Review: UniqueFire UF-2220

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JohnnyMac
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Review: UniqueFire UF-2220

UniqueFire UF-2220: the budget Thrunite Scorpion?

 

So is the UniqueFire UF-2220 as good a light as a Thrunite Scorpion (to which it has more than a striking resemblence)?  Heck no!  For 1/5 of the street price is the UF-2220 a pretty decent budget alternative?  Heck yeah!  Let's look at a breakdown of the common feature and specs of each:

 

Uniquefire UF-2220

ThruNite Scorpion

Street Price:

$25 USD (avg)

$125 USD

Emitter:

Cree XM-L U2

Cree XM-L T6

Modes:

5 (High/Medium/Low/Strobe/SOS)

4 (FireFly/Infinite 5%-89%/Momentary Strobe/Momentary On

Output on High (18650 cell):

2.68

3A (660 Lumens) for 1 minute then auto lowering to 2.5A

Throw:

 

265 yds

Bezel material:

Aluminum

Stainless Steel

Anodization:

Type II

Type III

Tailstands

Yes (with switch button change)

No

Pocket clip:

Yes

Yes

Weight:

5.3 oz

5.4 oz

Length:

156mm

164

Head diameter:

38mm

35mm

Tail Diameter:

28mm

25mm

Is it fair to compare a $25 budget torch to a $125 legendary torch known for it's quality and performance? Not really, but we are BLFers and if we can have something that performs near or as close to what a high end light performs we will certainly sit up and take notice.  Enough of the comparisons to the Scorpion.  Let's look at the UniqueFire UF-2220 for what it is.

Is it a perfect light? Not at all.  Can it be improved upon relatively easily?  Yes it can, and as it is it's really not a bad little light.  It's biggest flaw is it's ability to shed heat and I will get into that later in the review.  It's biggest pluses are it's hot "tactical" looks, decent build quality and what appears to be an excellent reflector that turns a fairly small headed light into what could be a great thrower and an all-around great light.  The head of the UF-2220 is roughly the same size as a Thrunite Scorpion with it's available "Turbo" head, all the while keeping the awesome look of the standard Scorpion's head.  It is deeper than it is wide and while the general consensus of flashaholics is that an XM-L needs a wider head to throw, I have to say that the hot spot on this light is very small and well focused.  I will need to break out my HD-2010 to compare but IIRC this looks about as tight.  I'm looking forward to my Lux meter and IS testing this evening.  Results will be posted as soon as I am finished with those.

Manufacturer Specifications

BrandUniqueFire
ModelUF - 2220
Emitter TypeCREE U2
Lumens1400 Lumens
Power13W
Bulb Quantity1
Light ColorWhite
Lightbulb / LED Lifespan100000 hours
Modes5
Mode ArrangementHi > Mid > Lo > Strobe > SOS
Lighting Distance200 m
Battery Configuration1 x 18650 batteries (not included)
Input Voltage3.7 - 4.2V
Runtime2 - 3 hour
Switch TypeClicky / Clickie
Switch LocationTail - cap
LensCoated Glass Lens
ReflectorAluminum Smooth / SMO Reflector
MaterialAerospace aluminum alloy
ColorBlack
Dimensions6.14" x 1.50" x 1.10" / (15.6 x 3.8 x 2.Cool cm (L x Head Dia.x Body Dia.)
Weight120g / 4.23oz
WaterproofYes
LandyardNo
ClipYes


My Specifications

Brand:

UniqueFire

Model:

UF - 2220

Purchased from:

Tmart  (ships from US warehouse)

Price Paid

$28 USD EDIT:  Now only $22.73

Emitter Type:

CREE XM-L U2 CW

LED PCB diameter (max star diameter):

16mm  (20mm max)

Driver Diameter:

17mm

Pill construction:

Brass

Pill Dimensions (diameter / height)

21.97mm / 13.47mm

Driver Regulation:

Yes (no direct drive on high)

Modes:

5

Mode Arrangement:

Hi > Mid > Lo > Strobe > SOS

Current draw at tail:

High: 3.04A / Med: 1.262A / Low: .540A

OTF Lumens on High (initial / 30 seconds)

 822 / 721

OTF Lumens on Med

 404

OTF Lumens on Low

 178

Lux @ 1m & ANSI Throw

15,700 lux / 230m ANSI throw

Battery Configuration:

1 x 18650 batteries

Input Voltage:

3.7 - 4.2V

Switch Type:

Reverse Clicky

Switch Location:

Tail

Lens Material:

Coated Glass Lens

Lens (Diameter x thickness):

34mm  (33.96mm) x 1.6mm (1.59mm)

Reflector:

Aluminum Smooth / SMO Reflector

Reflector (Width O.D. / Width I.D. / Depth):

34.86mm / ?  /36.74

Color:

Black

Anodization:

Type II

External Dimensions (Length x Head x Tail):

 

156mm x 38mm x 28mm 

Weight:

150g / 5.3oz

Waterproof:

No.  Water-resistant?  Mmmm...yeah...I wouldn't be afraid to use it in the rain.

O-rings:

4 (Lens/Pill/Neck/Tail)   *all properly sized

Landyard:

No

Clip:

Yes (head down)

Tailstand:

Yes (after replacing switch boot) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your basic glamour shot lit up

CONSTRUCTION:

I will let the light speak for itself in this area.  It's nicely made (certainly not TrustFire Z8 standards) for a Chinese light and is solid and robustly built.  My example arrived completely free from any dents, scratches, or machining errors.  The finish on the ano is very heavy and evenly applied.  The rest I'll let the pictures explain...

Very decent machining and finish.  Not Solarforce quality but not too shabby either.

A look at the deep reflector.

The emitter is perfectly centered.

Very nice pocket/belt clip.  It is removable and is firmly anchored in place by the tactical ring.

Very solid tail cap.  If not for the switch boot that is a tad too tall it would tail stand nicely.  Replacing it with a shorter boot will not only allow it to tail stand nicely but will also improve on the squishy feel caused by the original boot.

Decent knurling, not too aggressive, and uniform anodization throughout the light.  Also free from any defects or marks in the finish.

Plenty of fins, all nicely machined.

Overall look at the head.  Notice that each light has it's serial number printed on it.  First I've seen of this on a UniqueFire light.

"CAUTION HOT SURFACE" is not just an expression.  It's a FACT!  More on that later.

XM-L yes... U2?  Honestly I have no clue.  Nothing on the LED PCB that says it but I have no way of proving it is or it isn't.

Nice shot from the front...

Another nice shot from the tail.  it really is a nice looking light IMO.

A closer look at the bezel and the nice finish on the head.  The bezel is alloy and not stainless steel.  I suppose it saves a small bit of change in manufacturing costs.

Another shot of how deep this reflector looks compared to most lights in it's class.

Here are all the bits and bobs separated from each other.

Close look at the tail cap with the guts removed.  Very thick and solid.

Ehh...and another.

Very thick switch housing/retaining ring.  Nicely threaded.

Underside of the switch ring with the brass button for the battery.  Solid button for little resistance.

Standard switch PCB.  Spring is soldered on nicely in two spots.

A look at the tail threading.  No tail lockout on this one.  You can see where the clip attaches inside it's groove.  The tactical ring threads down over the clip retainer and anchors it securely.

A close look at the tactical ring threading.  The ring has 4 points where it stands out, each with a lanyard hole in each just big enough for paracord to go through.

A look at the well machined pill.  it is brass but it's also heavy and pushes the heat from the emitter through to the body and from there into the head.  It also makes a great candle with the head removed if you don't run it in high mode (far too much heat if you do).

Nice threading on the body where it threads into the head.  O-rings on the body are well sized and provide good seal.

 

Clean threading on the head.  The ano finish makes threading smooth and easy.

A close look at the threading on the body where the pill screws in.  Very clean and smooth.

Nice machining on the inside of the battery tube.  Very little in the way of machining marks.

The insulator and reflector centering ring.

Great machining on the pill.  Clean and smooth threads and an O-ring to seal the battery compartment.

Button top cells only on this light since there is no anode spring.  Fair soldering should keep the driver solidly grounded.

Heavy pill @ 16.4g

Nicely machined and finished alloy bezel.  Threads on smoothly.

Extremely clean threading in the head for the bezel.

A look at the head with the reflector removed.

A look at the inside of the head.  nicely machined but a few weird machining marks in it.  Nothing to effect performance.

A close look at the nice thread machining at the base of the head.

The reflector.

All the measurements...

Easily accommodates protected cells.  Here it is with an Xtar 16700.

The tactical ring makes it very comfortable to cigar hold.

It's a large light compared to the others in it's class but it doesn't feel large in the hand.

Solarforce L2T, Beamtech BT-950L, UniqueFire UF-2220 and the UltraFire HD2010

Waterproofing test:  Fail

I let it sit in the water on high for @ 25 minutes.  Worked fine while submerged.

Well, it seems the lens gasket leaked a bit and let a bit of water inside. It is the one gasket in the light that is too thin and got pushed between the reflector sides and the head, and not in a good way.  No harm done though as the light was on it's side and no water got into the emitter & pill from the front end.

Water inside the head behind the reflector.

No moisture in the battery compartment.

PERFORMANCE:

Here is where I can't give this light my "Johnny Mac Approved" stamp of approval.  Heat is just so much an issue that it becomes too hot, not only to hold, for the Li-Ion cell.  We're talking 70c after 20 minutes on high mode.  Granted it was in still air so the fins really didn't get a fair lick at syphoning off heat into the surrounding air but this light gets hot!

Lots of heat should at least mean lots of light, too, no?  Yeah, I figured it would to and it does...yet it doesn't.  I'm totally confused at my testing results but could use any thoughts you may have to explain things.  IS results show it to be as bright as the BT-950L (822 lumens initially) and current draw at the ail is 3A. Why the hell isn't it as bright as the BT-950L?  The hot spot is far tighter yet no where near as bright.  The lens is clear...could the reflector cause that much loss in lux?  Anyway, here are the results of my testing:

OUTPUT: Results taken from my Integrated Sphere

Cold start High:822 OTF lumens
After 1 minute on High:721 OTF lumens
Settled after 10 minutes:505 OTF lumens
Medium:404 OTF lumens
Low:178 OTF lumens

So why the drop in output on high during the first 10 minutes?  Thermal sag.  Lots of it. Still doesn't explain why on a fresh charge it just doesn't put out as bright a beam as a similar light with the same output numbers.  Undecided

 100% charge 50% charge 
Time in MinutesHeadBodyHeadBody
080808080
11021048789
5132134108110
10156156114116
15164162107107
20165166104104

And how hot was the battery after 20 minutes?  70c!! 

Here is what I mean.  All shots are with AWB turned off.

Ceiling shot from 6-7ft away and black level lowered to show the beam characteristics better.  This is in High mode.

Here is the UF-2220 along side the BT-950L. The hotspot on the 2220 is way tighter than that of the 950L but look at how much brighter the 950L is.  This light truly puzzles me.  They both draw the same amperage at the tail cap and put out similar numbers in the IS.  WTH???

Easily fixable issues:

I noticed a few times that depending on how tight the head was screwed onto the body, the light would flicker out or not turn on.  A quick look at the emitter revealed the source of the short.  As you will see in the pic below the solder point for the emitter ground can make contact with the reflector base.  Honestly it hasn't done it since the first few times and I can tighten it down hard now without it shorting.  A simple this insulator ring added in or a small piece of kapton tape should resolve the issue.

Next up is the tail standing, or lack of it.  The original switch boot was 1-2mm too tall and a bit squishy to boot (no pun intended) so a quick replacement with a shorter switch boot fixed the issue with just under 1mm (way under but enough) to spare.

Tail standing nicely now. 

SUMMARY:

As much as I like this light I just can't give it my recommendation. If anyone has any thoughts on what might be done to resolve the output-to-beam profile quandary I'm all ears. As for the heat issues, I'm not sure how the Thrunite Scorpion handles the heat any better.  It too has a pill that threads into the body (even more so as it is flush inside the body) and has the same head design but even less finning and surface area.

A thicker O-ring should resolve the water intake issue at the lens (maybe).  

It's up to you if you want to take a chance on one of these.  I've given you all the info I think I could give but as for me I give it a solid...

Johnny

Edited by: sb56637 on 08/26/2014 - 17:20
GottaZoom
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Wink

^ Oops, opened one eye by accident.

JohnnyMac
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GottaZoom wrote:
Wink

^ Oops, opened one eye by accident.

LOL! You and over 90 others so far! Big Smile
mizjif
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I couldn’t think of another thread title that would lure more views. I couldn’t resist either hahah

gords1001
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0:) I didn’t peek, honest….
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I’m here but I’m not looking…………….. 0:)

"You are making progress if each mistake you make is a new one."

Remember - Most great discoveries start with maki

JonnyC
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Johnny, my wallet is telling me that you need to stop with these good reviews.

fishinfool
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I just coudn't resist. 

 

Lookin' good though!

 

 

Don wrote:

"But as I said long ago, you are more likely to be killed by a dead fish dropped by a seagull in the Sahara Desert than by a lithium ion

GottaZoom
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JohnnyMac wrote:
GottaZoom wrote:
Wink

^ Oops, opened one eye by accident.

LOL! You and over 90 others so far! Big Smile

Wow now 548 reads!

jacktheclipper
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Yeah , so I'm a peeker .

What I do

 

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Honestly!
But then I had to scroll all the way down to leave this message….

JohnnyMac
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I should have made the title “ultrafire 501a review”. Big Smile

gords1001
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Yeah, like we wouldn’t have clicked anyway…..

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Looks like another winner coming up !! :bigsmile:

The quality of “ Budget Lights” has really improved in recent years.
And it seems like there’s been a big leap forward in the last 6 months.
Used to be if you didn’t buy a big name ( aka big dollar ) light you were getting junk.
That is far from true today..

SardionMasterwhoisnotpeeking Wink

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Guilty. You do a better job at pulling things apart than my kids. I hope you do a better job at putting things back together than the kids Wink. Nice pics and looking forward to the night shots.

 

djozz quotes, "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

                      "My man mousehole needs one too"

old4570 said "I'm not an expert , so don't suffer from any such technical restrictions".

Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.

 

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I did NOT Peek !!!! 

I read it Thoroughly and will re-read it when the Beam shots are listed.

JohnnyMac you have such a following, and you take the time and effort to produce such informative reviews. 

If it is JohnnyMac APPROVED it is a Good Light, Great Deal !!! 

Hell Yes we should be Peeking ...............

Thanks Johnny, 

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Wasn’t here either Silly

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

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I havent had time to update the review and post more pics. Plus my laptop battery is nearly dead so the final updates will have to wait until tomorrow. I did take the pics and gather all the output data from the IS and calculate throw data. Will have them up tomorrow I promise. As nice as this light looks I can’t get past the poor heat management of it. All the heat stays in the body and thermal sag effects it too much to get a Johnny Mac stamp of approval. My final thoughts will be forthcoming but will have to wait until tomorrow sometime. I have to admit I’m more than a little disappointed. Sad

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Pretty good, Johnny.  And, good choice of lights to compare.  I wish I could afford more non-budget equivalents to compare

 

Foy

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Johnny,
I am sure glad I ordered one this week, I hope it comes in tomorrow or Saturday. Your reviews are so damn good!!!! I know this is not done yet but you have mad skills!!! Another 5 star review!!!

 

 

 New Collection / Old Collection

 
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It’s safe to look ? Silly

Awesome review; very thorough.

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Chicago X wrote:
It’s safe to look ? Silly

Awesome review; very thorough.


LOL…yeah, its finished. Thanks! Smile

It’s too thorough…took way too long to put together. Silly

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Great review JohnnyMac,thanks for the in-depth look at this light.I have been lusting after this light for awhile because of the great looks and the relative low cost for an xml-u2 flashlight but now I am a bit turned off.Quite confusing heat issue and output issue,my theory is that the smooth band at the top of the pill is not making enough contact to the threaded portion of the head,thus making the battery tube absorb the initial heat and then the heat would start to move to the head from the tube.I think giving the pill a larger area of contact to the head  by way of copper ring in the head would solve this and eliminate the sag.Seems asthetics were a first priority and functionality last,shame because I wanted this light.

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Nice review, JohnnyMac, thanks for posting.

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Curses , Foiled Again !!! J)
Was really hoping for a big win with this light.
It looks awesome Love And from the pics , everything appeared to be set for success..
A bad reflector design could explain the beam.

The rest is confusing..

JohnnyMac a excellent review. 8)

I look forward to reading what you figure out and how you resolve the problem

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.

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Great review, great light Big Smile Thanks Wink

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If the pill design was like the Ultrafire M10 then this light would have been perfect.

The m10 pill screws into the body and head, so has 2 thermal paths whereas this light has the body path only.

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That’s one heck of a good review, regardless of the outcome. Thanks for the effort.
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I saw this last week and fell in love. I ordered 3 of them through Tmart and they shipped yesterday…. Hope they are good. I’m sending one to E1320 for modding……

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Sardion Master wrote:
Curses , Foiled Again !!! J)
Was really hoping for a big win with this light.
It looks awesome Love And from the pics , everything appeared to be set for success..
A bad reflector design could explain the beam.

The rest is confusing..

JohnnyMac a excellent review. 8)

I look forward to reading what you figure out and how you resolve the problem


Would a C8 reflector work ? Or an m10 ? I need throw not that much flood. Let’s make this light perfect ….. It has potential !
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Nice review Johnny. Very thorough.

Piers said " ....but who wants enough light, when you have the option for far too much "

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