[Review] Nitecore T4K (EDC-Keychain, 4000+ lumens, OLED, USB-C, 2 switches)

Budda

Budda

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I received the T4K from Nitecore for the review.

The T4K is a small EDC-Keychain light with a quick release system, that uses 4 CREE XP-L2 V6 LEDs, has an integrated 1000mAh li-ion battery rechargeable via USB-C, an OLED display and 2 electronic switches. In many aspects, it recalls the Nitecore TUP, but the T4K has several differences in performance, that you’ll see as you read the review.

The T4K comes in this nice box, held close by a magnet in the cardboard flap.
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New way to display the manual and the warranty card.
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A nice motto inside the box. Under that, there’s a pre-cut foam to host the T4K.
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Under the light there are the lanyard, USB-C cable, splitring with keychain clasp.
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The T4K measures 82x30x29 mm, and weights 77 grams with the clip. On the front part there are the 2 backlit electronic switches and the OLED Display, covered by an anti-scratch label.
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On the back there is the clip, secured to the body by 2 Phillip head screws
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The front, with the 4 XP-L2 CW emitters with their optics.
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Let’s remove the protective cover from the display and let’s take a look at the OLED, that beside showing the NITECORE logo, shows info like: level selected, output, remaining time, charging status (when in charge), remaining time at turbo mode. All the lettering is precise and clearly readable. The display is backlit as well.
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Interestingly, on the side there are some translucent inserts that allow the light to escape on the sides, allowing you to see it when looking sideways.
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Here at the bottom, you can see the USB-C charging port, and the quick release system
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The quick release system allows you to attach the end of the T4k to a keychain ring or to a lanyard, and by pushing the small protruding button (you can see it well on the second picture), you can disconnect it from the light
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Here is the light removed from the quick release system. If you don’t want to use it and plan to use the light fixed to a keychain or a lanyard, you can remove it and use the fixed part protruding from the light as an attachment point. To reconnect the light, the button needs to be pressed, fitted on the light and the button released. Nitecore claims a 30kg hanging resistance from the removable attachment point.
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Here’s in my medium hand
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Here some pictures with the previous mode, the smaller but less powerful TUP
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Here on the nice baseball cap that I got along with the T4K
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And here on the boonie
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UI
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Here’s a GIF[/IMG] of the animation of the Turbo “Bar” on the display.
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Beamshots at 0,5 meters from the wall
The beam is very wide, with the edge of the outer spill reaching my feet. The spot is very large (after all, it’s made by 4 spots fused together), and blends with the spill without being noticeable within 15 meters. Overall, a very flood beam, well suited for an EDC.
There’s a slightly warm crown around the spot.
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Output and runtime
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Please note that since the Turbo “Burst” needs to be reactivated manually, there might be small differences in the reactivation time from one to the next (one time 10”, the other 9”, the other 11”, the other 8” or so).
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Nitecore claims to have implemented an effective heat sinking surface located at the bottom of the light. Here’s are some thermal pictures that confirm so.
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My thoughts
The light is well built and finished.
I like the packaging style for the T4K, definitely gives the light a more premium appearance.
I like the UI: quick access to lowest and highest mode, memory mode. I also like that there are no flashing mode, but your mileage may vary.
The tested levels are well regulated, with the thermal regulation system in place for the Turbo mode. As I said in the TUP review: “The Turbo mode regulation depends upon the temperature of the light: running continuously will mean getting a lower output soon, while running turbo mode with a fan or in a very windy environment can sustain the high output for longer. For real application, a good compromise can be achieved by turning it on and off with a little pause in between, as shown in the graphic”. In my testing I found that the output is so high, that the heat produced can’t be dissipated when running the light continuously even with a fan. Constantly reactivating the turbo with the fan in place, will allow you to get more length of the turbo “bursts” and a bigger number.
After several tests with my fan, I found that allowing around 10” after every reactivation of the turbo mode, did cool the light enough so you can benefit from the whole length of the original burst.
As seen in the thermal pictures, given the light size, there’s quite a big heat sinking surface on the T4K, and I guess its effect could improve by removing the clip.
I like that the duration of the Turbo “burst” can be seen changing by how long does the “turbo” bar takes to empty. As the light gets warmer, the bar fills always up but takes less and less time to empty.

Compared to the TUP, several aspects have been improved: bigger and stiffer switches with circular indentations, higher output, better heat sinking, up to date USB-C charging port, quick release system, better box and no USB cover (while maintaining the IP54 Rating).
The counterparts are that T4K is a bit bigger and heavier, with 20% less cell capacity (likely to make room to the bigger heat sinking).
I’ll happily take the T4K over the TUP for the higher power, bigger stiffer switches, and USB-C port.

The levels could be better spaced, there’s too big of a jump from 200 lumens to the 4000+ lumens mode of the turbo. I would have liked an 800-1000 lumens mode, always thermally regulated, with its runtime benefitting from the increased heatsinking surface.

I wish this light came with a neutral/warm tint.
I wish there was no access to lowest mode when scrolling through the other outputs.
Thanks to: AntoLed, Won, Zampa
 
S

Sphinx99

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Jan 29, 2021
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Wow, this is an outstanding review!

Does the OLED screen surface appear similar to the TUP? I have a TUP (actually several for family) and one thing we’ve all noticed is that screen will get scuffed and grow unsightly if treated as intended e.g. attached to keychain. I’m wondering if the T4K improves on this.
 
Budda

Budda

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It feels like it is still made out of plastic, and if you use it as a keychain the display might get scuffed as well.
IF you plan to use it in this application, I advise you to buy some universal screen proterctor for phones or general displays, cut a small rectangle and apply it on the screen. replace it every once in a while. Or some quality clear scotch tape.
 
Tasky

Tasky

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Jan 20, 2021
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If it's anything like the TUP, I would suggest finding a method of increasing the button surround. I just used Sugru.
It has a double lockout mode, but that can still easily get tripped in your pocket or pouch, as the buttons stand so proud of the body.
 
Budda

Budda

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the sugru idea is nice, but on the T4k the pressure required to activate the switches is higher than the one of the TUP.
 
Tasky

Tasky

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the sugru idea is nice, but on the T4k the pressure required to activate the switches is higher than the one of the TUP.
I'd have to see for myself, but I have this same issue with Olights, my E18R and pretty much anything with a side switch. Problem is that surfaces inside pockets and pouches are not flat, so dig in enough to hit the switch and even sitting down or in a car is enough pressure to trigger it.
The Sugru isn't pretty, but it does work. Hopefully I won't need it for this one.
 
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Ned-L

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Is the T4K comfortable to carry in front pants pockets without the clip? It looks like it might be a little thick.
 
Budda

Budda

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I carried 18650 lights in my front pocket pants.
Depends on your built, your pants stile. Defenetely will fit.
 
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