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Review of the Niteye EYE10 TIC

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There’s just so much money I can justify for a flashlight.  Don’t get me wrong – I like nice stuff.  Well designed and high quality manufactured products…and I’ve paid some silly prices for such things.  But for some reason I have a hard time spending more than $100.00 on a flashlight….and even as I type the words, $100.00 for a flashlight just sounds ridiculous.  BUT…I do like nice stuff.

The flashlight I “EDC” is a Sunwayman V11R.  I carry it just about everyday.  It’s about perfect in every way in terms of what I need in an every day carry light.  But carrying the same thing every day gets…boring.  I like to change up my watch…my knife…why not my flashlight?

So I started looking around for something perhaps nicer (maybe dressier?) than my V11R and found I liked the look of polished titanium lights like custom flashlights made by Don “McGizmo” McLeish.  But his lights are VERY expensive and don’t provide the functionality I’m looking for in a custom light.  I then discovered the Niteye EYE10 TIC:

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Niteye is one of many Chinese LED flashlight manufacturers out there (if it’s a production flashlight that isn’t made by Surefire, then it’s probably a Chinese manufactured light) that produces several different models of LED flashlights.  But prior to purchasing this light, I’d never heard of Niteye.  I’ve owned and tested lights from Fenix, Foursenvens, Sunwayman, Olight, and a few others…but never Niteye.  Apparently the Niteye brand is owned by the more well-known flashlight brand name Jetbeam according to the Niteye home page.

The Niteye EYE10 TIC is considered a premium model and receives some nice packaging which is a refreshing departure from how most “tactical” flashlights are packaged:

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From what I can gather, the Niteye EYE10 TIC is something of a variant of another Niteye model  (the Niteye EYE10) which seems to use the same emitter but uses more traditional materials in its construction (aluminum).  The EYE10 TIC is distinct from the aluminum body model due to the inclusion of titanium and carbon fiber (thus TIC).  About 1/3 of the flashlight body is wrapped in what is advertised as being carbon fiber but I highly suspect it’s a faux laminate.  Whatever it is, it’s entirely smooth to the touch – true carbon fiber should have a palpable texture.  The flashlight body is attractive, though I would have preferred they do without the “carbon fiber” section, and simple left the entire flashlight polished titanium.  As you might imagine, with its titanium body, it has a bit more heft to it than a similarly sized aluminum body flashlight would, but that extra heft adds to the perception of quality.

Upon receiving the EYE10 TIC I immediately grabbed my Sunwayman V11R and compared the two – they have surprisingly similar (exact?) dimensions:

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I’ve long suspected that most of the Chinese flashlight “manufacturers” don’t in fact manufacture their flashlights.  Instead, they order component parts from other manufacturers, and and assemble them.  It looks like Sunwayman and Niteye are ordering at least a few parts from the same place – check out how similar the heat sink pattern is on both lights.  The good news is that the lights function VERY similarly given that they use the same emitter (Cree XM-L U2 LED).  They also have a similar use interface and both employ a magnetic control ring to increase and decrease light output.  In the case of the EYE10 TIC, the control ring also activates and deactivates the light (by comparison the V11R has a tail cap button for activation/deactivation).  I think control ring on the V11R is a better execution – the EYE10 TIC requires a good quarter revolution before activation begins and output increases.

I didn’t do any extensive testing of the light beam produced by the EYE10 TIC if only because it seems so identical to the V11R – even their respective orange peel reflectors look virtually identical.  One of the great things I love about the V11R is the output increase when using a lithium-ion 16340 (RCR123) – a staggering 500 lumens (260 lumens with a standard CR123).  I also love that the light goes down to 1 lumen (which I use quite often).  The  EYE10 TIC operates the exact same way.  The  EYE10 TIC has some alternate modes (strobe and SOS which can be activated by doing quick turns of the control ring back and forth…which I personally think could be detrimental to the control ring.  Theoretically you would only access these modes in an emergency, so there would be nearly zero risk to the degradation of the control ring.  But there are a lot of people who like to play with these modes on their lights – if you’re one of them, I’d suggest not doing so with the  EYE10 TIC – all that repetitive and jarring back and forth motion can’t be good if often repeated.  Note that at higher output levels, the titanium body will heat up quickly on this light – noticeably warmer than the V11R.  They appear to employ an identical head sink design so I would speculate that aluminum and titanium conduct and retain heat differently.

While the aesthetic execution of the  EYE10 TIC is largely positive, the included pocket clip is a disappointment.  Kudos to Niteye for designing a pocket clip which uses actual screws (which should be more secure than most other designs I’ve seen (including the a fore mentioned V11R).  My main gripe with the pocket clip however is that it isn’t constructed from titanium like the body of the  EYE10 TIC.  Instead, they took a stamped stainless steel pocket clip, and coated it a flat finish titanium.  It feels cheap, isn’t as tight as I’d prefer, and the finish doesn’t match the polished titanium body of the  EYE10 TIC:

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The other unique and notable feature the EYE10 TIC has is a threaded back which is compatible with a standard tripod mount.  It’s not a feature that I personally was looking for or will use, but I’m sure some will.  Since the EYE10 TIC doesn’t use a tail switch, it makes sense to do something functional with the rear of the light.

Prices for the EYE10 TIC will vary quite a bit between $100.00 and $200.00 depending on where you buy it (yes, I slightly exceeded my previously mentioned $100.00 threshold).  When you compare the price (even at $200.00) to other available options with a titanium body, it’s an unquestionable bargain.  The EYE10 TIC does exactly what I want – it functions to break up my steady diet of “tactical” style flashlights and provides a unique and aesthetically pleasing alternative with the output and user interface I prefer.  Check it out.

About John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of ThruMyLens.org, as well as LuxuryTyme.com and TheSeamasterReferencePage.com. *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.

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