Review:Nitecore Concept 1: XHP35 HD E2, 1800 lumens, 1 x IMR18650; beamshots, compare


Sep 10, 2012
The Netherlands
When I saw the first pictures of the Concept, I thought it was a prototype. The looks and the style of this torch are different to the others of the Nitecore-family; so it was a surprise to me that this light was launched. This very compact flashlight puts with its enclosed IMR-18650 up to 1800 lumens, which is quite a lot for a small light like this! So I was curious about how this light would perform. In this review we'll have a closer look at the futuristic Concept 1. I will show you by beamshots how it looks when 1800 lumens come out such a small light, show the details and share my personal feelings. Let’s kick off!

the Concept 1 made by Nitecore

new design


new name, and not only a concept..

powered by a XHP35 HD E2 LED

built-in magnet in the tail for hands-free operation

As usual, we’ll start by having a look at the specs, given by Nitecore:


· Utilizes a CREE XHP35 HD E2 LED, max output of up to 1800 lumens
· Max beam intensity of up to 12,100cd, max distance of up to 220 meters
· Crystal Coating Technology combined with “Precision Digital Optics Technology” for extreme reflector performance
· Max runtime of up to 300 hours
· Side switch for 5 brightness levels and 3 special functions
· Integrated power indicator beneath the side switch displays remaining battery power (Patent No.: ZL201220057767.4 )
· Power indicator blinks to report battery voltage to the nearest 0.1V
· Features intelligent memory function (except for SOS and location beacon modes)
· High efficient constant current circuit board provides constant illumination
· The built in ATR module automatically regulates its output and adapts to the ambient environment, maintaining optimal performance.
· Reverse polarity protection
· Toughened ultra-clear mineral glass with anti-reflective coating
· Magnetic tail cap with stand capability
· Constructed from aero grade aluminum alloy with HAIII military grade hard-anodized finish
· Waterproof in accordance to IPX-8 (two meters submersible)
· Impact resistant to 1.5 meters


· Length: 4.39” / 111.5mm
· Head diameter: 0.96” / 24.38mm
· Tube: 0.94” / 23.87mm
· Weight: 2.18oz / 61.9grams (without battery)

And the output specs:


Also a new style to the package here: the Concept 1 comes in a restyled box. Personally I like the black box, it has exclusive looks. On the box a photo of the light and only the main features this time. On the backside a short description of the light and some symbols that show the intensity, runtime, output and beam distance. Inside the box we see the same like other Nicecore boxes: This means that almost all we need to fire up and carry the light is in. Striking detail here: In the box that I got was an IMR-cell included that was meant for the TM28-brother. Of course this isn’t a problem; Nitecore provides the same “unbranded” cells for the stock-Concept 1. So nothing to complain about this box: it’s ready to go! Please scroll down to view some pictures about the carton and the contents.

also new looks to the box

nice black color, little information on it

but inside there’s most we need: Concept 1, lanyard, manual, spare parts, holster and battery


It seems that this torch has the Nitecore-looks of the future, this is a new line to the family. Striking is that this light is surprising compact, it has the size of a (big) finger. Eye-catching are the fixed clip and the switch that is made of metal. The switch is “pinned” in the head and fixed to the body by a screw. New style, in the user interface chapter I'll give my opinion. The overall build-quality is good, like we are used of Nitecore. Anodizing-job also well done, the clear white engraving is done well too; no issues here. The light stands stable both on the back as on its head. Thanks to the fixed clip the light won’t roll off the table. The clip is sturdy and rather long; so fixing the light on your cap can be done too: this lightweight torch can be carried without problems for longer time. The cap and a part of the body has a fine pineapple texture to avoid slipping out of your hand. In the tailcap there’s a magnet built-in: Handy for hands-free operation! Maybe some users would prefer the option to remove the magnet, this should be something to Nitecore to think about.. Looking into the head we see a clear coated lens and also a dust-free and rather deep smooth reflector. The XHP35 E2 led wasn’t perfectly centered at my light, but luckily this didn’t cause anything to the beamprofile. The anodized thread were lubed the right way and run smooth. Into the cap and the tube’s inner no issues found: we’ll machined and finished. So we can conclude that the overall quality of the Concept 1 is again good, although it isn’t a double-layered body. Below I’ll show you some more details by the pictures I took. Please scroll down to watch!

a totally new flashlight here made by Nitecore

different looks and style compared to its brothers

stable standing

the light has “futuristic” appearance

compact; this is a real lightweight

the diameter of the head and the body are about the same

the Concept 1 is powered by a XHP35 HD E4

a smooth, rather deep reflector; so this light will have good throw to its size

an IMR-18650 is recommended for best performance

a close-up to the fine knurling

a striking detail is the metal power-switch that is fixed to the head by a screw

this compact led will put out up to 1800 lumens!

build-quality and finishing is good, as always

a fixed and strong clip that can’t be removed

well machined and greased threads

a look into the tailcap

and a look into the tube; no issues here, well finished

the rather big lanyard has to be fixed to the clip

and is needed an this compact light

IMR-cells and the latest generation LEDS give compact light big output!

clip it on at any metal surface

the XHP35 HD E4 was slightly off-center at my sample

powerful torch!

also a handy car-accessory

compact, powerful and a lot of ways to use it!

User interface:

The Concept 1 is a surprising compact and lightweight torch! For some years ago, you couldn’t imagine that so many lumens came out of such a tiny flashlight. The grip is good, but without the pineapple-texture at the lights’ back, the clip and metal-switch the light would slip easily out of your hand. Especially the clip will help you to hold the light at the right way.

Good point is that the Concept 1 can be powered by different kinds of batteries. To get the most out of this light, the used cell must be a 18650 that has a power of at least 8A. If you use two CR123A’s, the maximum output of 1800 lumens can’t be reached, the maximum output will be 810 lumens than. So I would say here: Use a normal 18650 for long runtimes, an IMR-18650 for short and big illuminance and CR123A’s for spare batteries or in cold circumstances. After inserting the cells the LED will blink and show the actual voltage; I’m still a fan of this great feature that’s built-in to a lot of recent Nitecore lights.

The Concept 1 has two main-modes: General and Tactical. Switching between those two is an easy job: Loose the tail-cap by a half-turn, press and hold the power button, and tighten it again. The LED will shortly blink: 1 time for General, 2 times and you’re in Tactical-mode. Works well and simple.

Operating the Concept 1 took some effort to me: A new switch and also some changes to the interface. Technical it works with problems, but personally I prefer like the button of the MH20 and EC4-series over this one. I really had to get used by this interface, have to admit that it’s getting much better after some weeks. Both modes are almost equal, the only difference is the direct mode (by tapping three times) when the light is in standby-mode. In General you will have direct-Turbo, in Tactical you will enter direct-Strobe. This is how it works: From standby: Press and hold the switch to turn on the light in last used mode, double press from standby to turn into direct-ultralow, triple-press to enter direct Turbo or Strobe (depending on General / Tactical mode). This works without issues. The strange fact (to me) is that the normal output modes are “fixed” directly. This means that you can’t cycle through the mode when the light is on. So, you can only preselect your desired mode when you turn the light on (by pressing and holding the switch); and when you want a step forwards or back in output, you have to turn off and again on. If you’re using one light, you will get used by it; to me (who use several lights a day) not my favorite interface. A good option is that you’ll have direct Turbo from on by pressing and holding the button; if you release the button the light will turn back in last used mode. A triple press from on will bring you in Strobe-mode. When you are in Strobe-mode, press and hold for about 1 second to enter the next special mode, SOS. Again a long press will bring you into Beacon. A single press (in any mode) will turn the light off.

The Turbo-mode is a nice feature on the Concept 1, but it’s only meant for short times. In about a minute or less the light will get that you can barely hold it anymore. So, only use this mode for a quick check, defending or signaling. The High-mode has also good output and will last much longer.

Summarizing, the Concept 1 has a bunch of nice options and direct-modes. But I would like to see the interface of the MH20(GT) on this light, that works much better to me.


The Concept 1 has in total five normal output modes, in order of: ULTRALOW > LOW > MID > HIGH > TURBO. The step between ULTRALOW and LOW is a rather big one, for the rest, the spacing is ok to me. The three special modes are: STROBE > SOS > BEACON, all these modes use maximum output. You can LOCK-OUT the Concept 1 by releasing the cap a bit; I can recommend this when you’re wearing this tiny one in your pocket; it will get hot very soon if you are at High or Turbo. The light has VOLTAGE-INDICATION, that is accurate up to 0,1 volts. No surprises here, all Nitecore lights are equipped with a bunch of modes and options.


The Concept 1 is equipped with Advance Temperature Regulation; the light will decrease its output when it gets too hot. A good feature, and for sure needed on this compact lumen-monster; it gets hot in a short time. If it gets very hot, Turbo can’t be activated until the temperature is down.

Size comparison:

The show how compact the Concept 1 is, I’ll show you the light next to some others. Only Nitecore light in this comparison this time, I picked a 1000 lumens light of about the same size and a 2000+ torch that seems to be a big one next to the Concept 1. I’ll show you how these lights perform in my beamshots-chapter too!

18650-cell, Nitecore MH20, Nitecore Concept 1 and Nitecore EC4S

Nitecore MH20, Nitecore Concept 1 and Nitecore EC4S

Nitecore MH20, Nitecore Concept 1 and Nitecore EC4S

the heads: Nitecore MH20, Nitecore Concept 1 and Nitecore EC4S

the LEDS: XM-L2 U2, XHP35 HD E2 and XHP50

the tails: Nitecore MH20, Nitecore Concept 1 and Nitecore EC4S


The coolwhite tint of the Concept 1 looks not bad. Compared to the other Nitecores that I showed you before better than the greenish tint of the EC4S; the MH20 has a bluish spill. All lights at medium output mode shown here.



Looking at the beam of the Concept 1 we see a mixed beamprofile: A medium until big hotspot and corona, and a rather big and bright spill. So, a good profile for a light like this: Good throw and also a broad beam at close distance. No defects in the beam, neither PWM. Well done here Nitecore!


Let’s have a look now at how the Concept performs in the dark! As we’re used of, starting by some indoor-shots. The Concept 1 positioned on a tripod at a distance of about 1 meter away from a white wall.

Camera settings: ISO100, WB daylight, F/2.7, 1/125 sec, 35mm






Let’s see now how this light performs outside! Showing the Concept 1 in the dark, mounted on a tripod. Location: a road with some trees at the left and a wall at right side. Starting with the five output modes of the Concept 1, after that some shoot outs against the other Nitecores. The Ultralow output is barely visible at the picture, this is a really good low mode.

Camera settings: ISO100, WB daylight, F/2.7, 4.0 sec, 35mm





a GIF of the five output modes:

Let’s have a look at the other compact Nitecore, the MH20. The MH20 has some better throw, but clearly less lumens, as you can see at the trees and at medium distance at the road.

the Concept 1 against the MH20-brother, both on Turbo

Now, a shoot-out against the EC4S! Throw is almost equal here, the Concept is the brightest at short distance. This picture shows also that the Concept 1 has very good output.

the Concept 1 against the EC4S, both on highest level


I never had my hands-on to flashlight of this dimensions that is so bright. It is amazing what this light can put out. But, its only for a short time. The Concept 1 gets very hot in a short time, so Turbo is only for a short check or to impress. Like we’re used of Nitecore, the overall machining and finishing is well done. I really had to get used by the renewed interface; personally I would like to see the interface of the MH20 on this light. I like the styling and the package and the futuristic looks of the Concept 1, this is not a “standard” torch, but it has its own looks.

What I would like to see next? Maybe a “Concept 2”: powered by a 26650,rechargeable, slightly bigger head so that it gets that hot in short time and the same interface like MH- or EC-series. So, let’s look forward to what the future brings!

Nitecore Concept 1 provided for review

Last edited: