Need a powerful light that doesn’t cost a small fortune? Well, then Nitecore might be for you. Nitecore makes a wide variety of lights, batteries, and chargers. People like Cloud Defensive use Nitecore chargers with their products for a reason. Nitecore was kind enough to send me the P20i for test and review, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised.
Breaking Down the P20i
The P20i is a handheld style light that’s a little big for EDC use, especially if you are in business or formal wear. It’s 5.61 inches long and 1.25 inches wide at the widest point. The light does weigh a relatively lightweight 4 ounces.
What makes the P20i impressive is the 1850 lumens backed by 29,500 candela. That’s a lot of power in a little light. That’s the high mode, and the medium and low modes reduce lumen and candela counts to save battery when you don’t need a massive amount of light. The mid mode gives you 280 lumens, and the low mode is 35 lumens for long battery life.
Speaking of, the P20i can use a 4000 MAH 21700i battery or 2 CR123 batteries. Dual fuel designs are always a good touch. You do get the rechargeable battery, but if it dies, you can toss in some disposable CR123s and keep going. The light can use an independent charge, or you can just plug the whole light in. The light is compatible with a USB C charger, so it is completely compatible with my phone charger.
The tip is also fitted with a strike bezel. You never know when you need to break glass or someone’s face with your light. The P20i has all the little tactical features you know and love.
The P20i In Action
I charged it and had to wait a painfully long time for night to settle in. I just wanted to play with my ultra-powerful light! Finally, the sun set, and I start lighting the world up around me. Holy crap, this thing is bright. The beam lights up targets as far as 100 yards without much difficulty. A light reaching 100 yards isn’t impressive.
A light reaching 100 yards and providing enough light to easily identify everything at my range is impressive. I can see colors and details. When paired with a little magnification, I can see tons of details and features. I can, without issue, identify a threat or target in great detail.
The beam has enough spill to fill your peripheral vision. Indoors it lights up huge rooms without issue. Light is cast from left to right and fills my vision. The hot spot is large and immediately apparent. Nitecore’s P20i has a decent compromise between spill and throw for good range and a wide, bright beam.
The P20i shines a cool beam temperature-wise. It’s slightly blue but not so far into the cool territory that it messes with other colors.
Controls include two buttons that have multi-use functions. The big main clicky button controls the momentary and constant mode. A soft touch provides a momentary beam, and a hard click is constant. It comes out on high mode out of the gate. A smaller, flushing fitting button allows you to swap between high, medium, and low mode.
That same flush-fitting button can be used to activate the strobe mode by itself. The strobe mode can only be activated when the light is off, and the strobe is only a momentary setting. When the button is released, the strobe shuts off.
I tested the P20i for a few hours one night through its various modes and found that it will step down in lumens to avoid overheating. Although it does get still get hot. I’m not a huge fan of lights that step down their lumens, so that’s one downside to the light. For a budget light, I can’t complain much. What turns me off is that I can’t find any information regarding what lumens count it steps down, and Nitecore doesn’t necessarily tell you that step-down occurs.
If that doesn’t bother you, the Nitecore P20i is a good light at a low price point. It’s quite bright with some serious power…until it warms up. For short bursts, it’s a good light, or if you want to use the medium mode, then the light works extremely well for most uses. It’s a light perfect for camping, hunting, hiking, and similar tasks. For duty use, I’d stick to Streamlight and Surefire, but for everything else, the Nitecore P20i brings enough power, a durable, compact design, and an easily rechargeable one at that.