Nitecore P12 (XM-L2, 1x18650, 2xCR123A/RCR) Review: BEAMSHOTS, RUNTIME, VIDEO+

CelticCross74

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The P12 was one of the worst Nitecores I have had and I have had a few. Coming from having a PD35 as my EDC light for a couple of months it is easy to tell Nitecore rushed out the P12 because the PD35 sales are non stop. The Nitecore just feels cheap. The anodizing in shiny and thin. The light is obnoxiously bright with a nearly purple heavy tint that just screams cheap. The hot spot is smaller vs my PD35 and the P12 does have a touch more range. Once again I doubt Nitecores marketing PR that it is a 960 lumen light. Nitecore is notorious for false claims. Id say 850 ish lumens at best. The PD35 has been tested to over 1000 lumens OTF on the other hand and thats the non 2014 version.

In hindsight I got a Nitecore EA41 and it is the best built Nitecore Ive had.
 

phantom23

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Tint is quite random in both PD35 and P12, sometimes PD35 is cooler. P12 is also available with NW emitter.
 

feifei

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Nitecore PD12 looks awesome,love its design and runtime seems to ne good,too.
 

thegaunlet

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THE REVERSE POLARITY PROTECTION/FLAT TOP ISSUE CAN BE FIXED EASILY!!! :twothumbs

The physical polarity protection is just a thin black plastic disk. You can see the plastic "fingers" that snap around the center post on the top head. I took a sharp knife (just to get a "bite" on it) and was able to "pop" the disk off the center post in about 10 seconds. After that flat tops/any 18650 will work just fine! Been running some salvaged sanyo 2600 flat tops for weeks no problems....

So if you like this light except you are worried about the battery issue, it can be easily fixed with just a few seconds (and is totally reversible, just snap the black plastic piece back on). Obviously be careful and gentle while doing it... and dont blame me if you mess up your P12.... but trust me it really is a piece of cake:grin2:

Thanks jabara572! It works on the Nitecore SRT5 and perhaps all others using that plastic disc as their "patented physical reverse polarity" function. The plastic disc isn't very durable and can crack/lose the fingers over time. No need for button top magnets no more!
 

soul347

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I'm here to report that my P12 is dead after 2 drops on concrete floor, each less than 1m. By dead I mean that only the 1 lumen mode is responding to me.
Contacted Nitecore, they were happy to give me a replacement(or repair?), RMA number was issued. Will probably send the light to them in the next few days.

That's really unfortunate. I've dropped my P12 (before 2014) at least 8 times from higher distances on solid ground. Almost each time I did purposely to test the durability. The light is still running solid and just has some scrapes in the anodizing. I guess like with all manufacturers you get some lemons
 

CelticCross74

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Had the 2015 edition P12 for almost a month now and LOVE it!! Nitecore seems to have addressed all the issues I had with it! It is VERY bright and the tint is cool blue with no hint of purple. On the other hand my beloved PD35 croaked! It just became a flicker then out basketcase for unknown reasons...
 

opus360

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I just order a P12 960 lumen version, an Olight charger and an Olight 3400mah 18650. The AW 18650 test above used a 2200mah battery. Does that mean a 3400mah can be expected to last about 50% more than a 2200mah battery?
 

selfbuilt

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Does that mean a 3400mah can be expected to last about 50% more than a 2200mah battery?
Basically, yes. :)

It's a little more complicated by the fact that a lot of multi-power 1x18650 lights drop down to direct-drive rapidly on max levels, rather than stay flatly regulated. Since outputs drop slowly, runtime may not be exactly proportional to what you would expect by the apparent capacity increase.

If you browse some of my recent reviews, like the Nitecore EC20, you'll see that I am switching over to 3100mAh cells in my testing. That review will give you a good example of how the P12 performs on 3100mAh and 2200mAh specifically. :)
 

opus360

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Basically, yes. :)

Thank you. Despite having seen the video, I did not notice that change. BTW, I have seen several of your videos. Great reviews.

Are you standardizing future reviews on the AW 3100mah then?
 

selfbuilt

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Thank you. Despite having seen the video, I did not notice that change. BTW, I have seen several of your videos. Great reviews.
Thanks. I haven't discussed this in the videos, since those are really just to give a build and UI overview - I save all the "gory details" of performance for the written reviews. I find that separation works well, since the text reviews here are a much better medium for presenting data, whereas the videos are a much better way to describe how a light actually works in practice.

Are you standardizing future reviews on the AW 3100mah then?
Yes, you will see that in all my reviews going forward.
 

CelticCross74

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Im guessing the 2015 P12 is roughly the same output on max and just has an XM-L2 U2 instead? Ive got the 2015 version and like the modes and the tint better than the original
 

WetMacula

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I have a P12 2015 on the way and already own an older Fenix PD30. Anybody know if a green protected Panasonic NCR18650B will fit in these lights?
 
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T0M

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Please some words of advice:
I have the P12 (2015 model, 1000 lumens) in use for a month or two. A strange fenomenon happens that I have not read about here or anywhere else.

Once I select the highest lumen setting, the light switches off in a second. Just off. Once I click it off again and then back on, I have to really fast change mode to a lesser output to be able to use it again. I have been able to use the highest output setting for a while though, at which time, this strange behaviour did not occur.

I use an Ultrafire BRC 4000 Mah 18650 battery. Is this maybe too much Mah? I have tested this battery with another P12 and the same thing occurred so I guess it must be the battery. Only: What is the logic? And will a new battery of lesser mah help me out here?
 

selfbuilt

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I use an Ultrafire BRC 4000 Mah 18650 battery. Is this maybe too much Mah? I have tested this battery with another P12 and the same thing occurred so I guess it must be the battery. Only: What is the logic? And will a new battery of lesser mah help me out here?
It is indeed likely to be the battery - but not because of too much capacity. Rather, Ultrafire is an extremely unreliable brand. Capacity ratings are known to be widely exaggerated. There are no end of counterfeits, fakes, recycled cells, etc. Most likely explanation is that the battery is in such poor shape that it can't supply enough current to the light to keep it on. Please try a brand-name battery (basically, anything without "xxxxfire" in the title). You can see HKJ's test of this battery here: http://lygte-info.dk/review/batteries2012/UltraFire BRC18650 4000 mAh (Brown-Gold) UK.html (it performed poorly for the class).

:welcome:
 

D6859

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I'm considering ordering this light to replace my current EDC, TN12. I prefer having only 4 modes as the turbo in TN12 differs from hi only a little. I also prefer having a step-down after I accidentally turned on the TN12 on turbo, left it on my bed and soon found it too hot to touch. Voltage meter would be good addition because I often forget when I've charged the battery last time. I can get the light for 49,90 eur offer from a Finnish dealer which I regard as a good deal.

But I'm worried if the medium mode is not enough and the low-med too high for my needs. With TN12 I use med mainly for bicycling and low-med for most of the indoor tasks. It seems P12 has a little tighter hotspot and spill, so maybe the difference between the models isn't notable when comparing the med mode? And maybe having higher low-med is just better considering the mode spacing?

Are there some pros/cons I haven't considered? Is it worth changing or should I stay with the TN12? Or are there even better newer options in this price range?
 
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