[review] Sofirn SC31

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Lightbringer
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[review] Sofirn SC31

A great light for muggles.

With many flashlights getting more and more complicated, with modes, modes, and more modes, and sometimes confusing ways to navigate through them, sometimes even turning a light on/off can be an exercise in futility for those people not familiar with user-interfaces. If you’re a flashlight enthusiast, you learn, and adapt, but for people who just want something simple, it can be daunting.

The SC31 is nice and simple, perfect for “muggles”. A simple click-on/click-off interface is enough for most people. The SC31 is just that, a side-switch to control everything. Click it to turn it on, click it again to turn it off. Done.

If you want it brighter or dimmer, just hold the button to run through simple low/medium/high settings. For 99% of the population, that’ll be all you need to know.

And that’s the secret of the SC31, simplicity. It comes with an included 18650 cell, and has usb charging. No need to even open up the light once you remove the insulating disk (that keeps the light from being accidentally turned on when in transit). After that, everything’s done.

Click on, click off. Hold to change settings. You can ignore doubleclicking (from on or off) to get to strobe if you don’t need it or want it. That’s it. Battery runs low, plug it into a usb port or usb charger (with the included cable) to top it off. The lit side-switch will blink when charging, go steady when it’s done.

I’ve been carrying it around for a week, and can say this is a light you can give to someone and have it pass “the grandma test”. Ie, if grandma can figure out how to use the light without instructions, it passes. Big Smile

So… included cell, usb charging, simple UI, that’s 99% of what anyone needs to know about the light. Other features are doubleclick for strobe, if you need/want it. And the lit side-switch has “breathing” mode in case you want to be able to find it in the dark. Hold the sideswitch when off for a few seconds, and this mode turns on. The switch will “breathe” (fade up/down in brightness) as a find-in-the-dark indicator. Click any time to turn it off. Using the light also turns it off. This way you don’t even have to remember to turn it off when not needed.

The beam itself is the usual neutral-white Sofirn adopted, nice and neutral, not Angry Blue™ as cheaper lights have. The beam itself has some minor tint-shift, a yellowish corona around the hotspot, fading to a bluer ring on the outside, but nothing too objectionable. No hideous rings or other artifacts.

The light is itself fairly lightweight, easy to carry without getting “pocket fatigue”. Perfect anodisation in a semigloss black, no nicks or bare spots anywhere, not even on knurling or any edges. The diamond knurling is nice and grippy without wearing holes in your skin or pockets.

It’s got a perfectly flat tailcap, lending itself to perfect tailstanding, no raised lip around the edges to make it wobbly. But then there’s no hole for a lanyard, if you really really want one (I don’t). In fact, you can Stoopit-Gloo™ a disk magnet to the perfectly-flat end and make it a magnetic-mount light to stick to a fridge or under the hood of a car or something.

It’s got 3 nicely spaced modes. Low is really low, perfect for middle-of-the-night jaunts when you don’t want to ruin your night-vision. Medium is a good general-purpose light level. High is the rated 600lm, plenty bright for those tasks that need it. And while it’s not 1000lm, 1200lm, 1500lm, like pricier lights (with more complicated UIs), it’s still plenty bright. And there’s no need to worry about overheating issues or anything.

The multifunction backlit switch is nice, soft without being too mooshy, shows the charging status (blink when charging, steady when done), “breathing” for finding it at night, and battery status when turned on (blue with good battery power, blinking when low).

Cons? I’m still not a fan of standard pocket-clips, and almost always immediately remove them. I prefer deep-carry clips so you don’t end up with a third of the light sticking out of your pocket, and “standard chrome” just clashes with the color of the light. It’s an incredibly sturdy clip (maybe even too much so), but it just looks cheap, even though it’s not. Same material, shaped into a deep-carry clip, would be awesome, and really round out the light (and make it black to match the light).

Also, the rubber flap over the usb port always seems to catch on things, opening it up. Even on a pocket when taking out the light. And once it’s opened, it makes it real easy to catch on other things and possibly get torn off. I did find myself repeatedly reclosing it and smooshing it down as much as possible, to no avail. It may sound tacky, but taking a piece of tape to cover the flap would help, and keep you from losing it if it would get torn off.

Even with minor cons, all around it’s a great light, but for under 20bux with cell and all its features, it’s an amazing value. And for muggles who probably don’t want to pay twice or more for “just a flashlight”, it’s perfectly tailored for them.

So… in summary, it’s a nice little light, perfect for muggles who don’t need to light up a whole football field when the lights go out. For keeping in a pocket, in a car, on a nightstand, it’s the perfect light to have. The simple UI, the included cell, and built-in usb-charging, also make it a perfect gift (and just in time for Christmas!). I was half-expecting a yawner, but liked it enough to get a second one. Big Smile

 

[all pix are clickable to see fullsize]

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PBWilson
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I completely agree with your review. I’ve been using mine for the past few weeks and even though it doesn’t compare in output for most of my other lights, it’s a light that was designed well. Simple, few frills, lots of function and convenience.

Lightbringer
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Great for giftin’… Big Smile

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Muto
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Here’s another use for the breathing mode.
Put it in your dashboard of the car/truck when going to a large Mega-Mart store or at the football game at night, with hundreds of cars it makes it easy to locate yours.

“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it sometimes rhymes,” Mark Twain

After the Apocalypse there will be only 2 things left alive, Cockroaches and Keith Richards

“You’ll develop like a herd mentality,”
“It’s gonna be herd-developed and that’s gonna happen.”

Yep it already happened

Lightbringer
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Nah, lotta alarms have blue lights with similar patterns. Mine’s red and just does a Nitecore-style beacon, but the Jeep up the block has a blue one that has a long-blink (at least 30% duty-cycle).

Besides, I could always just hit the “panic” button and get lights’n‘horn blaring to let me zero in on my car.

Or, I could just take my ol’ Nuron and get the exact gps fix on my car before I walk away, then use that to get back to it when I’m done.

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Lightbringer
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Oh yeah, someone could just see the light on your dash, start thinking, “Say, that’s a purty light with a purty blinky-thing!”, and bust your window just to take it.

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hank
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Can you mechanically lock it out by turning the tailcap?
That’s one of my criteria for muggle-friendly.

I paint dots on the battery tube and tailcap and say “line the dots up before putting the light in your pack or purse to be safe”

PBWilson
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That’s a smart idea. Mine is at work but I’ll check tomorrow.

fluke
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Yes you can mechanically lock it out.

Ragsy
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Thanks Lightbringer

These reviews are very handy….always good to have a simple and reliable flashlight to call on for gifting when needed

G'day mate, ow ya garn?
Yeah, nah good mate

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No worries. At first I wasn’t too enthused, especially for a “de-tuned” light, but given the actual intent, it ticks all the boxes. Simple UI, plenty of runtime, no danger of setting your pants on fire, built-in recharging and battery-status… what else can a newb ask for?

Should add, it’s so simple even Lancelot Link could use it. LOL

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Ragsy
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Get the limo Creto

G'day mate, ow ya garn?
Yeah, nah good mate

pennzy
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Does the SC 31 shut down when the battery gets low?

LightObsession
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Thanks for the review. It looks like a nice basic light.

Lightbringer
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Not sure if it has LVP. Imagine so, though.

Yep, nice light for muggles, or even… non-muggles()… just for having-with.

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Jerommel
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I like the Aluminum plate with the large rubber button.
This light sould be a delight with a high CRI LED and a pebbled 30° TIR.
No worries about overdriving the LED either.

jch10400
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I just got one of these in the Sofirn Christmas sale, and have to say its a great light for the price. I bought it because I travel a few times a year, usually to areas of the Southwest where there are mostly the old style 1 or 2 story “motels” with parking outside of your room door. I’m planning on making this my travel light – the “breathing” indicator will let me know where the light is, the low mode will work for moving around inside the room at night, and the high mode is high enough to light up the car / parking area from the room if I need to.

Looking through the documentation, it doesn’t mention LVP. It just says if the indicator light blinks rapidly its time to recharge the battery.

rockfanatic
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Hello, i just want ask what is a diference between sc31 and new sc31? Thank you

Lightbringer
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There’s a new one?

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rockfanatic
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on the aliexpress official store selling a new sc31. dont know what it mean. they also selling an sp10 v2.0, wich has a new driver(user interface) bought one.

the sc31 is in bg, and gb around 16€ (the old?) version, and on aliexpress is about 13 € the new sc31. dont know, if they make a new one, or just rename it

on the official sofirnlight cant find sc31 Smile

Lightbringer
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Hmm, interesting.

Haven’t really kept up.

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rockfanatic
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it has no drop problems? because the sp10 v2.0 it break down from smaller fall, and never work again.the sc31 has some problems? mean, charging, fall,….

Lightbringer
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I try to not ever put it to the test, so can’t really say.

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mmalive
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rockfanatic wrote:
it has no drop problems? because the sp10 v2.0 it break down from smaller fall, and never work again.the sc31 has some problems? mean, charging, fall,….

I put Sofirn lights through some “ heavy impact “ tests. Look at my review on the SP36. Not problems at all. Maybe they improved since you bought your last light.

justanotherguy
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Can anyone describe the inside of the tailcap? I take it it has a spring?

I am wondering if I could insert a tiny modified screw under he spring, extending out the back of the tailcap… I did this on 1st gen SC600’s…