Convoy S16 with SFT40 review redux [Budget compact 21700 thrower King!]

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raccoon city
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Convoy S16 with SFT40 review redux [Budget compact 21700 thrower King!]

The flashlight images in this review are from Convoy, and the images are being used with Convoy's explicit permission.

The first version of this review was originally posted on Budget Light Forum on 03/28/2022 by myself.

Disclaimer: I don't know if this flashlight is literally the "king" of budget compact 21700 throwers, but I do mention Stephen King (the king of horror) in this review.  ;)

1convoy-s16-sft40

Intro

This is my second flashlight review.

My first review was extremely short.

I thought this review would to be a "mini-review" too, but surprisingly I had a lot to say.

Some of the images in this review are of the Convoy S12, which looks identical to the S16 (except for the letters "S12" and the emitter/reflector. I avoided the pics of the S12 that included the emitter/reflector.)

I did not receive anything for this review, and I was as honest as raccoonly possible.

 

I received this Convoy S16 with SFT40 on Saturday.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005003090570066.html

This is my first Convoy that I have bought from the official AliExpress store.

I got the BLF discount by messaging Simon (via AliExpress) with what I wanted to buy (and asking for the discount) before I ordered the flashlight.

I am thinking now that the discount code is probably the same no matter what you order.

2convoy-s16-sft40

Why the Convoy S16?

I chose the S16 because I wanted a compact 21700 thrower with a tail switch.

I wanted a Luminus SFT40 emitter because that is the best budget throwy emitter right now.

I also wanted a smooth reflector for extra throw.

 

My other Convoy flashlights

I have the Convoy S3, two Convoy S2's, two Convoy S2+'s, and a Convoy M1.

I got them from places like Banggood, Fasttech, and Gearbest.

I also have a custom Convoy S2+ triple that I bought from BLF member Sprinkles.

Out of the Convoy flashlights that I already had, the S3 is the best looking and the S2+ triple is, of course, the brightest.

 

Flashlight body

I'm guessing that most people don't have the S16/S12 flashlight body.

It's very nice and fits in my hand well (I have extra large hands.)

I think the S16 is even better looking than the S3, which means that the S16 is my best looking Convoy flashlight.

The design is relatively simple, but I like it.

The stainless steel bezel on the S16 is a nice touch that I appreciate.

I also like tail switches, so the S16 is a good match for me.

3convoy-s12-ir-led

Beam profile

One thing that I don't love is that the beam profile is very ringy around the edges.

I'm guessing that's normal with an SFT40 and a smooth reflector, so it's unavoidable if you want a maximally throwy budget flashlight.

 

Convoy 12 group driver

A problem that I encountered was the Convoy 12 group driver.

I don't like that driver and it doesn't like me.

I honestly might avoid that driver in the future even though I love Convoy flashlights.

I'm pretty good with a Windows computer, and I frequently play video games.

I don't get out much, so there are days when I press buttons practically all day long.

It's been a while since I've played Tekken 3, but I think I still can do some 10 hit combos, so I should be able to half-press a flashlight switch 20+ times and enter config mode.

Here's a video that make it looks really easy.

(The video is not in English, but if you understand how the driver works, that's not a problem.)

It took me about an hour of trying and trying again just to enter config mode (and therefore get my flashlight configured the way I want it.)

That is inexcusable.

I think that I might have received a dud flashlight driver because most people don't have the trouble that I did, and my flashlight did not behave in the same manor as in the video above.

I am seriously traumatized by the 12 group driver that I received.

That driver haunts me in my worst nightmares.

If that driver were a human being, it would be Freddy Krueger with retractable adamantium claws on both hands instead of a stupid glove.  :O

4convoy-s16-sft40

Tint

Another problem is that on the lowest brightnesses, the tint is kinda greenish.

I'm guessing that's because of the emitter.

I don't use the lowest brightnesses, so it's a non-issue for me.

 

Also, this emitter only comes in cool white.

The tint isn't bad for cool white (it's a bit neutral-ish white), but I prefer much warmer tints like 2700K warm white.

 

Throw

The good news is that this flashlight does throw extremely well, even with its not-so-wide reflector.

That's mainly because of the super throwy emitter.

Also, it looks like the reflector is super deep.

I wasn't thinking about the deepness of the reflector when I ordered the S16, but because I wanted maximum throw it's a welcome surprise.

5convoy-s12-ir-21700

Brightness, heat, and the switch

The S16 is relatively bright, but sometimes I choose throw over lumens like I did with this flashlight.

The S16 gets hot somewhat quickly on 100%, but not on 35%, so I just avoid 100%.

100% does not look much brighter than 35%, so I'm not missing out on much.

I wish the UI were a little different, with 100% brightness hidden slightly, but I don't know how that could be pulled off without an electronic switch.

That said, I really like electronic switches, so that would be a huge improvement over the mechanical switch.

6convoy-s12-sst20

Conclusion and recap

Overall, I love this flashlight, but I hate the 12 group driver.

If you're a normal human being, and therefore don't mind the driver, then this flashlight is an excellent choice for a compact 21700 thrower.

If you have trouble with the 12 group driver like me, I'm sorry, but this flashlight will give you that specific trouble.

 

The flashlight body is great.

 

I don't like the ringiness of the beam, but that's pretty minor.

 

The tint is okay though I wish the emitter came in a much warmer tint.

 

The throw is amazing, which is my favorite feature.

The flashlight is probably as bright as it can be with it's extremely throwy (and budget) emitter.

If you want more lumens, you have to either get an emitter with less throw, or possibly get a much more expensive throwy emitter.

 

I am currently EDC'ing this flashlight, which a great compliment I can give a flashlight.

I actually use my EDC many times per day, and I only EDC whatever flashlight is my current favorite.

Right now, I'm liking the idea of EDC'ing a compact thrower.

This flashlight fits in my shorts pocket fine, by the way.

I'm sure it'll fit in my jeans pocket, too, though that pocket is a bit smaller than my shorts pocket.

 

For the price, this flashlight is totally awesome, but that's what Convoy does best.

I was actually looking at all 21700 flashlights $75 or less with an SFT40 emitter, and this is the one I chose--not because it's inexpensive, but because it fit my needs best.

If you're looking for a very throwy compact budget 21700 flashlight with a tail switch, the Convoy S16 with SFT40 is an excellent choice.

Hopefully the 12 group driver won't drive you criminally insane like it did me.  }D

8the_shining

[The above image is a reference to The Shining (1980). In that movie, Jack Nicholson's character, an aspiring writer with a typewriter, goes full-on insane. It's an excellent Stephen King movie, though Stephen King did not care for this adaptation of his book.]

The End

7convoy-s16-sft40

(Well, the front end.)  :-)

raccoon city
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peg matite wrote:

Thanks for sharing. I find mega multi-tapping problematic also. 3 for narsil/Anduril battery check is about my limit.

TIFisher wrote:

RC - this is the most genuine and hilarious review I have ever seen. You had me in stitches with your candor...and that's by no means a criticism....quite the opposite. This is the kind of honest portrait a reviewer should express when dissecting their experience with a given product. Kudos to you for your frankness. I'm sympathizing with your frustration with the 12 mode driver firmware, as I think most Convoy enthusiasts have encountered that at one point or another, myself included. I have the feeling you will conquer that hurdle. Thank you for the honesty, and I for one, anxiously await your next flashlight critique. This was awesome!!!

Thanks for those kind words, TIFisher!

I had a medical procedure on Friday, and the (heavy duty) drugs that they administered back on Friday are still in my system.

So, technically, I wrote this review while on mind-altering drugs.  :O

My next review might not be as good because I'll probably be sober.  :FACEPALM:

Correllux wrote:

It’s a nice host. I’m not sure the reflector is optimized for a flat throwy emitter but it works ok.

I’m not a fan of that 20-clicking business either, but it works ok for me. If memory serves, weren’t there a bunch of people complaining that 10 clicks wasn’t enough to avoid entering program mode, and after some bantering about, Simon finally capitulated and told his driver manufacturer to bump it up to 20? Seems a little ridiculous to me, but. “We” asked for it…I guess.

All throw and no spill makes…..

zuluwalker wrote:

Great review, I've always loved the S12/S16 host... until the S21D came along. I still love them both though, but the smaller and cuter one is now my favorite! sealed Just don't have a need for another SFT40, but I'd love to see this host utilized more. It's nearly the same dimensions as an M21B but with a more modern design.

 

Maybe a GT-FC40 in the S16 body will sell more? They're doing it for the M21B - why not this too? Maybe there's not enough space to fit the boost drivers, dunno?

LTC wrote:

Yes, I 2nd that, it was from 10 clicks to 20 clicks requested by BLF-ers. Once again, as you mentioned, “We” asked for it… Big Smile Smile

Correllux wrote:

It’s a nice host. I’m not sure the reflector is optimized for a flat throwy emitter but it works ok.

I’m not a fan of that 20-clicking business either, but it works ok for me. If memory serves, weren’t there a bunch of people complaining that 10 clicks wasn’t enough to avoid entering program mode, and after some bantering about, Simon finally capitulated and told his driver manufacturer to bump it up to 20? Seems a little ridiculous to me, but. “We” asked for it…I guess.

All throw and no spill makes…..

LTC wrote:

RC, you mentioned about the greenish tint… wondering if yours a 5700k or 6500k which Simon had them in different batches.

I have both 5700k and 6500k. The 6500k has little(very very slight) green at low.

But the 5700k is horrible… Facepalm Facepalm Facepalm

blueb8llz wrote:

Thanks for another quick and dirty review. You always make me wanna get the light after reading your reviews. Haha

CRC2 wrote:

Lmao, great review and funny too.
The Shining is one of my favorite movies.
I also used to love the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, so I really enjoyed the references.

I made you (and anyone else who needs it) another video demonstrating how to choose one of the 12 groups, as well as how to turn on/off memory mode.
Hope it helps more than my other one, but unfortunately isnt much shorter. About 3 min.

Btw, (I say this in the video, but) I dont count 20 half presses. I just keep half pressing until I visually see thats its no longer cycling through the modes.

akula88 wrote:

raccoon city wrote:

So, technically, I wrote this review while on mind-altering drugs.  :O



Same here on programming the Biscotti.  I have three convoys with that driver, and it's driving me crazy.  Even after hand-holding with other members online, too me quite a long time to be successful in changing my default settings Sad

Some questions :
-- are there options to change the reflector into a mild-OP one to smoothen out the rings?
-- re:bodies and tailcaps -- does this model interchange with some others?

I'm not sure about those questions...

Maybe someone else can answer.  :BEER:

Haukkeli wrote:
akula88 wrote:

raccoon city wrote:

So, technically, I wrote this review while on mind-altering drugs.  :O



Same here on programming the Biscotti.  I have three convoys with that driver, and it's driving me crazy.  Even after hand-holding with other members online, too me quite a long time to be successful in changing my default settings Sad

Some questions :
-- are there options to change the reflector into a mild-OP one to smoothen out the rings?
-- re:bodies and tailcaps -- does this model interchange with some others?


Pioneman K35 reflector is the same. Available on Pioneman store. It has 10mm center hole, so you need to find fitting gasket.
Edit: they seemed to have one with 7mm hole also.

CRC2 wrote:


I just noticed my video showing you how to choose one of convoys 12 groups has been viewed 12 times since it was posted 12 days ago

tactical_grizzly wrote:
akula88 wrote:

bodies and tailcaps - does this model interchange with some others?

S12, S16, and S21D all use the same body tube and tailcap and their heads are interchangeable as a result.

S21A/B’s heads/bodies should interchange as well, but I am not certain about their tailcaps.

raccoon city
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By the way, sb asked me to leave out some replies, otherwise I would have quoted everyone.

 

EDIT:

Actually, it's probably better this way.

sb has some good ideas.  :BEER:

mortuus
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why no beam pics ? Big Smile

...where Frugal meets with Flashlight!

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zoulas
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Nice review, that light is now on my short list.

BTW The Shining was an excellent movie . I must have watched it 20x.

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About the ringy beam: I suspect it's caused by reflections from the shiny steel bezel in the front. Sanding it matte might eliminate the rings.

Bort
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Do you know how meters of throw this light has?

The Journal of Alternative Facts

"It is critical that there is a credible academic source for the growing and important discipline of Alternative Facts. This field of study will just keep winning, and we knew that all the best people would want to be on board. There is a real risk in the world today that people might be getting their information about science from actual scientists."

 

JenkinsMatti
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Interesting review, thank you. Thumbs Up

Personally, I love the 12 Mode Driver & have no trouble at all programming it.

Maybe you did in fact get a bad/finicky driver??

I have quite a few of these 12 Mode Drivers and they are all very easy to program.

Rusty Joe
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What is the lux? And does it have forward clicky?

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Rusty Joe wrote:

What is the lux? And does it have forward clicky?

I don't have any equipment to measure lux, and this flashlight has a reverse clicky.  ;)

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I find some tail switches are hard to half press, I’ve had a few I couldn’t program — take the tail cap off and use a piece of wire to complete the circuit — then do all your half presses, etc by touching the wire back and forth —- If you’ve ever had to program a twist light, this method works great