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  1. Introduction Having someone to hold your torch so you can have both hands free is useful in many situations, especially if they are good at pointing it where you want to see and of course, not in your eyes. When no such brilliant helper can be found, a head torch can do just as good a job. Head torches come in many different varieties, ranging from low CRI - high output, to illuminate large areas to high CRI - low output, for illuminating closer, with better quality light. Sofirn sent us one of their head torches to review, that can combine both: The Sofirn HS20. The Sofirn HS20 is a dual head lamp, with independent controls for a high output - low CRI and a low(er) output - high CRI emitter. This sounds like a brilliant idea, so let's delve into it and see how they've done! Unboxing The Sofirn HS20 comes in a generic brown box with the company logo stamped on the top and a sticker specifying the exact model it contains. The torch and all the accessories are tucked inside in no particular order. The accessories include a 1m (3ft) long USB A to USB C charging cable, 2 spare O-rings, the head strap and the manual. The torch itself comes protected in a bubble-wrap bag. There is a label on the torch, held with a rubber band, reminding the end user to remove the insulation paper from the battery (which is shipped inside the torch) so the torch can function. The design of the Sofirn HS20 makes it a dedicated head torch, as it is not convenient to operate in hand. It consists of a tube, with 2 end caps and a protrusion in the middle of the tube, which houses the 2 emitters and their optics. On top of the protrusion there are 2 buttons, to control the 2 emitters separately. The emitter on the left (as you face the torch) is a Cree XHP50.2 inside an orange peel reflector. Despite being marketed as a spotlight, this configuration with a large dye emitter and a shallow, orange peel reflector is not going to focus the light into a narrow beam and have a lot of throw. I consider it instead to be the high output option. The emitter on the right is a Samsung LH351D CRI90 behind a TIR optic, which is protected by a glass lens. This is marketed as a flood light and indeed the TIR optic makes it floody. It is also the high CRI, lower output option. One of the end caps is marked with the USB symbol. The other has the mandatory CE / RoHS / do not throw in the bin markings. Unscrewing the USB marked end cap reveals the USB C charging port. Unscrewing the other end cap reveals the battery, with the insulating paper on top. The battery is a Sofirn branded, button top, 3000mAh, 18650, Li-Ion battery. A brass puck at the back of the driver PCB makes contact with the positive terminal of the battery while a thick, good quality spring on the end cap makes contact with the negative terminal. The torch fits securely in the silicone cradle of the head band and the straps are soft and adjustable. Build Quality The build quality of the Sofirn HS20 is... OK. All parts fit together nicely and the anodization is uniform but there are some milling defects that can be seen under the anodization, especially on the edges of the milled grooves at the back. This has no functional consequences whatsoever, of course, but it detracts from the aesthetics. Specifications The specifications of the Sofirn HS20 as found on the company's website can be viewed below. The high output Cree XHP50.2 emitter has a CCT of 6000K-6500K and a CRI of 70 while the high CRI Samsung LH351D emitter has a CCT of 5000K and a CRI of 90. The USB C port facilitates fast charging with 2A current and can charge the included battery in 2.5 hours. User Interface The Sofirn HS20 features one switch per emitter, for fully independent control. From OFF: Click throw / flood button to turn on throw / flood emitter. Press and hold to select modes low / medium / high. Click to turn off. Double click throw / flood button to turn on throw / flood emitter on Turbo. Click to turn off. Triple click any button to activate lock out. The flood emitter will flash twice. Clicking any button while in lock out mode will make the flood emitter flash twice to indicate the torch is in lock out mode. Triple click throw / flood button to go out of lockout mode and turn on the throw / flood emitter. Press and hold throw / flood button to turn on throw / flood emitter on Eco mode. Keep holding for more then 1sec to go to and cycle through the standard modes: low / medium / high. Click to turn off. From ON: Click the throw / flood button to turn off the throw / flood emitter. Double click the throw / flood button to go to Turbo on the throw / flood emitter. Click to return to the previous mode. Triple click any button to cycle through throw / flood / throw + flood. Long press the throw / flood button to select modes low / medium / high on the throw / flood emitter. Click to turn off. The switches are also lit, to provide information on the battery level. Modes and Run Times The Sofirn HS20 has 5 modes for each emitter: Eco, Low, Medium, High and Turbo. The output of each mode for each emitter as well as the 2 emitters combined together, according to Sofirn, is shown in the following table. My measurements are in the table below in orange, while the company specifications are in black. It looks like the specifications of the Sofirn HS20 are quite accurate! Size Comparison Here is a side by side photo of the Sofirn HS20 with the Sofirn HS10. The Sofirn HS20 is quite compact for a dual emitter head torch with a 18650 battery. Photometry I took some photometry readings with an Opple Light Master Pro. The results are in the following table. The CCTs of both emitters seem to be warmer than spec. The CRI readings are what is expected. On the other hand, it looks like the Opple Light master pro has trouble reading the Duv of the Cree XHP50.2 emitter, which, as you can see in the following photos, taken with a white balance of 5500K, is definitely not on the rosy side. The photos show the Sofirn HS20 on the right, compared to the Sofirn HS10 on the left. The Sofirn HS10 uses a Samsung LH351D 5000K emitter, which is the same with the Sofirn HS20 flood emitter. On the first photo we see the Sofirn HS20 spot light, on the second the flood light and on the third, both. Beam Profile As there are 2 emitters with their separate optics in the Sofirn HS20, we have 2 beam profiles and of course, the combination of both. The first photo shows the beam profile of the spotlight, with the Cree XHP50.2 emitter and the shallow, orange peal reflector. The second photo shows the beam profile of the floodlight, with the Samsung LH351D emitter and the TIR optic. It is obvious that the first has a tighter hot spot than the second and as it also has more output, it is certain it will throw further. In the last photo, we have the combined beam profile of both emitters. Beam Shots Here are some beam shots of the Sofirn HS20 flood light, spot light and dual emitters, at Low, Medium, High and Turbo. The following video shows a comparison of the Sofirn HS20 to the Sofirn HS10, on Turbo, using both emitters of the Sofirn HS20. The distance to the end of the alley is 70m. Driver The driver of the Sofirn HS20 features thermal step down, reverse polarity protection and low voltage protection. It is a FET driver and uses PWM on all modes to control the output. The PWM is of high frequency and not visible to the eye. Here is the PWM when only the spotlight is on: Here is the PWM when only the floodlight is on: And this is the PWM with both emitters on: The camera can see the PWM but the eye cannot. Current Draw The following table shows the current draw of the Sofirn HS20, using the included battery. Charging The Sofirn HS20 comes with USB C onboard charging. The battery included with the Sofirn HS20 is rated at 3000mAh and I measured it at 3043mAh. The battery's internal resistance was measured at 50mΩ. It looks like the battery included with the Sofirn HS20 is of high quality. The torch has under voltage protection and turns off when the battery voltage drops to 2.88V. Charging the battery of the Sofirn HS20 is very easy. Just plug the included USB A to USB C cable and any USB charger that can provide the required maximum current of 2A into the USB C socket on the torch to charge it. Using a lower output charger will still work but the charging will be slower and take more time. There is also support for USB C to USB C cable charging. The indicative LED next to the USB C socket will turn red while the battery is charging and green to indicate a full charge. Charging the Sofirn HS20 battery from 2.88V to 4.12V, where the charging terminated, took 2 hours, 28 minutes and 2 seconds, which is in accordance with the 2.5 hours charging specification. The maximum current drawn was 1.7688A. Output & Runtimes The Sofirn HS 20 is rated at a maximum output of 2700 Lumen and a maximum throw of 136m. I do not own a multi thousand dollar worth integrating sphere, just a logging Lumen meter and a home made integrating tube. The array is calibrated with 3 separate, professionally measured lights and gives me consistent results, but there is definitely room for error and deviations are to be expected. Running the Sofirn HS20 with the included battery and using both emitters yielded a maximum output of 2616 Lumen at turn on and 2456 Lumen at 30 seconds (ANSI). That is very close to spec. The outputs of the spotlight and floodlight emitters were also up to spec. You can see the full runtimes of each emitter separately and both together, on Turbo, in the graph below. Here are the first 10 minutes, in greater detail. I measured the throw of the Sofirn HS20, using the included battery and both emitters, at 138m (4732cd). The spotlight was measured at 127m (4002cd) and the floodlight at 71m (1271cd). Conclusion The Sofirn HS20 is a value for money, dual head torch that includes a high CRI floodlight and a high power spotlight with independent controls and an intuitive and simple user interface. It comes with a comfortable, adjustable head strap, USB C 2A charging and a 3000mAh 18650 battery. The build quality is good and the design is very functional, but the finish could be better aesthetically, as there are some small imperfections in the milling, under the anodization. The driver uses PWM to control the output in all modes, but the PWM is high frequency and not visible or in any way tiring to the eye. The driver also has thermal regulation, low voltage protection and reverse polarity protection. If you are in the UK, you can purchase the Sofirn HS20 from Amazon for £56.99, minus a 10% voucher available at the time of this review. From anywhere in the world, you can purchase it from the Sofirn Website for $41.99 plus the tax for your country. For Greece, the tax is $5.46 and brings the total cost to $47.45. Let us summarise the pros and cons of the Sofirn HS20. Pros + Dual emitters, 1 high output Cree XHP50.2 and 1 high CRI Samsung LH351D, with independent controls. + Simple and intuitive user interface. + High and true to spec output. + Temperature regulation, low voltage protection and reverse polarity protection. + USB C 2A onboard charging with USB C to USB C support. + 3000mAh 18650 Li-Ion battery included. + Comfortable and adjustable head strap. + IP68. + Value for money. Cons - Small imperfections in the milling, under the anodization.  TheLAB.GR Thanks to Sofirn for providing the torch for review Polymeros Achaniotis 13/04/2022
  2. Introduction There are many quality torches out there for the enthusiasts and the collectors and even more cheap and cheerful ones for people who just want to have some light in the dark. But the characteristic that the majority of buyers are after is the one that is actually the hardest to find: Value for money. This is the area where, in my experience, Sofirn actually excels, as I have yet to find a brand that balances quality and price as well as they do. And while they are still more expensive than most cheap and cheerful (aka rubbish) torches on the market, they are not so by much, making their offering quite appealing to many users. The model we will be looking at in this review is the Sofirn SC31 Pro. The Sofirn SC31 Pro is an EDC style torch, so it is a pocketable size, packed with features and providing a very decent light output, at a very competitive price. Intrigued? Let us see exactly what it does and how it accomplishes it. Unboxing The Sofirn SC31 Pro comes in a colourful cardboard box, which is common for many Sofirn models and the exact model is indicated only on the sticker at the back of the box. As the box is common for many models, no features or specifications are indicated on it. Inside the box is a clear plastic moulded case that holds the torch securely and protects it during shipping. In the recess, under the plastic case, we find the accessories as well as the manual. The accessories include the charging cable, the manual and a zip lock bag with the rest of the accessories. The charging cable is USB type A to USB type C and its length is 104cm, including the plugs. The zip lock bag contains a lanyard and 2 spare O-rings. The Sofirn SC31 Pro is made of aluminium with black anodization and has a side button and a pre-installed clip. The body has knurling, to make it grippy and the tailcap features a hole for the lanyard. The sides of the driver portion feature some small fins for heat dissipation. Everything is nicely finished and chamfered, except for the lanyard hole and the fins that are somewhat sharper, but not much. On the opposite side of the button there is a rubber cover and under it, a USB type C charging port. The tail cap has some knurling that helps to grip it and screw it on or off. The battery ships inside the light but an insulator prevents it from touching the negative spring so the light cannot be activated during shipping. The threads are square cut and come nicely greased. They are anodized, so even a slight unscrewing of the tail cap will break electrical contact and mechanically lock the light. The included battery is a Sofirn branded button top 18650 with a capacity rating of 3000mAh. The battery tube can unscrew from the torch head also. This allows it to be replaced with the optional Sofirn 18350 Short Tube, available on the Sofirn website for $1.49. There are springs on both the tail cap and the head of the torch, ensuring compatibility with different length 18650 batteries and also the continuity of the circuit during drops and bumps. The springs are thick and of high quality. They are more than adequate for the current this torch draws. The included tail cap has a lanyard hole (which could have smoother corners) and is not magnetic. An optional, Sofirn Magnetic Tailcap is available at the Sofirn website for $1.69. The Sofirn SC31 Pro features a smooth reflector and a cool (6500K - in our sample) or neutral (5000K) Luminus SST-40 emitter. Quality The build quality of the Sofirn SC31 Pro is surprisingly good - for the price point and feature set - and on par with other Sofirn lights. The fit and finish is excellent, the knurling is of good quality and the anodization is without any flaws. There are a couple of somewhat sharp edges - specifically on the fins and the lanyard hole - and the 2 indicative LEDs on the switch (which can be turned off or set to blinking mode through the Andúril UI) are not quite aligned, which is a perfectionist's nightmare, but these are details that would raise the cost and can be considered acceptable at this price point. Specifications The specifications of the Sofirn SC31 Pro, as found on the company's website, are as follows: The net weight is declared to be 59g. I weighed it at 61.7g without the battery and 107.7 with the battery. The length and width of the torch are not mentioned. I measured the length to be 11.5cm and the width 2.6cm. The Sofirn SC31 Pro is rated at 2000 lumen light output and 200m of throw, which is an excellent performance for its size. User Interface The user interface of the Sofirn SC31 Pro is a love or hate deal, as the light features the Andúril UI. Personally, I love it and deeply enjoy the fact that it is feature packed but still provides simple, quick and intuitive access to the basic functions. Others hate it and consider it too much work, as the manual is extensive and even the flow chart can be intimidating to look at. In my experience, after the initial shock, it is very easy to start using the light and have an occasional look at the flow chart to remind oneself of the more advanced functions. An important thing to do when you take any Andúril light out of the box is to perform a temperature calibration, as the light will depend on it to perform proper thermal control and balance brightness with temperature. That is also the best time to set the temperature limit. I find 50C to be a good temperature limit and the tests done in this review were done on a calibrated light and with a 50C temperature limit. Beam-shots The beam pattern of the Sofirn SC31 Pro is a product of the LED type and size and the reflector it uses. With the 5x5mm SST-40 and a smooth reflector, it is not surprising that the result is a somewhat tight hot spot that throws nicely, surrounded by a nice, usable spill. All in all, a very balanced and usable EDC beam pattern. There are various rings and coronas that are typical of smooth reflectors and may annoy white wall hunters, but those are unavoidable with smooth reflectors and the smooth reflector is what is giving the Sofirn SC31 Pro a very nice throw. I tested the Sofirn SC31 Pro over a distance of 70m, which is more than adequate for an EDC style torch. The following video shows a comparison of the Sofirn SC31 Pro with the very well known and much more expensive Olight Baton Pro. Both torches are rated at 2000 lumen and it is obvious that the Sofirn SC31 Pro has a tighter hot spot while the Olight Baton Pro has more spill. I will let each of you decide which one you prefer. Driver The driver of the Sofirn SC31 Pro uses PWM to dim the light, on all levels, except, of course, on full. The PWM is visible to the camera but not visible to the naked eye, on any level. Even though I prefer constant current drivers, PWM is an efficient and cost effective way to achieve LED dimming and if it is done at a high enough frequency, as seems to be the case here, it is not a problem. Tint The tint of the Sofirn SC31 Pro is the cool, greenish (above BBL) tint that is expected of the Luminous SST-40 emitter. It is very similar to the tint of the Olight Baton Pro. Next to them, for reference, the Fireflies E07 with Nichia 219b sw45k emitters which are high CRI and very rosy (below BBL). The SST-40 used is not high CRI. Charging The battery included with the Sofirn SC31 Pro is rated at 3000mAh and I measured it to be exactly that! The light has under voltage protection and turns off when the battery voltage drops to 2.8V. The battery internal resistance was measured at 80mΩ. Charging the Sofirn SC31 Pro is very easy. Just lift the rubber cover and insert the provided USB type C cable to charge the light. The indicative LEDs on the switch turn red to indicate the light is charging. They turn green when the charging is completed, at 4.16V. Charging the Sofirn SC31 Pro from 2.8V to 4.16V took 2 hours, 6 minutes and 53 seconds. The maximum current drawn was 1.8859A, so a charger that can provide at least 2A is recommended. A charger is not provided with the light but you can use your phone charger. Current Draw The Sofirn SC31 Pro has a very low parasitic drain of 1mA, with the indicative LEDs on the switch, on (they can be turned off). The light also has a very low moonlight mode that only draws 4mA. The maximum current draw, on Turbo, is 6.11A, which the provided battery is more than capable of. Output & Runtimes The Sofirn SC31 Pro is rated at 2000 lumen output and 200m of throw. I measured it at 1899 lumen at turn on (Turbo), 1785 lumen ANSI (30sec), while throw actually exceeded the specs by 10% and measured at 220m (12108cd). The temperature was very well controlled, as you can see in the runtime graphs below. Turning on the light at Turbo, will cause a rapid rise in temperature, followed by a huge dip in output, while the temperature stabilizes. This can be avoided if the light is not on Turbo, but used at a more moderate output level. The light was temperature calibrated, according to the manual, and the temperature limit was set at 50C. The actual temperatures on the button and on the body of the light did not exceed 51.5C and 38.2C, respectively. All in all, the Sofirn SC31 Pro gave very usable light for about 2.5 hours, when turned on at Turbo, which is very respectable. Usage at more moderate levels, will of course, result in higher runtimes and lower, if any, output dips, due to temperature management. The Full and 10' runtime graphs tell the story in great detail. All significant changes in output are marked. Conclusion The Sofirn SC31 Pro is a value for money, EDC torch that will not disappoint. Its aluminium body is well made and hard anodized and the fit and finish is beyond its price point. The mildly sharp edges of the fins and the lanyard hole are not a concern, but could have been smoother. The size and weight are great for EDC and the provided 3000mAh 18650 battery allows for ample runtime. The output is more than enough for EDC purposes and the beam profile is very balanced, with enough spill and a lot of throw for its size. The tint of the Luminous SST-40 LED is a cool, above BBL (greenish) tint and the CRI is low, but this is countered by the high lumen output this emitter allows the light to achieve. The driver uses PWM to dim the output, so PWM is present at all output levels, except on full. The frequency of the PWM is high enough to not be visible to the naked eye and did not tire me when using the light. The Sofirn SC31 Pro can be purchased from the Sofirn Website and the cost at the moment this review is written is $25.99, plus $2.99 shipping, worldwide. That is a lot of torch for the money! Let's list the Pros and Cons of the Sofirn SC31 Pro: Pros + Value for money + 6061 Aluminium Alloy construction with good fit and finish + Hard and flawless anodization + USB type C charging + Low Voltage Protection + Thermal regulation + Well balanced beam, good for EDC use + 18650 Li-Ion 3000mAh (actually measured) battery included + Low power and charging LED indicator + Andúril UI + IP68 + At least 2.5 hours of usable light per charge + Compatible with all 18650 batteries + Removable, pre-installed clip + Magnetic tailcap ($1.69), short (18350) tube ($1.49) and diffuser ($1.69) available as optional accessories Cons - The fins and the lanyard hole could have smoother edges - The driver uses PWM to dim the emitter - Indicative LEDs on the switch are not aligned  TheLAB.GR Thanks to Sofirn for providing the light for review Polymeros Achaniotis 25/06/2021
  3. pol77

    Sofirn Q8 Pro

    Introduction There are not many occasions in my every day life where I need more than an EDC sized torch, but there is always some excitement and a smile when wielding a torch of larger proportions and ridiculously high output. Today is such an occasion, so with some excitement - and a smile - I present to you the most powerful torch Sofirn has to offer: The Sofirn Q8 Pro. The Sofirn Q8 Pro is a soda can type torch which promises high output, long run times, a good user interface and other interesting features, all at a very affordable price. Let's put that to the test, shall we? Unboxing The Sofirn Q8 Pro comes in the usual unassuming, generic brown cardboard box that Sofirn likes to use. If it keeps the cost down, I am all for it. Only, in this case, there are two boxes. Inside one of them, we find the torch, protected in bubble wrap, a 1 meter long USB A to USB C charging cable, 2 spare O-rings for the battery tube and 1 spare O-Ring for the bezel, a spare button cover and the manual. The other box contains the optional holster and diffuser, found on the company's website but not offered on Amazon.co.uk at the moment. The torch comes with a little tag, secured around the body with a rubber band. The tag explains that there is an insulator in the battery compartment, stopping the batteries from making contact and thus rendering the torch inoperable, for safe shipping. The insulator needs to be removed before the torch can be used. The Sofirn Q8 Pro is a black, cylindrical light, 132mm long and with a diameter of about 59mm at its widest point, which is the front bezel. The body features knurling which allows for a secure grip without being too aggressive. The button is rubbery, textured and slightly raised, so it is easy to find by touch, but can also be pressed while in a backpack or in a (very large) pocket. Thankfully, there is a lock out option to cover that contingency. The area around the button has some heatsinking in the form of fins, while at 90 degrees to its right there is a rubber flap. Lifting the flap, reveals the USB C charging port. Another 90 degrees to the right, at the exact opposite side of the button, we find a standard 1/4" threaded hole that allows the torch to be mounted on a tripod. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so I will not presume to tell you if the Sofirn Q8 Pro looks good or not, but I can definitely say that it is an elegant and unassuming design that seems to mean business. That is even more true about the business end of the light, which features a quadruple orange peel reflector with deep enough cups to add a bit of throw. The emitters at the bottom of those cups are 4 Cree XHP50.2 6500K LEDs. The battery compartment can be accessed by unscrewing the light into two halves and contains 4 batteries. The front side has an insulator covering which must be removed to reveal the circular battery contacts. The threads are square cut, come pre-greased and operate smoothly. The batteries are Sofirn branded 18650 Li-Ion and rated at 3000mAh. The inner circular battery contact is for the positive contacts of the 4 batteries while the outer circular battery contact gets the negative via the metal body of the battery compartment. The metal body of the battery compartment gets the negative from the batteries through 4 thick double springs at its bottom. The thickness of the springs, the fact that they are double and the whole design seems capable of transferring the power of the batteries to the driver with minimal losses. It is also easy to mechanically lock out the torch by unscrewing the battery compartment by half a turn, thus breaking the contact between its non anodized lip of the battery compartment and the outer circular contact of the head. The driver is secured with 2 screws, which can be removed to access its other side. There, we see 2 black and 2 red cables, that transfer the current from the driver to the emitters. I am not sure why double cabling was preferred to using a bigger gauge cable, but it certainly will help to transfer power with less resistance. The 5 white cables are for the switch and its indicative LEDs. There are no programming pads on the outer side of the driver to update the firmware of the ATTiny85 chip that controls the torch, but the easy access to the inner side means that the same can be accomplished with a SOIC clip directly on the chip. With the insulator out of the way, the Sofirn Q8 Pro s ready for action, which is indicated by the 2 green LEDs on the switch. The diffuser is plastic and fits on top of the torch when it tail stands, but is loose and will fall if the torch is lifted up and tilted. It can also break if it is dropped. I would definitely prefer a silicone diffuser. The holster is adequate and closes securely via a hook and loop stripe at the front. It is functional but I would prefer it if it was made from a thicker material. The back features both a sewn belt loop, as the most secure option and another that is secured via hook and loop, to allow fastening the holster to a belt without unfastening the belt. The holster also features a plastic D ring. Quality The build quality of the Sofirn Q8 Pro is very good and on par with other Sofirn lights. The fit and finish are excellent, the knurling is of good quality and the anodization is without any flaws. The addition of a stainless steel bezel is welcome and adds protection and aesthetics. Specifications The specifications of the Sofirn Q8 Pro, as found on the company's website, are as follows: The torch features 4 Cree XHP50.2 emitters with a CCT of 6500K (cool white - there is also a neutral white version at 5000K) which provide a maximum output of 11000 Lumen and a maximum throw of 400m. It is powered by 4x 3000mAh 18650 Li-Ion batteries, is USB C rechargeable and incorporates a power bank function. The Sofirn Q8 Pro is made of aluminium and is 134mm long and 59mm wide at the bezel. The weight without the batteries is approximately 408g (I measured 418g without the batteries and 604g with the batteries). The Sofirn Q8 Pro is water proof rated equivalent to IPX8. User Interface The user interface of the Sofirn Q8 Pro is a love or hate deal, as the light features the Andúril2 UI. Personally, I love it and deeply enjoy the fact that it is feature packed but still provides simple, quick and intuitive access to the basic functions. Others hate it and consider it too much work, as the manual is extensive and even the flow chart found at the company's website can be intimidating to look at. Andúril2 offers a Simple UI, which the torch comes set to, that allows for all the basic functions, while remaining relatively simple. 10 clicks and hold the last, and you enter the magical realm of the full Andúril2 experience. Give it a chance! You will love it! In my experience, after the initial shock, it is very easy to start using Andúril2 and have an occasional look at the flow chart to remind oneself of the more advanced functions. An important thing to do when you take any Andúril2 light out of the box is to perform a temperature calibration, as the light will depend on it to perform proper thermal control and balance brightness with temperature. That is also the best time to set the temperature limit. I find 50°C to be a good temperature limit and the tests done in this review were done on a calibrated light and with a 50°C temperature limit. Size Comparison The following photos offer a direct size comparison of the Sofirn Q8 Pro to the Olight X7R. the Sofirn Q8 Pro is slightly longer but has a smaller diameter at the head. Tint and Beam Shots The tint of the Sofirn Q8 Pro is the cool, greenish (above BBL) tint that is expected of the Cree XHP50.2 emitters. It is very similar to the tint of the Olight X7R. The XHP50.2 used in the Sofirn Q8 Pro are not high CRI. We can also see from the angle of the beams that the Olight X7R has a floodier beam pattern than the Sofirn Q8 Pro. The beam pattern of the Sofirn Q8 Pro is a product of the LED type and size and the reflector it uses. With the 5x5mm Cree XHP50.2 emitters and orange peel reflector, it is not surprising that the result is a floody beam but the depth of the reflector cups adds some throw. There is a wide hot spot surrounded by a corona ring and a smooth flood of light. I tested the Sofirn Q8 Pro over a distance of 70m. The following video shows a comparison of the Sofirn Q8 Pro to the Olight X7R. Driver The driver of the Sofirn Q8 Pro is a linear, unregulated driver that uses PWM to dim the light, on all levels, except, of course, on full. The PWM is visible to the camera but not visible to the naked eye, on any level. Even though I prefer constant current drivers, PWM is an efficient and cost effective way to achieve LED dimming and if it is done at a high enough frequency, as seems to be the case here, it is not a problem. The driver features thermal regulation, low voltage protection and reverse polarity protection. Current Draw The lowest setting of the Sofirn Q8 Pro (floor of the ramp) only draws 3mA. The top of the ramp draws 8.03A and Turbo requires 22.4A. You can run the Sofirn Q8 Pro with all 4 batteries or with 3 or 2 or even 1 battery. Each of the batteries provided with the Sofirn Q8 Pro can output up to 10A (tested) so in order to get full brightness on Turbo you need to use at least 3 batteries. All measurements were taken with all 4 batteries in the torch. Charging The batteries included with the Sofirn Q8 Pro are rated at 3000mAh and I measured them to be right around that number (2953mAh / 3016mAh / 3032mAh / 2997mAh) The torch has under voltage protection and turns off when the battery voltage drops to 2.9V. The batteries' internal resistance was measured at around 50mΩ (50mΩ / 53mΩ / 54mΩ / 40mΩ). It is clear that the batteries included with the Sofirn Q8 Pro are of high quality. Charging the Sofirn Q8 Pro is very easy. Just lift the rubber cover and connect the provided cable or any other USB C cable to the charging port and its other end to a charger. Both USB A to USB C and USB C to USB C cables can be used as well as any charger, including the ones that support PD. This is very convenient as you can charge the Sofirn Q8 Pro with any USB C cable and charger you have at hand. The blue indicative LEDs on the switch blink while the light is charging and stay steadily on when the charging is completed, at 4.19V. Charging the Sofirn Q8 Pro from 2.9V to 4.19V took 4 hours, 51 minutes and 7 seconds. The maximum current drawn was 2.8385A, so a charger that can provide at least 3A is recommended to achieve the fastest charging speed. A charger is not provided with the light but you can use your phone charger. Power Bank Function A very nice feature of the Sofirn Q8 Pro is its ability to function as a power bank. When the power bank function is in effect, the red indicative LEDs turn on. There is no information available regarding the current that the power bank function can provide through the USB C port so I had to investigate. I found that the Sofirn Q8 Pro can provide a maximum steady output of 3A for 2 hours, 19 minutes and 19 seconds. The output is very stable and the end of the test the voltage of the batteries was 3.15V. The power bank function provided a total of 34.8759Wh while discharging the batteries from 4.19V to 3.15V. Charging the batteries from 2.9V to 4.19V requires, as we saw in the previous section, 48.9621Wh. This means that the power bank function has a efficiency of over 71%, without even taking into account that there is still some energy remaining in the batteries as the power bank function stops when their voltage drops to 3.15V and they can still be discharged to 2.9V by using the torch. Output & Runtimes The Sofirn Q8 Pro is rated at 11000 Lumen output and 400m of throw. I do not own a multi thousand dollar worth integrating sphere, just a logging Lumen meter and a home made integrating tube. The array is calibrated with 3 separate, professionally measured lights and gives me consistent results, but there is definitely room for error and deviations are to be expected. According to my measurements, the maximum output (at turn on) was an impressive 14310 lumen, which is 30% more than the advertised 11000! ANSI output (at 30 seconds) was 13365 Lumen and 45 seconds it was still 13320 Lumen. Then the output declined steadily to 8859 Lumen at 1 minute, 4396 Lumen at 1.5 minutes and 2277 Lumen at 2 minutes. It remained at that level until 00:05:45 and then dropped to 1359 Lumen. The rest can be seen in the graphs below. The first graph is the full runtime graph that my equipment can record with a sampling interval of 5 seconds. At 29 hours, 9 minutes and 55 seconds, the Sofirn Q8 Pro was still on, with an output of 0.5 Lumen. Most of the action happens in the first 5 hours though, so here is a graph that shows that part of the runtime in greater detail. And here are the first 10 minutes. The temperature was very well controlled, as you can see in the runtime graphs. The head and body temperatures are very close, which shows the excellent thermal conductivity of the torch. The torch was temperature calibrated, according to the manual, and the temperature limit was set at 50C. The actual temperatures near the button and on the body of the torch can be seen on the graphs and were kept well within the set limit. All in all, the Sofirn Q8 Pro gave outputs of over 1000 Lumen for over 3 hours and 40 minutes, when turned on at Turbo, which is very respectable, especially considering the very high initial output. Usage at more moderate levels, will of course, result in higher runtimes. The maximum intensity of the light was measured at 52241cd, which translates to a throw of 457m. That is 14.25% more than the 400m advertised. Conclusion The Sofirn Q8 Pro is a value for money, soda can sized torch that will not disappoint. Its aluminium body is well made and hard anodized and the fit and finish is beyond its price point. The size and weight are good for its output rating and the 4 provided 3000mAh 18650 batteries allow for ample runtime. The maximum measured output of 14310 Lumen is 30% over the advertised 11000 Lumen, which is very impressive, and the beam profile is well balanced. The tint of the Cree XHP50.2 LEDs is a cool, above BBL (greenish) tint and the CRI is low, but this is countered by the high lumen output these emitters allow the torch to achieve. The driver is linear (unregulated) and uses PWM to dim the output, so PWM is present at all output levels, except on Turbo. The frequency of the PWM is high enough to not be visible to the naked eye and did not tire me when using the light. The Sofirn Q8 Pro can be purchased from Amazon.co.uk in a kit with the batteries but not with the diffuser and holster and the cost at the moment this review is written is £89.99. Sofirn have provided a 30% discount code for the readers of this review, which brings the price down to £62.99. That is a very competitive price for a torch that can provide over 14000 Lumen and incorporates USB C charging and a power bank function at 3A. The discount code is: polymeros30 For the rest of the world, the Sofirn Q8 Pro can be purchased directly from the Sofirn website on its own, as a kit with the batteries or as a kit including the batteries, diffuser and holster. Disclaimer: I get absolutely no percentage of the sales or any other personal benefits from Sofirn, except for the fact that the torch was provided for review free of charge. Let's list the Pros and Cons of the Sofirn Q8 Pro: Pros + Value for money + Maximum output of 14310 Lumen (of 11000 advertised) + Maximum throw of 457m (of 400m advertised) + Power bank function at 3A with good efficiency + USB type C charging at 3A + Aluminium Alloy construction with good fit and finish + Low Voltage Protection which turns off the torch when the battery voltage drops to 2.9V which preserves the health of the batteries + Thermal regulation + Well balanced beam + 4x 18650 Li-Ion 3000mAh (actually measured) high quality batteries included + Low power, charging and power bank function indicator LEDs on the switch + Andúril2 UI + Lighted button with indicative LEDs + IP68 + Compatible with all button top 18650 batteries + A diffuser and a holster can be purchased from the company's website at low cost Cons - The driver is not regulated and uses PWM to dim the emitter - The quality of the optional holster could be better - The optional diffuser is made of plastic while a silicone diffuser would be better  TheLAB.GR Thanks to Sofirn for providing the torch for review Polymeros Achaniotis 01/10/2021
  4. pol77

    Sofirn SC21

    Introduction There is a question that gets asked a lot in the torch world: Which is the best torch? Many would argue that there is no definitive answer to that, as it depends on the requirements and the usage scenario. The best answer to the question, as it is asked is this: The best torch is the one you have on you when you need it. To carry a torch at all times is a thing most people do not think about and only after one starts doing so, does one realise how incredibly useful it can be. But to do so, it has to be small enough to be inconspicuous and powerful enough to be useful. Another requirement for most users, except size and power, is low cost, so it can be affordable and not a big deal if it gets scratched or damaged in the line of duty. Today's review is about a light that ticks all those boxes, and then some: The Sofirn SC21. The Sofirn SC21 is a small, powerful and budget friendly light that also features a high CRI emitter and onboard charging. Intrigued? Read on to find out more! Unboxing The Sofirn SC21 comes in a generic brown box with a sticker that specifies the contents. Inside the box we find the extensive manual and the accessories. The manual is in many languages and the accessories include a clip, a lanyard, 2 spare O-rings and a charging cable. The charging cable is USB type A to USB type C and its length is 104cm, including the plugs. The light itself comes protected in a bubble wrap bag. Inside the bag, along with the light, there is an orange label, explaining that there is an insulator inside the light that prevents the battery from making contact so the light can be shipped safely. That insulator needs to be removed before the light can be used. The Sofirn SC21 is made of aluminium and features a side button with an LED charge indicator. On the opposite side of the side button there is a rubber flap with the USB logo engraved on it. The flap can be opened to reveal a USB type C charging port. The tail is magnetic and the magnet is strong enough to hold the weight of the torch in any orientation. There are also 2 lanyard holes and 2 respective grooves so the lanyard does not compromise the ability of the light to tail stand. The business end of the Sofirn SC21 features a glass lens protecting an orange peel reflector. The emitter used in the Sofirn SC21 is a Samsung LH351D 5000K 90 CRI LED. It is good to see a neutral white, high CRI emitter used in an EDC torch. I expect this till take a toll on brightness and run times, but it is a sacrifice I am willing to make for better light quality. The torch unscrews around the middle to reveal the battery compartment, with the battery already installed. An insulator is covering the driver side, preventing the positive terminal of the battery from making contact with it. The positive terminal of the battery makes contact with the driver PCB through a brass contact point. The negative terminal makes contact with the body with a good quality spring. The spring is not very thick but it should be more than capable of transferring the power required without significant losses. The battery that comes with the Sofirn SC21 is a Sofirn branded 16340 Li-Ion button top battery, rated at 800mAh. The clip can be placed on the back side of the light, as shown below. It allows for lens down deep carry and is bidirectional, which some people like as it allows clipping the light on to a hat and using it as a headlamp, but others dislike as it is not as secure as a unidirectional clip. The end of the clip drags on the head of the torch when the two parts are unscrewed / screwed so I expect that over time it will damage the finish, unless it is carefully lifted to avoid that. Quality The milling quality and anodization are very good, without any sharp edges or visible defects. Even under close inspection the finish and knurling look good. Specifications The specifications of the Sofirn SC21, as found on the Sofirn website, are listed in the table below. The Samsung LH351D 5000K 90 CRI LED is a high light quality choice, rather than a high brightness / high efficiency one and I agree with it. The company claims a maximum output of 1000 Lumen, which is a bold claim. We will test that. The throw is rated at 135m. User Interface The user interface of the Sofirn SC21 is designed to please both those that prefer a stepped mode torch and those who like ramping. Out of the box, the light comes in stepped mode. The stepped mode works as follows: From OFF single click to turn ON. Press and hold to cycle through the main stepped modes (Low – Medium – High). From ON single click to turn OFF. To change to the ramping mode (or back from the ramping mode to stepped mode), you need to do 4 fast clicks while the light is on. The ramping mode gives you full flexibility to adjust the brightness steplessly from Moon to Turbo level and works as follows: From OFF single click to turn ON. Press and hold to change brightness steplessly (“ramp”). Ramping changes its direction when the button is pressed again within 1.5 seconds. The light flashes once when it reaches the lower or upper end of the ramp. From ON single click to turn OFF. In either stepped or ramping mode: From OFF hold for 1 second to turn on at Moonlight level. Double click to activate Turbo mode from OFF or ON. While in Turbo mode, single click to return to the previously used mode. Triple click to activate Strobe mode from OFF or ON. While in Strobe mode, single click to return to the previously used standard mode, or press and hold to cycle through SOS - Beacon - Strobe. The light features both electronic and mechanical lock out. The electronic lock out works as follows: From OFF, 4 fast clicks to activate lockout. Another 4 fast clicks to deactivate lockout and turn the light on at the memorized level. When the light is locked, the main LED blinks twice when the button is pressed to show the status of being locked. While in lockout mode, hold the button to use Moonlight mode momentarily. If you prefer a mechanical lock out, unscrewing the battery tube by 1/4 turn, will break the connection of the negative terminal of the battery to the driver. The Sofirn SC21 also features mode memory, so it will turn on at the last used level (except Turbo). Beam-shots The beam pattern of the Sofirn SC21 is what can be expected from a Samsung LH351D emitter in a shallow, orange peel reflector. It provides a balanced beam with some throw and flood, perfect for EDC. The hot spot is well defined and large and the spill is uniform without any artefacts, thanks to the OP reflector. I tested the Sofirn SC21 outside, over a distance of 70m. The following video shows a comparison of the Sofirn SC21 with the Olight Baton 3 and the Olight S1R Baton II. The Sofirn SC21 offers a more neutral and high CRI beam while the Olight torches have a cooler tint and low CRI but higher output. Driver The driver of the Sofirn SC21 provides constant current to the emitter on all modes. There is no PWM that my camera could detect on any output level. The driver also features Thermal Regulation, Reverse Polarity Protection and Low Voltage Protection. Tint and Size Comparison The tint of the Sofirn SC21 is neutral white, at 5000K. In the comparison photo below, you can see the Sofirn SC21 in the middle, compared to the much cooler and greener tints of the Olight Baton 3 on the left and the Olight S1R Baton II on the right. The Samsung LH351D 5000K emitter used in the Sofirn SC21 is high CRI (90). The photo was taken with the white balance set to 5500K. The length of the Sofirn SC21 is 73mm, which is 10mm longer than the two Olights. That is mostly due to the fact that it uses a reflector and a glass lens instead of the TIR optic used by the two Olights. This offers the advantage that the glass is much harder to scratch than the plastic TIR and does not burn like the plastic can if there is any debris on it, so I actually prefer it. The USB C port also takes more space than the proprietary magnetic charging that Olight uses. As much as I like the magnetic charging system, there is something to be said for not having to carry around a proprietary cable. Battery and Charging The battery included with the Sofirn SC21 is a 16340, rated at 800mAh and I measured it at exactly 788mAh. The light has Low Voltage Protection and turns off when the battery voltage drops to 2.5V which is too low and will wear out the battery, so it should have been set higher. The battery's internal resistance was measured at 79mΩ. These measurements show that a high quality battery is actually included with this light. The indicative LED on the switch of the Sofirn SC21 shows the level of the battery charge. Green means that the remaining charge is at between 100% and 70%, red that it is below 70% and flashing red that it is critical and the light will soon turn off. I would have preferred at least one intermediate indication between 70% and almost empty. Charging the Sofirn SC21 is very easy. Just lift the rubber cover and insert the provided (or any) USB type C cable to charge the light. Both USB A to USB C and USB C to USB C cables can be used as well as any charger, including the ones that support PD. This is very convenient as you can charge the Sofirn SC21 with any USB C cable and charger you have at hand. The indicative LED on the switch flashes red to indicate the light is charging. It turns green when the charging is completed, at 4.21V. The company advertises that the charging of the Sofirn SC21 takes 1 hour, with a 5V charger, capable of providing 1A. It actually took 1 hour, 28 minutes and 25 seconds to charge the included battery from 2.5V to 4.21V inside the Sofirn SC21. The maximum current drawn was 0.9541A, so a charger that can provide at least 1A is recommended. A charger is not provided with the light but you can use your phone charger. A charging current of almost 1A for a 800mAh 16340 battery is rather high and despite being convenient as it charges the battery fast, it will take a toll on the battery longevity. That said, most lights do the same, including the 2 Olights we saw earlier. Output & Runtimes The Sofirn SC21 is rated at a maximum output of 1000 Lumen and 135m of throw. I do not own a multi thousand dollar worth integrating sphere, just a logging Lumen meter and a home made integrating tube. The array is calibrated with 3 separate, professionally measured lights and gives me consistent results, but there is definitely room for error and deviations are to be expected. The output of all modes as well as the respective run times are shown in the table below. According to my measurements, Moonlight is 0.5 Lumen (instead of 1), Low is 17 Lumen (instead of 10), Medium is 93 Lumen (instead of 100), high is 323 Lumen (instead of 400) and Turbo is 848 Lumen at turn on (instead of 1000). The maximum output (at turn on) of 848 Lumen is short of the advertised 1000 by about 15% but still very respectable for the size of the light and especially the fact that it uses a high CRI, neutral white emitter. Output at 30 seconds was 798 Lumen and at 1 minute the output was still 786 Lumen. At 2 minutes the output had decreased to 744 Lumen and then started to decline faster due to thermal regulation to reach reach 206 Lumen at 00:02:51, where it stabilized until the temperature dropped enough and the output rose to 307 Lumen (High) at 00:10:34. It then stayed at that level, with the temperature slowly rising, until at 00:27:54 thermal regulation decreased the output to 254 Lumen. The light remained at that output level until 01:01:45, when the temperature had dropped enough. It then tried to increase the brightness to 307 Lumen, which only happened momentarily as by then the battery did not have enough voltage to support that level of output. Therefore, the light stepped down to 91 Lumen (Medium) for about 6 minutes and then to 17 lumen (Low). It then sustained that output for as long as possible. Unfortunately, the light will not turn off when the battery can no longer sustain the Low output and the brightness just declines with the voltage. It would have been much better if the light just turned off when the battery dropped to that level as that way we would see only regulated output and the battery longevity would be better. The following graph shows the first 10 minutes of the Turbo Full Runtime Graph in greater detail. Turbo is good and impressive but is hardly the mode that is actually most used in a torch. Therefore, I decided to make a runtime graph for High. The graph is self explanatory. The output is stable and regulated. It maintains High output for 58 minutes, then steps down to Medium for 6.5 minutes and then to Low for as long as the battery can sustain it. Again, we see there is no cut off when the battery can no longer sustain the Low output. The following graph shows the first 10 minutes of the High Full Runtime Graph in greater detail. The Sofirn SC21 is advertised to produce 4533cd and therefore have a throw of 135m. I measured 3488.16cd which means that the actual throw is 118m, about 12% less than advertised. This is to be expected as the maximum output measured was 848 Lumen instead of the 1000 Lumen advertised, which is about 15% less. Comparison with Olight Baton 3 & Olight S1R Baton II I was wondering how much of a disadvantage on brightness and efficiency does the high CRI emitter of the Sofirn SC21 introduce compared to lights that prioritize brightness and efficiency over tint and CRI. So, I decided to compare the above runtime graphs with those of the Olight Baton 3 and the Olight S1R Baton II. It was clear from the tint comparison that the Sofirn SC21 offers a much more pleasant, less green and neutral tint than the two Olights and also much better colour rendition as it is 90 CRI instead of the 70 CRI Luminous SST40 emitters the Olights use. As we can see in the comparative graph below, the Olight Baton 3 is by far the most efficient light, but also "cheats" a bit by setting its high output lower than the Olight S1R Baton II, to reserve power. The Sofirn SC21 did surprisingly well, both in brightness and in efficiency considering the neutral tint and high CRI. The following graph shows the first 10 minutes of the Turbo Full Runtime Comparison Graph in greater detail. What is even more interesting is the much more realistic scenario of using the lights on High rather than Turbo. That way, the much hotter Samsung LH531D of the Sofirn SC21 does not need to step down due to thermal regulation and sits between the two Olights in brightness. It also outperforms the Olight S1R Baton II in run time, albeit while being less bright. The following graph shows the first 10 minutes of the High Full Runtime Comparison Graph in greater detail. There is no winner here, just 3 very good EDC lights, each with its advantages and disadvantages, according to the emitter that was selected and the programming of the driver. It does speak volumes though that the Sofirn SC21 is standing as equal amongst equals, with comparative advantages and disadvantages depending on preference and usage scenario, with 2 lights that cost twice what it does. Current Draw The Sofirn SC21 has a low parasitic drain that is below the ability of the clamp meter to measure. The Moonlight Mode only draws 10mA. The Low, Mid and High modes need 60mA, 197mA and 788mA respectively and Turbo required 2.83A. Conclusion The Sofirn SC21 is an small EDC torch that ticks many boxes. It uses a Li-Ion 16340 battery to power a 5000K, 90 CRI Samsung LH351D emitter and produce a maximum of 848 Lumen and 118m of throw (measured). This is indeed an excellent performance for a high CRI light with neutral tint and even though it falls short of the advertised 1000 Lumen and 135m, it is very respectable and more than enough for EDC purposes while the quality of the light is more than enough compensation for the reduced performance. The driver is regulated and provides stable output with no PWM on any level. It incorporates Thermal Regulation, Reverse Polarity Protection and Low Voltage Protection. The only flaw in my opinion is that the low voltage protection only kicks in at 2.5V which is not good for the battery. It should turn off the light at around 3V. The build quality and anodization are very good and the user interface is simple, intuitive and versatile, providing both stepped and ramping options. The button is easy to press and incorporates an indicative LED which shows the battery level and also when the light is charging and when the charging is finished. The Sofirn SC21 uses a glass lens and aluminium reflector combination which is much harder to scratch than a plastic TIR optic and does not melt if there is debris on the lens. The tail cap is magnetic and the magnet is strong enough to hold the light at any orientation. The clip allows for lens down deep carry and is bidirectional so the Sofirn SC21 can be clipped to a hat to use as a headlamp. The Sofirn SC21 can be purchased directly from the Sofirn Website and the cost at the moment this review is written is $23.99, including the battery or $20.99 without the battery. Shipping costs $3.99 and tax varies depending on the country of destination. Let's list the Pros and Cons of the Sofirn SC21: Pros + Value for money. + High CRI. + Neutral 5000K tint. + No PWM at any output level. + Glass lens and Aluminium reflector. + Aluminium Alloy construction. + Very good anodization and fit and finish. + USB type A to C and type C to C charging. + Fast battery charging, in less than 1.5h. + Low Voltage Protection. + Thermal Regulation. + Reverse Polarity Protection + Well balanced beam. + 16340 Li-Ion 800mAh (788mAh measured) battery included. + Battery level and charging LED indicator. + Simple and intuitive stepped and ramped UI. + IP68. + Bidirectional clip, which some users like as it can be clipped on to a hat to use as a head lamp. + Compatible with all button top 16340 batteries that can provide at least 3A. Cons - Low voltage protection turns off the light at 2.5V which is too low and can damage the battery and affect its longevity. - Fast battery charging can affect battery longevity. - Bidirectional clip, which some users dislike as it is not as sturdy and easy to use as unidirectional clips. - The clip could scratch the finish over time. - The battery level indicator LED could have more levels.  TheLAB.GR Thanks to Sofirn for providing the light for review Polymeros Achaniotis 07/09/2021
  5. Introduction It is not always easy to walk the line between quality and value for money but Sofirn seems to have mastered the skill well. About a month ago I reviewed their EDC style torch, Sofirn SC31 Pro, and it was so good for its price that it peaked my curiosity. It therefore prompted me to have a look at their bigger and brighter models. I asked their representative and she obliged by sending me the Sofirn SP36 Pro, a 8000 lumen lighirnt with Andúril firmware, 4 LEDs and 3 batteries. This is by no means an EDC light. Its size puts it in the Soda Can lights category, albeit on the thin side of the genre. The generous specs and competitive pricing make for a combination that is hard to beat. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. We need to see the light first and what it can do. Unboxing The Sofirn SP36 Pro comes in an unassuming, generic brown cardboard box with a barcode sticker that provides information about the contents. Inside the box, we find the light, protected in bubble wrap, a 1 meter long USB A to USB C charging cable, 2 spare O-rings and the manual. The light comes with a little tag, secured around the body with a rubber band. The tag explains that there is an insulator in the battery compartment, stopping the batteries from making contact and thus rendering the light inoperable for safe shipping. The insulator needs to be removed before the light can be used. The Sofirn SP36 Pro is a black, cylindrical light, about 12,5cm long and with a diameter of about 5cm at its widest point, which is the front bezel. The body features knurling which allows for a secure grip without being too aggressive. The button is rubbery, textured and slightly raised, so it is easy to find by touch, but can also be pressed while in a bag or in a (very large) pocket. Thankfully, there is a lock out option to cover for that contingency. The area around the button has some heatsinking in the form of fins, while at the exact opposite side there is a rubber flap. Lifting the flap, reveals the USB C charging port. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so I will not presume to tell you if the Sofirn SP36 Pro looks good or not, but I can definitely say that it is an elegant and unassuming design that seems to mean business. That is even more true about the business end of the light, which features a quadruple smooth reflector with deep enough cups to ensure a healthy amount of throw. The emitters at the bottom of those cups are 4 Luminous SST40, 6500K LEDs. The battery compartment can be accessed by unscrewing the light into two halves and contains 3 batteries. The front side has an insulator covering which must be removed to reveal the circular battery contacts. The batteries are Sofirn branded, size 18650 and rated at 3000mAh. The inner circular battery contact is for the positive contacts of the 3 batteries while the outer circular battery contact gets the negative via the metal body of the battery compartment. The metal body of the battery compartment gets the negative from the batteries through 3 thick double springs at its bottom. The thickness of the springs, the fact that they are double and the whole design seems capable of transferring the power of the batteries to the light's driver circuit with minimal losses. It is also easy to mechanically lock out the light by unscrewing the battery compartment by half a turn, thus breaking the contact between its non anodized lip and the outer circular contact of the head. With the insulator out of the way, the Sofirn SP36 Pro is ready for action, which is indicated by the 2 green indicator LEDs on the switch. Quality The build quality of the Sofirn SP36 Pro is surprisingly good - for the price point and feature set - and on par with other Sofirn lights. The fit and finish are excellent, the knurling is of good quality and the anodization is without any flaws, except a few points at the edge of the cooling fins. The edges of the fins are also somewhat sharp, not enough to cut, but if you run your finger against them they seem like they would benefit from a little refining. Specifications The specifications of the Sofirn SP36 Pro, as found on the company's website, are as follows: The light features 4 SST40 emitters at 6500K (cool white - there is also a neutral white version at 5000K) which provide 8000 lumen of max output and 450m of max throw. It is made of aerospace grade aluminium and is 126,7mm long and 50mm wide (which I verified to be correct). The weight without the batteries is 300g (I measured 297g without the batteries and 437g with the batteries). The Sofirn SP36 Pro is USB C rechargeable and rated IPX8. User Interface The user interface of the Sofirn SP36 Pro is a love or hate deal, as the light features the Andúril UI. Personally, I love it and deeply enjoy the fact that it is feature packed but still provides simple, quick and intuitive access to the basic functions. Others hate it and consider it too much work, as the manual is extensive and even the flow chart found at the company's website can be intimidating to look at. There is another kind of flow chart, provided for Andúril by the coder, which I personally prefer. They are different approaches to the same user interface: In my experience, after the initial shock, it is very easy to start using the light and have an occasional look at the flow chart to remind oneself of the more advanced functions. An important thing to do when you take any Andúril light out of the box is to perform a temperature calibration, as the light will depend on it to perform proper thermal control and balance brightness with temperature. That is also the best time to set the temperature limit. I find 50C to be a good temperature limit and the tests done in this review were done on a calibrated light and with a 50C temperature limit. Beam-shots The beam pattern of the Sofirn SP36 Pro is a product of the LED type and size and the reflector it uses. With the 5x5mm SST40 emitters and smooth reflector, it is not surprising that the result is a somewhat tight hot spot that throws nicely, surrounded by a nice, usable spill. All in all, a very balanced and usable beam pattern. There are various rings and coronas that are typical of smooth reflectors and of multi emitter lights and may annoy white wall hunters, but those are unavoidable in this configuration and do not cause any problems in real world use. I tested the Sofirn SP36 Pro over a distance of 70m. The following video shows a comparison of the Sofirn SP36 Pro with the Olight X7R, the Fireflies E07 (Nichia 219b sw45k) and the Lumintop X9L. Driver The driver of the Sofirn SP36 Pro uses PWM to dim the light, on all levels, except, of course, on full. The PWM is visible to the camera but not visible to the naked eye, on any level. Even though I prefer constant current drivers, PWM is an efficient and cost effective way to achieve LED dimming and if it is done at a high enough frequency, as seems to be the case here, it is not a problem. Tint The tint of the Sofirn SP36 Pro is the cool, greenish (above BBL) tint that is expected of the Luminous SST40 emitter. It is very similar to the tint of the Olight X7R. Next to them, for reference, the Fireflies E07 with Nichia 219b sw45k emitters which are high CRI and very rosy (below BBL) and the Lumintop X9L which uses a Luminous SBT90.2 emitter. The SST40 used in the Sofirn SP36 Pro is not high CRI. Charging The batteries included with the Sofirn SP36 Pro are rated at 3000mAh and I measured them to be right around that number (2950mAh / 3060mAh / 3049mAh) The light has under voltage protection and turns off when the battery voltage drops to 2.8V. The batteries' internal resistance was measured at around 120mΩ. Charging the Sofirn SP36 Pro is very easy. Just lift the rubber cover and insert the provided USB type C cable to charge the light. The indicative LEDs on the switch turn red to indicate the light is charging. They turn green when the charging is completed, at 4.22V. Charging the Sofirn SP36 Pro from 2.8V to 4.22V took 4 hours, 57 minutes and 17 seconds. The maximum current drawn was 1.8712A, so a charger that can provide at least 2A is recommended. A charger is not provided with the light but you can use your phone charger. Current Draw The Sofirn SP36 Pro has a very low parasitic drain that is below the ability of the clamp meter to measure. It shows between 0mA and 1mA, with the indicative LEDs on the switch, on (they can be turned off through the Andúril UI). The light also has a very low moonlight mode that only draws 3mA. The top of the ramp drew 5.93A and Turbo required 16.34A. You can run the Sofirn SP36 Pro with all 3 batteries or with 2 or even 1 battery. Each of the batteries provided with the Sofirn SP36 Pro can give up to 10A (tested) so in order to get full brightness on Turbo you need to use at least 2 batteries in the light. All measurements were taken with all 3 batteries in the light. Output & Runtimes The Sofirn SP36 Pro is rated at 8000 lumen output and 450m of throw. I measured it both with batteries fresh off the charger and after they had rested. With batteries fresh off charging, the maximum output (at turn on) was 7417 lumen, which is short of the advertised 8000 but still very respectable for the size of the light. ANSI output (at 30 seconds) was 6716 lumen and at 2 minutes the output had dropped to 1490 lumen. It then gradually increased to 1767 lumen until the 5 minute mark. Over the next 30 seconds the output dipped to only 300 lumen and gradually increased to over 500 lumen over the next 15 minutes, to stay at around that level until the 5 hours and 40 minutes mark. With rested batteries, the maximum output (at turn on) was 6726 lumen, which is 9.3% less than with batteries fresh off the charger. ANSI output (at 30 seconds) was 6364 lumen, which is 5.2% less than with batteries fresh off the charger. At 2 minutes the output had dropped to 2327 lumen, which is 36% more than with batteries fresh off the charger. It seems the initial extra burst of energy that the batteries can give fresh off the charger has a big toll! The output gradually decreased to 2190 lumen until the 4 minutes and 5 seconds mark and over the next 20 seconds the output dipped to 518 lumen, where it remained stable, gradually increasing over the next hours, to reach a maximum of 931 lumen at 5:13:55. It then dropped gradually, to 222 lumen, at 5:40:10. From these 2 scenarios it is obvious that even though the batteries fresh off the charger will give a bigger, more impressive boost, the advantage lasts about a minute and has consequences for the entire runtime of the light. Moreover, it is highly unlikely it will happen in real life anyway, as most people do not keep the light on charging all the time. The temperature was very well controlled, as you can see in the runtime graphs. Turning on the light at Turbo, will cause a rapid rise in temperature, followed by a big dip in output, while the temperature stabilizes. This can be avoided if the light is not on Turbo, but used at a more moderate output level. The light was temperature calibrated, according to the manual, and the temperature limit was set at 50C. The actual temperatures on the button and on the body of the light can be seen on the graphs and were kept well within the set limit. All in all, the Sofirn SP36 Pro gave very usable light for about 5.5 hours, when turned on at Turbo, which is very respectable. Usage at more moderate levels, will of course, result in higher runtimes and lower, if any, output dips, due to temperature management. The maximum intensity of the light, with rested batteries, was measured at 56784 cd, which translates to a throw of 476,59m, which is 5.9% more than the 450m advertised. Conclusion The Sofirn SP36 Pro is a value for money, Soda Can sized light that will not disappoint. Its aluminium body is well made and hard anodized and the fit and finish is beyond its price point. The mildly sharp edges of the fins are not a concern, but could have been smoother. The size and weight are great for its output rating and the 3 provided 3000mAh 18650 batteries allow for ample runtime. The output is more than enough for most purposes and the beam profile is very balanced. The tint of the Luminous SST40 LED is a cool, above BBL (greenish) tint and the CRI is low, but this is countered by the high lumen output this emitter allows the light to achieve. The driver uses PWM to dim the output, so PWM is present at all output levels, except on full. The frequency of the PWM is high enough to not be visible to the naked eye and did not tire me when using the light. The Sofirn SP36 Pro can be purchased from the Sofirn Website and the cost at the moment this review is written is $49.99, including shipping, worldwide. That is a lot of torch for the money! Let's list the Pros and Cons of the Sofirn SP36 Pro: Pros + Value for money + High output and throw + Aerospace grade Aluminium Alloy construction with good fit and finish + USB type C charging + Low Voltage Protection + Thermal regulation + Well balanced beam + 3x 18650 Li-Ion 3000mAh (actually measured) batteries included + Low power and charging LED indicator + Andúril UI + Lighted button with indicative LEDs + IP68 + At least 5.5 hours of usable light per charge + Compatible with all button top 18650 batteries Cons - The fins could have smoother edges - The driver uses PWM to dim the emitter  TheLAB.GR Thanks to Sofirn for providing the light for review Polymeros Achaniotis 30/07/2021
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