We’ve said it before, but we like saying it, so we’ll say it again: the best flashlight is the one you have with you.
It doesn’t matter how fancy and expensive a light you have, if it’s sitting on your workbench at home while you’re struggling to change a tire in the dark or find the wallet you dropped on a muddy lane.
There are always times when we have an unplanned use for a flashlight. Times when we never expected to need one, but could really use one right about now. For those times, the Nitecore Tube might be exactly what you want.
The Tube is an odd-looking beast. Despite the name, it’s not tube-like at all, and doesn’t follow the traditional cylindrical design that most flashlights employ. Instead, it’s a small, rectangular-ish block of plastic. It looks quite space-age or militaristic, to be honest, and if Nitecore were hoping the looks would give it an impression of solidity and toughness, well, they’ve succeeded.
The Tube is tiny and light. So much so, that it’ll fit in the palm of your hand and you may forget that it’s there. Having said that, it’s actually quite comfortable to hold. Your fingers wrap around it naturally and it feels less fiddly than some other keychain lights. It’s an odd design, but one that works remarkably well in terms of ergonomics.
Power output is pretty good for this size of light. Maximum output is an useful 45 lumens, with a runtime of one hour. In low-power mode, you’ve got access to 1 lumen for 48 hours. It’s a useful range, and a decent runtime. Most unusually, you’ve also got the ability to vary the output infinitely from 1 to 45 lumens.
There’s a single button to control all of the various functions, and it’s simple enough that you can experiment with different variations of buttons presses to discover how it works without reading the instructions. If you’re one of the manual-reading types, however, there’s not too much to remember:
- First press, 1 lumen;
- Second press, 45 lumens;
- Press and hold, to enter Momentary Turbo mode. Release to turn off;
- Second press hold to access variable brightness.
The Tube is rated impact-resistant to 1.5 metres, which should be enough in general use, and is classed IP65 dust and water resistant, meaning you don’t want to take it swimming with you but it’ll stand up to a bit of rain if you’re using it outdoors. It comes with two sizes of keychain attachments.
Possibly the most useful feature is that the Tube is rechargeable via a USB port. This is housed under a small, pullout cover, and is micro-USB in size. No cable is provided, as most people will already have one to charge their mobile phone or for some other portable device. Personally, we like the idea of not including a cable as it keeps costs down. But obviously, if you don’t have one, you’ll have to factor in another few bucks to get one.
The Tube is available in a range of colors (Black, Blue, Olive, Pink and Transparent) and is cheap enough that you can stick one on every keychain you have. Even if you just buy one to test it out and see if you like it, you’re hardly going to be out of pocket.
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