Nitecore P36 (MT-G2, 2x18650 4xCR123, Rotary Dial) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS+

KeepingItLight

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Thanks for the great review. It was an important part of the data I used in deciding to purchase this light. Got it a couple of days ago at illumn for $85.

The things I wanted were:

  1. Dual 18650
  2. Neutral-white LED
  3. Balanced throw and flood
  4. Many level settings, so I can control how long the batteries last
  5. Straightforward user interface
  6. Tail-standing
This light is a near-perfect match. The only negative is the 2.5mA drain you observed in standby mode. Incidentally, the battery carrier in mine does not give off the acrid odor you reported.

What I did not need was sustained 1850-2000 lumen output. The occasional turbo is all I need. The dual 18650s are for long battery life, not high output. To that end, the lowest settings (2, 20, 80, 210, and 380 lumens) are the ones I will use most often. At the 80-lumen setting, I should get almost 21 hours on 3400mAh batteries. That should be enough to make it through a holiday-weekend camping adventure without any battery concerns.

One oddity deserves comment: Why are two red LEDs used to indicate battery voltage? Since they always blink in tandem, one would have been enough. My guess is that the original design used two LEDs in a more complicated user interface than the one adopted for production.

There is an undocumented way to check the battery charge. When the flashlight is off, if you quickly click the mode dial, the red power LEDs flash to show remaining power. Three flashes mean the batteries still have more than 50% capacity, two flashes mean they have fallen below 50%, and one flash means they are nearly depleted.
 
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Msingewald

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Thanks for the great review. It was an important part of the data I used in deciding to purchase this light. Got it a couple of days ago at illumn for $85

I just went to their site and it shows $129. How did you manage that price?
 

KeepingItLight

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I just went to their site and it shows $129. How did you manage that price?

I was a walk-in at the Illumn store in San Jose, California. I introduced myself to Craig, explained that I was a CPF member, chatted about the good rep Illumn has on CPF, and asked for a discount. One contributing factor was my status as a walk-in. That saved Illumn a little bit on shipping and handling. Craig was very helpful. He earned my loyalty and future business.

Since then, I have seen the P36 for $80 on Ebay (although I would be highly selective about buying there personally), and with occasional, similar discounts, elsewhere.
 
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TheThor

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I always believe that building too much functionality on a single flashlight is stupid.
P36's mode switch is an example.
 

magellan

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Seems like a very nice 2x18650 side-by-side light from Nitecore. I have the similar Sunwayman T45C light in both the regular production and the custom modded T45Cvn from Vinh. And I'm familiar with the Fenix TK35. Interestingly, I note they're selling the Fenix at the local R.E.I. store but haven't jumped on it yet as I was thinking about this light. I wonder how it stacks up against those? Any thoughts?

I note the big 72-segment MT-G2 emitter is more of a flood than a throw type. I'm more of a throw type of guy but I'm okay with a few nice floody lights too. I like the rotary switch arrangement.
 
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Msingewald

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Did I miss it in the review? Can anyone say what the maximum current draw is on this light on L10?
 

KeepingItLight

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Seems like a very nice 2x18650 side-by-side light from Nitecore. I have the similar Sunwayman T45C light in both the regular production and the custom modded T45Cvn from Vinh. And I'm familiar with the Fenix TK35. Interestingly, I note they're selling the Fenix at the local R.E.I. store but haven't jumped on it yet as I was thinking about this light. I wonder how it stacks up against those? Any thoughts?

I note the big 72-segment MT-G2 emitter is more of a flood than a throw type. I'm more of a throw type of guy but I'm okay with a few nice floody lights too. I like the rotary switch arrangement.

The P36 is a wonderful flashlight that hits on almost everything it was designed for.

  • A great neutral-white MT-G2 emitter.
  • Ten well-spaced modes ranging between a nominal 2 and 2000 lumens.
  • A splendid user interface that uses a simple mode dial to select any output level.
  • Direct access to low, high, and strobe from off.
  • Direct access to strobe from any mode when on.
  • Good runtimes on 2x 18650. With 10 levels, you have great control over battery life.
The P36 is a fine general purpose flashlight with a wide hot spot and good flood characteristics. On its highest output levels, it also has decent throw. ANSI FL 1 ratings are 22,300cd and 300m. The only issue I have right now is its high parasitic drain. Selfbuilt measured standby current at ~2.5mA.

That leaves only one big question: reliability. I'll just have to wait to find out about that.

Rather than rewrite my impressions of the P36, I have just quoted them above. I do not have any experience with the other lights you mention.

The Fenix TK35UE (Ultimate Edition) compares more directly to the P36 that the models you cited. The TK35UE and the P36 are both 2x 18650 flashlights using the MT-G2 emitter. According to its specs, the P36 has more throw than the TK35UE: 22,300cd versus 14,640cd. That translates into respective beam distances of 300m versus 242m.

Again, comparing only specs, I see that the Fenix TK35 (2015 Edition) does better. With its XM-L2 emitter, it reaches 355m with an FL 1 rating of 31,500cd.

Did I miss it in the review? Can anyone say what the maximum current draw is on this light on L10?

Sorry, I have not seen that figure.
 
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Orion

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A bit of an old thread, but I would like to resurrect it to say that I got one. So far, I really like it! I like having the levels of brightness! I had another MT-G2 light with an output that was a LOT more orange than this one [returned it,...also prefer the interface of the P36]. So far, I'm quite happy! :)
 
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