Review: Solarforce L2/Version 2011

The Best Gets Better

My affection for the Solarforce brand and the L2 in particular is well known so, if you doubt my ability to objectively evaluate the updated 2011 version of this milestone P60 design, you might find another review more helpful. At this price point; superior quality, in terms of function, feel or aesthetics . . . justified admiration requires no apology.

Bottom line for non-fansofoy: The improved L2 will take a well earned place of respect, whether your collection is high dollar, budget or both. Loaded with your favorite drop-in and properly blinged, a more satisfying torch to own and use is hard to imagine. It might cost twice (or more) as much as other hosts but it is also more than twice as much flashlight for the money. The L2/2011 version is still the best budget P60 host you can buy.

What I like:

- top quality machine work

- near perfect knurling

- look and feel of new finish

- light now looks complete, instead of put together

What I do not like:

- strike bezel

- tail cap o-ring too small

Solarforce L2/Version 2011 P60 Flashlight Host These impressions are based on my experience so far with the two L2s I ordered.

$12.50 from

- ordered 10-4-11, received 10-14-11

- accepts P60 style drop-in

- T6061 aluminum alloy body

- reverse clickie tactical (non-tail-standing) switch

- uses 2 x CR123, 1 x 16340 or 1 x 18650 battery

- waterproof (IPX rating?)

- 140 x 32 x 25.4 mm

- 98g (without drop-in or battery)

In April of this year, I wrote that the L2 was the Surefire 6P "clone to clone." The improvements brought to an already good product makes the L2/2011 Version an even more inviting target for imitation. What I said about the previous L2 is even more true now; that I still don't understand the logic of paying less for an inferior host and hoping your light was among the batch that was machined and/or assembled properly. Lathe work on the two lights I received is second to none and it's as if Solarforce has been listening to us because the few things I didn't like about the old flashlight have been beautifully corrected.

The tail cap on the new L2 is now the same size as the body with knurling to match and it actually is knurling now. Opinions differ of course, but I find the new crosshatch perfect with just about the same aggressive grip found on the Surefire 6P.

Another difference (improvement?) is the deeper labling area which carries a serial number, ala L2P. Often, sloppy machine work will show up here in the form of crosshatching that continues inconsistently into the smooth area around the print. Otherwise, the tube has the same shape.

Even when close enough to count the dust particles, you find no bad cuts.

It's not uncommon to see burrs and nicks on lesser lights when viewed this close. As you can see, the guys were on their game the day this light was made.

A glossy black flashlight is pretty enough I suppose but I never cared for it, nor did I like how it looked after hard use. I've not used either of mine at work yet and it's probably wrong to hope for L2P-like anodization toughness but the new finish certainly looks like it's up for the job. After quickly reading both the solarforce-sales and the HK site I see nothing about the L2's anodization and without the "HAIII" (found on the L2P) I'm guessing it is not type 3.

On a lesser note but interesting are threads that appear slightly squared, compared to the previous L2. (old left; new right)

In this blurry shot the tail threads are definitely squared (right) standing next to the old L2. (left)

Incidentally, both of these new L2s shared one weakness with the old version; the too-small tail cap o-ring felt like it was barely making contact with the cap. Foyfixed with a thicker GITD o-ring.

Here's an easy comparison of the new L2 (center) with an old style grey (left) and black. (right)

The new L2 blurrs the distinction with the L2P. Here it is standing with it's older kin . . .

. . . and here, next to the latest L2P. To my eyes, the matte finish looks especially fetching with something shiny screwed onto it.

From top to bottom:

New L2P; old L2P; new L2; old L2. Looking at this picture, it might be hard to justify spending the extra $5.49 for an L2P - especially when your L2 is appropriately blinged.

Just for fun, I took some tail cap measurements with a Manafont sourced, 3-mode UF XM-L drop-in using a Solarforce 2400 protected 18650.

light # 1

high - 4.10 nominal with a highest reading of 4.20

medium - 1.04 nominal with a highest reading of 1.17

low - .17

light # 2

high - 4.15 nominal with a highest reading of 4.43

medium - 1.18

low - .19

Like the old version, the new L2 is not IPX rated but a shower with Foy followed by a dunking in the bathroom sink resulted in zero ingress.

I'm going to EDC one of these guys this week to see if the new finish lives up to its looks. What I can say after a couple of days however is, WOW, what a flashlight! Everything I like at a price that seems cheap for what you're getting. With this new L2, Solarforce continues as the top Chinese brand to beat. Show me a user with mission critical flashlight needs willing to at least try one of these bad boys instead of their beloved Surefires, and I'll show you an LEO squirming nervously, searching for lame justification why he spent so much money on a less bright flashlight. You can accuse me of drinking the Solarforce Kool-Aid if you want, but my credibility will remain intact as long as Solarforce keeps making quality products like this new L2.

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Great macro pics and nice review!

Thanks, makes me already smile even though I have to wait a couple of weeks for mailman to deliver it...

Thanks for a fantastic review Foy. Im very impressed with the machine work and quality. The knurling looks more Olight/Fenix than budget light. Hopefully, Solarforce will increase the quality standards to this level throughout its entire line as they flush inventory in the months to come. The machine work certainly warrants your tight macros and I wonder if the company acquired some new production line hardware. Looking at your photos again... the quality certainly looks far to good to be Solarforce.

Im definitely in for one. Thank you!

Thanks for the excellent review , Foy .

Excellent review and photos! Can't wait for mine to arrive :)

Thanks for the review foy! More money on the way to china..

an awesome review as always!

Thank you guys. We'll see how the new finish holds up this week at work.


Wow, great pics Foy. I have had one in my cart for a few days. I have to buy it now.

Nice & useful photos! Thanks

Great job Foy, awsome photos.