Sofirn SC21 Pro Review ($20 Shipped, 1100 Lumens, LH351D, USB-C)

Sofirn has a revision on their SC21, and they are calling it the SC21 Pro. The main difference is that it’s running Anduril 1 despite what the manual says. It still has the Samsung LH351D emitter as the non pro version, onboard charging, and retrains the 16340 battery. Thanks to Sofirn for sending this to me to review.

 

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Purchase the SC21 Pro at https://www.sofirnlight.com/products/sofirn-sc21pro-anduril-1-ui-mini-flashlight-with-lh351d-led

Use the code “B1VJQER6” to save 30% until the end of August 2022

 

Packaging & Accessories

Packaging is Sofirns standard no-frills box. Inside the accessories include the light itself, a USB-A to C charging cable, pocket clip, lanyard, and Orings. The 800ma 16340 battery is optional but it only increases the price by about $2. Well worth getting in my opinion. The manual has a rather large misprint, saying that this light is running Anduril 2, when in fact it’s running Anduril 1. This makes the diagram and operating instructions different.

 

Construction & Design

The light is made from aluminum, and available in 3 colors, black, red, and the green I have here. The tail cap is magnetic and allows the light to tail stand even with a lanyard. The pocket clip mounts near the tail only and is non-captured. Knurling is a pretty standard diamond knurling of average grip. Threads are anodized, greased, and smooth. Internally there is a tail spring, upfront just a post in the head. There is easy access to the pogo pins to allow you to flash other firmware or different firmware versions if you want to. 

The head itself has the model name and brand engraved on the front and the “required” markings on the back near the charging port. I think the warning hot at the head is unnecessary even though yes it gets hot. The charging port cover is opposite the switch. Sofirn has used this port on other lights. In this case, I find it a little hard to get out of the way and for some reason a little tricky with the cables I had to keep charging. The port does seem to be set back a bit deep. At the top, there is a minimal smooth bezel, with the AR glass lens, and a light orange peel reflector underneath. 

 

UI

Despite what the manual says this light is running Anduril 1. Sofirn tells me that there was a misprint in production and that the manual is created well in advance. Future versions may ship with corrected manuals. I don’t see Sofirn has posted a corrected manual on their website yet, which would be nice to see them do. I won’t go into depth here with Anduril because most of us know it by now. You have the option of a ramping mode and stepped mode, and all the goodies that Anduril offers. It is disappointing though that a light that came out in mid 2022 as a new design and a “Pro” model doesn’t ship with Anduril 2.

 

Size & Weight

For a 16340 light this isn’t the smallest in class, and is a bit on the longer side of things, more in line with my 18350’s almost instead of 16340. I measured the length at 73mm Max diameter at 22.5mm and weigh with the clip and battery at 2.11oz or 60g. It’s IPX8 water rated too. 

 

Retention

I enjoyed carrying this light around on some recent trips out of town. It’s nearly the same size in diameter as my Reylight Lan/Pineapples which I enjoy carrying typically. The light has a dual direction pocket clip that attaches at the back and rotates but is pretty tight. It was a little difficult to get it started when putting it in the pocket due to the tension, but this tension also creates security which is a good thing. It’s a decent pocket clip that’s very deep carry which I like. There is also a place at the tail to attach the included lanyard. 

 

LED & Beam

The light is using a Samsung LH351D in neutral white, and high CRI. I measured 4951k and 96CRI with my Opel meter. My sample didn’t have any green tinge you sometimes see with the LH351D. The beam has a large hotspot, minimal spill, decent for EDC, but they could have used a TIR here and saved some length most likely. There is PWM here, as you would expect with Anduril, but it’s not an issue. The button on the light does have a built-in green LED that can be configured in the UI for low, high, blinking, and off. In low it’s not a huge consumer of power. 

Due to the nature of Anduril, I won’t give specific output measurements since the light doesn’t have defined modes. I will say when I first started the light I saw 1044 lumens, and at 30 seconds I saw 028 Lumens.

 

Runtimes & Heat

I used the optional Sofirn 800mAh 16340 battery for my calibrated runtime tests. Turbo lasted here for about 4 minutes before stepping down significantly to about 250 lumens to cool off. As it cooled it did increase output. The total useable light was 35 minutes, but the light kept running in the absolute lowest mode to 1 hour. Max heat I saw during this time was 63.5C at about 5 minutes. Keep in mind this was after I calibrated the light and raised that temp threshold.

 

Recharging

The light has built-in recharging via USB-C. I had no issues using USB-C to C or PD Chargers here. The port cover is good as mentioned but kind of large for this small light in my opinion. I tested with the optional 800mAh Sofirn battery. I tested it at 734mAh of capacity. The light charged from where it shut off to full in right at 1:06:00. Max charging rate was 0.9A which is slightly over 1C for the included battery. The shape of the charge curve here was pretty normal. 

 

Final Thoughts

There really isn’t much here that’s different on the SC21 Pro vs the non-pro. A 100-lumen difference isn’t going to be very noticeable to the eye. The biggest difference is the firmware where the SC21 Pro is running Anduril 1 which enthusiasts are going to like, and muggles are going to find confusing. 

They kept the exterior design which I think is solid, and the pocket clip here is pretty good. Best of all the LH351D returns in a neutral white and high CRI. Add into that it’s very affordable at $26 with the included battery before any additional discounts. It’s magnetic and available in 3 exterior colors, overall a pretty great value. Sofirn continues to bring in great budget options to the marketplace. In this physical size of light, you can certainly pay more for a light that I don’t think has as nice of an emitter or as good of UI. This would make a nice gift or entry into the EDC and flashlight worlds without breaking the bank.  

 

Purchase the SC21 Pro at https://www.sofirnlight.com/products/sofirn-sc21pro-anduril-1-ui-mini-flashlight-with-lh351d-led

Use the code “B1VJQER6” to save 30% until the end of August 2022

JLasers 450nm Laser (Affordable, 1.6W, 14500 Battery)

Thrower flashlights seem to fascinate many enthusiasts and is a gateway into the hobby. Recently LEP lights have taken that distance to new levels using lasers, what I have for you today here is a very powerful blue laser that can reach an incredible distance, and even burn things. Thanks to JLasers for sending me their 1.6W 450nm blue laser.

 

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JLasers: 450nm the laser I have: https://www.jlasers.org/lasers/450nm-1600mw

JLasers Website: https://www.jlasers.org

Laser Safety Glasses that I have: https://amzn.to/3C7pDbP

 

Safety

Before I get into the actual review, I did want to touch on safety here. These lasers are a class 4 lasers, and that’s directly related to their power. This is not a toy and can do serious damage to people, pets, and things when used incorrectly. Pointing them at an aircraft is a felony in many places. You really should invest in some special laser glasses to protect yourself when using this especially inside. I have a pair of Honeywell Uvex Ultra-Spec 2000 which provide protection and conveniently are also what I use when curing UV glue when I glue tritium tubes in place. I will link to them in the comments below.

 

Performance

Check out the video for this. The results are pretty impressive and it’s near the first half of the video 🙂

 

Talk about the host & lens

So internally the light is using an Osram PTLB450B 5.6mm multimode laser diode powered by a JLasers JBL450 single mode boat driver. It produces a laser beam at the 450nm wavelength. To my eyes, this is a dark blue almost purple beam. Lasers have a duty cycle here to prevent damage, it’s recommended to run it for up to 1 minute on, and then 5 minutes off to cool. The 14500 battery goes positive side up, and interfaces directly with the PCB. One thing I would like to see is a small brass contact like you see on many flashlights, this can help with wear and ensure a good connection in the future, and more compatibility with other batteries if say spring was used.

JLasers recommends a 14500 lithium ion button top battery capable of at least 3A discharge. I found that I could run these Vapcell Gold flat tops without a problem, but the laser was less powerful since it was just at the 3A limit, it took more time as a result to burn cardboard. I ended up running instead of this blue Vapcell that was a button top and capable of 7A continuous discharge, the change in performance was impressive until the voltage sag kicked in. It’s worth noting here that fake and poor quality Li-ion batteries are a big problem, Amazon and Ebay are bad sources for batteries, Illumn.com is my favorite seller of legit batteries in the USA.

Up front, there is a small lens that unscrews so that the beam is focusable. I melted my first lens by getting the laser too close to some black foam, trying to burn a hole through it, and instead, it melted the lens. Good to know these are replaceable if you make some rookie moves like I did. While JLasers doesn’t have this item listed on his storefront, he does sell them separately.

Everything here is packaged in a stainless steel host. This is a common host that you also see on generic flashlights on AliExpress, I actually happen to have one. I think JLasers must polish up his more, though because there is a big difference in appearance. Machining here is pretty decent, the threads are a little gritty but the included grease helps. These are tail-activated lasers with a mechanical reverse clicky switch and lanyard attachment at the tail. It’s not tapped or milled for a pocket clip which I think is ok in this application. There is a spring-loaded piston in the rear, and at the front, there is a battery polarity sticker on the inside of the host which is a nice touch. The weight of my battery and lanyard was 120.7g. 

The packaging was a very basic generic cardboard box. I think it would add to the product to add a Certificat of Authenticity with the specs of the laser, and maybe a half page of safety and operating instructions. 

 

Website

JLasers is a small business out of Canada and that’s worth noting here because of the website. Functionally the website is fine, but it was created using Google sites, so it doesn’t have it’s own domain name, and to finish your order you are bounced out to Stripe. This is fine, but in my opinion, JLasers should go ahead and spend some time bringing the site into the current century for a more cohesive and professional experience. The current format could cause some buyers to question the legitimacy if they didn’t have prior knowledge they were a trustworthy business. Right now JLaser can only be found on Facebook for social media, and it’s a little tricky to find the link on his website, but it’s under Contact Us. Hopefully, they expand out to other platforms in the future. Powerful lasers should go viral!

 

Customer Service

Just a quick few words about customer service with JLasers. Jim was fantastic to converse with over email. I’m not a laser expert and had a few questions, especially about safety and he was more than happy to give me additional directions and reassured me that my laser glasses were appropriate. He was super nice too when I melted the lens too which was completely my own fault.

 

Final Thoughts

High-powered lasers are fun and impressive to shine up into the sky, or point out things at a great distance. My retired neighbor was so impressed with mine that he had me order him one. He loves star gazing and watching the international space station fly over so I am sure this will aid in pointing out those to others.

High-powered lasers have been around for a while. I remember ordering a green laser from China about 17 years ago from China and thinking it was amazing. This one puts that to shame in terms of performance. I always wanted better lasers, especially something that could burn a match head, or pop a balloon, but knew it was pretty expensive after looking at places like Wicked Lasers, where a 1W laser in the same wavelength would run you about $200. This JLasers 450nm is only $60 and is more powerful and smaller. Now if you are in the USA there is a shipping charge that adds to the cost, but you’re still looking at about 40% cheaper for more performance. As of publishing this video, Jlasers offers 7 different models in a variety of colors and wavelengths, all being under $100 before shipping. These are hand built so it might take a little while to build when you place your order but it ends up being a fantastic value and a warranty is even offered too. I can recommend this specific laser.

JLasers: 450nm the laser I have: https://www.jlasers.org/lasers/450nm-1600mw

JLasers Website: https://www.jlasers.org

Laser Safety Glasses that I have: https://amzn.to/3C7pDbP

 

Wuben X-1 Falcon Review (12,000 Lumens, 3X XHP70.2, USB-C)

Today I am taking a look at a new light from Wuben with the X-1 Falcon. What I have here is a preproduction sample, but the light has now been formally announced. Wuben has been around for a while but isn’t super well known. They are not afraid to try things, and they have done that here with the X-1 Falcon. It has 3 Cree XHP 70.2 LED’s and 2 21700 batteries in a side-by-side configuration in a very rectangular package. Thanks to Wuben for sending it my way.

 

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Learn more about the Wuben X-1 at https://www.wubenlight.com/pages/x-1

 

Packaging & Accessories.

Since this was a preproduction light, mine came in a plastic hard case, with a paracord style lanyard and a USB-A to C cable (Who doesn’t have a ton of these at this point 🙂 ). I was also able to request a copy of the manual. I suspect the full version will have the full retail box, Charging cable, Storage bag (According to the manual), and normal paperwork. I will note the manual I have is a little rough in the translations. There looks to be an optional bike mount too. 

 

Construction & Design

The light is made from aluminum and anodized black. It’s a bit of a unique design being a large rectangle. The corners are angled and have extra milling into them as well as milled channels on the sides, top, and bottom for style. To me it’s a “space age design” and kind of reminds me of something you would see in a Sci-Fi movie or something. 

The most unique aspect of the design is functional too, right under the button the light has a passageway for active cooling with a heat sync under and a small fan on the right-hand side. The fan is thermally controlled, and it only comes on when it gets hot enough and turns off when it cools. You can hear it slightly and feel it too if holding it near the top. I suspect the fan is why I don’t see a formal water rating either for this light and also why I didn’t really want to test this myself. Opposite the fan is the USB-C port with a silicone cover. It’s tucked nicely away.

The light is a very solid feeling in the hand. The button sits at in a pretty natural position, where you want to rest your thumb. It’s not a small light and one I will probably put the lanyard on. It has some harder edges and isn’t the most ergonomic thing, but it’s not uncomfortable either.

While they don’t advertise the batteries are replaceable, it is if you remove the 4 screws on the tail cap. So here is what I found inside.

Up front is the unique shaped lens to fit the 3 emitters side by side. It’s an anti-reflective coated glass lens with a short orange peel reflector where the 3x Cree LED’s sit behind. 

 

Retention Options

According to the manual, the light will ship with a Storage bag that looks like a holster, and a lanyard. Since this is the prototype I only have the lanyard to show you. You guys know I am not a big lanyard user but on this one, I will be installing it. I think with the size and weight here a bit of extra security when in use is a good idea. 

 

Size & Weight

I measured the length at 128.4mm, width at 56mm, and depth at 28mm. Weight is 13.42oz or 380.5g. Like I said it’s very solid feeling light, and the heft adds to that. There is no official water rating on this light, I imagine do to that fan. I would imagine it would handle light rain ok, but definitely don’t submerge it. I don’t have a ton of lights like this to compare it to, but here are a few that I choose to give a size reference.

 

LED & Beam

This light is running 3x Cree XHP 70.2 emitters in a side-by-side configuration. With my Opple meter, I measured 5369K tint, and 65Ra. The DUV here indicates it does have some green in the tint, which I tend to see more on lower power output. This isn’t uncommon from these LEDs but not too overpowering. Minimal PWM on lower outputs.

The beam itself isn’t completely round, the hotspot is more oval than round. It’s not pure flood but pretty close, there is a minimal large hot center and a significant amount of spill around. The outer edges of the spill does mimic the shape of the reflector too. 

 

Outputs

Outputs for the most part looked pretty close to what was claimed on my homemade lumen tube with the exception of Turbo. My lumen tube and the different adapter sizes are really designed for round lights, I didn’t custom design a rectangular one for this light, so that may be where part of the losses are. Even with that, it’s about 74% of the claimed max output. I have to also mention this is a prototype so there may be some slight differences in it too. It could also be part of the programming mode which I will explain later.

 

Heat & Runtime

Let’s start with Turbo for my Heat and Runtime tests. Turbo as expected here doesn’t very long, right at a minute and heats up the light quickly to 47C within the same amount of time. From there it steps down to about 2200 lumens where it runs happily for the remainder of the 2 hour runtime. Peak heat ended up being about 55C. I think it may have gotten a little hotter, but my tape stretched and didn’t hold the thermal couple as tightly. 

The small internal fan seems to be thermally reactive, not coming on until it reaches a certain temperature, instead of coming on automatically in certain modes. I can’t say how much of a difference this really makes, but I would guess it helps mostly that middle LED that’s less exposed to outside air, and has a smaller surface area with the casing.

 

I did a comparison testing Turbo, High, Medium, and Low as a comparison between each other. Turbo and High were identical basically. Medium ran out to 5:37:00 just under 1000 lumens, and low for 12:30:00 at 200 lumens or so.

 

UI

My light arrived in Lockout mode, so 4 presses of the button unlock or lock the light. Single press to turn on, long press once on to cycle through the 4 main modes. Double press from anywhere to get to turbo. The light does have blinking modes that you can get to from anywhere by triple pressing. Triple press again to cycle between strobe and SOS modes.

The unique aspect of this light is the programming mode, It allows you to adjust the preset value of the 4 main modes by one on Clicking and holding and the light will ramp up slightly and blink when at the top of the range. Just stop when you reach the brightness you want and it will memorize it. There are upper and lower bounds on what each mode will do too, so I will show you the chart here rather than explain it. 

 

Recharging

The light uses 2 internal 21700 batteries, while not advertised to be user replaceable, they are pretty each to reach by removing the 4 (PH#1 Sized) screws at the tail. The included lights are flat tops, unprotected LG INR21700M50T 5000mAh according to the wrapper and have springs on both ends inside of the light.

On the left-hand side of the light, just behind the grill air exhaust, there is the USB-C charging port protected by a silicone cover. It’s a little different design but works well here and stays out of the way nicely. What’s neat is this light will charge at 9V instead of the lower 5V like most lights. This means a little faster-charging speed if your charger supports it. Completed the charge in 2:44:00 which is impressive considering the light has 10,000mAh of batteries inside it, about 41Wh. I had no issues charging it with USB-C to C or with a PD charger. 

 

Final Thoughts

You don’t typically see a lot of side by side lights, especially larger cells like the 21700’s in this light. This is a hefty package but it feels very solid. I like the space age, Sci-Fi type design here, and it seems Wuben is the only one doing that really.  

The UI here is easy to use, and the programming feature of each mode is kind of cool too, it helps you dial in exactly the mode spacing you want within reason. High, medium and low had impressive runtimes, but I wish Turbo lasted for more than a minute, especially with the fan and the compromises that have been made to accommodate it, like water resistance. 

 

I really appreciate here that the batteries are replaceable with a bit of work. That should lead to a long life, on what I am sure will be a higher-priced light. It’s a unique beam pattern that I found to be just fine during normal use. The XPH 70.2 isn’t my favorite LED, but here it’s not too cool white, and the tint is’t overwhelmingly green so it works. 

So all in all a solid offering, in a different format, with a modern design, and something a little different in the flashlight world. I like that Wuben took the chance with the X-1 Falcon to be different. Let me know what you guys think of the X-1 in the comments below.

Thrunite TC20 V2 Review (4000 Lumens, XHP 70.2, USB-C)

Today I am taking at the Thrunite TC20 V2. It’s not the newest model but it’s still recent and an update on the Thrunite TC20 V1. It’s running a Cree XHP70.2 LED, a 26650 battery, and has onboard USB-C charging. If you want a light that can sustain 2000 lumens for more than an hour, listen up. Thanks to Thrunite for “accidentally” sending this to me ?.

 

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Get the TC20 V2 in CW at https://amzn.to/3JgfX0p

Get the TC20 V2 in NW at https://amzn.to/3oFSV9A

 

Packaging & Accessories

Standard Thrunite brown cardboard box here with the elastic band, I would call it functional minimalism. Inside is the entire kit with almost everything you need to maintain and use the light for years. You get the light itself, a 5000mAh 26650 Thrunite battery, nylon holster, USB-A to C charging cable, lanyard, a bag of extras including o’rings, button seal, USB port cover, and split ring, a manual and warranty card.

 

Construction & Design

The light is made from Aluminum and hard anodized black. Build quality is always good from Thrunite and this is no exception. The tail cap provides a flat surface that allows for tail standing and has a lanyard hole. The cap is removable and non-magnetic. Inside there is a stout spring on the tail end only.

The body tube has traded knurls for milled blocks in an almost frag pattern. The corners are well chamfered though so it’s not too aggressive. Square Threads on both ends are anodized, smooth, and nonreversible.

The head features the standard Thrunite electronic switch with a metal button on top, and a small battery indicator LED in the middle. Directly opposite the button is the USB-C charging port that’s covered via a silicone rubber flap. It’s decent fitting and does stay out of the way. The light has moderate milling at the top for heat dissipation and weight reduction. The bezel is flat. The lens is AR coated and the reflector has a moderate orange peel. Overall small but positive design changes from the original.


Retention

Retention options include the included nylon holster. It has elastic sides, plastic dring, and a fixed belt loop. It gets the job done but is just of average quality. The light also comes with a branded lanyard and split ring that can be attached at the tail if you wish.

 

Size & Weight

I measured the length at 118.1mm, the diameter of the body tube at 32.6mm, the diameter of the head at 42mm. The weight with the battery is 242.5g. The light is IP68 water rated.

 

LED & Beam

The TC20 V2 is running the Cree XHP70.2 LED that Thrunite says is capable of 4000 lumens. It’s available in Cool and Neutral white, and I have the cool white version here. On my Opple meter, I measured 5737 lumens, 66CRI. The tint didn’t have any green tinge to it and it seems to be a constant current driver. 

You would think this would be a pure floody light but it actually has a decent amount of throw to it at the hotspot that’s fairly tight.

Mode spacing here is less than ideal. I am very happy that it still has firefly at 0.5 lumens, but with 3 main modes to cover 0.5 to 1800 lumens, there are some pretty big jumps there between medium and high going from 350 to 1800. Another mode somewhere around 1000 lumens would be nice at least.

I will insert the output results I got from my lumen tube testing here. 

 

Heat & Runtime

The light is able to sustain it’s 3500+ lumens for 3:45 before stepping down to around 1600 lumens where it will run for 45 minutes, before stepping down to about 1400 lumens to finish out the remainder of it’s 1:45:00 runtime. Peak heat during this time was about 58C. Running on medium nets an impressive 11:15:00.

Where this light really shines in my opinion is the amount of time it can sustain well over 1000 lumens. This light maintains over 1400 lumens for over an hour. I frequently get asked what light can I buy that will stay over 1000 or 2000 lumens for an hour, well here is a good option for you if that’s what your looking for.

 

UI

UI here is Thrunite’s standard. Single press to turn on, long press once on to cycle up between the 3 main modes, double press to go to Turbo, triple press to go to strobe. It’s a very simple interface, and it’s easy to use which is nice but also limiting. A fast ramping interface would work pretty well here too given the limited number of modes and wide range of outputs it must cover. 

 

Recharging

The TC20 V2 has onboard USB-C charging that’s protected by a silicone rubber port cover. I charged the light charged the light from LVP to full at 4.15v in 3:48:00. The curve here wasn’t as clean as I am used to seeing but nothing that I was concerned about. You are able to use the light during charging but only in low and medium modes. It charges via USB-C to C or PD without an issue. While the included battery is officially rated at 5000mAh, I tested mine with my Vapcell S4 Plus at 5500mAh.  

 

Final Thoughts

The 26650 flashlight form factor seems to have kind of fallen out of popularity with the increasing availability of 21700 batteries having similar capacities, but I like the 26650 size in my hand personally from an ergonomic perspective.

One of the best features here in my opinion is probably how long this light can sustain 1500+ lumens before stepdown. That’s a feat that many high lumen output lights just can’t do due to heat and battery fatigue. This does that with ease. That said mode spacing here could be better to give you something between 1853 lumens and 320 which is the jump between high and medium.

This is going to be a good all-around use light, I think it would be a good option for something like camping or emergency prep as it’s good around, has quite a bit of life at higher lumen outputs and size isn’t as critical of a feature.

Fenix E18R V2.0 Review (1200 Lumens, 16340, USB-C)

Fenix has a new small higher performance EDC with the updated FenixE18R V2.0. This is running a Luminis SST40 and a 1634 battery. Its biggest competitor would be the Olight Baton 3, and I will be using that as a comparison throughout the review. Thanks to Fenix for sending this to me to look at and review, all opinions are my own.

 

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Get the Fenix E18R V2.0 at Fenix-store.com and save 20% for first-time orders.

 

Packaging & Accessories

The packaging here is a nice fully decorated retail-style box. The outside has some of your typical stats on the back. Inside the light is in a plastic tray, but what I really like here is that the accessories underneath are held in place with an extra piece of plastic. While this is minor it really helps to put everything back into the box with ease. If you save boxes and everything that comes with a light like I do this a useful bit of packaging. Accessories include the light itself, preinstalled pocket clip, lanyard, 700mAh Fenix branded battery, USB-A to C charging cable (short), layard, extra orings, port cover, warranty, and manual,

 

Design & Construction

The E18R V2 is made from 6061 aluminum, and hard anodized in black in a smooth semi-gloss anodizing. The tail is mostly flat, and strong magnetic. It tail stands without an issue despite it only having 2 outer wings. The tailcap as very shallow straight knurls on it for minimal grip.

The body has very fine circular grooves milled into it. They provide a minimal amount of grip but on a light this small I feel like the clip help gives your fingers something to lock on to. The threads on the tail are anodized and inside there is a spring only on the rear of the light. The head is glued onto the body tube, and the clip only attaches in one position but isn’t captured in terms of rotation.

The head has a slightly raised area around the electronic switch. The switch has a metal button cover with LED in the center to give the battery and lockout status. The accent colors here are a rosy copper color that I think is attractive. The USB charging port is opposite the button, and the port cover here is very secure as it has an additional hook to hold it in place.  The lens is plastic TIR with a flat top, with no additional cover to protect it. The light has basically no bezel, what bezel it does have is flat.

Lastly, the markings on this light should be mentioned, they are laser engraved, and nicely aligned. I like that they hid the CE mark, and it contains the typical hot warning near the head. What I hadn’t seen before but think is a decent idea is very small directions under the switch to remind you how to lock and unlock the light.

 

Retention

The primary retention method with the light is the dual direction pocket clip. It’s designed primarily as a lens up carry clip which isnt’ my personal favorite method. When carrying this way it leaves about ½” of light sticking out. The same can be said If you flip it over. The clip is also one of the 3 ways to do lockout on this light if you slide it over so it physically covers the switch. 

You also have the two lanyard attachment points on the rear of the light. In hand it’s pretty small, the body design doesn’t aid much in grip but the clip does when installed giving you a place to lock into.

 

Size & Weight

I measured the length at 66.64mm, and the diameter at the head at 21.1mm. I measured the weight with the clip and battery installed at 1.9oz. The light is IP68 water rated and impact resistant to 1 meter. In comparison to the Olight Baton 3, the E18R V2 is just slightly longer. 

 

LED & Beam

The Fenix E18R V2.0 is using the Luminis SST 40 LED in cool white. On my Opple meter, I measured it at 5278K with a 62 CRI. So a fairly neutral tint but a pretty low CRI. There is PWM but it’s extremely fast, I don’t think anyone will notice it. 

The beam profile is pretty typical of a TIR-style optic. A reasonably large hot center with minimal spill and no artifacts. Good for short-range EDC tasks and throws further than you think in the higher output modes when needed.

 

Outputs & Mode Spacing

For my output measurements I tested on my Texas Ace calibrated PVC lumen tube, it’s not professional measuring equipment but usually a pretty good approximation. Outputs here were very close to Fenix’s claim, the only place I saw a difference was turbo and that was only by 30 lumens or so short. 

Mode spacing here not taking into account Turbo is 4 modes from 1 to 350 lumens. They are well spaced inside this, and I appreciate they included a true 1 lumen moon mode here. Turbo on the other hand is kind of off the charts at 1200 lumens.

 

Heat & Runtime

For my heat and runtime shots, I used the Li-ion battery the light came with. Turbo stepped down after 1:45 down to the 600-lumen range. The heat peaked around the 6:00 mark at 46C. The light ends up being very stable at about 11 minutes of runtime around the 400-lumen mark and runs out till 42 minutes before seeing a large stepdown and running in moonlight mode out till an hour. 

I also did a runtime test comparing Turbo, High, and Medium modes that you can see in this graph. 

 

UI

The UI is a little different from many other flashlights, so it might take a few minutes to understand if you’re coming from Olight, Thrunite, Nitecore, Sofirn, and others. To turn it on you have to long press. To increase in modes once on long press and the light will cycle from moonlight mode up through turbo. The light does have memory for all modes except strobe and turbo. If you shut it off in Turbo it will come on again in High next time. There is no shortcut to turbo, you have to incrementally get there. You can access moonlight mode by long pressing from off. If you hold the button too long when turning off the light will also go to strobe. Double pressing is a shortcut to strobe. To turn off you long press again. To lockout, the light double tap when off, same to unlock. You can also unscrew the tail cap slightly or cover the switch with the pocket clip.

Personally, this isn’t my favorite UI, and I would prefer there to be direct access to turbo with a double tap, and strobe is a triple tap. I find myself instead putting the light into strobe when I want turbo. Long pressing to turn off isn’t my personal favorite either.

 

Recharging

The light has onboard USB-C charging opposite the e-swtich on the light. I had no issues charging via USB-C to C or PD. I ran all tests with the included Fenix 700mAh branded battery. I tested the capacity of this battery at 685mAh on my Vapcell S4 Plus charger which I reviewed previously. 

Charging from LVP of the battery at 2.973V to full when charging stopped at 4.163V took 1:21:00. Charging speed was right at 1C for most of the charging, and the charging curve looked pretty typical.

The light is capable of running a few different battery types. The manual notes that it can run a standard button top 16340, but may not be able to achieve peak performance. Same with a CR123a which is nonrechargeable. LiFePO4 16340’s are strongly not recommended due to the lower voltage the charging circuit isn’t designed to handle these.

One thing to note is that the battery level indicator is specified to only work with the Fenix branded ARB-L16-700P battery the light comes with.

 

Final Thoughts

There is a lot to like about the Fenix E18R V2.0. I like the design of the light physically I think it looks pretty good with the bronze-colored accents. There isn’t a ton of grip on the body tube but for me, the clip makes up for that. The tint here doesn’t seem to have any noticeable undesirable green tint. While I tend to like more neutral or warm emitters I understand why they went with cool white here to maximize the number of lumens and because it seems that’s what the segment of the market this light is aimed to prefer and it’s not super blue.

I like that battery here isn’t proprietary, and that it can run on CR123a’s in a pinch but with reduced performance. Another plus is that it uses USB-C for charging instead of a proprietary system.

A few things I wasn’t a fan of either, like UI here with no direct access to turbo, and where strobe is only a double pressor extra long press when turning off. I am not as much of a fan of lens up carry with 1/6th of the light sticking up out of my pocket and the switch being right at the pocket hem of your pants or shorts.

Overall a pretty solid light. If you like Olight but want to try another brand that’s similar but different I think this would be a good place to go. The UI will be a change for sure, but it’s a well-built light with a good beam thanks to the TIR lens and above-average build quality.

Get the Fenix E18R V2.0 at Fenix-store.com and save 20% for first-time orders.

Acebeam E70 Mini Review(Triple Nichia 519a, 2000 Lumens, 18650)

Acebeam has a new light, in the E70 Mini, it’s a smaller version of the E70 but this time it’s running on an 18650, and runs triple Nichia 519a LED’s. The Nicha 519a LED is the new hotness in the enthusiast flashlight communities. It’s the successor to the popular Nichia 219b, but the new version is brighter, and more importantly, has become known for being very neutral and rosy if you want. Thanks to Acebeam for sending this to me, and these thoughts and opinions have not been influenced by anyone. 

 

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Pickup the Acebeam E70 Mini from Acebeam Direct at https://shrsl.com/3m7bt and save 10% (on any Acebeam) with the code “Liq10”

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Package & Accessories

The E70 Mini arrived in a white retail package with a clear window showing the light inside. Pretty minimal info on the package, but it is surprisingly compact. Inside the accessories and extras included, a 3100mAh button top protected 18650 battery with onboard USB-C charging, Short USB-A to USB-C charging cable, Acebeam Lanyard, spare o-rings, warranty card, and manual. 

 

Construction & Design

The E70 Mini for all intents and purposes a scaled-down version of its larger brother the E70 with a few minor exterior changes. For now, it’s available in aluminum that’s anodized matte black. It’s a premium feeling of anodizing, and the inner tube is the same blue aluminum we have seen on other E70 versions and the RX Ryder. I would expect to see different colors or materials of the E70 Mini at some time but for now just aluminum.

 

The tail features the same style of a flat metal button over the eswitch, it has a shiny finish that matches the clip well and is probably made of stainless steel like the clip. It has some interesting mounting options at the rear I will cover a bit later in the review. The light will tailstand too but it’s not magnetic.

The body tube has the same milled pattern as the E70, with a similar inner liner of blue aluminum and at the top 6 slots for 1 x 6mm tritium tubes, where the head has slots for 6 more. Threads on the body are square cut, and anodized. Inside you can see the spring at the tail, and head. Longer batteries or protected batteries are required, here, unprotected flat top 18650s are just too short to make contact. The bezel on the head is made from the same steel as the clip and rear switch. It has a crenulated bezel but it’s not sharp. The bezel does unscrew pretty easily too which should make maybe dedoming those LEDs (A popular thing to do with the Nichia 519s) possible without too much effort. The TIR optic sits behind an anti-reflective coated piece of glass with an o’ring keeping everything watertight.

 

Retention

The rear of the light has 3 wing like parts spaced out evenly around the light, and each is unique, you have the stock clip that comes on the light, with spacing that’s slightly wider than the more standard “Steel Flame” style clip, but to the left, there are threaded holes that fit the standard “Steel Flame” sizing, and then the third has larger unthreaded holes for the lanyard. 

The clip itself is stamped steel but slightly curved and uses a milled piece to make it stand out a bit. I found this to be a fantastic clip. It reminded me more of a custom light with this clip than a production light. It carries pretty deeply in the pocket too. I like the glossy finish here, it seems to almost take on a little color with oils from your hands. I carried this around the 4th of July holiday and found it to be nice and secure in shorts. 

 

Size & Weight

I measured the length at 111.34mm in length, 25.96mm at the head, and 23.39mm at the body. Weight with the Acebeam battery and clip installed came in at 124.8g or 4.4oz. It’s impact resistant to 1M and water-rated to IP68 (2 Meters). Here are a few photos of similar sized or spec’d lights that I have in my collection. 

 

LED & Beam

As mentioned the E70 Mini is using the latest LED from Nichia the 519a. This LED has quickly gained a cult-like following over on /r/flashlight and on the BLF forums because of its great neutral tint, that leans to the rosy side of things and high CRI. With my Opple meter, I measured 4973k and 97 CRI. The DUV of the light is very neutral as you can see. It’s the most neural emitter I have seen in a production light this year for sure. No PWM was observed either.

The TIR optic here produces a large even hotspot with basically no spill. It’s in that middle ground between thrower and flood, good for EDC type users, and the optic does a good job of diffusing that there are 3 LEDs here. I will be interested to see if people dedoam the light as that show make it throw a bit more, and rosy up the tint. I measured the parasitic draw at 72.1µA.

 

Outputs

I measured outputs in my Texas Ace PVC Lumen tube and came a bit short in most of the categories, but everything was within 80% of the claimed lumens after 30 seconds.

 

Heat & Runtime

I tested my runtimes with the optional 3100mAh Acebeam battery. Turbo was good for right at a minute before stepping down to around 500 lumens. The heat peaked at 57C (135F) at the 1:15 minute mark, so this is mostly a thermal-based step-down. You can trigger turbo manually again and I did this during filming some night shots a few times and the light did get hot enough where it was too hot to hold. Running from turbo after the initial step down is pretty flat for 1:45:00 then gradual step downs for another 45 minutes till it shuts off.  

I did runtime measurements for Turbo, High, Mide 2 and Mid1 as well and plotted them all on one graph here. Turbo and High give the same total runtime which was a little bit of a surprise. Mid 2 was good for 3:51:00, and Mid1 shut off just shy of 8 hours. 

 

UI

The UI here is as far as I can tell the same as what was in the full-size E70. It’s a little different from other lights but easy enough to understand once you know you have to double press to turn on and it’s this element that builds safety into not turning on accidentally. 

 

To turn the light on you can double press the tail switch to turn the light on in low, the light does have a memory so if it’s recent it will turn on in the last mode used excluding turbo. Once on, long press and hold to advance into the 4 available modes. Double press to turbo, triple to strobe. The light also has moonlight mode which you can access from off by long pressing, as well as lockout. Lastly, to turn off it’s a simple quick press to turn off.

 

Recharging

The Acebeam E70 Mini doesn’t have onboard USB charging. Instead, it has an optional Acebeam battery with onboard USB-C charging on its side. I had no issues charging via USB-C PD, or C to C cables on a variety of chargers. The battery is a 3100mAh button-top protected cell that I measured at 3049mAh in my Vapcell S4 Plus charger. 

I measured LVP of the cell at 2.931V and charged the battery to full at 4.131V in 3:02:00. Charging curve looked good and the battery charged at an average of around 1A, definitely on the conservative side. The battery does seem to have a powerbank feature, that I can charge my Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with. With a meter and load, I was able to pull 2A without a problem. 

 

Final Thoughts

I had a positive review of the Acebeam E70, mine was in brass and has the High CRI LED, but it was too big and heavy for a front pocket EDC for me. The E70 Mini solves that problem, with the smaller size it still fits nicely into my hands, but the smaller diameter and lighter weight make it much more carryable. It’s still not a small 18650 light with its dual-wall construction but it’s a lot more doable. 

The best part for me might be the LEDs and beam pattern. The Nichia 519a LEDs live up to the hype for me. I have done LED Swaps on one of my Reylight LANs and a Reylight Pineapple Mini in Timascus where I dedomed it too and the result is just a pretty much perfect tint in my opinion. If you are a tint snob it’s a fantastic LED. It’s not the brightest LED available but it produces one of the best quality light/tints in my opinion right now. The TIR optic makes for a very usable beam too.

It’s not perfect, the UI here with the long press to turn on takes getting used to but it’s really only that small change. It’s not ideal in my opinion but it does provide extra protection so that it won’t come on accidentally in your pocket. It also doesn’t accept flat top unprotected batteries which I happen to have a fair number of. I do wish turbo lasted a bit longer before stepping down on its own too without retriggering, and the markings on the light don’t line up with the clip on my light. I do really like how they put some markings inside the battery tube to hide them.

This is probably going to be my new pick for someone wanting to spend between $50-100 on a 18650 sized flashlight with a tail eswitch, especially if LED and Tint is important to them. While there are cheaper ways to try a Nichia 519a LED this would be a great way to get into one with a great light around it. 

Pickup the Acebeam E70 Mini from Acebeam Direct at https://shrsl.com/3m7bt and save 10% (on any Acebeam) with the code “Liq10”

Or get it on Amazon at https://amzn.to/3AUDYrF

Sofirn LT1 Mini Review ( 21700, 96 CRI, Anduril 2)

Today I am looking at the BLF LT1 Mini made by Sofirn. This has been in the works for several years over on the BLF forums. It’s a miniaturized version of the larger LT1 model, while still maintaining most of the same features thanks to it’s Anduril 2 firmware. Thanks to Sofirn for sending me this one to review. They are available currently and I have a discount below in the description.

 

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Packaging & Accessories

Packaging is Sofirns standard thin basic cardboard box. Inside the light is protected with bubble wrap. The diffuser is also protected with a layer of plastic to prevent scratches. The lantern comes with an optional 5000mAh 21700 Sofirn battery which I have. Other accessories include extra Orings, Lanyard, and USB-A to C cable. My light didn’t come with a manual but the batches shipping how should have one.

 

Construction & Design

The exterior design here is basically the LT1 but scaled down so that the body tube fits a 21700 instead of 4x 18650 like the LT1. There are some differences like the ¼ 20 mounting holes on the light. You still have the hanger wire at the top, still the same button with the T a throwback to the original LT1 manufacturer. Branding is minimal and Sofirn is instead of BLF. The battery tube is reversible but it is marked with a battery polarity marking so I will leave it as is. The tail cap is flat on the bottom, slightly flared for stability, and has an inner ring cut to allow you to attach the lanyard.

While the LT1 Mini is only available in black anodized aluminum right now, Sofirn has said it will be offered in the same colors as the LT1 is now so keep an eye out for that. Interestingly mine doesn’t seem to have a serial number on it.

 

The light is fairly open to modification. The diffuser unscrews fairly easily and it opens up to easily expose the LEDs. Getting the board out looks more difficult and I didn’t try that here. Their programming pads are exposed on the PCB on the bottom of the head but spaced very closely to the spring, so flashing firmware is possible just a little tricky. Inside the tail cap, there is a large spring, and this can be lifted up to fit a magnet in which I have done, It’s not quite strong enough to hold the light up on the side of a painted surface but more than enough to hold it upside down. I may order something else that’s stronger eventually. 

 

Retention

In the hand it feels good, my thumb easily finds the button. To me, it feels like a normal 21700 flashlight. There is the wire hanger at the top which is useful for hanging the light from a string or branch. At the bottom, there is a place to attach the included lanyard, and as I mentioned I put a magnet in the tail cap that works decently well. 

 

Size & Weight

I measured the length at 154mm, the diameter of the body at 26mm, and the diameter of the head at 45mm. I measured the weight at 6.48oz with the battery, and my magnet was installed.No water rating is given but it stands up to a shower just fine, it’s IPX8 rated like most flashlights from Sofirn. Here are some comparison shots with other similar lights I own.

 

LED & Beam

The light is using 4x Samsung LH351D LEDs that are mounted on the bottom of the dome only. They are in a square configuration. There are 2 tints of LEDs being used here, 2x 2700k and 2x 5000k LEDs both high CRI. My Opple meter measured them through the diffuser at 2893k and 4776 respectively both at 96Ra (CRI).  The beam pattern is even and nicely diffused. With the tint ramping and the steps, this makes for a combination where you can adjust the light output to exactly what brightness and tint you want. 

 

Output Measurements

I didn’t put this one in my lumen tube, because I couldn’t concentrate the majority of the light in the tube. Sofirn lists the max output as 310 lumens and a beam distance of 12M. While that’s not nearly as much as the LT1’s 800+ lumens I found it to be more than enough for close range and medium-range tasks.  

See the video for the night shots and demonostrations.

Runtime & Heat

I ran 3 comparison tests, with each emitter tint comparing the percent of relative output between the different tints. Not surprisingly Neutral white when all the LED’s are on had slightly less runtime of the other.. Runtime wise they are all quite similar producing very usable light out to the 3:40:00 mark, and they keep producing out to nearly 6 hours, although much less output. The heat here is very controlled the light doesn’t really get very warm, and where it does it’s on the body since there are no emitters in the head. 

 

UI 

The light is using the Anduril 2 firmware which we have seen before on the updated version of the LT1 that a reviewed recently. I won’t give you a comprehensive guide here on Anduril 2, but I will say it has a lot of flexibility in tint and output, either ramping or stepped. You also have the special modes which I think work well here in a lantern-like lighting and candle modes. Yes the button is configurable too. Anduril 2 isn’t the easiest firmware to hand to an average joe but it’s super powerful and configurable once you get a chance to learn it. 

 

Recharging

Recharging here is accomplished via USB-C. The light is C to C and PD compatible. The total charging time of the included 5000mAh battery was 3:51:00 with a charge rate of just over 1.6A. LVP was measured at 2.738v. The orange button LED when charging will blink blue when charging and go solid blue when charged.

The light is designed to work with a flat top unprotected 21700, but button tops work too, protected 21700’s are likely too long. 18650’s will work here too with little to no rattle. I tested the battery capacity at 4836mAh.

The light can be used as a powerbank to charge your USB-C devices from it’s 5000mAh battery. This is a nice feature to have, one I probably won’t use often but it was easy to include and could really be useful if you needed to top up your phone in an emergency situation. 

 

Final Thoughts

I took the light around my 4th of July festivities and it passed through the hands of many, using it to find fireworks, find fuses, and as a light saber by my nephew who loved it. 

This design is more prone to tipping over than the LT1 or LT1s, but not much more than most 21700 flashlights that are stood on their tail. I think Sofirn could have easily mitigated this by including a magnet in the tail cap. This could be an easy accessory they could sell on the side if they wanted and hopefully, they do this soon.

I think the LT1 Mini is going to be a size and weight that works for a lot of people, whereas the LT1 was just too big or heavy, and the LT1s is too large of diameter and it lacks the Anduril 2 firmware so many enthusiasts love. The LT1 is still the king when it comes to output and runtime but the LT1 Mini comes in a close second place while saving size and weight. It’s a sold recommendation for me. 

 

Save 20% by using the code M5GFBN6T at https://www.sofirnlight.com/products/sofirn-blf-lt1-mini-anduril-2-0-ui-90-cri-lh351d-leds-with-powerbank-output