REVIEW: "Sofirn SP32 Pocket Flashlight" side button model

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PBWilson
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REVIEW: "Sofirn SP32 Pocket Flashlight" side button model

Sofirn contacted me out of the blue about the possibility of reviewing one of their flashlights a short while ago and as long as I gave an honest review, they’d let me keep the light. What’s not to like?

Well, just a few things, but I’ll get to that…

The SP32 came to me in a basic thin cardboard box (very little foam padding too) with the light, a pocket clip, two extra O-rings, instructions, a USB charger and one of their 2800mAh button-top batteries. Not a bad deal for the price! It was all sent in a medium-sized cardboard box and the flashlight box opened in transit, spilling all the contents out. No damage to anything though. No dings and no performance problems.
I immediately plugged in the charger, dropped the battery in and proceeded to watch a handful of youtube videos. Before long (or maybe it was a few hours—who knows when you’re catching up on Advanced Knife Bro videos?) the little light on the charger glowed green and I dropped it into the light.

The square threads at both the head and tail were greased a bit. Just a few tiny creaks and squeaks emanated from the light as I re-assembled it, but I was happy to see that they made an effort. I’ll add some Mobil 1 red grease to the O-rings just in case this light sees a wet nighttime walk with the dogs or a soggy camping/canoe trip.

With only one side switch I didn’t know exactly how to turn it on (and don’t say “Press the dang button, STUPID!”). I wasn’t sure what would happen with a quick press, long press or even two presses. I soon found that a quick press brought it into low and successive presses cycle through to medium, high and turbo. A long press turned it off. A long press from off brings you to moon mode. A quick press turned it off. A quick double click brought the strobe and I made sure to file that away and avoid it like the plague. I don’t care for strobe, but I did notice that it cycles from fast strobe for a bit and then a slower strobe and then back to fast. Interesting and it may confuse an attacker more readily than a steady strobe might. Sofirn might be onto something! If it doesn’t produce better tactical results, you can always turn it off with a quick click.
Oh, and it’s got mode memory for the main levels only so you can always turn it on with strobe or moonlight if you choose. Nice thinking Sofirn!

Shining the light at a white wall produces some nice spill around the largish hot spot. The tint looks good to me and is in the neutral range. It’s got a few different colors going on with a yellow dot in the center of the hot spot and a few different hues in the halo around the hotspot. Nothing to distract or turn your nose up at. It looks quite nice to tell the truth. Mine has a smooth reflector so the hot spot makes sense, especially comparing it next to my Astrolux S1 and my wife’s Eagle Eye X2R (each with orange peel reflectors).

Outside with the dogs at night gave me a chance to try it out and check the beam in a nature setting. A big white pine way across my yard was illuminated very well and the light lit up the front yard as well or better than other cigar-shaped lights. The steps between low and turbo seemed well placed. I could see this being a really nice light for camping. You could read in the tent on moonlight and light up as much of your campsite as you’d need. If a bear or mountain lion or chupacabra was at the outer reaches of the beam, you’d have plenty of warning before they got close enough to gnaw on you. My eyesight isn’t all that great at my age (47 if you really want to know) so I don’t really need a throwy light. I can’t pick out anything with any certainty at the distance of a football field so a floody light suits me best. I could also see this SP32 being a great light on the nightstand. I was going to say “bedroom light” but this is a family forum so knock it off you creeps. Anyway, I could see me using it to read without disturbing my wife too much or blinding myself and I could see if my stepdaughter was trying to sneak out (or more likely sneak back in) in the middle of the night at the higher levels.

I’ve got no real means to do good beamshot pics or to do technical data charts, but comparing it against the lights I mentioned before and my Zebralights and a Brinyte b158 zoom, I can say that it performs quite well, looks good and offers good adjustability.

Now for the things I didn’t like all that much.

The side switch feels good under my finger and has a soft-ish feel. It doesn’t CLICK, but gives you feedback as you go through the levels. It does seem to turn on pretty easily though. I’ve kept it in an extra Astrolux holster I had and accidentally turned it on a few times. Leaving this light without the tailcap unscrewed a tiny bit might just leave you with a dead battery. To manually lock it out, it only takes a tiny turn so that’s good. I don’t feel like testing this underwater, but wonder if the switch is as waterproof as the O-ring connections. It doesn’t have a rubber cover, but who knows? It might be pretty watertight. Using this with gloves might be harder than with others, but I suppose you’d get used to it quickly.

The other thing that’s not the greatest is the pocket clip. It’s not a deep pocket clip so it will ride a bit out of your pocket. It’s pretty firm though, even though it’s thin metal and looks a lot nicer than the Astrolux one I have and it doesn’t have sharp edges. The clip does keep the light from rolling though. The five flats around the switch might do the job on their own to a small degree, but the clip will keep it in one place and from falling off your desk or work surface.

Finally, the instruction manual is completely unreadable. It’s printed so darn small I can’t make out much at all. I took a picture of it, zoomed in and it’s blurry and pretty much useless. Good thing it’s a pretty easy light to get working. A flashlight newb will have just a bit of a learning curve to get it working.

To sum it up, this light is a good deal, especially for the price (don’t forget the battery and charger!). It seems to work like many other lights in its price range, has nice anodization, printing and grippy-ish (not painful) knurling. I didn’t disassemble it, but it does have a brass retaining ring to keep the guts in and it leads me to believe that it’s not all glued up and un-moddable for those who like that sort of thing. For me, I’ll keep it stock, but will most likely swap out the battery for a Sanyo NCR18650GA cell that I like so much. The extra capacity should be noticeable.

PBWilson
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I also noticed that the tailpiece is particularly beefy and keeps the light in a tailstand nicely.

hank
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I agree with all your observations.

For convenience, here is a cross-reference to the earlier thread about the Sofirn products (in which they participate): http://budgetlightforum.com/node/54503

Splott-Light
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PBWilson,

Thanks for sharing your review with us.

Appreciate the work involved.

Cheers,
S-L Smile

Ouchyfoot to a New Member: Welcome CJ. Now you have to learn about buying an inexpensive flashlight and modifying it until it either blows up, or starts small fires on the moon…………

Hugh Johnson:
I, too, once lived a tragic and empty life. Then I found [portable] light.
You forgot to mention clothes. I sold most of my clothes to fund my light collection. This is actually fine, since I only go out after dark, and most people can’t see me.
Finally, I got my priorities straight.

The Miller
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good review, can you take a pic so we can see th switch from the side? (it looks flat so hard to press accidentally)