Sofirn SC31 Pro Review & Giveaway ($27, 2000 Lumens, USB-C, SST40, 18650)

Sofirn has a new low cost EDC 18650 light out with the SP31 Pro. It features an SST40 LED capable of 2000 lumens and available with 2 different tints and onboard USB-C charging for a very low price. Thanks to Sofirn for sending this to me and providing a discount to my viewers. I also have a SP31 Pro to giveaway so make sure you check out the description of this video and top comment on how to enter to win. 

 

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Enter the Giveaway https://gleam.io/Xmkd9/sofirn-sc31-pro-5000k-kit-giveaway

 

Pickup the Sofirn SP31 Pro from Amazon. Don’t forget to click the Coupon code on the page for an additional discount too.

5000k Kit https://amzn.to/39JoSGf with Coupon DCNKLHS3

6500k Kit https://amzn.to/39yFJLC

 

Packaging

Sofirn won’t win any packaging contests but for lights that are sold online I don’t really give any bonus points for spending more in this area. It’s functional, generic, and does the job. With the light you get a Sofrin branded 3000mAh battery (Light only options exist), USB-A to USB-C Cables, lanyard, and spare orings, button cover, and USB port cover as well as a decent manual. 

 

Construction

The SC31 Pro has nothing I can find wrong with it, it’s a budget light but all the edges are chamfered anodizing is consistent, and markings are good. Starting at the tail, it’s slightly recessed but still tail stands well, non magnetic. The lanyard attachment point is on the tail as well. Internally you have a single spring and what looks like room for a magnet if you wish. 

 

Threads are square cut and nicely greased. The body tube has one pocket clip area milled into it, but the tube is reversible so it could go on the front or back. There is standard diamond knurling and it’s about average grip. 

The front of the light is removable. Internally it has a pretty stiff spring and it should work with all non proprietary 18650 batteries. Externally there is a silicone button thats fairly flush, the button has some texture to it to help you find it, and 2 LED underneath that work as a locator, and battery status indicator when charging. Minimal milling on the sides for heat dissipation. The USB-C Charging port on the rear has a rounded cover with a large flat. Mine fits pretty well and is out of the way. The head itself has a minimal bezel with no crenulations. There is a reflective coated glass lens, smooth reflector and LED centering is good. 

 

Size and Weight

The SC31 Pro is very similar in size and dimensions to the popular Wurkkos FC11. And for good reason, Sofirn is the parent company to both companies. I measured the SC31 Pro at 115.7mm in length, minimum diameter at 24mm, maximum diameter at 26.5mm. Weight with the battery and clip was 110g or 3.88oz. It’s IPX7 water rated.

 

Retention

The SC31 comes with a basic lanyard that attaches at the tail cap if you want. The pocket clip is decent but not as deep carry as I would like with 22mm of the light sticking up out of your pocket. It is a friction fit clip but fairly tight. If only this was a deeper carry clip it would be even better. 

 

LED & Beam

The LED that’s being used here is the Luminus SST-40 LED. It’s available in both Cool white (6500k) and Neutral white, and I have the latter here in 5000k. It surprised me a little as mine has a bit oa a rosy tint, it’s nice despite being only 70 CRI. It has a smaller hot center, with a medium amount of spill. There are some some kind of ugly outer edges in the beam with reflections off the edge of the reflector and bezel. Maximum output is rated at 2000 lumens and with the ramping modes you can adjust it to anything you wish. The light does have PWM but it’s minimal and only visible with my oscilloscope. This is expected since its running Andruil. 

 

Heat and Runtime

One thing that I have started doing is comparing my lights running Andruil as they come from the factory and then after thermal calibration. While I firmly believe that lights should come calibrated from the factory the reality is for the money here they don’t and that’s a shame because it’s worth doing. ZeroAir has a good writeup on this in his reviews, and I followed that and the difference in my lights were impressive. Turbo runtime went from 1:50 when uncalibrated to 3:05 after calibration, with peak of that being right at 2 minutes. So if you get this or any Andruil light it’s worth going through the calibration procedure. Output was also roughly 13% better during most of the duration too. This does effect overall runtime going from 7:05:00 uncalibrated to FL1 to 4:05:00 when calibrated to FL1 but this is a trade off I am willing to take for more output and a less aggressive thermal restraint. Max temp I saw when calibrated was 41C but this is my own setting and was at the 7 min mark. 

 

UI

The Sofirn SP31 Pro here uses the Andriul firmware by Toykeeper. It’s standard Andruil but I did notice one difference at the top and bottom of the ramp I don’t get the blink like I do on say my FW3A, and most other Andruil lights. I like this. By default the light ships in ramping mode, there is a stepped mode too. Andruil is good but complex. It’s highly configurable (for example you can change the behavior of the backlight switch) so make sure to take some time to understand it fully. 

 

Recharging

The Sofirn SC31 Pro has onboard USB-C charging. It supports USB-C to C charging cables as well as USB-C PD in my tests. It’s great to see a budget light support this. Total charge time of the included 3000mAh 18650 battery from LVP at 2.780V to full at 4.145V was 2:30:00 with the maximum charging rate just at 1.88V. I have no complaints here, and it’s great to see at budget prices.

 

Pro

  • My NW SST40 LED here in 5000k has a really nice tint with a rosy hue
  • Fantastic value for a complete kit
  • Andruil firmware is a love it or hate it thing, but it provides a lot of options for the enthusiast or budding flashaholic. 

 

Cons

  • The pocket clip here is a small letdown, it’s not as deep carry as I would have hoped. 
  • Non magnetic tail, although easy to modify to make magnetic. 
  • Edges of the beam are a little ugly. 

 

Conclusion

I am not ready to call this the Wurkkos FC11 killer since it’s an extremely similar light made by the same parent company but what I will call it is an extremely good value for a slightly more advanced light because it has Andruil UI. While I love the LH351D in my FC11 the tint here in the SC31 Pro is better in my opinion, slightly brighter, but you do lose the high CRI of the LH351D. 

 

The Andruil UI is complex, and that may be a turn off for some new to the hobby, but for a noob there is muggle mode. Take some time and study the diagram to understand how it works and I think you will enjoy it. Build quality here is appropriate for the price, nothing is bad but it’s also not class leading. This is a great all around light for the money here and I have no hesitation recommending it, especially at the price Sofrin has offered to my viewers with the discount you can find in the description. About $25 at the time of filming. 

 

Enter the Giveaway for the Sofirn SP31 Pro Kit (5000k) https://gleam.io/Xmkd9/sofirn-sp31-pro-5000k-kit-giveaway

Olight Obulb Review (Warm White, Red, Magnetic, Lantern)

Olight has a new Mini lantern out called the Obulb and comes in 3 colors. It’s magnetic, floats in water, and has warm white modes along with red modes. Thanks to Skyben for sending this to me to check out and do a short review. 

 

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Red: https://amzn.to/35pQyyl

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Packaging and Accessories

Packaging here is standard Olight white box high quality. On the front and top are photos of the light on their respective side, on the back is your information panel with runtimes and outputs. Accessories include the Obulb itself, a USB MCC 1A charging cable, and a Olight self adhesive magnetic backer that acts like a coin too. 

 

Constructions

The obulb is available in 3 colors, a green, similar to the Olantern, a gray, and red that you see here. Red to me makes it look a lot like a pokeball I think. The dome is made from translucent polycarbonate and is reasonably thick. The bottom half is a rubberized plastic that provides some grip and it has the signature blue metallic strip in the middle. 

 

On the bottom there are 3 brass contacts for charging, and the internal magnet is strong enough to easily hold it’s weight up and be reasonably vibration resistant. 

Thanks to Oweban for sacrificing his Obulb so we can see inside, he provided me with these pictures to share what the circuit board, and battery configuration looks like. It’s a stacked design with the LED and Driver board being on top, a total of 8 LED, 4 for each color, Under that sits a 630mAh lithium polymer battery pouch, an aluminum tray, and then the board with the recharging pads and 2 buttons. It is IPX7 water rated meaning it can be submerged upto a meter for 30 minutes but it floats too. It’s drop rated for a meter too. 

 

Size & Weight

This is pretty small, somewhere between a golf ball and baseball size. It measures 54.2mm in diameter and 48.4mm tall. Weight is 56.4g and it is IPX7 water rated and floats in water. 

 

LED & Beam Shots

The Obulb has 2 LED colors, a warm white and a red. The warm white is a pretty warm, I would guess it’s about 2500k, the LED being used here is unknown, from looking at the circuit board it’s not square like most flashlight LED, it produces a good tone. Low is good for 3.5 lumens and high is 55 lumens. Low is enough light ot read a map, navigate a bathroom or low light tasks like that. High is enough light to prepare or eat a meal, navigate a small room with etc. It’s a nice even light. Red mode is rated at 7 lumens and fairly bright for a colored mode. 

 

Runtime

I did measure runtimes in the White and Red modes for this light. In High mode for the White emitter the light held it’s rated output very consistently through out the range, total runtime was 3:40:00, this is 40 minutes longer then what Olight rates it for. Low mode is rated for 56 hours of runtime and I didn’t test this due to the length of the test. Red mode is a similar story but a little more sag in the output, holding at about 90% relative output for the duration of 8:40:00, this is an hour and 40 minutes better then what Olight rates it for officially. Heat isn’t a concern here at all, with the light remaining room temp to the test during use. 

 

UI 

The light has 4 simple modes that are linear with no short cuts and does have memory. The button is on the underside of the light but that doens’t matter since you can press the top as well when it’s on a hard surface. It takes a reasonably hard press to make it come on though. Once on long press to change modes. The mode progression is Low White, High White, Red, Red Flashing. 

 

Recharging

Charing the internal 630mAh lithium polymer pouch battery is done on the bottom of the light with Olights MCC 1A charging system. Charging took 90 minutes with maximum charge rate of 0.6A so pretty much exactly 1C. 

 

Pro’s

  • Warm White from Olight
  • It Floats and is waterproof
  • Strong magnet allows it to be mounted on any magnetic surface.
  • Better then expected battery life

 

Con’s

  • Not something you will EDC probably or use daily
  • Battery is sealed an non user replaceable. 

 

Conclusion

I like the Olight Obulb. It’s not something I will use everyday but it can come in handy in a lot of different places. This is a nice simple light to give to young kids that is easy to operate but doesn’t have small pieces like many cylinder lights do. If you had a pool I could see tossing a few of these in to give ambient lighting at night, or using it in a shower to give you more light if needed. I may end up putting it in my car for winter to use that red blinking mode as a locator beacon should I happen to go off the road in a blizzard but I could also see it being nice on a bedside table, in a tent while camping etc.

 

I can’t help to think what the Olight Olantern would have been like with these white LED’s to create a nice warm tint. It’s a nice choice in LED and a surprise from Olights standard cool white. The price is also reasonable and the choice of colors is a nice touch. I am a fan of the Obulb even though I won’t use it all the time. 

Olight Warrior Mini Recall News!

Here is the link to the official Facebook group post on the matter https://www.facebook.com/groups/Olight/permalink/3455317721188648

See my review of the Olight Warrior Mini at https://youtu.be/k-kKoWlt9Mk

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Olight Olantern Review (360 Lumens, Flicker Bulb, Olight Fan Request)

Olight Olantern Review (360 Lumens, Flicker Bulb, Olight Fan  Request)

Today I have the Olight OLantern, before you change to the next video, this isn’t a boring battery powered lantern. It’s the result of numerous requests to Olight, so lets see if they delivered what the fans really want or not. Thanks to Skyben on Amazon for sending me this to look at and allowing me to tell you the truth on it. 

 

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Pickup the Olight Olantern from Skyben on Amazon.

Green: https://amzn.to/3lQkiKh

Gray: https://amzn.to/2VXfb0x

Red: https://amzn.to/2VMjQlL

XANAD Case: https://amzn.to/2KABHqb

 

Packaging & Accessories

Olights packaging is the nicest in the production flashlight world, it makes me wonder how much extra goes to packaging. The lantern is a big heavy duty cardboard box with photos of the light on all 4 sides. Very little information is on the exterior. It opens up throughout the bottom and is a tight fit. It sit’s on the box of accessories which include the manual, a microfiber cleaning cloth, an extra long MCC3 charger capable of up to 2A, and the flame flicker bulb. 

 

Construction

The lantern itself is made from a polymer front top top bottom. It’s available in a gray, red, and the green you see here. A rubber texture has been applied to a few areas for extra grip, the top cap, and bottom tail cap. The middle section is a hard thick, dense polymer. The lens or globe is a clear acrylic and while it will scratch it seems to be reasonably scratch resistant. It has a bit of a reflector built into the to help distribute light. This globe twists off from the body to allow you to swap out the emitter from cool white to the flickering flame, and there is a oring around this connection. Inside around the emitter is aluminum as is the blue ring around the exterior.

The electronic button is in the front and and has a slight backlit edge. This servers as a power indicator and helps you find the light in the dark. The light is motion sensitive so once you pick it up it comes on. 

The bottom rubber piece is scalloped and relieved internally to allow the light to charge while standing up with ease. There are 3 screws in the bottom that allows the light to come apart fairly easily. While the battery isn’t designed to be user replaceable it is quite easy to remove it. It connects to the circuit board with spring loaded pins. There was some debate early on if this was a rebranded product or an Olight original design and after looking inside I am confident it’s an Olight design, as all the circuit boards do have Olight copyrights on them. Internally its pretty simple design. 

 

Size & Weight/Competition

Length with the handle folded in was 135mm, with it unfolded 191mm, maximum diameter on the base was 65mm. I measured the weight at 346.5g. Water rating is only IPX4. So it can handle splashes from all angeles but no more.

A lot of people will compare the Olight Olantern to the BLF/Sofrin LT1 because the lights end up being near the same price. The Olantern is lighter, and smaller, with less features, a more simple but less useful UI, and longer charging time. The two are in different leagues really. The Olantern is probably better to hand to a non enthusiast and in terms of weight but in almost all other aspects the LT1 in my opinion is the better lantern. 

 

Retention

The lantern has a handle that is a metal hanger and coated in the same rubberized coating, at the top it has a plastic piece with a dip in it. This looks a little funny but is actually really useful, as it allows you to hang the light on a wire or rope and not have it fall off. I could see this being used in a tent, or with a rope strung between a few trees while camping etc. 

I do enjoy a case for my BLF LT1, and the OLantern will fit in the one I have for my LT1 here but with a good amount of extra space leftover. The XANAD case does double duty well.

 

LED & Beam

The Olantern has 2 LED Modules, first the primary is a cool white module with 3 output settings. No emitter or tint data is given for either. It’s quite cool white my guess is 6500k or cooler. The beam is pretty even but if you wanted to diffuse it even more I have seen people put thin paper inside the globe for more diffusion. 

The other is the flame module, it’s 1 mode only and flickers, and is quite warm, with an orange tint. I really wish this had more output and 3 modes like the main module did. 

 

Olight lists the official outputs as the following.

  • High 360 lumens
  • Medium 120 lumens
  • Low 30 lumens
  • Flaming Module 1 Lumen

 

Heat & Runtime

I tested runtime on the highest output on the main cool white module, and got 6:55:00 so a little better  then what it’s rated for. During this time it decreased in output ever so slightly but ran this entire time at 90% of relative output which is good. It does get a little warm during use, especially around the blue metal band, with peak temps in my uncooled environment at 39C. This was around the 2 hour mark.

 

My flaming module runtime test fell a tad short of the claimed 80 hours of runtime. I recorded only 46:42:00, due to the length of time this took I didn’t run this one again to see if my results improved. 

 

UI

The UI here is very simple. Single press turns the light on to the last mode it was used in. Long press to go to the next mode, and mode progression is L, M, H. There is no short cut to the highest or lowest output. The flaming module has only one mode, so it’s just on or off.

 

One kind of neat and useful feature is the illuminated halo around the side switch, it reacts to motion to help you find it and to save power, so if you bag was to move it was in or you pick it up but can’t find the button in the dark it will start glowing a dim green so you can find it. 

 

Recharging & Power

This light runs off of a proprietary battery pack consisting of 4x 1900mAh 18500 batteries for a total capacity of 7600mAh. This is a custom battery pack and is designed to be non user replaceable. As mentioned above it’s quite easy to get into the light however though so if Olight made this battery available as a replacement I think it’s something the average person could replace. Recharging is done via the Olight magnetic MCC3 charger you get on recent Olights. It will operate while charging, and has the standard green when charged, red when charging. 

 

Charing time here is very long, from empty where the light shut off I measured it taking a full 8:30:00  to recharge, Peak charging speed I saw was 1.38A. This is a pretty conservative recharge rate. If you were charging off solar power it would be best to top up then expect to get a full charge in a day in most places. Comparing this to my BLF LT1 which had a capacity of 12,000mAh but charged in 10:15:00. This is still along time but also a battery that’s 4,400mAh larger.

 

Areas for Improvement

I see 3 major areas that olight can make improvements to on the next Olantern. The first is the waterproofing, this is only rated for IPX4 which means it can repel splashes from any angle but more then this may cause problems. This means it’s ok in the rain but isn’t to be submerged. The lantern only has one Oring between the globe and module, this surprised me for the price point the lights at, and Olights usual good build quality. 

 

LED Tint – This shouldn’t surprise anyone if you know Olight you know they like that cool white tint. They might say that’s for the best performance, or most amount of lumens but in this case neither are the most important, quality of light and runtime are the big things you want for area illumination. With the replaceable “bulb” design Olight could easily come out with an addon or have given people the choice. Even better make the tint variable like the BLF LT1. 

 

LED Storage – The flaming “bulb” is fun, but it’s output doesn’t make it super useful for more then just ambiance. The problem I see is there is no way to attach the extra blub to the light, or store it, so I see it is more likely to get lost. Hopefully version 2 corrects this. 

 

Conclusion

Lanterns are not something you think you need, till you have one and then if you are like me you will find yourself using it more and more. It’s great for camping but also if you lose power frequently or live in an area with storms. This is great for those areas getting hit by tornadoes and hurricanes or this time of year blizzards. 

 

At first I wasn’t impressed with the design here from the photos, I didn’t find the light attractive and was kind of put off by the mostly polymer construction, but once I got it in hand it felt better built than I was expecting. That said this is a space that has competition in it, not only from other lantern or lantern like products but also from silicone cones to put on top of your existing flashlights to act as a diffuser. All of those make the normal asking price here hard to swallow in my opinion. It’s a useful amount of light and it feels solid in the hand but I just had higher expectations for the normal asking price.

I don’t think this is the light that the hard core Olight fan was asking for but it’s not a bad place to start. Hopefully Olight decides to make some revisions and come out with a version that is has the ability to shift the tint, swap in other bulbs, is more water resistant, and is a better overall value. If they do that I think it will appeal to more enthusiasts and be the light that the hardcore fans really wanted. Until then you have a pretty well built light for the mainstream at a high price point when it’s not on sale. 

Acebeam TK18 Review (3000 Lumens, LH351D, Triple Emitter, EDC Flashlight)

Today I am taking a look at the Acebeam TK18 in Aluminum. This is triple LED light thats powered by an 18650 battery and is available with 3 different LED options in 3 different materials. Today I have the Aluminum light with the Samsung LH351D LED’s. Thanks to Nitetorch for sending this to me to look at and review.

 

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Packaging & Accessories

Packaging on the TK18 is a nice white pull out box with a line drawing of the light on the front. On the side it has all the LED options and materials on it marked with small stickers. Inside you get an assortment of things, such as the light, an optional Acebeam ARC18650H-310A 3100mAh battery, 2 spare orings, button cover, branded lanyard, and a USB-A to MicroUSB charging cable that has a optional area to plug in another cable to say charge your phone if needed.

 

Construction

The TK18 is available in 3 different materials, Aluminum which I have here, a raw copper, and a titanium. The anodizing here is a flat black that reminds me kind of Armytek since it’s a little chalky. Starting at the tail as always the only button on this light is a nice contrasting gray silicone, and recessed. It’s an electronic switch so it doesn’t take much pressure to actuate, and it’s non magnetic. The lanyard attachment point is on the tail cap as well.

Inside the threads are anodized, square cut and nicely greased. There is a inner tube in this light which is a little surprising with it’s small diameter. In the tail cap there is a short spring as well. The body tube has small rectangles for grip, these are short and everything is nicely chamfered, it’s similar to a frag pattern but smoother and less harsh. The pocket clip only attaches near the head of the light on the body tube and is non captured. More on that in a minute. The front of the body tube does have a retaining ring in it so the battery can only slide out from the rear. 

The head features a spring as well inside, on the outside it’s pretty basic and has minimal heatsinking. The front bezel does have crenulations and has a nice patinated copper color. The edges of it are a little up, especially considering this is a bezel up EDC. Underneath is a carillo style optic, with a glass ARC lens on top. 

 

Size & Weight

I measured the length at 105.27mm, minimum diameter on the body at 22.28mm, maximum diameter on the head of the light at 25.19mm. Weight with the clip and the Acebeam 18650 battery was 109.1g. The light is IPX8 water rated. Here are a few pictures of similar lights so you can see a size comparison.

 

 

Retention

The Acebeam TK18 comes with a dual direction pocket clip that attaches on the front side only of the body of the light. It’s a pretty long clip in comparison to the light and it’s fairly deep carry with about 9.5mm sticking up out of your pocket, but the retention to the light could be a little better. I also didn’t care for the bezels sharpness here when EDCing it in a front pocket, my hand caught it once or twice. The clip does also allow for you to attach it to a baseball hat if you want, that side is fairly stiff.

 

LED & Beam

The LED’s in use on my light are the Samsung LH351D in cool white. At this point I think I have all major tints of the LH351D, and unfortunately cool white happens to be my least favorite just because of the tint mainly. In the TK18 you do have that carillo style optic which puts out a pretty even beam like most triple LED lights. It’s fairly floody but can throw at the higher powers, great for EDC and this is a smaller diameter light then a lot of triples. No PWM was observed. 

Stated mode spacing with the Samsung LH351D CW Emitters and a 20A 18650 in Power Mode.

  • Ultra Low – 3 Lumens
  • Low – 80 Lumens
  • Med – 200 Lumens
  • High – 1000 Lumens
  • Turbo – 3000 Lumens

 

Stated mode spacing with the Samsung LH351D CW Emitters and a 20A 18650 in Eco Mode.

  • Ultra Low – 3 Lumens
  • Low – 80 Lumens
  • Med – 200 Lumens
  • High – 630 Lumens
  • Turbo – 1450 Lumens

 

Heat & Runtime

I did all my runtime tests with the included Acebeam ARC18650H-310A 3100mAh battery. You need a battery capable of at least 20A sustained to get close to the rated outputs. The light will also run off 2 CR123A batteries with about half the normal outputs in high and turbo but similar overall runtimes. My tests were unknowingly done in Eco mode, read the directions guys. I will put some graphics of what Turbo mode looks like at the end. 

 

In Eco I was able to hold turbo 1450 lumens for 5:30 before stepping down and this was pretty good. Step down was 55% of relative output where it held till the 2:17:00 mark. Starting at 2:00:00 the light starts flashing, dropping output down near 20% then back up to 55% to let you know the battery is getting low. This continues as the light does it’s last major step down to 6% relative output for the remaining hour. Total runtime in Eco from Turbo was 3:15:00. I saw max temps of 52C at the 10 minute mark in Eco. 

Here are 2 graphs of what output was like in Power mode with the same supplied battery. 

 

UI

You have 2 main UI groups with this light, an Eco and a Power mode, by default the light ships in Eco mode. To switch between them you have to lock the light (From off press and hold for 5 seconds), While locked click 10 times and the light will go from low output a higher output and this will mean the light is in power mode. It’s a similar action to go back to eco.

 

Normal operation is a short press to turn on where you last left it (Not for ultra low or turbo) then press and hold to cycle through each mode steps (Low, medium, high). Double click at any time to get to turbo, triple press to get to strobe. It’s a fairly simple UI thats similar to many other lights. Just read the manual for switching between eco and power.

 

Recharging

My light came with the Acebeam ARC18650H-310A 3100mAh protected button top battery. It has a MicroUSB port on the side for charging and is pretty long a 69.95mm in length. It also has an LED indicator on the positive terminal side, it’s always green when charged, but does turn off when fully discharged.I charged the light from LVP at 2.961V tyo Full at 4.168V in 2:31:35. Max charge rate I saw was 1.1A. The charge curve started off slow as I like to see then increased substantially and then trailed off. No issues here other then it’s a bit slow. 

 

Pro’s

  • I find this as a good looking light with the copper colored accents
  • Small diameter for a dual tube, triple LED light.
  • On the pricey side for not having a battery that comes with all packages. Aluminium is fairly affordable.

 

Con’s

  • No tint data for the LED choices are given, the LH351D’s here are cool white, quite floody.
  • Doesn’t seem to hit 3000 lumens when compared to other lights, this is supported by a few other reviewers. 
  • Front bezel needs to be toned down a little for a head up EDC light.

 

Conclusion

The Acebeam TK18 is an interesting light overall. Visually I like most of the look here, the aged copper colored accents are nice, I wish the clip didn’t have the Acebeam website on it, because I think that’s a little distracting. It’s pretty thin for a triple LED too, which helps it cary well in the pocket. It’s as narrow as many of the competitors single LED lights. That said I don’t care for the semi aggressive bezel when carrying. 

 

While I typically love the Samsung LH351D emitters, here I would probably recommend you go with the Nichia 219C instead to get high CRI and hopefully a warmer emitter. You give up some output but I am ok with that. The UI here is easy to follow but I don’t care for the Eco and Power settings, it adds unnecessary complexity. It’s nice to be able to use CR123A too in a pinch, it’s not something you see that often anymore. Overall if you were looking for a small diameter triple and wanted something a bit different with LED options that was reliable this would be a solid choice, just make sure your using a very capable battery for max performance.

Jetbeam RRT01 Review 2020 Version (Rotary EDC, Nichia LED, High CRI, 950 Lumens)

Jetbeam has a new version of the RRT01 Raptor out for 2020. If you remember back to last summer I reviewed the 2019 version of the light and loved it. The 2020 version adds an Optional Nichia emitter and changes how the rotary ring and UI work as well as being more flexible with different battery versions. Thanks to JetBeam for sending this to me to look at and review. 

 

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Versions

There are now 3 versions of the Jetbeam RRT01 that all share the same name. There is the original from about 8+ years ago, the 2019 version and now the 2020 version. Each having their own differences in performance, batteries, and LED. I do wish JetBeam would have added a V1, V2, V3 or used a different name with the light so it was easier for the consumers to tell the difference. The easiest way to tell the difference between the 2019 and 2020 is to look at the tail. The 2019 has a place for 3 tritium vials, whereas the 2020 has a button on the tail cap.

 

Packaging & Accessories

The packaging of the RRT01 is very Jetbeam, it’s a blue and black retail hanging package with all the details you need on the outside and side panels. As far as accessories, it depends on the version you get. My kit has the optional 2x extensions tubes that allow you to use 18500 and 18650 batteries in the light. In addition to this  it comes with a 1100mAh JetBeam branded 18350 battery with microUSB charging onboard, 3 extra  orings, an allan key, 2 extra screws for the clip (Not torx), and replacement rubber boot for the rear switch in gray. You also get a lanyard, manual, and other paperwork. 

 

Construction

The light is made from aluminum and anodized a warmer light gray with the control bezel being a silver. It’s nice to see a different anodizing color here. Machining is very good. Starting at the tail, there is a bezel around the center mechanical on/off button. When the button is in the off state the light doesn’t tail stand super well, but when the light is on the button has retracted enough that it tail stands great, so really a pretty thoughtful design as it helps you find it when you want to turn the light on. 

The body section of the light has knurling around it with 2 flats with the minimal labeling on each side. The light then grows to match the size of the head and control ring. Threads are wide, square cut and non anodized. By default the light will fit 18350’s and CR123A batteries which are great sizes for EDC but if you want more runtime you can insert one of the extensions and use a 18500 if you have them or add both if you want to use a 18650. Just remember to use a protected battery as this light doesn’t have LVP. When the extension are in place it’s a little less elegant I think and heavy in the head. 

 

The rotary control ring has some areas milled into it to give grip. It has a detent on both ends of the control area. From 0 to 100% is about 160 degrees of rotation. There is no detent in the control ring for the 2020 version of the light. The ring moves quite easily, I would like to just touch more resistance. The rotary really allows you to dial in the exact amount of light you want very quickly.

The head has an aluminum bezel that’s mostly built into the light and not proud. It is not glued but you will need a tool to get it loose. The glass lens is double anti reflective coated and it has a deep reflector with a light orange peal.

 

Size & Weight

I measured the length at 91mm in it’s shortest configuration. Each extension adds 15mm to the overall length of the light. Maximum diameter on the head of the light is 26mm, and minimum diameter at the head is 24.5mm. The extensions are slightly larger in diameter coming in at 26.46mm vs the 26mm of the head of the light. 

Weight in it’s shortest configuration with the included battery and clip is 114.6g. With a 30Q and the 3x extensions came in at 153.9g. 

 

Comparisons

The most obvious comparison with the RRTR01 2020 is the 2019 version and the lights look very similar. The largest difference is that the 2019 version is shorter without the tail switch. The lens’s are a little different too, the 2020 lights lens has a light orange peel and is deeper and the bezel is smooth. The diameter of the head is slightly longer too. The extension tubes fit either light. When you put the extensions on the light looks a little funny to me, it seems longer and the proportions are just off a little. For an 18650 light it’s a little on the long side when compared to the FW3A. 

 

Retention

The RRT01 like it’s predecessors are using the “standard” steel flame pattern clip meaning most aftermarket clips on the flashlight market should fit here. THe stock clip is a little longer than many at 61mm. The screw holes are hex head instead the more common torx. 

 

In the pocket it carries reasonably well. The slotted tail bezel that’s around the tail button sticks up a little more then I want but does protect the button well from accidental activation. It’s still deep enough I consider it deep carry. I found the short length to be about perfect in the pocket, it’s doable to carry with the extensions on and an 18650 but it’s center of gravity is more to the head. 

 

LED & Beamshots

There are 2 LED’s offered in the RRT01 Raptor (2020), a Cree XP G3 offering 80 CRI, and a Nichia 219C at 90CRI. I have the latter and it’s a nice warm 4000k. For me this is a great combination of tint and high CRI. JetBeam claims both are rated for 950 lumens, and that would be higher then I would expect out of a Nicha 219C as they typically don’t put out quite as much light as the Cree XP G3, so I take that with a grain of salt. It’s enough light to do the job easily. The beam here is nice for EDC, it has some center spot, about 20% of the beam and then fades to a useful spill. The rotary is very smooth and makes this light infinitely variable sub lumen up to 950. See the video version of this review for my Nightshots.

 

Heat and Runtime

Runtime here is very linear, I started my test with the included 1100mAh 18350 battery on full power. Output here was very linear and seems to not be regulated super well. There really isn’t much of a stepdown and the light ran above the 40% relative output out until 28 minutes. At 34 minutes the light shut off when LVP on the battery kicked in at 2.94V. The runtime here surprised me a bit, it’s rather short but then again this light doesn’t have much of a step down. It does get warm and the highest temp I saw was 59C around the 17 min mark. 

I then tested with a 3000mAh 18650 battery. You need to use a protected battery with this light, I didn’t do that my first test and the result was the light ran until the cell was dangerously low right at 1V. I was not happy about ruining a battery here, but the result was significantly longer runtime. FL1 was at about 95 minutes, total runtime was just at 1 hour and 40 minutes. You can see thermal regulation kick in at the top end a bit. 

 

UI

UI here is pretty unique to most other flashlights but it works pretty well. The RRT01 2020 version adds an on off switch at the tail of the light and combines with the rotary function in the head to change the brightness of the light. Once on rotate the ring to the right to increase in brightness, increase to the left to decrease in brightness. It is truly infantly variable as fast or as slow as you want. On my light I can turn the ring about 1/12 of the way before the LED begins to turn on. 

 

This light does have an infinitely variable SOS and strobe modes as well. When on just rotate to to the maximum brightness setting and then to the left slightly 3 times and you get SOS, do this 4 times to get strobe. You can then dial back the brightness if you want. To exit just turn the light off and it goes back to normal.  

 

Recharging

The light includes a 1100mAh Jetbeam branded 18350 battery that has onboard microUSB that you plug into the side of the battery. It has a multicolor LED on top that goes red when charging and green when charged. LVP is built into the battery and it stopped at 2.94V. Charged it stopped at 4.16V. When I plugged it in to charge I did notice the top of the cell got pretty warm, about 110F but this quickly dissipated. My guess is it’s doing this at first to gradually limit current going into the battery at the start of a charge. Overall the battery took 92 minutes to charge, and the maximum charge rate I saw was around the 70 minute mark at 1A. It’s a little odd to see that high of charge rate at the end of the charge cycle. 

 

Pro’s

  • Nichia LED, my biggest complaint with the 2019 version of this light was the LED that was chosen.
  • I am a sucker for a rotary interface, it works here well but requires shifting your grip to turn on then adjust the output.
  • I like the anodizing color here, a warm gray, almost sand color.
  • Nice overall EDC light with options to go to 18650 too.

 

Con’s

  • No Low Voltage Protection, must use protected cells if you plan to run the battery to exhaustion,. . 
  • A little awkward with the extensions installed, it throws the balance way forward.
  • Confusing naming with the previous versions of the light.
  • On the expensive side with the extension kit

 

Conclusion

The JetBeam RRT01 is the 3rd irrieteration of the light that shares the same name, while confusing for customers it’s a light I am enjoying. I really like rotary interfaces, I think they should be done on more flashlights as it’s intuitive and easy to operate for people of any age. The addition here of the on/off button on the tail instead of detents in the rotary makes the light less likely to come on in a pocket or when not in use but I think detracts from the overall rotary aspect of the light That said it still works pretty well but just requires you to change grips when using the light to turn it on and adjust the output.

The inclusion on some version with the extensions is smart, allowing you to use more battery types, it’s kind of an after though on design but it works reasonably well, especially if you want the extra runtime of an 18650, just be sure to use a protected battery since the light itself doesn’t have LVP. 

The optional Nichia 219C emitter here is great. One of the features I liked least about the 2019 version was it was cool white and it’s great Jetbeam listed to this user feedback myself and others had. Overall this is a fun edc light, it’s a little on the expensive side but one I can still recommend. Make sure to check my links in the description as I will list any coupons or sales I get where you might be able to get a discount. 

Banggood has a 30% off coupon for the 2020 version of the Jetbeam RRT01 at https://ban.ggood.vip/V8ca by using code:  BGRRLM

 

Frelux Synergy 2 in depth review (LH351D, 14500, Made in the USA)

Today I have a special light on my review table, the Frelux Synergy 2. If you are a long time subscriber you may remember that in October of 2018 I reviewed the original Frexlux Synergy 1 side-by-side flashlight. The Synergy 2 is the larger big brother and brings lots of new improvements and upgrades to the side-by-side format, and is almost entirely made in the USA. Let’s settle in for a longer review and look at the Synergy 2.

 

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Packaging

Packaging for the Synergy 2 is a custom made cardboard box. It’s basic, but neatly done with just the Frelux logo and slogan on the top. The inside flap has a quote and a US flag to remind you the light is made in the US. Inside, the light is protected by a laser cut black foam protector. Accessories are a Frelux sticker and little quick start manual with a link/QR code to download the full manual. 

 

Construction and Machining

The Synergy 2 is made from US sourced 6061 aluminum. It is offered in a large variety of anodizing colors with Black, OD Green (what I have here), and a blue being the core colors at the time of review. The clip is made of grade 5 titanium and is also available in  raw, gold, and blue colors. 

It’s a side-by-side battery design, with the batteries in a parallel circuit. At the front of the light you have two brass contacts that have physical reverse polarity protection provided by a circuit board surrounding these contacts. The result is a light that’s a little picky on 14500 batteries if you decide to run those. Button tops are required, and watch the diameter of your cells too. Frelux has a list of tested batteries that are known to work with the Synergy 2, and it’s probably best you stick to those. VapCell’s 1100mAh models seem to be the best option (14.09mm). My 800mAh Keeppowers (14.41mm) were a bit too large in diameter.

The Internal Construction is a neat design; you have a brass threaded rod spanning the length of the light that threads into the head section, goes through the middle and tail section, and then the tail nut tightens everything in place and provides compression on the o-rings on each section to provide water resistance. The switch up front is an electronic switch, but it’s a very satisfying feeling too; it’s solid and crisp. The switch also has a mechanical lock feature which I recommend using during carry. Just rotate it clockwise and the button physically can’t press the e-switch. There isn’t any visual sign it’s locked, which is a little disappointing, but it’s an effective solution and keeps the UI simple. The Synergy 2 doesn’t carry a formal water rating, but Ben has tested it in a 8ft column of water overnight without a problem, so it should be ok in most situations. 

The tail brings the light all together; externally it has a nice USA engraved on one side of the black button and the battery orientation diagram on the other. The tail nut is a cool piece it’s what holds the entire light together and holds the clip on the light (along with the dovetail) during battery changes via an o-ring, which is a nice improvement over the Synergy 1. Internally there is a circuit board with three springs-two for the batteries and one for the brass center rod.

 

Machining 

One of the reasons why I enjoy this light is all the machining content that is shared on the Frelux Instagram page. I am a want-to-be machinist. I enjoy watching several YouTubers make stuff, and just want a machine to play with. Ben of Frelux produces these lights in his home shop with a Brother CNC machine. Make sure you check out the video version of this review for some of this machining footage.

What’s somewhat unique here is how he has setup the 4th Axis on his machine along with the four sided pallet design, to maximize his machining times and get the most work done per cycle. With the pallet design it’s almost like a 5th axis machine. He designed a tool that mounts in the mill to allow the mill to rotate the parts in the fixture and continue machining without human interaction. The Synergy 2 took all of this into account during the design process. It allows him to maximize his time while the CNC is running to get the next pallet of parts ready and do other finishing and assembly tasks. The end result is a light that was designed with production and keeping the overall final product affordable in mind. All tumbling and anodizing is done in house for tighter tolerances on quality. Even the soldering of sub components, finish assembly, packaging, and shipping are done at the Frelux headquarters. 

 

Size and Weight

I measured the overall length at 95mm, width at 41.6mm, and thickness at 21mm not including the clip. Weight with Vapcell 14500 batteries is 6oz or 170g. This makes for a decently heavy light for its size and material. This design inherently has more material left after machining than a typical cylinder light. More aluminum could be removed through more complex machining internally, but it would greatly add to the complexity and overall cost. As far as competition there really are not many other side by side AA lights on the market to compare it to, so can we say class leading? 

Retention

The retention of this light is interesting. I have to first start with the size and how that impacts its pocket carry. I enjoy carrying a 14500 sized light, especially in warmer months as I wear more shorts. Since cargo shorts are no longer fashionable or accepted in my house, the result is less pocket space and an EDC to suit. With jeans it’s a bit of a different story. I find that despite the added width of the side by side format, there is still room for the light in my left front pocket and my phone deeper down in the jeans pocket. It’s too big for the coin pocket that you typically find on the right front side of many jeans. This is where the Synergy 1 was just about the perfect size.

That said one of the Synergy 2’s new features is it’s tension adjustable pocket clip. This is a neat design, the clip is retained in a dovetail in the tail section and then the tail nut that holds the tail section on to the light controls the clip’s ability to slide closer or further away from the body, thus setting the tension. It can be very tight or fairly loose, so it’s adjustable to a variety of different pocket materials. That said the very end of the clip isn’t flared out much so it can sometimes be a little hard to get started onto a pocket. Frelux does include a small adhesive vinyl sticker to place where the clip makes contact with the body to help prevent excessive wear on the anodizing. It’s a nice touch but I wish more then one was included in the package.

 

Grip in the hand is still fairly comfortable. If I choke up a bit I can still get all 5 fingers on the light. It’s a kind of modified pistol grip, if your thumb is on the light jimping on the top, the jimping on the bottom ends up fitting well with my middle finger. I do wish the jimping was slightly deeper and a little more aggressive. 

LED & Beamshots

The Synergy 2 is using a Samsung LH351D LED at 5000k and 90 CRI. This is a great emitter in my opinion and is quickly becoming one of my favorites that’s in current production. It’s a nice combination of tint, output, and high CRI. It’s surrounded by a smooth fairly deep reflector, with an anti reflective coated glass lens on top. There is just a hint of tint shift in the very center of the beam. I only noticed this when shining it at full power onto a white surface, it’s not noticeable during real world use. The resulting beam does have a pronounced hot center and ring at the edges before you get into the spill. Practically this isn’t a bad thing and the deeper reflector helps the light throw better than I initially expected. That said, I would prefer to see an orange peel reflector to smooth that transition out a little further.

This light is using a driver that Frelux had designed specifically for this light and it’s circuit boards are produced and populated in the USA. It has a ramping UI that I will speak more about here in a minute. The light is capable of running on the three most common chemistries of AA sized batteries. Standard Alkaline batteries, Ni-MH producing a maximum of 250 lumens, and Lithium Ion 14500’s producing a maximum of 700 lumens. The driver features memory, Low Voltage Protection(LVP), and temperature protection as well. No PWM was noticed with either battery type. 

 

Heat and Runtime

I ran three runtimes a few times with this light to see the differences. I focused on rechargeable batteries since that’s what most people will run this light with most of the time.

For my test with 14500’s (Lithium Ion) I used 2x VapCell 14500’s. Mine happened to be flat tops which won’t run in this light, but thankfully some small 1mm magnets worked to get around this until my button tops arrive. I got three minutes of the highest output before this light stepped down due to thermals. As you can see the heat continued to increase here but everything was pretty tame, peaking at 33.4C (which is basically body temperature). It’s a safe temp, almost too safe, as I would prefer a bit longer runtime for a little more heat. From there the light ran at 42% relative output for 2 hours and 13 minutes, before stepping down to about 18% relative output and running for another 10 minutes before shutting off. LVP was measured at 3V for each cell.

Next for my runtimes I tried with some older Eneloops (4000mAh Total). Simply put the output here is extremely stable for the entire runtime, and the light ran until 2 hours and 20 minutes of output. The last test I did was with some Amazon Basics High Capacity Ni-Mh batteries. These are said to be rebranded Eneloop Pros but at about ½ the cost. Mine averaged 2475mAh each after testing the cells independently. Overall runtime here was 3 hours and 4 minutes. The extra roughly 800mAh buys you about 45 minutes of extra very stable runtime. Heat on either Ni-Mh was basically ambient temps.

While the light does run on the three different chemistries of batteries, it’s my opinion that the best option is really lithium ion 14500s as these give the most output and still a good amount of runtime for an EDC style light of this size. Alkalines should be the battery of last resort due to their lower output and potential for leaking; it would be a shame to damage the light from preventable corrosion. Since the batteries are in parallel the light will run with only one battery if you wanted. Same outputs, but just less runtime. It can be a weight savings measure or if there was only one cell left in the package in an urgent situation.

The driver has one odd quirk that you should be aware of if you run the light until low voltage protection kicks in. If it takes longer than 30 seconds to change the batteries there is a good chance the light won’t turn back on with fresh cells. The solution is to just leave the tail piece off for 2 minutes to reset the driver. The technical reason for this is there are two sets of code for each voltage range the driver operates on. This could have been eliminated but it would have increased the driver’s parasitic drain, which no one wants. 

 

UI

The Synergy 2 is using its own UI system, but don’t let that be a worry. It’s simple and familiar. It’s a simple ramping UI. From off, a long press of the button will give you a shortcut to the lowest mode of output. From here a long press again will start the light ramping up in brightness which takes about 2 seconds to reach the top output. Unlike other flashlights there is no flash to let you know you’re at the top or bottom of the range, but this isn’t an issue as the light just stops and doesn’t cycle over. While ramping you can stop anywhere and press the button again to reverse your direction of the ramp. Double press from on or off to jump to maximum output. There are no blinking modes on the Synergy 2, and I don’t miss them personally. 

 

Pros

  • Great emitter choice, nice tint and high CRI
  • Multi Chemistry battery support (Alkaline/NiMH & Liion)
  • Impeccable Fit and Finish
  • Made in the USA!
  • Lots of color options but they are not always all available or published.

 

Cons

  • No moonlight mode, lowest mode of operation is approximately 2 lumens with Ni-MH batteries and 5 lumens with 14500s.
  • The light is a little picky about the length and diameter of 14500s
  • The side-by-side format takes up a decent amount of pocket real estate. 

 

Conclusion

The Frelux Synergy 2 is a unique light in the flashlight market. It’s a custom light in the sense that it’s made by one man in his garage in the USA, to exacting standards. Everything about it but the LED and eSwitch are custom designed for this light and made in the USA. Ben machines the light himself, anodizes them inhouse in a variety of colors, solders the USA made circuit boards, and does final assembly and testing himself (and sometimes with the help of the kids). The result is a light that has very tight quality control and superb attention to detail. 

 

It has creative design features too, like you can mix and match body pieces with other Synergy 2’s to create your own color and button combinations. The door is open to different materials for the body sections and buttons too, if he chooses to make this not only a custom light but a highly customizable one too. 

 

The adjustable tension clip is a smart design that I find works pretty well, and being deep carry I find it’s retention is good tool. It stays in place too during battery changes, which is an upgrade over the Synergy 1. This isn’t all the clip does though; it can also be used to tighten the brass nut that keeps the center section mounted to the head too. 

The Synergy 2 does all this at a price that’s less than your typical custom light that’s made in the USA. It’s a light I have thoroughly enjoyed watching develop on the Frelux Instagram  account, and mine will definitely be in my EDC rotation. I imagine I will carry it more when I am wearing jeans vs shorts due to its width, but that’s largely a personal preference with how I carry a knife and smartphone too.

These are truly custom made lights at this point, with Frelux taking preorders and then producing lights in batches and finishing them to your color specifications. So if you are interested in one, be prepared for a potential wait. Wait times so far have been fairly reasonable in my experience, with Frelux being careful about how many preorders they take. So if you want one, make sure to join the Frelux Facebook page and follow them on Instagram too so you know when preorders open.

Overall this is a fun light and one you should definitely check out if you want to get something unique, custom designed, and made in the USA.

Frelux Synergy 2 Order Page:  https://frelux.com/
Synergy 2 Manual:  https://frelux.com/pages/s2
Frelux Instagram Page:  https://www.instagram.com/frelux/
Frelux Facebook Group:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/265291334054570/

Kizer Noble Knife Review (Ki4550, S35VN, Titanium, Sebastian Irawan)

Today I have a new knife from Kizer on my review table; the Kizer Noble. It was announced at Shotshow 2020 and is a flipper style knife with a 3.5” blade, 3.25” effective cutting edge, titanium scales, urban style EDC knife and it comes in at just 3 ounces. This is a prototype version that Kizer asked if I would be interested in taking a look at and I jumped at the chance. The expected launch date is sometime in July of 2020 but that may be delayed due to the pandemic situation. That said, like all of my other reviews, I will remain impartial and give my true opinions on it, good, not so good, and ugly. 

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The Basics

In case you don’t know who Kizer is, they are a Chinese knife brand making high quality yet affordable knives. They are known for using genuine blade steels and other materials and high quality workmanship at affordable prices. They are one of the origins of high end Chinese knife manufacturing. Kizer is creating new designs and partnering with respected custom knife designers in the knife community too.

 

The designer of this knife is Indonesian Sebastian Irawan, and if you follow him on social media like I do, this knife is very much in his style.  He has worked with Kizer in the past with a few other designs like the Raja, and Kobold for this year. The speed holes not only achieve a reduction in overall weight, but you can tell they are part of the design element and overall aesthetic .

 

The Noble is a flipper design, and it has a very small tab with some jimping at the top of the tab. Despite it’s small size the blade flips well with a light switch style motion. The small tab also helps comfort in the pocket too. I like how Kizer has chosen to label the steel at the very bottom of the tab too keeping the blade cleaner of markings.

 

Stats & Comparison

Some official Stats from Kizer.

  • Overall length came in at 7.875”
  • Blade length is 3.50”
  • Cutting length is 3.25”
  • Blade width is 0.75”
  • Blade thickness is 0.13”
  • Steel is CPM-S35VN
  • Weight is 3.0 oz
  • MSRP is expected around $155 mark
  • Screw sizes on this are T6 and T8 Torx

 

Compared to other knives

The knife is fairly ambidextrous in my left hand. I had no issues flipping it and when closing I was easily able to pull the lock bar back with my thumb to close it. The clip is reverseable to the left side scale. I will add the caveat I am fairly ambidextrous myself so what’s easy for me might not be quite as easy for you.

 

Packaging

Packaging for the Kizer Noble is quite nice. It’s a flat black box and once the inner sleeve is removed you get a bifold flat black box. Inside is a small folder containing all the paperwork (Manual, Warranty, etc.) and a cleaning cloth. The knife is then inside a nylon pouch with a Kizer vinyl patch sewn on. It’s a nice presentation.

 

The Good 

The Noble is made from Grade 5 TC4 Titanium with a smooth, very tumbled finish. All the edges here are nicely chamfered where they should be, no complaints there. Inside the scales have been milled to reduce weight bringing the overall weight down to 3 ounces on my scale. The lockbar has a steel insert and I didn’t find any lock stick.  If you would like to see a takedown and cleaning video, let me know in the comments below. 

The blade is running on ceramic bearings, and the blade itself is made from domestic U.S. Crucible Industries’ CPM S35VN. It’s widely regarded as a fantastic price to performance steel for EDC uses and the stone washed finish helps hide any scratches it picks up during use. I have this steel on other knives and have been happy with its edge retention and relative ease of sharpening. The blade’s grind is a great slicer with its full flat grind style, that transitions to a “mild” Tanto.

Personally, I am not a huge Tanto fan but this one is mild, and I have found it to be quite useful, especially when opening packages where I don’t want to dip a tip too deep into the contents. The blade spine is rounded, so may present a bit of a challenge on your guided angle sharpening systems, but it is uniform so I don’t think it will be too large of an issue. Where the Tanto meets the belly the grind isn’t super uniform side to side but that’s nitpicking.  Overall, it’s a good blade and one that shouldn’t be too hard to sharpen at home if you are comfortable with multi angle blades.

 A few notes about construction here, the screws holding the knife together are all using T6 Torx screws. They do have some blue locktight on them but it’s very weak and they were easy to break free with a quality driver like my Boker Wiha Torx driver set here. The pivot is using a T8 Torx screw.

 Blade centering from the factory is perfect to my eyes. There is no side to side or up and down play, and lockup is a consistent 50% on my flips.

Kizer’s warranty is a limited lifetime warranty against parts and defects. They will usually ship replacement parts to consumers at low or no cost for those that want to do their own repairs. Depending on who you buy from the retailers can also help with repairs if needed. Shipping it back to Kizer in China is an option too but that does add significant time and cost. If you are doing you own knife maintenance, I don’t see a problem with this approach.

 

The Not so Good

Deployment here is quite good, smooth and easy, but like most frame locks it all depends on where your fingers land. This has a narrow width handle that I like when in my pocket, but this also means my fingers sometimes rest on the lock bar, making it harder to deploy. A quick shift of the finger position and all is well. My ZT-0460 has a similar design and problem. Maybe it’s just how I hold a knife. On the Noble at least your fingers have the speed holes to guide your hand for a comfortable deployment. The flipper tab itself is small, but does have jimping, and it stays out of the way; it’s not going to peck at your pocket contents. Overall, it functions well with a light switch style flick. 

Balance point on this knife is about an inch behind the pivot, not ideal but it’s not something I don’t notice to be honest. When I hold the knife in my right hand, I get a bit of a hot spot on my pointer index finger on the bottom of the scales if I really grip tightly, not a huge thing but something to mention. 

 

The Ugly

I like deep carry clips. If a knife or flashlight rides up too high in my pocket, I just don’t end up carrying it as much, and I like to conceal my EDC and I usually find it’s more comfortable too. This brings me to the clip on the Noble. It’s deep carry, and personally I like the design, but at least on this prototype it feels thin and kind of flimsy and it doesn’t make great contact with the scale (*took out “body” because it sounds like “your body” not the knife body) squarely. This hurt pocket retention, it never fell out of my pocket or came close, but it also doesn’t feel quite as secure as I would like. On thinner pants like dress slacks, it could be more of an issue than jeans. The clip is 3D milled clip out of titanium and it feels like it’s just one snag away from snapping.

I spoke to Kizer about this and they are taking it seriously and plan to make some revisions before the knife goes to production. To be fair, I have not had a problem with the clip snagging or anything during daily carry for several weeks. 

 

Conclusion

My use for this knife is an urban EDC and in the office. There isn’t a ton of texture here for rough or tactical use but for me that’s not the market this knife is designed for. For urban EDC it works well. It’s lightweight overall, and the blade is slicy. It’s an excellent package and letter opener, and has stood up to a bit more rigorous use with some cardboard breakdown duty and thick plastic strap cutting with ease. Despite the smaller flipper tab, the knife opens well as long as you don’t have your fingers on the lock bar. (Duh)

Personally, I like the look of it, and I feel like this is one of those designs that is going to be; love it or hate it. The speed holes save weight and the milling around them adds some style. I like that you can see through it as well as the flow-through construction. It’s more second factor cool and that works for me. 

Overall I am a fan of the Kizer Noble, it ticks my boxes for an urban EDC knife, with good materials, good value, and an interesting but functional design. Kizer has said they expect the production version of this knife to ship out to retailers in July of 2020, but production and shipping are difficult right now so that is subject to change. MSRP is expected around the $155 mark according to Kizer. Some of the well-known knife retailers like BladeHQ have it listed already and have an email notification that you can sign up for if you’re interested. If you like what you have seen here, go check it out!

 

Full Image Gallery: https://imgur.com/a/X466PZb

Kizer’s official website for the Noble http://www.tizi-outdoor.com/goods/details/1321

See it at BladeHQ https://www.bladehq.com/item–Kizer-Noble-Frame-Lock-Knife–106912