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Nitecore NU06 LE review: signal light
Nitecore NU06 LE specifications
|Nitecore NU06 LE
|Unknown white, red, green and blue
|Max. Beam intensity / distance
Nitecore has a very wide range of flashlights. Their last light I reviewed was the 20,000 lumen Nitecore TM20K, so this 15 lumen “Mini Signal Light” is quite a contrast. What’s a signal light I hear you ask? These kinds of lights are to catch people’s attention, rather than to light something up. Imagine a red bike light or an indicator light on a car.
Nitecore’s NU range is mostly lightweight headlights, like the NU25 that’s a favorite with the ultralight backpacking crowd. The NU06 LE looks very similar to their tiny NU05 headlamp and although it can be used as a headlight, it’s designed more to show people where you are, than let you see other things.
What sets the NU06 LE apart is the range of colors: white, red, green and blue. It also has flashing modes for each color, including a red and blue combined flash. This is like a US police strobe, hence the LE (law enforcement) in the model name.
The NU06 LE comes in a printed box that lists all the light’s info. It’s a bigger box than I was expecting, due to the accessories that come with it:
- Nitecore NU06 LE flashlight
- USB-C cable
- 3 ARC rail brackets:
- magnetic hook and loop bracket
- curved hook and loop helmet bracket
- MOLLE system bracket
As mentioned, it’s not really a headlamp and there’s no headband like you get with the NU05. That said, it will attach onto any 1” headband easily enough with the MOLLE system bracket.
Flashlight in use
Without any brackets attached, the NU06 LE is very small and light – it could get lost if you’re not careful.
The switch is in the middle of the light and is easy to find and activate, even with gloves on.
The light can be balanced face up or pointing sideways.
ARC rail attachment
The NU06 LE will slot into any standard ARC rail, as you’d find on many helmets. You can see how this can attach to an ARC rail on Marco’s Nitecore HM01 review. If you haven’t seen these before, they’re similar to a bike light attachment that slots into place.
Aside from the supplied mounts and ARC rail attachment, there’s no other attachment options like a lanyard hole or clip. As for the mounts, Nitecore are generous and give you 3 different ones:
Magnetic hook and loop bracket
Slot the NU06 LE on here and you have a light that can be stuck on any ferrous metal. I could imagine this being used as a warning light on the side of a broken down car. The magnets are pretty strong and work through the hook and loop material. The bracket has the “hook” side, so it could be stuck to any flat “loop” material. The bracket includes attachment points that would fit some cord too, so it could be turned into a make-shift headlamp or hung up somewhere.
Curved hook and loop helmet bracket
The curved bracket is designed for use on helmets. It’s similar to the flat magnetic one but without the magnets.
MOLLE system bracket
Finally, Nitecore also provides a square MOLLE system bracket. This will allow you to slot in any band that’s around 1” in diameter. You could use this with a standard headband too, though Nitecore doesn’t include one with the NU06 LE. You could also zip tie this bracket to something, such as a bike, post or tactical gear.
Build Quality, and Warranty
The NU06 LE is all plastic. There’s no knurling, anodisation or threads to talk about. It’s very light but the plastic used seems strong and doesn’t flex at all.
All the bracket attachments are a good fit: they’re quite tight but don’t require lots of force to attach.
Nitecore’s warranty covers you for 2 years. Beyond that, you get a limited lifetime warranty where you only pay for parts.
LED, Lens, Bezel, Beam, and Reflector
Nitecore has crammed 4 LEDs into this tiny light. In fact, there’s 5 if you include the power indicator light too.
All the LEDs are very floody as there’s no reflector. They give out light almost 180°. From the looks of things through the plastic, the LEDS are SMD but smaller than standard 3535 ones.
The white LED is quite a nice warm CCT. The Opple Light Master Pro recorded 4400K, which is in line with what I’d expect by eye. It also gave a reasonable CRI of 84 and DUV fluctuating around 0 (on the black body locus). This all results in a light that you could easily use for the odd task like reading a map.
The NU06 LE also includes red, green, and blue LEDs. These all have roughly the same brightness and beam spread, though red isn’t quite as bright as the others.
Dimensions and size comparison
- Length (including the bit to remove from clips: 3.44 cm / 1.35 inches
- Width: 2.93 cm / 1.15 inches
- Height: 2.51 cm / 0.99 inches
- Both the magnetic and curved brackets are 6.12 cm / 2.41 inches long
- MOLLE bracket: 5.08 cm / 2 inches square
- NU06 LE: 16g / 0.5 oz
- Magnetic bracket: 20g / 0.7 oz
- Curved bracket: 11g / 0.4 oz
- MOLLE bracket: 9g / 0.3 oz
Flashlight size comparison with its competition
- AA PIR light
- Generic red bike light
- Olight i2R EOS
- Nitecore NU06 LE
- Rolson magnetic light
- Emisar D4V2
Driver & User Interface:
The NU06 LE has just one button. The basic UI is hold to turn on or off. To change modes you have to hold for longer from off.
- White, white flashing, red/blue flashing, red, red flashing, blue, blue flashing, green, green flashing
- Press and hold for 1 second: on
- Press and hold for about 6 seconds: change modes
- Single-click: battery check
- Press and Hold: turn off
- 5 flashing modes
- No, though hold to turn on means this is less of an issue
Additional info on the UI:
- Flashing modes flash about once per second for about a tenth of a second
- The red/blue flashing mode does 4 red flashes in half a second, then 4 blue flashes
- There’s no way to change modes when it’s on, you have to turn the light off first
- Cycling through all 9 modes takes a loooong time. I timed 16 seconds to go from off, then all through the modes. It needs to be this long so you don’t accidentally go past 1 of the modes
- Battery check flashes the small blue indicator light 1, 2 or 3 times depending on the battery charge. 1 flash = less than 10% charge, 2 flashes is up to 50% charged and 3 flashes is over 50% charged
Batteries & Charging
The NU06 LE comes with a built-in li-ion battery, which Nitecore rates as 250mAh. For comparison, I have an AAA-sized 10440 cell that’s rated at 320mAh and a tiny 10180 cell for the GT Nano that’s 80mAh.
Charging is via a USB-C port, behind a rubber flap.
Charging via a C-to-C cable didn’t work but any standard A-to-C cable is fine, including the one Nitecore supply. The light will also work whilst powered via USB.
When charging, the blue indicator light flashes, then goes steady on when full. Charging from empty after a run time test took just under 2 hours, which is about in line with the manual that says charging takes 1h45m.
Lux meter: All lux and lumen measurements are from my home made integrating sphere, calibrated with a Convoy S2+ measured by Maukka. Measurements are done with a UNI-T UT383S lux meter and Adafruit TSL2591 connected to a Raspberry Pi (using RuTiTe by bmengineer). Expect them to be within +/-10%.
DMM: Current readings were taken with a Precision Gold PG10B DMM for low currents and a Mustool X1 clamp meter for high currents.
Lumen measurements (for each mode)
Note: my lumen sphere is only calibrated for white light. I’m not sure how biased the sensor is to certain colors, so the red/green/blue numbers could be a bit off. The light is also an awkward shape and pure flood, so even the values for white aren’t especially accurate, and with these kinds of low lumen numbers, there’s lots of noise in the data. Still, they should give you a good idea.
|Lumens @turn on
|Lumens @30 sec
|Lumens @10 minutes
Runtimes here are all for constant on. I was impressed with the run times, which were pretty much completely flat on all modes (fully regulated) and lasted at least as long as Nitecore’s specs.
From the graph you can see that the LED colors behave differently when the battery gets low. This is due to the different LED voltages and the driver having to do different things to get the right voltage over the LED. You can also see where I left the run times going on red and green after the light turned off: it looks like the driver got confused and managed to get some more juice from the very low cell, albeit erratically.
|Run time (constant)
Obviously the light isn’t designed for long distance. Nitecore doesn’t even give throw or candela numbers. Don’t worry though, you can count on us at 1lumen to give you all the information you need!
In fact, throw numbers are quite handy for lights like this, as you can see how well it works as a lantern. 7m throw is similar to the Olight Lantern Mini on medium mode and a bit under the Wuben F5 on medium.
Measurements were done at just under 1m.
Photos were taken with a Pixel 6 Pro, set to 1/12s shutter speed and ISO 400, F1.85. Distance to the metal box is 2m. Distance to the structure behind is 3.6m.
The images don’t show much, other than that the light can just be used to see things about 3m away
- Nitecore NU06 LE
- Olight i2R EOS low
- Olight i2R EOS high
- Rolson magnetic light
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.
- Good build quality
- Lots of mounting options and accessories
- Good run time
- Slow to change modes
- USB-C charging isn’t C-to-C
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: ★★★★⋆
I certainly like the NU06 LE but to me, it seems a bit like a gadget I’m unlikely to use. It’s a fairly niche flashlight but if you have a need for its colors and flashing modes or the ARC rail attachment then it’s a very good option.
If you don’t need all the modes and colors then the non law enforcement NU05 is a cheaper option, which only includes white and red LEDs. The NU05 also comes with a headband but the NU06 LE doesn’t.
The NU06 LE is different to any other light I have, so it’s hard to compare it to others. In terms of attachments and versatility, it does very well. Run time is also excellent, considering its tiny size.
My only gripe with it is the mode interface. Turning on and off is OK but if you want to pick a different mode then be prepared to hold the button down for a while, slowly cycling through all the different colors.
If you need a signal light that’s small and has lots of features then Nitecore’s NU06 LE mini signal light is small and packed full of features