New Sofirn SC21 vs. Nitecore TUP (Keychainlights)

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Markus
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New Sofirn SC21 vs. Nitecore TUP (Keychainlights)

Two keychain lights put against each other

Bottom line: Nitecore TUP is exciting but with a expiration date all over it; the SC21 is a bit plain but nice and meant to last.

Forsythe P. Jones
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Interesting review. I didn’t have it in me to watch 11 minutes of video but it was apparent that the Nitecore decreased brightness (unregulated?) within a couple of seconds after turning it on. Since I’ll always be a teenage boy deep down, the name of the light also makes me laugh (try looking it up in a dictionary). Heh heh.

xevious
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Thanks for the interesting and useful review, Markus. I like the location—Deutschland! Danube is a beautiful river. So is the Rhein.

They’re both large lights that push the limit on what I’d consider “keychain EDC.” The TUP was an interesting, innovative idea, but still very rough around the edges. I guess that’s why you mentioned “expiration date.” Frankly, the OLED display is a cool feature, but for a light this small? Completely unnecessary. And why pay so much more for the TUP when the SC21 performs even better.

I don’t know what’s the future for Nitecore in the small EDC arena… they really blew it with the TIP series. The design was interesting and attractive, but execution was flawed. Their solution to fix the battery problem and accidental activation was to do away with any kind of electronic lockout and provide a “clip on shell” to cover over the buttons. Facepalm I had contemplated giving Nitecore another chance, but Lumintop, Olight, and Sofirn caught my attention enough that I’m all set for mini EDC.

Frankly, if they came out with a slightly smaller TUP, did away with the OLED just put in a status LED plus a more up-to-date neutral white emitter, I’d be interested. But I don’t expect they’ll be going that route.

For the Sofirn SC21, I’d like them to provide just a tad bit more room so one could optionally run an 18350 cell in it. But if you really want a gem from their lineup that is keychain-EDC, it’s the SC01. It’s a bit heavy for the size, being all stainless steel, but it has 2 very useful brightness levels.

Forsythe P. Jones
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I thought “expiration date” mostly referred to the non-replaceable lipo cell in the Tup. I have mixed feelings on making the SC21 bigger to accommodate an 18350. Even 16350 (or CR123A) makes a bit more pocket bulge than I really like, so I usually EDC a 1AAA light. They are all too big for keychains imho.

The SC01 seems very nice but the vendors (and maybe users) are too obsessed with high lumens for my tastes. The legendary dazzle bomb Surefire 6P used 2xCR123A and was only 60 lumens, for heavens’ sake. If they dialed the SC01 high output down to 60 lumens, that would with luck ease the thermals and then the light could be made from aluminum or Ti and weigh a lot less. Alternatively, there is the all copper Lumintop PIMI which is about 1cm shorter than the SC01 by omitting the internal battery charger (you have to use an external one).

Again though, too many lumens for a keychain light, whose main purpose is to find a keyhole or something you dropped under a table, when you don’t have a bigger light with you. I was always quite happy with the 5mm style that had 5 or so lumens and were maybe half the size of the PIMI. Maybe that whole category is less important in 2021 now that everyone has a light built into their mobile phone, but back in the day it was easier to get caught in complete darkness if you didn’t have a light with you at all times.

Markus
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@xevious

Actually the video was taken in Austria, Linz. Germany is one hour upstream. I have made some unpleasant experiences with Nitecore; once I explained a clear design flaw on one of their lights and they asked me to take the review down. In exchange I would get a new light. No thanks!

Forsythe P. Jones
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I had a similar experience with Nitecore a while back, so I’ve always been dubious about buying anything from them, even though some of their products are interesting. I finally broke down and ordered a Tube on closeout for $5 from Illumn a few days ago, but I tell myself that is mostly for testing and teardown purposes and I’m not really going to use it.

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/tup

zoulas
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Nice review, the Sofirn wins any day of the week.

Markus
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Forsythe P. Jones wrote:
I had a similar experience with Nitecore a while back, so I’ve always been dubious about buying anything from them, even though some of their products are interesting. I finally broke down and ordered a Tube on closeout for $5 from Illumn a few days ago, but I tell myself that is mostly for testing and teardown purposes and I’m not really going to use it.

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/tup

They are very innovative and make cool looking lights. I like the OLED-display and would appreciate it on my night shift light, it would add value. But in terms of customer service and reliability Sofirn wins; the build quality is better and all of that for much better pricing.