This light was kindly provided by ThorFire. Thanks ThorFire!
Hi everyone! Here’s my review of the ThorFire S50. Hope you enjoy!
Emitter Type: Cree XHP-50
Power Source: 2 * 18650 Batteries (Not included.)
Modes: Low-Mid-High-Turbo, Hidden Strobe
IPX8 Waterproof & Shockproof
Hard anodized aircraft graded Aluminum alloy casing
Product Weight: 450g (Excluding batteries)
Size: approx 254mm (Length) * 27mm(Body Diameter) *60mm(Head Diameter)
Maximum Runtime of 60 Hours at Low Output; runs on Medium for 12 Hours and on High for 3.75 Hour
The S50 is a hefty light with a XHP50 powered by two 18650s. It’s incredibly bright (2000 lumens) and wow is it a hunk of well-made aluminum. The XHP50 lets you see both far (~400+ meters), and wide!
When I first held the S50, I was surprised at how dense, and hefty it felt. It feels great. I’ve never had a modern light that was similar in size to a 2D Maglite until this one. Now I can club an intruder, but after blinding them first! The light feels that solid.
Officially, according to ThorFire’s amazon product page this light is a “Thrower Searchlight Torch Light for Camping Hiking Caving Outdoor Sports.” What a mouthful. This light could definitely be used for those things quite well, but I imagine it might be a bit big when caving. Well, unless you want something huge to swing at bats when they fly into your face.
The light comes neatly nested in foam inside a plain cardboard box. Included with the light are three spare o-rings, a spare green and orange boot, and a spare glass lens, which is pretty awesome.
The S50 has design elements to it that really help with functionality. One of my favorites being how the tailcap is designed. The scalloping is thick, low and wide which lets your thumb rest on it very nicely and allows the S50 to tail-stand. The reverse clicky switch is super easy to press thanks to this.
There’s a grip ring under the tailcap that I’ve never noticed helping in anything during the use of the light. It’s removable, but the threads where it screws down are visible so I just leave it on. I’ve read about people complaining that the ring feels flimsy, but it feels fine to me. There’s not much to it.
The body tube is incredibly thick and fairly simple. It feels great in the hand thanks to the added thickness. There’s knurl, but I don’t think it’s necessary since my hand wraps tightly around it so well. Holding the S50 feels similar to holding a broom handle.
The head is covered in fins almost completely. Right under the emitter are some long, deep and thick fins that have absolutely no problem handling the heat that the XHP50 produces. The reflector portion has some fins too, and those fins have four sections with grooves in them that help prevent the light from rolling if set down. To access the lens and reflector, the top of the head has a bezel that unscrews easily. Replacing the lens with the spare won’t be an issue.
Overall, the S50 is pretty simplistic in looks, but is very thoughtfully designed.
Out of the box, the S50 was close to perfect. The lens already in the S50 had some fingerprints and lots of smearing on the inside. All I had to do was unscrew the bezel and wipe the lens down, so it was no biggie.
The machining is fantastic without a sharp edge, knick, or scuff anywhere. This light is a huge chunk of aluminum. There’s no flimsy thin aluminum used anywhere; it’s thick metal all around from the bezel to the tailcap. I love picking the light up just for the fun of holding something so heavy and substantial feeling.
The anodization on the S50 is up there with the high end lights. It feels great and durable. It is nothing like the matte anodizing on their C8. The ano stood up great to some good drops and tumbles. Only minor knicks are present here and there. On the grip ring, the anodization hasn’t held up as great as the rest of the light because it has more scuffs in relation to the rest of the light, but that’s because when the light falls on a flat surface, the ring takes the beating instead of the tailcap and body.
The knurl isn’t what I would call aggressive, I’d say that it’s pretty mild. It’s plenty to give you grip when unscrewing the tailcap or body, and helps you hold on to the light when it’s wet. For some, they might like it more aggressive, but it isn’t necessary. The knurl is perfectly functional.
As I mentioned before, the tailcap is great and chunky. The button has a great click to it with a lot of travel, and the spring on the inside is THICK, LONG and STIFF. The brass retaining ring holding it together is also nice and beefy.
The body is so thick, it’s not even funny. One half of the tube is thicker than the other half. At its thickest end (towards the head), it’s 3.5 millimeters thick, and on its thinnest end (towards the tail) it is 2 millimeters.
The tapering sounds weird, but when you hold the light it seems like it allows your hand to hold the light more firmly. There’s two crispy white etchings on the tube with ThorFire’s branding on it that are sharp and defined.
The threads on both ends are squared-off and anodized. They’re not the thick square threads that are on the ThorFire C8, which is a bummer, but they’re still great, smooth, and somewhat thick. They came lubricated out of the box. Both o-rings on the threads are very generous and thick, about 1.7 millimeters. They have no problems preventing water from entering through the body.
The head is covered in fins that are 2 millimeters thick. The important fins, the ones under the emitter, are deep. The head itself has substantial mass to it which in combination with the fins means that heat is no problem.
Inside, the orange peel reflector sits on a copper DTP MCPCB which is great for heat transfer. The MCPCB and driver are on a pill instead of an integrated shelf which makes it easy to mod if you wish, but makes the light loose some potential heat dissipating properties if it had been an integrated shelf. The aluminum reflector is orange peel to remove an artifact of the XHP50 known as the “donut hole.” Without the orange peel, there would be a big hole in the center of the hotspot. The driver spring and retaining ring is just as massive as the spring/ring on the tailcap.
The lens is also thick, and has survived plenty of impacts. Sadly, it does not have an AR coating on it, which is unfortunate.
I can comfortably say that this light meets its rating of being IPX-8 waterproof. It has massive o-rings on both ends of the body tube, and the lens presses a thick o-ring into the bezel. Taking the pictures on the sand was a pain since sand got literally everywhere on the light. After I was finished, I dunked it in the river water repeatedly and thrashed it around to clean it. No water got in. I also did the bucket test overnight where it passed.
Beam, User Interface:
The XHP50 puts out a MASSIVE amount of light. It’s incredibly bright. The XHP50 is said to be 4 XP-G2 dies under the phosphor, so the output is nothing short of awesome. When you see the 2,000 lumens blasting out of this light in person, its impressive.
Due to the orange peel, the hotspot is not defined but it’s not super duper floody. There’s a concentrated point of light and the hotspot looks like it’s a bit blurry. That doesn’t stop this light from having decent throw.
The tint is just a tiny bit on the neutral white side. It’s not that cool, but it’s not so warm.
The beam pattern is great, and the combination of the XHP50 and the deep orange peel reflector light up a wide area far in the distance instead of the small hotspot of smaller throwers.
Here is a picture I took of the S50 lighting up a tree line about 180 meters away, compared to a MH27:
The S50 has 5 modes that are controlled by half-pressing the tailcap reverse clicky switch. After 3 seconds in a mode, the mode is memorized.
Low, medium, high, and turbo and strobe. No moonlight mode. In a thrower, not having a moonlight mode wouldn’t be so bad, but the beam pattern on the S50 is very usable as a general use light. I’d use the heck out of moonlight on this light if it had it, especially since the runtime would be very high due to the two cells.
Thankfully, strobe is a hidden mode that is accessed by double pressing the tail-switch quickly.
The modes could be better spaced, but they’re definitely adequate.
Here’s all 4 modes taken with the same camera settings to give you an idea of the spacing:
After 3 minutes, turbo bumps down to high. After 30 minutes on high, it’ll bump down to medium.
I wish the turbo timer was longer. The light feels like it can heat up much more.
Mode changes take a noticeable split-second from the moment the tail-switch is pressed. The UI in general feels “delayed” in a way due to this, but it’s nothing that affects usage and performance.
- No AR coating on lens.
- No moonlight mode.
- No warmer white.
- Turbo timer could be longer.
- Solid build quality.
- Thoughtful design. (Deep fins, copper DTP star, etc.)
- Great output and throw.
- Easy to disassemble.
- Extra lens.
- Hidden strobe.
This light is fantastically built in every aspect, and the output/throw is incredible. I’m surprised you get such a substantial light for ~$60. I give the light a 4/5.
My camera malfunctioned so I only had my phone on me when taking the photos. Sorry if they’re not up to snuff!
- View all images here: http://imgur.com/a/LxFdt
- My longest batteries fit. Due to the stiff springs, some force is needed to initially press the tailcap down.
- There’s a post on here that has a simple mod to increase output (3000+ lumens).
- When you unscrew the bezel, sometimes the pill becomes unscrewed slightly and doesn’t allow you to put the light back together. Simply screw the pill in first, then reassemble.
- Taking pictures on sand is awful. It gets everywhere.
Thanks for reading!