lead to and accidental switch on while in a pocket or a rucksack, as little pressure is required for half a click!

:eek:

Looks like the Nitecore instruction may not be 100% accurate.


To recap: to put it into lockout, fully depress your switch until the light flash, then release and to switch on fully depress until light switch itself on, can get any easier than this!!!
:shrug:
Also I have heard people expressing concern about the light switching itself on its own while in lockout mode, I think this is highly unlikely, as you do need a full depress of 2 second+

Special Modes: STROBE/SOS/EMERGENCY BEACON
These modes are accessed from daily mode by a quick double full press of the switch, then to cycle through the 3 special modes fully depress the switch and keep pressure on until the mode change. To come out, all you need is a quick full press.



At first the interface may look complicated with the full press, half press and the under or over one second clicking, but you soon get it and this is a very easy flashlight to use!




Indoor beam shots

These are celing bounce shots, with the EA4 placed in candle mode on the floor, this shows how well this can lit a room


EA4L.jpg
EA4M.jpg

EA4H.jpg
EA4T.jpg

EA4T1.jpg



The wall beam shots bellow are taken in front of a brown wall, the kitchen cabinet is 19inches above the work top where the EA4 has been positioned,
that way you can see quite clearly the light beam.


EA4W-EL.jpg
EA4W-L.jpg

EA4W-M.jpg
EA4W-H.jpg
EA4W-T.jpg





Outdoor beam shots

Again I have played around with exposure and aperture to try to make the photos as close as possible to what I see.

OD2.JPG
OD2XL.JPG


OT2L.JPG
OD2M.JPG


OD2H.JPG
OD2T.JPG


OD1XL.JPG
OD1L.JPG


OD1M.JPG
OD1H.JPG


OD1T.jpg




Test: output versus runtime (28 Dec 12)

test1.jpg




This was done in high mode, the battery used were 3 month old Eneloop Black Xx 2500mAh.
Batteries were fully charged prior insertion, and reading on my volt meter, 1.44, 1.44, 1.44 and 1.43V total 5.75v
Once inserted, the EA4 did give me a 5 flashes, a one second pause and another 8 flashes indicating the total voltage to be 5.8v (spot on!)
The battery was inserted into my home made integration sphere and switch on HIGH MODE 550lumens, THE first reading of 45700 Lux was taken 30 seconds after and every 5mn after. By 15mn the light was getting hot, to heat testing equipment but I would guess about 40 degree Celsius, I decided to switch my fan on and position the EA4 in front of it moving it to the sphere every 5mn for taking a lux reading. By 110 mn I noticed that the low voltage blue fast flashing was on . (This may have come earlier and was not noticed?????)

By 113mn I could visibly see the output dropping
113mn 36800 Lux
114mn 28000 Lux
115mn 22000 Lux and decided to turn the EA4 off

10mn Later, I took another reading on high showing me 22000 Lux, the end cap was removed and refitted to get a volt reading, this was 4 flashes and another 6 indicating the voltage to be 4.6v. The batteries were removed and tested with a voltmeter, 1.16, 1.15, 1.14, 1.13,giving me a total of 4.58v The EA4 volt checker is accurate!

EA4HRT2.jpg


EA4HRT.jpg



So to recap, with Eneloop 2500mAh, I got a constant 45000 Lux for 1H 50mn, not quite the 2 hours but I personally thing this is pretty impressive, This is very well regulated and I think they have also got the heat dispersion well sorted with this one piece large head/ body.




For/Against

For:
icon14.gif
Really like the compact shape and the output from easily obtainable AA batteries,
tail stand,
reverse polarity protection,
clearly marked battery insertion logo,
visible voltage reader on lockout function
and good runtimes

Against:
icon13.gif
no antiroll feature on an outdoor light, as this is a heavy light, this will roll very easely,
the blue flashing locator is much too dim and virtually useless unless facing you,
the extra low (65L) is much to high and should be around 5-10 lumen
and I would have preferred to have a Turbo thermal cut-out instead of a timer one, this would have allowed you to run turbo for longer period in cold condition,
(but saying this, the turbo does put a large drain on the AA batteries, so maybe the 3mn timer is a better/safer option?)
No safe "lockout mode" (added 27 Dec 12)




Now would I buy it again? Of course, I would, this is a fantastic flashlight, close to perfection! 550 lumen on high for 2h out of AA with a turbo mode of 860L
this does it for me!
:twothumbs:twothumbs:twothumbs


I would just like to add, that once more, a manufacturer is missing out on very easily implemented basic features, like anti roll system, a low which is a real low, a workable flashing locator,
sssh.gif
I can not understand why basic problems like those mentioned above are not highlighted and rectified before production!:sigh:
All you need is to take it home and field test it for a day to see what works and does not!
This is not directed only to Nitecore but to many top flashlight manufacturers!
(I would be interested to hear manufactures feedback on how a flashlight come to production!)


  • :thinking:


J-L D/Skyraider59

 
Last edited:

InquisitiveInquirer

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Messages
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Re: NITECORE EA4 PIONEER (cool white) review

Great review Skyraid!

I just wanted to mention, though, that in order to get out of lockout mode, you actually do not need a full click & hold of the switch. For mines, i can get out of lockout by just doing a half click and hold. Maybe mine's is a defect i don't know, but try it out with yours and let us know.
 

Skyraider59

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Re: NITECORE EA4 PIONEER (cool white) review

Hi, as described in my review, to get out of lockout you need a full depress (full click) of the switch and keep it depress until the light comes on.

<<To come out of the lockout mode, the Nitecore instruction tell you to fully depress the switch for more than a second, with mine all I do is depress it fully and keep it depress for about 2 seconds until the light switch itself on, then I release the switch. >>

I have tried a half press, double quick press etc and they do not work, you need a long full depress/click until the light turns on.
 

Essexman

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Re: NITECORE EA4 PIONEER (cool white) review

Cheers for the review Skyraider, looking to get one of these in the newyear. You never know it might have stopped rainning by then
 

InquisitiveInquirer

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Messages
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Re: NITECORE EA4 PIONEER (cool white) review

Hi, as described in my review, to get out of lockout you need a full depress (full click) of the switch and keep it depress until the light comes on.

<<To come out of the lockout mode, the Nitecore instruction tell you to fully depress the switch for more than a second, with mine all I do is depress it fully and keep it depress for about 2 seconds until the light switch itself on, then I release the switch. >>

I have tried a half press, double quick press etc and they do not work, you need a long full depress/click until the light turns on.

Mines is a defective light then! Damnit. I just do a half press and hold and it goes out of lockout, making my defective light much more pron to accidental activation when in the sheath and/or pocket. Maybe i should send mines back...
 

Yourfun2

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Messages
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Re: NITECORE EA4 PIONEER (cool white) review

Mines is a defective light then! Damnit. I just do a half press and hold and it goes out of lockout, making my defective light much more pron to accidental activation when in the sheath and/or pocket. Maybe i should send mines back...

My light is the same. <2 sec half press and it come out of lockout.
 

Wtlj

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NITECORE EA4 PIONEER (cool white) review

Mines is a defective light then! Damnit. I just do a half press and hold and it goes out of lockout, making my defective light much more pron to accidental activation when in the sheath and/or pocket. Maybe i should send mines back...

Yup mines the same also.
 

windsurf

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Re: NITECORE EA4 PIONEER (cool white) review

Mines is a defective light then! Damnit. I just do a half press and hold and it goes out of lockout, making my defective light much more pron to accidental activation when in the sheath and/or pocket. Maybe i should send mines back...

Another "defective" one here too. Those pesky half presses are becoming overwhelming. First the 3 minute delay to "auto turn on" after turning off the light during SOS with an accidental half press and also this exiting lockout with a half press.

I think Nitecore just didn't deem it important enough to redo their state analysis/programming to ensure that only the intended full press worked in the above cases.
 

Wtlj

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NITECORE EA4 PIONEER (cool white) review

Does anyone's not work with half press? Besides the OP off course.
 

moshow9

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Re: NITECORE EA4 PIONEER (cool white) review

Maybe it's a neutral vs cw thing?
Could be but we would need some other CW users to chime in. Mine is a NW and unlocks with only a half press.
 

RBH

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Re: NITECORE EA4 PIONEER (cool white) review

My CW unlocks with a full of half press.

Could be but we would need some other CW users to chime in. Mine is a NW and unlocks with only a half press.
 

RBH

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Re: NITECORE EA4 PIONEER (cool white) review

This is from the manual. I don't see where it specifies a half or full press to get out of lockout .

Capture_zpsea8b8b6a.jpg


Hi, as described in my review, to get out of lockout you need a full depress (full click) of the switch and keep it depress until the light comes on.

<<To come out of the lockout mode, the Nitecore instruction tell you to fully depress the switch for more than a second, with mine all I do is depress it fully and keep it depress for about 2 seconds until the light switch itself on, then I release the switch. >>

I have tried a half press, double quick press etc and they do not work, you need a long full depress/click until the light turns on.
[
 

gbsbg

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Re: NITECORE EA4 PIONEER (cool white) review

The same with mine (NW) - half or full click for less than 2 secs
 
Last edited:

Skyraider59

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Re: NITECORE EA4 PIONEER (cool white) review

HUMBLE APOLOGIES, after trying again, MINE ALSO WILL SWITCH ITSELF ON WITH A 2 SECOND HALF A PRESS, this is not good news, as I can see accidental activation in a pocket or a rucksack!
I will amend the review.
 

Urbon

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Re: NITECORE EA4 PIONEER (cool white) review

Thank you for the review. Since Nitecore made the EA4, I was waiting for it.

More pictures would be great, outside beamshots at long range and some views in different context of use.

So, I didn't buy the EA4. Here is why :

There is a german video on Youtube comparing with Eagletac G25C2. Good idea. Same reflector size, lumen, lux... Not the same batteries and run-times, not the same UI. Not the same price.

Nitecore seems cheaper, Eagletac better finish, but overall Nitecore lacks some useful accessories. G25C2 has diffuser, filters, extension tube... EA4 has none of these.

Comparing those two brands, I found that Eagletac offers a great choice of led as soon as possible, updating their product. But Nitecore is still with XP-G S2 and did not update the explorer series yet, as Eagletac did with D25 series. Last but not least, XM-L U3 is ready but both, Eagletac and Nitecore, are selling U2 like the last step in evolution. Maybe things are going to fast for resellers.

In fact, we need upgradable modules. And speaking about politic, I believe Eagletac can do it. It's not perfect, it's on the way.

But, Nitecore, what about that ? Want to change from CW to NW ? Then, buy another light ? It's not a choice. It's marketing. Even a new led module is expensive, maybe a color filter (like a camera filter) is less. No filter, of course.

Sorry about this tough but about EA4, there is more to say in pros and cons :

Pros : This product do not really compare with other. This design, compact with four Eneloop batteries, is quite unique. And so, desirable. But how would it compare in use and run-times with a D-Cell design or a 3x18650 design ? Sure, different strokes for different folks, but also, marketing is able to design useless things for rich people, just got to make it a bit cheaper. A new design is great but what for ?

Cons : This product needs some accessories. This product is not upgradable. Some people reports bugs with the UI. As you said, there is no antiroll and the accidentally-ON function is poorly designed. So, this is a new design, but maybe a bit too new. And if the low is not low enough, it's because good customers may think this product is designed for typical use, not for edc. Then buy another light for edc. Nonsense, this light just can't do what other can do. A searchlight with 3 minutes blindness turbo witch can stand like a candle to illuminate the kitchen... No offense, it's just funny.

Pros/Cons : This EA4 is a minimalist design, the more lumen in the smaller light (what about heat control ?), without tactical identity. Seems like anything practical doesn't matter. Something for the geeks we are, but lacking XML-U3. Disappointed I have to wait for it, because I don't want to buy more and more lights. For my geek needs, I may go with a Sunwayman Sirius anyway. For my other needs, I will go with a more practical standard and upgradable hand held light. Accessories and attachment compatibility is great. New design is great too but not loosing on the essential, not that way...

What is marketing nowadays : "I don't want it but I have to resist". So, we need more advice from disappointed customers. You said you will buy the EA4 again, I say you will forget it soon, when the EC26 (maybe this one maybe not) is released... Too many newly designed products, but witch one will be perfected at time ?

Like Zebralight selling a non-removable diffuser on their lights because they are too small to accept accessories and flashalcoholics still waiting for the all-flood model... Who cares they are not making different heads for the same model ? Nobody, because it's so cute ! It sucks.

:thumbsdow

That said, I wish everyone happy Christmas and happy new year.
 

AVService

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Re: NITECORE EA4 PIONEER (cool white) review

Well regardless of the switch issues I can't wait to get mine after seeing your Kitchen shots!

Thanks for the review!
 
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