While some companies aim for providing as wide a product line as possible in order to present the end user with a torch that meets their needs, Nextorch aims to provide as much of that versatility as possible in each torch, limiting the number of lights to choose between, but providing more options within them.
Meat and Potatoes
Nextorch has long been a champion of user choice when it comes to flashlights. Their MyTorch series takes output programmability to a new level by bringing computer programs into the mix. The new TA10 however doesn’t focus on output variability, as much as input options. Almost no matter what your preferred battery type is, the TA10 will likely take it. Shipped with my sample was a handful of cells designed to exhibit this particular feature, whether it was a 3.0V CR123A, a 4.2V 14500, or a 1.5V AA cell. It even will handle a 1.5V AAA in a pinch. Having that broad a range of input voltage isn’t really anything new, however meeting the physical requirements to simply drop any available cell in without adapters or varying bodies is an unheard of feature.
The TA10 uses some fairly stiff contact springs behind large plates in order to achieve this feat. a CR123A or 16340 will drop in without much effort, but the significantly longer 14500 or AA cell takes some intentional compression of those springs before the threads are able to engage. This isn’t terribly difficult, but it did take me a little by surprise how hard I had to push right at first. Other than basic testing I have been running it almost exclusively with a 14500 to pack the most renewable mAh into the cell as I can. Plus, this places the greatest strain on the internal springing for testing. Thus far, it hasn’t been problematic at all when I switch back to shorter cells.
Using a Cree XP-L LED and having a top end of over 500 lumens available from most cells makes this light quite impressive. Even in this day and age of increasingly common kilo-lumen lights, the output of the TA10 is nothing to scoff at. Top end brightness does appear to vary slightly (to my inherently uncalibrated eyeballs) between 1.5V and 3.0V+ power options, but that is to be expected. Either way, you have a middle-wide beam of smooth appearance to use, until nearly every nearby power option is exhausted.
Fit and finish on the TA10 is fairly standard for Nextorch. I have nothing in particular to complain about, though similarly there is nothing specific that stands out as exceptional either. At least not in terms of physical structure. Electronically however, Nextorch once again included their amazing DuoSwitch into this light. This little wonder has all the advantages of a forward clicky with momentary activation on a single-mode light, as well as the easy mode switching of your average reverse clicky. Honestly, I need to dissect one of these some day, because I don’t know how they do it. Using the DuoSwitch for a while makes it hard to go back to anything else ever again for tailcap mode switching. This is just the way it should work.
Of course, this type of versatility is not without drawbacks. I mentioned the still bright 500 lumen output, and the battery capacity up to a 14500? Well this all comes in a package as large (and, in a few cases, even larger) than many current 1000+ lumen, 18650-powered lights. An 18650, with its significantly higher energy capacity, would make for an incredibly long running torch, but unfortunately we’re denied this possibility in favor of general usefulness. You win some. You lose some.
Whether you’re looking for a daily carrier, or something to stash away in case of emergency, the TA10 isn’t a bad choice. True, there are dedicated lights that surpass it in output, runtime, size and just about any other individual stat. The difference it, with any of those, you lose the versatility of being able to run with nearly any single cell you have on hand. Even partially depleted batteries are a viable power source. Normally, I’m a big fan of dedicated roles, but there is something to be said about general preparedness.