[review] Sofirn SC21, 16340 mini-light with usb-C recharging!

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Lightbringer
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[review] Sofirn SC21, 16340 mini-light with usb-C recharging!

The SC21 is Sofirn’s first 16340 light if I’m not mistaken, and it’s a nice one! I’ve used the SC31pro with a shorty tube (ie, to use the half-length 18350 instead of 18650 cell), and it’s a surprising little powerhouse, and the SC21 is even smaller/thinner than that.

It comes as a kit, with the included cell, in a thin but nice small light-brown cardboard box, not the fancier black’n‘blue boxes as before, but it’s more than adequate, as without the plastic tray, etc., you get a nice compact package.

In the box is the light with included cell (remove the insulation disc before using!), the usb-C charging cable, snap-on clip, and a baggie with useful goodies like a lanyard and extra O-rings. Everything’s nicely Tetrissed into the box with no room to spare. Big Smile

What’s a really nice treat is that this light has it all, including usb recharging built-in. So not only is it compact, bright, and with a beautiful CT/tint, but also doesn’t need an external charger!

On first inspection, the light has typische Sofirn semigloss black anodisation, pretty much flawless with no nicks or dings or chips anywhere, not even the edges. Its rather familiar switch, black plastic ring with clear center to show the internal LED, is as mentioned a familiar sight but doesn’t protrude as much as in some other lights, and has no discernable “wiggle” or dead travel. It also seems to have just the right amount of springiness, not mushy but not hard to press, either. I don’t mind a stiff switch (and lots of times even prefer it, to prevent accidental activation) and the small protrusion might help with that.

The usb charging port opposite the switch is covered with a rubber flap that takes a devil of a time to press in thoroughly, but it ends up as quite a tight seal. And it’s usb-C, which is a fan favorite. I don’t mind micro over C, but C is what lots of people prefer, so it seems a smart choice to go with C. Smile

There’s a magnet in the tailcap to let it stick to ferro surfaces, too. As always, while magnets can come in very handy to stick to the hood of your car in an emergency, etc., don’t let it get near credit-cards or anything else with a magstripe, as to not corrupt/erase the embedded data. The magnet’s not exactly a powerhouse, but works fine to hold the light to flat surfaces. Rounded surfaces like pipes are more problematic.

Despite the magnetic tail (usually flat), there’s still a ridge with holes to be able to attach a lanyard, if you prefer. It also explains why the magnet inside is likely a smaller diameter than what could fill the entire tail. Smile

The front glass is crystal clear and seems uncoated. The reflector is a nice mild orange-peel and blends the beam nicely. Knurling on the battery-tube is grippy without “biting”. There are some fins around the head to help shed heat. All in all, everything looks quite good.

The emitter is an LH351 all right, but seems to be a B instead of a D as listed. No matter, as it has the same wonderful beam I’m used to. And the listing says it’s 5000K, but seems to be a much sweeter warmer color, more like 4000K instead. Color me very happy! Big Smile

The beam itself has few if any artifacts, and is nice and floody, with a gentle transition from hotspot to spill thanks to the OP reflector. Not a hint of any “fried egg” beam (ie, yellower in the hotspot vs spill). Everything’s nice and even throughout, even when “white-wall hunting”. Big Smile

The UI (user interface) is nice and simple, yet very useful. Click on/off. Hold when on to advance modes. Press’n‘hold from off to get to moonlight. Double-click for turbo. Triple-click for strobe. Quad-click for lockout. When locked out, holding the button gives you momentary low light so you don’t have to unlock it for brief bursts of light. Nice!

Charging is easy, just plug it in and wait. The switch lights up red when charging, green when done.

All in all, it’s an incredible little light, and that it gets so bright even with a 16340 cell is pretty amazing. It’s certainly the brightest 16340 light I’ve seen. Big Smile

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Lightbringer
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Ach, forgot the Amazon link…

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B097PT4WB4

Review still isn’t “published” on Amazon, so images will be forthcoming. Didn’t want to wait even longer, as I use Amazon itself as my image-hosting site. LOL

But here’s the little beastie from an already existing pic on The Zon.

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MascaratumB
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Thanks for the info/review LB! Thumbs Up

Quote:
The UI (user interface) is nice and simple, yet very useful. Click on/off. Hold when on to advance modes. Press’n‘hold from off to get to moonlight. Double-click for turbo. Triple-click for strobe. Quad-click for lockout. When locked out, holding the button gives you momentary low light so you don’t have to unlock it for brief bursts of light. Nice!

I thought it was different but acting this way, it is quite good actually! Still, it could be smaller in size to make it more competitive with other “shrunk” lights that can use 18350s.
Quote:
The SC21 is Sofirn’s first 16340 light if I’m not mistaken

The K03 was actually the 1st, but it was more a generic model, so the SC21 is the first designed by them Wink

pennzy
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Is there lvp in yours?

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MascaratumB wrote:
I thought it was different but acting this way, it is quite good actually! Still, it could be smaller in size to make it more competitive with other “shrunk” lights that can use 18350s.

It’s not bad at all, I think. Compared to my Jet-II twisty, it doesn’t have any sideswitch nor charging port, so is certainly compact, and once you twist it on, it’s pretty easy to hold.

Add the charging and sideswitch, and there ain’t much room to put that without necessarily making the light bigger. It’s still pretty easy to hold precisely because of the extra length, so I got no complaints.

If I remember, I’ll try to get a side-by-side pic of the ’21 with a shorty SC31pro.

MascaratumB wrote:
The K03 was actually the 1st, but it was more a generic model, so the SC21 is the first designed by them Wink

Hmm, doesn’t jingle any bells. Was it from a reeeeally long time ago?

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pennzy wrote:
Is there lvp in yours?

Ach… ya gonna make me run it down to vapors?

I had an interesting experience with turbo stepdown. First time I tried it, it stepped down rather abruptly, but yesterday when I got curious to see if it was timed or thermal, it kept cooking and cooking ‘til it almost got too hot to hold.

Will try both, I guess.

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It’s just someone said it doesn’t or at least theirs doesn’t work. Hopefully it doesn’t go that low.

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At 3.8V now… will let it sit quietly on high, see if it does anything.

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Had it on, dimmed, would abruptly step down from H to M, then M to L. Switch light was off the entire time unless I’d bap the switch for something.

About 3V and below, the switch would blink on/off constantly. Good so far.

Below 2.X, the blinkenlicht would stop, and the main LED would just glow dimly, about L if not moonlight.

Gave up, pulled the cell at 2.79V (about as low as I’d want to go; “rested” a few sec between starting to unscrew the light and measuring the voltage) and am recharging it now.

So maybe it’s a glitch that when the blinkies would stop, the light should turn off, but doesn’t, as low-voltage warnings seem to work, but not pull the trigger to actually shut off entirely. I didn’t want to chance killing an already weak cell.

Me, I wouldn’t let it get that low to begin with, but I can see if someone would leave it on unattended (or turn it on accidentally), where that might be a big problem.

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Thanks for the test. I wouldn’t intentionally go that low either but it’s nice to know if lvp works just in case. I think I’m sticking with the shorty SC31 pro. I have a Wowtac W1 and don’t use it much. Practically the same light.

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Nice review. Except for battery check, Sofirn really nailed the UI in this light and I love the fact it takes standard optics.

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Oh, forgot to mention, try

“The code is coming! 20%off code: PP3×9UNN (it’s valid till August 30st.)”

CHANGE ‘×’ to ‘x’!!!

pee-pee-three-ex-nine-you-en-en

Heh-heh… “pee-pee”.

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Nice!
I have an Olight S1 Ti Baton that I really like for it’s amazingly short height, but the relatively low mAh of 16340 cells always annoyed me. Many are around 600mAh. The best I’ve got is 750mAh. So it’s nice to see Sofirn managed to pack 900mAh into it. That’s equivalent to many 18350 cells.
Price is rather attractive. At $29.99 out of the gate, you can imagine later discounts could bring it down to something like $22.

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how easy is it to get to blinkies inadvertently?

can it also use cr123a also – and run those down to nothing (and know it is not a 16340)?

wle

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i can;t believe anyone actually likes ‘hold to change light level’ UI though

wle

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    Daniel Behrman, "The Man Who Loved Bicycles".
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       ,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø¸

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xevious wrote:
Nice!
I have an Olight S1 Ti Baton that I really like for it’s amazingly short height, but the relatively low mAh of 16340 cells always annoyed me. Many are around 600mAh. The best I’ve got is 750mAh. So it’s nice to see Sofirn managed to pack 900mAh into it. That’s equivalent to many 18350 cells.
Price is rather attractive. At $29.99 out of the gate, you can imagine later discounts could bring it down to something like $22.

900 mah . Hopefully but I doubt it. Sure would make these small lights nicer.
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Lightbringer wrote:

If I remember, I’ll try to get a side-by-side pic of the ’21 with a shorty SC31pro.

That would be nice, despite I think it will not be much different from this, comparing the Wurkos FC11, posted by Lux-Perpetua:

https://budgetlightforum.com/comment/1773516#comment-1773516

Lightbringer wrote:
Hmm, doesn’t jingle any bells. Was it from a reeeeally long time ago?

Hum, some years yes, 3 or 4, eventually, but it was a more or less generic model, so it is likely that it was not very appealing here. Some other brands like “CrazyFire” and other have that kind of model.
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wle wrote:
i can;t believe anyone actually likes ‘hold to change light level’ UI though

Wellp, everyone and his grandmother wants click on/off, so what else is there?

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wle wrote:
i can;t believe anyone actually likes ‘hold to change light level’ UI though

wle

Would you rather have click to change level and hold for off? That’s the alternative, and it’s generally considered stupid. I’m looking at you Lumintop.

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pennzy wrote:
900 mah . Hopefully but I doubt it. Sure would make these small lights nicer.
That’s one thing that pushed me into trying out 18350 alternatives. You can get some that are near the length of many 16340 flashlights. But a 16340 cell offering 900 mAh really makes that cell competitive again, for those of us that find 700 mAh a bit anemic.
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wle wrote:
i can;t believe anyone actually likes ‘hold to change light level’ UI though

wle

It’s a whole “different language,” if you’re gonna click to step up in brightness, then press+hold for off becomes the natural thing to do. And that might feel “logical” for a light where you press+hold for on as well, starting on moonlight.

I prefer press+hold to ramp up, then double-press+hold to ramp down. Single click—off, single click—on. But I like the press-hold for on/off for EDC keychain lights, which easily thwarts accidental activation. Some use double-click on, like RovyVon, and it’s a bit annoying.

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pennzy wrote:
900 mah . Hopefully but I doubt it. Sure would make these small lights nicer.

Narrator: It isn’t Big Smile

I did a bit of an LVP test. It got to where the LED was very dim, measured 2.45v, came back to 2.55V after 10 odd minutes. Popped it in a Mixboxer C8 which measured 707mAh after 2h27m charging.

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Sillen wrote:
pennzy wrote:
900 mah . Hopefully but I doubt it. Sure would make these small lights nicer.

Narrator: It isn’t Big Smile

I did a bit of an LVP test. It got to where the LED was very dim, measured 2.45v, came back to 2.55V after 10 odd minutes. Popped it in a Mixboxer C8 which measured 707mAh after 2h27m charging.


Oh well, looked good on paper .
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LH351*B* is much smaller die area than D, and this light definitely uses the later. C is right in-between and pretty much equivalent to a 219C in die size and output, so there’s no way the smaller B model would hit 1000lm. B/C/D doesn’t denote generations or tint like it would for Nichia, it’s more like XP-E/XP-G/XM-L options from Cree for example.

Not the best tint bin of 351D I’ve had, but also far from the worst! Seems to be more toward the 5000K end on my SC21 as well.

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Has anyone been able to use ramping? I love this little light, but I’ve found ramping just impossible to use at lower levels.

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Verodin wrote:
Has anyone been able to use ramping? I love this little light, but I’ve found ramping just impossible to use at lower levels.

Sofirn’s attempt at ramping sucks. There was talk of an Anduril version of the SC21, that’s probably what it’s going to take to get good ramping especially at lower levels.

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Anduril would be nice indeed. Already have 2 and stepped mode works perfectly fine, so I’m out of the running for another one. But if they can get more usable ramping I’m all for it!

Btw, seems these are a mixed bag when it comes to unscrewing the bezel. 1 could be unscrewed relatively easy with bare hands (2700K), but the other one was impossible, even with thick latex gloves (4000K). Glue?

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Verodin wrote:
Has anyone been able to use ramping? I love this little light, but I’ve found ramping just impossible to use at lower levels.

I can use it… for about 5sec, and then I switch back to stepped. LOL

I’m not a fan of ramping unless it’s done right.

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