Impressions of the Sofirn SP32A v2.0

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TheIntruder
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Impressions of the Sofirn SP32A v2.0

I recently purchased a Sofirn SP32A v2.0 in Pale Gold color from the Sofirn Official Store on Aliexpress. This new model has also been made available via their Amazon storefront as well.

The Company

The company positions itself as a manufacturer of high-quality budget flashlights, receptive to user input (good), and with a rapid development pace (also good).

Investments are sensibly concentrated on the product, not the packaging, which carries a bit of flair in avoiding a generic “white box” look, but lacks any specific markings to help identify the product contained within.


Also, in trying to keep up with the rapid product cycles, Sofirn’s model nomenclature may be becoming a bit too complicated. While it doesn’t affect the product, the practice does run the risk of being too confusing to consumers, especially when previous models are still sold alongside the newest models. Some benefit could come from a rationalization of the scheme, instead of adding qualifiers on top of qualifiers.

The Light

This light is the latest revision of Sofirn’s SP32, which follows the lineage of their previous 18650-powered XP-L2 tube lights — the SP31, SP32 and SP32A.

With the introduction of the SP32A v2.0 comes two new finishes — Pale Gold and Silver, which join the de rigueur Black.

Contrary to what is implied by some of the publicity photos, the Pale Gold color is a darker, deeper color in real life, and not a champagne or yellow gold. That noted, it is an attractive and unique finish, which changes with ambient light more than most colors.



My sample contains no flaws in the anodized finish, but does have minor imperfections on the forward edge of the reflector; they do not affect the beam. The XP-L2 emitter is well-centered relative to the reflector, but it is slightly rotated relative to the alignment marks on the PCB, resulting in another minor cosmetic flaw.

I do notice that the v2.0 lacks the driver-side factory spring bypass present in the previous version, but it is probably no longer required given the new driver.


Accessories

The light comes packaged with a pair of spare O-rings, a lanyard, folded instruction sheet, and an Anker-like satisfaction card with Sofirn’s contact information.

It can also be purchased as a bundle with a 3000mAh rechargeable battery and a single-slot compact micro-USB charger.

Those who desire a holster will find that the various versions of the generic compact holsters sold under various labels (Jaxman/Jetbeam/Skyben/Astrolux/XTAR) suit the light well.


Usage

Along with the new colors, v2.0 also brings some functional changes, with a new driver that brings many improvements:

-advanced temperature regulation
-battery status indicator (green = >30%; red = <30%, flashing = Achtung!)
-wider working voltage range to accommodate CR123A cells
-more “stable” and better componentry

The new driver also results in mode adjustments (1300 Turbo/500 High/160 Mid/50 Low/5lm Eco); while the lower modes only vary slightly from the previous version, the Turbo mode has been reduced to 1300lm, vs. 1550lm before. Both 6-mode and ramping UI mode groups remain.

The reduction enables the Turbo mode to run for 3 minutes (vs. 2 min) before stepping down to High, and the High mode to run for 3 hours (vs. 3 min) before stepping down to Mid, resulting in a more practical and usable light.

In ramping mode, it requires ~5 seconds to traverse the full scale of intensity, up or down, on par with the later production unofficial “v1.1” SP32A units with improved ramping speed. Aside from their unacknowledged Thorfire cousins, such a feature isn’t common on budget lights, or lights in general, so I find it to be acceptable, but perhaps something to be improved upon in later models. The “special” modes are hidden behind double-clicks (Turbo) or triple-clicks (Strobe).

A wider voltage range enabling the use of CR123A cells also makes the light suitable for stowaway emergency duty.

One thing that has been sacrificed by the new driver is the electronic lockout, but that can still be accomplished physically by partially loosening the tailcap.

Overall I find the UI and mode spacing to be generally well-executed, and very similar to another well-rounded EDC light in my experience, the Olight S30RII. My preference would be for the Sofirn to have a slightly dimmer Eco/Moonlight mode like the Olight has, and perhaps have it hidden like on the Olight as well, but it is a small difference.


The beam is as expected for an XP-L2 light with a small reflector. There is some tint shift, as well as ringing, The overall hotspot is a bit larger, but less well-defined and not as intense or consistent as that from the XM-L2 in the Olight. PWM was not observed in a cursory attempt to detect its use.

Eco

Turbo

Summary

While some may have reservations about the beam, or more precisely the XP-L2 itself, the SP32A v2.0 is a winner overall. It’s well-made, well-executed, and the feature set also makes it a good value.

Its name may be ungainly, but has no effect on quality, and can easily be rectified with future models.

As fast as Sofirn iterates, the hope and promise is that it will continue to improve, as it combines more experience and user feedback to deliver even better quality lights in the future.

ActiveAl
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Nice review,  thanks.

I ordered a Sofirn SF14 V2 during a recent Sofirn Amazon promotion but got a SP32A V2 instead. I returned it for two reasons: (1) I don't particularly care for side buttons and the one on the SP32A V2 flashlight is tiny and hard for me to find by feel, and (2) it has mode memory - which I'm sure is a plus for many.  

 

 

teacher
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Excellent review TheIntruder… thank you. Thumbs Up

@ ActiveAl……. My order was exactly opposite of yours (due to Amazon mislabeling the items)… I ordered the SP32A V2.0 & got the SF14 V2.0. Wink

I kept the ‘14’ & am waiting on the ‘32A’……. Thumbs Up . Wink

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PBWilson
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Nice and thorough review. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I’ve got a Sofirn SP32 (no ramping) and an earlier version of the SP32A and like both of them a great deal. The ramping feature of the SP32A that I have is not the smooth transition that the newer ones have but it doesn’t worry me. It works fine for my needs and sees a good deal of use in my rotation of lights around the house and at work.

It is really nice to know that some flashlight companies seem to be really committed to listening to customer feedback and following through with better models. I’d think that it wouldn’t be easy when number crunchers and people far removed from the technical side of things chime in and only want to see profits. I’d be glad to get more Sofirn lights knowing that they are making inexpensive lights (often sold with a battery and a charger) that work well. Nice way to start someone down the rabbit hole of lithium-ion flashlights!

TheIntruder
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Thanks for the kind words.

I don’t fancy myself as a review, just trying to add to the conversation in some way.

The SP32A is a good light, and I can easily see myself getting a couple more to stash in the house or a car.

That would also allow some experimentation with an emitter swap. I’m curious to see how an XP-L HI would fare.