Nightwatch NI03 Valkyrie

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Nightwatch NI03 Valkyrie Review: Powerful Flashlight

Nightwatch NI03 Valkyrie specifications

Brand/modelNightwatch NI03 Valkyrie
LEDSFN55.2
Lumens7,800 lm
Beam intensity / distanceN/A / 853 meters
Battery config.1*26800
MaterialAluminum
Modes5
BlinkiesStrobe
ReflectorOP
WaterproofIPX8
Review dateAugust 2021

Introduction:

It’s a great time to be a flashaholic! There are so many brands producing fantastic lights in 2021, and they seem to be getting better and better too; better drivers, higher performing emitters, and new designs from old favorites (Convoy, anyone?).

If you’ve ever browsed the inventory at Nealsgadgets, you’ll probably have stumbled across lights from Nightwatch. No, not the American TV series about paramedics, I mean the Chinese flashlight company that’s brought us some amazing super-high output lights featuring the equally precocious 26800 size battery like the NSX3 and NSX4, NI40 ‘Stalker’ and NA40GT ‘Avaritia.’ These are simple-to-use well-built lights with excellent performance at reasonable prices.

That said, I don’t know who makes them, but I do know they are almost exclusively sold by Neal Zhang of Nealsgadgets, who, by the way, was nice enough to send over the newest iteration of the familiar Nightwatch NI03, dubbed the ‘Valkyrie.’ I will say that I love the naming convention here because (put your thinking cap on) Valkyries or “chooser of the slain”  are female demigods from Norse mythology who accompanied fallen warriors to Valhalla (the Norse afterlife) where they lived preparing for Ragnarok or serving the interests of Odin.

The NI03 originally featured the ubiquitous Luminus SBT90.2, but recently has popped up sporting an obscure Chinese-made emitter, the SFN55.2. Hmmm. Datasheet? Nope. Manufacturer? Nowhere to be found. Specs? Haven’t seen ‘em. I do know that Neal advertises this emitter in the NI03 at 7800 Lumens and 853 meters of throw. Not bad. Will the NI03 propel me into Valhalla? I don’t know, but I think it’s going to be really good!

Package quality.

I think Nightwatch and Convoy are in cahoots with each other when it comes to packaging. I had to do a double-take when I cut open the mailer since I thought I had been sent something from Convoy. That said, the NI03 came in a very white, and very plain card stock box that was barely larger than the light itself. No markings, no blurbs, no specs, nada. It also fell apart as soon as I opened it.

The light itself was wrapped in a bubble wrap sleeve and remarkably undamaged. Maybe my accessories were invisible or something because nothing was in the box with the light except a battery loaded in the tube. I was expecting a bog standard plastic isolator in there, but nope. Someone ripped off a small piece of thick cardstock and stuck it on the negative end of the battery before screwing on the tailcap.

Hey, whatever works, right?

There was also a USB wall charger and nice long USB A to type C cable floating around in the mailer. Here’s the whole meal deal: 

  • Nightwatch NI03
  • 6800 mAh 26800 battery (loaded in the light)
  • Wall charger
  • USB type A to C cable

Okay, okay, I admit I’ve been spoiled by the generous amounts of accessories from Fenix, Acebeam, and Thrunite, but I’m not too bothered by the NI03’s lack of kit. One, it keeps the cost down, and two, most of us have a USB charger for our mobile phones or other devices, and spare USB cables and lanyards clogging the junk drawers. Plus the o-rings are pretty standard size.

However, you will need a battery, since this light takes the somewhat odd 26800 lithium-ion cell. I think Neal thought of that though and sells the NI03 with battery and charger for a small fee. Seriously, don’t think about it, just get them…totally worth it. Here’s why: The charger seems really high quality and is PD-capable (you’ll see why later) with a USB C to C port and a USB A port. The included cable is 36 inches long, which is the longest included-in-a-flashlight-kit USB cable I’ve ever seen. No qualms at all with the bundled accessories, however, I would have rather had a USB type C to C cable to take advantage of the PD capabilities. Neal, can we please get a C to C cable?

Flashlight in use

The Vakyrie is a good-sized light. It’s bigger (taller, thicker, wider head) than a C8 by a fair margin and much heavier. In fact, it’s as big as my Astrolux FT02S (and even heavier). I will say that this is a handsome light. It’s very smartly designed, and handling-wise didn’t feel cumbersome or clumsy in the hand, just hefty and substantial. The 34 mm diameter battery tube is wide, but still easy to grip, and although the light is pretty chunky and front-heavy, the center of gravity is almost in line with the switch where your thumb naturally rests, so it’s easy to handle. The very grippy knurling on the battery tube, tailcap, and heatsink fins on the head were great for gripping in all positions. 

The front-mounted e-switch is located in a flat area of the head, so finding it by feel is easy even though it doesn’t stick out much. The USB charging port cover is on the direct opposite side of the switch, and before I got used to the light, I found myself pressing the cover thinking it was the switch! The switch does have blue LED backlighting under the silicone rubber cover, but they don’t turn on during operation and aren’t illuminated when on standby either, which is kind of a bummer. The only time I see them lit up is when connecting the tailcap with a battery loaded, or when charging. The switch is really decent with good click action, nice feedback, and very positive operation. The action is pretty low, and requires a firm press (but not too firm) which is a good safety feature although the light does have electronic and manual lockout for preventing accidental activation.

Retention? There’s no pocket clip, but that’s fine since this is not really light you’d drop in your pants or shirt pocket, but it would fit in a cargo pocket or jacket pocket. The tailcap has two lanyard holes for attaching a lanyard or other retention device. They are adequately sized also. The cap is wide and flat for super-steady tail standing action. With the reflector out, this light makes a great mule, by the way.

Build Quality, and Warranty

This is the first Nightwatch light I’ve reviewed, and their reputation precedes the price for sure. This light retails for around $75 US without the charger and battery (add $20 for those, which is still a great deal), and for that price, you get a lot. As I said, although it’s not made from mokume, damascus or polished titanium with copper accents, this is a handsome light with a very utilitarian look and feel (think Convoy) which I really like. The fit and finish are very good and the machining is very nicely done with minimal machine marks, even on the stainless bezel, and all the parts fit together fine. The exception is where the battery tube joins to the head, there’s an ominously-large gap that was wide enough to expose the bottom edge of the o-ring. I don’t know if that negatively affects the water resistance though. 

There are zero sharp edges anywhere so everything is beveled and chamfered nicely. The silkscreening is also exquisitely sharp and the knurling is accurately and precisely cut. Before I move on, I have ascertained a recurring theme on the Valkyrie: Beefy. The battery tube walls are thick at 2.5 mm. The tailspring is massive at 1.6 mm thick. The positive contact on the driver? You won’t find a brass button here…you get a brass slug 9 mm wide and at least 7mm tall. Yep. Beefy.

The light is made from an undisclosed aluminum alloy with deep black type III HA anodizing. The finish is delightfully matte, and while not as brickish as finishes from Acebeam, it’s way better than some semi-gloss ones found on more expensive lights, plus it looks durable and able to take some abuse. The knurling on the battery tube and tailcap is standard diamond pattern, very nicely cut and very grippy. Like the NSX series lights, the heatsink fins on the head also have knurling rolled into them for extra grip, which is a useful feature. Although the Valkyrie may carry fallen warriors off the battlefield into Valhalla, rest assured, it won’t roll off your table into Ragnarok thanks to anti-roll cuts in the head.

The enthusiast nature of this brand became evident when I tried to unscrew the bezel: No glue. Yep, everything can be taken apart on the NI03. The driver is held in with a thick brass retaining ring with two hex cap head screws (although it seems like there’s some glue holding it down), and the switch retainer unscrews with snap ring pliers. The MCPCB is secured with two screws to the (advertised as 1 cm thick- yep, beefy) shelf, and the LED wires are soldered nicely with minimal flux residue with good-looking joints. It looks like high-quality thermal paste was used (the gray kind) as well. 

However, what wasn’t so nice was the soldering job on the tail spring. It looks like the spring was just set on a piece of round brass sheet and hand soldered on. It’s a bit lopsided and looks sloppy with lots of flux residue, but the joint is solid and functional. I doubt people buying this light will split hairs over it since it’s not visible from the outside. 

Speaking of springs and threads, the front and rear threads are a bit short, but fully anodized, square cut, and adequately sized for this light. I never felt like I was going to cross thread anything, and they were very nicely lubed and smooth. The USB charging port is sealed with a decently-thick silicone rubber plug, and there are thick o-rings sealing both sides of the tube, the bezel, and lens. Nightwatch gives the Valkyrie an IP68 rating and I don’t know how believable that is, but I’m sure it will be fine if it goes for a swim in Odin’s Jacuzzi.

No warranty is implied, so I deduce this falls into the “if it breaks and it’s not your fault, request a refund, replacement, etc.” Neal is pretty good about honoring his products, and would probably send you replacement parts rather than a whole new light.

LED, Lens, Bezel, and Reflector

The NI03 features an LED that’s perhaps as mysterious as Ragnarok. In all seriousness, this is an LED I only found out about a few weeks ago! It’s made by an unknown Chinese manufacturer, but looks awfully similar to the familiar GT-FC40 LED featured in some Convoy flashlights. 

This is a 7070 footprint (same as Cree’s XHP70 emitter) LED. I couldn’t find a data sheet, nor any manufacturer specifications, so I can’t comment on those verbatim, but I measured the forward voltage as somewhere around 3.1 volts on High. I’m postulating that this LED should pull some serious current at full whack (don’t worry, I’ll test that). Aside from being domeless for higher surface brightness and more throw than a domed emitter, it’s construction is very interesting.

The LES is a 9 segment die, but there’s no visible bonding wires. The CCT is not listed, but it’s definitely cool white and (probably) 70 or less CRI. Nevertheless, the advertised specs per Neal? 7800 Lumens and 852 meters of throw. 

The lens is made from dual AR coated tough mineral glass that’s pretty thick. It’s surrounded by a nicely-finished stainless steel bezel with conservative crenulations, and overall, the lens is well-protected. The LED is perfectly centered with a plastic centering ring in a deep OP (orange peel) reflector. I presume this is to help break up some of the eccentricities from the multi-die LED when focused through an SMO reflector, and it does the job well. I would love to test this through an SMO reflector because even with the OP reflector, the hot spot is pretty focused and there’s a lot of throw and ample spill for side illumination.

The transition from spill to hotspot looks more like an SMO reflector and seems nicely focused for short and long-range work. You might even mistake this for a quasi-thrower of sorts! The tint is definitely cool white, easily as cool as my OSRAM emitters, but slightly warmer than my 6500K SST70 lights. Overall, the beam is very nice-way nicer than any XHP emitter could manage in this same setup.

Dimensions and size comparison

  • Length: 16.2 cm / 6.37 inches
  • Head diameter: 5.3 cm / 2.08 inches
  • Body diameter: 3.4 cm / 1.33  inches

Weight: 

  • With included 26800 battery: 417.1 grams / 14.71 oz. 
  • Without battery: 314.8 grams / 11.1 oz.

Flashlight comparison

The Valkyrie’s size becomes apparent when compared to some popular flashlights. Only the 2×26650 Wurkkos DL70 is larger. In the weight department, the NI03 is pretty hefty for a sub 7-inch light at nearly 15 ounces.

Left to right group 1: Wurkkos DL70, Nightwatch NI03, Acebeam L19, Astrolux FT02S.

Group 2 left to right: Astrolux EA01, Nightwatch NI03, Thorfire C8.

Group 3: Nightwatch NI03, Lumintop FWAA.

Driver & User Interface:

The Valkyrie employs some true superpowers when it comes to the driver. I couldn’t get it out with minimal force, so I gave up before damaging it, but I presume it’s a FET driver of some kind with brightness regulated by PWM. I don’t think it has a 7135 channel on it since the lowest mode pulls way more than 350-380 mA. 

The UI is classic Nightwatch: No-frills, no fu-fu, no press and hold to turn on either. Just push the button to turn the darn thing on or off and make it brighter. It’s 5 modes including Turbo and a single semi-hidden strobe. Anyone could pick up the Valkyrie and throw some serious photons. 

Modes: Low, medium, high, and turbo. There’s a semi-hidden strobe mode also.

From OFF:

  • Press and hold: N/A
  • Single click: Turns on in last mode
  • Double click: Turbo
  • Triple click: Strobe

From ON:

  • Press and hold: Turns off
  • Single click: Switches to next mode
  • Double click: Turbo
  • Triple click: Strobe

Mode memory:

  • Yes, last mode memory

Low voltage warning:

  • Yes. The light will step down very low and blink twice every 5-6 seconds when the battery is at 2.9 volts. 

Strobe/blinkies

  •  Single strobe at about 2.5 Hz

Lock-out mode: 

  • Yes. From off or on, clicking 4 times will activate the electronic lockout. Repeat to unlock. If locked while turned on, the light will turn on in the last used mode. To manually lock out, unscrew the head ⅛ turn.

PWM

  •  Yes, PWM on all modes, but it’s fast PWM not visible with the naked eye.

Additional info: I really like no-nonsense UI’s, especially on high-power lights. Click it on, cycle through modes, and press and hold to turn it off. I know some purists may scoff over the fact that a light like this doesn’t have Anduril/Anduril2, but there’s just less to fiddle and finagle with, and even Gomer Pyles could figure the NI03 out pretty quickly. I think that’s what Nightwatch was going for with this, plus with a simpler driver, they had more room for improving the charging circuit (more on that later), and trust me, I am not missing Anduril/Anduril2 one iota. 

Nightwatch included all the important features here: Instant access to Turbo and strobe, last mode memory, and electronic lockout with last mode recall. There’s also their version of ATR, set to step down at 52 C to keep things (like your hand) from melting. It’s not perfect though, and the one thing I don’t like is the mode spacing. Going from Low to Medium is a BIG jump in brightness, and I’m really missing a genuinely ‘low’ mode here that would elevate the NI03’s usefulness quite a bit. Can we get an extra mode, Nightwatch, please?

Batteries & Charging

I love it when companies innovate and get creative, and one area I don’t see too much of that is batteries. I hadn’t heard of the 26800 cell before Nightwatch released the NXS lights and I am really glad the NI03 adopted it. There’s no adapters included for using other batteries, but the tail spring is just long enough to accommodate a button-top Acebeam 21700 with integrated charging. However, I don’t recommend it unless in an emergency because there’s a lot of extra space in the tube and it rattles around a lot. 

This is a somewhat unconventional battery for flashlights at 68 mm long by 26 mm diameter, but they seem to have firmly established a foothold in the industry. Both Astrolux and Convoy are now offering lights with 26800 tube conversions and here’s why. The biggest 21700s max out at 5000 mAh. The biggest 26650s top out at around 5800-6200 mAh. The 26800 included with the NI03 is advertised at 6800 mAh. Not only that, but there’s not much of a current-handling deficit either, since this battery can take some serious current, and can be recharged at a higher current safely.

The NI03 also adds onboard USB type C charging, and I was super-stoked to hear that it’s PD capable. I was hoping someone would answer the cry for faster charging now that a typical 21700 is 5000 mAh and charging at 2 amps still takes a long time. It seems Nightwatch kept their ear to the rail because the SFN55.2 version of this light (not available on the SBT90.2 version) is PD capable for both charging and as a power bank (up to 24 watts). Very nice!

The battery and charger bundle included a 6800 mAh 26800 flat top battery. It’s advertised as 6800 mAh capacity, or nearly 25 Wh. The cell arrived at 3.66 volts which is perfect for long-term storage. Although the CDR isn’t listed, these are generally good to about 20-25 amps, and even at those discharge currents, you’re still getting like 20+ Wh of energy! 

This is a big cell. I did some comparison photos of the 26800 next to a Wurkkos 26650, Molicel P42A, Acebeam 21700, and you can see how much bigger it is! It’s heavier too. At 120 grams, it’s almost twice as heavy as a Samsung 50G 5000 mAh. The bundled charger is made by Ainope (model AP2208) and is a dual-port design with a USB type C and USB type A port. It is PD-capable up to 30 watts on the type C plug with 5V 3A, 9V 3A, 12V 2.5 A, 12V 2A, and 5V 2.4A on the USB A plug. I threw the Valkyrie on the USB tester, and on the type C port, I got about a hair over 18 watts on the partially discharged cell. Not too shabby.

The aux LEDs in the switch do show charging status: Flashing blue for charging, solid blue for finished. I plugged in a USB C to C cable to try the power bank function and yep! It works. My phone charges up to 18 watts, and although I couldn’t get my tester plugged in to verify the actual charging speed, my phone showed it was fast charging. Awesome! The switch LEDs turn a dual color green/blue when discharging in power bank mode. There was one annoyance: I tried two different type C to type C cables with this light and I think the charge socket is set too far into the flashlight body because I had to press kind of hard on the cable end to get a reliable connection. Maybe a different cable would work better since my regular USB A to C cables were fine. 

That aside, the inclusion of PD charging and power bank with uber capacity battery makes this an extremely versatile flashlight. Could this be a sport utility flashlight?

Performance

Lumen measurements:

Here we go into the unknown realm of untested ambiguous Chinese LEDs behind crazy FET drivers and huge batteries! Seriously, I am expecting some big numbers from the NI03. 

Amp measurement  

I used my Fuyi FY219 clamp meter with a short piece of 12 gauge wire in a loop for higher current, and my Radio Shack T-RMS multimeter with 16 gauge wires interested in the meter for current under 8 amps. All measurements are taken at 30 seconds with the fully charged 6800 mAh battery. You can see how the output hardly dropped after 30 seconds on Turbo! 

  • Low: 430 mA
  • Medium: 4.9 A
  • High: 14.9 A
  • Turbo: 27.08 A (28.8 A at turn on)

Parasitic drain:

  • 0.2 mA 

Runtime graph

I conducted the runtime test using the 30-centimeter integrating sphere with the Digi-Sense 20250-00 data logging lux meter. I used the fully charged 6800 mAh battery and tested Medium, High and Turbo modes. I didn’t test strobe or Low since they would run forever.

I was expecting big output from the LED and that’s what I got.

Turbo started at an impressive 6912 Lumens, and stayed above 6000 Lumens for almost 45 seconds. The first step down happened at around 1 minute when the internals started heating above 50 C. I forgot to replace the battery in my thermometer, so there’s no readings for the first 45 minutes of the Turbo test, but after 50 minutes, the head was 59 C and the tube…well, too hot to handle at 54 C. I think the claim of a 52 C thermal limit is underestimated. The output stayed pretty consistent with gradual step-downs until the 3 minute-40 second mark when there was a big drop to under 1000 Lumens, then two more steps down to under 100 Lumens. It sat there for almost a minute before stepping back up to 288 Lumens, then gradually back up to 792 Lumens over the next 2 minutes. The output leveled out at 700’ish Lumens over the next 40 minutes with forays into the 800-1150 Lumen range over the next hour until the output dropped abruptly down to 430 Lumens at the 2 hour 3 minute mark. A minute later the LVP kicked in and dropped the output again when the LVP warnings commenced with 2 blinks every 5 seconds until I ended the test. The output dropped off the luxmeter scale, but it was under 10 Lumens. The light was still usable after the test and the battery read 2.8 volts, so the LVP did its job. 

High was a bit of an enigma. Surprisingly, it was the briefest runtime of the 3 tested. High started at a very respectable 4248 Lumens, and was pretty stable, holding 4000+ Lumens for over a minute, and 3000+ Lumens for almost 3 minutes. Nice! The first big (noticeable) step down happened at 3 minutes 50 seconds down to under 2000 Lumens. The heat sinking capacity of this light is impressive: Even with almost 15 amps flowing through it (45 watts), it heated from 26 C ambient to 46.6 C in 60 seconds, and only started noticeably stepping down at 1 minute 30 seconds when the head temp reached 55 C. The light held 1000 Lumens or better for over 10 minutes before throttling back to 864 Lumens at the 14 minute 15 second mark, but the temperature regulation started working and increased the output to between 860 and 1368 Lumens over the next hour and 15 minutes. At the 1 hour 31 minute mark, the output dropped to under 800 Lumens, and over the next 60 seconds ran down to under 600 Lumens until the 1 hour 32 minute mark when LVP kicked in and dropped the output very low (and off the scale again, but probably 10 Lumens). I ended the test a few seconds later. This is similar behavior to Turbo, with temperature-regulated output until LVP. 

Medium was pretty uneventful, starting a little under 1800 Lumens, with the output remarkably steady at 1700+ Lumens for over 6 minutes. From ambient temperature 26 C, it took 5 minutes for the head to reach 44.6 C. This is pretty good for a smallish high power light. The output throttles up and down with the temperature, between 960 and 1260 Lumens until 1 hour and 26 minutes when the output leveled off at 950 Lumens and steadily decreased from there over the next 20 minutes. At the 1 hour 49 minute mark when the output plummeted below 300 Lumens (and off the lux meter scale again) and the blinks for LVP commenced at which point I ended the test. Total time was 1 hour 49 minutes, which is less than High. Hmmmm? I’ve seen this behavior before, when the runtime is lower because the output stays higher for longer, which depletes the battery faster since this is not a current-regulated driver. The output for Medium stayed mostly above 1000 Lumens for the majority of the runtime, but the penalty is paid in heat as the light still heated up to over 56 C for the majority of the runtime with the tube staying a toasty 50+ C. Gloves, anyone? 

Overall, I’m chuffed to bits with this new emitter and driver combination. I don’t know where Nightwatch gets the SFN55.2, but I want one…no, I want 4. It would fit anywhere a XHP70.2 would normally go (with existing centering gaskets), with the benefit you don’t need a boost driver or multiple cells. You get very high output and for a 3 volt emitter I’m putting my money on the table that nothing can touch the SFN55.2 (save for the SBT90.2). It does eventually get pretty hot, but 90+ watts is 90+ watts and a small host will heat up quick.

Even so, the abundant heat sinking and mass do manage the heat adequately enough for Turbo runs around 3 minutes (5 if you’re brave), and longer on Medium and High. The addition of the high capacity and high energy 26800 cell completes this package and really sweetens the deal. The thermal regulation works a little like Aduril does, so that’s nice, and LVP runs like clockwork, pulling the plug at between 2.8 and 2.9 volts every time. I also liked that Nightwatch integrated a visual LVP warning (rather than nothing….ahem, Anduril). Lastly, I could still use the light after the runtime tests, albeit at significantly reduced output.

Lumen measurements (for each mode)

For the lumen tests, I used my home made 30 cm integrating sphere calibrated with a light of known output using the Digi-Sense 20250-00 data logging lux meter. I used the included fully charged 6800 mAh battery. Readings were taken at 30 seconds. I captured the turn on reading for turbo.

ModeMeasured LumensAdvertised Lumens
Low205.2?
Medium1764?
High4032 (4248 at start)?
Turbo6120 (6912 at start)7800

Overall, this is very good performance from a relatively compact light! This is direct-drive XHP70.2 or multiple XHP50.2/SST40 territory folks, all from a single 3-volt emitter. 

Throw numbers: 

Throw was measured at 5 meters indoors using the Uni-t UT383S lux meter. I used the included 6800 mAh battery and readings were recorded at 30 seconds.

ModeMeasured ThrowAdvertised Throw
Low3975 cd, 126.09 meters?
Medium36,300 cd, 381.05 meters?
High79,775 cd, 564.88 meters?
Turbo124,825 cd, 706.61  meters (138,775 cd, 754.05 meters at turn-on)? cd, 852 meters

Nightwatch only listed a single ‘max’ throw figure on the product page, probably Turbo. It’s a well-known fact that domeless emitters throw farther than domed emitters due to increased surface luminance. No surprise, the SFN55.2 throws very well for a big emitter. Although I didn’t get to 852 meters, the candela reading for Turbo is getting into Osram W2 territory.

Beamshots

Outdoor shots: The water tower is about 90 meters away (compared the Cyansky K3, Acebeam L17, NI03), and the fence is about 40 meters away 

I compared the NI03 to the Astrolux FT02S XHP 50.2, Astrolux EC03 with SST40’s, and a Thrunite TC20 V2.

For the throw test with the water tower, I compared the NI03 to the Cyansky K3 and threw in an Acebeam L17 with an Osram W2. The NI03 throws every bit as well as the Acebeam and K3, which have significantly less output. Not bad! I’m super-impressed.

Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to me for review at no cost by Nealsgadgets. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.

Final Verdict

Pros

  1. Solid build quality
  2. SFN55.2 emitter is amazing
  3. Simple UI
  4. Type C PD charging and power bank
  5. Very high output and good sustainability
  6. Nice beam with tons of throw
  7. High output and capacity 26800 cell

Cons

  1. Mode spacing needs work
  2. No ‘low’ mode
  3. Gets hot fast
  4. Battery should be included

Explanation on star ratings:

1: Avoid: my phone flashlight would be a better choice – 2: Poor: significant defect or issues, much better options available at the same price – 3: Average: some defects or issues – 4: Good: recommended (minor issues) – 5: Great: highly recommended

Reviewer Nick
Author: Nick

4.5 stars: ★★★★⋆

Nightwatch to me, is one of those companies where the conversations amongst the development and marketing teams might go something like this: “Hey, seen those new LEDs? Yep. They look good. Go build a flashlight to put them in and use a FET driver with the biggest single battery you can find to power it.” It’s that kind of creative thinking and innovation that results in lights like the Valkyrie with the SFN55.2.

If you ever wanted a 3 volt version of a dedomed XHP70.2, well, until CREE makes one, this is as close as you’re going to get. Nightwatch decided to use an untested, unproven, and pretty nebulous emitter (I don’t even know where, or if, you can get them), and I’m glad they did. It transformed the NI03 into a very versatile flashlight.

The NI03 is a great host for this emitter: compact, solid build quality and fit/finish, adequate heat sinking, and nicely-tuned reflector, but that’s not the whole picture. The power system is also smartly (read: properly) implemented as well, with that 26800 battery really benefiting from the inclusion of PD charging.

However, there are some drawbacks. The mode spacing is wonky, there’s no real ‘low’ mode, it gets hot fast (even with all the heat sinking), and although not a fault of the light, I really think the battery should come as standard equipment since it’s really the only battery that works reliably with the light. The bundle is pretty affordable though. Seriously, this NI03 checks off a lot of boxes for me and may just be my new favorite flashlight. I think any Norse warrior would gladly take it to Valhalla. 4.5 stars for the NI03 Valkyrie.

Nightwatch NI03 For Sale

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