[Review] Sofirn SC31 USB rechargeable flashlight -- excellent newbie flashlight

Sofirn offered to send me one of their lights, an SC31 USB rechargeable 18650 light and I thought I’d share my thoughts.

After using it for a week or so, I found that this is a solid contender for excellent first li-ion flashlight for responsible newbies and non-flashaholics.

Here’s why I came to that realization:

It’s easy to use. The large switch is easy to find and the UI is dead simple. Click to turn it on, Hold to cycle through low/medium/high. Click to turn off. Double click for blinky modes (or don’t and avoid them like I usually do).

The one aspect that I had to read up on was to turn on the breathing mode on the switch. Just click and hold from off and the breathing will turn on. Nice feature to have at night.

The levels are as follows according to Sofirn: Low is 10 lumens. Medium is 200 lumens and High is 610 lumens. Some might wish for a lower low or moonlight but I had to explain why that might be wanted to my brothers when I showed him the moonlight mode on a different light. He couldn’t see the necessity and in a streamlined light like the SC31, I can see why it was left out. Low is good at night without wrecking night vision. Medium is a nice all-around level that I found the most use for. High is good for outside while taking the dogs out and seeing what kinds of critters are visiting the yard after dark.

I left the light on High for a while (it steps down to 400 lumens after 5 minutes according to Sofirn) and it never heated up to an uncomfortable temperature. Barely warm. No burnt legs if it goes off in a pocket. No melted backpack material if it lights up in the pack. Run times might be a bit limited due to the 2200mAh Sofirn-branded battery, but because it has a built-in USB charging point on the head, that might not be a big concern in the real world. Also, the switch doesn’t seem to be prone to accidental turning on. The switch also indicates if the battery is low and when you’ll want to charge it up. It stays on for a few seconds after turning it on. Solid blue means you’ve got battery life. Blinking blue means give it some juice in your nearest laptop or car USB socket.

The beam is on the cooler side of neutral with the hot spot showing a touch of blue and blending into more neutral yellow around it. It’s shows up mainly on white walls and isn’t all that noticeable in other uses.

The driver and bezel end are glued in place. Makes it harder to mod, but I don’t think that modders are the target for this light. I’ve seen a bit of heat and a strap wrench open the front end on other Sofirn lights, but again, it might not be needed when there are so many other hosts available out there.

The price is really good. Stocking stuffer anyone? It comes with a USB cable, battery, lanyard and a couple o-rings. Everything you might need and nothing you don’t (unless you can’t stand a lanyard!). The pocket clip is pretty firm and doesn’t feel like it’ll come off the light easily at all.

Overall, I like this light. It’s reasonably sized for an 18650 light and is lighter than most. The price is really good, especially for a ready-to-go package. Nice job once again, Sofirn!