Nitecore P23i tactical flashlight review – tactical brightness in your hand

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REVIEW – We Gadgeteers love our flashlights.  Big whopping flashlights, tiny flashlights, EDC flashlights – we love them all.  Today, we get to look at a new EDC Nitecore P23i tactical flashlight.

What is it?

The Nitecore P23i tactical flashlight is a tactical flashlight.  Its solid construction is built for abuse and it is capable of putting out a copious amount of light.

What’s in the box?

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  • NITECORE P23i flashlight
  • USB-C charging cable
  • Clip
  • Lanyard
  • Holster
  • Spare O-ring
  • Warranty card
  • User manual

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  • NL2150HPi 5000mAh battery

Hardware specs

  • Dimensions: 5.65″ l x 1.25″ w x 1.12″ h
  • Weight: 4.04 oz
  • Case: Stainless steel bezel and ‎anodized aluminum body
  • LED: Luminus SFT-70
  • Battery: Nitecore NL2150HPi 5000mAhm Li-ion
  • Charging: USB-C
  • Charge time: approximately 3 hours 50 minutes
  • Maximum brightness: 3000 lumens
  • Peak beam distance: 512 yards
  • Peak beam intensity: 55300 cd
  • Water resistance: IP68 – can survive against dust and up to 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes
  • Impact resistance: 2 meters
  • Lighting modes and runtimes
    • Turbo: 3000 lumens, 30 min
    • High: 1500 lumens, 2 hr 30 min
    • Mid: 800 lumens, 4 hr
    • Low: 250 lumens, 10 hr
    • Ultralow: 50 lumens: 45 hr
    • Strobe: 3000 lumens, runtime not specified
  • Operation: dual tail switches
  • Temperature control: Nitecore Advanced Temperature Regulation (ATR)

Design and features

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The Nitecore P23i tactical flashlight is a nice-looking light.  The anodized aluminum body and steel bezel look like they’re built for business.  You can see the dual-purpose tabs on the bezel.  First, they are part of the cooling system and help dissipate heat.  Second, they are designed to be able to break glass when the light is used in tactical situations.

Here’s a glimpse of the single LED light source.

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The end of the light holds all the controls.

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There are two buttons with several functions.

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The raised button is the main power button.  A half-press works as a momentary power button.  Pushing halfway turns the light on, and letting go turns it off.  Pressing fully until it clicks turns the light on.  The lower mode button steps through the lighting modes in different ways, depending on the operating mode – more on that in the performance section.  When the light is off, it provides momentary access to either the strobe or turbo mode.  When the light is on, pressing and holding accesses the strobe.  This is called Strobe Ready and is a Nitecore trademarked design.

The tail cap of the Nitecore P23i tactical flashlight has two large tabs, one on each side of the light.  This helps to prevent accidental activation and provides an opening for attaching the included lanyard.

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The flashlight recharges via USB-C. Woo!  No new chargers to keep track of. The port is protected by a rubber cover.

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The side of the Nitecore P23i tactical flashlight holds the status LED.

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The LED flashes when charging and turns on solid when fully charged.  When using the light, the LED turns on when the battery is above 50% charge.  It flashes slowly to indicate a 10%-50% charge and flashes quickly when the charge drops below 10%.

The light is nicely sized and fits well in the hand.

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Setup

Like most flashlights, you remove the battery protector, charge the light, and you’re good to go.

Performance

Generally speaking, the Nitecore P23i tactical flashlight works well.  The multiple output levels meet a variety of lighting needs.  The long-throw design does a terrific job of focusing the light output to produce a long-reaching beam.  It is comfortable to hold and the rear buttons work well and make sense.

What I don’t like are the two operating modes and the swap between them.

  • In daily mode, pressing the mode switch cycles up between ultralow – low – mid – high.
  • In tactical mode, pressing the mode switch cycles down between turbo – mid – low – ultralow.
  • In daily mode, when the light is on, holding the mode switch momentarily engages turbo mode.
  • In tactical mode, when the light is on, holding the mode switch momentarily engages the strobe.
  • In either mode, when the light is on, triple-press the mode switch to turn on the strobe.
  • When the light is off in either mode, pressing the mode switch momentarily engages the strobe.
  • To change between daily and tactical modes:
    • With the light on, hold the mode switch to momentarily engage either turbo or strobe, depending on which mode the light is in
    • With the mode switch pressed, loosen the tail cap
    • Release the mode button
    • Tighten the tail cap

Confused yet?  I guess the design is done as some users will use the tactical mode more, featuring turbo mode and quick access to the strobe.  Daily users can only momentarily access turbo, but still have quick access to the strobe.  Having to hold a button, twist the tail, release the button, tighten the tail – well, that just seems crazy complicated not to mention increasing wear and tear on the o-ring.

Regardless of the idiosyncrasies of the user interface, this is still a very nice EDC flashlight.  The excellent selection of light output levels means this light can meet just about any flashlight need.  For its size, it has great runtimes as well. The included clip, lanyard, and holster mean this can easily become your favorite EDC flashlight.

Here’s a look at the different lighting modes.

What I like

  • USB-C charging – woo!
  • Lots of useful lighting modes
  • Solid construction
  • Nice extras included

What I’d change

  • The switch from daily mode to tactical mode seems needlessly complex
  • In high and turbo mode, the flashlight body can get quite warm

Final thoughts

The Nitecore P23i tactical flashlight is a nice flashlight.  It’s small, powerful, has lots of lighting modes, and best of all, charges via USB-C so there’s no charger to lose.  I wish the user interface wasn’t so cumbersome, but I’ll guess that most users will pick the tactical or daily mode and leave it there forever.  User interface aside, this light is a winner.

Price: $99.95
Where to buy: Amazon; Nitecore
Source: The sample of this product was provided by Nitecore.

3 thoughts on “Nitecore P23i tactical flashlight review – tactical brightness in your hand”




  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. Thank you Gary, for your work on this and I hope you enjoy the flashlight. With the abundance of flashlights out now, this one seems like it might be a winner. I do however, get nauseous when I think about paying 100 bucks for a hand light. I cannot now, nor ever justify paying that much for a flashlight when I can get essentially the same thing off amazon for under $20 any day of the week. True. It doesn’t have turbo mode. But that mode will burn through the battery in 30 minutes and from what I know of other flashlights with a turbo mode will make the thing so hot. You’ll just about have to wear gloves to use it that long. If I’m in a situation where I need turbo mode I want it to last as long as I need it not 30 minutes… Yes I’m being very picky but for 100 bucks I have every right to be very picky. Anybody disagree?

  3. Did you test if it will charge via a cable with USB-c on both ends plugged into a USB-C charger (i.e. a real USB-C cable)? Because I notice the included cable is a USB-A to USB-C cable.

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