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NEXTORCH TA20 review
NEXTORCH TA20 specifications
|Flashlight category||Tactical / General tasks|
|Max. output||1,000 Lumens|
|Max. beam distance||210 meters|
|Max. beam intensity||11,028 cd|
|Onboard charging||No, battery has USB-C|
|Review date||September 2023|
NEXTORCH is known for their tactically oriented flashlights and law enforcement gear. They supply many products to over 100 countries and agencies around the world. Their “TA” line is the most tactical in the lineup and this TA20 is likely one of their smallest offerings.
It definitely fits in the ‘smallest tactical flashlights list, because it’s only 100mm/3.9in long
The TA20 is shipped in a white cardstock box with the NEXTORCH logo and photos of the light in front. The back has specifications and some information on the different mode menus. The light did ship with a battery, and it came preinstalled in the light, and measured about 3.69V, and with a battery isolator pad stopping parasitic draw while en route. All of the other items came in a plastic zipper bag. All in all, everything was well packaged and, in the box, everything included is:
- NEXTORCH TA20
- 16340 Battery 800mAh (preinstalled)
- Pocket clip (preinstalled)
- USB-C cable
- User Manual in 5 languages
Flashlight in use
Note: you need to remove the plastic battery insulator before your first use.
The TA20 is a very small tactical light with black silkscreen anodization (Type HAIII) and shallow square-shaped knurling, which is typical for NEXTORCH. This all feel pretty nice in hand, and even though the flashlight doesn’t look very rough, it doesn’t feel slippery at all.
The tailcap houses a unique switch, which doesn’t feel like a normal clicky switch. It almost feels like a normal switch, but you will never hear or feel the click. It’s basically a 2-stage switch, much like Olight uses. Halfway pressing it, you’ll feel more resistance. That’s the first stage. Then when you press stronger, you active the 2nd stage. A half press will activate the light momentarily in Duty mode, but a full press will turn it on continuously.
This behavior is different from the Olight 2-stage switch, but it’s still very easy to understand.
And it includes 2 mode groups, namely a Tactical and Duty mode group, that can be activated by turning the magnetic control ring around the head. It has 3 positions, including a Lockout position (for carrying). And I’m also happy to announce that this rotating switch on the head feels smooth as butter.
The rear switch is not shrouded, and the lanyard attachment is not built onto the body, but you have to connect it to the pocket clip.
It feels great to use in the overhand position, because of the switch, and I don’t mind the small body either. I kind of like this size and feel a lot. Much more than I had initially thought.
If you don’t like using the included lanyard, you still have the pre-attached pocket clip which fits extremely snug. It is stuck in 1 spot, so you can’t move it around.
When it comes to certain use cases, I can see it being used for many situations. And since it’s so small, it could even be used as a backup light. Not for EDC use though, because it will always start in High, which is not really recommended for EDC use. Other scenarios would be police work, security and other tactical scenarios.
If you still fee like you are missing some accessories, don’t worry. NEXTORCH sells many optional accessories like the FR-1 Tactical ring, RM25S picatinny rail mount, and the V31 tactical quick draw holster.
Build Quality and Warranty
The NEXTORCH TA20 build quality is excellent. And it quite surprised me to be honest. We know that NEXTORCH makes many kinds of flashlights, from the very affordable to rather expensive ones.
And I think the TA20 feels as one of the nicest lights NEXTORCH has made so far, right in line with the NEXTORCH T10L and T20L.
The bare aluminum threads, with just the right lubrication, are problem-free and can lock the flashlight with a quarter turn, but you can also lock it by rotating the head-switch into lock mode.
And like I just mentioned, there are optional accessories for the TA20 to make it even more versatile.
NEXTORCH® guarantees our products to be free from any defects in workmanship and/or materials for 5 years. If products are found to be defective we will replace them at our sole discretion. NEXTORCH® reserves the right to replace an obsolete product with current production.
NEXTORCH® provides free maintenance service for products with quality problems under normal use within 5 years since the purchase date. Please note, quality problems do not include regular wear and tear or things like the lamp burning out, batteries draining, or switches wearing out. Nor does it cover damages resulting from abnormal use, abuse, neglect, battery damage, use of non-NEXTORCH® brand batteries or accessories, unauthorized modifications or repairs.
The above warranty excludes accessories, while chargers and rechargeable batteries are covered within one year.
In the event that any issues with a NEXTORCH® product are not covered under this warranty, NEXTORCH® can arrange to have the product repaired or replaced for a reasonable fee.
LED, Lens, Bezel, Beam, and Reflector
When you look at the business end of the TA20, you’ll notice a fairly generic-looking LED, sitting inside an LOP (light orange peel) reflector. This is the OSRAM P9, that NEXTORCH uses on many of its flashlights.
The glass lens, protecting the LED and reflector has some kind of anti-reflective coating.
The bezel protects the lens, and seems to be made of titanium, and can be regarded as a strike bezel. It includes 3 ultra-hard nano ceramic balls that could effectively break car windows. But since it’s so small, you might end up cutting yourself, if you did so.
There is no mention in the manual of the color temperature of the LED, so that’s why we test it.
The beam was measured with the Sekonic C800 spectrometer, instead of the Opple Light Master 3 I used before.
Here are the measurements in High mode at about 5 meters distance:
- CCT: 6367K
- CRI Ra: 69.2
- duv: 0.0055
This means that the light is fairly cold, and with a positive duv has a greenish tint.
Dimensions and its competition
|Length||100 mm||3.9 in|
|Head diameter (widest)||30 mm||1.2 in|
|Tailcap diameter||25 mm||1.0 in|
Dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter, and to the nearest tenth of an Inch.
|NEXTORCH TA20||Weight in grams||Weight in oz.|
|Without battery:||110 g||3.9 oz|
|With battery||129 g||4.6 oz|
Weight is rounded to the nearest gram, and to the nearest tenth of an Oz.
NEXTORCH TA20 comparison
Size compared to a few tactical flashlights, and other NEXTORCH lights
From left to right: NEXTORCH TA20 (16340), Olight Warrior Mini 3 (18650). Olight Warrior 3S (21700), Fenix TK11TAC (18650), Armytek Predator Pro (18650)
NEXTORCH TA20 UI : User interface and driver
It was almost the perfect UI… almost… With the magnetic control ring built into the head, and a unique 2-stage switch in the rear.
- High, Medium, Low (in that order)
Available blinky modes:
- Strobe (in Duty and Tac mode)
TAC mode From OFF:
- Half Press: High Mode momentary
- Full press: Strobe momentary
Tac mode only has momentary modes!
Duty mode From OFF:
- Half Press: High mode, momentary
- Full Press: High mode, continuous
Duty mode from ON:
- Half presses: moving from High to Low, and then Strobe
- Full press: turns off
- No memory mode. The first setting is always High.
- To High: half press in TAC mode for momentary use, or half press in Duty mode for momentary use
- To Strobe: only in TAC mode, and full press will activate strobe momentary
- In TAC mode, you can do a full press for Strobe. In Duty mode, you have to run through the modes, and strobe will be after Low mode.
- The UI has a lockout mode. You just have to twist the head into Lock mode. However, you can also do a quick half turn with the tailcap for a lockout.
- No PWM was visible
I don’t particularly like that Nextorch added a strobe mode after Low.. This UI was almost perfect :–)
NEXTORCH TA20 Charging and batteries
|Charge type||Fits||No fit||Charge time|
|Battery with onboard USB-C||All 16340-CR123||Anything bigger than 16340||2h 01min+|
The included 16340 cell has a capacity of 800mAh, and is labeled NEXTORCH DC20061. It’s slightly longer than an unprotected 16340 battery because it has a USB-C port built in. A full charge took 2 hours and 1 minutes, and another one 2h 06minutes.
With the TA20 you don’t need to invest in a special 16340 battery nor in a special lithium-ion battery charger. NEXTORCH included a USB-A to USB-C cable. However, you can also use a USB-C to USB-C cable.
During charge, there will be a tiny red light visible next to the positive terminal on the battery. And the highest charge current I saw was 537mA, but increases at start, and decreases towards the end. The end Voltage was 4.16V, which is pretty safe.
Flat top, unprotected batteries won’t fit because they are too short to make contact.
This is the gear I used for testing:
|Gear||Purpose||Link to buy|
|Hagner E4-X||Measuring beam intensity (throw)||Inquire at Hagner.se|
|2* Extech SDL400||Lumens and logging runtimes||Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk,|
|Leica Disto D2||Distance for throw measurements||Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk,|
|Sekonic C-800||Spectrometer for LED measurements||Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk|
Lumen measurements:How Lumens are Measured: Understanding ANSI FL1 Standards How Lumens are Measured: Understanding ANSI FL1 Standards: The ANSI FL1 standards specify that output in lumens should be measured 30 seconds after turning on, as this is the standardized time for measuring brightness according to the industry standard. This is why we focus on this part in our measurements.
The output measurements in this review are based on my homemade integrating spheres, each equipped with an Extech SDL400 Lux Meter. For consistency and accuracy, a calibration light (Convoy S2+ with 249lm and a Convoy S2+ with 261lm) is measured prior to each set of lumen measurements.
For high-output lights, one of the lux meters uses an ND camera filter to prevent the lux meter to max out. This is either the Kenko PRO1D ND16 up till about 80,000 lumens or Gobe ND32 for anything above.
All of my readings were taken from a fully-charged NEXTORCH 16340 battery with 800mAh..
The measurements were taken manually at turn on and 30 seconds. The 10 minute numbers are taken from the runtime graph. I tested High mode 5 times because the 1st and 2nd measurements were about 100 lumens apart. I then tested it again, and again, and again. And each time they were different. The ambient temperature for all manual tests were between 24.4 and 24.9 degrees Celsius. The runtime testes were done on a different data, with slightly higher ambient temperatures.
I then took the middle measurement and used that for the High mode measurements at turn on, and 30 sec.
|Mode||Specified||Measured at turn on||30 sec.||10 min.|
|Low||24 lm||25 lm||25 lm||24 lm|
|Med||190 lm||183 lm||181 lm||166 lm|
|High||1000 lm||1094 lm||1006 lm||248 lm|
These are pretty good, but the small battery has trouble keeping a consistent performance.
NEXTORCH TA20 Battery life and runtimeHow Runtimes are Measured: Understanding ANSI FL1 Standards About ANSI FL1 runtime standards: The runtime is measured until the light drops to 10% of its initial output (30 seconds after turning on). This does not mean that the flashlight is not usable anymore. The last column shows how long the light actually works till it shuts off. If there is a + symbol, it means that the test was stopped at that particular point, but the light was actually still running. This happens on certain occasions, with certain drivers, firmware, or batteries.
Runtime tests were conducted in my 50cm home made integrating sphere, paired with the Extech SDL400 data logging Lux Meter.
|Mode||Specified runtime||Measured runtime (ANSI FL1)||Time till shut off|
|Low||24h||24h 22min||24h 22min|
|Med||2h 30min||2h 36min||2h 36min|
|High||1h 15min||1h 26min||1h 31min|
After the runtimes for Medium and Low, the end voltages were 2.71V and 2.63V.
NEXTORCH TA20 Peak beam intensity and beam distance measurementsAbout Peak beam intensity: Understanding ANSI FL1 Standards About peak beam intensity The calculated value of distance in meters at which the flashlight produces a light intensity of 0.25 lux. (0.25 lux is about the brightness of a full moon shining on an object). This means that the intensity has decreased so much, it becomes difficult to see darker objects, or objects that don’t reflect light. The columns ‘Meters’ and ‘Yards’ use rounded numbers.
Measurements were taken indoors at 5 meters with a Hagner E4-X Lux Meter. The measurements were taken 30 seconds after turn on.
|Low||228 cd||275 cd||33 m||36 yd|
|Med||1,808 cd||2,100 cd||92 m||100 yd|
|High||11,028 cd||11,450 cd||214 m||234 yd|
My measurements were a bit higher than specified.
For the following beamshots, I used a Canon EOS 5D Mk2 with a 50mm lens. Manual settings: ISO1600, 1/4sec, F4, 5000K
The shed is about 65 meters / 71 yards away, and the reflective fence about 200 meters.
Compared to the following flashlights (keep in mind that the competitors are much bigger, with bigger batteries, so no real competition, but it gives you an indication of how the beam looks like. Keep in mind, that in person, the beam looks more impressive than in the comparison below. That’s because the other lights are at least twice as bright.
Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to me for review at no cost by NEXTORCH. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.
- One of the smallest (and perhaps nicest) tactical flashlights
- Magnetic control ring works and feels very smooth
- Package included 16340 battery, and USB cable, so you don’t need to buy a separate charger
- Very cool and helpful mode menus (TAC and Duty)
- Strange to see Strobe in the Duty menu after Low.. (see UI section)
- The 16340 is a very small battery, and difficult to maintain high output
- Need to get a bit used to the rear switch if you are used to normal clicky switches
- Outputs in High and Med not regulated
Explanation on star ratings:
1: Avoid: my phone flashlight would be a better choice – 2: Poor: significant defect or issues; almost unusable – 3: Average: some defects or issues; but still usable 4: Good: recommended (minor issues) – 5: Great: highly recommended
4.5 stars: ★★★★⋆
While our star rating provides a reliable indicator, we encourage you to read the full review to make an informed decision based on your own needs and preferences.
The TA20 was kind of a love on first sight, lol. Before I received it, I didn’t think much of it, and really didn’t think I would like it that much.
Its magnetic control ring was one of the things I truly liked about it. Due to the compact size, switching between overhand and underhand positions is pretty easy.
Another thing I like is that it really reached 1,000 lumens for the first 30 seconds, and with such a small battery, that is pretty remarkable.
You have to keep in mind the use case of this light, since it’s focused on tactical use, or security. The 2 dedicated mode groups definitely fit these use cases. For EDC it might not be the best option, except if you like the TAC modes, and Duty modes always starting in High.
The forward clicky switch, a UI that cycles from High to Low, always starting in High mode, a strobe mode, and large size, make it align more with the Tactical Flashlight category than any other.
This might be replacing my tactical Malkoff light that I carry with me when I’m out doing my beamshots.