Review: Nitecore TM28: 4 x XHP35 HI, 6000 lumens, 4 x IMR18650; (beam)shots, compare


Sep 10, 2012
The Netherlands
Again it seemed that Nitecore saved the best for last in the past year: the recently launched TinyMonster28 is the brightest flashlight ever made by this brand. Other features that make this light interesting are: The impressive throw, the built-in recharging function and the OLED-screen that brings the information you need. All this high-tech is packed into a very compact light, the TM28 has about 14 centimeters length! In this review I’ll show you the details of the TM28, give my opinions, and show the output, including a shoot-out against another 6000-lumens-flashlight!

the TM28, Nitecores’ output-king!

compact, but a lot of high-tech built-in

powered by four XHP35 HI LEDS

a new name to already known design

an OLED screen gives the information you need

those flat LEDS give of lot of output and throw

the TM28 meets the Dutch winter here

To start with, the features and specifications here, given by Nitecore:

Rechargeable searchlight
Utilises 4 CREE XHP35 HI LEDs, max output up to 6000 lumens
Powered by 4 18650 batteries, compatible with li-ion/IMR batteries
Max runtime up to 1000 hours
Max throw up to 655 metres
Onboard OLED display provides real-time data for brightness, battery power, voltage
Reflectors with PDOT incorporated
Intelligent charging circuit
Temperature regulation to prevent overheating
5 brightness levels and 3 special functions available
Dual-stage multi-functional single switch provides access to all functions (Patent No.
Built-in power indicator to report battery level (Patent No. ZL201220057767.4)
Onboard tripod receptacle
Mineral optic lenses with anti-reflective coating
Retaining rings protect core components from damages
Made from aerospace grade aluminium alloy
HAIII hard anodising
Waterproof in accordance with IPX8 (2 metres submersible)
Tail stand

The dimensions:

5.59” (141.99mm)
Head diameter: 2.23 x 2.23” (56 x 56mm)
Tail diameter: 1.97” (5.0mm)
Weight: 14.6oz (413gram) (without batteries)

And the output specs:


It’s always nice to see that bigger Nitecore-lights come in simple, brown cartons. Same for the TM28: A sturdy, light-brown box with a yellow sticker on it, that’s all. Personally, I would like to see that this “upper-class” Nitecore comes in a nicer box. So, let’s see what’s up next.. While opening the box, a big red warning sticker appears at the flap. This information is important, because the light runs on IMR’s, cells that you really have to take care of. Inside the carton we see black protecting-foam with some cut-outs for the light and the accessories. The package is complete (I got the version included original Nitecore IMR-cells, which I can recommend), also a lot of spare parts are in. So, besides I’d like to see some more luxury at the box itself, a neat and complete package here. The photos below show more about the box and what’s in!

simple, light-brown cartons often hide nice lights…

no-nonsense with only a sticker on it

but sturdy enough to protect the TM28 against damage

this is clear: take care of your IMR-cells!

inside: TM28, charger, leaflets and manual, lanyard, holster and a lot of spare parts


Nitecore introduced the first TM26 for about four years ago, and (after another update) renamed this light into TM28 now. The design is still (about) the same, but it is still surprising compact. I like the powerful appearance, the TM28 looks like a light that won’t give it up easily. Striking is the big, quadrangular parts of the lights’ head that has four hexagonal tiny heads built-in. The other part of the head is rounded, both parts have a lot of cooling’ fins to avoid the light gets overheated. The OLED-screen seems to be screwed on the head, but its built-in and protected by an aluminum cover. At the rounded part of the head we see the power two-stage button and at the opposite a hole to connect a tripod and the recharging-connector. Thanks to these details the TM28 has its own design; some will love it, some not. The TM28 is a heavy light relative to its length, but feels well-built and durable. The light is balanced well and the TM28 stands stable both on the head as on the tail. And, as expected, it has an excellent anti-rolling design. The lanyard hole is positioned the right way, the TM28 still stands stable on the back if the strap is added-on. The anodizing-job is well-done, I couldn’t find defects. To me as a flashlight-lover, it’s a pity that most lights show user traces after some weeks, it’s hard to avoid that. Same to this TM28 after a couple of weeks. The engraving is done well, but there are a lot of “stories” on the tube. I would like to see info’s about patents and warnings at the lights inner or only in the manual.. Behind the clean lenses we see four perfectly centered XHP35 HI LEDS, positioned in dust-free reflectors. The threads are machined well, run smooth thanks to the grease. Also inside the lights’ head and the tube it’s high-quality: no defects, solder or glue rests here. So, this means that this 4-years old concept is still going strong: The TM28 is built and finished very well, and will last for many years. I took a bunch of impressions- and details-pictures of the TM28, please scroll down to watch.

this Tiny Monster of Nitecore is the output-king

the TM28 is an update to the TM26

very stable

both on head ant tail

not palm-sized, but surprising compact

this Tiny Monster has its own looks and style

but has powerful appearance

powered by four XHP35 HI LEDS, that give both impressive output and throw

with recommended batteries

typical head with striking details

a lot of cooling’ fins are needed

quadrangular head and with hexagonal lenses built-in

a close-up at the backside

nice knurling, but a lot of info’s at the body

anodizing-job well done

a close-up at the two-stage switch

at the opposite the tripod connector and the charging-port

smooth and dust-free reflectors

perfectly centered XHP35 HI LEDS

the build-quality is very good

the engraving is clear

a look into the heads’ inner

the tube with four IMR’s loaded; with the included connector you can use flat-tops too!

a look into the tube

the TM28 has a very good low mode

after turning on, the OLED screen gives the information you need to know

the TM28 mounted on a gorilla-pod

use the included line to add-on the lanyard

the hole is positioned the right way

the TM28 hidden in the holster

the TM28 is an impressive flashlight

User interface:

The TM28 is a compact, but heavy light. But thanks to the design it feels comfortable in the hand, and is easy to control by using your thumb. The side-switch is easily to locate because at the opposite you can clearly feel the rubber that covers the charging port. About that port, it would (to me) be a better option to change it into a micro-USB port. Now, you always need the dedicated charger to load, otherwise you could charge it by almost every phone-charger. If your batteries are depleted, the charging job will take about 4-5 hours, so that’s quite long. The OLED-screen gives information about the voltage during charging. The TM28 has a few battery options: I used the recommended IMR’s in this review, but the light can also be powered by standard 18650’s cells. Keep in mind, that in this case, the light reach maximum 4500 lumens. Good job of Nitecore that they include an adaptor for flat-top cells, so you be able to load almost all 18650’s. You can’t load CR123A’s, these will damage the TM28. Another power-option is the optional Nitecore battery-pack (NBP68HD), that will also bring enough amps to reach 6000 lumens.

The TM28 has a two-stage switch; to me, it took some time to get used by it. But after a few days, it worked fine to me, although I would prefer the switch of the TM06 or three-stage button of the MH20(GT) over this one. I still doubt which is the best one… because this switch has momentary-on option.. Two ways to use the button: A half (light) press or a full click. After inserting the cells or unlock the TM28 by tightening the head, the screen gives information about what kind of batteries are in, so the light will set itself to the used cells.

In standby mode, the blue led in the switch will slow-flash continuously. In contrast to other Nitecores, you can’t turn of this flash, only by locking-out the TM28. The TM28 has two modes, only is called “daily-mode” and the second “search-mode”. By half pressing the switch you get into the daily-mode, a click will turn the light on in search-mode. Both modes have momentary-on, a great option here, good job here of Nitecore! A half press will turn on the light in last used daily mode, after that you can cycle through four mode here, only up. Full click to turn off, double click to enter the three special modes. Cycle through the special modes by half presses. If you full press/click from off, you will get into the search-mode: the light will start in turbo, and you will have two output-options here: Cycle between Turbo and High by half pressing the button. Same way to enter the special modes here.

The button that is placed near to the OLED-screen can be used to get information about (in the order of): actual level and lumens, accurate voltage, battery power icon, remaining runtime and actual temperature. Also the special modes are displayed if activated. Difference is that in special modes only the mode is showed continuously, not the remaining runtime or temperature. In normal modes, you can call in this information as often as you want, except when the flashlight is off. In standby-mode, you will only see the actual voltage. This informative screen is a very nice addition to this light, and very helpful. I’m sure a lot of user will love it!

The TM28 has a though-out interface, and it works without issues. After getting used by it, I can tell you that I love the two-stage switch on this high-tech flashlight.


Like I mentioned earlier, the TM28 has two main output modes, daily and search. In daily mode you have the following options: ULTRALOW > LOW > MID > HIGH. The spacing is good, I especially like it that the TM28 has such an economical and nice low. In search-mode you will have two options: TURBO > HIGH. This TURBO is the only direct-mode on the TM28. The three special modes are available in both modes, in order of STROBE > SOS > BEACON. The actual VOLTAGE can be read at the OLED-screen. Two ways to LOCK-OUT this flashlight: Press and hold the power button for longer than a second (while turning off), or unscrew the head a little. About the modes, nothing to complain here, the Nitecore TM28 has it (almost) all!

Size comparison:

It’s hard to find a light that is equal to the TM28. I bumped upon the Fenix RC40-2016, that has also 6000 lumens, massive throw and a recharging option. I’ll show you both lights side-by-side, and use them also when we go outside for the beamshots-session.

Fenix RC40-2016 and Nitecore TM28

Fenix RC40-2016 and Nitecore TM28

Fenix RC40-2016 and Nitecore TM28

Fenix RC40-2016 and Nitecore TM28

the heads: six XM-L2 U2 and four XHP35 HI LEDS

the tails:
Fenix RC40-2016 and Nitecore TM28


The TM28 has a nice, coolwhite tint. Compared to the tint of the XM-L2 U2 LEDS that the Fenix RC40-2016 has, you clearly can see that the TM28’s has a more evenly white tint. The XM-L2 U2’s show more yellow.


As can be seen at the white wall beamshots below, the four XHP35 HI LEDS create a throwy beam. This gives to the TM28 a rather big and intense hotspot, a medium corona and spill. In contrast to some actual soda-can sized lights the TM28 has impressive throw: You can light up a big area having a lot of lumens too. The beam doesn’t show defects, neither PWM. It’s impressive to see how such a compact light can put out so many lumens and have this decent throw too!


At first, the five modes of the TM28 shown here when we project the torch on a white wall, followed by a GIF. I changed the shutter speed a little because of the big output here. The distance to the wall is about 1 meter.

Camera-settings: ISO100, F/2.7, WB daylight, 1/200 sec, 35mm


Let’s have a look now how the TM28 performs in the dark! Starting at a road in the polder by showing you the five output modes here, followed by a GIF.

Camera-settings: ISO100, F/2.7, WB daylight, 4 sec, 35mm


Same road, and compared now against the Fenix RC40-2016. Clearly visible here that the six XM-L2 U2 LEDS of the Fenix create a wider beam and seem to have more output.

the Nitecore TM28 against the Fenix RC40-2016, both at turbo

Location 2:

The second location is a tree line that is about 375 meters away.

the Nitecore TM28 at Turbo-mode

Again here a comparison against the Fenix RC40-2016. This shows that the TM28 does the better job at farther distance.

the TM28 in a shoot-out against the Fenix RC40-2016, both at highest mode

As you can see at the photo below, the TM28 lights up a huge area!

the TM28 on maximum mode of 6000 lumens


This flagship made by Nitecore has impressed me! Again and again it’s so nice to try this light out, and see so many lumens reach such a big distance! The light has its own style and looks, but is built very well. Although you need some time to get used by the interface, it’s a nice one that offers many options. I would like to see the opportunity to charge the TM28 via micro-USB. The OLED-screen is a very nice addition to this light, you can always get relevant information about level, runtime and more. Via the innovative two-stage switch you can easily control the light, including momentary-on for a quick-check. Only thing against this switch that it easily turns on during wearing the TM28 in your pocket. So, I recommend you to lock-out the light during carrying.

The TM28 can run on normal 18650’s too; but in my test I didn’t try out this option. In my opinion, it’s better to get this light included the dedicated cells. If you only want to use normal 18650’s, the earlier released Nitecore TM26GT could be also a good choice for you.

In these winter days, I’ll pick this rather heavy but compact and impressive power-light often!

Thanks to Nitecore for providing me the TM28!
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Newly Enlightened
Jan 29, 2016
Thanks for the review! Did you say it takes 4 to 5 hrs to charge all 4 batteries at once in the light? If so that actually sounds kind of fast :)


Sep 10, 2012
The Netherlands
Thanks for the review! Did you say it takes 4 to 5 hrs to charge all 4 batteries at once in the light? If so that actually sounds kind of fast :)

Yes, it has rather quick charging. Maybe, if your cells are around 3 volts, it may take little longer.