Quick reviews of some lesser known Chinese flashlight brands (Jin Heng, Starfish, Pioneman, etc..)

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fogofwar
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Quick reviews of some lesser known Chinese flashlight brands (Jin Heng, Starfish, Pioneman, etc..)

I performed a number of measurements on my flashlights out of curiosity. Since the data was compiled already, I thought that I might as well write short reviews on my lights. All lights were tested with Lishen LR2170LA or Samsung 30Qs.

I live in China so some of the flashlights brands that I purchased are not as popular internationally. However, I did add some more well-known brands to my collection as well such as Emisar, Lumintop, and Mateminco which should serve as good benchmarks.

The way that I rate the flashlights is through a combination of quality and value. Keep in mind that value can be high even if the quality is low and I want to keep these two dimensions distinct. My measure of value can also be considered something like the inverse of the markup by the flashlight manufacturer.

My ratings are pretty high overall because I did quite a bit of research before each purchase. The prices that I bought the lights are good deals even in China.

The first four lights are all zoomies bought years ago before I fully jumped into this hobby. They have high value numbers simply because they are so cheap. The Shuosen lights each came with two (somewhat bad quality) 26650 batteries and a charger. The lumen outputs are quite disappointing but I thought they were super bright at the time of purchase. The low outputs could also mean that they aren’t using genuine Cree LEDs. The Raybow eventually had mode switching problems so I threw it away and it doesn’t have any measurements.

Moving on to the 18650 lights…

The laser is unbranded but it’s a relatively powerful green laser. The candela measurement is likely to be off but I just wanted to see what the lux meter would spit out.

Starfish is possibly the cheapest Chinese light manufacturer with decent quality. Their prices are about 25% lower than Convoy for what I suspect to be the same quality although I don’t own any Convoys. The Starfish S5 is essentially the Convoy S2+ and I like mine quite a bit. The XHP 50.2 is super floody and surprisingly sustainable in this form factor. The emitter is underdriven and efficient which explains the high sustainable output.

The Jin Heng JKK80 is a soda can type light that originally had XHP 50.2’s. I accidentally dedomed them when screwing on the head and ripped the phosphor off as well. The price includes the 98 CNY that I spent to replace the emitters with SFT40s. The mixture of flood and throw on this light is incredible and it’s the light I’d bring to a zombie apocalypse.

I don’t have too much to say about the Lumintop FW3A that hasn’t been discussed already on here. Mine does have the newer, inferior driver but I still like it.

The Emisar D4v2 is also a well-known flashlight and the build quality is exceptional. The value isn’t great comparatively – although I can get a bit cheaper in China.

The Matorch purchase was a bit random and it’s an awesome deal. I was browsing flashlight modding parts from them (glow in the dark buttons) and realized that they had the cheapest UV flashlight around with a ZWB2 filter. The 5W Seoul Viosys emitter is powerful enough for most tasks you’d need for a UV light.

The Mateminco MT35 Mini-S is my newest purchase on Double 11 and it comes with the Chinese-made SFS80 or “P50HI” emitter. I was considering returning it because it didn’t come with Anduril but couldn’t part with it. The beam is perfectly focused and has a rosy tint. It also outputs more lumens than expected. Who knows though – I could have landed a golden sample.

The Jin Heng JKK70R is one of the lights which receives my highest overall score of 9.5. The value at 90CNY is great. Jin Heng is owned by a guy people call Old Jiang (his surname is Jiang). The JKK70R is C8 in size but is original in design. It has a side electronic switch and has a lighted power button. I especially like the fact that the power button can turn 3 colors (Green, Yellow, and Red). It offers even more information than a standard battery check on Anduril. The color will change based on the voltage. It turns yellow when voltage dips below 3.8V and red at 3.3V. The really nice thing is that it performs this check continuously so it’ll change colors at turbo first, followed by high, and so on. So you could have red on turbo, yellow on high, and green on low. This also allows you to know if your battery is has high enough discharge rate. For example, if you use a low discharge battery, it will drop to yellow or red on turbo due to voltage sag even if it is fully charged. The only bad thing about the light is that it’s hold for off. However, the ramping mode is click on, click off.

The Alonefire is a cheap dual 365nm and 395nm UV light without a ZWB2 filter. There is not much to say other than it might be worth to purchase if you just want to get your toes wet with UV. The Matorch is substantially better.

The Pioneman uses a Convoy boost driver. It’s similar to my Starfish S5 in that it’s very sustainable, has high lumens, and has a small form factor. It was the smallest XHP70.2 light that I could find on Taobao. It’s the size of a Convoy S21 and outputs a nice floody beam.

I’ll discuss the three Starfish lights that feature Osram W1 Blue, W2 White, and W1 Green next (the 4th, 6th, and 8th lights on the list). They are in C8 hosts that use 21700 batteries. I like all of them and they are pretty much the cheapest way I could buy 3 lightsabers.

The JKK70R with the XHP70.2 is not as good of a deal as the SST40 version but it does feature a more efficient and expensive boost driver.

Finally, the JKK21700 is probably the worst value Jin Heng that I own. The driver is older so the power button doesn’t change colors due to voltage. I asked Old Jiang to make me one with a SFT40 and the driver is a bit under powered for it (only 5.2A). Also, the glass is not AR coated.

Lastly, we can move to the 26650 lights…

The JKK70 as a nice feeling metal electronic side button. Otherwise, it’s quite similar to the JKK70R. It feels really nice in the hands.

The JKK90 with the Luminus SBT 90.2 is a beauty. I think Rusty Joe considers this to be his favorite light. It’s the cheapest SBT90.2 light other than the Starfish S8/S9 and Wurkkos TS30S on sale. The JKK90 does have the advanced electronic side button with colored voltage indicators which I have already raved about.

The Mateminco MT04s also have my highest approval. The lumen levels out of these lights are amazing and they are relatively sustainable. I took off a point off of quality on the blue XHP50.2 version because the tailcap hue didn’t match with the body. However, I got a killer Double 11 deal on it.

The final light is my first mod where I took one of the accidentally dedomed XHP50.2s and combined it with a Manta Ray C8.2 host and 22mm 8A driver. It outputs a unique and ridiculously powerful purple-blue beam – 100,000 candela with a XHP50.2!

Some bonus pictures of my lights and testing setup:





Here is a bonus review of a budget knife. This Benchmade Bugout Clone with carbon fiber scales uses D2 steel and I’d give it 10 for quality and value. It was only 154 CNY.

Edited by: fogofwar on 12/01/2021 - 09:56
TermsakC
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fogofwar, Pioneman is sold on Banggood. It seems to have some link to Convoy.

But I haven’t seen flashlights of Jinheng and Starfish.

Will be interesting if you can show digital links to their web pages.

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Thanks for doing this. To me, looks like Jim Heng_and _Pioneman are worth a look.

fogofwar
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TermsakC wrote:
fogofwar, Pioneman is sold on Banggood. It seems to have some link to Convoy.

But I haven’t seen flashlights of Jinheng and Starfish.

Will be interesting if you can show digital links to their web pages.

I think they specialize in machining but get drivers from Convoy. Their hosts are different than Convoys and probably are of a higher quality.

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TermsakC wrote:
fogofwar, Pioneman is sold on Banggood. It seems to have some link to Convoy.

But I haven’t seen flashlights of Jinheng and Starfish.

Will be interesting if you can show digital links to their web pages.

I got my 2 JKK (Jin Heng) from Banggood last year — JKK03 and JKK36R.
It’s often out of stock, and only appears occasionally.

I believe JKK is also listed in AliExpress (although since the pandemic, shipping fees are sometimes listed much higher there).

I was interested in JKK’s powerbank feature since it has 2 USB-A female ports, so basically it’s a flashlight and a powerbank (can detach the battery carrier from the flashlight head so it’s now a powerbank although the batteries may be exposed)

You can find some of these JKK (Jin Heng) flashlights in the LHT Flashlight Store (I think this may be KaiDomain’s store in AliExpress), eg this one:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32811889881.html

Gyronamics
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Compared a convoy on my desk to one I saw in the pioneman shop

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005001792092356.html

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000439719681.html

That is the same flashlight Silly

Ok you could say they changed the external machining.

But these are actually the same:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005003588058354.html

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005003536044048.html

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Yeah, I’m not sure what the relationship is between Convoy and Pioneman. By the way, I recently learned that Manker and Mateminco are the same brand.

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just quickly looked, but thanx for your efforts!

 

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Thanks d_t_a for the link on Ali Express. Interesting. But I could not find the JKK90 that fogofwar mentioned in his informative review above.

Spent all my savings on quite a few purchases during Black Friday. Now will have to wait until Lunar New Year to raise new funds for new flashlights then. Facepalm

TIFisher
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What light in this photo, please, and how many meters to the peninsula?

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fogofwar wrote:
Yeah, I’m not sure what the relationship is between Convoy and Pioneman. By the way, I recently learned that Manker and Mateminco are the same brand.

I don’t think Manker and Mateminco are the same brand..

Possible relation is that the Astrolux brand made use of Manker flashlights several years ago (based on the readings I did here in BLF), but more recently, most Astrolux flashlights are rebrands of Mateminco flashlights. I’m not very sure if Manker and Mateminco used to be related before though.

Astrolux is more of a brand, based on my understanding, selling mainly to outside China (international).

Many early Astrolux flashlights were made by Manker, but based on what I read here in BLF, it seems there was some kind of a fallout somewhere, so Astrolux now mainly uses Mateminco manufactured flashlights, with a few other exceptions (eg. the Astrolux EC01/03/06 appear to be made by Sofirn), and the Astrolux FT04 appears to be made by Haikelite.

I recall seeing a message by Simon (Convoy) that he is a friend of or knows the Pioneman brand; so its conceivable that they may use similar suppliers of parts (like maybe those that manufacture flashlight body tubes, etc).

~~~~~~~~~~

Gyronamics wrote:
Compared a convoy on my desk to one I saw in the pioneman shop

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005001792092356.html

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000439719681.html

That is the same flashlight Silly

Ok you could say they changed the external machining.

But these are actually the same:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005003588058354.html

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005003536044048.html

It does look like the Pioneman K45-C and the Convoy M21E are identical, at least based on the pictures on the link you posted. And also even the usage operation appear to be identical..

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d_t_a][quote=fogofwar wrote:
I don’t think Manker and Mateminco are the same brand..

Mateminco’s Taobao chat name was recently renamed to mankerlightchina… so who knows

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TIFisher wrote:
What light in this photo, please, and how many meters to the peninsula?

!https://i.imgur.com/fWD3ig7.jpg!

Jin Heng JKK90 with the SBT 90.2 and it’s almost exactly 200 meters to the outcrop.

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fogofwar, is it possible to find out how many factories are in China producing flashlight bodies? Are there a lot of machining shops which can produce a huge production of flashlights?

I have a feeling many China flashlight brands either 1. Own their own factory and manufacture/program their own driver or 2. Outsource production but design/produce their own drivers

I wonder if Manker maybe bought out Mateminco

The flashlight market can’t be very big and unfortunately most brands in China don’t know how to target or market outside of China to be successful whether due to work culture, language barriers, etc.

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Great info! Does anyone know of a turbo runtime graph for the jkk90?

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supreme wrote:
fogofwar, is it possible to find out how many factories are in China producing flashlight bodies? Are there a lot of machining shops which can produce a huge production of flashlights?

I have a feeling many China flashlight brands either 1. Own their own factory and manufacture/program their own driver or 2. Outsource production but design/produce their own drivers

I wonder if Manker maybe bought out Mateminco

The flashlight market can’t be very big and unfortunately most brands in China don’t know how to target or market outside of China to be successful whether due to work culture, language barriers, etc.

I’m sure it’s possible. Manufacturing something like a flashlight should be quite easy. You can just go to Huaqiangbei (the electronic markets in Shenzhen) and probably have someone design a driver for you. Then you go a few shops down and find someone who can machine the aluminum host.

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I got two new lights which I can add to the statistics above.

1) Mateminco MT35 Mini with San’an SFH55:

160560 candela, 10032 lumens, 27.0A at turbo. I paid 262 CNY.

2) Sofirn IF22A with Luminus SFT 40:

118530 candela, 2277 lumens, 9.2A at turbo. I paid 145 CNY.

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d_t_a wrote:

Possible relation is that the Astrolux brand made use of Manker flashlights several years ago (based on the readings I did here in BLF), but more recently, most Astrolux flashlights are rebrands of Mateminco flashlights. I’m not very sure if Manker and Mateminco used to be related before though.

Astrolux is more of a brand, based on my understanding, selling mainly to outside China (international).

Many early Astrolux flashlights were made by Manker, but based on what I read here in BLF, it seems there was some kind of a fallout somewhere, so Astrolux now mainly uses Mateminco manufactured flashlights, with a few other exceptions (eg. the Astrolux EC01/03/06 appear to be made by Sofirn), and the Astrolux FT04 appears to be made by Haikelite.

It’s a long story, but Neal (from Neal’s gadgets) used to work for Banggood and got fired over the CPS Italia Cometa fiasco. Neal was the go-between for BLF, Manker, and Banggood. Manker was making the lights for Banggood. The BLF A6 was on of the early ones. Still one of the best flashlights IMO. Manker was the OEM for the BLF lights, and totally ripped off the Jaxman Z1 design for the Cometa. In fact, they were ordering lenses from Jaxman and lying to them about the use, which were going into the Cometa.

Here’s the Cometa and the shitstorm, in case you’re interested https://budgetlightforum.com/node/46633 and here https://budgetlightforum.com/node/43817

Anyway, the whole thing blew up, Neal got fired, and Banggood found a new manufacture (mateminco), and started the Astrolux brand. That was not without major f…up’s either. Astrolux is owned by Banggood.

One of the early “astrolux” lights with the wires soldered on backwards because the MCPCB. board was made backwards where the screws would short out. And what was banggood/astrolux’s fix? plastic washers… lol.

eman816
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Random side note is that bugout actually d2 steel?

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eman816 wrote:
Random side note is that bugout actually d2 steel?

Well I don’t know for sure, but D2 steel is pretty cheap so I think it’s reasonable to assume that the specs are accurate. Overall, I would wager that the quality is as high as a genuine Benchmade knife.

eman816
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thats true by any chance do you have a link for it? i wouldnt mind swapping scales on my bugout

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I bought it on Taobao and you might be able to find something similar on Aliexpress: https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=633834093026