[REVIEW] Sofirn SF36 / XP-L2 1x18650 flashlight / with pictures, beamshots

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AgentSteel
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[REVIEW] Sofirn SF36 / XP-L2 1x18650 flashlight / with pictures, beamshots

This is (yet another!) review of the Sofirn SF36.

Please bear with me for the not-so-good beamshot photos.

The light was provided almost free of charge (99% discount off Amazon) by the manufacturer (thanks Tracy) in exchange for an honest review.

So let’s start with the…

Manufacturer data
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  • CREE XPL2-V6-2A-D LED at Correlated Color Temperature Range(CCT Range): 5350K-5700K
  • Working Voltage: 2.8-4.2V (so no 2×16340/CR123 here!)
  • Battery Supported: 1×18650
  • Dimension: 132mm(length)× 25mm(diameter) × 32mm(head)
  • Net Weight: 118 gram (no battery included)
  • Memory on: remember a mode used last time in 2 second
  • Made of durable 6063 aircraft-grade aluminum by CNC machines (better than 6061 aluminum alloy)
  • smooth reflector (SMO)
  • Low Voltage Protection : lower than 2.8V, the light blinks 2 times per second and it turns off 1 minute later
  • Reverse polarity protection, to protect from improper battery installation
  • Toughened glass len with anti-reflective AR coating, anti-crash wearable
  • The waterproof level is IPX-8, it can be used in underwater 2 meters for 30 minutes.
  • Current: Firefly (PWM=1%); Low(PWM= 8%); Mid(PWM= 35%); High(PWM 100%); Strobe(PWM= 100%)
  • Strobe: alternates to flash at the rate of 6HZ and 12HZ.
Mode Lumens Runtime
Firefly 1 147h
Low 50 18h
Mid 300 4h15min
High 1100 1h28min

The light has a simple thermal management feature : after 20 minutes in high mode, it will automatically revert to medium mode.
(you just have to half-click another time to switch back to high for another 20min)

Links to product page
——————————-

https://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/SF36-Tactical-LED-Flashlight-18...

Sofirn flashlights are also available on Amazon(.com, .co.uk, .de, .fr, …). Mine came from Amazon.fr and was delivered within a few days.

Unboxing
————

Included in the package :

- one 18650 protected battery
- a 18650 battery charger (ThorFire branded)
- (micro) usb cable for the charger
- 2 spare o-rings
- lanyard
- pocket clip
- manual (german, english)

Included battery & charger
—————————————

The included protected battery came charged out of the box at ~4.0V.

This cell is slighty longer and “fatter” (thicker wrapper?) than some other protected ones, so it is a tightly fit in the SF36.

It may not fit in a different brand flashlight, though (make sure you can disassemble the battery tube from both ends to avoid stucking it in such a flashlight!)

During my testing, LVP (blinking) of the driver kicked in at ~2.8V then the light shutoff a short while after.
(so in accordance with manufacturer specifications)

In an attempt to trigger the built-in battery protection I was able to discharge the cell a bit further in another flashlight, to 2.70V, but still not low enough to trigger it.

To estimate the cell capacity, my Xtar VC2 charger was used, my cell is above 3000mAh but your mileage may vary!

The light will also function with unprotected batteries without problems (tested with a flat-top Samsung ICR18650-22F).

Also I used the provided charger (advertised charging intensity is 0.75A max) to recharge such an unprotected cell, the resulting end voltage was 4.24V (my DMM may not be the most accurate)

Comparison & Beamshots
———————————

Pictured with two other famous lights to compare overall size…

and reflector size.

A beamshot indoors (high mode)

And also in comparison with the two other lights.

(sorry no pure white wall here!)

and outside (roughly ~50 meters, I need to double-check that)

General thoughts
————————

After several days (nights) of use, here are my observations :

  • I really like the beam pattern and the added throw compared to (for example) a Convoy S3 (and the light is not that much bigger). For me this light fills the gap between my S3 and my C8.
  • The light was never uncomfortably hot to handle, only stayed warm in highest mode.
  • The UI is dead simple, no hassle here. Half-click to switch modes : Firefly/Low/Mid/High (double-click for strobe)
  • Runtimes are nice

What I did not test (yet) is water resistance.

I would recommand this light to a friend.

Disassembly / Modding
——————————-

The flashlight can be torn down easily.

Please see XXX-Man’s review for an extensive disassembly.

The good
————

  • Great fit and finish
  • Great beam pattern (good balance between flood & throw)
  • Heat management
  • Simple and easy UI
  • Tail clicky is nice to operate, responds very well
  • Tail-standing
  • Physical lockout with 1/4 turn of the tail cap.
  • mod-friendly

The bad
———-

Emitter has a disgraceful greenish ring around the hotspot edge.

While it is clearly visible indoors, on clear walls, I found it was really not disturbing when used outdoors.

Also, swapping the emitter is a very easy mod to do.

Ideas for improvement
——————————-

  • momentary-on tail switch?
  • why not use the same LED as SF32? (nice tint without artifacts)

Caveat emptor

Edited by: AgentSteel on 07/18/2017 - 07:15
AgentSteel
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(reserved for updates)

Caveat emptor

desmondkun
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Thumbs Up

Take care of your flashlight and your flashlight will take care of you.

Tracy Wan---Sofirn
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It should be a momentary-off switch, and we will correct that. Facepalm
The first batch of sofirn SF36 adopts XP-L2 V6 5350-5700K LED, The LED is as same as Sofirn SP32’ LED bulb.
The second bath of sofirn SF36 is in our factory now. The LED is XP-L V6 5350-5700 LED, and the reflector was adjusted to get better light.

Tracy

Wildcat
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Orange Peel reflector?

mudguts
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Mine had a warm yellow tint, not green