Nitecore TM16GT "Thrower" (4xXP-L HI V3, 4x18650) Review

candle lamp

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 16, 2010
Messages
1,572
Location
South Korea
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TM16GT is updated version of their TM16, powered by 4x18650 only. This features a stock Cree XP-L High Intensity (HI) LED, advanced temperature regulation (ATR) and power indication. The light comes in a nice cardboard box with built-in packaging foam.
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TM16GT comes with warranty card & manual, lanyard, threading wire, and spare o-rings.
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Manufacturer Specifications from Nitecore's website & manual :

• Utilizes 4 CREE XP-L HI V3 LEDs
• Maximum output up to 3600 lumens
• Features advanced temperature regulation (ATR) technology
• Boasts a peak beam intensity of 252,000cd and a throw distance up to
1003 meters
• Dual-switch user interface ensures easy one-handed operation
• Features 5 brightness levels and 3 special modes
• High efficiency circuit board provides max runtime up to 610 hours
• Integrated power indicator light displays remaining battery power
(Chinese Patent: ZL201220057767.4)
• Built-in power indicator displays battery voltage (accurate to 0.1V)
• Direct access to ultra-low or turbo ensures flexibility and convenience
• Reverse polarity protection prevents damage from incorrectly inserted
batteries
• Rear tripod receptacle brings extra functionality
• 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
• Length : 182mm (7.17”)
• Head diameter : 89mm (3.5”)
• Tube diameter : 53mm (2.09”)
• Weight : 521g (18.38oz) (without battery)

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The hard (type III) anodizing is a matte black and no flaws on my sample. All labels are sharp and clear in bright white against the black background. There is no knurling over the body tube, but only knurling band on the tailcap. The light has no tail switch. Fit and finish looks very good.
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The light has 2 parts. The body is one piece with the head (i.e., the head is integrated into the body and is not removable). The light opens at the tailcap only.
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The light has a shallow scalloped bezel. There are lots of cooling fins on the head. The light has anti-roll features on the head, so the light doesn't roll very easily on its side. The dual-electronic side switch is conveniently located right below the cooling fins for on-off and mode changing. The lower is the on-off switch, and the upper is the mode changing switch. The side switch cap is not the hard plastic or metal button, but silicone rubber. The switch cap is slightly protruded from the body. Looks like the blue LED is located underneath the switch area between upper and lower switch. You can know the battery voltage and power from the blue LED signal.

You can check the voltage of the cells when your first connect the tailcap to the body tube. For example, in case battery voltage is 4.2V, the blue LED will blink 4 times, followed by 1 sec pause and another 2 flashes.
I installed 4 cells (4.08V, 4.07V, 4.06V, 4.08V). The average value is 4.0725V. The blue LED blinks 4 times, followed by 1 sec pause and another 1 flash. It's quite accurate.

You can also check the battery power briefly by a single click of the upper mode changing switch when off.
3 flashes indicate battery power is above 50%. 2 flashes signify less than 50%, and 1 flash means the battery power is close to depletion. In this case, you need to change or charge the cells.

The switch has a good feel to touch and has typical travel, which produces a quiet clicking sound when pressed.
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The light doesn't use a battery carrier, instead has cut-out wells for the cells. The cells are arranged in series (i.e., 1P4S). Half of the positive terminals of the cells are going toward the head. You can run the light on 4x18650 only, due to the limited working voltage 16.8V.

Note that the small positive (+) battery contacts in the head are not raised, but slightly recessed from the black insulation layer. These recessed contacts have a physical reverse polarity protection function. It means only button-top cells work in the light (i.e., true flat-top cells will not work). The built-in cut-out wells do accommodate my longer and wider 18650 cells without any problem.
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There is a white thick C-shaped waterproof o-ring between the bezel inside and reflector.
The light uses AR coating lens where the purple hue is reflected on it.
The TM16GT has a large head and uses four XP-L HI V3 emitters, each emitter is perfectly centered in its own deep and smooth reflector well. The reflector is well polished with no noticeable finishing flaws, but it's not aluminum.
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The body tube has no knurling, instead it is covered in 14 numbers of concentric ring ridges running along. The grip is good. The cooling fins on the head and side switch on the body help further too.
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The screw threads are square-cut of good quality. Both male & female threads on the battery tube and tailcap are fully anodized, but it doesn't really matter since the current is carried through the PCB and contacts in the tailcap (i.e., not body wall). However lock-out is still possible when unscrewing the tailcap three full turns or more in my test. They are smooth with no cross-threading or squeaking. As supplied, threads are well lubricated. Screw threads action is smooth with no cross-threading or squeaking on my sample.
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TM16GT features the rotating contact disc with body locking pins in the tailcap.
As mentioned above, the cells are arranged in series, with connection being made by contacts and PCB on a disc in the tailcap. This disc can spin freely, and locks in place to a couple of holes in the body that line up with metal locking pins in the tailcap.
There are three wrist lanyard attachment points at the tail end. There is a tripod screw mounting point in the middle. In my view, it's probably much better that the tripod attachment point is on the opposite side of the dual-switch. The light can tailstand stably.
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User Interface

There are two modes (i.e., general mode & flashing mode).

On-off is controlled by the lower power switch and output mode switching is controlled by the upper mode changing switch.
Click the power switch to turn the light on at the memorized general output level. Click the power switch again to turn off. Click the mode switch to advance through the output states.

1) General mode
The general (or constant) mode is the default setting when you turn the light on. Press the mode switch to cycle through Lower -> Low –> Med. –> High –> Turbo output, in a repeating cycle. The light has mode memory, and remembers the last output level used when you turn the light off and back on, even after a battery change.

2) Flashing mode
The “hidden” Strobe, Location Beacon, SOS are accessed by pressing and holding the mode switch.
Press and hold the mode switch for more than 1 sec to access Strobe when on. To access to Location Beacon mode, press and hold the mode switch for more than 1 sec again. To advance to SOS, press and hold the mode switch for more than 1 sec again.
A single press on the mode switch will return to the memorized output level in general mode. Note that the flashing mode has no memory.

3) Direct access to Lower / Turbo / Strobe
Press and hold the power switch from Off for more than 1 sec to access to Lower directly. Press and hold the mode switch from Off for more than 1 sec for Turbo. You can cycle through output levels in general mode or turn off as above. You can also activate directly in Strobe from Off by a double-click of the mode switch.

4) Lockout / Unlock
When on, press and hold both switches for more than 1 sec to lockout the light. The 4 main LED will flash once to indicate the lockout state. Press and hold both switches for more than 1 sec from Off will unlock the light. The light will return to the memorized output level in general mode. But it's an electronic lockout.
According to the manual, the light will keep operating for over 1 year in this lockout mode.
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Standby Current Drain

Due to the electronic switch design, the TM16GT is drawing a small current when the batteries are installed and the tailcap connected. I measured this current as 66μA. Given the batteries are in series in the light, it means that 2600mAh Li-ion would be fully drained in about 4.5 years.
Note that the standby current under the lockout mode is 489μA in my test (i.e., it indicates 2600mAh Li-ion would be fully drained in 7.2 months. So the lockout function seems to have much effect on the standby current. This is not a big concern. But I would recommend you store the light physically locked-out or store the cells outside of the light when not in use for a long period.
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From left to right, VicLite 18650 (2600mAh) protected, Lumintop PS03 (3xXM-L2 U2), Olight SR52UT (Domeless XP-L HI V2), Nitecore TM16GT (4xXP-L HI V3, Fenix TK75 (3xXM-L U2), Acebeam K60 (XHP70).
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From left to right, Lumintop PS03 (3xXM-L2 U2), Nitecore TM16GT (4xXP-L HI V3, Fenix TK75 (3xXM-L U2), Acebeam K60 (XHP70).
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Measured Dimensions
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The gripability is good. The build feels nice (i.e., large head, but not heavier than expected), and I find handling & balance of the light is good. Overall build quality is very high.
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PWM
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The light shows no sign of flicker by PWM at all output levels. I notice there is no buzzing sound at any levels. The light seems to be current controlled.
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Runtime
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The runtime to fall to 10% of its initial output from 30 seconds after the point the light is first turned on (i.e., based on ANSI FL-1) for Turbo with fan cooled is as above graph.

TM16GT has a built-in thermal sensor which is a nice safety feature for the high output light. There is no thermal step-down on Turbo, thanks to fan cooling during testing. Instead, fan-cooled light is semi-regulated on 4x18650 (i.e., slowly drop in output) as the battery drain or near exhaustion.
You will not be able to notice the drop in output over time in practice. It's quite acceptable for the class using 4 cells with 4xXP-L HI LED. As expected, higher capacity Keeppower 18650 (3400mAh) gives you both longer runtime and higher output for an extended runtime. Overall output-runtime efficiency seems good.
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This is a comparison with cooling and temporary fan cooling to see how the light activate. The lack of cooling make the light step down sharply after 22 mins of continuous runtime. I turned the fan on with slow (i.e., very mild) cooling for 20 mins. But, this only cause the output to start to rise very slightly. Then I let the light cool down with fast cooling for the rest of runtime. This doesn't make it come back on to original Turbo output. So the advanced temperature regulation (ATR) function will not recover Turbo output level once the light step down. The regulation pattern and runtime efficiency of the light seem good.
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Beamshot
1. White door beamshot (about 50cm from the white door) on max. output on 4x18650 (2600mAh) VicLite protected cells
- ISO125, F/8.0, 1/25sec, Auto white balance
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- ISO125, F/8.0, 1/100sec, Auto white balance
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- ISO125, F/8.0, 1/800sec, Auto white balance
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- ISO125, F/8.0, 1/2000sec, Auto white balance
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The TM16GT shows artifacts in the non-circular spill beam due to the overlapping reflector wells. It depends on what distance you use the light. Beam pattern is similar to other multi emitter, hight output light in this class. A corona surrounding the white hot spot is slightly greenish yellow, and the spill beam shows slightly blue tint. The overall beam tint is in between cool white and neutral white.
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2. 7m Indoor Beamshot on max. output on 4x18650 (2600mAh) VicLite protected cells
- ISO125, F/2.8, 1sec, Auto white balance
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3. 85m Outdoor Beamshot on max. output on 4x18650 (2600mAh) VicLite protected cells
- ISO125, F/2.8, 1sec, Auto white balance
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4. 120m Outdoor Beamshot on max. output on 4x18650 (2600mAh) VicLite protected cells
- ISO125, F/2.8, 1sec, Auto white balance
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The TM16GT an outstanding thrower. It does out throw the K60 and K75. The hot spot is much tighter than other lights, and the spill is smaller than other lights.
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The TM16GT gives you a good Lower Low output level.
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Overall Impressions

• Build quality is very high
• The light can stably tailstand
• Anti-roll indentations on the head
• The possibility of accidental activation from Off is quite small, thanks to lock-out function
• Small standby current drain (66uA) is inevitable, but not a concern
• Electronic lock-out function at the dual-switch
• Physical reverse polarity protection function
• True flat-top 18650 will not work
• Metal reflector could be better
• Thermal step-down feature on Turbo
• Direct access to Lower Low and Turbo is available from Off
• Mode memory for all output levels in general mode except flashing mode
• You can use 4x18650 only (not 8xCR123A), due to limited working voltage 16.8V
• Output-runtime efficiency seems good
• True Moonlight (Lower Low) mode is available
• Two types of the battery status indication function
• No self-battery warning function
• No sign of PWM flickers at any output modes
• Artifacts in the non-circular spill beam due to the overlapping reflector wells
• Overall beam tint is in between cool white and neutral white
• No. 1 throwing stock multi-emitter light

The Nitecore TM16GT provided by Nitecore for review.
 

1jono

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Mar 10, 2006
Messages
72
Location
Essex, UK
Excellent review,thanks.
I have had this light for about a week now and love it!
I have about 20 lights but have always put off getting an ultra thrower because of the lack of decent spill but with this light you kinda get the best
of both worlds,fantastic throw and great useable spill too!
 

candle lamp

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 16, 2010
Messages
1,572
Location
South Korea
Nice pictures. Thanks for the great review.

Thanks for your support. Blue Steel!

Excellent review,thanks.
I have had this light for about a week now and love it!
I have about 20 lights but have always put off getting an ultra thrower because of the lack of decent spill but with this light you kinda get the best
of both worlds,fantastic throw and great useable spill too!

Thanks for your support. 1jono!
I agree with your feedback. The TM16GT gives you awesome throw and good spill as well. I think it's because the reflector wells harmonize well with the XP-L HI LEDs.

Thanks for the review, those pictures really show the intensity of the hotspot, particularly on the building tops. This one is a thrower! :)

Thanks for your support. SG Hall! :)
 

Pegaso

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Joined
Jun 30, 2014
Messages
74
Location
Sweden
Re: Nitecore TM16GT "Thrower" (4xXP-L HI V3, 4x18650) Review

Great review.
 
Last edited:

blakegill66

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Joined
Apr 5, 2016
Messages
27
Location
Louisiana
Re: Nitecore TM16GT "Thrower" (4xXP-L HI V3, 4x18650) Review

Awesome review, that is an insane light!
 

seery

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 10, 2006
Messages
1,628
Location
USA
Re: Nitecore TM16GT "Thrower" (4xXP-L HI V3, 4x18650) Review

Excellent review!

Thank you for sharing with us.
 

seery

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 10, 2006
Messages
1,628
Location
USA
candle lamp - Is the TK75 used in the beam-shot comparisons the 2900L or the 4000L variant?

Thanks!
 

nownlater

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Apr 5, 2016
Messages
3
HI there

I was wondering if anyone has had a chance to test a jetbeam T6 and what are your thoughts on how it compares to the tm16gt?
 

Timothybil

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Joined
Nov 9, 2007
Messages
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Location
The great state of Misery (Missouri)
I was checking this thread for new entries, and wound up rereading part of your review. In the Standby Drain portion, you said you measured ~70 microAmps drain, and in lockout mode you measured ~470 microAmps. Are you sure you don't have those two numbers reversed? One would expect that lockout mode would have the lessor drain.
 

candle lamp

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 16, 2010
Messages
1,572
Location
South Korea
I was checking this thread for new entries, and wound up rereading part of your review. In the Standby Drain portion, you said you measured ~70 microAmps drain, and in lockout mode you measured ~470 microAmps. Are you sure you don't have those two numbers reversed? One would expect that lockout mode would have the lessor drain.

The standby drain flows when the cells are installed and the tailcap connected. When you press and hold both side switches in the head for more than 1 sec while on, the light is in lockout state.
I measured these small currents under the above conditions. In my view, I expect the lockout mode need higher drain than standby mode.
 

Pipper99

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Joined
Sep 12, 2011
Messages
15
Well, my TM16GT shipped with Nitecore 2300mAH batteries which I assumed would be sufficient since Nitecore's product page shows them in the flashlight, but I'm not impressed with the output in Turbo mode. Do I need the 3400 mAH batteries to achieve full brightness?
 
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