[REVIEW] Subcompact thrower for EDC: Astrolux S3

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Enelooper's picture
Last seen: 5 months 4 weeks ago
Joined: 03/30/2016 - 03:50
Posts: 381
Location: USA
[REVIEW] Subcompact thrower for EDC: Astrolux S3

Like many people who EDC flashlights, mine is a small, floody unit; the Astrolux A01 Cu Edition.

I’d also want to EDC a small, decent thrower in my backpack, for whenever the situation calls for one. But when folks on BLF and elsewhere talk about ‘compact throwers’, they usually mean the standard-bearer C8, or perhaps the slightly smaller X6.

While the C8 and X6 are both very good throwers (I own three copies between the two models), they are just a tad too big for carrying around everywhere and all day long.

Enter the ‘subcompact thrower’. A smaller variant of the compact thrower with perhaps ¾ of the throwing distance but just small enough to be forgotten in the side pocket of one’s backpack. Until it’s needed, of course.

Intrigued by this class of throwers, I picked up the Astrolux SC, a variant of the Kronos X5. It’s a gorgeous piece of light producing apparatus. But a few things stopped me from using it as my EDC thrower.

I’ll get right to it. It’s too heavy, it’s too much of a shelf-queen, and it doesn’t have physical lock-out. It’s a great flashlight for use around the house, but not as an EDC.

The solution, for me, is the SC’s humbler cousin, the Astrolux S3. The SC and S3 are identical lights, except for the host material. Copper for the SC, aluminum for the S3.

This is not a technical review of the S3, or SC for that matter. There are already plenty of reviews on the technical aspect of the light. I’m exploring the use of the S3 as an EDC thrower.

Banggood is kind enough to send me a copy of the S3, so that I can make comparisons with the SC that I already own.

Going back to the 3 things that stopped me from EDCing my SC:

The SC is too heavy – At 236 grams without battery, it is a dense light. The S3 weighs in at a mere 78 grams, about one third of the SC. Advantage: S3.

The SC is a shelf queen – Made of softer copper, the SC is more susceptible to scratches and dents in everyday use. I’d rather be carrying a less expensive, tougher flashlight than constantly worrying about babying a shelf queen. Advantage: S3.

The SC cannot be physically locked out. Both lights have lighted tail caps that is lit constantly when not in use. While it should take weeks or even months to completely drain the battery, it is still a concern that I may forget about the light for a while. Lacking anodization, the SC cannot be physically locked out. But one slight twist of the tail cap is all that’s needed to cut off power to the tail cap LED of the S3. Advantage: S3.

Some people are less than thrilled about the 14500-only battery choice. They want either an additional NiMH chemistry option or longer run time.

The way I see it, this is a ‘pocket rocket’ type of light; using NiMH batteries will not be able to keep this light north of 1000 lumens without some crazy boosting. And let’s not forget the pedigree of this light. It is a shrunk down version of the 18650 powered X6/S2.

As for run time, I’ve seen estimate of 45 minutes on highest mode. Optimistic or not, I don’t care much as I usually use my lights for a few minutes on end. If I need more runtime, I’d either bring a spare battery or a 18650 light instead.

If you are looking for a nice little thrower to EDC, take a look at the Astrolux S3: https://goo.gl/aPjqLt

Use discount code 2017FNL for 30% off.

mattlward's picture
Last seen: 12 hours 5 min ago
Joined: 06/19/2015 - 09:20
Posts: 2828
Location: Illinois, USA

They are wonderful! I have the original BLF X5, the O-L X5 and the Astrolux SC and will hang on to them for a long time. The throw is impressive compared to the body size and the feel good in the hand!

Well done, great points!

EDC rotation:
FW1A, LH351D 4000k (second favorite)
FW3A, LH351D 3500k
FW3A, SST20 FD2 4000k
FW3A, Nichia 4000k sw40 r9080 (favorite light!)
FW3A, Cree XP-L Hi 5A3
Emisar D4V2, SST20 4000k
S2+, XM-L2 T6 4C

everydaysurvivalgear's picture
Last seen: 35 min 46 sec ago
Joined: 07/31/2015 - 10:25
Posts: 3581
Location: sydney australia (GMT+10)

I love these lights i have the Copper X5 its so much fun! I dont use it much seeing as its copper but when i do its awesome.

Its tied for my favorite flashlight with the A6 and D80.

Last seen: 5 days 17 hours ago
Joined: 12/19/2015 - 02:31
Posts: 455
Location: Island of Hawaii

I love my S3, love the UI and lighted tail switch. That being said, I think a worthy competitor in the sub-compact thrower category is the Manker T01.

As far as size and weight, the Manker wins hands down. Also, with the ability to use both 14500 and AA, it offers another level of versatility. Unlike the S3 which works with pretty much any 14500 out there, my original T01 needs something like the paperclip mod to use protected cell 14500’s.

People say I’m a flashaholic like it’s a bad thing…

ARsee's picture
Last seen: 1 year 7 months ago
Joined: 02/19/2017 - 13:16
Posts: 1137
Location: Right here

Nice write-up.

I like the head size of the Astrolux S3, and would definitely buy one if it was available in 18650/16340 tube. As long as the head/reflector size did not change.

I would buy several.

Hopefully someone can make that happen.

rwright224's picture
Last seen: 11 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 03/05/2015 - 16:05
Posts: 25
Location: alabama

thanks Enelooper, for the information and photos. you helped me make up mind on carrying the light all day.

patmurris's picture
Last seen: 2 hours 53 min ago
Joined: 12/22/2014 - 15:54
Posts: 1453
Location: Nice, France

I love those lights too and i plainly agree the SS and SC are way too heavy and beautiful to carry around – not mentioning the inability to lock them out.