This might be the millionth time you see such a post. Would appreciate if you can give some guidance. I am looking for a flashlight for walking / hiking.
My experience in lighting is nil. I had ordered a few cheap lights on eBay to replace a 1$ flashlight I broke.
This introduced me to the amazing world of modern LEDs and Li-ion battery. Since then I learnt about the basics (thank you for all the stickies in BLF). I now know just enough to understand that my eBay lights are crappy. To be honest, being used to dollar-store style light, those crappy eBay lights are still amazing to me. There are a few silly details which I find annoying: the next mode memory, cycling through the blinking modes to change mode, light too cold, and low quality 18650 cells. I have ordered a Nitecore new i2 charger and 4 Samsung INR18650-35E cells. But for the flashlight itself? I give up! there are so many models and brands I am completely lost.
Looking at only the Convoy store, I am already lost. Because all models seem suitable. Can you please suggest me an appropriate light based on the requirement below. Please note that I have no idea how to appreciate lumen or amperage values. For reference, I walk OK in the evening using the eBay T6 LED (1x 18650, zoomable) at medium or low mode.
Used for walking, hiking, running. Usage duration could be 2+ hours continuously (I am OK to bring spare light or backup battery)
1 single 18650
low voltage protection built-in the flashlight
Light spread for near range. NOT a narrow super bright spot
Choice of temperature, preferably 4000 to 4500K
Memory: remember last mode
Mode: High, Medium, Low. Blinking mode OK as long as there is a memory mode to prevent me from cycling through all possible positions
You’re pretty much right about all the Convoys being suitable. An S2+ with a 4000K Nichia 219C and 6x7135 is a reasonable default configuration, which will have nice tint, very good color rendering, a decent beam pattern with a good mix of flood and throw, and a reasonable balance of heat and output on high.
I am not able to spot the important difference in light characteristics to make a proper choice. Do they mainly vary by physical styling and aluminum color? If so I will pick the one having a pocket clip. Let assume they are all comparable in light performance and operation modes. The deciding factor boils down to:
the light halo. not sure if it’s the right word. I mean the light beam must be spread comfortable for walking or moderate running speed, not long distance focus nor super bright in a tiny spot.
physical aspect. I would like pocket clip AND lanyard
Would the S2+ still qualify or maybe the S8 or new M2 would be more suitable?
This looks interesting. I was wondering sometimes about a contraption to attach the flashlight on my body (backback front straps, headphone or shoulder). This headlamp style looks like the answer.
Unfortunately, I was not yet “BLF enlighten”. I had already ordered an eBay headlamp (which costs 1/6 the price of the model you show). The eBay model has a battery case 2x 18650 in the back of your head which has a dim red tail light. I find that’s pretty useful when hiking in group. Let’s see how it go.
I liked using my Armytek Wizard Pro when I tried it for camping. The Warm version has a nice tint, and the beam is spread out with a honeycomb TIR optic. It has LVP, magnetic charging, and a good UI for quickly accessing different modes (if the memorized mode isn’t what you need). You can use it as a headlamp or attach it to straps/pockets with the solid clip it comes with.
A Sofirn SP40 with a warm LED is a more budget choice that works well too. If you add some window diffusion film (or even tape) in front of the lens, it really spreads out the beam so it can be used more easily up-close. It has a visual indicator of battery life in the switch LED, LVP, and USB charging. Like the Armytek, it can also be used as a headlamp or clipped onto something.
The 219C used in the S2+ has a high color rendering index, which makes colors vivid and accurate. I find this makes a large difference in how clearly I see outdoors, and is more important than moderate differences in brightness. The SST-20 in 4000K and below also has a high color rendering index, but a smaller hotspot, making it more throw-oriented. The SST-20 can be a good choice if you want to see farther without increasing the size of the flashlight, but may be less comfortable up close.
The XM-L2 is an older LED. It makes a larger hotspot than the 219C, but has much worse color rendering. The SST-40 is very similar to the XM-L2, but rated for a larger amount of power, so it can be brighter without shortening its lifespan. Running extra power through an S2+ shortens its battery life, and makes it get hot very fast. That’s one reason I recommended the 7135x6 configuration instead of 7135x8. Reducing power from 2.8A to 2.1A makes it run cooler and more efficiently in all modes (in a single-channel linear PWM driver; lights with different driver designs may not have their efficiency affected by the power of the max mode).
Comparing to other models:
The S3 and the S2+ are functionally identical, but built a little different. I picked the S2+ because there’s a product page for it with the 219C, x6 driver, and Biscotti firmware. You could custom order an S3 with the same features if you like the steel bezel.
The S8 has a deeper reflector and fairly narrow spill. The above also applies to the S8.
The S11 is a larger light with different LED options. This could be a good choice if you’re mostly concerned with max brightness or runtime on a single battery, but it’s also more expensive and needs to be compared with competitors like the Wowtac A5 and Emisar D4S.
The S21A is a bigger S2+ with a bigger battery and a driver/LED combination meant mostly for higher output. If you want to use the 21700 battery as cheaply as possible, this might be compelling, but the driver isn’t a good fit for any of the LEDs Convoy offers with better color quality (it can supply too much power).
The M2 is a light with a larger head, giving it a more focused beam for a bit more throw, and more sufrace area to shed heat. It would make a good light with a 219C and Biscotti, but I think you need to contact Convoy to get it that way.
Convoy should have pocket clips for most of these in their accessories section.
Thank you very much sir, for taking the time to share your knowledge. You saved me a lots of time. I spent quite some hours to read the specs of those Convoy lights but couldn’t make any conclusive decision. I will follow exactly your advice.
Hi, our friends serlite above also advised the Sofirn SP40. Unfortunately I had already ordered a headlamp on eBay before I know this forum. Need to see how it behaves. If anything bad, I will look for better models as you guys advised here.
Maybe I don’t need to run the flashlight at max current all the time? (6x7135 = 2100 mAh). It is possible that I can get away with medium mode. My need is modest. So far I could get away with the crappy eBay XML-T6 zoomie at medium light. And before that I was using a noname dollar store flashlight.
Regrettably I cannot buy the Convoy S2+ with nichia 219C Because the UI forgets about the currently used mode. The description page says:
Enter to next mode (if the memory is on)
Enter into first mode (if the memory is off)
This is basically the same as my eBay cheap light. I find the “next mode/first mode” very annoying. BTW, I wonder how forgetting could be called “memory”. Not sure what’s going on with that model in particular. But other models like S2+ Gray Cree XML2 in the same store seems to have a “remember” function:
Is that “forget” mode a requirement to run the Nichia 219C LED?