[Review] Convoy S2+ (Sand Colored, XP-L HI V2) ~ Best budget EDC?

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bilakos10
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[Review] Convoy S2+ (Sand Colored, XP-L HI V2) ~ Best budget EDC?

The flashlight was gracefully provided by Fasttech.com for review.

As with most Convoy flashlights, their packaging is fairly simple and minimal.
The original package of the light includes a pocket clip and a lanyard.

The pocket clip comes anodized in black color while the lanyard one of those kinds that allows
the use to adjust its length.

The S2+ model is quite old, yet the sand-colored body is what’s new here.
My crappy camera might not give an accurate presentation of the actual color of the light, but I can assure you that the sand anodization is very impressive.

As seen, the light has a minimal tube-styled design.
No fancy heatsink fins or aggressive bezels, just some diamond cut pattern grooves along the whole body.

The pocket clip can be mounted in 5 different positions.
If the clip is placed over the tailcap grooves it allows for a proper deep pocket carry.

As with most modern Convoys, the tail side of the body is fully anodized.
The threads are square cut and arrived very nicely machined and lubricated.

Most people would agree that the most interesting feature of the S2+ is its tail switch.
The switch pretty much looks like a piston drive switch yet it’s a regular sprint driven one.
I do believe that the switch assembly is made out of anodized aluminum.

The switch is very soft and has a nice clicky feedback.
The only thing that I am not fond of is the fact the force has to be exactly vertical to the switch
in order to get it to actuate properly. An angled press might not get it to fire up.

The tail spring is quite beefy and is secured by a brass retaining ring.
I don’t know if this specific light was torqued down by Godzilla, but I bent my screwdriver to 45° trying to get it loose yet I didn’t manage to finish the job!

The head of the light houses the Cree XP-L HI V2 and the smooth reflector.
I went with cooler LED tint as I prefer such tints for daily usage.

The light uses the well known AMC7135 based driver.
I chosen to get one with 8 × 7135 chips, yet getting a driver with only 4 × 7135 might be more suitable for EDC usage.
The driver is directly soldered to the brass pill, something with is way more desirable that using a
retaining cap.

Thankfully, the whole pill can be easily removed from the head.
The front glass is AR coated and the o-ring is glow in the dark.
The brass pill itself is very heavy and beefy and should provide an excellent thermal capacity to the LED.

In total, the S2+ weighs a bit over 83 grams (ofc excluding battery).
In my opinion, its weight and size are totally acceptable for an EDC light.

Despite the small reflector size, the beam produced by the XP-L HI is excellent.
The hotspot is well defined and there is a total absence of artifacts around it.

User Interface

The driver that is used by the light contains two different group modes.
1st Group: Low – Mid – High
2nd Group: Low – Mid – High – Strobe – SOS

The modes can be scrolled through with a half press of the switch.
In order to change mode group, a half press has to be initiated once the light blinks while being on low mode.

Of course, the driver supports mode memory. The memory is set after the user stays in the same mode for more than 2-3 seconds

Tailcap Measurements

In order to get my measurements I used a Samsung 25R cell and a clamp meter.
Mode – Current
Low – 0.22
Mid – 1.21
High – 2.81

Of course, the measurements are totally on par with the 2.8A draw claim’s by the manufacturer.
At these current draw levels the light should be pushing more than 1000 Lumens.

Wall Beamshots

I created a simple animated gif with 4 shots I took.
The mode order in the gif is : Control Shot – Low – Mid – High

UPDATE

Outside Beamshots

The tree is around 25m (75ft) away

Low

Mid

High

Here’s the link to Fasttech’s listing: Convoy S2+ XP-L HI V2 Flashlight

Edited by: bilakos10 on 10/15/2017 - 13:44
Agro
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Why did they change the switch? Is it somehow better than the one found in the cheaper variants?

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Thanks for the nice review. What is your overall conclusion about this light? (I have it, but with biscotti-driver, and I find it flawless, everything is done right)

bilakos10 wrote:
The tail spring is quite beefy and is secured by a brass retaining ring.
I don’t know if this specific light was torqued down by Godzilla, but I bent my screwdriver to 45° trying to get it loose yet I didn’t manage to finish the job!

In the S2+ the retaining ring in the tail is reverse threaded, counter clockwise to unscrew.

Agro wrote:
Why did they change the switch? Is it somehow better than the one found in the cheaper variants?

It is a matter of taste, Simon made the change at some point and many find a metal switch-cap more classy, but personally I like silicon covers better because they feel better and allow building a lighted tail.
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I thought all the sand coloured ones came with the new firmware, and 12 mode groups. This is getting confusing, because you can still order a “new edition” C8 which has the old firmware as well.

Convoy really need to sort their models out. There are so many versions now of similar products that it can be impossible to be sure you are ordering what you want, or whether there is a newer version available.

Beam me up!

L4M4
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If you buy this light from Simon itself, you get the biscotti firmware.
Maybe FT is selling old stock

I personally do not like the metal switch that much because it’s so much smaller than a standard silicone cap.
I would love it if the switch would be 2 or 4mm bigger and the ring around it illuminated Smile

I ordered this light from simon 5 weeks ago and didn’t receive it yet Sad

bilakos10
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djozz wrote:

Thanks for the nice review. What is your overall conclusion about this light? (I have it, but with biscotti-driver, and I find it flawless, everything is done right)

In the S2+ the retaining ring in the tail is reverse threaded, counter clockwise to unscrew.


Thanks for your kinds words.
Well I do believe that the light is one of the best in the sub-$20 category.
Everything on it is excellent. I especially like the thick, matte textured anodization that most convoys come with.
My only complain would be with the metal switch, that even though it looks super cool and is great once you get used to, requires a bit of a learning curve”.

As for the retaining ring, I already knew about the reverse threads but it seems that in order to get it apart I will have to apply equal amount of force on both sides (e.g use fine needle nose pliers).

L4M4 wrote:

I would love it if the switch would be 2 or 4mm bigger and the ring around it illuminated Smile

I ordered this light from simon 5 weeks ago and didn’t receive it yet Sad

An illuminated metal switch from the factory would be dope.
Someone has already posted a thread about implementing an illuminated tailcap.

Regarding the shipping times, mine took around 2.5 weeks to arrive in Greece, yet it took another 3.5 weeks for our national post to process the package…!

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The new S2+, especially with the advanced biscotti FW truly is a great EDC light. Mine has the 3A tint.

As for the switch, I actually prefer this metal one to the rubber one on my Convoy C8. The rubber one is too mushy and imprecise by comparison.

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Yeap, unscrewing the switch retaining ring will be hard applying for to one side only, it will work only after the initial torque is done on both sides

As for the flashlight, of everything that comes with the new models (smooth reflector, metal button, xp-l hi, ARC glass, driver) I end up preferring to change most but glass and the driver. I switched my clear S2+ with a 219C and OP reflector, and ordered with a rubber tail cap (I believe only the clear one has both metal and rubber variants). These changes make it a best for me, but I understand how throw, output, tint and CRI will weight differently from person to person

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bilakos10
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Persechini wrote:
Yeap, unscrewing the switch retaining ring will be hard applying for to one side only, it will work only after the initial torque is done on both sides

As for the flashlight, of everything that comes with the new models (smooth reflector, metal button, xp-l hi, ARC glass, driver) I end up preferring to change most but glass and the driver. I switched my clear S2+ with a 219C and OP reflector, and ordered with a rubber tail cap (I believe only the clear one has both metal and rubber variants). These changes make it a best for me, but I understand how throw, output, tint and CRI will weight differently from person to person

Well I am more into throw and output so the XP-L HI is the way to go Big Smile
I even think about stacking another 4 × 7135 chips and go for a 4.2A output.
Probably I will hold back my thoughts as anything over 3A is way overkill for an EDC.

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bilakos10][quote=Persechini wrote:
I even think about stacking another 4 × 7135 chips and go for a 4.2A output.

Even with just 8 chips, the S2+ can get extremely hot. I can’t imagine what it would be like with 12 chips.
bilakos10
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Pete7874][quote=bilakos10 wrote:
Persechini wrote:
I even think about stacking another 4 × 7135 chips and go for a 4.2A output.
Even with just 8 chips, the S2+ can get extremely hot. I can’t imagine what it would be like with 12 chips.

It would probably start spitting flames after 90 seconds on high Evil

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bilakos10 wrote:
It would probably start spitting flames after 90 seconds on high Evil

It would turn into a real torch. Smile
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Pete7874 wrote:
Even with just 8 chips, the S2+ can get extremely hot. I can’t imagine what it would be like with 12 chips.

S2+ and S3 with RMMs DIY FET-Driver and Triple-LEDs here
Takes around 45 seconds to get uncomfortably warm in the head area…
I would love more Convoys like the S8 with at least a bit of a heatsink…

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It does heat up, but I find it takes a few minutes longer to get too hot to touch on turbo than what most concerns I’ve read here seem to believe. And this is with the nichia on the x8 driver, the xp-l should take longer even to become burning hot. The triple with FET, of course, is another story entirely

I forgot to add another change I’ve made, which is to change the GTD o-ring for a black one, in order to reduce a slight tint shift to green which is uncharacteristic of the nichia and took me a while to figure out Facepalm

The reason it took so long is because the OP reflector on my other S2+ did not have this effect as visible, but the SMO reflector on the clear one made it noticeable

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bilakos10
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L4M4 wrote:
Pete7874 wrote:
Even with just 8 chips, the S2+ can get extremely hot. I can’t imagine what it would be like with 12 chips.

S2+ and S3 with RMMs DIY FET-Driver and Triple-LEDs here
Takes around 45 seconds to get uncomfortably warm in the head area…
I would love more Convoys like the S8 with at least a bit of a heatsink…

Out of curiosity, what LEDs are you running on your triple setup?
Heatsinks or not, the compact form factor of the light will always stop it from handling high currents.

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Persechini wrote:
Yeap, unscrewing the switch retaining ring will be hard applying for to one side only, it will work only after the initial torque is done on both sides

Don’t make the mistake I made. Just get a set of “ring-pullers”. I got a set from Tekton (via Amazon) for a decent price, and was kicking myself I didn’t just go and do that long ago.

4 pliers in a set, all combinations of straight/curved, squeeze-to-open/squeeze-to-close.

No more screwing around with needlenose pliers, tweezers, screwdrivers, etc. Ever.

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Pete7874 wrote:
Even with just 8 chips, the S2+ can get extremely hot. I can’t imagine what it would be like with 12 chips.

Curling-iron.

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Zulumoose wrote:
I thought all the sand coloured ones came with the new firmware, and 12 mode groups. This is getting confusing, because you can still order a “new edition” C8 which has the old firmware as well.

Convoy really need to sort their models out. There are so many versions now of similar products that it can be impossible to be sure you are ordering what you want, or whether there is a newer version available.


It is very confusing. When I’m recommending the S2+ light to others I almost have to write a thesis on reseller, chips, UI, colour, emitter/reflector, tint. The XP-L HI models should have used a different model name.

I think FT, BG, and GB all requested the 3/5 mode UI in their order.

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stephenk wrote:
It is very confusing. When I’m recommending the S2+ light to others I almost have to write a thesis on reseller, chips, UI, colour, emitter/reflector, tint. The XP-L HI models should have used a different model name.

Indeed. It’s bad enough to have to explain the difference between S2 and S2+, let alone the myriad other models. At least the C8 is the good old C8, no closely-named similar models within Convoy itself.
stephenk wrote:
I think FT, BG, and GB all requested the 3/5 mode UI in their order.

Personally speaking, good reason not to purchase Convoys off of them and always go straight to Simon.

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Jack Kellar wrote:
stephenk wrote:
It is very confusing. When I’m recommending the S2+ light to others I almost have to write a thesis on reseller, chips, UI, colour, emitter/reflector, tint. The XP-L HI models should have used a different model name.

Indeed. It’s bad enough to have to explain the difference between S2 and S2+, let alone the myriad other models. At least the C8 is the good old C8, no closely-named similar models within Convoy itself.
stephenk wrote:
I think FT, BG, and GB all requested the 3/5 mode UI in their order.

Personally speaking, good reason not to purchase Convoys off of them and always go straight to Simon.

I’m actually recommending the 3/5 mode version to other lighting photographers as it has a better strobe (10Hz). Whilst the variable strobe in the latest revision of Biscotti is great for giving someone a migraine, it sucks for light painting.
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Good point, although light painting is (sadly) such a niche usage, I’d expect the painter/photographer to request the 3/5 firmware anyway.

Then again, Biscotti, while versatile, is so open-ended in its configuration, the regular joe might get intimidated by the mode select flowchart alone. “Click when it blinks” seems far less ‘scary’ to them, I’ll bet.

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Jack Kellar wrote:
Good point, although light painting is (sadly) such a niche usage, I’d expect the painter/photographer to request the 3/5 firmware anyway.

Then again, Biscotti, while versatile, is so open-ended in its configuration, the regular joe might get intimidated by the mode select flowchart alone. “Click when it blinks” seems far less ‘scary’ to them, I’ll bet.


I wouldn’t say it is niche anymore. For example a private FB group following light painter Eric Pare has 14,000 members. He uses the Eagtac D25LC2 and it does wonders of sales of that light! Klarus XT11GT is also highly recommended by a couple of other light painters, which helps their sales. I’m aware of at least 30 other light painters who have purchased Convoy S2+ or Thorfire TK15S based on my recommendations.

Sadly, a lot of newby light painters make the mistake of buying 100,000 lumen G700 zoomy clones (and wondering why they have to use ISO1600 to see any light) but I try to re- educate them!

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Jack Kellar wrote:
Personally speaking, good reason not to purchase Convoys off of them and always go straight to Simon.

Agreed, was tempted to pick up another desert tan S2+ at that price, but seeing the lack of biscotti firmware makes it an easy choice to just support Simon directly.

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Lightbringer][quote=Persechini wrote:
Yeap, unscrewing the switch retaining ring will be hard applying for….

I’ve bought a couple, none that I’ve found are slim and long enough that I can get them in all my lights without bumping around of fitting to tight, and it’s extremely hard to find different models/brands in brick and mortar stores around here. I ended up buying a kit of heavy duty tweezers as I like using one, but mine bends kinda easy

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Unno, I made the mistake of buying one of those watch-unscrewers, whatever they’re called, and didn’t fit anything deep enough, not even tailswitch retaining-rings.

With the Tektons, never a problem.

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Persechini][quote=Lightbringer wrote:
Persechini wrote:
Yeap, unscrewing the switch retaining ring will be hard applying for….

I’ve bought a couple, none that I’ve found are slim and long enough that I can get them in all my lights without bumping around of fitting to tight, and it’s extremely hard to find different models/brands in brick and mortar stores around here. I ended up buying a kit of heavy duty tweezers as I like using one, but mine bends kinda easy

I also tried a pair of fine tip tweezers.
Mine went Uri Geller on the first try and now they are angled Cool
It’s about time we buy some snap ring pliers.

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remember that the thread is “the other way around” – you know that? Silly
I usually use some tweezers I think I bought from RMM – “Weitus No.10” – they have pretty thick tips and haven’t bent since.

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L4M4 wrote:
remember that the thread is “the other way around” – you know that? Silly I usually use some tweezers I think I bought from RMM – “Weitus No.10” – they have pretty thick tips and haven’t bent since.

Yes I knew about the reverse threaded tailcap.
It just happened that my tweezers were very fine and consequently thin!

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Nice review bilakos10 Wink
I’ve been using the S2+ Desert Tan (Sand or “Sandy”) and it has been one of my most used lights, with XPL-HI U6-3A and biscotti firmware.

I normally use it with the 18350 tube and it has been pretty useful, like a “pocket thrower” in many cases!
Most of my lights are black, what leads me to say this one “jumps to sight” among them, being that beautiful inside and outside Blushing

The clicky switch, at first it was strange to click, but then…it is pretty nice, works smoothly and doesn’t make so much “noise” as the “regular” rubber tailswitches! Well done Simon Thumbs Up

Yesterday I realized that using the XPL-HI in the lowest level (0,1%) – even in a 8*7135 driver -, allows having a nice moolinght, as the XPL-HI has lower intenstity of XML2 LEDs.
I’m thinking about getting a 2nd one, with 4*7135 and other XPL-HI tint to have even moonlight and lower levels for indoor Smile

Also, using the XPL-HI with pebbled (60º) lenses is pretty good too. It takes out the “throw”, for sure, but gives a pretty good illumination range as well Thumbs Up

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You can buy the bare stainless steel switch buttons for less than a buck at FT.

Looking for:

5” parabolic reflector (for recoil light)

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Jerommel wrote:
You can buy the bare stainless steel switch buttons for less than a buck at FT.

Do they fit the black S2+? I thought it only fitted the blue, green, red versions (and clear and desert tan)!
I guess BG also sells it!
Is it this one?
https://www.banggood.com/Convoy-Metal-Clicky-Switch-DIY-For-S2-RedGreenB...

DB Custom said: "Hide your billfold, cut up your credit cards... you're a perfect candidate for full blown flashaholism and will soon need dedicated flashlight cabinets. [...] Have fun! Modding is next... :P" 

Mods and tricks: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5                                     Reviews : Amutorch S3 - XPG3-S3 /  AM S3 vs Neal 219c  /  Amutorch AM30 - XHP70.2 / Nitefox UT20

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