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Thread: Review: Nitecore MH23: XHP35 HD, 1800 lumens, 1x18650, beamshots, compare

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* kj75's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Review: Nitecore MH23: XHP35 HD, 1800 lumens, 1x18650, beamshots, compare

    I’m a big fan of the MH-series made by Nitecore, like I told you earlier in my MH20 and MH20GT-review. So, I was happy to meet the brand new MH23. Fitted with an XHP35 HD led and therefore an “update” to the MH20. Thanks to this powerful emitter and a special battery, you get a finger-sized and rechargeable flashlight that has an output up to 1800 lumens! Besides that, Nitecore has updated the interface too. So, high time to have a closer look at this interesting one. Like we’re used of, I’ll show you the details of the MH23, give you a description of how it works and compare it the MH20 and MH20GT. After that I’ll show you by a lot of beamshots the difference between the three. Enjoy reading and watching!

    compact flashlights become more and more powerful


    like the MH23 made by Nitecore


    almost same design as MH20-series


    but an update to the emitter, a XHP35 HD led


    output up to 1800 lumens


    a rechargeable pocket-powerhouse!



    Let’s start by having a look at the main features, given by manufacturer:








    And the output and runtime specs:





    Unboxing:

    The MH23 is delivered in the well-known and attractive Nitecore box, that looks the same like as the package of the MH20-brothers. It’s still a bit crampy, that makes restoring the light and the parts a hard job. Like we’re used of, some nice pictures with the light in action on the box, supplemented with the main features. I got the most complete version of the box, that means that the dedicated battery was included. So, I was ready to go because a high-performance 18650-cell came with the light. A very complete package here, including spare parts like a cover for the charging port. Only thing you need is a power-source to charge, because there’s only a cable included. Again a complete box here. Have a look at my pictures below that show the carton and what's’ in!

    we’ve seen this box earlier..


    attractive but a little crampy


    main features on the back



    this is what’s in: in my region you can order it with or without dedicated 18650-cell


    Impressions:

    The MH23 has kept it compact format, it has the same length as the MH20GT. I’m sure this is one of the most compact single 18650-lights in its (lumens)-class. Although the head (in relation to the body) is “too big”, I like the design of the MH23. The light feels solid and little heavy, to me it seems the build-quality of recent Nitecore products has become even better, which is a good thing! Nitecore didn’t change that much on the design: Only the head is redesigned. This is a good point and required, because the light has to handle the 1800 lumens of the XHP35 HD led. The MH23 comes in matte black color and the overall quality and is very good. The engraving is clear, but the letters “MH23” were not aligned perfectly at my sample. Anodizing-job is done well. Tailstand is possible and stable. The strong and rather long clip can be fixed at the light at two ways, forward and reverse. The “new” part of this torch, the head, has some extra cooling-fins now to dissipate the heat. The charging-port is built-in the head and covered by a rubber. This cover can be turned 360 degrees after you pop it out, so the risk you tear it out is low. At the opposite the big power button, which can light up in blue. It has stiff structure, is easily to find, and is still one of my favorite switches. I wish of lot of new Nitecore will use this control in future! The reflector is smooth and deep and had (in my case) a little speck in the edge. No dust in the head and a perfectly centered XHP35 HD emitter. The light has in total three parts, but removing the head isn’t necessary in most cases. The threads run smooth and are machined well. Because of the strong spring in de cap it takes some effort to close it. Finishing is done well here. Summarizing this chapter: A quality and well-constructed product, only some little point for improvement on some details. More impressions about and close-ups to the MH23 shown here by a couple of pictures!

    a new name for a well-known design


    the Multi-task Hybrid 23


    a fairly large head


    stable..


    both on head and tail


    a palm-sized powerhouse


    the rubber cover can be turned 360 degrees


    really big output to its size!


    the HD-version of the XHP35 led


    the dedicated 18650-cell


    still a good pick for EDC


    smooth and rather deep reflector


    easy to find: the big power-button


    perfect machining and finish


    a close-up to the engraving and knurling


    deep clip, can be attached at two ways


    perfectly centered led


    a close-up at the (well lubed) threads


    a strong spring in the cap


    a look into the heads’ inner


    good overall quality and finishing


    cell designed to last longer in cold conditions


    the XHP35 HD has broad beam and good output


    the indicator in the button is handy and multifunctional


    testing during a cold night


    fits well in the holster


    you need a tool to add the lanyard, it will take some effort


    rather big head in relation to the tube


    User interface:


    The MH23 is a compact, palm-sized light that has a lot of wearing-options: In your pocket, at your clothes or for example mounted on bike (with an optional adaptor). It is user-friendly, you don’t need much practice to control it. Keep in mind that the maximum output of 1800 lumens only can be reached by an (IMR)-cell that has at least 8A. Standard 18650 and (R)CR123A batteries can be used too, but the MH23 doesn’t reach its highest output when you pick one of these cells. Only button-tops can be used. Let’s start with a power-check: Every time when the battery is inserted or you lose and tighten the tailcap, the blue button informs about the remaining power, accurate up to 0,1 volts. This is a great option that should be standard (in my opinion) to all flashlights. Charging the light is easy and took in my case average about between 3,5 and 4,5 hours. I used the delivered 2900 mAh battery and a 1A power source for this job. A slow flash indicates that the charging is still progress, steady blue means that the job is done. When the indicator flickers, there’s something wrong; in most cases you have to tighten the tailcap. Only 18650-cells can be charged in the MH23, and two CR123A’s may be used instead of one 18650. The MH23 has a two-stage button that you can half-press and full-press. A short half press in standby activates and deactivates the location-flash in the switch: It is rather bright when its completely dark, but I love this feature. If you press half and hold for a second, the light starts at lowest level. If on, you go cycle through the five output modes by half presses. A new and nice option here: If you half press and hold the button in any mode, you’ll get momentary Turbo until you release the button. So, for example, you can turn on the light at lowest level, do a short check on highest via momentary Turbo and go back to previous (lowest) level after you release the button. Great option to me! To turn off the MH23, you need a full click. A full press from standby turns on the light in last used mode; cycling through the modes works the same by short half presses. If you full press and hold from standby, you’ll have momentary Turbo. Entering the special modes is only possible with the light on: Full press and hold to get into Strobe, half press to cycle through the other options SOS and Beacon. Either the MH23 uses ATR, the system that Nitecore has built-in to the latest generations of flashlights. The output will decrease when the lights get overheated. Often, in daily use, this is barely visible because the light doesn’t step down a full level. Almost every Nitecore is easy to locate in the dark, because of the indicator that is built-in the button (in case of the MH23). At the end of this chapter about how the light works and feels, I have to say that I really love this renewed interface, in particular the momentary-Turbo options.

    Modes:

    I told you already something about the modes in the previous chapter, but the MH23 has in total five constant levels: ULTRA-LOW > LOW > MED > HIGH > TURBO. Like we mostly see by Nitecore, the light has a very good low mode but after that a rather big jump to the next level. For the rest the spacing is good, but I’d recommend to add a sixth level between ULTRA-LOW and LOW. Two direct modes here: instant ULTRA-LOW and instant TURBO. The three well-known special modes are also present at the MH23: STROBE > SOS > BEACON. Enough to handle most emergency situations. The light has a POSITION INDICATOR built in the power switch. You check the actual VOLTAGE up to 0.1 volts accurate too. There’s no low-voltage warning, but it’s the actual voltage is easily to check, like I told you in the interface chapter. Overall, I’m satisfied with the light-options that the MH23 has.

    Size comparison:

    Let’s have a closer look now at the MH-members that I mentioned earlier. Same bodies, but difference in head, reflectors and emitters. Later in this review, we’ll pick those three again for a couple of beamshots!

    MH20GT, MH23 and MH20


    MH20GT, MH23 and MH20


    MH20GT, MH23 and MH20


    MH20GT, MH23 and MH20


    XPL-HI V3, XHP35 HD and XM-L2 U2


    the tails: MH20GT, MH23 and MH20


    Tint:

    When we compare the tints of the three, we see that the MH23 has the same tint as its brothers. Cool white, and it shows a little green in the corona and spill. To me good, but some users would like to see a neutral version. Like we’ve seen earlier, it’s possible that Nitecore will launch a neutral white-version on demand later.



    Beamprofile:

    A big spot and middle corona and spill; this tells that the MH23 will perform best up to medium distance. It really emits a broad beam for such a compact flashlight! So, the profile is almost equal to the MH20, but the MH23 has a more intense spot and less spill. The GT-version is designed for throw. Later, in the beamshots-chapter, I’ll show you the differences. No defects in the beam, neither PWM; like we’re used of this manufacturer.

    Beamshots:

    Let’s have a look now a the most important thing of a flashlight: How about the output in real life? At first, I’ll show you some indoor beamshots; light on a tripod, distance against a white wall about 1 meter. The five output modes here, after that a GIF.

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










    GIF:


    Time to go out now with the MH23. First location is a road with a tree line at the left and a wall at right side. Also here the five normal modes shown and after that a GIF. Ultralow is almost invisible here because the MH23 has a very good low mode.

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









    GIF:

    Let’s compare now the MH23 on this location to the other MH’s! At the pictures you can see that the MH23 is the big output version of the MH20. The MH20GT has a narrow spot and is the “throwy” version.

    Three MH-brothers, all in highest mode


    Location 2:

    Next location: A ditch and a tree line at right side. Shows again the good output of the MH23 and the throw of the GT-version.

    MH23, MH20 and MH20GT, all on turbo


    Location 3:

    Again on the road with the light in hand now. These pictures show again the broad beam of the MH23 and the narrow spot of the MH20GT.

    MH20 at turbo-mode


    MH23 at turbo-mode


    MH20GT at turbo-mode


    double beamshot with MH20 at left and MH23 at right-side


    Conclusion:

    The MH23 is a very good addition to the single 18650-class. A very good pick for those who like the MH20, but want to have some more power. The beamprofile is like the MH20, this makes the MH23 a good allrounder. I also like the renewed interface and the fact that this light has momentary on. Fit and finish is very good on this light, the big control is still one of my favorites. Lights of this size may not be used for very long times on turbo-mode; but using the MH23 for a couple of minutes on highest level is no problem. It is much more stable than the Concept1 on highest level, so a good improvement of Nitecore here. When I saw the first “scoop” pictures of this light, me and other “flashies” hoped for an update on the MH20GT… Although this is a good pick, I still look forward to a … MH23GT!


    Thanks to Nitecore for providing the MH23 for testing!

    the MH23 on maximum output
    Last edited by kj75; 04-03-2018 at 12:36 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Review: Nitecore MH23: XHP35 HD, 1800 lumens, 1x18650, beamshots, compare

    Great review. Thorough. Good comparison shots, love the animated gifs. Some pretty intimidating walls of text in there! Thanks!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Review: Nitecore MH23: XHP35 HD, 1800 lumens, 1x18650, beamshots, compare

    Just bought one here in Hong Kong, very hot on turbo, but that is expected anyway.
    Both flat-top and button-top cells can be used.
    When the battery is almost empty, the power button starts to flash, is this correct ? I couldn't find any information on this.
    Last edited by eh123456; 04-12-2018 at 02:30 AM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Review: Nitecore MH23: XHP35 HD, 1800 lumens, 1x18650, beamshots, compare

    Kj75,

    Thanks for this very informative and well organized review! I noticed a few things:

    "the light has a very good low mode but after that a rather big jump to the next level. For the rest the spacing is good, but I’d recommend to add a sixth level between ULTRA-LOW and LOW".
    I was glad to see that the jump was to around 70 lumens, a big improvement over the previous MH series selfbuilt-measured 120 lumens. This had been one of my biggest gripes because of the relatively short runtime of 13-15 hours.

    "There’s no low-voltage warning, but it’s the actual voltage is easily to check"
    Another review mentioned that the MH23 has a low voltage cutoff at around 2.8-3v as tested, making it safe to use unprotected cells. Do you know anything about this?

    Thanks,
    brightnorm

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* kj75's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review: Nitecore MH23: XHP35 HD, 1800 lumens, 1x18650, beamshots, compare

    [QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by brightnorm View Post
    Kj75,

    Thanks for this very informative and well organized review! I noticed a few things:

    "the light has a very good low mode but after that a rather big jump to the next level. For the rest the spacing is good, but I’d recommend to add a sixth level between ULTRA-LOW and LOW".
    I was glad to see that the jump was to around 70 lumens, a big improvement over the previous MH series selfbuilt-measured 120 lumens. This had been one of my biggest gripes because of the relatively short runtime of 13-15 hours.
    I would like to see an extra level of about 10 lumens. Now the second level is "55 times" the output of ultralow.

    "There’s no low-voltage warning, but it’s the actual voltage is easily to check"
    Another review mentioned that the MH23 has a low voltage cutoff at around 2.8-3v as tested, making it safe to use unprotected cells. Do you know anything about this?

    I didn't test the MH23 with unprotected. Have a preference for protected cells.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* kj75's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review: Nitecore MH23: XHP35 HD, 1800 lumens, 1x18650, beamshots, compare

    Quote Originally Posted by eh123456 View Post
    When the battery is almost empty, the power button starts to flash, is this correct ? I couldn't find any information on this.
    Just asked Nitecore, the MH23 does not have this option. You can only check the voltage by loosen en tighten the tailcap; there's no warning.

    Can you show it?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Review: Nitecore MH23: XHP35 HD, 1800 lumens, 1x18650, beamshots, compare

    Quote Originally Posted by kj75 View Post
    Just asked Nitecore, the MH23 does not have this option. You can only check the voltage by loosen en tighten the tailcap; there's no warning.
    Can you please ask Nitecore of there is low voltage protection? I suspect there may be other owners who are interested in this.

    Brightnorm

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    Flashaholic* kj75's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review: Nitecore MH23: XHP35 HD, 1800 lumens, 1x18650, beamshots, compare

    Quote Originally Posted by brightnorm View Post
    Can you please ask Nitecore of there is low voltage protection? I suspect there may be other owners who are interested in this.

    Brightnorm
    This is what Nitecore replied:

    Yes, the MH23 will automatically shut off when the unprotected cell is close to depletion.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Review: Nitecore MH23: XHP35 HD, 1800 lumens, 1x18650, beamshots, compare

    The reply I got from Nitecore :
    "Yes, the indicative light would blink rapidly if the battery is lack of power. "



    Quote Originally Posted by eh123456 View Post
    Just bought one here in Hong Kong, very hot on turbo, but that is expected anyway.
    Both flat-top and button-top cells can be used.
    When the battery is almost empty, the power button starts to flash, is this correct ? I couldn't find any information on this.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Review: Nitecore MH23: XHP35 HD, 1800 lumens, 1x18650, beamshots, compare

    Quote Originally Posted by kj75 View Post
    This is what Nitecore replied:

    Yes, the MH23 will automatically shut off when the unprotected cell is close to depletion.
    That's good to know, though knowing actual cutoff voltage would have been ideal.Thanks for checking.

    Brightnorm

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* divine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review: Nitecore MH23: XHP35 HD, 1800 lumens, 1x18650, beamshots, compare

    Are these three lights all cold white?

    The beamshots and stuff look kind of yellow, but that could be your wall or camera settings.
    "For every good deed, there is an equal an opposite bad deed."

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* kj75's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review: Nitecore MH23: XHP35 HD, 1800 lumens, 1x18650, beamshots, compare

    Quote Originally Posted by divine View Post
    Are these three lights all cold white?

    The beamshots and stuff look kind of yellow, but that could be your wall or camera settings.
    Yes, they are.
    Tint shots taken with lights at medium level. I always use the same settings and the same white wall.
    As often, you can see the coolwhite color better at higher level. See the GIF of the wallshots.

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