It was AA flashlights that helped make me a “flashaholic.” But, like most flashaholics, I soon moved on to Lithium-ion flashlights, which pack more of a punch, though li-ion batteries can be dangerous if not handled with care. Multiple AA, high output lights have been around for a while, but the Nitecore’s combination of features and its compactness intrigued me, so I bought one from Amazon.
They had it almost 15 bucks less than the nearest competitor, though the instructions were in German.
Price: $55-$70 Online
The box says “compact searchlight” and that’s the best description I can think of. The EA4 takes 4 AA batteries and has output comparable to a high end, Lithium-ion powered 18650 tactical flashlight. And due to its large, smooth reflector, probably out throws most of them.
Since my sample came with instructions only in German, I am linking the user manual in case anyone else needs it.
Here’s the product link on Nitecore’s web site.
- Takes 4 common AA batteries
- Cree XM-L U2 emitter
- Includes spare o-ring, lanyard and nylon holster
- Two state electronic switch (similar to a camera)
- Switch lockout feature
- Can tail stand
- Uses deep, square cut threads
- Blue beacon light in switch doubles as voltage meter
The threads on this light are square cut and deep, which is nice. They are also anodized. Overall they have a really good feel, and it’s one of the things that gives this light a high end feel to it. The only knurling on the entire light is on the tail cap, which only adds to the good feel.
The large, smooth reflector gives the EA4 a nice, tight hotspot for an XM-L, though at the expense of the off-colored rings, also common to the XM-L. Normally I would trade a nice looking beam for a little throw, but in this case, I like it just the way it is. Don’t mess with my throw, bro. There’s just enough spill to be useful at close range, but again, that’s not what this light is really intended for.
Fit and Finish
|It comes with a nice looking sheath|
|Notice the uneven gap in between the bezel and body|
The fit and finish on my sample is good. My sample has the tiny gap between the bezel and the body that some have reported, though it’s easy to miss. I do not know if this is an intentional part of the design or a fit and finish issue. I don’t believe that it makes the light any less waterproof. My only other gripe is that the threads were over-greased, but most companies don’t put enough grease, so I’m happy to remove some of the excess.
|It has an above average quality nylon holster|
Overall though, the fit and finish is more than acceptable. The threads are perfect and there’s no scratches or flaws in the anodizing or tool/machine marks anywhere to be found. The emitter is well centered.
The ballistic nylon holster also has a good fit and finish. The stitching on the holster is above average for a holster in this class, and they make liberal use of velcro. This is one of the better holsters I’ve seen, on any light. The belt loop even has its own velcro to make it easier to get the holster on and off of your belt.
The high output, compact size and great throw make this light well suited for large, open, outdoor spaces like for camping or on the farm. The brightness levels are well spaced and well thought out. I have seen a few people complain on the forums that there’s no low-low mode, which is true. I’m personally a big fan of the so-called moonlight modes, but I don’t see the need for this light.
This is the kind of light that sits on your holster and allows you to see a couple hundred yards away in the forest. It’s not well suited for a nightstand light, and the levels and spacing reflect that. Having said that, I wouldn’t complain if there were a low-low hidden mode that was tucked out of the way like the strobe.
Though I’m still waiting for good camping weather, I have tested this unit extensively outside. Standing on my street, the light has so much output that the bounce-back from the road sign all the way at the end of the street is blinding. When I activated the strobe, a couple neighbors came outside to see what it was!
This flashlight is everything I hoped it would be, though the little gap in the bezel takes away from the high end fit and finish.
But all things considered, this light is worth every penny and more. I don’t know how I got it for $55 shipped from Amazon, because they seem to have raised the price more inline with other vendors. But it’s still a bargain at $70.
I look forward to using this light for camping when the weather gets a little warmer. I normally bring an 18650 size tactical light with me, but I intend to just bring the EA4 as my primary “is that a bear?” thrower. It’s currently sitting on my desk next to my Maxpedition EDC pouch, which my wife calls the “man-purse.”
|It’s a good looking flashlight|
|Closeup of the XM-L emitter. Mine is well centered. Also notice the anti-reflective coating|
|Closeup of the two stage electronic switch|
|Lettering isn’t that sharp|
|The tail cap is the only part of the light with knurling on it|
|The EA4 does a stable tail stand|
|I’m not sure why you’d use a lanyard for a light this big, but it’s there if you need it|
|The belt loop has its own velcro to make it easier to get on and off your belt|
|Ready for camping: Shown with Maxepedition EDC pocket organizer and Cold Steel Tanto GI fixed blade knife|
|From Left: Nitecore EA4 Pioneer, Sunwayman M20C, Sunwayman V11R, L3 Illuminiations L10, Olight I3S|