A great light for muggles.
With many flashlights getting more and more complicated, with modes, modes, and more modes, and sometimes confusing ways to navigate through them, sometimes even turning a light on/off can be an exercise in futility for those people not familiar with user-interfaces. If you’re a flashlight enthusiast, you learn, and adapt, but for people who just want something simple, it can be daunting.
The SC31 is nice and simple, perfect for “muggles”. A simple click-on/click-off interface is enough for most people. The SC31 is just that, a side-switch to control everything. Click it to turn it on, click it again to turn it off. Done.
If you want it brighter or dimmer, just hold the button to run through simple low/medium/high settings. For 99% of the population, that’ll be all you need to know.
And that’s the secret of the SC31, simplicity. It comes with an included 18650 cell, and has usb charging. No need to even open up the light once you remove the insulating disk (that keeps the light from being accidentally turned on when in transit). After that, everything’s done.
Click on, click off. Hold to change settings. You can ignore doubleclicking (from on or off) to get to strobe if you don’t need it or want it. That’s it. Battery runs low, plug it into a usb port or usb charger (with the included cable) to top it off. The lit side-switch will blink when charging, go steady when it’s done.
I’ve been carrying it around for a week, and can say this is a light you can give to someone and have it pass “the grandma test”. Ie, if grandma can figure out how to use the light without instructions, it passes.
So… included cell, usb charging, simple UI, that’s 99% of what anyone needs to know about the light. Other features are doubleclick for strobe, if you need/want it. And the lit side-switch has “breathing” mode in case you want to be able to find it in the dark. Hold the sideswitch when off for a few seconds, and this mode turns on. The switch will “breathe” (fade up/down in brightness) as a find-in-the-dark indicator. Click any time to turn it off. Using the light also turns it off. This way you don’t even have to remember to turn it off when not needed.
The beam itself is the usual neutral-white Sofirn adopted, nice and neutral, not Angry Blue™ as cheaper lights have. The beam itself has some minor tint-shift, a yellowish corona around the hotspot, fading to a bluer ring on the outside, but nothing too objectionable. No hideous rings or other artifacts.
The light is itself fairly lightweight, easy to carry without getting “pocket fatigue”. Perfect anodisation in a semigloss black, no nicks or bare spots anywhere, not even on knurling or any edges. The diamond knurling is nice and grippy without wearing holes in your skin or pockets.
It’s got a perfectly flat tailcap, lending itself to perfect tailstanding, no raised lip around the edges to make it wobbly. But then there’s no hole for a lanyard, if you really really want one (I don’t). In fact, you can Stoopit-Gloo™ a disk magnet to the perfectly-flat end and make it a magnetic-mount light to stick to a fridge or under the hood of a car or something.
It’s got 3 nicely spaced modes. Low is really low, perfect for middle-of-the-night jaunts when you don’t want to ruin your night-vision. Medium is a good general-purpose light level. High is the rated 600lm, plenty bright for those tasks that need it. And while it’s not 1000lm, 1200lm, 1500lm, like pricier lights (with more complicated UIs), it’s still plenty bright. And there’s no need to worry about overheating issues or anything.
The multifunction backlit switch is nice, soft without being too mooshy, shows the charging status (blink when charging, steady when done), “breathing” for finding it at night, and battery status when turned on (blue with good battery power, blinking when low).
Cons? I’m still not a fan of standard pocket-clips, and almost always immediately remove them. I prefer deep-carry clips so you don’t end up with a third of the light sticking out of your pocket, and “standard chrome” just clashes with the color of the light. It’s an incredibly sturdy clip (maybe even too much so), but it just looks cheap, even though it’s not. Same material, shaped into a deep-carry clip, would be awesome, and really round out the light (and make it black to match the light).
Also, the rubber flap over the usb port always seems to catch on things, opening it up. Even on a pocket when taking out the light. And once it’s opened, it makes it real easy to catch on other things and possibly get torn off. I did find myself repeatedly reclosing it and smooshing it down as much as possible, to no avail. It may sound tacky, but taking a piece of tape to cover the flap would help, and keep you from losing it if it would get torn off.
Even with minor cons, all around it’s a great light, but for under 20bux with cell and all its features, it’s an amazing value. And for muggles who probably don’t want to pay twice or more for “just a flashlight”, it’s perfectly tailored for them.
So… in summary, it’s a nice little light, perfect for muggles who don’t need to light up a whole football field when the lights go out. For keeping in a pocket, in a car, on a nightstand, it’s the perfect light to have. The simple UI, the included cell, and built-in usb-charging, also make it a perfect gift (and just in time for Christmas!). I was half-expecting a yawner, but liked it enough to get a second one.
[all pix are clickable to see fullsize]