NiteCore Sens Mini Review
Pros:Small and compact yet still providing bright maximum output. Sensible implementation of accelerometer for switching.
Cons:Active Dimming feature ramps output a little too slowly.
Sens is a new series of flashlights manufactured by NiteCore which incorporate an accelerometer into its electronics to control and change output levels. The smallest of the bunch is currently the NiteCore Sens Mini. Up the front the Sens Mini has a smooth bezel, behind which sits a collimating lens as its optics system. The [...]
Sens is a new series of flashlights manufactured by NiteCore which incorporate an accelerometer into its electronics to control and change output levels. The smallest of the bunch is currently the NiteCore Sens Mini. Up the front the Sens Mini has a smooth bezel, behind which sits a collimating lens as its optics system. The LED sits well-centered as can be seen through the lens. Externally the head is mostly covered in knurling which isn’t too aggressive. When unscrewed, the head reveals part of its brass enclosure which helps with better heat sinking for the LED. The threads on the head are feel clean and smooth when twisting, however there was the occasional cross-threading encountered when putting the head back on for battery changes. A foam ring adhered to the rear end of the head’s electronics board works as a reverse-polarity protection mechanism. A well-lubricated rubber o-ring is placed just above the threads which serves both as a moisture seal and also provides some resistance to the twist switching mechanism.
The battery tube makes up the second half of the Sens Mini. Keeping with its clean and simple design style, its just mostly covered in textured knurling which provides decent grip. Looking into the battery tube, a triple-tabbed spring sits at the bottom end which ensures the battery doesn’t rattle even when the head on the Sens Mini is loosened in the Off position. The slightly raised lip at the exterior of the tail end has a couple of holes for lanyard attachments and such. The Sens Mini is able to tail stand easily without issues.
As mentioned right at the start of this article, the Sens series from NiteCore utilizes an accelerometer as its user interface for adjusting its output levels, although it still uses the reliable twist switch mechanism for On/Off operation. Primarily, there are 3 levels immediately accessible which are Low Medium and High. Output level is selected by orientating the flashlight before twisting the head to turn it On. Pointing the flashlight head-down turns it on at Low output level, pointing it 45° turns it on at Medium output level, and finally pointing it horizontal at 90° turns it on at High output level. In addition to this, the Sens series is also capable of an Active Dimming mode which is engaged by switching it on with its head pointing straight up. In Active Dimming mode, the flashlight continuously monitors the angle at which it is held, and will vary its output between the 3 levels in real time. The output varies gradually as you orientate the flashlight at different angles. Pointing from horizontal to head-down, the Sens Mini takes about 3 seconds to smoothly ramp output from High to Low. In practical usage such and hiking, it does seem a little slow especially when you go from pointing it forward lighting up a trail to head down to read a map. So it doesn’t feel as natural as it could be since you’ll still need to be aware of the delay in output change in order to not blow out your vision.
For more details, please click here to download the user manual.
The beam profile produced by the optics in the Sens Mini produces mostly a narrow hotspot with a wide corona right around it and a spill beam which fades gradually towards the outer edges. The beam profile is clean with no noticeable artifacts and has a cool color temperature when compared to sunlight white. On High mode, the Sens Mini outputs a good amount of light relative to its size, but running on a small CR2 battery does sacrifice run time though. On the plus side, regulation is held well on all output levels.
: 49 Lumens, 405 Lux (Spot), 28 Lux (Spill)
: 15 Lumens, 128 Lux (Spot), 9 Lux (Spill)
: 2 Hours 58 Minutes to 50%
: ~14 Hours
CREE XP-G (R5) LED
Maximum output of up to 170 lumens
Highly effective current circuit board
High efficiency circuit enables maximum runtime of up to 14 hours
3 brightness levels
Active dimming system with auto-adjust function
Soft turn-on mode and low illumination for everyday usage
Convenient one-handed operation
Board voltage circuit, compatible with primary or rechargeable Li-on batteries
Reverse polarity protection
Equipped with integrated lens
Constructed from aerospace grade aluminum alloy
Type III military grade hard anodizing
Special-made rhombic knurling for better grip
Waterproof in accordance with IPX-8 (2 meters submersible)
Tail stand ability