[Review] Convoy M21C-U

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Mocarny
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[Review] Convoy M21C-U
Convoy M21C-U


3 in 1 review. At the end there will be a summary for those who like only particulars, in each topic I will bold the key sentences for those who read a little more, and a long waffling for everyone else. Enjoy!

(this review was translated by my girlfriend, so enjoy her deep and wide knowledge of English)

Obrazek

For VERY large photos: click -> on the photo page right click -> "Open image in new tab"

I got this flashlight for the review from Convoy, so thank You, Simon.

Table of Contents:

-General parameters
- Package content
- Appearance, parameters
- UI, runtime and charging
- PWM
- Waterproofness
- Light pattern, tint
- Beamshots
- Usage and my experiences
- Summary

General parameters

LED: XHP70.2 5000K
Brughtness: 3185lm (my measurements)
Reflector: SMO
Lens: With AR-coating
IU: Continuous brightness changing, and 6 clicks for simple 4 mode UI
LVP: Yes
Protection against reverse cell insertion: Yes
Battery: 1*21700
Switch: e-switch on the head
Dimensions: 55mm head / 28mm battery tube / 159mm length

 

 

Package content
 

The packaging is a higher quality cardboard box, inside there is a foam protection and the flashlight. That's all. But at least the box is nice.


Appearance, parameters

 

ObrazekObrazek

It looks almost the same as M21C, the only difference is the switch on the head instead of the back.

 

On the front, a steel ring, AR-coated lens, SMO reflector and XHP70.2 diode, and of course, decent cooling.
Obrazek

The only defect is the reflector flying inside- as if the lens is too weakly pressed by the ring, which has a little slack on the sides and flies slightly.Then there is the e-switch on the side and a metal ring around it - it is not a switch protection, as the ring sits in the casing. But it looks nice.The driver does not have a spring, but a metal lozenge, which improves contact with the battery.
Obrazek

-Bypassed spring in the tail cab
Obrazek

Design I rate as very nice

 

 

UI, runtime and charging


UI
Oh my, I have a big problem with this UI. To be honest, I don't like it. I'm explaining:
There is a stepless dimmable UI here. In theory it sounds very nice, but in practice it becomes worse. It is very clumsy to operate, completely unintuitive. Comparing this UI with the basic function of changing the brightness from Anduril, for the first one I give 3, for the second 10.First of all, changing the brightness is unnatural: low brightness dims and brightens very quickly but high brightness - slowly. I don't know much about software making, but it seems to me that Convoy has set the same lumen change rate for high and low brightness, while for low it should change slowly and for high it should change quickly. I think it was done in Anduril. I illustrated it with a graph I sketched (this was actually sketched by my girlfriend):


But that's just my speculation.

Another thing is the clumsiness of this UI:
1) From the off position we have the lowest brightness of 15lm - we cannot increase the brightness upwards or anything. This is just one mode.
2) from the on and off position we have the highest mode after two seconds. To decrease the brightness from it, you have to hold the button, the flashlight seems to increase the brightness, blinks that it is at its maximum (but this is not true, because it was already there a moment ago), then you have to let go and hold it again to decrease the brightness.
The flashlight memorizes the max brightness mode after a double click, but does not memorize the minimum when you hold the switch from the off position. This means that if you turn on the turbo and do not change the brightness, there is no option not to "hit" it when you turn on the flashlight again. That's weak, I already had a few times that I needed a medium light, and knowing that I would hit the turbo I covered the spotlight with my hand.

 

But we have another option, after 6 clicks we have access to simple 4 steps UI, with long press for moonlight and double click for turbo. Much better UI in my opinion.

Runtime
Chart of brightness change in 10 minutes
Obrazek

Temperature after:
2min - 39°C
5min - 47°C
10min - 47°C
Brightness after 10min - 1183lm

You have to admit, cooling does the job. This is better than last year's M3, and this one is even lighter.

 

 

PWM


I have not observed any on the lowest brightness

 

Waterproofness


Tested 2 hours in the aquarium, at a depth of 30cm
Obrazek
Test passed 100%, I am impressed, especially since the twin model, the M21C did not survive 40 minutes under water.

 

Light pattern, tint


XHP70.2 5000K
Min brightness: 15lm
Min brightness of ramping mode: 77lm
Max brightness: 3185lm
Obrazek
Obrazek
As you can see in the last photo, such a ring is formed on the edges, it is caused by a steel ring on the head, which reflects light in this way. Quid pro quo.


Beamshots

 

ISO200, t2s, f/3.5 sunlight white balance.

Photo of what the forest looks like:
Obrazek
Obrazek

The right pictures:
Obrazek
Obrazek

 

And a simple 4 mode stepped ramping:



There is a lot of light, it is something between throw and scatter, more towards the throw. A good flashlight if you are wondering about something bright, medium sized.


Usage and my experiences

 

Unfortunately, due to an underdeveloped driver, in my case this flashlight will not find many applications. This is certainly an interesting beginning of Convoy's path, but my patience has learnt the limit. I'm not saying it's a bad flashlight, but this control is too clumsy for me. But if you don't mind it, I can recommend it, it collects a lot of advantages from me for design, heat dissipation, good throw and water resistance.



Summary



The Convoy M21C-U is the grey beginning of the Convoy's journey towards more modern drivers. Grey as the flashlight itself. But not as bright. I would estimate it about 500lm.

Pros:
+ high water resistance
+ nice design

Cons:
- Clumsy control
- The reflector in my unit rattles slightly in the head, and I know 13 other cases, so let's call it a global problem

About host - threads, knurling o-rings and so on
Rating: 5/10 if you have rattling reflector, but 9/10 if not


About light - UI, tint and so on
Rating: 6/10 (stepless dimming: 4/10, simple 4 modes: 8/10)


1 - very bad flashlight hurts to look at, terrible quality, not worth any (even very low) price
5 - average flashlight, at a reasonable price - for the average person "great". Or better flashlight, but overpriced
10 - flashlight meets all my expectations in a given category (e.g EDC, headlamp, thrower), it's durable and neatly made, perfect light tint, worth its (even slightly inflated) price - just pure perfect, so I doubt any light can get a 10 from me

 

I hope you enjoyed!

If you struggle choosing your perfect headlamp, check my headlamp guide, I compared 15 most popular headlamps there: CLICK

Edited by: Mocarny on 12/23/2020 - 07:31
Quadrupel
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Convoy … xhp70.2….. 3500lumen…. boost circuit…. E-switch…. ramping-stepped ….. 6500k-3000k….. 85$? No. 65$? No.45$?! No! It’s 35$!!! Carl 35! 10/10

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Good read.

About UI, it’s standard issue we’ve seen in some other lights where manufacturer was adopting ramping control. I’d call it first batch.

It should just polish up those ramping speeds at low and high, nothing else.

Not having memory of lowest low it’s a standard in many other flashlights, Olight M2R and Seeker2 Pro for example. Once you enter it you cannot get it again after power interuption.

 

Rings in the beam is also “standard” in other lights too. Usually helps if you paint the inner sides of the lens ring with the marker... Smile

And also reflector emitter opening cutout, painted with marker. Those tiny tricks help a lot. Some folks even anodize bezel ring to completly remove ring artifatcs and enhance look.

I like my M21C-U but because of not adjusted ramping speed i’m using standard 4mode option.

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Scimmy
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I really like it and the side switch is certainly a bonus.. When I’m out walking the dog, it would be a pain to try and access a tail switch if i needed to adjust

Mocarny
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id30209 wrote:

Good read.


About UI, it’s standard issue we’ve seen in some other lights where manufacturer was adopting ramping control. I’d call it first batch.


It should just polish up those ramping speeds at low and high, nothing else.


Ramping speed, this strange issue when 2 click to turbo and can’t ramp down immediately and ramping from the lowest mode. But I’m sure it will be fixed Wink

If you struggle choosing your perfect headlamp, check my headlamp guide, I compared 15 most popular headlamps there: CLICK

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Me too. I hope Simon is reading this...

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SerenityNow
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Thanks for the review. I think this is a beautiful light. I have an M3 that I love, but it has a clumsy UI as well. Might be OK for muggles.

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Mocarny wrote:
id30209 wrote:

Good read.


About UI, it’s standard issue we’ve seen in some other lights where manufacturer was adopting ramping control. I’d call it first batch.


It should just polish up those ramping speeds at low and high, nothing else.

Ramping speed, this strange issue when 2 click to turbo and can’t ramp down immediately and ramping from the lowest mode. But I’m sure it will be fixed Wink

Exactly the same with some of the Sofirn models. I don’t think the average user would actually care tbh. Here at BLF we can actually become quite picky when we have been exposed to NarsilM and Anduril

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I bought a few M21C-U. As for the reflector rattling, mine all came rattling too and the bezel was not tighten.
I was thinking if Simon let it be loose on purpose so as I can change to OP Reflector that I have bought together.
After tightening the bezel, the rattling gone.

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Maybe a fatter O-ring to take up the slack?

There were quite a few “early” lights with both ramping and stepped that I ditched ramping after only a few irritating seconds and snapped it back to stepped-mode only.

And yeah, both Narsim and Andouille do it right as far as ramping. Hell, even my (Airpro) DC7 does ramping right, very Q8ish.

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Love your reviews, you are adding something unique that is your own character. Thumbs Up

You are right, what a perfect flashlight, driver, LED, but the UI
Whoever supplied the driver to Simon, did a lousy job.

It could be our fault as well, constantly pushing him for more and more at this price range, maybe all he could do

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Thanks for your review Mocarny. I really enjoyed it.
M21C-U seems to be a good flashlight except for its ramping UI clumsiness.
.
.
Simon mentioned that the upcoming Convoy M3-C (M3 with USB-C charging) will have ramping UI, hopefully it (and the next batch M21C-U) will have a better ramping.
Simon also mentioned about M21C-U will be upgraded with USB-C.
.
.
Seems like a good move forward, more Convoy models with e-switch, and USB-C.
Hopefully they’ll also come with a better UI.

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Great review and translation.

icpart
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BLF-L wrote:
Thanks for your review Mocarny. I really enjoyed it.
M21C-U seems to be a good flashlight except for its ramping UI clumsiness.
.
.
Simon mentioned that the upcoming Convoy M3-C (M3 with USB-C charging) will have ramping UI, hopefully it (and the next batch M21C-U) will have a better ramping.
Simon also mentioned about M21C-U will be upgraded with USB-C.
.
.
Seems like a good move forward, more Convoy models with e-switch, and USB-C.
Hopefully they’ll also come with a better UI.

Great review indeed.
For new M21C -U I prefer non USB-C variant if we want to have best waterproofnes of it. Also most of times I prefer to charge my batteries with external charger. The problem with most powerful flashlights is that USB rubber cover frequently pop out from internal air pressure when flashlight body is hotter. For example SP36.
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Yeah, that’s why you gotta love magnetic charging

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New Zealand store – https://www.piercingthedarkness.co.nz (NZ customers only)

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Just get my black M21C-U with 3000K.
Step changing mode enable after clicking 6 times from off position. And we have 4 comfortable positions: minimal for low light in room (1%), second for walking in the night woods (10%), third 30%, and fourth – 100%. Returning to stepless dimming – 6 times clicking in off position.
For me it’t absolutely best mid-range light.

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id30209 wrote:

Rings in the beam is also “standard” in other lights too. Usually helps if you paint the inner sides of the lens ring with the marker… Smile


And also reflector emitter opening cutout, painted with marker. Those tiny tricks help a lot. Some folks even anodize bezel ring to completly remove ring artifatcs and enhance look.

Thanks! I’ll try this on my smaller flashlights. Smile

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icpart wrote:
For new M21C -U I prefer non USB-C variant if we want to have best waterproofnes of it. Also most of times I prefer to charge my batteries with external charger. The problem with most powerful flashlights is that USB rubber cover frequently pop out from internal air pressure when flashlight body is hotter. For example SP36.

Amen.

I hope Simon doesn’t let himself to persuade himself to implement onboard charging into his lights by people who use their lights as toys, where for some people flashlights are tools on which their safety depends on, eg. while caving or doing urban exploration.

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How does it compare to M3 in terms of beam profile – throw/spill/etc?

Mocarny
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Hi, I updated my review, decreased host and build score because of rattling reflector. I discovered it is not only my problem, my friend ordered about 12 flashlights and each of them has the same problem.
If you have this issue too, let me know.

If you struggle choosing your perfect headlamp, check my headlamp guide, I compared 15 most popular headlamps there: CLICK

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That’s odd. Mine is tight as hell o_o

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Mocarny wrote:
Hi, I updated my review, decreased host and build score because of rattling reflector. I discovered it is not only my problem, my friend ordered about 12 flashlights and each of them has the same problem. If you have this issue too, let me know.

Yes, this is a very common but in no way it is a big issue

This is a step by step Love
1- Open your palm.
2-Hold the flashlight by the head
3-Push the head inside your palm
4 Screw clockwise
5 check rattling and repeat 3,4,5 until you hear no rattling,

you can also do it with a self healing pad or mouse pad….
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I have 3 M21C-U. All came with reflector rattling. And all 3 the SS Bezel not tighten. Not sure if this is on purpose by Simon as some will prefer to change an OP into this light like I did.

Not a problem for me with them rattling. Once tighten SS Bezel, rattling gone.

By the way, I have more than 10 Convoy lights, all the Bezel came not tighten. Again, I’m not sure if this is on purpose.

Mocarny wrote:
Hi, I updated my review, decreased host and build score because of rattling reflector. I discovered it is not only my problem, my friend ordered about 12 flashlights and each of them has the same problem. If you have this issue too, let me know.
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I wonder of the tail switch from the standard M21C is compatible and can to be used as a mechanical lockout.

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Caleb wrote:
I wonder of the tail switch from the standard M21C is compatible and can to be used as a mechanical lockout.

Yes, it can be used this way Big Smile
You can even use M21C-U tailcap with M21C and make a non switchable flashlight Silly

If you struggle choosing your perfect headlamp, check my headlamp guide, I compared 15 most popular headlamps there: CLICK

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Mocarny wrote:
Caleb wrote:
I wonder of the tail switch from the standard M21C is compatible and can to be used as a mechanical lockout.
Yes, it can be used this way Big Smile You can even use M21C-U tailcap with M21C and make a non switchable flashlight Silly

Thanks for the info.

Do you also know if the M21A tailcap fits… and what about the S21A, or S21B tailcap switches?

Mocarny
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Caleb wrote:
Mocarny wrote:
Caleb wrote:
I wonder of the tail switch from the standard M21C is compatible and can to be used as a mechanical lockout.
Yes, it can be used this way Big Smile You can even use M21C-U tailcap with M21C and make a non switchable flashlight Silly

Thanks for the info.

Do you also know if the M21A tailcap fits… and what about the S21A, or S21B tailcap switches?


M21B does not fit, so I assume the rest also will not fit.

If you struggle choosing your perfect headlamp, check my headlamp guide, I compared 15 most popular headlamps there: CLICK

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Also mine came with reflector rattling. Solved in a minute of course

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This lantern has a different bezel mount design. The sealing ring does not rest against the reflector, but against the lamp housing around the perimeter. When tightened, the bezel first pushes the rubber band, and only at the end presses the reflector. As other participants in the discussion have already written above, when tightening, you need to press firmly with your palm.
Hope my “lame” english can be understood ).

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I figured out how, when turned on, it is guaranteed to get into the first low mode. If you turn it on by pressing 6 times, then the control mode is changed with the inclusion of the minimum mode. The crutch is certainly uncomfortable, but it’s better than getting an unexpected turbo mode.
For some reason, the following began to happen with my flashlight: when switching from a stepped mode to a smooth ramping mode, in the first few seconds the flashlight spontaneously raises its brightness by three small steps, up to about 90lm.

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I added 3 more beamshots of stepped ramping mode in the Beamshots section.
And it’s worth mentioning I edited the review after some time and added info about simple 4 mode UI available after 6 clicks. Sorry I didn’t mention it earlier, and I gave this flashlight worse rating than I should. I changed that too.

If you struggle choosing your perfect headlamp, check my headlamp guide, I compared 15 most popular headlamps there: CLICK

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