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

Sofirn SP40 Review (Best Budget 18650 Headlamp of 2019)

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

 

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Packaging & Accessories

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

Construction

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

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

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

 

Size/Weight and Comparisons

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

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

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

LED/Beamshots/Heat/Runtime

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

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

Official output is listed at the following

Low – 5 lumens

Medium – 90 lumens

High – 450 lumens

Turbo – 1200 lumens

 

UI

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

 

Recharging

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

Pro

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

 

Con’s

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

 

Conclusion

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

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

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