RovyVon Aurora A8 Y (Amber/Red/Blue)
I’m not set up with a light meter, graphing software, or a good outdoor area for long beam shot testing, so beam shots in this review are limited to indoors and lower modes. Mostly provided for the opportunity to show emitter tint.
I’d been looking for a capable small / key chain sized light for EDC. I’ve been using a Fenix L0D for years, and it has served me well. But it has no super low mode and tint is too cold. On my car key chain I have an Olight i1R EOS that is a decent light, but I’m using it more as a backup. The tint is cooler than I prefer and the beam flickers quite a bit while rotating. My house keys have a Photon Freedom light (pretty decent), which is great for low lumens (it has ramping). For the L0D replacement, I’d gotten a Nitecore TIP CRI and was initially pleased with it. But unfortunately 2 failed on me in a row… and so I abandoned it.
The RovyVon Aurora A8 appealed to me for a variety of reasons. It doesn’t check off all the boxes of my wish list, but it comes close. Now that I have it in hand, I’m satisfied that I made the purchase and felt inspired to provide a review.
Model: Aurora A8 Y (*)
Material: Polycarbonate + Stainless Steel bezel
Color: Translucent (semi-opapque)
Main Emitter: Nichia 219C R9050 (4500K 5000K, 90+ CRI)
Side emitters: UV + Red + Amber + Blue
Lens: TIR Optic
Battery: 130mAh LiPo – 4.2V
In-built charger: Micro-USB
Charging Time: 45 minutes (350mA / 5V)
Max Output: 350 lm
Candela: 780 cd
Max Beam Distance: 60m
Max Runtime: 2.5 hours
Impact resistance: 1.5m
Low Battery Indicator: RED switch – 2.8V
Low Voltage Cut-off: 2.4V
(+) Besides this A8 Y version (Amber, Red, Blue) there is a UV/Red/White version.
See MascaratumB’s review of the A8U, HERE.
The Aurora A8 is 2.16” (54.8 mm) long, which is really quite small for a light capable of producing over 300 lumens output. About the size of an AA cell. The Olight i1R EOS is just 0.5” shorter (at 41 mm in length) and maxes out at 130 lumens. They’re very close in diameter. So it’s not a big leap to go from the smaller ilR EOS and enjoy a multitude of improvements. It comes with some useful accessories too: a mini clip (can be positioned in either direction), a steel bead chain for neck wearing, and a nylon lanyard option as well.
Despite the relatively small size, this light is built well. The translucent polycarbonate case seems sturdy and there’s a nice wide brushed steel bezel surrounding the main emitter. The polycarbonate is polished directly over the 3 side emitters and light transmits through it easily. However, it isn’t scratch proof. At least it’s capable of being polished if a scratch patina develops. It might be worth applying a vinyl protective film.
Some owner photos:
Most key chain sized EDC lights have one or a few modes and that’s about it. If going for more functionality or output, you usually need to step up to a larger size, driven by AAA cells or larger. The A8 provides a main emitter with 4 levels of light initially accessed by a double-click, starting on moonlight and sequentially accessed. The red and blue side emitters function only in rapid strobe modes, while the amber features a constant on and a momentary repeating strobe. There is an indicator for low battery.
The A8 does not behave as expected, at first. Most lights react to a single click. The A8 does not. In order to activate the first output setting, you need to double-click it. Now, some people may be put off by this, but it’s really a clever idea once you get used to it. Most EDC’s have the challenge of needing a good lockout, to prevent accidental activation. You either have to twist the tail cap to break contact or press a certain button combination to achieve electronic lockout. The A8 doesn’t need that. And double-click to start is pretty easy to remember. From there, a single click steps through the modes (m-L-M-H) and then repeats on low (L) Shut off is a long press, but it’s fairly short at 0.3 seconds. The A8 is also programmed such that after 180 seconds of constant operation, a single brief click will shut it off.
The side emitters are accessed in 2 groups: 1) A triple-click from off activates the red/blue alternating strobe set. Then a single click toggles between that mode and a single red strobe (can serve as a bike light). 2) A quadruple-click from off activates the amber LED that starts in constant on (can be used for reading). A single click toggles an amber intermittent flash (not a strobe, useful for roadside warning). I had wondered why a red/blue strobe is included. What would have been more useful is behavior like the amber control set — red constant on or red flashing. The red/blue strobe looks like a police light (in USA). A private citizen can’t use that legally on the road. To shut off, you make a long (0.3s) press.
Charging from low battery is supposed to take just 45 minutes. There’s a tethered soft silicone plug covering a Micro USB port. It’s easy to pull out and then insert the charge plug. A small Micro USB charging cord is included. While charging, the red LED illuminates. Once charging reaches 100% of maximum battery capacity, the blue LED illuminates (red shuts off). When battery voltage drops below 2.8v, the red LED will illuminate to let you know it’s time to recharge. That indicator goes out when the voltage drops below 2.4v, to prevent complete discharge of the battery. RovyVon includes a spare USB port plug, in case the original gets destroyed or lost somehow… but there’s no help stated on how to install the spare. Hopefully it can be user accomplished with guidance from RovyVon.
The A8 delivers 4 different light levels from the main emitter (0.5, 10, 120, 350) and a constant 16 lm from the amber side emitter. I haven’t had the chance to do runtime tests but others have done them already — I expect I’d get similar results. The moonlight mode to my eyes looks closer to 1 lm, but is still very useful. The main emitter brightness spacing is very obvious, ending on a blinding 350 lumens (for a key chain light) and overheating is safeguarded by a built-in temperature regulator, to step down. Tint wise, the A8 with Nichia 219C looks excellent, on the warm side of neutral white.
Here’s a few beam shot comparisons with other lights:
There’s a lot to like about this light. True, for the price point, you could buy a larger light with more output. But what you’re paying for here is not output but functionality combined with extreme miniaturization. And RovyVon does this very well.
What I like:
- Output for a light this size is amazing, brightness levels nicely spaced. Never gets too hot to handle on high.
- The size is impressively small and the shape is appealing.
- The translucent polycarbonate casing provides a terrific “ambient” illumination with the side LED’s for excellent visibility.
- The clip holds on tight and makes the light tremendously useful with positioning. Great for cap brims.
- Charging is quick at 45 minutes.
What I’d like improved:
- There is PWM, and although mild, I would prefer it not visible at all. As is, you can see it peripherally in moonlight and low when moving your eyes around. But it isn’t visible when looking straight at the illuminated object.
- The red/blue strobe is dazzling, but I’m not quite sure when I’d really use it. I’d prefer a constant red instead.
- The polished polycarbonate over the side emitters is prone to scratching, especially if the A8 frequently comes into contact with keys. I’d prefer some sort of slot where you could insert a custom cut piece of tempered glass. But I guess some clear vinyl might do the trick.
- The battery is limited at 130mAh. It would be nicer if two cells or one larger one was utilized, and the casing girth enlarged by a few millimeters.
- The brushed stainless steel bezel looks like it may be prone to scratching… would have been nice if a protective sleeve could be provided to snap into place, and optionally removed if being carried in a “safer” pocket.
The whole concept of this light is terrific and I’d actually like to see it optionally in a larger form factor, perhaps 60% larger to take on a 14500 cell. But, that might present thermal dissipation challenges so the head would probably need a redesign (solid metal slug inside, directly connected to a finned broad bezel). Overall, I’m really glad to see the A8 in the long line of Aurora model progressions. It really achieves a lot in the progression from the A2. If there is going to be an A9 in the future, maybe offer the A8 functions with some minor changes and then provide a dual case of polycarbonate and stainless steel, sort of like the A4 and A8 combined.
Please feel free to comment and call out any errors I may have made. Thanks!