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Thread: [TLR]: Nitecore E4K Quad LEDs Review

  1. #1
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    Au [TLR]: Nitecore E4K Quad LEDs Review

    Preface

    The original review can be found on TLR's website: Click Here

    The Nitecore E4K is newest flashlight from the E (Explorer) Series and it has been quite awhile since the E Series has been updated with a new model.

    Let's check out the merits and demerits of this new Nitecore E4K model.

    Packaging & First Impressions


    This is what the light will come with as shown below.

    • The threads and o-rings were well lubricated. Threads were rather smooth and clean (no gritty feeling at all).
    • The side electronic switch requires a fairly firm and deliberate press to activate, and helps in preventing any unwanted activation of the light.
    • Anodizing of the light is uniform without any missing specs.
    • The provided clip is reversible. However, deep pocket carry is possible with bezel-down direction only.
    • The clip has fairly sufficient tension to ensure that the light should stay clipped to any material to prevent the light from falling out.
    • The provided lanyard is able to support the full weight of the light and should hold up to the test of time.
    • The lanyard can be attached to the pocket clip only.
    • Battery compartment holds the provided non-proprietary Nitecore 21700 5000mAh (NL2150HPR) battery with more than sufficient room for a slightly thicker battery width. However, for this flashlight it is recommended to use a 21700 battery with a continuous discharge rate of at least 15A.
    • When using the CR123A Battery Magazine, 2 CR123A or 2 RCR123A/16340 batteries can be used instead. There is no battery rattle when the CR123A Battery Magazine is used.
    • Scanning the QR code with your phone/tablet on the box’s back would bring up the Nitecore E4K’s product page.

    Note:

    • Before using the flashlight for the first time, remove the Insulation Film from the battery compartment.

    Front:

    Back:

    Sides:


    Top:

    Bottom:

    Contents:



    CR123A Battery Magazine:































    Remove Insulation Film:

    Quick Overview (Manufacturer Specifications)


    • Body Material: Black HAIII Aluminium
    • LED: 4 * Cree XP-L2 V6 Bin
    • Battery Format: 1 x 21700, 2 x CR123A OR 2 x RCR123A ONLY
    • Output & Runtime (with 21700 3.6V 5000mAh battery):
      • Ultra-Low (2 lumens / 29days 4h)
      • Low (50 lumens / 1day 21h)
      • Mid (320 lumens / 7h 30min)
      • High (1050 lumens / 3h 15min)
      • Momentary Turbo (4400 lumens / 30min) – – there is a temperature-based output step down & 21700 15A battery is required to access this mode.
      • Strobe (4400 lumens)
      • SOS (4400 lumens)
      • Beacon (4400 lumens)

    • Max Beam Distance: 211m
    • Beam intensity: 11,100cd
    • Waterproofness: IP68 (2m)
    • Impact Resistance: 1m
    • Dimension: 117.56mm (length) x 28.6mm (head diameter) x 25.8mm (body diameter) x 28.1mm (tail diameter)
    • Weight: 80g (including batteries)
    • Battery reverse polarity protection
    • Accessories Included:
      • 1*Nitecore NL2150HPR 21700 Batteries (5000mAh)
      • 1*USB-C Charging Cable
      • 1*Clip
      • 1*Lanyard
      • 1*Holster
      • 1*CR123A Battery Magazine
      • 1*Spare O-ring

    • MSRP: ~$90

    UI (User Interface)

    UI for this light is suitable for both Every Day Carry (EDC) as it is rather straightforward to use.
    Switching ON and OFF is done by the mechanical switch on the SIDE of the flashlight, so momentary activation is not possible.
    There is 1 switch on the flashlight only – SIDE mechanical switch.
    However, there is 2 types of modes – DAILY and TACTICAL modes.
    Normal Operation (DAILY Mode)

    From OFF:

    • 2 Press – Direct access to ULTRA-LOW.
    • 3 Press – Direct access to TURBO.
    • HOLD (~ 1sec) – Light will switch ON to last used mode (last mode memory) – any of the brightness levels (except STROBE, SOS & BEACON mode).
    • HOLD – Mode change (light cycles through ULTRA-LOW, LOW, MID, HIGH & TURBO → ULTRA-LOW, LOW, MID, HIGH & TURBO).
      • Note: Light will switch ON to last used mode (last mode memory) before switching modes.

    From ON:

    • 1 Press – Light will switch OFF.
    • HOLD – Direct access to MOMENTARY TURBO.
    • 2 Press (HOLD 2nd Press) – Mode change (light cycles through ULTRA-LOW, LOW, MID, HIGH & TURBO → ULTRA-LOW, LOW, MID, HIGH & TURBO).
      • Note: Light will switch OFF momentarily before switching modes.

    • 3 Press – Direct access to STROBE; HOLD to activate SOS & HOLD again to activate BEACON (cycles STROBE-SOS-BEACON ⇒ STROBE-SOS-BEACON), 1 Press again to switch OFF light.

    Normal Operation (TACTICAL Mode)

    From OFF:

    • 2 Press – Direct access to ULTRA-LOW.
    • 3 Press – Direct access to STROBE.
    • HOLD (~ 1sec) – Light will switch ON to last used mode (last mode memory) – any of the brightness levels (except STROBE, SOS & BEACON mode).
    • HOLD – Mode change (light cycles through ULTRA-LOW, LOW, MID, HIGH & TURBO → ULTRA-LOW, LOW, MID, HIGH & TURBO).
      • Note: Light will switch ON to last used mode (last mode memory) before switching modes.

    From ON:

    • 1 Press – Light will switch OFF.
    • HOLD – Direct access to MOMENTARY TURBO.
    • 2 Press (HOLD 2nd Press) – Mode change (light cycles through ULTRA-LOW, LOW, MID, HIGH & TURBO → ULTRA-LOW, LOW, MID, HIGH & TURBO).
      • Note: Light will switch OFF momentarily before switching modes.

    • 3 Press – Direct access to STROBE; HOLD to activate SOS & HOLD again to activate BEACON (cycles STROBE-SOS-BEACON ⇒ STROBE-SOS-BEACON), 1 Press again to switch OFF light.

    Switching Modes (DAILY ⇔ TACTICAL)

    From OFF:

    1. Loosen Tailcap.
    2. HOLD switch & Tighten Tailcap at the same time.
    3. Release switch after seeing the LEDs flashing the following:
      • 1 Flash (DAILY mode is activated).
      • 2 Flashes (TACTICAL mode is activated).

    4. Repeat steps 1 and 2 till desired mode is activated.

    Note:

    • The difference between DAILY and TACTICAL mode is as follows:
      • DAILY – From OFF, 3 Press will activate TURBO.
      • TACTICAL – From OFF, 3 Press will activate STROBE.

    Power Indicator

    There are 2 main types of Power Indicators for this flashlight.

    1. After replacing the battery, the Battery Capacity Indicator function will be activated (Switch LED will flash BLUE in the following sequence).
      • Each BLUE LEDs blink signifies 1V
      • After a ~1.5 sec pause, the next BLUE LEDs blink signifies 0.1V.
      • Hence, 4 BLUE LEDs blinks, followed by a ~1.5 sec pause and another 1 BLUE LEDs blink – signifies 4.1V.
        • If 2 x CR123A/RCR123A batteries are used, the battery reading will be the average voltage of the 2 batteries.

    2. When the flashlight is switched OFF, Battery Capacity Indicator is activated (Switch LED will be display BLUE) during the following instances.
      • 3 Flashes – Power is >50%.
      • 2 Flashes – Power is <50%.
      • 1 Flash – Power is <10%, do recharge immediately.

    Form Factor

    For flashlights that are intended to use on a daily basis (EDC) and for possibly a long period of time, form factor is extremely important.
    This light feels rather well balanced in a medium sized hand (not head/tail-heavy). Switching between overhand and underhand holding method is easy with its form factor. The knurling on the light enable it to be sufficiently “grippy”, even with wet hands/gloves.
    It is able to tail-stand perfectly. The lanyard can only be attached to the pocket clip and will not affect tail-stand capability.
    Without Clip:














    With Clip:














    More pics of the E4K:











    Charging Process

    With the provided USB-C Cable, the battery was charging at ~0.88A.
    Since the battery has a USB-C charging input port, the flashlight can still be operated if a spare battery is available.
    The Solid RED indicator on the positive portion of the battery depicts charging in progress and Solid GREEN indicator on the positive portion of the battery depicts charging has completed.



    Beam Style/Beamshots

    For this light, the spill, corona and hotspot is somewhat predictable due to the 4 fairly shallow overlapping Smooth Reflectors, similar in design as the Nitecore i4000R model. With the LEDs used, the beam is “throwy” for recognizing items in the near to mid-range distance, with the sheer output it produces on TURBO.

    The above beam profile is a rough interpretation of what is seen when white wall hunting.
    The beam has a somewhat distinct hotspot with some slight corona and a fairly wide usable (flower petal style) spill. It also helps that the LED is perfectly centred in this sample. There are some rings in the beam when white wall hunting but not visible in real world usage.

    All of the beamshots taken below are done so with the following camera settings (ULTRA-LOW: 2.5 sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB, LOW: 1/3 sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB, MID: 1/6 sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB, HIGH: 1/13 sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB, and TURBO: 1/30 sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB).
    Some pictures have been adjusted slightly to depict as close as to what is seen in real life. The distance of the light from the door is 4.6m.

    Control shot:

    ULTRA-LOW (2 lumens):

    LOW (50 lumens):

    MID (320 lumens):

    HIGH (1050 lumens):

    MOMENTARY TURBO (4400 lumens):

    Mode (Output) Spacing

    Mode spacing appears to be progressively brighter to the eye and the modes are well spaced enough to be able to know which mode one is currently in. With that in mind, TLR tend to view mode spacing as battery life indicators (amount of runtime left) rather than the specific output (lumens).
    There is no true moonlight level (sub-lumen or 1 lumen) option available as the “ULTRA-LOW” mode comes in at 2 lumens. However, it is still somewhat acceptable for night-adjusted eyes and midnight snack runs (might need to squint slightly at first).
    On a side note, it would be nice if Nitecore had went with a HIGH mode of ~900 to 1000 lumens instead of 1050 lumens to ensure a longer runtime and will run slightly cooler, as the difference in output is almost imperceptible to most human eyes.
    Tint & CRI

    Nitecore did not disclose the tint (color temperature) and/or the CRI (Color Rendering Index) for the LEDs used in their light. For this light, a guesstimate would be in the 6500K and 70CRI ballpark.
    There are tint shifts throughout the beam profile. The hotspot is cool white whilst the corona possess a slight yellowish-green tint; and the spill having a slight purple tint.
    This is however, not as noticeable in real life.

    This could have been avoided if a “throwier” LED like the XP-L HI was used instead and would have made full use of the smooth reflector, but at a slightly lower maximum output.
    Waterproofness

    The light was subjected to warm water submersion, followed by cold water submersion and left under room temperature running water tap whilst running on HIGH.
    No signs of water intrusion in the head, body or switch was seen.
    Lockout Capability

    No electronic lockout but mechanical lockout is possible when needed, like during transportation in a bag.
    A quarter turn (anti-clockwise) of the tailcap will enable mechanical LOCKOUT.
    Scale Comparison (Ruler)


    Summary

    To sum up, we believe that the most important part of any review is if given the chance to purchase the same light for our own usage or to gift to our loved ones out from one's pocket (wallet), would we still do it?
    For this light, it is a YES, if the tint shift and rather interesting mode switching UI is not an issue for your usage.

    The fairly straightforward UI with direct access to ULTRA-LOW, STROBE OR TURBO from OFF (depending on DAILY or TACTICAL mode selected), option to switch between DAILY or TACTICAL modes, faster USB-C charging capability, included high capacity non-proprietary 21700 USB-C charging battery, option to use other 21700 battery (those capable of providing 15A continuously), battery capacity indicators, high output in a relatively small form factor and inclusion of CR123A Battery Magazine are all plus points for this flashlight.
    That said, it would be nice if Nitecore is able to speed up the ramping of modes changing duration, for future models with similar UI.
    Here is a bonus size comparison picture with other Nitecore flashlights.
    From Left to Right: Nitecore HC33, Nitecore P18, Nitecore TM10K, Nitecore Concept 2, Nitecore E4K, Nitecore MH25GTS and Nitecore i4000R.

    As with all gears, two is one and one is none.

    Stay safe,
    The Lite Review


    Disclaimer: Light was provided for by Nitecore (manufacturer) for this review. No other compensation was provided.

    Where to Buy Links

    Click HERE to check out where to get this light.


    Our Latest Reviews


    • Click HERE to view the latest Flashlight Reviews.
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    The Lite Review (click for my Review website!)

  2. #2

    Default Re: [TLR]: Nitecore E4K Quad LEDs Review

    Thank you for your valuable review.

    The light uses a longer protected USB chargeable cell, so unprotected Samsung INR 21700 30T cell is not long enough to make contact without using a spacer or longer spring or spring soldered on the cell anode.

    Thank you for mentioning how to change mode from ON, which is Not mentioned in the instructions: quote snip: "From ON: Two presses (Hold 2nd press) – Mode change. The light cycles through ultra low, low, mid, high and Turbo. Note: Light will switch Off momentarily before switching modes."

    As soon as this item was announced, I ordered it, because I was excited that a major quality manufacturer that markets products to law enforcement decided that the Everyman was ready for a compact-ish single cell 21700 with 4,400 lumens.

    The user interface is different, but all lights had the same, that would be boring.

    Thanks again for your review!
    Think of how evil the average person is, and realize half of them are eviler than that.

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