Welcome to CivilGear where I review all sorts of gear, not just on the bench, but on the job (or while having fun 😉 )! I am very happy, and pleasantly surprised to present Nitecore’s “Tube” rechargeable keychain light from their T-Series line (they don’t identify what the “T” means but I think it’s either “Tiny” or “Travel”).
For me, keychain lights have always fallen into the “good to have around” category but they’ve never really produced much light and either broke off or weren’t all that convenient to use. What I like about the Tube is it’s one of the brightest, sturdiest, smallest, and easiest to use keychain lights that I’ve ever owned.
Here are the specs for Nitecore’s Tube from their website:
Look and Feel
First thing you notice is how small it is, its about 2.25″ long, 0.75″ wide, and 0.25″ thin. The tube currently comes in 5 different colors (blue, pink, olive, black, & clear). I chose clear to help get the most light from the led as some light travels into the body and the other tints will filter out most of this out. Additionally, with clear, you get the best view inside of the flashlight which is fun for showing off and for helping get through airport security. A third reason I choose clear is I wanted my light to blend in with my gear and not draw any attention to it either. I digress, let’s continue … The body is made of poycarbonate thermoplastic, making it very strong and durable. The tube also features a 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch rubber clicky switch, which has a satisfyingly solid click. One fantastic feature is the super strong stainless steel double key ring connector (can withstand 77lbs of pull) and you wont have to worry about your light breaking off again!
Although a relatively short list, it is pretty much everthing you want in a keychain light.
- Sturdy body and key ring help give you confidence that you can count on the light not getting destroyed while getting tossed around with your keys.
- Rechargeable li-ion battery (super awesome) via USB, means you can finally have a sustainable keychain option which can plug in just about anywhere and you don’t have to buy any more batteries.
- 45 lumens is a lot of light for a keychain light; previous LED keychain lights I’ve had (such as the MightyBright) have only been around 8 lumen, quite a far cry.
Other Good Stuff
- Nicely ergonomic, which makes it easy to use with one hand.
- Adequate variety of body colors, (blue, pink, olive, black, & clear)
- It’s IP65 rating means that dust or sand won’t get in (IP6x) and that it’s also protected from blasts of water (IPx5) so this light can pretty much go anywhere except swimming with you.
- I like that the front has a ‘U’ shape to help protect the LED.
- Has easy to access High/Low mode along with “infinite dimming” mode and momentary on mode too.
- Nitecore it runs ~45min on High but I got about 1hr, so it’s nice to know there’s a little headroom on the battery.
- The Tube has an over-draw projection and and over-charge protection circuit built in to help the battery last as long as possible.
- With car keys, is the main place you’d put this light but below are some other uses
- Checking under the table for stuff your kids may have dropped at a restaurant
- Checking under your seat at the movies for any lost items, (since usually the lights are still off at the credits)
- Pin Trading in the evening at Disneyland 🙂
- Helping plug in a cables into your computer under your desk
Other Thoughts and Wishes
- I would have like the LED to have been a bit more recessed but it does help it be brighter and it is mostly protected by the ‘U’ shape in the front.
- This makes a fun and very affordable gift to share your flashlight enthusiasm.
- With the dimming mode, i would have liked the light to blink once when the extreme low or high is reached so you can gauge the range better
- The Tube currently does not have mode memory so if you go to the trouble of dimming the light to where you like it will be forgotten the next time the light is turned on.
- To really make sure you don’t loose your light, you need a strong ring to put this on and just any old carabiner; as I have tons of keys, my current favorite key ring is:
Key Rack Locker by Nite Ize
- Also, you have to purchase your own USB cable (Micro-B USB type), as Nitecore does not include one but some Amazon bundles come with one, here’s one from AmazonBasics: AmazonBasics Micro-B USB to USB Cable – 3 Feet
The tube is typically around $10 but be sure to check Amazon for a current price:
Here’s a bundle with the USB cable
Nitecore Tube (clear) Keychain Light, USB Rechareable 45 lm LED w/ USB cable
Thanks for reading and hope you found this review useful and that this might have given you some gift ideas for your friends (or yourself 😉 ).