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Nicron B74 review: right-angle flashlight
Nicron B74 specifications
|Brand & Model
|CREE XP-L HD V5
|High: 480 lumens, Low: 120 lumens
|1 x 14500
|No, ships with battery that is USB-C charging
|Orange peel reflector
|Review publication date
Nicron has been around since 1999 as Aoneng Lighting out of China, and seems to have served as a supplier for Stanley tools for many years. In 2014 they started their own lighting brand, Nicron. They make a variety of lights such as small EDC lights, headlamps, and worklights. However, I have always known them for their “twisting” flashlights, which allow you to change the configuration from a right angle light to a standard form factor. I’ve always been skeptical of this and considered it more of a gimmick than anything else, but getting my hands on one might change that.
The light comes in a pretty standard package, the type you might find on a retail shelf. A thin plastic case holds the light, a cardboard insert with information, a charging cable, and a manual. Within the light itself is a 14500 lithium-ion battery with onboard USB-C charging.
- Nicron B74 Flashlight
- USB-C charging cable
- 14500 battery
- Warranty card
Nothing surprising here. The cable is also quite short but it is not a huge inconvenience. The battery is included within the light and comes with plenty of charge on it. The manual itself is quite simple with some basic information on the light, different outputs and runtimes depending on the LED, and an UI overview.
Flashlight in use
The B74 is a pretty slim light given its usage of the 14500 cell, with a unique square head section. It uses a side switch and comes with a mounted pocket clip near the head as well. It sits very comfortably in the hand even if held in a clenched fist. The single side e-switch is easy to reach when holding the light.
The knurling on the light is a standard checkered diamond pattern running down the length of the body, with the tailcap in a hex shape for gripping. This helps somewhat with grip however the finish of the light is quite smooth and is not very rough, both a blessing and a curse. The switch also has some ringed knurling on top which helps to keep your finger on the button, however the switch itself needs some work. The feel of the button is rather mushy, though it is not terrible and has very short action that some users may appreciate for quick actuation. It seems adequately sized for a light of this type and all in all suits the intended use case of EDC work.
The magnet in the rear of the light allows for easy usage of both the right angle and standard functions of the light. It can be stuck upside down and the head oriented to best illuminate the area, perfect for something like automotive work. The cell itself must be removed from the light for charging by USB-C cable or can be replaced with the user’s choice of a 14500 battery. It has a good mixture of practicality and features that I appreciate in a light of this size and price.
Build Quality, and Warranty
The body is made of an aluminum alloy, the exact alloy is not given by Nicron however a reasonable guess would be the classic 6061, a good mixture between strength, weight, and cost. The machining overall is quality with no defects and all tool marks have been polished out. The anodization is high quality and quite smooth with a uniform application. The threads on the “tailcap” are quite smooth as well. The motion of the head is also quite smooth but has enough rigidity to hold itself in place.
The body seems to be well sealed, however, I worry that the gap the head pivots on could corrode if exposed to water as it has exposed metal surfaces for electrical contacts. There is no steel bezel on the light, however, the lens is a decent bit inset into the bezel and provides adequate protection, though at the cost of a dent. The pocket clip also feels solid and has a nice lip for easy usage. All in all, very solid build quality for a light at this price point.
LED, Lens, Bezel, Beam, and Reflector
The B74 has a CREE XP-L HI V5, an LED with good efficiency and output, however, the tint is very cold and quite green, with low CRI. For small lights like this, a 3535 footprint LED is very reasonable, however allowing the user an option for a different tint and CRI at the expense of output would be nice. That being said, for this light’s intended purpose, which seems to be a work environment, CRI is not always a very important quality in a light and is understandable.
The B74 uses an orange peel reflector for a balance for throw and flood which produces a good-looking beam with a balanced hotspot. I cannot tell what the lens is made of, however, it appears to scratch easily upon a test and is likely standard glass. Between this and no steel bezel, care should be taken to protect the lens. I would have liked to see something more durable in a light that seems oriented for work environments, however for the cost it is somewhat excusable.
Dimensions and size comparison
|Weight in grams
|Weight in Oz.
Flashlight size comparison with its competition:
Driver & User Interface:
- High, medium, low
Available blinky modes:
- Strobe, SOS
- Press and hold: Turns on to last brightness
- Press for two seconds: SOS strobe
- Press for five seconds: Locks light out, press again for five seconds to unlock
- Press and hold: Turns off
- 1 click: Cycles through modes, low-medium-high
- Press for two seconds: SOS strobe
Low voltage warning:
- None visible
- Press for five seconds
- None visible
Additional info on the UI:
The UI is pretty standard, nothing special. Honestly, as much as I love Anduril, I think it really only has a place on enthusiast lights, which this isn’t. I think the UI suits it, isn’t overcomplicated, and it has a lockout feature that I really like. I’m still not a huge fan of hold to turn on though, and likely never will be, especially when a software or hardware lockout is possible to prevent accidental activation.
Batteries & Charging
The B74 uses a single 14500 cell, which ships with it. It has an integrated micro-USB port for charging. The cell that ships with it is a button top, protected 900 mAh, 3.33 Wh cell at 3.7V nominal. Nothing special, and I do like that it comes with a cell. If you’re buying this as a gift, it’s a great thing. If you’re buying it for your own personal use, I would suggest replacing it with something a little more quality, but this should do the job.
Lumen measurements (for each mode)
Battery Life: Runtime graphs
|Measured runtime ANSI
|Time till shut off
ANSI FL1 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.
Peak beam intensity and beam distance measurements
Extra info: Peak beam distance according to ANSI FL1 standards: 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).
Camera settings and distance: ISO32, F 1.6, 1/200 seconds, 15 feet
Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to me for review at no cost by Nicron. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.
- Well built
- Interesting feature with usable practicality
- Good output/regulation
- UI is nice overall
- No reinforced bezel
- Hold to turn on
- Button could be better
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: ★★★★⋆
The Nicron B74 is currently selling for $30 on Amazon in the USA, and honestly I think that’s quite a fair price. The light is very nicely built, has a feature that is actually useful and not a gimmick, has good output, and runtime, and fits nicely in the pocket. I think Nicron definitely made a great product here, and what’s very nice is that it is very user friendly. I think it’s a great light and very suited towards working environments. 4.5/5