Nextorch P5R Review – Dual-Color Innovation

Contents

Pricing & Availability

Nextorch sent me this light in exchange for an honest review. Here is the official product page where you can see current pricing. P5 has several versions with different colors of secondary LED. I have P5R which is the red version.

When I asked for this review sample I was intrigued by the LED-moving mechanism in the head. What I didn’t realize until I actually got the light in hand is that this is a (relatively) older model from 2016 and flashlight technology has come a long way since then.

What comes in the box?

P5R comes in a nice two-piece cardboard box with printing on it. Inside is a foam cutout to hold everything in place and a small packet containing the user manual and paperwork. The following items are included in the box:

  • The light itself
  • Battery
  • Micro-USB cable (this light is several years old so I can excuse Micro-USB)
  • Lanyard & lanyard ring
  • Spare o-rings
  • User manual & other paperwork

Design & Construction

Build quality is top notch. It’s built like a tank and really has some heft and density to it. All the aluminum is really thick with a nice, deep anodizing. Everything is glued except the tailcap, and those tailcap threads are precise, smooth, and lubricated.

Size & Measurements

Fireflies E07x Pro | Thrunite Catapult Pro | Nextorch P5R | Convoy M1 | Lumintop FW1A

This is a weirdly long light. It’s using an 18650 cell just like the two lights to its right in the photo above, yet it’s significantly larger.

MeasurementMeasured (mm)
Bezel Diameter38.0
Maximum Head Diameter40.0
Length167.5
Switch Diameter14.5
Switch Proudness3.8
Body Tube Diameter (internal) 19.1
Body Tube Diameter (mode)26.0
Tailcap Diameter28.0
Tailcap Length36.3
Included Battery Length69.5
Included Battery Diameter18.9

Weight without battery: 135g
Weight with included battery: 232g

User Interface

This is a simple UI that’s easy to figure out without any direction. There are only 2 main modes and it always starts on high so you hardly ever have to even think about it.

StateActionResult
OffHalf-PressMomentary On (High)
OffFull ClickConstant On (High)
OffDouble-Half-PressStrobe
OnHalf-PressToggle Brightness (High > Low)
OnFull ClickOff
OnHalf-Press (3+ seconds)SOS

It’s worth noting that there’s no lockout on this light. There’s no electronic lockout in the UI and the threads are un-anodized so mechanical lockout doesn’t work either. If you need to make sure it won’t turn on, you have to remove the battery.

Mode Chart

Disclaimer: All of my measurements are taken at turn-on. Lumen measurements were taken on a Texas Ace 3.5″ Lumen Tube. A candela measurement was taken at 10 meters with an Opple Light Master III on the highest brightness, and other candela figures were calculated relative to that. CRI, CCT, & DUV data was taken for each mode from a few feet away at the center of the hotspot with the Opple Light Master and Waveform DUV Calculator. Runtime tests were performed with the Ceilingbounce app on my smartphone. All of these tests were performed with a fully charged included battery unless otherwise specified. I cannot measure moonlight directly, so moonlight readings are calculated based on the brightness relative to the next-lowest mode. None of this is professional equipment, so take all of these measurements with a grain of salt.

Above are the official specs, followed by my own measurements below.

LevelLumensCandelaThrow (Meters)CRI (Ra)Color Temp. (K)DUV (Tint)
High (White)630130002287160800.0044
Low (White)40825576957600.0076
High (Red)220NMNMNMNMNM
Low (Red)30NMNMNMNMNM
NM: Not Measured

Runtime

Performance: is not super impressive. This kind of brightness is a good, useful level of brightness but it’s nothing to write home about for a light this size. You can get orders of magnitude more lumens in the same size & price range as P5R. You won’t find anything else with such a clever color-switching mechanism though.

Thermal regulation: The light never even gets warm so I can’t imagine there’s any active thermal regulation. The stepdown present from 1 minute to 6 minutes must be timed. That’s not great and I would have liked for the light to stay brighter for longer, even if it gets a little warm.

LVP: I didn’t observe any low voltage protection.

Driver & Regulation

Based on the runtime graphs this appears to be an unregulated driver so I did not do separate regulation testing. That’s really disappointing to see in a light this expensive. I was expecting a buck driver. I was unable to access the driver at all since the light is glued together.

PWM: No PWM is visible to my eyes nor audible to my ears, but my phone camera can see some flickering on high white mode. I did some testing on each mode with an Opple Light Master III and found some sort of flickering on high white mode (not technically PWM I don’t think, but equally bothersome). It also detected some actual PWM on low white mode, but it was very fast and should not cause any problems.

Parasitic Drain: there is some fancy electronic trickery going on with the tailcap so I don’t trust my equipment to be able to get an accurate reading. I expect there is parasitic drain though.

Emitter & Beam

P5R’s big feature is the dual-color white-or-red beam. There’s one white LED and one red led, but unlike most dual-color lights they share the same reflector. To switch colors, rotate the ring on the head and it will physically move the LED’s to change color! That allows both colors to take advantage of that large orange-peel reflector for a great beam profile. I’ve never seen this on another light and it’s a very clever innovation. I don’t know the exact model of these LED’s.

The color-change mechanism feels nice with tactile detents. It’s a little stiff though and the ridges on it don’t help all that much. It’s easy to turn with two hands but it’s pretty fiddly one-handed and can only be done in a forward grip.

The beam is clean with no harsh transitions or artifacts. It’s a bit narrow but that helps focus the light where you want it. It’s a good beam for a general purpose / duty light like this. Notably, the red beam is even narrower than the white beam so you’ll get great throw in red mode. This is probably the biggest selling point of this light since no other white & red light I’ve been able to find can match the red throw from P5R.

P5R White | P5R Red

In the beamshots above, the trees where I’m aiming the hotspot are 175M away. In the beamshots below, the park bench where I’m aiming the hotspot is 42M away.

P5R White | P5R Red

Switch

P5R’s switch is located on the tailcap. It’s a very unique switch because it acts like both a forward clicky and a reverse clicky. It’s like a forward clicky in that a half-press from off gives you momentary activation, and you can fully click it to latch it for constant on. It’s like a reverse clicky in that after you’ve latched it on, you can half press from on to change modes! I’ve only ever seen this functionality in one other light and it takes some fancy electronics trickery to get it working. Well done, Nextorch!

Carry & Ergonomics

Ergonomics are great. It’s large enough to get a full forward grip or full reverse grip, but it’s not so large that a cigar grip is uncomfortable.

The only included carry method is a lanyard and a ring for the lanyard to attach to. I’m not a big holster guy but I think a basic nylon belt holster would have been a good inclusion at this price point.

Tailstand: not possible. The switch is proud and totally prevents tailstanding.

Batteries & Charging

P5R uses & includes one 18650 battery. The included cell is protected and has a capacity of 2600mah. That’s on the low side and it would have been nice to have a 3500mah cell included with how pricey this light is, but it’s possible that 3500mah cells weren’t a thing when this light was made (it’s several years old). From my testing, I don’t think this light has LVP so I recommend sticking to protected cells.

Charging is facilitated by a micro-USB port hidden on the tailcap. The tailcap has an outer sleeve that you can pull back on and rotate to move it out of the way, revealing the USB port. It’s lighted too, so while charging it glows red and when fully charged it glows green. This is not a new model but it still would have been nice to have USB-C instead of micro-USB. The light will not turn on when plugged in.

Charging stops at 4.05V which is oddly low since Li-ion cells are normally charged to 4.2V. Stopping at 4.05V means you won’t get the full 2600mah that the cell is rated for, but it does mean you’ll get a larger number of charge cycles out of the cell before it needs to be replaced. Unfortunately, since this light uses an unregulated driver, it also means that peak output can’t be achieved without charging the cell outside the light. I measured ~750 lumens with a 4.2V cell but only 630 lumens with the included cell charged in the light.

Competition

Here are some lights in the same class and how they compare.

Olight Freyr: smaller, double the battery capacity, proprietary magnetic charging, brighter white light, better driver, holster & diffuser included, red green and blue secondaries, colorful secondaries are not as bright and have weird beam shapes, color changes happen in the UI not via a physical mechanism

Wurkkos WK30: smaller, double the battery capacity, brighter & higher CRI white light, red & UV secondaries, not nearly as much throw as P5R on white or red, much cheaper

Emisar D4SV2 Dual-Channel: smaller, double or triple the battery capacity, magnetic tailcap, RGB aux LED’s, huge variety of emitter options, very advanced UI that’s not always intuitive, doesn’t include a battery or charger

Cyansky H3: larger size, double the battery capacity, uses color filters for color changing instead of separate LED’s, charging on battery instead of on the light itself, a little bit less expensive, does green too

This section is not comprehensive. If I didn’t include a particular light here, it doesn’t mean it’s bad or doesn’t deserve to be here. I simply cannot list every possible competitor.

Conclusion

P5R’s LED-switching mechanism is unique and compelling. It’s extremely well built as well, but I don’t think those features are enough to offset how far this light has fallen behind its competition in other areas. Newer lights from competitors offer much more brightness and runtime, with better drivers & charging, and in smaller sizes. If you need the LED-switching function in a light that’s built like a tank, and you don’t mine the lackluster output, runtime, driver, and charging solution, then P5R may be right for you. Otherwise, I think you’ll ultimately be better served by other options.

I really hope Nextorch incorporates this led-switching tech into some new models with better performance. A 21700 light using this technology with a nice buck driver, a high-intensity white LED like SFT40, a great red LED like SST20 Deep Red, and a great UBS-C charging solution would be stellar.

Thanks to Nextorch for sending me this light for review!

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