Review Sofirn SF36 (1*18650 Cree XPL)

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mk23
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Review Sofirn SF36 (1*18650 Cree XPL)

This light was purchased by me through Banggood without any discount from Sofirn.

Specification:
Model Name: Sofirn SF36
Use CREE XP-L LED with a lifespan of 100,000 hours.
Correlated Color Temperature Range(CCT Range): 5350K-5700K
Working Voltage: 2.8-4.2V
Dimension: 132mm(length)× 25mm(diameter) × 32mm(head)
Net Weight: 118 gram (no batteries included)
Mode memory: Yes
Memory on: remember a mode used last time in 2 second
Low Voltage signals: lower than 2.8V, the light blinks 2 times per second and it turns off 1 minute later
PWM frequency: 20kHz
Strobe: 6 / 12Hz
Reflector: smooth

Being a budget flashlight, it doesn’t come with many asccesories but you still do have 2 back up o-ring, a landyard and a user manual. I go for the version without the battery so no Sofirn 18650 battery or charger here.

Size comparison with some other popular flashlights. From left to right: Convoy C8 silver, Sofirn SF36, Sofirn SP31, BLF A6.

Overall it’s look great. It has the angry extremely dangerous tactical look that you can impress other people with. Fit and finish is amazing considering the price of this light. Anodisation is flawless and consistent all over the light. The stainless steel bezel is not the best quality though, it still has some very obvious machinery mark on it but certainly make the light look more “bling”. One good thing is the clip is very sturdy, really sturdy (it’s same clip used on the Sofirn SP31).


The head is relatively big with some aggressive cooling fins but i don’t think they will help much with the cooling but it certainly stop the flashlight from rolling all over the place. The brand engraving is clear and sharp. It has knurling, a lot but it still feel slippery if you have sweat in your hand. The glass lens does have AR coating but very thin.

The light consist of 3 part: head, the body tube and the tail switch. The body tube is relatively thick and not reversible.

The head and tail switch both has brass retaining ring and 2 big gold plated springs so yes, you can use unprotected cells and very long protected cells. Tail switch is reverse clicky and have double landyard hole so the light is able to tail stand even with a landyard.


Thread is squared and comes pre-lubed.

Close up on the driver

The one that i received is the later batch so instead of Cree XPL2 like the Sofirn SP31, it uses Cree XPL. The emitter is well centered. The reflector has a tiny scratch but it won’t affect the beam and to my surprise, there’re no dust in the reflector so good job on that Sofirn.

However one thing to complain about is the tint. It’s about 5500 kelvin, something between cold white and neutral white and worst of all, the tint is purple-ish which is really annoying to me. The Sofirn SP31 (Cree XPL2) which i own has a lovely neutral white tint which i expect the SF36 to has but turn out it doesn’t. Kind of a let down there. In the picture you can see the differrence between the BLF A6 neutral white and Sofirn SF36. A6 is on the left and SF36 is on the right.

This light has a fairly simple UI. It has 4 diferrent brightness setting( 8 lumen – 50 lumen – 300 lumen – 1070 lumen) and you can half click to cycle through the modes. The modes is well spaced enough but i still think it’s better to have 5 brightness instead of 4. One annoying thing is every time you half click to change to brightness, the light will shut off for about 1/3 second before turning on with another brightness. I have no idea why it needs to do that and i’ve never experienced any other lights that behave like that. To activate strobe, just double click the switch when the light is on and strobe is a 2 frequency one. After 20 minutes on turbo the light will step down to lower brightness. Runtimes are pretty decent and even though the driver is not regulated, the brightness still fairly consistent over time.

And about PWM, using the fan method i can confirm that Sofirn SF36 as well as Sofirn SP31 use PWM to control brightness but the good thing is the PWM frequency is very high and comparable with Convoy’s new firmware driver frequency or BLF A6’s fet driver. Even in the lowest brightness i still can’t detect PWM with bare eyes so PWM is not much of a big issue with these lights.

So after more than 1 week using this light here are my opinions:

Pros:

  • Look great.
  • Amazing value for the money.
  • Can take any kind of cell, protected or unprotected.
  • Balance beam pattern: throw distance is decent with usable spill.
  • Use very high PWM frequency.

Cons:

  • The purple-ish tint is really annoying.
  • Delay between changing modes.

Conclusion: It’s great choice if you want a budget tactical style flashlight. The UI is dead simple so anyone should be able to use it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great flashlight but it’s a bit bland, too normal, too boring. There’s nothing really stand out or anything that makes a flashlights enthusiast should be excited about but if you think about it, it would be great choice to give it to someone or a back up flashlight in your car or house. It’s not a playful flashlight that you can program every quirks & features or put a smile on your face every time you turn it on. It has its own purpose, it’s a light you can count on when things get serious.

Edited by: mk23 on 06/09/2018 - 00:14
power911
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Location: Malaysia

I think the delay on the modes is similar to the old thorfire vg15
It’s delayed/programmed to double confirm if you’re changing mode or doing a double tap for strobe (or even save level)

Annoying as it is to us I find it a small matter.
Nice review btw. Loved the pics especially haha. I was googling and these pics attracted me Thumbs Up

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