I was looking for a smaller 18650 light at B&H Photo a few days ago (my SRT7GT is too big to put in my bag or keep on my belt these days) and wound up picking up a new Nitecore MH20, with a new Nitecore NL1834 battery to go with it. This isn't the newer MH20GT with the XP-L emitter; I wanted something cheaper while still delivering very high output. As far as I can tell, the XM-L2 version is yet to be officially discontinued. This isn't meant to be a true review, but here are some first impressions:
- It is simply remarkable just how much light you can get from a light this small. Getting 1000 lumens from a light that is only slightly longer than the palm of a hand just wowed me the first time I turned this thing on. In fact, with a larger (but slightly dimmer) hotspot and a well-illuminated spill, this light seems to output more overall light than my SRT7GT. Beam quality is very good, but shows a bit of unevenness in the corona; this is of little significance in practical use.
- The interface took some learning, but Nitecore made clever use of an electronic two-stage button (like a camera shutter button) to make five brightness modes and three special modes reasonably easy to access.
- Due to the smaller size, I did find the MH20 a bit harder to keep a solid grip on than my SRT7GT. Using the supplied lanyard might be a good idea.
- Build quality is very good, but some sacrifices had to be made to bring the size down. It does not have the proprietary spring-loaded positive contact used in the SRT7GT, and there is a bit less overall metal usage. This is an acceptable trade-off for a compact light that is aimed more towards outdoorsmen than the tactical/police-oriented SRT7GT.
- USB charging works at 500 mA so charging a depleted 3400 mAh battery will take a long time. Furthermore, the rubber cover for the USB Micro-B port is difficult to properly close. Nonetheless, having the USB charging option means I won't have to carry an 18650 charger with me to keep it running, and since I usually have a power bank and USB cables with me, I need nothing extra to keep it charged up.
- The accessories supplied with the light are as expected for Nitecore's better lights and include o-rings for both ends of the light, replacement USB port cover, lanyard, clip, USB cable, and holster. As usual for Nitecore, the holster is very well-made and feels like it would withstand many years of heavy use.
- As a quick test, I ran the MH20 tailstanding for about five minutes, give or take, on turbo; although this was not long enough to trigger ATR thermal throttling, the head of the light was hot enough to hurt to the touch. To get an idea of how hot this light can get, here's an image taken with my Seek RevealPRO thermal imager: