The light I have here is the FreLux Synergy1 pass around light, that has been going to various forum members to play with and review if that is what they do. This is the first review I am aware of that features the updated driver, with the high CRI Nichia emitter. It’s brighter than the previous and has better mode spacing. I didn’t buy it and by the time you have seen this review it will be sent on to the next lucky pass around member. Thanks to Benjamin and /u/ozythemandias for letting more people try this new little light.
Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/lGYBpu8
YouTube Version of this Review:
The Synergy 1 comes in a small Altoids sized tin. There is laser cut foam that fits the light perfectly. Inside is a sticker showing battery orientation. On the outside the Frelux logo is laser engraved into the tin. There isn’t a manual with this light, but it really doesn’t need one. I would like to see a certificate of authenticity or serial number card included, it’s pretty common in the custom knife and flashlight market.
Benjamin is an instamachineist and owns his own IT services company. His level of detail and tolerances in the parts are first rate. You can just tell that a lot of time and thought went into the design of the Synergy 1. For instance batteries don’t rattle even with the cap off because the tolerances are so tight. They just kind of glide into place. All the edges are nicely chamfered and more. All the aluminium parts are manufactured using a Fanuc RoboDrill in Benjamin’s garage in the USA.
My version here is a tumbled aluminium that’s been clear anodized. Tumbling is super consistent. Even the pocket clip is tumbled, which I like because it helps hide any scratches. The light also came with a small wring where you could attach a lanyard if you wanted.
The shape of this light is different and hard to describe without seeing it. It’s a side by side battery configuration and a little bigger then a bic lighter. The end profile of the light is almost a figure 8, with the outsides being a bit wider, than the middle. The top, has some machined jimping, almost like a picatinny rail, but much closer together and not as sharp but enough to lock in for grip. This top is a hexagon shape, with angular sides, corners are rounded over. This taller area is where the emitter is and it’s sticks out the most. The bottom area is rounded over and just has small flat on the bottom with a small area of jimping where your index finger naturally sits. When you hold it like this, your finger naturally fits over the single switch.
The rear is a separate piece, it has a single central thumb nut that keeps things together. It’s cut like a gear but with the teeth being shallow and having flats. This keeps the light together and the clip in place. The nut threads onto a small threaded brass shaft that keeps all 3 main body pieces of the light together.The tail cap itself has markings engraved on it to “Reload” and “Make Ready” to loosen, and tighten the tail cap. The edges here are machined and nicely rounded over allowing you to get a good grip and pull the cap onto the light, and tighten the nut with the other hand.
This is an older or prototype body I believe because it doesn’t feature the positive and negative symbols on the body itself. This is a nice improvement and one that basically solves the problem of knowing which way to install the batteries. I think a keyed approach would also work well.
The light is using a Nichia 219C high CRI LED, in a fairly warm tint. It’s using a double anti reflective coated lens, underneath is a small short reflector that has a mild orange peel.
The beam pattern is nice for EDC in my opinion, it’s similar to a TIR style optic but with a hotter center, and dimmer spill. For me this is great for EDC, it’s enough light to see a bit of distance but also wide enough to see around you too. For me I tend to use this type of light under desks at work, looking in the mailbox, quick walks with a dog, etc
The Synergy 1 has very recently received an updated driver that improves the UI and outputs. The new Nichia driver has the following outputs at 30 second intervals: Low 1.4 lumens, Medium 25 lumens, High 125 lumens.
For my runtime tests I used 2x Amazonbasics NiMH rechargeable batteries. High was a very consistent output for 55 minutes before a rapid decline the last 5 minutes. Total runtime was 61 minutes before the light turned off. This was pretty respectable for a light outputting 125 lumens.
Medium was more of what I would expect to see from an NiMH typical S discharge curve. Total runtime was about 525 minutes or 8.5 hours. Most of this was at about 65% relative output, decreases were small and smooth.
Low is only 1.4 lumens so it lasted a very long time. It’s the longest runtime I have actually tested with Ceiling Bounce. Just shy of 3000 minutes, or 50 hours. The graph has one spike that I have to think is an error. The last 500 minutes or so did see a step down before the light decreased.
UI is very simple on this light, Low, Medium, and High in that order. One thing I have noticed with the updated driver is that on low, I sometimes get a very brief flash when I first turn the light on. I think this is because
How does it carry
The Synergy 1’s design is well thought out. I carry it in a right small jeans coin pocket and tend to hold it in my left hand in kind of a pistol type grip. My Index finger perfectly aligns with the milled jimping on the bottom and my thumb fits nicely on the jimping on top. This leaves my pointer finger easy to access the button to function the light.
In the small coin pocket it fits nicely, but you do notice the thickness a bit. I usually have a knife in my right front pocket, and a few other random things deeper down. Ever since surgery my phone lives in my left pocket and when carrying this light I prefer it that way. If I put my phone in the right pocket the chance to scrape or scratch the screen as I draw my phone increases which I don’t care for. Other then that it carries nicely here. For me it’s comfortable to sit in an office chair with the light in this pocket and my seatbelt doesn’t interfere in the the car. I have carried it a little in the left front pocket and don’t care for it as well there due to it being a tad wide to share the space with my phone.
- Made in the USA with fantastic machining and tolerances. I would love to see a Made in USA (Or Flag) somewhere on it, maybe inside the tail screw recessed area.
- While my version is clear anodized I have heard only fantastic things about the colors being offered. If I end up getting one it will definitely have some color.
- I like how upgrades are available such as anodizing and a titanium pocket clip.
- The switch is mechanical, it takes a good amount of force to use and is loud. I also seem to get a brighter flash before getting low sometimes.
- Battery polarity markings, My older body doesn’t have the + and – markings that newer lights have, this would help making sure you have the orientation correct. A keyed approach would also be a good solution here.
The Frelux Synergy 1 is a fun little custom EDC light from a maker who wasn’t into the flashlight scene like many of us are. A ton of thought has gone into the ergonomics to make a unique light that feels good in the hand and pocket, while being very functional at the same time. The fit, finish and machining quality are all top notch and easily beats production lights. Version 2 of the driver only improves this light, by offering more output and a revised UI that while very simple is more enthusiast friendly, by being linear and having a true moonlight mode.
If you don’t follow Frelux on Instagram I would strongly encourage you to do so. Benjamin does a great job of posting nearly every day showing what he is working on, new products, build progress, and pre sale notification. This light is being built in batches and so far it’s been super popular, so if you want one you may have to watch closely so that you can get in when a batch drops.
Frelux has recently launched a second flashlight product the FML takes some of the Synergy 1 ideas but instead of being an EDC it’s a worklight with a magnetic base, and the light being on a flexible arm, and scaled up to run on 1X AA for an increase in runtime.
Frelux is definitely a brand to keep an eye on. His designs and ideas in the flashlight game are only getting better. I wouldn’t be surprised to see if Frelux becomes the next Grimsmo type company, growing from a garage to a shop to hiring more than one employee, and upgrading machines to produce more new designs all while documenting and sharing the process on social media. Definitely keep an eye on this company and pick up one of his designs if you into custom lights.