REVIEW: RovyVon Aurora A8 A/B/R – 350 Lumens – Nichia 219C key chain light

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xevious
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REVIEW: RovyVon Aurora A8 A/B/R – 350 Lumens – Nichia 219C key chain light

RovyVon Aurora A8 Y (Amber/Red/Blue)

Preliminary
I’m not set up with a light meter, graphing software, or a good outdoor area for long beam shot testing, so beam shots in this review are limited to indoors and lower modes. Mostly provided for the opportunity to show emitter tint.

Background
I’d been looking for a capable small / key chain sized light for EDC. I’ve been using a Fenix L0D for years, and it has served me well. But it has no super low mode and tint is too cold. On my car key chain I have an Olight i1R EOS that is a decent light, but I’m using it more as a backup. The tint is cooler than I prefer and the beam flickers quite a bit while rotating. My house keys have a Photon Freedom light (pretty decent), which is great for low lumens (it has ramping). For the L0D replacement, I’d gotten a Nitecore TIP CRI and was initially pleased with it. But unfortunately 2 failed on me in a row… and so I abandoned it.

The RovyVon Aurora A8 appealed to me for a variety of reasons. It doesn’t check off all the boxes of my wish list, but it comes close. Now that I have it in hand, I’m satisfied that I made the purchase and felt inspired to provide a review.

GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS
Model: Aurora A8 Y (*)
Material: Polycarbonate + Stainless Steel bezel
Color: Translucent (semi-opapque)
Main Emitter: Nichia 219C R9050 (4500K 5000K, 90+ CRI)
Side emitters: UV + Red + Amber + Blue
Lens: TIR Optic
Battery: 130mAh LiPo – 4.2V
In-built charger: Micro-USB
Charging Time: 45 minutes (350mA / 5V)
Switch: E-switch
Max Output: 350 lm
Candela: 780 cd
Max Beam Distance: 60m
Max Runtime: 2.5 hours
Waterproofness: IP-65
Impact resistance: 1.5m
Low Battery Indicator: RED switch – 2.8V
Low Voltage Cut-off: 2.4V

(+) Besides this A8 Y version (Amber, Red, Blue) there is a UV/Red/White version.
See MascaratumB’s review of the A8U, HERE.

Manual Pages (edited to conserve space):

SIZE
The Aurora A8 is 2.16” (54.8 mm) long, which is really quite small for a light capable of producing over 300 lumens output. About the size of an AA cell. The Olight i1R EOS is just 0.5” shorter (at 41 mm in length) and maxes out at 130 lumens. They’re very close in diameter. So it’s not a big leap to go from the smaller ilR EOS and enjoy a multitude of improvements. It comes with some useful accessories too: a mini clip (can be positioned in either direction), a steel bead chain for neck wearing, and a nylon lanyard option as well.

BUILD
Despite the relatively small size, this light is built well. The translucent polycarbonate case seems sturdy and there’s a nice wide brushed steel bezel surrounding the main emitter. The polycarbonate is polished directly over the 3 side emitters and light transmits through it easily. However, it isn’t scratch proof. At least it’s capable of being polished if a scratch patina develops. It might be worth applying a vinyl protective film.

Some owner photos:

FUNCTIONS
Most key chain sized EDC lights have one or a few modes and that’s about it. If going for more functionality or output, you usually need to step up to a larger size, driven by AAA cells or larger. The A8 provides a main emitter with 4 levels of light initially accessed by a double-click, starting on moonlight and sequentially accessed. The red and blue side emitters function only in rapid strobe modes, while the amber features a constant on and a momentary repeating strobe. There is an indicator for low battery.

USER INTERFACE
The A8 does not behave as expected, at first. Most lights react to a single click. The A8 does not. In order to activate the first output setting, you need to double-click it. Now, some people may be put off by this, but it’s really a clever idea once you get used to it. Most EDC’s have the challenge of needing a good lockout, to prevent accidental activation. You either have to twist the tail cap to break contact or press a certain button combination to achieve electronic lockout. The A8 doesn’t need that. And double-click to start is pretty easy to remember. From there, a single click steps through the modes (m-L-M-H) and then repeats on low (L) Shut off is a long press, but it’s fairly short at 0.3 seconds. The A8 is also programmed such that after 180 seconds of constant operation, a single brief click will shut it off.

The side emitters are accessed in 2 groups: 1) A triple-click from off activates the red/blue alternating strobe set. Then a single click toggles between that mode and a single red strobe (can serve as a bike light). 2) A quadruple-click from off activates the amber LED that starts in constant on (can be used for reading). A single click toggles an amber intermittent flash (not a strobe, useful for roadside warning). I had wondered why a red/blue strobe is included. What would have been more useful is behavior like the amber control set — red constant on or red flashing. The red/blue strobe looks like a police light (in USA). A private citizen can’t use that legally on the road. To shut off, you make a long (0.3s) press.

CHARGING
Charging from low battery is supposed to take just 45 minutes. There’s a tethered soft silicone plug covering a Micro USB port. It’s easy to pull out and then insert the charge plug. A small Micro USB charging cord is included. While charging, the red LED illuminates. Once charging reaches 100% of maximum battery capacity, the blue LED illuminates (red shuts off). When battery voltage drops below 2.8v, the red LED will illuminate to let you know it’s time to recharge. That indicator goes out when the voltage drops below 2.4v, to prevent complete discharge of the battery. RovyVon includes a spare USB port plug, in case the original gets destroyed or lost somehow… but there’s no help stated on how to install the spare. Hopefully it can be user accomplished with guidance from RovyVon.

OUTPUT
The A8 delivers 4 different light levels from the main emitter (0.5, 10, 120, 350) and a constant 16 lm from the amber side emitter. I haven’t had the chance to do runtime tests but others have done them already — I expect I’d get similar results. The moonlight mode to my eyes looks closer to 1 lm, but is still very useful. The main emitter brightness spacing is very obvious, ending on a blinding 350 lumens (for a key chain light) and overheating is safeguarded by a built-in temperature regulator, to step down. Tint wise, the A8 with Nichia 219C looks excellent, on the warm side of neutral white.

Here’s a few beam shot comparisons with other lights:

SUMMARY
There’s a lot to like about this light. True, for the price point, you could buy a larger light with more output. But what you’re paying for here is not output but functionality combined with extreme miniaturization. And RovyVon does this very well.

What I like:

  • Output for a light this size is amazing, brightness levels nicely spaced. Never gets too hot to handle on high.
  • The size is impressively small and the shape is appealing.
  • The translucent polycarbonate casing provides a terrific “ambient” illumination with the side LED’s for excellent visibility.
  • The clip holds on tight and makes the light tremendously useful with positioning. Great for cap brims.
  • Charging is quick at 45 minutes.

What I’d like improved:

  • There is PWM, and although mild, I would prefer it not visible at all. As is, you can see it peripherally in moonlight and low when moving your eyes around. But it isn’t visible when looking straight at the illuminated object.
  • The red/blue strobe is dazzling, but I’m not quite sure when I’d really use it. I’d prefer a constant red instead.
  • The polished polycarbonate over the side emitters is prone to scratching, especially if the A8 frequently comes into contact with keys. I’d prefer some sort of slot where you could insert a custom cut piece of tempered glass. But I guess some clear vinyl might do the trick.
  • The battery is limited at 130mAh. It would be nicer if two cells or one larger one was utilized, and the casing girth enlarged by a few millimeters.
  • The brushed stainless steel bezel looks like it may be prone to scratching… would have been nice if a protective sleeve could be provided to snap into place, and optionally removed if being carried in a “safer” pocket.

The whole concept of this light is terrific and I’d actually like to see it optionally in a larger form factor, perhaps 60% larger to take on a 14500 cell. But, that might present thermal dissipation challenges so the head would probably need a redesign (solid metal slug inside, directly connected to a finned broad bezel). Overall, I’m really glad to see the A8 in the long line of Aurora model progressions. It really achieves a lot in the progression from the A2. If there is going to be an A9 in the future, maybe offer the A8 functions with some minor changes and then provide a dual case of polycarbonate and stainless steel, sort of like the A4 and A8 combined.

Please feel free to comment and call out any errors I may have made. Thanks!

Edited by: xevious on 02/21/2019 - 12:25
MascaratumB
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Hey xevious Smile
Thanks for the review on this! I thought the UI for the side emitters would behave differently, maybe with the constant RED & constant BLUE + Bliking Red & Blue.
The amber seems to be nice! What do you think of it?

BTW, I noticed that you copied the General Specificiations from my review thread!
Neither of us corrected the point of “Max Output: 550 lm” Facepalm
I went back to my thread and changed it, I’d tell you to do the same so that the information is accurate Wink

And enjoy the light Beer

xevious
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MascaratumB wrote:
Hey xevious Smile
Thanks for the review on this! I thought the UI for the side emitters would behave differently, maybe with the constant RED & constant BLUE + Bliking Red & Blue.
The amber seems to be nice! What do you think of it?

BTW, I noticed that you copied the General Specificiations from my review thread!
Neither of us corrected the point of “Max Output: 550 lm” Facepalm
I went back to my thread and changed it, I’d tell you to do the same so that the information is accurate Wink

And enjoy the light Beer


Hey MascaratumB,

Thanks for your comments! First, thanks for pointing out the typo. Yes, I grabbed the spec list you’d typed out and didn’t completely proof-read it. Fixed.

I didn’t really have a need for UV, so I decided on the amber. I guess that’s why the model number is A8Y (“y” for yellow, or amber). I do like it. It’s bright enough to use as a task light, if you want visible light but not bright white. There is also an advantage having side illumination, because you can attach the light to a magnet with the clip. Flashing yellow can also be useful as a forward facing alert. Flashing red obviously for the rear. In the USA, red/blue is associated with the police, so it’s a little controversial to use in public. My hope is that in the next version, RovyVon could change the blue to red, so there’s 2 red emitters. Then have 3 modes — strobe, low, and high in red.

It’s a great light and I’m very happy I got it. And thanks to you, as your review helped me make the decision! Smile

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xevious wrote:
Hey MascaratumB,

Thanks for your comments! First, thanks for pointing out the typo. Yes, I grabbed the spec list you’d typed out and didn’t completely proof-read it. Fixed.

Nice! Now we are correct Smile

xevious wrote:
I didn’t really have a need for UV, so I decided on the amber. I guess that’s why the model number is A8Y (“y” for yellow, or amber). I do like it. It’s bright enough to use as a task light, if you want visible light but not bright white. There is also an advantage having side illumination, because you can attach the light to a magnet with the clip. Flashing yellow can also be useful as a forward facing alert. Flashing red obviously for the rear. In the USA, red/blue is associated with the police, so it’s a little controversial to use in public. My hope is that in the next version, RovyVon could change the blue to red, so there’s 2 red emitters. Then have 3 modes — strobe, low, and high in red.

Nice that you like that feature of the Amber Wink I find the side white emitter of mine better than the one in the A5, it’s more Neutral! It doesn’t blink but it doesn’t need to!

I agree, maybe 2 red emitters with the different options would be nice! At least it would have more usability Wink

xevious wrote:
It’s a great light and I’m very happy I got it. And thanks to you, as your review helped me make the decision! Smile
Glad the review helped in the choice Wink That why we do them Beer

xevious wrote:
[…] I wouldn’t mind the body being increased slightly. It’s already so very small, that perhaps 2mm wider would still be fine. I had tucked it in my pocket with keys for half a day and when I looked at it under magnification, I could see a few small nicks in the polished polycarbonate directly over the side emitters. So that had me a little concerned. I am going to put some vinyl film over it for protection.

Hum, I wouldn’t risk picking the magnifying lens Big Smile I might go crazy doing that!! But I get your point, it will have some scratches over time! Mine, as long as they keep working , no problem Cool
BTW, the A2 and the non polycarbonate models will surely get more scratched!!

xevious wrote:
I’m also impressed by how the head doesn’t get too hot to handle even after running for several minutes on high. Thermal regulation works well.

I think about that too, but I also don’t leave it much time on max!!

xevious wrote:
Supposedly the Samsung LH351D emitter is more efficient than the Nichia, so perhaps that could be installed in a future version for even longer runtimes. But again, overall for the mini-EDC purpose, the A8 is a brilliant light. RovyVon is a very small company compared to the “big league” light makers, but I hope that changes. More people need to know about the Aurora line. It probably would have taken a lot longer for me, if my Nitecore TIP CRI fiasco hadn’t happened (2 bad lights in a row, which forced me to look elsewhere).
Beer

I guess they will be listening to some of the suggestions from the community! They already did and it worked well! So I hope some of these suggestions can be implemented as these are surely “small” great flashlights Wink
RovyVon is appearing all over YouTube in several different videos, so people will know about it!

Here I guess it was toddcshoe that first talked about them, and from then on we’ve been keeping an eye on it! So people come to know the company!
Again, enjoy the light mate Wink I hope it serves you well

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Thanks for the review. 

In the future model (still A8), the PWM will be canceled or improved and with a larger capacity battery for longer runtime. 

LED Flashlight, EDC Gear, Tool, Pocket Knife, and More.
www.rovyvon.com

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RovyVon wrote:

Thanks for the review. 


In the future model (still A8), the PWM will be canceled or improved and with a larger capacity battery for longer runtime. 


Great news Wink We’ll be looking to see it implemented Wink
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RovyVon wrote:

Thanks for the review. 


In the future model (still A8), the PWM will be canceled or improved and with a larger capacity battery for longer runtime. 


You are welcome, Ken. And thanks for the follow-up. I will be very interested to hear of the progress on the A8 v2! Smile
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I might do a review at some point of the latest Aurora A5, which I recently purchased direct from RovyVon. It’s the A5u, with UV LED nested in the bank of white side LED’s.

From what I understand, the A5 and A8 share a good bit of functionality and they both have the same 330 mAh battery now. While the jump of 200 mAh has caused the light to increase in size, it’s not an enormous increase relatively speaking. In fact, this is how I wished the original A8 was sized. While the original is impressively small, it’s not as practical because it’s easy to drop it… unless you’ve got a leash tethered to it.

The big “win” for me is that I find there’s NO detectable PWM. This was a pet peeve of mine on the original A8. With it eliminated in the latest A5, it should be for the A8 as well. Very pleasing to the eyes. I went with the Nichia 219C LED option, which is a 200 lumens drop from the Cree XP-G3. But it’s a really nice neutral white tint with a whisper of warm. And for a close range light like a keychain EDC, tint is more important than output—easier on the eyes.

EDIT : One thing that bothered me was how double-click from off would show the low brightness level. Not ultra-low. So if I want ultra-low, I have to cycle all the way up past turbo to get to it. I found out from RovyVon that this “memorized mode” is set by leaving the light on for 3 full minutes. It’s a pain, but at least you can restore the default mode to the level you want. Generally speaking, I don’t leave the light on for more than 3 full minutes at a time, so once set it shouldn’t be a problem.

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I originally bought the A8U (red, white, ultraviolet side LEDs) in early 2019 with the Nichia emitter as an EDC on my keychain (my username explains why). It replaced the Fenix E05 on my keychain, a light I’m still fond of (it’s my backup). But I LOVED the Rovyvon light, especially the low-Kelvin front light. I also used the flashing red light on my evening meanderings, clipping the light to me to alert cars turning onto sidestreets to my presence (I’m still alive, so it seemed to work.) I occasionally used the white side light for working in front of me – just clip it to my shirt so it shines where my hands are, and the clip is terrific. The flashlight is small, light, versatile – just about perfect from my point of view.

Unfortunately, after almost exactly one year, something went wrong with the light and it failed to consistently hold a charge. For a while it just would not allow me to charge it at all; after the battery went completely dead it finally would charge again, but held only a few minutes of charge at the higher output levels.

I contacted their customer support, and they responded quickly, sending me an A8X as a replacement.

I was initially disappointed – the A8X is significantly larger, which makes it less convenient for keychain use. However I clipped it on and quickly fell in love with its higher light output, additional light modes, and larger battery. After a month or so, I was completely won over.

Even more unfortunately, this one started to exhibit problems after about 16 months – the front light would only work at ~1 lumen or so. I left it sitting for several days and, eventually, the front light came back on brighter, but not as bright as it was and with noticeable flicker.

Has anyone else had problems with Rovyvon flashlights going bad after a while? I cannot emphasize enough how much I like these little lights, and I acknowledge that keychain duty is pretty brutal, but I need something that’s reliable.

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Great first post for a new user — Welcome to BLF!
Feel free to hang around as often as you like. There’s a lot of great people here. No spin! Wink

Very sorry to hear about your charging troubles with your RovyVon Aurora lights. I have an A8 and an A5… no troubles. But then, these are occasional use lights for me. Are you using yours every single day? How often do you charge up? Also, do you ever let the battery go into deep discharge (completely depleted)?

Since my A8 is a crazy blinkie light, I tend to use it during the summer when doing late evening hikes or kayaking. Most of the time it’s on my keychain. I’ve had it for 3 years and let it deep discharge a couple of times. The larger A5 (newer model) is very new to me. I think I’ve charged it like 2 times thus far.

I wonder if these lights have any kind of hidden command to clear memory and “reset”.

Ken is generally pretty good with customer service. Maybe you should contact him @ RovyVon and see what he suggests.

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You're going to love it here, dogpoopseeker!

I've had a RovyVon A3 for years, and it works fine.

(I rarely use it, however.)

215_milla

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Thanks! In truth, I have lurked here for years. It’s an introvert thing – I’m a lot more interested in listening than talking.

The flashlight just rides around in my pocket, although, especially in winter, I typically use it for a few minutes every night in the nearby park for… well, you know. Labradors gonna do what Labradors do. I typically try to charge it before the red light comes on, and I am usually successful (although the battery did get low a few times). I also try not to leave it on the higher output levels for long periods of time, but once in a while it will be on long enough to get quite warm to the touch.

Before I got these lights I had not appreciated how useful a high-CRI light could be for finding a brown… substance… in dark green grass with leaves all around. It’s huge.

I thought I’d just put it out there to see if there are other reports of similar problems. If I really am just the luckiest kid on the block to get not one but two “bad” flashlights, then I’ll go buy a lottery ticket and wait for the asteroid to hit the house. If others have had similar problems, I might want to make a different choice for my EDC light.

Or just buy a spare (cuz I really, really love these little lights…).

Thanks!

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Cool, welcome from out behind the curtain. Wink Big Smile

The two key advantages to RovyVon Aurora flashlights is that they’re amazingly bright for such a small size and have a rather unusual mix of features. They do make larger ones where the battery can be removed and changed out.

Frankly, since you need to walk outside at night a lot with a dog & probably other things like baggies, why not get yourself a headlamp? You just strap it on and go. Alternatively, you can get a headlamp with a rear clip to affix to your jacket front… A headlamp frees up both hands, which can be VERY valuable when you’re dealing with a powerful dog!

There are so many choices available these days, at different price points. You can get neutral-white and warm emitters. Different battery cells. It’s worth investing in a good quality flashlight that will last you for many, many years. Maybe get one that takes AA or 14500 cells, with built-in charging. Even 18350 cells can be a good alternative, keeping the light small (although appreciably thicker).

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Actually, I have two headlights – a Walmart AAA cheapie that is lightweight, comfortable, and works well for a lot of things, and a nice Sofirn right-angle 18650 light with a 4000K emitter that I keep in the car.

But I really like being able to walk out the door secure in the knowledge that I have what I need right in my pocket – the little A8 that finds the dog poop, keeps the cars at bay, and acts like a right-angle light when I need it (the A8X even has two brightness levels for the side light… oooooohhhhh, so geeky!!! :GLASSES:) If I want to pick up something else on my way out the door, I have a variety, from the (frankly, very good) cheap chinese variable-focus AA tailswitch flashlight to a Sofirn SP36 BLF model (I told you I have been lurking!) that will light up the whole park, the nearby condos, and will re-direct aircraft away from the local airport. It also weighs nearly as much as the dog… but it actually allowed me to find a dropped key in the middle of half an acre of grass in the middle of a moonless night. But I don’t want to pick them up when I’m on my way out the door with the dog – I am now officially spoiled by having the A8 in my pocket.

I actually find a variety of uses for a keychain flashlight in day-to-day life, because I naturally drop things (which inevitably roll into the dark spaces under furniture) and I have a natural curiosity for what is in little nooks and crannies. Plus I have been caught in bathrooms TWICE when the power went out… it’s NICE to have a flashlight in your pocket for that.

xevious
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I hear you about the convenience of the keychain light. You do grab a leash to secure your dog, so, just put the headlamp with strap in the same place so you grab both at the same time. Thumbs Up

But what you say is partly why I appreciate the RovyVon Aurora—such amazing brightness & utility in a very small form factor. It is unfortunate that these models don’t have a replaceable battery. Frankly, I’d pay a little more for that. I have a Sofirn SC01, which is a very tiny steel twister with warm LED and it has a removable 10180 cell. It’s about as thick as the newer A8, but shorter because it has no side LEDs. Two modes, because of the twist UI. But what they achieved leads me to believe the A5 & A8 size/shape has the potential for a removable cell. I’m presuming it would require a screw-off head at the steel bezel, and perhaps the cost for accommodating an 10180 cell would put the price point higher than RovyVon deems marketable.