Last Updated on February, 2024
Nitecore has always been a reliable brand, and the TM12K shows it.
The right thing to do before buying a branded flashlight is to know EVERYTHING there’s to know about it — that’s why you’re in the right place. This review has everything and my recommendations, as I always share.
If you’re unfamiliar with my reviews, what I do is test flashlights on my own and share my experience. Do I review what THEY send me? No, I make a random purchase.
That’s why it’s the REAL DEAL.
So, sit tight and read through because this review is what you need before making that purchase.
Table of Contents
- Specifications of the Nitecore TM12K
- What’s in the Box – Nitecore TM12K
- Nitecore TM12K Features
- Customer Reviews of Nitecore TM12K
- My Experience With the Nitecore TM12K
- Price, Warranty, And Where to Buy Nitecore TM12K
- Pros and Cons of Nitecore TM12K
- Nitecore TM12K Review: The Conclusion
Specifications of the Nitecore TM12K
|Tactical & EDC light
|4.25’’ (108mm) long 1.61’’ (41mm) wide, 1.22’’ (31mm) 8.22oz (233g) with battery
|6 CREE XHP50 LEDs
|Max output: Turbo mode
|Max beam intensity
|1000 lumens — 7h* *the output fluctuation is elaborated below
|300 lumens — 7h 30 mins
|100 lumens — 20 hours
|6 lumens — 200 hours
|Max battery life
|No. of modes
|Rechargeable 21700 Li-ion
|Average charging time
|Approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes
|IP68 (2m submersible)
What’s in the Box – Nitecore TM12K
>>> Click Here to Checkout Yourself <<<
- Nitecore TM12K x 1
- Nitecore USB-C charging cable x 1
- Holster x 1
- Lanyard x 1
Nitecore TM12K Features
Build Quality and Flashlight Body Design
The Nitecore TM12K flashlight is a true masterpiece of craftsmanship, boasting superior build quality and an impressively compact size.
That’s one of the many reasons why it is a must-have for anyone in need of reliable illumination.
The flashlight body is made from high-quality aero-grade aluminum alloy with HA III military-grade hard-anodized finish.
It’s SUCH a relief that the TM12K is exceptionally durable and resistant to scratches, abrasion, and corrosion.
Because it is a known fact how vulnerable regular flashlight bodies are to scratches, abrasion, and corrosion. The Nitecore TM12K extends the lifespan of the flashlight by design.
What about its dimensions?
- 4.25″ (108mm) long
- 1.61″ (41mm) wide,
- 1.22″ (31mm)
- 8.22oz (233g) with battery
As you can see, the Nitecore TM12K is a tall and rectangular flashlight.1.61″ is the length of a regular thumb, which lets you grab the flashlight completely in your palm very comfortably.
The flashlight is also lightweight, providing the PERFECT balance with compact dimensions.
Let’s move on to the body’s design features.
The square-scaled knurling pattern increases the comfortable grip. You’ll know what I mean when I share my experience with the Nitecore TM12K in a later section. But for now, just remember that it makes it easy to hold the flashlight for extended periods without straining your hand.
If you didn’t already guess, this design ensures the flashlight doesn’t slip away. If you’re familiar with flashlights, you already know how beneficial it is.
The Nitecore TM12K also boasts a fantastic CNC-machined unibody design. That offers a sleek look and lightness, and guess what? It has excellent heat dissipation.
You might already know that features like this keep the internal temperature sustainable, elongating the flashlight’s lifespan.
Does it have any features that increase the comfort of holding it? Yes, it sure does!
The Nitecore TM12K flashlight features anti-slip finger grooves that ensure an ergonomic design, with seven finger recesses providing a firmer grip even when wearing gloves. This provides peace of mind for any outdoor enthusiast who needs a reliable source of illumination.
The recesses are EXPLICITLY designed to fit fingertips, and coupled with the ergonomic design; it makes you feel the Nitecore TM12K is a part of your body, even when you’re wearing gloves!
Trust me — you’ll think of me when you don’t have to take off your gloves during winter to a flashlight.
Additionally, the rounded edges of the rectangular form factor ensure a comfortable and more rigid grip. Think of it as an upgraded version of a traditional cylindrical flashlight.
This flashlight’s tail stand capacity is phenomenal, allowing you to use it as a lamp, providing a stable output.
Did I tell you there is a wide one-way clip? That helps you carry the flashlight anywhere easily, ensuring it’s always within reach when needed. The clip is wide and covers 3/5 of the flashlight’s length, starting from 1/5th distance from the top.
This placement and wide width are ideal for safely attaching the clip.
The Nitecore TM12K flashlight is equipped with optical lenses with a double-sided scratch-resistant coating, ensuring that the flashlight remains pristine even after extended use.
Anyone who values the appearance of their equipment and wants it to remain in excellent condition would LOVE this feature.
That’s not all; the scratch-resistant coating also ensures that the flashlight provides a clear, bright beam of light for years. So, the flashlight lasts longer while providing a very clear light.
At a glance, the build quality and design of the Nitecore TM12K is PHENOMENAL.
User Interface (UI)
The user interface of the Nitecore TM12K flashlight is designed to be simple and straightforward, making it easy to use even in the most challenging conditions.
The flashlight features two buttons on the side top: a power button and a mode button.
A tail switch is alsoexplicitly designed to give you instant access to the Turbo mode.
To turn on the flashlight from the off position, you only need to press the power button once, and the flashlight will turn on in the last mode used.
If you want to access the ultra-low mode, you can press and hold the power button, and if you want to access the high mode, you can press and hold the mode button.
It’s important to note that the mode button also activates the multi-function OLED display; I’ll tell you about the impressive display shortly. Let’s keep going.
When the flashlight is already turned on, a single click of the power button will turn it off. You can single-click the mode button if you want to switch between modes. It’s that simple!
One of the most impressive features of the Nitecore TM12K flashlight is its tail switch, which is specifically designed to give you instant access to the Turbo mode.
You already know that this mode delivers a blindingly bright beam of light. So, even if the Nitecore TM12K doesn’t have a strobe mode, the instant Turbo mode is bright enough to disorient an attacker.
I expect branded flashlights to have a lockout mode; It’s imperative for many reasons. Luckily, the Nitecore TM12K has not one but TWO lockout modes.
You can activate the 1st lockout mode (half lockout mode) by pressing and holding the power button for about 4 seconds. This mode is perfect for preventing accidental flashlight activation in your pocket or bag.
In this lockout mode, the power and mode buttons are locked while the tail switch is still available for accessing Turbo mode.
The 2nd lockout mode is the full lockout mode. All buttons are locked in this mode, including the tail switch. That’s why Nitecore recommends using the 2nd lockout mode for long-term storage or transportation.
The Nitecore TM12K flashlight is an impressive technology that boasts an incredibly powerful brightness range, thanks to its 6 CREE XHP50 LEDs.
What sets this flashlight apart from other models on the market is its optical system, which is combined with crystal coating and Precision Digital Optics Technology (PDOT).
This unique combination of features allows the Nitecore TM12K to deliver incredibly bright and highly focused light, giving you the necessary visibility in even the most challenging conditions.
Let’s look at its impressive brightness settings next.
Remember that the 21700 rechargeable Li-ion battery was fully charged before all tests.
With the Nitecore TM12K, you can access five distinct brightness levels; ultra-low, low, mid, high, and turbo mode.
At ultra-low mode, the flashlight emits a soft, subtle glow of 6 lumens, making it perfect for reading in the dark or navigating through a dark room without disturbing others.
6 lumens for this sort of price is impressive since it’s not easy to reach low-lumen outputs.
That’s the combination of 6 Cree XHP50 LEDs and PDOT technology for you.
I highly recommend the TM12K’s ultra-low mode for occasions when you need just enough light to see the surrounding without disturbing the night vision.
Above the ultra-low is the low mode with an output of 100 lumens providing a bit more brightness. This is ideal for tasks like cooking or searching for items in low-light conditions.
You’ll also notice a 20 times increment of lumens compared to the ultra-low mode, which is intentional. When the gap increases, you will feel like it is an entirely different flashlight.
The mid mode has an output of 300 lumens that provides a clear, bright light that illuminates your surroundings effortlessly. This is perfect for tasks like hiking or camping when you need to see clearly but don’t want to blind others around you.
But do not confuse it with the ultra-low mode since the mid mode will definitely affect the night vision.
For even more demanding tasks, the high mode at 1000 lumens delivers a powerful light that can light up a large area.
It’s impressive to see how the surrounding area of the light beam gets illuminated. While there is a specific throw, which we will discuss later, the surrounding illumination is a definite plus point.
But what sets the Nitecore TM12K truly apart is its beastly 12,000-lumen turbo mode of brightness powered by a powerful 21700 Li-ion battery, making it one of the brightest flashlights on the market today.
The corresponding beam intensity is 15,300 cd. For that price, 12,000 lumens is a total steal.
With this much brightness at your disposal, you can be sure you will have the visibility you need to see clearly and stay safe in even the most challenging conditions.
In addition to its impressive brightness range, the Nitecore TM12K also features a customizable high mode that allows you to switch between 400 and 2000 lumens. That gives you greater control over the brightness level to meet your specific needs.
Battery, Runtime, And Charging
Let’s see how each mode’s runtime works, battery aspects, and charging.
The ultra-low mode provides an incredible battery life of 200 hours or 8.3 days. That makes it perfect for extended trips or outdoor adventures where you need long-lasting light.
This mode emits a soft glow ideal for reading maps or performing tasks that don’t require a lot of light.
I’ll tell you exactly how each mode felt when I share my experience. But for now, let’s remember the ultra-low mode as a faint light just bright enough to see in the dark.
The low mode provides a respectable runtime of 20 hours, which is still quite impressive for a flashlight with such a high output.
The low mode is bright enough to illuminate your path without disrupting your night vision; that’s how Nitecore brings more value to this price.
Conversely, you can make great use of it even in an urban setting. But it won’t be as subtle as the ultra-low mode due to the significant lumen gap.
The mid mode provides a runtime of 7 hours and 30 minutes, making it an excellent choice for extended camping trips or outdoor activities.
The bright, steady light the mid mode emits is ideal for many instances. It could be setting up camp, cooking meals, or performing other tasks that require a more significant amount of light.
It’s safe to say that Nitecore probably wanted the mid-mode to be the regular mode.
After all, it’s unlikely to have a flashlight turned on for 7 hours straight unless for special occasions. This TECHNICALLY elongates the runtime to even months if you use it for a few minutes daily.
The High mode is ideal when you need a powerful light beam to illuminate your surroundings.
Nitecore TM12K’s high mode provides about 7 hours of collective battery life, although the official website says it’s 2h 15mins. Let me tell you how it REALLY works.
So, the high mode’s brightness level is customizable between 400-2000 lumens, and its default output is 1000 lumens.
So, it initially runs with 1000 lumens for 20-30 minutes; this is the high mode’s highest lumen output. Then it drops to 400 lumens and will run for 5 hours and 30 minutes.
At the 5 hours and 30 minutes mark, the output drops to 100 lumens, and the TM12K will be running until the 7 hours and 20 minutes in that output level.
If you start with 2000 lumens, there are three differences compared to the 1000-lumen high mode.
The first difference is that the 2000 lumens will run for about 8-10 minutes. The second is that in the 300 lumens mode will run about 20 minutes shorter. But the 100 lumens mode will last longer, resulting a total runtime of 7 hours and 20 minutes.
It’s worth noting that the runtime for turbo mode is about 4 minutes, which is the brightest mode available on the Nitecore TM12K.
This mode is incredibly bright and provides an impressive amount of light, but it consumes a lot of battery power, so it’s not recommended for extended use.
The same with the high mode.
In terms of charging, the Nitecore TM12K flashlight comes with a built-in 4800mAh 21700 rechargeable Li-ion battery that provides consistent usage for 200 hours.
How long do you think it takes to charge it fully?
The flashlight will be fully charged within 1.5 hours. This quick charge capability is mainly thanks to the QC 2.0 available 18W max input power.
You might already know how flashlights of the same performance as other brands take about 4-5 hours to charge. So, 1.5 hours is exceptionally convenient in all ways.
But the convenience doesn’t stop there.
Unlike some other flashlights, the Nitecore TM12K features a conventional USB type-C charging port, which is convenient and easy to use.
However, it’s recommended that you use the charging cable provided by Nitecore for optimal performance. On the flip side, deviating from the ideal current flow required will harm the battery and the flashlight in the long run.
You do NOT want that.
The charging port is also protected by a metal and magnetic cap. The safety would not be as prominent if it were a plastic cover. Nitecore has taken control of providing safety with the magnetic cap, which doesn’t require you to keep it closed every time.
At the end of the day, Nitecore TM12K showcases amazing runtime stats and its battery and charging.
The beam distance of a flashlight is an essential factor to consider when choosing the right tool for your needs.
With the Nitecore TM12K, you won’t have to worry about the beam distance as it performs consistently across all modes.
What’s most interesting is how the beam distance gap increases.
Let’s start from the bottom with the ultralow mode.
Ideally, the lowest mode’s beam distance should be between 2 and 8m. The TM12K’s ultra-low mode has a throw of 5 meters, making the mode perfect for close-up work.
For example, reading a map or navigating through a tent. Compared to the lumen output, it’ll also be comfortable for your eyes.
The low mode, with a throw of 21 meters, is ideal for walking or hiking on a trail at night. It provides enough illumination to see the path ahead without straining your eyes, and you can easily spot any obstacles.
Notice the four-fold increment of the beam distance gap. This is a telltale sign of a high-quality flashlight that provides a versatile experience.
Moving up to the mid mode, it has a throw of 35 meters.
This is perfect for more demanding tasks like searching for items in a dark room or working on a car engine at night. It provides a good amount of brightness without being too overpowering, allowing you to see what you’re doing in detail.
Like how the ultra-low and low modes show a pattern in beam distance gap, the same characteristic can be seen when comparing the mid and high modes.
The high mode, with a throw of 71 meters, is perfect for outdoor activities like camping or hunting. It provides enough illumination to light up your surroundings and spot any wildlife around you easily.
So, you can see a doubling of the beam distance. Again, it clearly indicates that the flashlight designers wanted to bring the best value.
Finally, the turbo mode showcases an impressive beam distance of 250 meters.
This mode is perfect for search and rescue missions or any other scenario where you must see as much as possible. It’s an incredibly powerful mode that illuminates the entire area before you, making it easy to spot anything in the distance.
When you turn it on instantly with the TurboReady™, it’s a weapon if you want it to be.
The Nitecore TM12K is not only a powerful flashlight but also features an awe-inspiring OLED display.
This display can be activated with the mode button, and once activated, it allows you to easily and quickly access the 5 most important performance parameters of the flashlight.
The OLED display is a significant upgrade compared to traditional flashlights, which often only have a basic on/off switch and no display, which doesn’t help anyone in any capacity.
So, the OLED display on the Nitecore TM12K lets you see various useful information; let’s look at what they are.
Firstly, you can see the number of lumens and the corresponding current mode that the flashlight is operating in. When you need to quickly adjust the brightness level of the flashlight to suit your current situation, this feature is very convenient.
The display also lets you see the battery voltage with 2 decimal points accuracy. You’ll love it because it allows you to accurately gauge how much battery power remains so that you can plan your usage accordingly.
Another important feature of the OLED display is that it shows the remaining runtime of the flashlight. This is typically shown in hours and minutes. For example, if the remaining battery time is more than 14 hours, you’ll see a >14h on the screen.
Additionally, the display shows the flashlight’s internal temperature in Celsius. This is a useful safety feature because it allows you to monitor the temperature of the flashlight and prevent overheating; who wants to spend twice the price, anyway.
Lastly, the OLED display has a power level indicator based on 5 quadrants. Contrary to popular belief, reading the battery level of this progress bar is faster because it’s entirely visual-based, unlike a percentage that you have to read and understand.
It’s simple psychology.
So, all things considered, the OLED display of the Nitecore TM12K makes using the flashlight much more convenient.
Advanced Temperature Regulation (ATR)
Advanced temperature regulation or ATR sensor technology is unique to flashlights.
ATR technology regulates the output of the Nitecore TM12K according to the working condition and ambient temperature.
This technology ensures that the flashlight runs smoothly and provides optimal performance, regardless of the working conditions.
The best thing? the ATR technology can handle temperature fluctuations due to seasonal and workplace changes.
You know how important it is to use flashlights in countries away from the equator.
You can count on the flashlight for a more stable and reliable output that enhances the overall performance of the flashlight — after all, it should be the ultimate result anyway.
The ATR technology ensures that the flashlight operates at optimal performance without damaging the flashlight’s internal components. Because when a flashlight overheats, it can cause permanent damage to the flashlight, but ATR technology reduces that risk.
Having that feature integrated into this flashlight certainly increases its price value tremendously.
One of the key features of the Nitecore TM12K is its Non-PMW light technology.
Unlike many other flashlights that use PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) technology to regulate their brightness, the Nitecore TM12K uses a non-PWM light. This has a significant advantage over PWM lights in that it provides a constant, even brightness across the entire beam of the flashlight.
PWM lights can be pretty irritating to the eyes, as the flickering can cause discomfort or even headaches, especially over extended periods of use. Regardless of the cost, you don’t want that to be in your new flashlight.
The constant brightness of the Non-PMW light in the Nitecore TM12K makes it much more comfortable to use for extended periods of time, as there is no flickering to cause discomfort or fatigue.
Resistance Against Water and Impact
The Nitecore TM12K is not just a flashlight but a tough tool that can handle anything you throw at it.
Made from aerospace-grade aluminum, the flashlight is incredibly durable and can withstand heavy use and harsh environments.
This type of aluminum is known for its lightweight nature, making the flashlight easy to carry around, even on long hikes or outdoor adventures.
The HA III military-grade hard-anodized finish on the flashlight further adds to its durability.
Nitecore NEVER designs its flashlights, if not for the highest quality materials in their best form.
This finish makes the flashlight scratch-resistant and can protect it from wear and tear, keeping it looking new for longer. With the combination of these materials, the Nitecore TM12K is designed to last, even in the toughest conditions.
One of the most impressive features of the Nitecore TM12K is its IP68 rating. This rating makes the flashlight waterproof and dustproof, meaning it can be used in various outdoor settings without fear of damage.
Yes, you can use the Nitecore TM12K under the heaviest rain with NO issues. The screen, charging ports, and flashlight are perfectly sealed.
Additionally, the dustproof feature ensures the flashlight stays functional even in dusty or dirty environments. Even if the environment was regularly clean, Nitecore TM12K has obstructed the long-term possibility of dust accumulation.
You know how dusty flashlights die with time.
The impact resistance rating of the Nitecore TM12K is another valuable feature. With a 1-meter impact resistance rating, the flashlight can withstand accidental drops or impacts without breaking. Your Nitecore TM12K will remain perfectly operational even after being dropped or knocked around.
It’s clear that the TM12K is designed to last despite all the challenges that it may get. Nitecore, as a brand, will never settle for less.
Customer Reviews of Nitecore TM12K
Let me show you a glimpse of what customers of the TM12K have to say.
Vash is a fan of the previous generation TM series, and you can see how he sees the Nitecore TM12K as an upgrade from the TM20K, as mentioned, along with the OLED display.
Nikolay answers the most important question; is the Nitecore TM12K worth the price? YES.
Powerful light in a convenient design; I’m with Richard for making more flashlights of the new design of the Nitecore TM12K.
My Experience With the Nitecore TM12K
So, how was my experience with the Nitecore TM12K? Let’s start from the top.
As soon as I received the flashlight, it was a positive impression. The box looked very branded, and the picture of the flashlight was pretty attractive. But it’s nothing compared to the package interior — so beautiful.
So, the package comes with the Nitecore TM12K flashlight, a branded Nitecore USB-C charging cable, a holster, and a lanyard.
And off I went to check it.
The body of the Nitecore TM12K feels AMAZING. It has the perfect mix of shiny and matte textures. With that great look comes the ergonomic dimensions. I can’t complain about the weight of it at all; it feels super easy to carry.
I expected to have second thoughts about the shape, but it was quickly fixed when I held the flashlight. The finger grooves truly fit my fingertips perfectly.
You’d be slightly surprised to hear that the rectangular form factor might feel better than a cylindrical flashlight.
So, the Nitecore TM12K fits in your palm amazingly, and I clearly felt how perfectly comfortable the body knurling is as well. The grip stays the same even with gloves. That versatility of the Nitecore TM12K must be appreciated.
I also checked the one-way clip before I moved on to check the performance. Usually, Nitecore’s cylindrical flashlights come with a thin two-way clip, and I haven’t been the biggest fan of it. Luckily, the TM12K’s clip is wide enough to provide a rigid yet safe and comfortable grip.
After all, I don’t want permanent marks on my clothes.
What about the light? One word to summarize; PHENOMENAL.
At this point, I’m convinced that CREE LEDs are the best light sources in the market because the TM12K’s light is so clear and crisp.
The 6-lumens ultra-low mode is miles ahead of other flashlight brands with the same performance level.
You can clearly see the lumen gap as you cycle through modes.
When you come all the way to the 12,000-lumen turbo mode, that blows your mind. The light is SUPER bright, and it reveals colors very accurately.
I personally think it was more than 250m in the turbo mode because I measured the distance considering the relative position of things in the neighborhood.
But the only issue is that the runtime is quite low. I didn’t even have enough time to test it.
The TurboReady™ is more of a weapon with that 12,000 lumens light.
If you’re the kind to be a little worried about complex user interfaces, don’t be with this little beast. 3 buttons and simplicity is the design principle for Nitecore TM12K. Bookmark this article and return to read the UI section; you’ll be more than fine.
As a person who loves tech stuff, the OLED display of the Nitecore TM12K is an awesome and super helpful feature.
I monitored the temperature and the battery level aspects and thus can confirm that it updates in real-time.
Charging the rechargeable Li-ion battery of the Nitecore TM12K in 1 hour and 23 minutes was the next green flag because I expected it to exceed the 30-minute mark.
The high mode ran as explained above; the lumen output is adjustable between 2000 and 4000. Whether you start from 2000 or 1000, the output drops within 10-20 minutes to 400 and keeps going for about 5 hours and 20-30 minutes before dropping to 100.
Eventually, the total runtime adds up to 7 hours and 10-20 minutes.
So, the Li-ion battery is dependable for sure.
Both the lockout modes are very useful, and they work perfectly. Although Nitecore recommends 2nd lockout mode for long-term storage, you should probably use the 1st lockout mode if you carry the flashlight in a bag.
I also know how annoying PWM lights can get. If you’ve had your fair experience, you may already know how irritating it can be to your eyes. That’s why I admire the non-PMW light that stays stable for as long as you want, even in turbo mode.
We shouldn’t pay for flashlight brands if they do not for the best features.
As usual, I check the durability aspects at the end. So, the body feels fantastic, and you can sense how strong it is — that’s my way of saying that I didn’t want to drop-test it (yes, it’s my only unit, and I don’t want to take chances.)
However, it can withstand some serious water. I dipped it, showered it, and even used my bidet shower on it; the Nitecore TM12K continues to work perfectly fine.
The only two areas to improve are to include a strobe mode and maybe increase the runtime of the turbo mode.
So, this is my experience with the TM12K, and I LOVE it and definitely recommend it.
Price, Warranty, And Where to Buy Nitecore TM12K
This high-end flashlight with 12,000 lumens that charges under 1 and half hours with a unique design is what sets it apart.
It’s not cheap, coming in at $259.95; TM12K is one of the most expensive lights Nitecore sells, but given its performance, it’s reasonable, and most of the lights in the TK series are priced similarly or more.
You get 2 years of full Nitecore warranty and a priceless limited lifetime warranty for that price.
If you didn’t know, a limited lifetime warranty doesn’t charge you the repairing labor costs, only for the replacement parts.
Nitceore also lets you return all their flashlights within 15 days if customers aren’t satisfied. The only condition is that they should be in brand-new condition. In my experience of reviewing hundreds of Nitecore lights, it has never happened to me.
But from where should you buy it?
Where to Buy the Nitecore TM12K?
As I always say, my prime advice is that don’t EVER buy branded flashlights from third parties such as Amazon.
For starters, the price will be the same, and there’s a reasonable risk of getting a questionable unit from a third-party seller.
Pros and Cons of Nitecore TM12K
Nitecore brand’s other flashlight reviews:
Nitecore TM12K Review: The Conclusion
Nitecore has been a reliable brand for years, and their TM12K flashlight proves that we can continue to rely on them.
The flashlight is impressive in several aspects; this isn’t the everyday flashlight that everyone owns. 12,000 lumens in the turbo mode is impressive, but there are some downsides to the flashlight; some might not like the new cuboidal shape, it is a bit expensive, and the duration of the 12,000 lumens could be longer.
So, I wouldn’t say it’s the BEST Nitecore light I’ve used, but it’s worth the investment.
I hope this reading was helpful. See you in another review!
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