Review: ThorFire TK15 & TK15S

12 posts / 0 new
Last post
gchart
gchart's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 27 min ago
Joined: 03/19/2016 - 11:57
Posts: 765
Location: Central IL
Review: ThorFire TK15 & TK15S

I was kindly offered these light for review by ThorFire. I have made my best attempt at keeping all remarks honest, fair, and impartial. The lights are very similar so I’ll be doing a combined review & comparison.

Packaging: both lights were packaged in typical ThorFire fashion – a nicely padded box containing an instructions card and two o-rings. Lanyards were not included, but I never use them so I don’t really mind.

LED Tint: the instructions say the LED is a XP-L2, no mention of bin or tint. The Amazon listing says V6, but still no tint mentioned. Thankfully, it seems to be a nice neutral color. Somewhere between my 5000K and 4000K lights. It’s such a relief to see manufacturers using neutral LEDs. Using XP-L2 LEDs, there is a slight bit of tint shift going on. The hotspot is a neutral, clean white. The inner corona is slightly yellow, tapering off to a cooler outer spill. Tint snobs may not be impressed, but for those people that view their flashlight as a tool really shouldn’t mind. When using it outdoors I didn’t even notice the tint shift.

Beam Pattern: the TK15 and TK15S have your typical tube-light beam pattern. The reflector is fairly comparable to a Convoy S2 reflector (not to be confused with the shorter S2+). It produces a nice useable beam for mid-range tasks.

Left to right: Sofirn SF36, ThorFire TK15, ThorFire TK15S, Convoy S2+ (Nichia 319A in 5000K). SF36 is in lowest mode, the TK15 & TK15S are in low (not moonlight), and the S2+ is somewhere – it’s using a ramping firmware I wrote

Modes: this is where the two lights begin to diverge. The TK15 has 5 modes (specs: 0.5, 50, 300, 600, and 1050 lumens) and a hidden strobe. The moon mode is not in the normal rotation, it is only accessible as a shortcut from the light being off. I don’t really mind that because if you need moon mode, you would usually know that as you’re turning the light on. And being accessible from off is very convenient.

The TK15S, however, has 4 modes (specs: 1, 100, 500, and 1050 lumens) and a hidden strobe plus bike strobe. All of the output modes are available from the normal rotation. Speaking of which, the UI on the TK15S goes ML > L > M > H > M > L > ML (ramps up and down, the TK15 does not do this). It’s interesting and I kinda like it.

The mode spacing on both of the lights is pretty good. However, on the TK15S, I think the jump from 1 lumen up to 100 is a sizeable jump. The difference between the ML and L modes on the TK15 is a bit better. Normally I would feel that having 5 modes is getting into the “so many modes that I’m getting lost” range, but by taking ML out of the normal rotation, I feel like the TK15 solves that problem by having ML only accessible via the shortcut. The mode spacing on each is respectable, but I like the TK15’s better.

Styling & Build Quality: I’m really impressed with what ThorFire has done in this department lately. Admittedly, I don’t own many of their earlier lights. But the ones I’ve had over the past year or two have had a wonderful, smooth satiny anodizing with great coverage. The knurling is nice and moderate. The threads are square cut, lubricated, and mesh perfectly. The lights feel great and solid in the hand. I’m not big on clips, but they’re very hefty and feel like the would hold the light well. I like the stainless steel ring that protects the business end of the TK15, but I’m not big on the crenelations – I don’t routinely do much skull-busting with a flashlight. The lights both tailstand nicely. The stainless e-switch on each is very firm and responsive. If I had to pick out something design-wise that I wasn’t a fan of – I noticed that it could be difficult to locate the e-switch in the dark. If you keep the clip on the light, an easy fix for this would be to position the clip somewhere relative to the switch that is memorable.

Left to right: Sofirn SF36, ThorFire TK15, ThorFire TK15S, Convoy S2+ (stripped)

Mod Potential (extra credit): The stainless bezel of the TK15 is removed easily, along with the lens and reflector. On both the TK15 and the TK15S, the driver ring was easily removed as soon as you realize that they’re reverse-threaded. I didn’t remove the driver on either or attempt to disassemble the head of the TK15S, but it seems like the lights are relatively mod-able.


Conclusion: These lights are keepers. The quality is excellent. I love the simplicity of the single switch, e-switch set up of the TK15. The XP-L2 isn’t terrible and can be swapped out later if it starts to bug me. For no more than what ThorFire is asking for these lights, they’re pretty easy to recommend.

Amazon link, TK15
Amazon link, TK15S

Edited by: gchart on 08/03/2017 - 00:48
Lightbringer
Lightbringer's picture
Online
Last seen: 9 min 52 sec ago
Joined: 08/30/2016 - 14:12
Posts: 3157
Location: nyc

Hmm. The newer VG10S has the same huge jump from low to medium, whereas the older VG10 has perfectly evenly-spaced modes.

New design philosophy of S versions?

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

gchart
gchart's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 27 min ago
Joined: 03/19/2016 - 11:57
Posts: 765
Location: Central IL

Yeah, I dunno LB. Honestly, I’m surprised they chose different spacing for the two lights. I much prefer that of the TK15. On the TK15S, the 1 > 100 > 500 > 1050 seems a bit odd, and the 1 > 100 jump is just too large.

Lightbringer
Lightbringer's picture
Online
Last seen: 9 min 52 sec ago
Joined: 08/30/2016 - 14:12
Posts: 3157
Location: nyc
gchart wrote:
Yeah, I dunno LB. Honestly, I’m surprised they chose different spacing for the two lights. I much prefer that of the TK15. On the TK15S, the 1 > 100 > 500 > 1050 seems a bit odd, and the 1 > 100 jump is just too large.

Yeah, instead of moon, low, med, high, it’s more like moon, high, higher, highest, with just minimal differences between the highest modes. Not quite sure I get it.

 

Overall, do you think the S version is a step forward, or a step back, from the original?

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

gchart
gchart's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 27 min ago
Joined: 03/19/2016 - 11:57
Posts: 765
Location: Central IL

I don’t know if I would call the TK15 “the original”. I think they were both just now released. Seems like the “S” in this case stands for “(physical) Switch”.

To me, the only advantage of the S over the TK15 is for those that want the physical switch to protect against accidental activation or parasitic drain (which I didn’t measure, I don’t have sensitive enough equipment).

Granted, a quite twist of the tailcap on the TK15 will do the same thing (physical lockout).

Lightbringer
Lightbringer's picture
Online
Last seen: 9 min 52 sec ago
Joined: 08/30/2016 - 14:12
Posts: 3157
Location: nyc
gchart wrote:
I don’t know if I would call the TK15 “the original”. I think they were both just now released. Seems like the “S” in this case stands for “(physical) Switch”.

Oh. I was thinking of the VG10/VG10S, and C8/C8S, that the S versions seemed to replace/supersede the non-S versions.

Thought the TK15S replaced an older TK15.

There goes that idea…

Guessing it’s more like the relationship between the Sofirn SP31 (dual switch) and SP32 (single e-switch)?

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

gchart
gchart's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 27 min ago
Joined: 03/19/2016 - 11:57
Posts: 765
Location: Central IL

LB, I don’t want to make any accusations or implications, but it seems like the relationship between the TK15 and TK15S is more than just similar to that of the SF31 and SF32. I’d wager that the lights share the same ODM. Nearly identical packaging, specs/UI, looks, etc. Look up pics side by side and draw your own conclusions. Shoot, the ODM even got busted shipping out ThorFire branded chargers with the Sofirn lights. Oops! Facepalm

RobertB
RobertB's picture
Online
Last seen: 1 min 36 sec ago
Joined: 12/18/2015 - 17:49
Posts: 1875
Location: Michigan
gchart wrote:
LB, I don’t want to make any accusations or implications, but it seems like the relationship between the TK15 and TK15S is more than just similar to that of the SF31 and SF32. I’d wager that the lights share the same ODM. Nearly identical packaging, specs/UI, looks, etc. Look up pics side by side and draw your own conclusions. Shoot, the ODM even got busted shipping out ThorFire branded chargers with the Sofirn lights. Oops! Facepalm

It’s been know for some time now it’s the same manufacturer. The 4xAA lights are identical.

And aside from some cosmetic differences the TK15S and the SP31 is the same light. And both are excellent IMO. Outdoors where it counts, the beam looks really good.

Lightbringer
Lightbringer's picture
Online
Last seen: 9 min 52 sec ago
Joined: 08/30/2016 - 14:12
Posts: 3157
Location: nyc
gchart wrote:
LB, I don’t want to make any accusations or implications, but it seems like the relationship between the TK15 and TK15S is more than just similar to that of the SF31 and SF32. I’d wager that the lights share the same ODM. Nearly identical packaging, specs/UI, looks, etc. Look up pics side by side and draw your own conclusions. Shoot, the ODM even got busted shipping out ThorFire branded chargers with the Sofirn lights. Oops! Facepalm

It’s a Manker Utorch no, really, Manker! Big Smile

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

Lightbringer
Lightbringer's picture
Online
Last seen: 9 min 52 sec ago
Joined: 08/30/2016 - 14:12
Posts: 3157
Location: nyc

RobertB wrote:
It’s been know for some time now it’s the same manufacturer. The 4xAA lights are identical.

And aside from some cosmetic differences the TK15S and the SP31 is the same light. And both are excellent IMO. Outdoors where it counts, the beam looks really good.

Absolutely. I’ve got a VG10, VG10S, and SF36, and they’re all great little lights.

(‘Though you might want to mention the O-ring issue. Big Smile )

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

RobertB
RobertB's picture
Online
Last seen: 1 min 36 sec ago
Joined: 12/18/2015 - 17:49
Posts: 1875
Location: Michigan

Lightbringer wrote:
RobertB wrote:
It’s been know for some time now it’s the same manufacturer. The 4xAA lights are identical.

And aside from some cosmetic differences the TK15S and the SP31 is the same light. And both are excellent IMO. Outdoors where it counts, the beam looks really good.

Absolutely. I’ve got a VG10, VG10S, and SF36, and they’re all great little lights.

(‘Though you might want to mention the O-ring issue. Big Smile )

I figured it was your thread, so you can mention it…lol

gchart
gchart's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 hour 27 min ago
Joined: 03/19/2016 - 11:57
Posts: 765
Location: Central IL
Lightbringer wrote:
I’ve got a VG10, VG10S, and SF36, and they’re all great little lights.

Yup! I don’t have any of the VG series, but I am impressed with the SF36, TK15, and TK15S.