REVIEW: Nitecore EC23 1,800 lumen flashlight

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REVIEW: Nitecore EC23 1,800 lumen flashlight

Postby BushcrafterAU » Wed 29 Aug, 2018 5:19 pm

REVIEW: Nitecore EC23 1,800 lumen flashlight
Nitecore EC23


(DISCLAIMER: This light was provided by Nitecore Australia for me to review)

    •    Utilizes a Cree XHP35 HD E2 LED
    •    Maximum output of up to 1800 lumens
    •    Integrated “Precision Digital Optics Technology” provides extreme reflector performance
    •    Boasts a peak beam intensity of 16,200cd and a throw distance of up to 255 meters
    •    Innovative single button offers access to 5 brightness levels and 3 modes
    •    High efficiency constant current circuit board provides max runtime of 330 hours
    •    Integrated power indicator light displays remaining battery power
    •    Power indicator’s second function displays battery voltage (accurate to 0.1V)
    •    Reverse polarity protection prevents damage from incorrectly inserted batteries
    •    Optics lens with anti-reflective coating
    •    Constructed from aero-grade aluminum alloy with HAIII military grade hard-anodized finish
    •    Waterproof in accordance to IPX8 (2 meters submersible)
    •    Impact resistant to 1.5 meters
    •    Tail stand capability
    •    5 year warranty
    •    Made in China
    •    Price: $114.95 AUD

•Nitecore NL1835HP
•IMR 18650 Li-ion battery
•18650 Li-ion battery >8A
•CR123 Primary Li-ion (x2)
•RCR123 (x2)

20 years ago people were happy with a light that produced around 14 lumens in a fragile, unreliable package.
But we live in an enlightened (pun intended) age. The EC23 is smaller, lighter, and more durable then the old plastic flashlights, but gives you a max brightness of 1,800 lumens and a max runtime of 330 hours!!

The EC23 was posted to me from Nitecore Australia via Australia Post and was carefully packaged in a cardboard box with a Security Seal.
Parcel it came in

Included in the parcel was the EC23 box, a Nitecore catalogue, a neck lanyard and a morale patch.
Included items

The EC23 itself was packaged in a nice looking box that had a picture of the light on the front and detailed information on the back.
Included in the box was the EC23, a quality lanyard, user manual, set of spare O-rings, and a warranty card.
All that's included


Man, this thing is BRIGHT!! By far the brightest torch I have used. It also has lots of useful features. After slipping a Qixin 18650 Li-ion battery into it, it told me the exact voltage it was putting out by blinking a blue LED under the side switch.
5 blinks - 1 second break - 3 blinks
5.3 volts.
After lots of use, it now says:
4 blinks - 1 second break - 9 blinks
4.9 volts.
This feature is (to me) very handy.
Great job Nitecore!
I also really like how even the anodizing is, almost immaculate! The lanyard holes are also well thought out, allowing for tail standing.
As for the method of operating the side switch, I find it a bit more confusing, although with more practice I’m sure I’ll get used to it.

Turn on: press the side switch
Turn off: press the side switch
Instant Ultralow: when the EC23 is off, press the switch for 0.5 seconds
Instant Turbo: when switched off, press and hold the side switch for 1.5 seconds. When on, hold the switch to enter momentary turbo (after the light has been on for more than 3 seconds) and release to return to previously used mode.

Within 3 seconds of turning on the EC23, press and hold to cycle through Ultralow, Low, Medium, High, and Turbo. To select a light level, release the switch.

Triple click the side switch to enter strobe. Once in strobe, hold down the switch to cycle through Strobe, SOS, and Beacon.

As you can see, all this mode selection and level changing is rather complex.
A second mode changing switch would be helpful.

Now I’ll give this light some tests, and we’ll see how this light will hold up.

TEST #1 - Durability.
In real life, a light won’t do much good if it’s broken. So what will this light hold up to?  In this test I’ll drop it from 2 meters high into a rocky creek.

So here it is before the water test.
Water test- beforehand

And while underwater! As you can see it is still working perfectly.
Water test- while underwater

Out of the water again, it is looking fine.

After all the tests, it is still looking fine! The only mark it received was a small scratch/chip in the aluminium from the drop test. You can see the brilliant (pun intended) optic system has not been damaged in the least. And obviously the len's mineral glass is very scratch resistant.
Optics system

TEST #2- Beam Test
Nitecore claim that this flashlight can light up over 1/4 of a kilometre (255 meters to be exact)! Now that is impressive! But can it really do that? Well, for me, it can easily light up over 200 meters, which is the largest open space on our property. I don’t doubt their 255 meter claim in the least.
When the EC23 is in the water, you can easily see how the beam of light is projected.
Beam under water

As you can see it has an extremely bright hotspot and a reasonably small spill.
I find this arrangement very good as the spill illuminates my feet while walking, and the hotspot illuminates far in front of me.
Here is a picture of it shining at a wall:
Beam test


Pros: Extremely bright, light, tough, nice looking.
Cons: Rather expensive (but what could you expect for a light like this?), could do with a secondary mode-changing switch.
Also a pocket clip would be nice.

I really like it! For a larger EDC light (compared to something like an EC11 or Olight S1R) this really is fantastic!!!
Overall, I’m really impressed.
So, do I recommend it?
I certainly do!

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Re: REVIEW: Nitecore EC23 1,800 lumen flashlight

Postby trekker76 » Wed 19 Sep, 2018 8:49 am

Good review, I use Nitecore, they are durable. I do feel manufacturers are going overboard with power levels like this in small torches though. Around 2013/14 battery capacity advances were still keeping abreast of LED advances and maximums of about 700 lumens. Then batteries plateuxed but lumens have tripled again reducing battery life to 1/3 what it used to be.

1800 lumens in industrial use( search, security, marine) is usually handled by double 18650 torches to ensure battery life, with decent reflectors to make use of those lumens, aka 400-800m range. 1800 lumens in an EDC minireflector for1/4 that distance is v8 in volkswagen type thing and not getting much speed gain and 3x fuel costs.Also as you note such a high lumen range means a lot of intermediate levels to manage with the one button. I think EDC maxed out its usefulness under 1000 lumens personally.
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