Zanflare F2S Review

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DavidEF
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Zanflare F2S Review

Edited for clarity and pics added July 9, 2017

Mark from Zanflare asked me to review their new generation F2S model 2xAA flashlight. It was a bit weird getting the light. Mark said it would be faster to get it from Amazon (I thought it was a Gearbest exclusive brand?). To that end, he gave me a discount code to buy it with. The code ended up covering all but $0.20 of the price, and left shipping to be paid by me. So, I did what any good flashlight hobbyist does – I ordered another cheap flashlight, to get the total order amount high enough for Amazon to cover shipping. The light came in a nice white retail box, which also included a user manual, a (belt? pocket?) clip and a decent-looking lanyard, all held securely in place in a cut-out foam rubber insert.

The Zanflare F2S has a low, medium and high modes, as well as strobe. These are all in order (no hidden strobe) and are accessed by half-press while on. The high mode is rated at 200 lumens. Honestly, that’s the only mode I used much in testing, because it’s such a low output already compared to most lights that I use regularly. The F2S uses a CREE XP-G2 emitter, and a regulated driver. The F2S also appears to have AR coated glass.

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Some users have noticed that the documentation mentions a CREE XP-G3 emitter, though all the lights shipped with the XP-G2 instead. The Gearbest representative said that the XP-G3 was intended but was scrapped for the older XP-G2 and they just didn’t get the documentation changed in time to ship. As for the driver, I found the regulation to be irregular. I tested the F2S with several battery chemistries, and used a free lux-meter app on my phone to check brightness. I won’t tell you the numbers I got, because they are generally useless. But, the interesting part is that with each configuration, there was a change in the lux reading on my phone. So, the claimed “current-controlled” regulation isn’t controlling very strictly when the input voltage changes. Here are the ways I tried the light:

• 2xAA Alkaline
• 2xAA NiMH
• 2xAA Lithium Primaries
• 1xAA Alkaline plus a spacer (yes, it works on one cell)
• 1xAA NiMH plus a spacer
• 1xAA Lithium Primary
• 1xAA 14500 Li-Ion plus a spacer
• 1xAA 14500 LiFePO4 plus a spacer

Still, the “AA” cells were all close enough to be called “the same” when measured on my phone. Even the 1xAA tests weren’t too far behind the 2xAA results. The 1x LiFePO4 I tried with a spacer gave only a tiny bit more output than 2xAA, and really it was still within range to be called equivalent. The 1x Li-Ion plus spacer was the only real stand-out with almost double the output of the other configurations.

An interesting thing you might notice in this test is that the light actually works with a very wide range of voltages from the 1.2V of a single NiMH to the 4.2V max charge of a single Li-Ion cell. I did not try it with 2x of either the LiFePO4 or the Li-Ion IMR cell. The official max input voltage is 3.5V, and the Li-ion cell is already above that. I wanted the driver to survive the tests.

The F2S has no low voltage protection of any kind. It will drain any cell(s) you put into it, until the driver can no longer get enough power to turn on the LED. This is probably why there is no voltage support gap between Alkaline and Li-Ion like other lights have. But, it means you have to watch the battery charge yourself. Thankfully, the engineers at Zanflare did implement a charge indicator LED to help with that. It’s on the head, not near the switch, which might have been a more obvious place for it. But, it’s hard to miss. It blinks a few times just after power is applied at the switch. If the power level is greater than 30% (of what? I don’t know!) the LED blinks blue. If it is lower than that, the LED blinks red. In the 1xAA Alkaline and 1xAA NiMH tests, the indicator LED blinked red from the start. Neither of those cells was fully charged, but I think it’s the “low” voltage compared to the top 3.5V rating that did it. The lights still seemed to work just fine on a single cell.

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I used the flashlight around the house after dark, and decided the max mode gives a pretty decent output for general use. The reflector makes a fairly tight hot spot, with a tight spill that cuts off abruptly at the edge. My Olight S1A has a 240lm mode, which I compared to the Zanflare F2S. Of course the F2S made a much brighter spot, since the S1A uses a TIR optic instead of a standard reflector. The tint of the F2S was a bit cooler than my Olight as well, but it looks plain white to my untrained eye. The beam is a bit ringy when white-wall hunting, but not too bad in real life usage.

The overall build quality of the light looks to be very good. The anodization looks and feels nice. The shape/style of the host is reminiscent of a Nitecore or an Olight. The single-line spiral knurling isn’t a style preference I’d choose, but it seems to be the Zanflare signature, as it’s used on other Zanflare models, and at least looks smooth and consistent. The F2S is similar in size to other 2xAA lights and just a bit larger than a Maglite 2xAA specifically. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to someone looking for a decent, low-priced 2xAA LED flashlight for general purpose use around the house or to keep in the car.

If I get a chance later, I can upload some pics I took while testing the F2S. I can’t do it right now. But, there are other reviews already around that you can look at in the mean time. Pics added Wink If there’s anything you feel like I left out, or mistakes I made, let me know in the comments below. Thanks!

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Edited by: sb56637 on 09/02/2017 - 11:48
Muto
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Thanks for testing with 14500 & spacer.
Was it brighter with this combo and if so by how much?
Later,
Keith

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DavidEF
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Muto wrote:
Thanks for testing with 14500 & spacer.
Was it brighter with this combo and if so by how much?
Later,
Keith

It was definitely a lot brighter to my phone’s sensor, but I couldn’t really tell a difference by eye. Probably the best scenario would be 2xAA Lithium Primaries, which I didn’t test. You’d get the slightly higher voltage and higher current output of the Lithium Primaries versus Alkaline, but also a little better capacity for run-time than a single 14500 Li-Ion rechargeable. Now that I think about it, I may go buy a couple Lithium Primaries to test it with, just for completeness.

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After I received mine , I purchased another one as a gift for a brother. He will love it.

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bikenber73 wrote:
After I received mine , I purchased another one as a gift for a brother. He will love it.

Yes, he will. Sometimes, we who are flashlight hobbyists can get caught up in “more lumens!” and “better UI!” and all the other push-it-to-the-limit stuff that is actually quite unnecessary in the real world. The Zanflare F2S is a real-world flashlight that is made like a high priced brand but isn’t high priced. Convoy is another brand that falls in that quality category, except that they’re more enthusiast inspired rather than real-world. With that being the case, I don’t know of any brand that Zanflare is directly competing with, which should be good for their business. Wink

Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone.
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The OP has been edited for clarity and pics added July 9, 2017. I did test with all battery types again, including this time a pair of Lithium Primary cells. The result has been edited into the OP. I think it may surprise you! Wink

Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone.
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Maybe they should ship it with a dummy cell as this flashlight appears to be the ultimate Zombie Apocalypse unit.
Someone else said it goes down to 2 lumen in zombie mode so if you want just moonlight, use otherwise dead batteries for final drainage Smile

Later,
Keith

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Never dare to question the Great Oz
The beatings will continue until morale improves

DavidEF
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Muto wrote:
Maybe they should ship it with a dummy cell as this flashlight appears to be the ultimate Zombie Apocalypse unit.
Someone else said it goes down to 2 lumen in zombie mode so if you want just moonlight, use otherwise dead batteries for final drainage Smile

Later,
Keith


I haven’t tried draining a battery down to zombie mode. Since the driver has no LVP, it should go as low as the components will let it before they don’t have enough power to boost any longer. You wouldn’t want to do this with any kind of rechargeables. But the primaries are fair game. Crazy

Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone.
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Thanks for showing Beer

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so what the difference between F2 and F2S?

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zelee wrote:
so what the difference between F2 and F2S?

Different output levels.

My current and or voltage measurements are only relevent to anything that I measure.

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MRsDNF wrote:
zelee wrote:
so what the difference between F2 and F2S?
Different output levels.

i see
thanks for your answer MRsDNF, i already ordered one for my father since he need a non lithium battery flashlight
hope he will like it Smile

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This is from a different thread where I asked the same question.

F2S: Low: 50LM; Medium: 100LM; High: 200LM
F2: Low: 15LM; Medium: 50LM; High: 200LM

My current and or voltage measurements are only relevent to anything that I measure.

Budget light hobby proudly sponsored by my Mastercard and unknowingly paid for by a hard working wife. 

djozz said "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

old4570 said "I'm not an expert , so don't suffer from any such technical restrictions".

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Quote:
This is from a different thread where I asked the same question. F2S: Low: 50LM; Medium: 100LM; High: 200LM F2: Low: 15LM; Medium: 50LM; High: 200LM

I would have preferred that output be left like the “old” F2, with a Low at 15Lm.
Or at least with another sub level, a sort of moonlight with 1-2 lumens. 2/50/100/200 would have been better, Imho.

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MRsDNF wrote:
This is from a different thread where I asked the same question. F2S: Low: 50LM; Medium: 100LM; High: 200LM F2: Low: 15LM; Medium: 50LM; High: 200LM

 

MRsDNF, do you know if there is any other differences, like accessories or packaging? The price is really different between F2 and F2S in GearBest for just different output levels..

 

Thanks!

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As far as I’m aware apart from different graphics the packaging and accessories is the same.

My current and or voltage measurements are only relevent to anything that I measure.

Budget light hobby proudly sponsored by my Mastercard and unknowingly paid for by a hard working wife. 

djozz said "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

old4570 said "I'm not an expert , so don't suffer from any such technical restrictions".

Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.