Review: Aurora SH-032 Stainless Steel

Aurora SH-032 Stainless Steel Cree Q3-WC 3-Mode 160-Lumen Memory LED Flashlight (1*18650)

Reviewer's Overall Rating: ★★★★★

It claims Q3 in the spec, but the head says different. From the output I'd say the body is telling the truth.


Battery: 18650
Switch: Reverse Clicky
Modes: 3
LED Type: Body says Cree XR-E R2, spec says Q3
Lens: Coated Glass
Tailstands: No
Price Payed: $21.61


  • Small for an 18650 light
  • Doesn't get as hot as some stainless steel lights
  • Bright
  • Quite a narrow beam (Some may call this a con)
  • I like the heft of stainless steel lights (Others might find them too heavy)


  • Has a disco mode
  • Stainless steel lights cost more
  • Heat sinking not as good as an aluminium light

Features / Value: ★★★★

Nicely put together stainless steel body. There is also a 5 mode version which is 85 cents more expensive at $22.46. As you might possibly have noticed, I really like stainless steel lights. Bear this in mind for my ratings on any stainless steel light.

3 modes, high, low, slowish strobe (disco mode). Would be better without a silly flashing mode. It is rather heavier than an aluminium light - it weighs 152.4g with an 18650. For comparison the Uniquefire R5 with dropin and two 16340 cells weighs 160g but it is considerably larger.

Build Quality: ★★★★★

Pretty good. Nice threads with decent dual O rings at head and tail end.

Body Tube

Tailcap. It protrudes so the light doesn't tailstand.

Inner tailcap.

Head. The LED is perfectly centred as far as I can see.

Other side of the head. Soldering not done by a drunk blind person with a stick which is the norm on most Chinese lights. This one is better soldered than most.

The switch is firm and positive, I've not yet managed to get it to do anything odd despite my best efforts. It is not as loud as some, but you will hear that you have switched it on or off.

Battery Life: ★★★★★

Up to 4.2V so no 16340s in this light. 18650 only. The manufacturer claims 900mA to the LED and since the only way I can test this involves messing around with the light engine disassembled and I like this light a lot so I'm not about to do it. 900mA is fairly conservative drive for an XR-E which can take up to 1.5A (With adequate heat sinking which is isn't getting in a stainless steel light. Current draw is 1200mA on high so it should give around two hours on high. Low current draw is about 520mA so it should give up to four hours on low. Strobe is about 650mA so you can make yourself ill for about three hours with it. This all assumes that the actual as opposed to rated capacity of the protected 18650s I'm using is around 2400mAh. This is IMO a pretty well balanced design as it hasn't gone for hand burning, LED killing maximum output at all costs. Battery life is not all that important to me as I'm rarely far from power and the power here is clean and very rarely interrupted - there have only been two outages since 4th January 1990 when I moved in and the longer of the two was only 25 minutes. The other one, in 1994, was 4 minutes. For the sort of light it is, I'd say battery life is excellent.

Not a lot of regulation on high. Odd the way the output rises.

2hr 14 min to 50% is pretty good.

Low: 4hr 19min to 50% Here's the graph. Ignore the spike at about 52 minutes, I knocked the light off the box.

Again not really regulated at all.

Light Output:★★★★★

Claimed 160 lumens which is the same as the actual measured output from a Preon 2 which I happen to own. My eyes say it is putting out considerably more light than it does so I suspect that DX is underselling the light as it probably has an R2 in it instead of a Q3. The light box says 965 lux for the Aurora on high as opposed to 720 for the Preon which implies a lumen output of around 220 lumens which it can do for a couple of hours. It gives 11,900 lux at 1 metre for throw, over 10x as much as the Preon which, of course, was never intended to be a thrower. Incidentally the Preon 2 with the clickie switch is about 6mm longer than the Aurora. Beamshots to follow if it gives up trying to snow and then raining hard instead. From the weather forecasts this may take some time.

Oops - forgot to put these in. These two are on the alternate test range and are rather longer distance than the usual tree. The stick between the buildings is 114 feet (34m) from the camera (and light)




Here's another R2 light (a P60 dropin) on high

I'm sure I have done backyard beamshots of this light but I can't seem to find them just now. So here's the snow shots from a few weeks ago just for fun.



Weather permitting I'll do the standard shots tonight.

Summary: ★★★★★

A well rounded design with a sensible balance of output - lots of light for a couple of hours without setting your hands on fire, though it does get hot if not handheld for an hour.

Nice light and very informative review......thanks for sharing with us. Would love to get one but have more pressing concerns.

Hey Don i clicked on the link and it takes me to google chrome.

Sorry about that. Now fixed.

Thanks man......hey Don have you heard of Mr. Lites.......they seem to look good.

No, I've not heard of them. Got a link? I did a quick Google but didn't find anything relevant.

There you go buddy......they have a couple of lights that i want and like......more want of course.

The I5 and the SS series look interesting. Dubious about the I5 specs though. Doesn't look like it has the mass to heatsink the LED/driver well enough to keep up that sort of output.

Hate the website though.

Im going to start a new thread......dont want to crowd your review with this.

Im going to start a new thread......dont want to crowd your review with this.

Im going to start a new thread......dont want to crowd your review with this.

Currently running on high. Started at 52.6 microamps on a freshly charged 18650. Lightbox measurement roughly equates to 190 lumens at start. Back in a few hours with graphs. Quite a few runtimes to do so may nip off to the shop for some more 9V batteries for the meter.

Light output is rising. After an hour it is up about 10 lumens. Now over 200 lumens. Not heating up that much,but then I do have a fan on it.

After 4.5 hours on low it is down below 50% but since it is still kicking out about 60 lumens (but dropping quickly now) I'll let it run for a bit. I can't trust the low voltage cutout on these protected cells so I have to stop at some point before it cuts out so as to avoid damage to the cells. This is one of the downsides of rechargeables in general, they can be damaged by dropping to too low a voltage. Will ;put up graphs in the review once I stop. Next up for runtimes, Trustfire F22 on 14500, NiMH and alkaline.

Does the light get warm on low.......60 lumens seems to be a pretty good low considering.

It doesn't get hot at all on low that I've noticed - but just in case I kept a fan on it for the whole runtime. I touched it occasionally to see, but at most it got warm.

Okay cool......cant wait to see the graphs.

They ought to be up in the first post now. There's something odd happening in the high runtime - basically unregulated but the light output rises for the first hour. Never seen that before. Neither graph shows any regulation and look like direct drive which would make sense if there were two resistors in there, though very nearly all resistors increase in resistance with temperature.

If you can't see the graphs, it may be that your ISP is caching stuff and a couple of reloads of the page in the browser may be needed.

Nope not at all....when i sign into the site i just hit the new post button.....and it takes me to the newest post of the thread.

That explains it. It's actually edited into the first post as that seems to be the best place to find it in future. Sometimes it tells you "updated" but doesn't give you a number of new posts - that seems to mean that the first post in the thread has been updated.

Also it gets all the info in one place where i can find it again to put into a spreadsheet for the AA lights. What I'm trying to put together is runtimes and outputs for all the AA lights I own.