Nitecore HC60 V2

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Nitecore HC60 V2 Review: Headlamp

Nitecore HC60 V2 specifications

Brand/modelNitecore HC60 V2
LEDOsram P9
Lumens1,200 Lumens
Beam intensity4240 cd
Battery config.1*18650
MaterialAluminum
Modes5
BlinkiesStrobe / Beacon / SOS
ReflectorSmooth
WaterproofIPX7
Review dateSeptember 2021

Introduction:

Nitecore is no stranger to the flashlight market. They’ve been producing robust, high quality lights for at least 14 years. They have a very wide portfolio that they segment into different series: MH (Multi-task Hybrid), P (Precise), TM (Tiny Monster), T (products like the Tube, Tip, Tini, and Tiki), and so forth. My first ever high-output flashlight was Nitecore’s P12GT: a 1000 lumen throwy tube light. That first impression with Nitecore certainly didn’t disappoint.

Up for review today is Nitecore’s HC60 V2. The H series are headlamps (shocker, I know). I’m a sucker for headlamps – they’re incredibly useful when you need both hands to complete a task. And the HC60 V2 appears to have a lot of good things going on, so I’m curious to see just what Nitecore has cooked up.

Package quality.

The Nitecore HC60 V2 arrived in a fairly standard paperboard box that featured the usual black-and-yellow Nitecore styling.  Unfortunately, it looks like FedEx drop-kicked the package a few times before delivering. Thankfully the contents came away unscathed. Inside the box was:

  • Nitecore HC60 V2
  • Nitecore NL1834 battery (18650, 3400 mAh)
  • Spare o-rings
  • Spare gasket
  • Spare button cover
  • USB-A to USB-C charging cable
  • Headband
  • Manual

Flashlight in use

There are a few different primary body designs for headlamps, with the two main ones being L-shaped (right angle) and T-shaped. L-shaped lights can be pretty nice since they do dual-duty as both a headlight as well as a handheld or utility light. But as a dedicated headlamp, many people don’t like the L-shaped as the light is offset to the side and can feel a bit unnatural, especially for up-close tasks. The HC60 V2 is a T-shaped style with the emitter nearly centered in the body of the headlamp.  This feels good as the light feels more balanced.

The Nitecore HC60 V2 comes with the headband pre-installed. And while you could potentially take it off, I see no reason to do so. I was able to, but it’s difficult. The strap itself is pretty nice. It’s the additional strap that goes over the head and helps with stability. The straps connect to plastic + rubber brackets. The strap has a few sections of rubberized grip on the inside which can help keep the strap from sliding around, particularly on hats and helmets. Overall, the Nitecore HC60 V2 is comfortable to wear.

Build Quality, and Warranty

Have you ever held a Nitecore light? I’ve had a handful of them over the years and the anodizing has always been top-notch black HA III, and the HC60 V2 is no departure from this trend. The anodizing isn’t really glossy but isn’t matte either… more of an eggshell I guess you’d say? The threads are clean cut, triangular, pre-lubed, and smooth. Everything feels really well put together and sturdy.

The USB-C charging port (more on that later) is hidden beneath another “tailcap” opposite of the tailcap that you’d use to install the battery. This does a great job of waterproofing the USB port and hiding it when not in use. That cap is held on with a firm tether so you won’t lose it while it’s charging.

Nitecore has rated the HC60 V2 with a 1 meter impact and IPX7 ingress ratings.

As far as warranty goes, Nitecore has your back with three levels of guarantee:

  • Exchange and DOA/defective products locally within 15 days of purchase
  • Defective / malfunctioning products will be repaired free of charge for 60 months
  • Beyond 60 months, Nitecore will cover the cost of the labor and the end user is responsible for the cost of the parts

LED, Lens, Bezel, and Reflector

The Nitecore HC60 V2 uses an Osram P9 LED. This is a run-of-the-mill LED that you see pop up here and there in a few products. It’s not one that enthusiasts talk about too much but it seems to do just fine. Like most Nitecore products, my HC60 V2 came with an unspecified cool white (6500K-ish) LED. But in looking at NitecoreStore’s product listing, it is apparently also offered in a neutral white 4000-5000K 80+ CRI.

The LED is centered in a small smooth reflector. Like many Nitecore products, the reflector is touted as using PDOT: “Precision Digital Optics Technology”. Specs say that the reflector produces a 100° wide range flood beam. The beam does have a really wide spill, but there is definitely a hotspot to it. If you’re looking for a very smooth floody beam, a light with a TIR optic would be more up your alley. As it is, the HC60 V2 does have a bit of throw.

The front of the headlamp has a cover to keep the reflector and button held in place. Interestingly, the cover appears to be made of a rigid plastic material but does seem to be pretty resilient. The cover is held in place by four small hex screws. I imagine there’s a gasket underneath because there’s a spare included in the package.

Dimensions and size comparison

  • Length: 84 mm / 3.3 inches
  • Head diameter:  35.8 mm / 1.4 inches
  • Body diameter:  53.5 mm / 2.1 inches

Weight: 

  • Without cells, with headband: 108 grams / 3.8 oz
  • With cells: 159 grams / 5.6 oz

Flashlight comparison

Headlamps from left to right: ThruNite TH20, Nitecore HC60 V2, Wuben H1, Convoy H1 

The ThruNite TH20, a AA/14500 light, is understandably a bit smaller than the HC60 V2. The Wuben H1 looks a long lost cousin of the Nitecore, as it sports a very familiar body design and also has an Osram P9 LED.

The Convoy H1, a right-angle L-shaped headlamp, is notably longer.

Driver & User Interface:

This UI is… unique.  It’s not bad, I’d just say it takes some getting used to.

Available modes: Ultralow, Low, Mid, High, Turbo (+ Strobe, Beacon, & SOS)

From OFF:

  • Press and Hold: turn on in last used mode
  • Press and Hold, keep holding: turn on in Turbo mode
  • Single click: turn on in Ultralow mode
  • Double click: Strobe

From ON:

  • Press and Hold: turns off
  • Single click: cycle through modes (low to high)

Mode memory:

  • Yes (when doing a “press and hold”)

Shortcuts:

  • To Low: single click
  • To Turbo: longer press
  • To Strobe: double click

Low voltage warning:

  • None, it drops from low light to off

Strobe/blinkies

  • Strobe is activated by a double click from off (only)
  • When in Strobe, short press to cycle to SOS
  • When in SOS, short press to cycle to Beacon
  • Long press the power button to exit the strobe modes

Lock-out mode: 

  • No electronic lock-out
  • Phyical lock-out by twisting the battery cover

PWM

  • No PWM in any mode, verified by my photo-diode and DMM in Hz mode

Additional info on the UI: 

  • I really like that there are shortcuts to Ultralow, last used, and Turbo.  It’s just that the button presses are different from many lights that I’m accustomed to.

Batteries & Charging

The Nitecore HC60 V2 comes with a Nitecore NL1834 battery: 3400 mAh 18650. It’s a protected button-top cell that fits snugly (read: a bit tight) in the headlamp. The user manual specifically says that “the product will NOT work when using a flat topped 18650 battery.” There may be instances where that is true, but I tried a flat-top Samsung 30Q and it turned on just fine. I also tried a Micro USB equipped Liitokala NCR18650B and it fit seemingly fine as well.

Like I mentioned previously, there is a USB-C charging port hidden beneath a threaded cap. The USB-C charging does support Power Delivery (USB-C to USB-C) even though the HC60 V2 comes with a USB-A to USB-C cable. In my testing, the charging happened at 5.0V @ 1.0A for a 5.0W charge rate. It took 4 hours even to fully charge the included battery, terminating at 4.16 volts. When charging, the blue indicator LED under the switch cover slowly blinks. It switches to constant on when charging is complete.

In addition to accepting 18650 batteries (recommended), the Nitecore HC60 V2 is compatible with 2x CR123 and 2x RCR123 cells. The manual does remind you to not try to use the charging circuit when you have CR123 or RCR123 cells loaded into the headlamp.

Performance

For current measurements, an ANENG AN8008 multimeter and UNI-T UT210E clamp meter were used. Lux was measured by a UNI-T UT383 BT at 5 meters. Lumens were measured in a homemade lumen tube using a TSL2591 sensor, calibrated with a Maukka calibration light. Testing was performed with the included Nitecore NL1834 battery.

Lumen measurements (for each mode)

ModeAmps at startSpecs (lm)Lumens @10minLumens @30 secLumens @ start
Ultralow3.6 – 8.6 mA10.8
Low107 mA4041
Mid600 mA250280271266
High1.1 A450307505483
Turbo3.5 A1200 lm2971167 lm1130

Parasitic drain:

  • 9 µA – very low!

Runtime graph

The Turbo test started out around 1170 lumens and stayed there for right at 1 minute before ramping down over the next 7 minutes, settling in around 327 lumens. It stayed there for most of the rest of the run. There was a small increase right before LVP kicked it down to 47 lumens at 3 hours and 27 minutes. The light eventually shut off at 4 hours and 9 minutes. The maximum temperature was 45.8°C.

The High test started around 505 lumens and held steady for the first 6 minutes, then it started to slowly ramp down. It settled into 327 lumens at 18 minutes into the run, where it stayed until LVP kicked it down to 48 lumens at 5 hours and 1 minute. The light shut off at 5 hours and 34 minutes. Maximum temperature was 38.1°C.

I also tested the Mid mode. It started at 266 lumens and actually increased in brightness a little bit as the buck driver warmed up. The headlamp settled in at 293 lumens. It dropped down to 44 lumens at 3 hours and 45 minutes, eventually shutting off at 5 hours and 36 minutes. Maximum temperature was 46.3°C.

Throw numbers: 

For the throw measurements, I tested the HC60 V2 at 5 meters using my UNI-T UT383 BT and a calibration factor based on the Maukka calibration light.

ModeSpecsCandela measuredMetersYards
Ultralow3 cd
Low200 cd
Medium780 cd1,250 cd7178
High1,550 cd2,300 cd96105
Turbo4,240 cd5,375 cd 147160

Beamshots

Beam shots of the building are taken at 15 m (16 yd) using a Pixel 3 set to ISO 200 with 1/10 second exposure time

Beam shots of the playset are taken at 30 m (33 yd) using a Pixel 3 set to ISO 200 with 1/2 second exposure time. The trees in the background are around 65 m away.

  • Nitecore HC60 V2
  • Wuben H1
  • Convoy H1 (with floody TIR optic)
  • ThruNite TH20

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

Final Verdict

Pros

  1. Centered LED (T-shape)
  2. Nice headband
  3. Good Ultralow mode
  4. Shortcuts to Ultralow and Turbo
  5. Sealed-off USB-C charging
  6. Full kit
  7. Available in CW and NW
  8. Battery indicator in volts + tenths

Cons

  1. UI takes some getting used to

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 Gabriel
Author: Gabriel

5 stars: ★★★★★

There’s an awful lot to like about the new Nitecore HC60 V2. It’s a very versatile T-shaped headlamp that’s comfortable to wear. I like that it includes a sealed-off USB-C charging port and a high capacity battery. There’s a great range of modes from Ultralow (1 lumen) to Turbo (1200 lumens). The UI even has shortcuts to Ultralow, Turbo, and the last used mode. Which is great, but the button sequence for accessing those modes is different than many other lights so it takes some getting used to. UI preferences aside, there’s not much more that I could ask for in a headlamp.

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1lumen selects and reviews products personally. We may earn affiliate commissions through our links, which help support our testing.