Noctigon K1 review
Noctigon Flashlight Intro:
Intl-outdoor has been selling Noctigon MCPCBs for quite a few years. Then Hank decided to produce his own flashlight lineup under the name Emisar. Also check out the extremely popular Emisar D4 v2 review, an EDC flashlight. The Noctigon K1, however, is the second flashlight in the Noctigon lineup, after the Noctigon Meteor M43 from 2015, so it’s been 5 years since the first Noctigon flashlight came out. And the Noctigon K1 is already one of the best long-range LED flashlights on the planet.
Probably the most exciting thing about this flashlight is the LED. It’s an Osram W1 CSLNM1.TG and is supposed to throw about 700kcd. This LED is by far the highest-intensity LED in flashlights at the time of review.
What you’ll get:
- Noctigon K1 flashlight
- Extra rubber boot
- User Interface card
Noctigon K1 specifications:
|Brand / Model||Noctigon K1|
|Beam intensity||650 Kcd|
|Review date||January 2020|
Handling of the K1 flashlight
It uses a single switch to activate and operate. The switch is located on the thinnest part of the head assembly. It’s not completely recessed so it could be activated accidentally. Fortunately, Intl-Outdoor added a holster to carry this little bad boy.
Besides the holster, the package also includes a lanyard, in case you prefer using one of those. If you are thinking about carrying this with you for a long time, you should take this seriously. The head is just a bit too large to fit normal pockets. It also is just a tad front-heavy, but that is really neglectable.
It can tail stand, but that is not something you will use this light for.
Build Quality, knurling, threads, and anodization
When you use flashlights, you come to the understanding that not all flashlights are equal. Not only in terms of brightness or even usefulness but also in terms of build quality. The Noctigon is a very well-designed and very well-machined flashlight.
There are no problems anywhere to be found with the anodization.
The body tube has lots of great knurling and gives a great grip. Some flashlight manufacturers focus more on the UI or even the aesthetics but forget about the actual use of a flashlight. And Noctigon did a good job here.
LEDs, Lens, Bezel, and Reflector
Hank, from Intl-outdoor, decided to use an Osram W1 CSLNM1.TG LED. This is currently the LED with the highest intensity currently on the market (at the time of writing) that is used inside flashlights. According to the seller, it can produce about 900 lumens and throw almost 1 mile. That is some serious stuff, especially since the emitter is only 1 square millimeter.
To keep the LED as cool as possible, and maintain its brightness, Hank added it to a copper Noctigon MCPCB. The reflector is very smooth and the bezel is made of Stainless Steel! Strong and blingy.
Behind the switch cover are a few AUX LEDs placed. These are to indicate the battery level.
- < 2.9V: black
- 2.9V to 3.3V: red
- 3.3V to 3.5V: yellow (red+green)
- 3.5V to 3.7V: green
- 3.7V to 3.9V: cyan (green+blue)
- 3.9V to 4.1V: blue
- 4.1V to 4.4V: purple (blue+red)
- > 4.4V: white-ish (red+blue+green)
For me, this might be a little over the top. Nobody is going to remember these, but hey, this is just a fancy flashlight right?
- Length: 175 mm ( 6.89 “)
- Head diameter: 72.2 mm ( 2.84 “)
- Reflector diameter: 62mm (2.44″)
- Body diameter: 26.5mm ( 1.05″)
- Empty: 318 g ( 11.23oz)
Flashlight Throwers Comparison
Size compared to the other farthest-reaching flashlights with 1 battery.
You can see how large the reflector is compared to its competitors.
Noctigon UI & Driver
The Noctigon K1 uses the Anduril firmware, built by Toykeeper. It’s the most sophisticated firmware available for flashlights, at the time of writing.
Keep in mind that the AUX LEDs are always on by default.
- Single-click: ON
- Double click: High
- 3 clicks: Battery check
- 2 clicks + hold: Strobe modes
- 4 clicks: Lock Out mode (momentary on: dim)
- 5 clicks: momentary mode (Bright) ( you can only deactivate by breaking electrical contact between the batteries and the driver by unscrewing the body from the head.
- 6 clicks: Muggle mode
- Single-click: Off
- Double click: Turbo
- 3 clicks: change ramping mode. Instead of a smooth increase, it has 6 little steps between Low and Max.
- 4 clicks: change to ramping configuration mode
- Press and hold: brightness ramps up.. release and press and hold again to ramp down.
SPECIAL AND FUN MODES:
Read the full manual on how to access and customize these modes. Also, see the firmware picture.
- Battery check
- Sunset Mode
- Beacon mode
- Temperature check
- Bike flasher
- Party strobe
- Tactical Strobe
- Lightning mode
- Lockout mode (can’t use the light) (activate by 4 clicks from off)
- Momentary mode (signaling/morse coding)
- Muggle mode: (safer for children)
- Configuration mode
- Ramp config mode
- From OFF: 4 clicks. To deactivate click another 4 times.
Firmware / UI Conclusion:
- The UI is very sophisticated and to my personal opinion not really fit for this type of flashlight. A thrower like this should be good with just the basic modes.
Batteries and charging:
In the last few years, we see more and more flashlights with built-in chargers. This is great for the non-flashoholics that don’t want or don’t need a special 18650 Lithium-Ion charger or a 21700 battery charger.
The K1 has a USB-C charge port that charges the battery inside the flashlight. But you need to unscrew the body from the head in order to use the charger because the charge port is hidden inside the threads.
This also means that you can’t use the light while charging! Important!
Instead of the older, but more common Micro USB port, Noctigon chose a USB-C. If you ever wanted to get or gift a thrower but were too afraid of buying Lithium-Ion batteries and a charger, this might be something to start off with. You don’t need to buy a dedicated Lithium-Ion battery charger just to charge your batteries. This will save you money.
However, I still recommend getting a great 21700 battery charger, especially one that can test capacity, etc.
It works perfectly with flattop, unprotected 21700 batteries. It does not work with protected batteries like the Fenix ARB-L21! TIP: Keep the tailcap unscrewed for storage, otherwise your battery will be dead in a few weeks or a few months’ time. Resting Amps is 0.02A (parasitic drain). This is with the Switch LEDs on. In Lock-Out mode (4 clicks from OFF) the same Amps can be measured.
It really has no point in using the electronic lockout IMHO!
Noctigon K1 thrower Performance:
All of my readings were taken from a fully-charged Samsung INR21700 40T.
Lumen and Amp measurements:
All output numbers are relative for my homemade Integrating Sphere and are now set up with an Extech SDL400 Lux Meter for measurements. For extremely bright flashlights (above 5000 lumens) I am adding a Kenko PRO1D ND-16 filter. The base measurement is done with a Convoy S2+ that has been tested at 137 lumens.
Amp measurement was done at the tailcap, not LED! I used the 7 Step brightness mode in order to measure the lumens. With the variable output, you can only have 3 measurements, Low, High, Turbo. So hopefully this 7 modes+turbo makes more sense.
Tested with a Sumsung 40T battery
|Mode 1||1: 0.04A||12 Lm|
|Mode 2||2: 0.15A||51 Lm|
|Mode 3||3: 0.38A||122 Lm|
|Mode 4||4: 0.79A||223 Lm|
|Mode 5||5: 1.42A||356 Lm|
|Mode 6||6: 2.30A||511 Lm|
|Mode 7||7: 3.51A||661 Lm|
|Turbo mode||Turbo: 4.62A||780 Lm|
I would say that Turbo lasts for 1 hour and 28 minutes. By that time it already sagged to below 200 Lumens.
I calibrated the Temp Sensor and the runtime graph looks the exact same!
In the highest mode (7/7) the runtime graph looks like the one above. It looks the same as Turbo IMHO. And after 3 hours and 30 minutes, I stopped the runtime graph. I just don’t want to damage the battery. When I took it out, it was at 2.98 Volts. I’m not 100% sure if there is a Low Voltage Protection. Runtime was only slightly better than in Turbo mode, and has a total of 1 hour and 32 minutes before the quickest drop in output.
Measurements were taken both indoors and outdoors with a professional Hagner E4-X Lux Meter. I took measurements at 10m and 20m outdoors.
- Outdoors (10m) High: 518,000 cd = 1439 m throw / 0.89 miles
- Outdoors (10m) Turbo: 600,000 cd = 1549 m throw / 0.96 miles
- Outdoors (20m) Turbo: 600,000 cd = 1549 m throw / 0.96 miles
A maximum throw of just under a mile is really good! The best of all single-cell LED flashlights at the time of writing!
The following beamshots were taken at 2 different locations. It’s important to keep all these beamshots together and not compare them with other reviewers since the camera settings might be slightly different.
Camera settings for the following pictures: 50mm, ISO 1600, F/4 0.5 Sec, 5000K
Tower is approximately 650 meters away.
Noctigon K1 review conclusion
- Great emitter choice
- Almost 1 mile of throw
- No PWM!
- The UI may not really fit this flashlight.
- Output is not stable at maximum levels
- Little hard to carry with this size of a head
Overall Rating: 5 stars ★★★★★
This flashlight is worth 5 stars. Although there are a few cons, those are a little too personal to give it lower than 5 stars. This is probably the best you can get if you want a pencil beam-shaped LED flashlight thrower, including built-in USB Charging and 21700 batteries. For less than $80 you will have 1 great of a light!