KeySmart Nano Torch Twist Review: Rookie Mistakes

Introduction

KeySmart is well-known for their innovative key holders, but lately it seems like they’ve been trying to branch out into other EDC products. To this effect, they’ve spanned an impressive lineup that now includes knives, backpacks, and yes…flashlights. Welcome to my turf, KeySmart, and let’s see how the Nano Torch Twist fares on the chopping block.

Disclaimer: This is a review sample provided directly by KeySmart, free of charge and mine to keep. I have no other conflict of interest with the brand, and as always what follows are my honest thoughts.

The Keysmart Nano Torch Twist retails for $59 and can be purchased here.

Specifications

Yes, I just screenshotted their product page. Don’t judge, it gets boring typing up specs.

Physical Design

The NTT (Nano Torch Twist) is an interesting flashlight mainly because of it’s head: The head of the flashlight can swivel to form a right-angle flashlight. This definitely comes in handy when you’re working on something like a car, and to this effect, there’s a strong magnet in the tail cap that you can use to attach the flashlight to something while your hands are occupied. Overall, this is a practical, useful feature.

But the clip is an awkward design decision. A clip is used for pocket-carry, and the NTT simply sticks out too much for that because of the clip’s awkward placement. So in what capacity would the clip be used? Well, according to KeySmart’s product video you would attach the flashlight to the strap of your backpack. This is such a forced, niche use-scenario that frankly, it’s almost laughable. I’m not sure what direction KeySmart was going here as everything else about the NTT – from the red safety ring, the magnetic tail cap, and the swivel head – screams “utility flashlight”. This seems like another case of a flashlight trying to be too many things at once, and with rather poor execution as a result.

Build quality is decent overall. There’s clearly some residual machining marks where the boot ring is inlaid, but other than that, it seems fine.

Physical Grade: C

Technical Performance

Let’s get the good stuff out of the way. The NTT comes with a rechargeable 14500 battery (which even has an integrated USB port) and can also run standard AA batteries at reduced output. Output is good, the cool-white beam is acceptable, and the user-interface is OK for the most part.

Press“OFF”
Press-and-hold“ON” to last used mode
from “ON” pressAdvances modes (Low-Medium-High)
from “ON” or “STROBE/FLASHING” press-and-holdturns “OFF”
from “ON” or “OFF” press then press-and-hold“STROBE”
from “STROBE” press“NORMAL FLASHING”
White wall at a couple feet. Shot on an iPhone X with no editing.

I measured parasitic drain at 38µA, so it would take a little more than two years to completely drain the included 750mAh 14500 battery.

Moving on to the nasty stuff, first there’s a noticeable whine and PWM on the Low and Medium outputs. And second, the strobe and flasher modes seem out of place. You’re never going to use them on a utility flashlight in the first place, and it takes several seconds just to get into strobe. If there’s a saving grace here though, it’s that these extra modes are at least hard to get into accidentally.

Technical Grade: C+

Assessment of Value

The NTT clocks in at $60. Just taking into account its physical and technical performance, I would consider it overpriced. And despite being a niche flashlight, it’s not very competitive either. If you want a swivel, right-angle flashlight then go buy a NICRON N7 off of Amazon. It comes in at less than a third of the NTT’s cost and has a similar feature-set.

Value: N/A

The Verdict

As much has I’ve harped on the NTT, I like that Keysmart at least tried to go for something original. That said, while the NTT is “acceptable” in a vacuum, it’s not at all conducive to its asking price. The design execution is rather poor, and there’s a myriad deficiencies that often plague brands dipping their toes in the market. While I’m also still struggling to understand what exactly the design intention was, it doesn’t particularly matter because there are comparable options at a fraction of the cost.

Cumulative Grade: C-

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