Lumintop FW3A Review (Triple LED 18680 EDC light) BLF Designed

The Lumintop FW3A is a EDC style, small form factor triple LED flashlight that enthusiasts on the BLF forums designed and programmed during the past 2+ years. It takes design inspiration in several places from high end custom lights, and brings it down to an economical price. BLF was able to get Lumintop to agree to manufacture it and the rest is history. There have been a lot of reviews on the light so far, but here is mine. I purchased my original FW3A here in gray, but am thankful for Banggood for sending me the FW3C copper version of this light so that I can show it off and review it for my viewers.

 

Youtube Version of this Review: 

Packaging

Packaging is nice at this price point. Lumintop designed a brown cardboard box with a line drawing of the light with a few specs on the outside. It has a slip cover and inside the lid folds out to reveal the light protected by cut foam with the paperwork on top. One of the important things that comes with this light is a little reminder to no open it from the tail side, and only open from the head side. This is because the tail assembly is where many of the difficult clearances are set and small parts are. More recent versions have added a retaining ring in the light which helps keep things together, but the best place to install a battery is by taking off only the head. Accessories are limited, with a couple of o’rings and the manual. 

 

Construction

The switch in the light is a metal electronic switch in the tail and has very little travel but a positive click. This combined with the inner tube construction allows for the eswitch to work and give all the different functionality of the UI. That said it’s very important that the tail of this light is screwed down tight and not removed for reliable function. In my copper light there is now a retaining ring added which helps with this situation.

The body of the light is tapered, and this just makes it more ergonomic, it fits well in the hand and works better when clipped to pants or a bag. Threads are beefy, square cut and raw base material. 

The head is two pieces, first on the outside you have the diamond knurled piece where the pill of the light and driver is and then you have the very top part where the Carclo 10511 semi clear optics sit. If you have a turbo glow gasket like I do in my copper FW3C here, it’s as simple to install as inserting it between the LED board and optic. 

One final note on the construction of this light. The FW3 series of lights was designed with modders in mind. As a result, no glue was used in the construction of the light and that combined with a light at this price point made the light a little finicky. A good amount of people needed to troubleshoot their lights upon first getting them and as a result there is an extensive help thread over on the BudgetLightForums. 

 

Personally I have been pretty lucky, my original gray aluminum light here was perfect out of the box and worked well, I did have a loose retaining ring in the head that I tightened down just to keep it working well into the future. 

 

My Copper light here was a different story, it ended up having a slight problem with the location of the oring on the inner tube which made it not work reliably. After about 15 minutes of troubleshooting using the thread I will have a link to below I got it working again. It did have a design revision in the tail with the addition of a retaining ring to keep it from falling apart on removal. Most problems I have seen are usually fixable but there have also been some bad LED’s reported too. 

 

Size | Weight | Carry

I measured overall length at 93mm, maximum diameter was 25.4mm and minimum diameter on the body at 21.5mm. Weight with the battery (VTC6) of the aluminum bodied light at 98.1g, and the copper FW3C with the same battery is 170.6g. 

 

While watching this light develop over the 2+ years I was part of the vocal minority asking for a deep carry clip option. So far one hasn’t been made, but after carrying each light for a while I am not sure it really needs one. The clip is pressure fit between the tail and body of the light with an oring on either side. You can attach a lanyard on either the tip or top of it. It’s no secret that I don’t often EDC a 18650 light but with the FW3A it’s been a very pleasant light to carry in a front pocket. For me the shortness and small diameter combined with the taper on the body really make it a pleasant carry. While the copper adds weight I don’t notice that it’s too heavy and I like the way it looks.

LED | Beam Shots | Heat

The FW3A series of lights is available with a number of emitters. Banggood currently has 4 of them. 2 XPL-HI options at 5000k and 6500k, producing about 2800 lumens, and then a Nichia 219C at 4000k producing about 1600 lumens and a SST20 at 4000k a little under the XPL-HIs. The later two are 90+ CRI models. The Nichia is the least powerful of the bunch while the XPL-HI are the most output. Nielsgadgets also offers a XP-L Hi in warm white at 3300k. What I have here is a Warm White XPL-Hi in my Gray FW3A, and a SST20 in my Copper FW3C.  Thanks to that Carclo 10507 optic, the beam patterns for a triple is quite good, large hot center and fairly even spill. Throw is easily past 200 meters. Heat is considerable on this light especially on the higher outputs. 

 

SST-20 Emitters at 4000k 

 

XPL-HI at 3300K

 

Runtime

Runtimes and outputs on this light are basically what you should expect out of high performance hot rod like this with a limited amount of thermal mass. So in the normal UI you have high mode, and then a very limited “turbo”. Here is a graph that shows what 1 minute on Turbo looks like and we can see after 20 seconds it steps down ? of relative output,  Normal high mode starts to ramp down fairly quickly and stabilizes at about 9 minutes, but at a considerably less output. Long term the light sits about 40% relative output for well past 200 minutes. Overall runtime on this light is 100% thermally driven due to it’s mass and only having air to cool it. 

The light does have low voltage protection onboard, so running unprotected batteries is fine and recommended for best performance here, but in my testing I couldn’t get find where exactly this kicks in at becaused the light runs quite low but never shut off in over 300 minutes. 

 

UI

This light is using Toykeeper’s Anduril UI. It’s currently one of my favorites available as it has a ton of options and neat little Easter eggs that commercial UI’s don’t include. By default the light comes in ramping UI which is where I left it. The ramping is fast and logical. A stepped mode is a variable that you can configure as well if you prefer. 

The light has thermal controls, you can configure beacon mode, as well as 5 types of strobe including candle mode, party strobe, and lightning storm. You access these with 2 taps and a hold, and then two taps to change modes inside this group. Candle and lighting mode are my personal favorite. How practical these are could be a point where one could argue, but I like that they are present and it just makes things fun. Due to how you access these strobe modes I would not call the light a tactical UI or tactical light as you have to remember a series of presses and pauses to get there. 

 

For instance 4 clicks gives you lockout, and another 4 clicks unlocks the light, or you could just unscrew the head a tiny bit. If you activate momentary, the only way to clear it is to unscrew the head to do a full reset. 6 clicks from off gives you muggle mode which limits the lights output and output for a less complicated interface. 

 

Personally I find the UI to be easy to use for what you want to do most often, but a little more complex to get to those modes you don’t use very often. This is a UI where you should take a look at the manual or at least the graphical manual for the UI and spend some time playing with your light to get the most out of it.

 

Firmware Flashing

Not all the FW3’s are coming with the latest version of firmware on them. It’s relatively easy to flash your own firmware if you want with only needing a computer, and inexpensive programmer. If this is something you would be interested in having me demonstrate on video, let me know in the comments below and I will add it to my list of future videos. 

 

Mods

Lots of mods are available around this light. First and easiest are probably the Turboglow gaskets in a wide variety of colors, I have a lava colored one here in my Copper light and I quite like it, I think I will probably get a green or blue one for my aluminium version here soon. You can also get turbo glow to replace the tail switch, and a piece of sapphire glass for the lens, and tritium drilled optics. Since the light doesn’t have any glue an LED swap to something else is also pretty easy. Firmware is also flashable too, if you would like to see a video on how to flash firmware on the FW3A lights to make sure you have the latest version of Andril let me know in the comments below. 

Pro’s 

  • Nice value for what your getting with a wide variety of materials and colors to choose from. 
  • While this started as just 1 line it’s spawned an entire family, with different LED choices, Material Choices, and soon a single emitter version, and a version that takes a 21700 battery for extended runtime.
  • Highly customizable, lots of emitter and material choices too.

 

Con’s

  • It’s a little bit of a fiddly light, for the BLF editions the decision was made to not glue anything for easier modding, the result is sometimes you have to just play with things a bit to get it to work reliably. I had this problem on my copper one, but not my original. 
  • While I appreciate the small as possible size, that also means not a lot of thermal mass for heat dissipation and that means this light gets hot, from head to tail, pretty quickly on higher modes.

 

Conclusion

For me this is the enthusiasts light of 2019. It wasn’t a surprise since most of the development has happened on the forums in the open, but I don’t think anyone anticipated how popular this light would be and how it would spawn so many different versions. It’s really amazing that so many volunteers give their countless hours away to produce a flashlight for the community. Their hard work really shows through on this one. I have a couple different BLF designed lights and I don’t regret any of them. If you are a flashlight enthusiasts, collector, or EDC community member and you don’t have an FW3 series of light at this point, I would strongly encourage you to pick one up today, you won’t regret it. 

 

Personally I don’t EDC a ton of 18650 light in my daily activities due to their typical larger size. That said the FW3 series of lights has been the exception. That tapered body makes a big difference in carry and so does the short overall length. While I would prefer a little deeper clip the included clip is pretty good. Modding capacity of this light is also very high, with people doing tons of things, and the aftermarket producing parts to add glow buttons, glow gaskets, drilled tritium optics, and more.

 

Below in the description I will have links to the different versions (Many colors of aluminium, Titanium, copper, etc) of the FW3 series of lights that Banggood is carrying currently as well as the TurboGlow gasket I have in my copper light here. 

 

If you are a flashlight enthusiasts, collector, or EDC community member and you don’t have an FW3 light at this point, I would strongly encourage you to pick one up today, it might not be your one and only EDC light but it will be one to have a ton of fun with at an affordable price and will impress you for its abilities for the money and size. I recommend it! 

 

Full Image Gallery on the FW3A: https://imgur.com/a/97Do9Mt

 

Pickup the Copper Lumintop FW3A From Banggood for $54.90 with Coupon Code BGLFCF2 at https://ban.ggood.vip/Ia5w

 

The Turboglow Gasket I am using can be found at https://ban.ggood.vip/Ia5u

 

Original Grey Edition: https://www.banggood.com/custlink/KKm36YwdNE

Blue Edition: https://www.banggood.com/custlink/3mvm6R7ysc

Olive Edition: https://www.banggood.com/custlink/3GK3BEThb5

Purple Edition: https://www.banggood.com/custlink/DDD3Bd1EQ8

Titanium Edition: https://www.banggood.com/custlink/Gm3K0EfYQ4

TurboGlow Button: https://www.banggood.com/custlink/DvDD6huEsA

 

Troubleshooting Thread:

http://budgetlightforum.com/node/66960

 

Useful Information on the FW3A lights and Troubleshooting:

http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67058

 

User Manual:

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0031/0155/6806/files/Anduril_-_FW3A_user_manual.pdf?16

Jetbeam Jet T2 Review (Jetbeam’s First Pistol Light)

Today I have Jetbeams’ first attempt at a pistol light, the Jet-T2. Thanks to Jetbeam for sending this one to me early to check out. An excuse to go to the range to test a light is always a good one. 

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/8UxVcyD

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YouTube Version of this Review:

Packaging

Packaging on this light is a clear hanging retail box with the light prominently displayed in the middle. Some limited information is on the back. Accessories are pretty limited as well, you get the included Jetbeam branded 700mAh USB rechargeable 16340 battery, and a MicroUSB cable to charge the battery directly, and some paperwork such as the manual, warranty card, etc. 

Construction

The light is made from anodized aluminum and is generally rectangular in shape but it has been lightened where possible. The sides have a deep milled area in the sides, and the bottom the corners are well rounded. Starting at the head it features a double anti reflective coated lens, with a smooth fairly deep reflector. The head has small scallops for style and grip. The head is removable for battery recharging and replacement. There  are springs at each end of the light. Inside there is a dual wall construction so unfortunately a battery larger then a 16340 like an 18350 won’t fit in this light. 

On the bottom of the light there is the electronic switched used to lock out the light. It’s large but out of the way and pretty flat. On the back of the light there is a plastic and rubber molded piece that has the switches. It’s almost a different shade of black then the aluminum and not a great match at least on my example. There are switches on either the left or the right side. They only work under the molded rubber bar which took some getting used to and isn’t my favorite design. 

The mount features a insert with 4 slots to allow the universal rail section fit your firearm. The key I had no trouble fitting in a Glock rail or standard 1913 rail. For my Glocks (19 being the smallest) it fit best for me in the furthers forward position. This unfortunately isn’t enough travel for my S&W Shield but I didn’t really expect it to fit here either. The screw used to tighten it down on your firearm is silver in color unfortunately, I really wish it was black instead to blend in better. It has a large straight slot to allow you to tighten it down with a coin. I miss the Olight Quick detach system that I have gotten used to on their weapon lights here. 

Size/Weight & Competition

Length is about 65 mm, Width is 29mm, Height is 36mm. Weight with battery came in at 92.8g, and it’s IPX7 rated.

While similar to the original Olight PL Valkyrie I in layout, I compared the light to the Olight PL Pro because size wise it’s somewhat close. The Jetbeam T2 probably compares best to some of the smaller Streamlight’s like the TLR-7 but I don’t have one here to compare it to. Anyways it’s a medium sized weapon light, larger then the Olight PL-Mini but operates more like a full size light in a medium packaged size. 

 

It fit’s fine on my Glock 19 and 22, but even with the adjustable mount it doesn’t fit on my S&W Shield with the rail attachment. 

LED | Beamshots |  Runtime

The LED being used here is the Cree XPL-HI in cool white. The reflector is decently deep and smooth so for what it is it has a good amount of throw. It’s rated for 120 meters and I found this to be pretty accurate. Beam profile is a fairly hot center and a good amount of lighter spill, a good profile for a pistol light in my opinion.

Runtimes on this light were a little disappointing, at least for high. In high mode it’s good for 520 lumens, and runtime is about 3-4 minutes before it steps down over the next 7 minutes to about 70% relative output. This decline is slow so you don’t notice the sudden dip. The next 10 minutes is pretty stable. The light then flashes a bit to let you know power is lower, and then steps up a decent amount before running till LVP kicks in on the battery. The battery didn’t want to give me a voltage at the LVP cut off point till I charged it a bit. 

Low mode is good for 160 lumens, and runtime is about 105 minutes. This is an odd graph as well, because the light actually increases slightly in output over the first 50 minutes, before stepping back down and then slowly increasing till LVP kicks in. Output till the end gets a bit unstable. 

 

UI

The light has buttons on the left and right, These are button pads that look longer then they really are, you have to get right up under the bar to make them function. A quick press of either button gives you a constant on mode, a longer press give you a momentary mode, Jetbeam calls this tactical mode. To access strobe, double click other buttons.

 

The light has 2 modes, a high and low, 520 or 120 lumens respectively. To switch between them, just long press both side buttons together and the light will come on and adjust it’s output. This setting is memorized. In my experience I had better luck if I pressed and held one button and then the other quickly vs at the same time. Having the light on makes it easier. 

 

The light also has an on/off switch on the bottom that is it’s lock mechanism. To set the lock, long press on the bottom button, and the light will slow flash 3 times. To unlock long press on the bottom button and the light will slow flash 2 times.

 

Recharging

Recharging is accomplished on the included Jetbeam 700mAh 16340 battery via the USB port on the side of the battery. This is the same battery we saw on the Jetbeam RRT-01 Review I did earlier in the year (Great light if you have not seen it). It has 2 LED indicators on top, red when charging, green when charged. Charging speed was very conservative at 0.4A meaning charging a low battery to full (4.17V) took 2 hours, 5 minutes. 

0.4A.

Conclusion

The Jetbeam T2 is Jetbeams first Pistol light that I can find and it’s pretty good for a first go at it. For me the output should be a bit more smooth and regulated, with more emphasis on the high output without step down. The buttons on the sides should have a larger area to enable them to be used more easily. I don’t find the switch on the bottom that useful for lockout because of the UI that takes too long. I would much rather have a simple mechanical lockout via a ¼ turn of the bezel because it’s simpler and faster. 

 

That said I like the shapes here, and so far this has proven to work pretty well. Even though the mount isn’t a tool less design it works well and should adapt to most full size and sub compact model pistols. The XP-L high is a good emitter choice here and the results are alight that throws pretty well which is important for a pistol light. Overall it’s a good first design with room for improvement in the future. 

 

Purchase the T2 on Jetbeam’s Website https://www.jetbeamworld.com/en/product/Jetbeam-JET-T2-Compact-LED-Tactical-Pistol-Light-CREE-XP-L-HI-520-Lumens-Includes-1-x-3.7V-700mAh-RCR123A-80.html or from Battery Junction https://www.batteryjunction.com/jetbeam-jet-t2.html 

Thrunite TT10 Review (21700, USB charging, XHP70.2)

Today I have a review of the Thrunite TT10, a tactical light using the Cree XHP 70.2, a 21700 battery, and with onboard MicroUSB charging. Thanks to Thrunite for sending this to me to take a look at. Let’s dive in.

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/BVl8EKA 

Youtube Version of this Review: 

Packaging & Accessories

Packaging is typical of Thrunite, it’s a brown cardboard box, elegant printing of the model name of the light, a wire outline, and then on the sides the emitter tint. Inside the box the light is protected in die cut white foam, and housed in a plastic bag. Accessories include the Thrunite branded protected flattop 21700 5000mAh battery, a microUSB charging cable, manual, holster, extra button covers, and lanyard. The holster is like other Thrunites, decent quality Nylon with a plastic Dring.

Construction

The light is made from aluminum and anodized in a smooth semi gloss black. Starting at the rear, you have the tail which has ample room for the lanyard on each side. In the center you have 2 buttons, a larger mechanical switch that gives you direct access to turbo, and then a smaller square e-switch to give you direct access to strobe. Rear threads are raw, anodized and ACME cut. The light features a dual wall design to make the combination of switch, and tail switches work with the onboard microUSB charging and the inner double springs stout.

The body has a rectangular frag pattern milled into it. All of the edges are nicely rounded and as a result, there isn’t a ton of grip on this light. For a tactical light that’s a little disappointing.

The head has an anti roll ring where the front E switch lives and the MicroUSB charging port, both opposites of each other. The switch is very much like we have seen from other Thrunite models, with a silver metal button surrounded by a silver bezel. It’s low mounted and the button has a LED in the center used for charging indication. Further up the light has minimal heatsinking. The bezel on the TT10 is aluminum and has aggressive and sharp crenulations. While I understand this for a tactical light it would be nice to include a bezel that the user could swap in that’s less aggressive. The bezel is easily removed. Underneath is a anti reflective coated glass lense and a fairly deep orange peel reflector.

Size and Weight | Competition

 I measured the overall length of the Thrunite TT10 at 138mm, diameter at it’s maximum at the head is 33mm and minimum on the body at 27mm. Weight with the battery installed 190g. 

 The Olight Warrior X is similar dimensions to the TT10 but the Olight is running the smaller 18650 battery, different emitter, and a optic designed more for throw. The closest direct competitor I have is probably the Klarus XT21X as its running the same LED, Battery size, and has a similar tactical role. The Klarus has more throw due to the longer smooth reflector vs the smooth more shallow reflector in the Thrunite TT10. 

LED | Beamshots | Runtime | Heat | Output

This light is using a cool white Cree XHP 70.2 (70B) LED. A neutral white version is offered as well unfortunately I have the cool white version here. That said this cool white has some green too it when I compare it to my Klarus XT21X and looks more natural then cool. The beam pattern has a large hot center that gradually fades into spill. The light doesn’t have a hard cutoff on the edges and the edges get a bit blue/purple tint.

Thrunite lists the official specs as:

  • Turbo 3700 lumens stepping down to 1100 lumens
  • High at 1750 lumens stepping down to 1100 lumens
  • Medium at 300 lumens
  • Low at 28 lumens
  • Firefly at ½ lumen.

I will note that other reviewers have not been able to replicate these output numbers, with actual results being 20-30% less then stated on the higher modes. This isn’t common for Thrunite as they typically tend to have results pretty close to what reviewers see. I am in the process of building my own testing rig for output and hopefully I will have something done later this year. Mode spacing could be a little better, it’s a huge jump from 300 lumens in medium to 1715/1100 in high. Once high steps down it’s a little better but I feel like there should be an additional mode in between medium and high.

 

Overall runtime of the light was just shy of 120 minutes. Turbo is a timed step down after 2 minutes and takes about 30 second to complete going from 3700 lumens to 1100, it’s a gradual and smooth step down at least to my eye. After the light reaches the 1100 lumen mark (about 50% of relative output) it operates here pretty consistently for 115 minutes before low voltage protection kicks in and shuts off the light. I measured LVP at 3.095v. 

Heat during my runtimes were about as expected, the light gets warm but not too hot to touch. 

  • 1 Minute 94F
  • 5 Minutes 107F
  • 10 Minutes 111F

 UI

For a light with 3 switches it really mainly operates with the front e-switch and the 2 rear switches are direct access to tubro and strobe. The front switch is fairly straightforward and the manual does a good job of explaining it. From off, long pressing on the front switch gives you moonlight mode, single press again to turn off. A single press from off starts the light out in the previous used mode (low by default), to increase in brightness long press. You only have access to low, medium, and high. To get to turbo double click, or triple click to strobe. The light also has electronic lockout.

The UI on the tail switch has direct access to turbo mode with the large round mechanical button. It also has direct access to strobe with the smaller rectangle button.

There is no complete mechanical lockout on the light, if you unscrew the tail slightly this just disables the tail switches but not the e-switch upfront. Since the light starts on low hopefully that won’t result any melted holsters or bags.

 What would have been nice is to see Thrunite offer a non tactical mode for this light as well, similar to what Klarus did with the XT21X. I think this makes a light designed for a tactical role have a wider appeal to more people. 

Recharging

This light does have onboard microUSB charging. The small LED in the front E-Switch serves as a charging indicator, going red when charging and blue when charged. The silicone flap is pretty well secured when closed and sits flush and stays out of the way. Charging speed started and stayed right at 1.96A for the duration of the charge pretty much. That’s nice to see on such a large battery. Overall charging time from LVP to full is right at 2 hours.  A full cell measured 4.18v.

Pro’s

  • Side switch has a “locator” function that blinks every 4 seconds or so to help you locate it in the dark. This is pretty dim which I prefer.
  • Both Cool White and Neutral White LED’s are offered. Cudos to THrunite for continuing to offer both.
  • The UI is easy despite there being 3 switches on the light. Not much different than if you already own other Thrunite lights.

 

Con’s

  • Still rocking MicroUSB instead of USB-C for recharging. While the full 2A speed is nice to see it’s time for USB-C to be the standard on new lights in this price category in 2019.
  • Not much grip on the body of the light.
  • No non tactical UI modes.

 

Conclusion

The Thrunite TT10 is designed as a tactical light and that shows throughout with emphasis on short duration of high output. I like it’s small size and fit in the hand but wish that it’s grip was a bit more aggressive, especially if you were going to use it with gloves. It’s nice to see a brand offer a tactical light in Neutral white as well. The UI here is not well optimized for the additional buttons and it makes lockout kind of awkward. I really wish Thrunite would have offered a way to switch the light to a non tactical mode so it’s more dual purpose. I find Thrunites name of this light to be a bit confusing as it’s too close to other TT models but is a different function. While Thrunite typically offers a high value I feel like the price of this light is a bit high when compared to it’s peers at current pricing. With a coupon this becomes a better value though. 

 

Pickup the ThruNite TT10 on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2NKwcI9 Make sure to click the box to save $20

Sofirn SP40 Review (Best Budget 18650 Headlamp of 2019)

Today I have a review of the Sofirn SP40 budget headlamp. Sofirn continues to bring out affordable products and take feedback seriously. I have had this one for a while and have been using it for various things around the house. Thanks to them for sending this to me to take a look at review on the channel. Let’s take a closer look at it. 

 

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/BiBuETc

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YouTube Version of this Review: 

 

Packaging & Accessories

Sofirn’s packaging is very basic and I am ok with this as more money is going to the product and accessories then the packaging. Inside the basic brown cardboard box the light is protected with some foam and bubble wrap. Included accessories are the headlamp itself with the Sofirn branded 3000mAh 18650 battery preinstalled, pocket clip, 18350 tube, headband, and spare orings.

Construction

The light is made from anodized aluminium. Machine and finish are good for the price range here. The tail is flat, and non magnetic. The light comes into 3 pieces with the other spare body tube being the 4th. There is standard diamond knurling on the tail cap as well as the body. It’s a little more on the aggressive side and I expect it will pick up dirt over time. 

The headband is a 3 piece design, and while functional, the straps do feel a bit more lightweight and thinner then other headbands I have from Olight, Armytek, and Klarus. That said this light is a lot less expensive. The headband has 2 silicone loops in front to slip the light into. On the 18650 tube there are 2 areas milled in without knurling where these rest. For the 18350 tube you kind of just have to make it work, and for me the loops ended up sitting on the knurls. There is also a press on friction fit pocket clip thats included on the light. With the 18650 tube it can be oriented either direction. With a head up carry a lot of the light sticks up from you pocket so a head down would be the only way for me. On the 18350 tube the clip really only fits on in one direction to remain on the light. This isn’t my favorite EDC because of how it carries but I am glad they at least include it. One last thing to note is that you should remove the clip prior to putting on the head strap. 

The head is fairly flat but with rounded corners on the emitter side. The rear is rounded and there is minimal milling for heat and weight dissipation on the sides. The USB charging port is opposite and below the emitter but still on the head. ON top is the button for controlling the light, as well as being a charger status indicator. Red is charging, green is charged. It’s a clicky e switch covered with a translucent silicone cover. 

 

Size/Weight and Comparisons

I measured Length at 107mm, Body Width at 22mm and maximum head width at 27mm. 

Weight with the included battery is 105.4g, with the headband and battery it’s 141g. 

The Sofirn SP40 looks like other headlamps we have seen for the most part. Today I am going to do some quick comparisons with the Armytek Elf C2 I have here because it’s one of my favorites, is similar sized, and has USB recharging onboard. Length wise the Elf C2 is a bit longer but it’s tail is magnetic. It’s head is also a little wider, probably due to the button being on the side instead of  the top. The clip is a lot better for EDC in my opinion and is heads up, vs the SP40 would be best as a tail down carry. Both fit in their respective headbands in a similar way. 

LED/Beamshots/Heat/Runtime

The SP40 is using a XP-L LED in cool white but not super cool tint. I would guess something like 6000k. While I wish it was a neutral white this is ok for the price. The beam is pretty standard, with no major artifacts. ItThe reflector has orange peel and the lens is clear anti reflective coated. Since it doesn’t have a diffuser or TIR optic it does have a hot spot in the center and isn’t super even. The light does have PWM and I don’t notice it on any of the modes. 

Heat here isn’t too bad. During my runtime tests I measured the light at several intervals and found the following temps. 1 minute was 93F, 5 minutes was 115F, and 10 minutes was 111F. 

Official output is listed at the following

Low – 5 lumens

Medium – 90 lumens

High – 450 lumens

Turbo – 1200 lumens

 

UI

The UI is pretty simple, and straight down to business. From off and you turn it on and the light starts on low, if you long press while the light is on it will move up to the next brightest mode. If you hold it down the light will cycle between low, medium, and high. The light won’t go into turbo without a double click while on. The light does have memory for all modes except turbo. Lastly there are no blinking modes. 

 

Recharging

The light does have onboard micro USB charging on the head. From an empty cell at 2.76V where LVP kicks in, I charged the light to full in 4.8 hours at an average of 0.9A. This is an acceptable charge rate, and should be safe for any 18650 that’s installed inside, but you won’t be winning any charging races here. For an 18650 it’s safe but probably a little higher then I want to charge mine at typically. I have no complaints with the included 3000mAh Sofirn branded 18650 battery.

Pro

  • Great included accessories including the 18350 tube and 18650 battery
  • Fantastic value for what your getting with the kit, including the battery, USB recharging, etc

 

Con’s

  • Head Strap is a bit thinner than other brands.
  • Current regulation isn’t the best.
  • No tint choice available.

 

Conclusion

For the price, flexibility, and fast shipping if purchased from Amazon, I am not sure if there is a better value 18650 headlamp available for less money that includes USB charging. There are other headlamps I rate as overall better, but their prices are significantly more. The Sofirn SP40 provides a good amount of working light for most jobs in most situations, has onboard charging for convenience, and includes optional extras like the 18350 tube instead of making them an optional extra. This would be a good option for someone looking to grab a bunch of headlamps for work, or to loan out, or give as gifts as it’s a complete kit and easy to use.

Headlamps are something I think everyone should have as they are extremely useful around the house, and anywhere you are working on something where 2 hands are preferred. If none of that applies to you, this still makes a decent right angle EDC in the pocket too.

Get the Sofirn SP40 for $23.19 by using code D3BUSFJM at https://amzn.to/2ZrEY44

Astrolux TP01 Review (Tactical Pen, Titanium, Parker Refill)

Today I have something a little different from my typical flashlight or electronic review in a writing pen from Astrolux the TP01. This is Astrolux’s first pen on the market and it’s available in titanium and aluminum, so let’s take a look and see how they did. Thanks to Banggood for sending this one to me to review. I will have a link with a discount available in the description below.

 

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Packaging

The Astrolux TP01 pen is packaged much like recent flashlights from Astrolux, in a white cardboard box with silver foil on the front. On the side is a sticker showing which version you received. Inside the pen was nicely protected in foam. Included was a bag of accessories which included a T6 torx wrench for the clip screws, and a small Allen key for the interior set pin. You get a set of extra screws and an extra set screw, as well as an extra spring for the pen. You also get a little pouch which has faux leather on one side and then a wool/felt front side and a snap to keep it closed. I have been using this since the clip isn’t the best.

One quick note is that Astrolux does sell a holder for this pen to display it on your desk. But the price is quite high, only about $10 less then the aluminum version of this pen. 

 

Construction

The Astrolux TP01 pen comes in 3 material choices. The one I have here in front of me is an anodized titanium in the wave pattern, but it’s also available in stainless steel, and anodized aluminum. The titanium comes in a raw, and then 2 colors as well. What I have here is the wave pattern which I just love. It looks like a heat anodized mokuti pattern but is indeed flat. It has blues, purples and a little bronze in it. It does a good job of breaking up finger prints pretty well.

The body is 8 sided, with the corners rounded in the center of the body, at the tip in the grip area it comes down into 4 flats that kind of pinch inwards and then back into 8 sides for the tip. This anodized pattern really does a good job of making that all blend in.

The bolt itself is a rectangle with 3 lines of jimping on it to provide some grip. I will talk more about how it functions later on.

 

The clip is the last area I want to talk about on this pen. It’s attached with 2 T6 screws, on mine it doesn’t make contact with the body. My big problem with the clip is how little area is milled out from the body. The result is a clip that has trouble attaching to anything but the absolute thinnest material. If you use a front pocket in a shirt this would work, but anything else thats thicker then it just doesn’t have the clearance. For me this is the biggest draw back of this pen and the ability to EDC it. 

Demonstrate Disassembly

Disassembly on this pen requires tools  but easy enough after you have done it. To disassemble you will need a T5 and T6 torx bits/wrench. Astrolux includes a pair of these in the box which is nice, or you can use your own like I am here. First step is to take the pen top off. Inside is the very small hex set pin which fits a T5 bit, which once unscrewed allows the bolt to come out of the side of the pen (Flat spot facing up), when then allows the carrier, cartridge, and spring to come out the rear. 

Reassembly is the opposite, place the spring on the cartridge and into the body. Then place the bolt in taking care to orient the hole for the handle to face the milled slot. Place the handle in with the flat facing up, and then screw in the set pin tight. 

 

The clip uses T6 screws, lucky a small T6 torx wrench is included with the pen. The clip is not required to be removed for the cartridge to be changed.

 

Size and Weight

Length I measured at 119mm, diameter at 11mm. Weight with the cartridge is 33.6g. This is a little shorter then your standard pen. A Pilot G2 is 143mm tip to tip. The shorter length doesn’t bother me on this one.

For comparison on weight, my Brass TiScribe Bolt with cartridge is 34.9g, and my Nitecore NTP30 also in titanium is 28.8g. So the Astrolux TP01 even being made of titanium is a heavy compared with the nicer bolt action pens I have.

Feel in the Hand

So how is the bolt action on this pen? At first I wasn’t super impressed with it but it’s grown on me. The tolerances on this isn’t as tight as either of my other bolt action pens, but the price here is a lot less as well. The result of that increase in tolerances is you get some more noise in the body. The downwards stroke takes a bit more resistance and when you release it, it’s a little more violent to slam to the shut position. As it’s broken in this has improved.

 

As for in the hand, the 4 flats on the grip area of the pen is a little weird for how I grip a pen with 3 fingers. It’s not uncomfortable but not as good as a round or triangle shape either. It’s perfectly fine for an hour or two meetings, but not something I would want to write with all day. 

How it writes

The pen cartridge it comes with is a pretty generic medium tip ball point pen cartridge. It’s not bad, but not great either. I have been using it at work to take notes for a couple of weeks and it does the job just fine but isn’t special. The good news is that it does take Parker style refills so you can put in something better if you want to, and sourcing refills is easy as long as you don’t lose your torx drivers that are required to change it. 

 

Pro’s

  • Pretty affordable especially in aluminum.
  • Uses a common Parker style refill
  • Beautiful anodizing on the 2 anodized titanium models

 

Con’s 

  • Pocket clip has basically no clearance for any material. 
  • Disassembly requires tools and is somewhat complex. 
  • 4 sided grip area isn’t as nice as a 3 sided or round grip.There isn’t any grip or texturing present.

 

Conclusion

If you were looking for an inexpensive bolt action pen to try out, and wanted something that took a standard cartridge that was easy to get your hands on this is a good choice of pens to get started. I love that Astrolux decided to make this pen in 3 different materials at 3 different price points. It allows everyone to try a nicer pen at any price standpoint. I am a big titanium fan so that’s what I went with on this one, and the anodizing is beautiful, but I think the best bang for the buck is one of the aluminum options. Definitely make sure you check the links below and check these out on Banggods website. 

 

If you have enjoyed my first pen review, please let me know in the comments below. I have a couple of other pens that I could review in the future such as my Nitecore NTP30 or USG TiScribe in brass. 

 

Save 24% on the Astrolux TP01 Titanium Bolt Pen at http://bit.ly/2yILZ1r with code: BGATTBA (24%off)