Flashlights are a topic you rarely find here on Pine Survey, but it is always interesting to see what is going on in the world of illumination and once in a while I get the chance to take a closer look at what is out there. The P20i by Nitecore is a good example for this. Being a new addition to the P20 series, it pushes several specs to another level – reason enough to look at it in detail.
The Nitecore P20i is an upgraded model of the tactical P20 tactical flashlight. It features a Luminus SST-40-W LED and has a maximum output of 1800 lumens with a maximum throw distance of 343m. It comes with an NL2140i Li-Ion battery (4000mAh), but can also be powered by two 2 x CR123A lithium batteries.
It features 3 different modes (high, medium, low) as well as a randomly changing strobe mode. The lamp can be upgraded with an optional tail cap, featuring even more light options.
Before getting into more detail, here are some specs:
- Max Output: 1800 Lumens (Max Beam Intensity 29500 cd)
- Max Beam Distance (throw): 343 m
- Max Runtime: 50h
- Battery: 2 × CR123 ,1 × 21700i (USB rechargeable)
- Length: 142.6 mm / 5.61 in
- Head Size: 31.8 mm / 1.25 in
- Weight: 113.5 g / 4.00 oz
Build Up of the Nitecore P20i
The P20i flashlight is built lightweight, being a bit lighter than comparable lamps in that segment. This is being achieved by using an aero grade aluminum alloy, which features an anodized coating (HA III mil. grade according to Nitecore).
On the body you can find two specific slots to mount either the carrying clip or the optional NTR10 ring. Depending on your hand size you can move the ring or clip more to the center and change the position depending on your needs.
A Luminus SST-40-W LED is being used to have a maximum output of 1800 lumen.
The bezel itself is especially interesting to look at. While the spikes are not as pronounced as with other tactical lamps, the upgrade with silicone nitride ceramics provides the user with an effective way to either break glass and/or still have an effective impact device for self defence. Another upside for this concept is the sheer fact that you have a smoother surface, which won’t scratch your items, when carrying the lamp in your packs/bags/pockets.
Features of the Nitecore P20i
Dual Tail Switch Design
The tail piece features two switches to activate the Nitecore P20i. On the one hand you have the “Tactical Tail Switch”, which is a pronounced knob that is easy to locate and activate. It controls the momentary-on and constant-on light. On the other hand, and right next to the “Tactical Tail Switch” you will find the “Strobe ReadyTM mode button”. This switch is inset in the tail itself, and serves two purposes. (1) It starts the strobe mode immediately when the lamp is turned off, and with a short delay (1sec) if you press it while turned on. (2) When switched on, a short click on the button will change the output setting (high, mid, low).
Speaking of the various modes: the “high” mode features 1800 lumen, the “mid” mode 280 lumen and the “low” mode 35 lumen. These three settings provide for a wide range of uses.
NTH20 tactical holster
Among the scope of delivery is also a tactical holster – the NTH20. Aimed at law enforcement, it is adjustable for various sized belts and designed to give the user a quick draw option. Since I am not in law enforcement and use my lamps differently, I will just leave this info here, since I can give not much feedback on this feature.
What I can tell you however is, that the lamp snaps into the holster very decisively. It also has a hole at the bottom so that the user can quickly see/realize if the lamp is switched on. Given the attachment points, it is not possible to use any clip on the Nitecore P20i, when carrying it with the NTH20 tactical holster.
Looking at the quality, I have to say that the Nitecore P20i is excellently manufactured. All the parts are machined in a clean fashion and feature a hard anodized finish which is military grade, according to Nitecore (as mentioned above). Especially the machining is done well, the edges are beveled and it feels nice in the hand. The screw threads are also clean and work perfectly.
The overall look and feel of the lamp is high quality and professional grade. You certainly won’t have the feeling of handling a cheap piece of gear. Handling the Nitecore P20i will immediately give you the impression of a high grade piece of gear.
The Nitecore P20i in use
Charging the flashlight is very easy. Having the option to charge your batteries within the flashlight is one of the biggest improvements on the market for quite some time. The Nitecore P20i is no exception in this case. A sealed port on the lamp allows the user to attach a USB-C cable to the lamp. When doing so the blue indicator light will start to slowly flash until the battery is charged – according to Nitecore the process lasts around 3h 30min, which I can confirm. Nitecore includes the NL2140i battery with 4,000mAh in the package.
In its brightest mode (high) the lamp gets hot quite quickly, and even though the heat primarily stays at the front of the lamp, it gets notably warm around the grip. At the same time, given the construction and material, it also cools off quickly. The Nitecore P20i features an Advanced Temperature Regulation (ATR), which regulates the output in order to provide an optimal performance.
Switching through modes is very intuitive and the access to the strobe mode (both when turned off and on) is very effective. The strobe itself, with its varying frequency, is quite intense.
Shock resistance was incorporated into the design as well: on the one hand it is impact resistant for falls up to 1m, but also features an anti-impact reverse polarity protection mechanism. That way the lamp is better suited for shooting sports as well as tactical environments.
A flashlight review would be no real review, if there aren’t any beamshots. With Covid and work, I was not able to do some pictures in the forest like last time. I decided to take some pictures in the cellar and in the parking lot. Both are short distance, but I think you will get an idea of the performance of the Nitecore P20i.
I used a 35mm prime lense to mimic human eye vision. The camera setting was ISO 400 (ISO 640 in the parking lot), f / 1,8 and a shutter speed of 1/80 sec.
Starting with the “high” mode, the 1800 lumen brighten up the narrow alley in the cellar quite a lot. The Nitecore P20i has such a high output that you blind everything in its path. You have a clear spot and beam, illuminating the location.
The “mid” mode with 280 lumen results in a more comfortable light setting that allows you to see what you need to see without blinding yourself or colleagues. The spot is more visible in this setting.
Lastly the “low” mode with 35 lumen, which gives you an even more comfortable light. The clear spot gives you a decent path of light to pinpoint targets, while the low amount of lumen is just enough to see your immediate vicinity without stressing your eyes too much in the dark or getting seen from a wider distance.
Again starting with the “high” mode at 1800 lumen, you can see the very distincive and bright spot of the Nitecore P20i. The beam is giving enough distribution of light to see the surroundings.
The “mid” mode with 280 lumen narrows down the field of you again, with a clear spot and a more comfortable level of light.
And lastly, the 35 lumen of the “low” mode. The same observations as above apply.
I had the chance to also look at some of the accessories, which are compatible with the P20i. In particular the NTR10, a ring to click on, as well as the TSL10i, an upgraded tailcap.
The NTR10 is a ring integrated on the clip and helps the user in having a better grip on the lamp in various situations. One example would be when using the lamp in combination with a handgun. In this situation, it enables the user to handle the lamp with the “cigar” grip.
For that role and purpose it is ergonomically designed and also features a security opening. That way it won’t rip off your finger, if the lamp is forcefully thrown out of your hand.
The TSL10i tailcap comes in handy when using the lamp on a rail on your helmet mount or other fixed attachment position, especially when working in a group. Having multiple flashing modes at your disposal (red, green, blue, white as well as red/blue) the light can work as an identifier or position marker.
It features a designated button to start the modes. Other than that you will find the same handling options with the pronounced knob as well as the inset button for the other light modes.
Switching between the different flash and color modes is very easy and intuitive: Hold the mode button longer than a second and it will turn on. When pressed longer, it will cycle through the modes. Stop at the prefered one and it will memorize the setting. The lights are subtle, yet strong enough to do their job without giving you away.
Looking at the countless options on the flashlight market, the Nitecore P20i is a very interesting option when it comes to a sturdy, no nonsense flashlight for professional and every day use. While the lack of a memory function for the three main modes might be a no go for some, I am not missing this feature, considering the quick and easy option to switch between the modes using the mode button.
The optional accessories make this lamp even more multifunctional and modular depending on the area of use one wants to put it in. Having the option to load this lamp wherever you go, using a USB-C makes the lamp even more versatile.
Clean manufacture, the ease of use when handling the lamp as well as the look and feel speak for themself. With that being said, I want to thank you for reading, many thanks to Nitecore for giving me the chance to take a closer look at the lamp (as well as having patience).
Until next time!
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