Sofirn SP32 (18650) Review
This Sofirn SP32 flashlight was provided free of charge by the manufacturer Sofirn for the purpose of the review (Thank you Sofirn! )
This Flashlight may be purchased at Amazon.com or by clicking on this non-affiliated link ==> CLICK ME <==
The features Sofirn advertises for this SP32 flashlight are:
- CREE XP-L2 V6 LED in 3D tint
- Uses one 18650 Lithium Ion battery or two CR123A lithium batteries
- Working voltage is from 2.8 - 8.4 volts
- Reverse Polarity Battery Protection
- Anti-roll head
- Rugged metal side switch on the head
- Last mode memory (After 2 second of use)
- Instant Low mode (By pressing switch for 2 seconds)
- Flashlight can tail stand for use as a candle
- Toughened glass lens with Anti-reflective coating (AR)
- Durable Premium type Ⅲ hard-anodized in black color (HAIII)
- IPX-8 waterproof level.
- 6061 grade Aluminum construction
- Removable polished stainless steel pocket clip (Installed)
- Lanyard hole on the side of the tail cap (No lanyard provided)
- Can be locked out by unscrewing the tail cap or head ¼ of a turn or less.
- Length: 122.7mm
- Diameter of body: 22.6mm
- Diameter of head: 23.6mm
- Weight with no batteries: 71 gram
- Weight with 18650 battery: 120 gram
Flashlight has 4 levels of lighting + Moonlight mode + Strobe. The flashlight has no SOS or momentary mode on for signaling.
The brightness levels and advertised runtimes are:
- Low mode: 1 lumen for 173 hours
- Medium mode: 119 lumen for 16:09 hours
- High mode: 392 lumen for 6:12 hours
- Turbo mode: 956 lumen for 1:11 hours
The hidden modes are:
- Moonlight mode: 0.5lumen for 173 hours (Why is it the same as Low?)
- Strobe mode: 956 lumen for 4 hours
Low battery indicators:
- The flashlight flashes 3 times if voltage is lower than 3 volts
- The flashlight flashes 2 times and turns off after a minute if voltage is lower than 2.8v
Un-boxing the Sofirn SP32 flashlight
The package was delivered very fast by Amazon after I sent my address to Sofirn via PM on BLF, upon opening the Amazon box I noticed that the contents of the Sofirn package were spilled inside the Amazon box because the Sofirn box had opened during shipping, apparently I am not the only one that received the flashlight this way as another BLF reviewer also received his flashlight with the contents spilled. Maybe Sofirn should take the extra step to tape the box before shipping to prevent this from happening, or contact Amazon and request them to better package their Flashlights.Fortunately the flashlight was not damaged during transit because it was wrapped inside bubble wrap.
The Sofirn SP32 flashlight came in a foam padded plain brown cardboard box with label stickers, the actual flashlight was wrapped in bubble wrap to protect it from scratches during shipping.
Contents of the Sofirn box:
- SP32 flashlight with pocket clip installed wrapped in bubble wrap
- Small size instruction manual in English and German
- Spare O-rings inside a plastic pouch
- 2800Mah protected Li-Ion battery
- Micro USB cradle battery charger
- USB to Micro USB cord that will plug in to a cell phone charger
- No plug in charger, the user has to provide a cellphone charger that supports USB
I like the fit and finish of the flashlight! The HAIII finish is comparable to Fenix it feels hi quality and very well made, it has nice diamond shaped knurling on the body and tail cap that provides adequate grip without shredding up your pockets.
The body threads are well cut and with a square shape on both ends for durability and are anodized for positive lock out during transport or storage by unscrewing them about ¼ of a turn, there are lubricated O-Rings on both sides for waterproofness, Sofirn did a good job here!
The head has the standard manufacturer markings, certifications and hot warnings found on high end flashlights, the letters have a decent size font to not look ugly and the lettering is engraved in the body so it will not fade away with use.
The head also has small fins to help dissipate the heat of the LED that are smooth to the touch, one thing to mention is that it has anti-roll cuts to prevent it from rolling when you put the flashlight on a flat surface, well done!
The metal button protrudes about 0.7mm from the body and might be difficult to find by touch when using gloves (Tip: Align the clip with the switch to find it more easily)
The button feels solid and very quiet when pressed, the travel of the button is about 0.7mm it stops flush with the body when pressed.The button more than likely activates an electronic switch that turns on the flashlight and changes modes. I do not have the equipment necessary to check the amount of parasitic energy drain of the switch.
The flashlight has gold plated springs installed on the head and on the tail cap so there is positive contact and no rattle of the battery and are adequate in thickness to carry the current to the led.
The driver is held in place with a screw on retaining ring that has two small holes to unscrew and access the driver.
I decided to open up the bezel to see what type of MPCB is the LED mounted on, the bezel had some kind of glue on the threads but it easy to open with the use of two strap wrenches.
I immediately noticed that there are two O-rings protecting the waterproofness of the light, one under the lip right in front of the glass and the other under the threads, water is not going to get inside from here!
Upon inspection of the led, to my surprise it is a thicker than usual Copper MPCB held down with one screw on the side, this along with the pressure from the aluminum reflector and centering ring will probably be enough to keep a good thermal transfer to the body, good job Sofirn!!!
I might swap the current XP-L2 with an XP-L HI for more throw, but that is just me! I like throwy lights.
The business end of the SP32 flashlight:
The LED is well centered inside the smooth reflector, there is absolutely no dust or debris to be found inside the reflector or glass KUDOS Sofirn for that quality control!
Looking at the glass, it is MY OPINION that the glass does not have an AR coating, all my other flashlights that have AR coatings have a greenish, purpleish, blueish, pinkish hue when seen at an angle, this one does not show any hue, maybe Sofirn is using a different type of coating that has almost no hue (will leave it for others to decide)
Looking at the beam of the XP-L2 V6 LED in 3D tint I must say that I like this color, it renders object color well and I think it was a good choice of tint, would also like to see cool tints offered and XPL-Hi versions to increase the throw of the flashlight
The 3D tint on the Ansi White chart is on the 5000K color temperature
(Credit for the image goes to http://flashlightwiki.com)
Lithium Ion Battery and charger
The Sofirn SP32 flashlight comes with a Li-ion battery, a cradle Micro USB charger and a USB to Micro USB cable, the user has to provide a cellphone charger or USB port that can provide enough current to charge the battery. It only fits one Li-Ion battery at a time and the documentation does not specify if other battery chemistries are accepted.
This charger apparently charges the batteries at around 700ma, the Sofirn protected 18650 battery came charged to 3.90v.
When connecting the cradle charger cable to a Samsung cellphone charger the cradle LED light turns green and when inserting a li-ion battery into the charging cradle the led turns red indicating that it is charging, the charger light again turns green after it has finished charging the battery.
I checked the battery right after the charger light had turned green and I found that the charger stops the charge between 4.16v and 4.17v which is a little less than the recommended 4.20v but it increases the battery life, During charging the battery or the charging cradle never got warm to the touch.
The inside diameter of the cell compartment is adequate, All 18650 batteries I have (Protected or unprotected) fit inside this flashlight with absolutely no problems!
I need to mention that I experienced a problem with the supplied Sofirn 18650 protected Li-ion battery, apparently the protection circuit came defective from the factory because it trips the protection when using it in any flashlight. After turn on the light sometimes appears to flash and sometimes it just does not turn on and the voltage of the 18650 drops from 4.16v to 0.43v and only resets when inserting the 18650 battery back into the charging cradle, the protection instantly resets and the battery reads 4.16v again, I tried several times to and tried with many 18650 flashlights to see if it would work but it was impossible.
So I decided to check if it was the battery or the protection circuit the culprit by opening the battery wrapper and exposing the battery and protection circuit. I did not find any markings regarding the manufacturer of the 18650 cell, the now unprotected 18650 battery works just fine with any flashlight.
Apparently the problem resides in the protection circuit, will perform discharge tests on the unprotected battery and will post my findings.
Here is a picture of the protection circuit with the part numbers of the components for further discussion.
The beam pattern of this flashlight is wide but with decent throw perfect for an EDC type of flashlight. The main hotspot has a beam angle of around 20˚ to 25˚ and the corona has a beam angle of about 70˚
The beam has a very nice neutral color that is more natural to the eyes. Colors appear crisp and not washed out. Good selection on the tint Sofirn! I would like to see cool white and XP-L Hi for more throw as future options for this light. The Flashlight beam shows distinct rings around a center main beam that might bother some wall hunters out there but is not noticeable in normal use,
- Insert 18650 battery or two 123a batteries with the positive side (Button top) facing towards the front of the battery
- To turn on the flashlight just click for less than 2 seconds the side switch, the flashlight will turn on to the last mode it was set before turning it off.
- To change modes just click the side button for less than 2 seconds and the flashlight with ramp up softly to the next level.
- To enter strobe, double click the side button quickly, to go back to the previous levels just one quick click will suffice
- To turn the flashlight off, press and hold the side button for more than 2 second and the flashlight will turn off.
- To enter moonlight mode press and hold the side switch from off for 2 seconds and it will enter moonlight mode, to turn off just a quick click will turn it off
- You can enter strobe from off by double clicking the side switch, to turn off you only have to press once.
- The flashlight has no apparent SOS mode or momentary on, I would add a SOS by double clicking from strobe so it is not accidentally accessed when not needed.
The Sofirn SP32 has automatic overheat protection by changing the power to the led after 3 minutes from Turbo mode (Highest mode) to high mode setting, then it will remain in high setting for 30 minutes and then lower the power to medium, you can reset these times by turning the flashlight off then on.
Mode brightness spacing is adequate for an EDC, I find that the moonlight could be a bit lower and still be useful.
All in all this is a good flashlight, has a nice charger but the battery issue might just have been bad luck on my part, I will wait to see what other users report.
Thank you Sofirn for the opportunity to review your product!
If any manufacturers have something they would like me to review, let me know via PM.