NEXTORCH TA31

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NEXTORCH TA31 review

NEXTORCH TA31 specifications

Brand & ModelNEXTORCH TA31
Flashlight categoryHigh Output Tactical Flashlight / Duty
LED4*?
Max. output10,000 lumens
Max. beam distance380 meters
Max. beam intensity36,100 cd
Battery config.2*21700 battery pack
Onboard chargingUSB-C
Main modes4
BlinkiesStrobe
WaterproofIPX8
Review publication dateApril 2024

Review intro:

NEXTORCH has been a familiar face here at 1Lumen, for good reason. They’ve been in the game for over 17 years, and are a major fixture in the professional-use lighting market, up there with the biggest Chinese brands and even the super-established American brands. Street cred? Yeah, they’ve got some. While primarily focusing on duty-ready handheld lights, NEXTORCH also fields some impressive high output searchlights in their Saint lineup. We’ve reviewed a few, including the flagship SaintTorch 30 series (30 and 30C).

Overall, these are nice, high performance lighting tools, and like the competition, staying current is important, and that brings us to today’s review subject and honored guest, the newest member of the TA series, the TA31. This is a new entry into the multi-LED, multicell light space, featuring 4 high performance LEDs, a super cool design, rotary selector switch+e-switch operation, and dual 21700s. It’s not hard to see who they’re going after design and feature-wise (starts with F and ends with enix), but that’s fine and a little healthy competition is a good thing!

What’s in the package

The TA31 came in a super-retailable package, with poppy colors (the familiar green/white theme) and lots of feature blurbs. This is totally appropriate because these can be found in stores and on the interweb. Inside you get a plastic carrier holding the flashlight with the accessories underneath. Here’s what’s inside:

  • NEXTORCH TA31 flashlight
  • Instruction guide
  • Lanyard
  • USB C charging cable

This is a ready to run package. The battery had enough uga-dugas out of the box for full power, but a top off charge would be advisable before taking the TA31 to work since it’s probably not fully charged (bad for storage). The instruction manual is really just an origami-like multifold affair in multiple languages and isn’t very comprehensive, but that’s fine since this isn’t a difficult to use flashlight.

Flashlight in use, Build Quality, and Warranty

The TA31 is part of NEXTORCH TA series. These are tactical/duty ready tube lights ready to go work and meant to ride in a holster on a belt as part of a loadout kit. I think it would probably work best as a special-purpose light when a 2500 or 3000 Lumen light isn’t enough, like for search and rescue, surveying, or inspection since it’s a bit large and heavy for duty use. The design emulates the Fenix LR35R, TK35UE, Lumintop R5, with a round head and a rectangular body. It merges the best traits of a tube light with better ergonomics thanks to a shorter body. NEXTORCH put finger grooves on the thin edges of the body, and some square checkering on the sides for grip.

The TA31 has a pocket clip and it’s affixed to the housing with two Torx fasteners, but I didn’t try to remove them. There’s two switches: A 3-position rotary selector behind a rear-mounted e-switch for mode changes and on/off. This is a similar design to the NEXTORCH TA30C and I think it works great here also. The selector is ambidextrous, nicely detented for each position, and it has deep scallops for gripping with a finger or thumb. This makes one-handed use very easy, and that’s super important for left or right handed users to be able to pick up and use the TA31. I had no trouble accessing the selector and rear switch one-handed. Mode and lighting mode changes were easy and intuitive also in all grip positions. 

The e-switch is a 2-stage unit. Anyone who has used an Olight Warrior product or has any trigger time with a striker fired handgun would pick up on the switch easily. Overall, it works good, but I prefer Olight’s implementation since this one is a bit still on the first stage with a super short takeup before the second stage. It has a translucent ring with indicator LEDs underneath for battery and charge state. The switch is set between two ‘ears’ that protect the switch from accidental activation and serve as mounting points for a lanyard. Compounding the TA31s  duty-readiness are 3 hardened breaking points on the sturdy bezel. These are meant for breaking window glass on vehicles. There’s no external charge port since NEXTORCH hid the USB type C input under a retractable cover, well, actually the head. More on that later. Tail standing? Yep! It’s nice and stable too.

Build quality is fantastic, like I expect from NEXTORCH. Nice and tidy on the machining, fit, and finish. This is a professional-use light, and it’s priced accordingly, available from Nextorch for $244. This is a bit more expensive than the Fenix LR35R, but still worth the asking price. The light is milled from premium 6061-T6 aluminum alloy. It’s blemish-free and there’s no sharp edges anywhere, which I expect for a holster-ready light. The finish is black type III HA hard anodizing, and it’s delightfully matte like the SaintTorch 30C.

It’s durable too despite being matte and chalky. The laser etching and silkscreen text are also sharp and have great contrast. The bezel is a bead blasted matte finish stainless steel and looks awesome. Since the TA31 sealed up tight (the sealing surface where the head unscrews has an o-ring, but it wasn’t lubed) they’ve given it an IPX8 rating for 1 meter of immersion protection and 2 meters of drop/impact protection. I was a bit surprised because it’s not the as-tested IP68 we see on other high end lights.

For the warranty, NexTorch has one of the best in the industry. From NexTorch: The Lifetime Warranty is applicable to all NEXTORCH products, excluding batteries which are covered under a standard 5 year warranty from the date of purchase. Our warranty does not cover improper use, cosmetic damage, or normal wear and tear. Any misuse of NEXTORCH products voids the warranty, whether expressed or implied. Should a product not qualify for warranty service, we offer repair services at a nominal charge for products returned to our facility (prepaid).

LED, Lens, Bezel, Beam, and Reflector

NEXTORCH didn’t tell us about the LEDs on the Saint Torch 30C, and they didn’t for the TA31 either, only calling them “high performance LEDs.” However, I can say these are quad die, 5050-size LEDs, and look a bit like Cree XHP50.3 HDs (domed). They have 4 individual light-emitting dies on each LED, topped with a silicone dome. I didn’t see any bonding wires, so these are CSP type LEDs. I don’t know anything about these beyond that. They’re cool white only, which is fine, and no CCT was specified. These LEDs are sitting under a quad SMO reflector topped with a hardened glass lens. At the 12 (or 6) o’clock position is the proximity/light sensor that automatically dim the output when an object is about 12 inches from the bezel. It is very effective and even worked on non-reflective surfaces. It cannot be disabled, but can be defeated (more on that later).

The lens is AR coated, but it’s a light coating. The bezel is bead blasted matte stainless and it looks to have been coated and darkened. It looks awesome, and it has 3 nano-ceramic glass breaking tips on the crenulations. These are very hard, about a 9-9.5 on the Mohs hardness scale (a diamond is 10) and should provide good protection to the lens. The beam is great for the application. You get a somewhat focused hotspot surrounded by bright spill. It’s pretty clean also, without excessive artifacts common to multi-LED beams. There’s more than enough beam distance for useful amounts of illumination at 200+ meters. 

Spectral measurements: 

I used the Opple Lightmaster Pro to measure the flashlight at 1 meter from the sensor. 

Mode:CCT:CRI Ra:duv
Tactical6744 K68.30.0030

Dimensions and its competition

Dimensions: 

For a high output 2×21700 light, the TA31 is surprisingly compact. The body thickness is slimmer than most 21700 tubes these days. Very impressive!

NEXTORCH TA31MillimetersInches
Length156 mm6.1 in
Head diameter53 mm2 in
Body diameter (height)49 mm1.9 in
Body thickness (width)25 mm1 in

Dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter and the nearest tenth of an Inch.

Weight

NEXTORCH TA31Weight in gramsWeight in oz
With battery43015

Weight is rounded to the nearest gram and tenth of an Oz.

Flashlight size comparison with its competition:

Group 1 top view left to right: Streamlight Stinger 2020, Nitecore TM12K, NEXTORCH TA31

Group 1 side view left to right: Streamlight Stinger 2020, Nitecore TM12K, NEXTORCH TA31

Group 2 left to right: NEXTORCH SaintTorch 30C, NexTorch TA31, Nitecore TM12K

Group 3 left to right: Fenix TK20R, Klarus XT11 GT Pro V2, Olight Seeker 4, NEXTORCH TA31, Acebeam P18 Defender, Olight Warrior 3S Ti Limited Edition

Group 4 reflectors left to right: NEXTORCH SaintTorch 30C, NEXTORCH TA31, Acebeam P18 Defender

NEXTORCH TA31: User Interface and Driver

The driver is a big question mark here, but my guess is it’s a buck driver or boost driver, since we’re driving 4 multi die LEDs with 2x21700s. The runtimes will tell though!

The UI is commensurate for a light like this, a dead simple 4-mode affair with a ‘Tactical’ burst mode with a Strobe. The rotary selector is for lighting mode changes, and the e-switch controls on/off and brightness level switching. There’s 3 positions for the rotary selector (starting from the left to right): Lock, Duty, and Tactical. Lock is, well, lockout and locks the light, Duty controls 4 standard lighting levels (Eco, Low, Medium, High), and Tactical has two modes: Tactical ( momentary maximum output), and a strobe. 

Available modes: 

  • Eco, Low, Medium, High, Tactical

Available blinky modes:

  • Strobe

From OFF Duty Mode:

  • Tap tail switch momentary on
  • Fully press tail switch: Constant on

From ON Duty Mode:

  • Fully press tail switch: Constant on. Tap switch to change modes
  • Tap tail switch: Momentary on

From OFF Tactical Mode:

  • Tap tail switch: Momentary maximum output (limited to 15 seconds)
  • Fully press tail switch: Instant Strobe

From ON Tactical Mode:

  • Fully press tail switch: Momentary Strobe
  • Tap tail switch: Constant on in maximum output (limited to 30 seconds)

Mode memory:

  • None

Shortcuts:

  • None

Low voltage warning/protection:

  • There’s LVP, but it doesn’t offer much warning before the output cuts off. The switch indicator does show battery condition when turned to the Lock position: Solid blue for 100% to 75%, flashing blue for 75% to 50%, solid red 50% to 25%, flashing red 25% to 0%. 

Strobe/blinkies

  •  Strobe

Lock-out mode: 

  • Turn the rotary selector to Lock position

PWM

  • None visible

Additional/summary info on the UI: 

  • I really like the idea of a rotary control switch, and JetBeam as well as Sunwayman used these to good effect. Fenix has also jumped on the rotary switch train, so I’m seeing a trend here. It’s a good one (when properly done). NEXTORCH did a good job with this UI. It’s got all the necessary tactical features (instant max output and Strobe), as well as a simple standard mode group option. Anyone, with minimal training, could pick this up and get going. While not a huge issue for a ‘normal’ user, as a reviewer who tests lights, the proximity sensor is more of an annoyance than a feature since it can’t be disabled. Fenix and Olight’s sensor-equipped lights let you disable the sensor, and the Nextorch 30C I tested had a sensor that could be temporarily disabled, so why not this one? No mention of thermal regulation is made.

NEXTORCH TA31 Charging and batteries

NEXTORCH went the common route for power and installed two, 21700 li-ion batteries. These are 4800 mAh 21700s and are stacked in the body for the slim profile and short length. That also means they’re built-in and not user-serviceable. I know, I know, we have the keyboard commandos who dismiss every flashlight with inaccessible batteries, but seriously, most people who pick up a TA31 won’t care about swapping batteries. They just want it to turn on every time the button is pressed. Plus, they’re perfectly matched from the factory for optimal runtime and performance, so no futzing with matched cells or balancing, etc.

The TA31 has onboard USB C charging good for 18 W, which is pretty typical. The charge port is fully protected here, and set up like the Acebeam P18 Defender, with a twist (literally). To access the port, unscrew the head counterclockwise about 3 turns to expose the port and a tiny hole for the charge indicator (red for charging, blue for charge completion). The light is inoperable when the charge port is exposed and while charging. When finished, tighten the head. I was getting about 8.9 volts and about 2200 mA on my Ruideng AT35 USB A tester and roughly the same on the Hidance USB C tester. The battery fully charged from a runtime in about 2 hours 30 minutes.

Charge typeFitsNo fitCharge time
Flashlight with onboard USB-CBuilt-inNoneAround 2h 30m

Performance test

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 ANSI FL1 standards require an ambient temperature of 22 ± 3°C. We record the ambient the ambient temperature to identify potential reasons for any observed discrepancies.

Lumens are measured in my 50 cm integrating sphere with a Digi-Sense 20250-00 data logging luxmeter. The sphere has been calibrated with a Convoy S2+ measured to 260 Lumens and the figures are within 10% of actual. No current measurements were taken due to the sealed current path. The internal battery was fully charged for the testing. The proximity sensor gave me some issues, but I was able to completely disable it with some electrical tape.

ModeSpecifiedTurn on30 sec.10 min.
Eco2018.4 lm18.4 lm
Low320309 lm309 lm
Medium1,5001378 lm1365 lm873 lm
High6,0005535 lm5419 lm1353 lm
Tactical10,0009594 lm1599 lm0

Ambient temperature during testing:

  • 20 °C 

Parasitic drain:

  • N/A mA 

I’m down from NEXTORCH’s specs for the TA31, but this is still pretty respectable output for a smaller tactical light. The 0 for the 10 min. reading on Tactical mode was due to the timed stepdowns.

NEXTORCH TA31 Battery Life: Runtime graphs

How 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.

Lumens are measured in my 50 cm integrating sphere with a Digi-Sense 20250-00 data logging luxmeter. The sphere has been calibrated with a Convoy S2+ measured to 260 Lumens and the figures are within 10% of actual. I use a Digi-Sense 20250-92 data logging thermocouple for the temperature measurements. The probe is affixed to the head using kapton tape and uses the same 5 second sampling rate for logging.

The internal battery was allowed to fully charge before each test. The proximity sensor was disabled by covering it with electrical tape. 

ModeSpecifiedRuntime (ANSI FL1)Time till shut off
Medium5h5h 05min5h 05min
High3h 30min4h 07min4h 07min

I couldn’t test Tactical mode like normal since it’s a momentary-only and I didn’t want to force it to stay running like I usually do with these types of lights, so it was run in cycles. The other modes were tested as usual. The runtimes were predictable for this one, and the output is pretty decent and nicely regulated. Every mode has a timed step down, and I don’t think there’s any thermal regulation present. The temperatures stayed pretty tame for all tested modes, never rising above about 45 C, and the host was never too hot to touch.

Tactical mode maintains the highest output for about 5 seconds, before throttling back to the equivalent of High mode after its step down where it camps until the switch is released. The mode can be reactivated, but the output drops over time with repeated reactivation. High and Medium maintain about 900-1000 Lumens after their final step downs, which honestly isn’t that impressive. The output is nicely regulated though and you get reasonably high output for a good amount of time.

I’m meeting the specified runtimes, with High going a bit over spec. Once LVP hits, it hits hard and the light shuts down without stepping down or any warning! I had some issues with my temperature logging, so I didn’t include the temperatures for the 60 minute graph, but did in a 30 minute graph.

For the comparisons, I chose some other high output multi LED lights including the T31A’s bigger stablemate, the Saint Torch 30C. While the others have higher output to start, once the outputs level off, the sustained outputs are similar. Well, except the Astrolux. It’s just glad to be in the comparison! 

Peak beam intensity and beam distance measurements

About 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.

Beam distances are measured using a Uni-T UT383S luxmeter measured indoors at 5 meters using the fully charged internal battery. Measurements taken at 30 seconds. The light was recharged and allowed to cool between the Tactical and High candela measurements.

ModeSpecifiedCandela measured MetersYards
Eco42 cd125 cd2224
Low1056 cd1,250 cd7177
Medium5256 cd5,600 cd150164
High21,025 cd22,975 cd303331
Tactical 36,100 cd6,675 cd163178
Tactical at start?39,125396433

Ambient temperature:

  •  20 °C 

I’m coming in high for the candela measurements, and this is good beam distance for a compact light and more than enough for tactical scenarios. The output on Tactical mode has stepped down quite a lot by the ANSI measurement.

Beamshots

Camera settings and distance: Photos taken with a Canon EOS R100 with Canon RF-S 18-45 mm STM lens. The camera is set to 0.3s, F5 ISO1600 and 5000K WB. The fence is 95 meters distant.

Beamshots of the following flashlights compared:

  • NEXTORCH TA31
  • Acebeam P18 Defender
  • Astrolux FT02S
  • Thrunite TN50
  • NEXTORCH Saint Torch 30C
  • Mateminco LT40

Please note that the following beamshots are mainly intended to showcase the beam pattern and beam quality, rather than overall performance. These images are typically taken directly after activation, and in different seasons or weather conditions, and therefore do not fully represent its overall performance. For accurate performance metrics, such as output, beam distance, and runtimes, you need to look at the performance section of this review.

Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to us for review at no cost by NEXTORCH. We have not been paid to review, nor have we been holding back on problems or defects.

Final Verdict

Pros

  1. Decent sustained output
  2. Superb build quality, fit, and finish
  3. Slim grip profile is easy to handle
  4. Fully protected charge port
  5. Ambidextrous rotary mode selector
  6. Simple UI

Cons

  1. Timed step downs
  2. Proximity sensor can’t be disabled
  3. Abrupt shut down for LVP

Explanation on star ratings:

1: Avoid: a match 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

Reviewer Nick
Nick

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.

Once again our friends at NEXTORCH have flexed their tactical muscles and cranked out a true, tactical-use ready flashlight. Cut from a similar grain as the TA30C with the rotary mode selector and two stage e-switch, the TA31 brings a refreshing newness to the TA series. It has all the features and exquisite build quality I expect from NEXTORCH, and I really enjoyed the slimmed down body, which really helps ergonomics and handling, especially one-handed use. The ambidextrous rotary selector is also a nice feature for lefties or righties, and it just works great.

The UI is ready for the streets as well and I like the fully protected charge port. Performance-wise, you get decent sustained output on High and Medium, but it isn’t anything super special, and I actually think this light has more to give since the temperatures are kept nicely in check. There’s not much I don’t like about the TA31 so I have to pull my nit-pick card for the cons bit. The timed step downs are there, and while I get it that the proximity sensor is a safety item, I think you should be able to disable it at least temporarily.

Lastly, I’d have liked some kind of visual notification for LVP, like a flashing switch indicator or a quick blink or blip or something would be nice. Overall, these are pretty minor things though and for a normal user, might be inconsequential and won’t detract from the overall usefulness or performance of the light. Should you run out and pick up a TA31? If you want a sweet handling, decent performing high output tactical or duty-use flashlight, by all means! There aren’t many lights like this one out there besides the Fenix LR35R or TK35UE, and the TA31 gets my recommendation as a unique, but practical, and user-friendly high output light. 4.5 stars all the way. 

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