TINI Cu mode and power switch

Product Review: Nitecore TINI Cu

The Nitecore TINI Cu keychain flashlight certainly lives up to its name! This thing is seriously small, measuring 43.3 millimetres in length by 25.4 millimetres in width, by 11.5 millimetres in depth. However, don’t let its size fool you – this thing is powerful!

What’s In the Box?

In the box, you get:

  1. Multi-lingual instruction manual
  2. Aluminium keychain clip
  3. Warranty card
  4. Nitecore TINI Cu keychain light

Features of the TINI Cu

The TINI Cu uses a CREE XP-G2 S3 LED, which allows it to emit up to 380 lumens, which may not seem like much, but you have to remember how TINI (sorry about the pun) this flashlight is. The keychain light uses a bead surface optic lens which enables it to emit a uniform, yet soft light.  The 280 mAh battery features an intelligent protective circuit, which supports micro-USB charging. With a drop resistance of up to 1 metre, the TINI Cu is built to last. It features a waterproof rating of IP5-4 – this means that the TINI Cu is protected from limited dust ingress and also protected from water spray from any direction.

Close-up of TINI Cu lens
A close-up of the TINI Cu lens

Brightness Levels, Run Times and Intensity

The lighting modes are as follows:

FL1 Standard Low Mid High Turbo
Brightness 1 lumen 38 lumens 145 lumens 380  lumens
Running time 60 hours 4 hours 1 hour 15 minutes
Beam throw 3.9 metres 19 metres 40 metres 64 metres
Intensity 3.8 candelas 95 candelas 400 candelas 1,020 candelas

Night Shots

A photo is worth a thousand words, so here are six.

TINI CU starting light level
The starting light level at one of my locations
The TINI Cu lighting up an area
A shot of the TINI Cu on turbo. It lit up the area well
Starting light level for the TINI Cu at my other location
A night shot at my other location
TINI Cu lighting up a dusty path
A photo of the TINI Cu lighting up a dusty path
TINI Cu night shot 2
Another photo of the TINI Cu lighting up the dusty path
TINI Cu on turbo lighting up the dusty path
My last photo of the TINI Cu lighting up the dusty path

The Casing

The casing of the TINI Cu is constructed of pure copper (hence the “Cu” in the name) which has been formed using stamping technology. This means that over time and with exposure to oxygen, the copper will start to oxidise, which will make the flashlight unique. For example, mine has already started to oxidise and it has been sitting on my desk for a few days. By oxidising, the metal is protected from further passivation. To prevent this process from occurring while in transit or storage, the TINI Cu comes in a vacuum sealed bag, with a little black piece of plastic covering the two buttons to prevent the flashlight from being turned on. Recently, I decided I would try to speed up the process, so I placed a few grains of sea salt and water on the TINI Cu. This is the result:

A copper patina on the side of the TINI Cu
One side of the TINI Cu, featuring oxidation caused by salt and water
Another photo of the TINI Cu with patina
This is the other side of the TINI Cu

While I was forcing the patina, I realised that the silver from around the lens and part of the body was flaking off. This means that some light actually glows through, which looks quite cool to me. The silver won’t come off on its own though.

Light glowing through TINI Cu charging port
In this photo, you can see light glowing through the TINI Cu USB charging port.
Light glowing through the side of the TINI Cu
Another photo of the light glowing through the TINI Cu

Dealing with Temperature

Now, the one issue with a tiny, powerful flashlight made from pure copper is that it has a tendency to overheat, or so you would think. Nitecore have managed to overcome this problem by incorporating an Advanced Temperature Regulation (ATR) module. This allows the TINI Cu to regulate its output and adapt to the temperature of the environment, allowing it to maintain optimal performance. This module is a must-have on smaller flashlights, especially ones made from copper, which is highly conductive. If left on turbo, the light will still heat up, but the ATR module helps to slow down this process. The TINI Cu has a memory function, so whatever mode you leave the light on will be available as soon as you turn the light back on.

The Power Indicator

There is an integrated power indicator light which can be accessed by simply pressing the function mode switch (the one that has four grey bars on it, closest to the LED). By clicking quickly, the blue LED light will flash:

  • Once to represent a battery level of below 10%
  • Twice to represent a battery level of below 50%
  • Three times to represent a battery level of above 50%

How to Turn the TINI Cu On or Off

Turning the light on couldn’t be simpler – simply hold down on the mode switch for instant access to turbo, or hold in the power switch and press the mode button to change between brightness levels (lowest level to highest level). There are two modes: daily mode and demo mode. The difference is that after 30 seconds on demo mode, the light will automatically turn off. On daily mode, the light needs to be manually switched off. To select one of the modes, press and hold down both of the switches (one flash represents demo mode, two flashes represents daily mode). The LED will flash (not the blue LED around the switches), so make sure you are not looking into the LED.

TINI Cu mode and power switch
The mode switch is the one with bars (on the left)

To improve the flashlight, I would add more modes, for example, a “beacon” mode or I would replace the switches with an infinitely variable wheel to tailor the light emitted so that there is greater control over the light. I would also make it harder for the TINI Cu to turn on while in your pocket, for example a way to “lock” the flashlight.

If you live in the United States and would like to view or buy this keychain flashlight, please visit:

http://www.nitecorestore.com/NITECORE-TINI-Mini-Copper-Keychain-Light-p/fl-nite-tini-cu.htm

If you live in the United Kingdom and would like to view or buy this keychain flashlight, please visit:

https://www.nitecore.co.uk/Shop/Torches/T-Series/13717-Nitecore-TINI-Cu.html

Thank you for reading – I hope this review was useful and informative.

Written by Matthew Crozier.

Sample provided by Nitecore in exchange for an unbiased, detailed review.

 

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