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Nitecore EDC33 and EDC35 hands-on review: Two truly hot flashlights

Spoilt for choice. Nitecore has released the EDC33 and EDC35—two interesting everyday flashlights. They offer a useful boost mode until the end of their battery life, but this battery concept brings some disadvantages and in our eyes, the flashlights get a little too hot for comfort.
Nitecore's EDC33 (left) and EDC35 (right). (photo: Andreas Sebayang/Notebookcheck.com)
Nitecore's EDC33 (left) and EDC35 (right). (photo: Andreas Sebayang/Notebookcheck.com)

You may say potential buyers are spoilt for choice when it comes to Nitecore's new EDC3x series. The manufacturer offers two flashlights which are very similar: The EDC33 and EDC35. One is pretty compact, the other is slightly larger and—this we can already reveal—more convenient in our eyes.

These two models have nothing to do with the other EDC flashlights from Nitecore. Their operational concept is different and their round battery is a key design feature on both models. The EDC33 runs using an 18650 rechargeable battery which has an astoundingly high capacity for this format, namely 14.4 watt-hours. 

The EDC35 also runs using a high-capacity battery, namely a 21700 with a capacity of 21.6 watt-hours. This is respectable, but not quite as extreme as with the EDC33.

Both flashlights are the same to use. There is a switch on the end. You can gently press down on it, which triggers a targeted and very bright beam of light (Spotlight)—but only as long as you keep it held down. If you press it all the way down (and hold it), you trigger the mode called "Lumin Shield". This is a floodlight mode.

EDC33 and 35 size comparison … (photo: Andreas Sebayang/Notebookcheck.com)
EDC33 and 35 size comparison … (photo: Andreas Sebayang/Notebookcheck.com)
… with an earbud. (photo: Andreas Sebayang/Notebookcheck.com)
… with an earbud. (photo: Andreas Sebayang/Notebookcheck.com)
Different circuit breaker positions. (photo: Andreas Sebayang/Notebookcheck.com)
Different circuit breaker positions. (photo: Andreas Sebayang/Notebookcheck.com)

This is where a special design comes into play. While the targeted beam only activates the middle LED, the Lumin Shield simultaneously activates a whole battery of surrounding LEDs. Incidentally, you don't want to look into or be dazzled by either of these.

To prevent this from happening accidentally, both flashlights have a slide switch to lock them. You should definitely get into the habit of using this in a more private environment. The switch triggers the Spotlight mode very easily. 

Another mode (or rather modes) can be selected by pressing and releasing the button. This activates the flashlight normally. The border on the back can be used to set up the EDC33 or 35 to light up a ceiling, for example. In the highest mode at 1,200 lumens, it illuminates a 20 square meter room very well.

As it happens, Spotlight and Lumin Shield are even brighter, at 1,700 and 4,000 lumens. These are the values for the EDC33. The EDC35 offers analogous values of 1,300 (High), 3,000 (Spotlight) and 5,000 (Lumin Shield). It is therefore brighter, although this does not make that much of a difference in practice. But more on that later.

What we can't recommend in higher illumination modes: … (photo: Andreas Sebayang/Notebookcheck.com)
What we can't recommend in higher illumination modes: … (photo: Andreas Sebayang/Notebookcheck.com)
… is the diffuser on the EDC33. (photo: Andreas Sebayang/Notebookcheck.com)
… is the diffuser on the EDC33. (photo: Andreas Sebayang/Notebookcheck.com)
EDC35 with protective case. (photo: Andreas Sebayang/Notebookcheck.com)
EDC35 with protective case. (photo: Andreas Sebayang/Notebookcheck.com)

Timing with Lumin Shield

The one-button operation of the EDC33 and EDC35 can occasionally lead to some operating errors. One press switches through the modes. However, a (held) press also activates the two boost modes Spotlight and Lumin Shield. If you press more slowly, you may activate these by mistake when switching through. If you shine the light on a nearby surface, you will quickly be blinded by its reflection, especially at night.

It takes a little practice to get the timing right. At first we even thought our flashlights had a small defect. Of course, that didn't end up being the case. It's definitely worth "playing around" with the flashlight during the first few weeks to get a good feel for it. You also get used to the disadvantages of its design and are no longer surprised by its high temperatures.  

Uncomfortable temperatures especially on the EDC33 

In Lumin Shield mode, both flashlights get very hot very quickly—unpleasantly hot, even. There is a good reason why the two boost modes cannot be activated permanently. But the high mode also feels unpleasant.

However, a subjective component also comes into play here. We found the EDC33 worse during the test. Not because it was excessively hotter, but because it was smaller. The likelihood of touching the flashlight head during use was higher for us with the EDC33. But it also depends on the size of your hands. The EDC35 model seemed much more comfortable when we had the high modes activated simply because we couldn't touch the head as quickly.

The USB ports opened. (photo: Andreas Sebayang/Notebookcheck.com)
The USB ports opened. (photo: Andreas Sebayang/Notebookcheck.com)
A closer look at the USB ports. (photo: Andreas Sebayang/Notebookcheck.com)
A closer look at the USB ports. (photo: Andreas Sebayang/Notebookcheck.com)
Four LEDs for the charging status. (photo: Andreas Sebayang/Notebookcheck.com)
Four LEDs for the charging status. (photo: Andreas Sebayang/Notebookcheck.com)

We measured just over 50 °C on the EDC33 and just over 47 °C on the EDC35 at their highest permanently operable brightness level. The room temperature was around 21° C. The measured values confirmed our feeling: the flashlights get too hot at high levels.

In their highest modes—which can only be activated temporarily—you have to be careful. When held against fabric at a distance of 2 to 3 cm, it reached temperatures at which the fabric started to smoke. The distance sensor, which is supposed to dim the LEDs when something is in the way, proved to be quite unreliable.

As Lumin Shield can only be triggered with strong pressure, the risk of accidental triggering is low, but we still recommend using the lock switch when transporting the flashlight—especially if your bag is perhaps fuller than usual.

Our measurements even confirmed a certain level of danger. If you take it to the extreme, the EDC33 reaches temperatures of around 77 °C on its surface before the brightness is automatically reduced. The flashlight can then no longer be held. We only managed to do so by holding it at the end where the switch is. This ergonomic disadvantage is a practical advantage.

The EDC35 also has an advantage in this aspect. According to our measurements, it switches off at a surface temperature of 65 °C. But even at this, the flashlight can no longer be held, unless you are insensitive to pain or are wearing heat-protective gloves.

EDC33 (left) and EDC35 (right) with Exposure Control to make the LEDs visible. In High mode, they are all switched on. (photo: Andreas Sebayang/Notebookcheck.com)
EDC33 (left) and EDC35 (right) with Exposure Control to make the LEDs visible. In High mode, they are all switched on. (photo: Andreas Sebayang/Notebookcheck.com)

Of course, the flashlights can also be operated using lower modes. The Mid, Low and Ultralow modes are easy to use. However, Ultralow can only really be used in absolute darkness. Both flashlights work at 300, 70 and 5 lumens and only the central LED is then active. High, on the other hand, has a floodlight character like Lumin Shield, but then all LEDs are dimmed. 

The thing with the battery

Nitecore is usually known for offering an interchangeable battery option for its flashlights with a round handle. Some people may have been surprised to learn that this is not the case with the EDC series. You can't take a spare battery with you on longer trips—instead, you have to recharge it using a power bank. At least the flashlight doesn't go out when you do so. Only the two boost modes can no longer be selected when the USB-C cable is connected—a good decision. 

The batteries can be charged at around 10 watts, so no Power Delivery is required. USB Type-C current is sufficient. Speaking of, the USB port is actually protected by a rotating mechanism. We think this is very good, as it is less fiddly than a rubber plug on the port.

Four LEDs also indicate the flashlight's charging status, which roughly corresponds to the percentages 0-25, 50, 75 and 100 per cent. One LED also lights up when the battery is almost empty. When charging, the charging status is permanently active.

It is also interesting to see how powerful the batteries are right until the end. Even when the flashlight switches off, Spotlight and Lumin Shield are still available afterwards. Only for a few seconds, but still. This shows that Nitecore manages to get high currents out of its batteries right to the end. The competition from Acebeam and Olight have not been able to achieve this with the models we have tested so far. On these, the boost is mostly just a gimmick for fully charged batteries.

On the EDC33 and EDC35, their charging status doesn't matter in the context of Spotlight or Lumin Shield. Both can always be made use of. 

Pros

 +  Highest brightness levels can be used right until the battery is empty
 +  Wide and extremely bright floodlight
 +  Practical design, especially on the EDC35
 +  Handy lock switch
 +  Good battery indicator

Cons

 –  Flashlights get very hot
 –  Operation takes some getting used to
 –  Battery can't be swapped out
 –  Distance sensor isn't reliable 

Verdict on the EDC33 and the EDC35

We prefer the Nitecore EDC35 over the EDC33. (image: Nitecore)
We prefer the Nitecore EDC35 over the EDC33. (image: Nitecore)

Both models of the Nitecore are a good choice for an everyday flashlight. We especially liked how well Nitecore has managed to make its Boost mode available even when the light's battery is low.

The EDC33 and EDC35 both have two handy Turbo modes.

On the other hand, we are torn when it comes to its battery. If you are carrying the flashlight in your bag for emergency cases, then you won't likely be missing the option to swap out its battery. Especially as we assume a certain cycle stability—we can only guess how good this is. The 6,000 mAh NL2160HP battery featuring a 21700 design is advertized to last for around 500 cycles. Nitecore did not respond to our query about cycle stability. 

However, if you really need to use a flashlight every day, you should think longer and harder about whether this is the one for you, because if its battery is no longer powerful after a few years, it will unfortunately have to be replaced completely.   

With regard to the EDC33 or EDC35, we clearly recommend the larger model, even though it costs a little more. The EDC35 is simply more comfortable to use.

Price and availability

Both flashlights can be purchased via popular online retailers such as Amazon. The EDC33 costs US$69.95 and the EDC35 can be had for US$89.95.

Transparency

The present review sample was given to the author by the manufacturer free of charge for the purposes of review. There was no third-party influence on this review, nor did the manufacturer receive a copy of this review before publication. There was no obligation to publish this review.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > Reviews > Nitecore EDC33 and EDC35 hands-on review: Two truly hot flashlights
Andreas Sebayang, 2024-06- 7 (Update: 2024-06- 7)