It is a really awesome option with a lot of features. The minor size difference in the CL2 had my attention for a little while but, the LT1 simply works so well for me and its feature set was better. Plus, the 18650 batteries have worked really well for me during recent power outages. I even overheard my friend's wife on the phone with my friend say "Sid has a really awesome light!" to him while I was over at the cabin chatting with her while the power was out.
I would say if you don’t specifically want to make sure you get any of the following features, don’t worry about which version you get. Any of them will still be the best lantern on the market:
- Powerbank functionality (I think this is universal now?)
- Ability to change the maximum current by bridging or clearing solder jumpers
- Pin arrangement for flashing new firmware.
If you do care, you’ll have to search upthread for information to guide which version to seek out, but I don’t think there is necessarily any certainty which version you will get, regardless of where you order.
To begin with, the FW3A was never produced to the manufacturing standards the FW3A team wanted. Hence the issues common to every version.
Lumintop made a few minor changes to the FW3A over time, then eventually some major unpopular changes: added a bunch of tacky-looking branding, and recently moved to a cheaper crappier driver
The FW1A used to be amazing, then they cheaped out on the reflector and it sucks now. Note that it appears they just used the FW1A Pro reflector (designed for XHP50.2 3V iirc) for all FW1As eventually. It's pretty bad with normal 3535 emitters
The 21700-series FW lights are reportedly, um, oddly designed and don't really fit 21700s very well. I don't own one, and I never will.
Early on they tried to bait-and-switch the optics (Carclo triple + glass lens) for something else that lacked the glass lens entirely. Backlash was bad enough that they switched back, at least for a while. Not sure if they ever went back to the cheap optics.
They continued to never get the tolerances right for the tail switch so they also made a version that relies on a proprietary battery instead, lol
With Loneocean's Lume1 project, they at some point just made it without his final revisions. Actually, I think that's kind of how the FW3A project went: the team still wasn't happy with the latest version they got, and then Lumintop started production.
I order mine from the Sofirn website because they are ~$10 cheaper, for me at least and, I always get the most recent revision.
I should also note I get the Orange LT1 which is hard to source from anywhere but, Sofirn. I live in the USA and Sofirn ships out of China as fast as some of my shipments from Amazon. Seriously, I average under 2 weeks from order to having it in my hands after shipping all the way from China to Texas.
I would encourage you to look on Aliexpress at the "web-store" and at the Sofirn website.
If you don’t need the powerbank feature, I think it’s best to go with the original LT1. For a while, Sofirn had them on sale to move old inventory. This Nov 11th, there could be another sale.
Firstly, the Anduril version in the LT1 v1 is excellent. Anduril v2 introduced minor improvements. Second, Sofirn started messing with the mcpcb and the LED indicators. I simply do not like the button glowing green when on. That’s meant for charge completion indication. The original glows orange, which is a proper color. Frankly, if it was green I’d be wincing every time I look at the damned thing. OCD? Maybe… but I’m grateful to give up the powerbank feature for orange.
With reshipping and other overhead, not much of a savings there for the work involved IMHO. If you shop carefully, you can come close to that price on singles. Seems like my last one was a little over $60USD at my door.
No, but I also have a new driver and an original LT1. At first glance I could not see a marking on the ground wires regarding which connects to the warm and which to the cool LEDs. Or does not not matter, as i ramps both ways anyway?
I lost count, but there are at least 5 versions of the original lexel pcp, these all have the pads to add the extra drivers if you want to add more output. The latest one, that is marketed as a power bank, is the sofirn driver the at has no pads, but you can use as a power bank.
The ones in the middle had small revisions to allow usb-c to usb-c charging and some other small increments I believe.
My two are the original first group buy, and the power bank one which I ordered without knowing it was a new driver as they had just switched over.