Okay, so I got a Wurkkos FC13 and was eagerly looking forward to it, especially after hearing about the lit multicolor sideswitch. And I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed! First time with one of these switches, and it’s quite nice to have a choice of color, etc.
First impression of getting the box was “wow!”. It’s a nice gift-box style inside a glossy sleeve. The box itself is thick cardboard with magnetic snap to keep it closed. So before even seeing the light itself, you’re impressed.
Once you open the box you’re treated to the light, envelope with O-rings and such, and another slim box with charging cable, and the light itself in a snug foam cutout.
Okay, so before even playing with anything else, I had to dive right into the light itself. It’s a nice chunky design, lots of cooling fins, and what I immediately noticed as a nice touch was an orange retaining-ring holding in the front glass. Nice bit of contrast!
Fit and Finish.
As usual, fit and finish is excellent. No sharp edges or corners no matter where or how I rub the light with my fingertips. Not even the inside of any cooling fins. Excellent machining. Finish is a nice semigloss black, but unless I’m imagining it, a bit more matte than usual. Frankly, I like it!
The switch itself has a nice bullseye pattern to the backlight, of 2 concentric rings. The boot isn’t squishy at all, and has a nice snap to it. There isn’t any play to the boot, no wiggling or rocking.
There’s a matching bidirectional clip which works fine. I’ve never been a fan of clips except in certain circumstances, and usually take them off immediately, but this one is pretty good. It’s almost a deep-carry clip, which is nice in that it doesn’t leave half the light sticking out of your pocket, and while I don’t know when I’d use the reverse feature, it’s there if you want it.
Now, the light comes with 2 options for the LED/emitter, either an XHP50 or SFT40. I’m not a fan of Cree XHPs in general, so the SFT40 was to me a better choice. And it didn’t disappoint. It’s listed as a 6500K emitter, but to me it seems warmer. I have plenty of old 6500K lights, and they’re definitely cool white or “bright white” as some people say. The '40 seems to be a decent maybe 5500K color-temperature? Like a lot of SFTs, there’s definitely a greenish tint, especially at low brightness, but it’s surprisingly not objectionable. In fact, at first glance, were it not for the spill, it seems almost like a TIR-based light, with a smooth hotspot, no nasty corona or other artifacts, and just a decent beam overall. I gotta say, Wurkkos definitely raised the bar with the FC13.
The reflector is a rough orange-peel, which you can see clearly with the emitter at its lowest moonlight level and looking right down the reflector. So that definitely smooths out the beam nicely and blends away any artifacts that might be there if using a smooth reflector.
The interface is Andouille 2, and starts out in simple mode. Well, I click it right into complex mode immediately, as I’m used to those features, but simple mode is great for The Muggle, or anyone who wants a simple user-interface. I’m not going to go into details, as there’s plenty of reading material on andy2, but the manual comes with a flowchart to be able to get around quickly in both simple and complex modes. And I just noticed that both user-guide and user-manual are available as .pdf files downloadable on the Amazon webpage! So no need to read microprint, as you can view both fullscreen in all their glory.
Now, I immediately put it into ramped mode, but stepped is nice, too. Ramping is smooth up/down and doesn’t “linger” on the bright end of the scale seemingly without much change, but flying through brightness levels on the dim end of the scale. Instead, it’s smooth from dimmest to brightest and back down again. Stepped mode is nice and evenly-spaced, too.
Moonlight mode is wonderfully low in case you don’t want to ruin your night-vision but need to, say, check a map or your watch. You can ramp all the way to highest level (“ceiling”) and then doubleclick for “turbo” if you temporarily need more oomf.
The Switch Backlight.
The sideswitch is a hoot, and you can cycle through all the constant colors, plus color-changing modes, and voltage-status mode. I’m a traditionalist, and settled for dim red for best night-vision purposes. But the voltage-sensing mode can come in very handy! You can select no backlight, dim, bright, and blinky, and separately for both normal and locked-out modes.
XHP vs SFT.
The XHP50 is a quad-die emitter that can take much more power, but the “chip” is a much larger area because it’s 4 dice in 1 in a 2x2 array. So the overall beam will be much brighter, but spread over a wider area.
The SFT40 is a single-chip emitter, and while it doesn’t have the higher output of the XHP, it’s a more “concentrated” emitter and thus throws farther. For a smaller light, a wider beam is much more useful, to me at least. You’re more likely to be grubbling through a drawer or closet, or at most be poking through a basement or attic, so a wider beam lets you see more close-in, and is, again, to me, a much more useful beam. But for a larger light like the FC13, the SFT40 seem to be a great match, as it’s “throwier” at longer distances like across the yard or down a trail or alley, so much more light reaches the target vs being spread out lighting what’s to the sides. And with the nice smooth beam from the rippled reflector coupled with its natural “throwiness”, it’s an all-around great light that’s incredibly useful. It has a wider beam at lower levels for around the house, but when cranked up can be used to light up what’s at the opposite end of the yard quite easily.
Now, the SFT40 is supposed to be 6500K, that blue-white color that screams “LED!!!”, but the light I got seems quite a bit warmer. Not yellow-warm, but somewhere in the 5000s. There’s a greenish tinge that throws off my “guesstimate”, but 5500K seems about right. It’s a decent beam overall. And again, no discernable artifacts.
I gotta confess, I’m trying hard to find something negative to say about it, so I don’t just sound like a fanboy, but can’t come up with anything substantive. Just the greenish tint of the SFT40, but even that isn’t too objectionable, especially once your eyes adapt.
All in all, Wurkkos raised the bar with the FC13. From excellent fit and finish, to the presentation/gift box it comes in, to its light output, to its flexible user-interface, to pretty much everything, it’s a tough act to follow, and other light manufacturers are going to have to work hard to beat the FC13.
I’ve been thrilled with it, and it’s become my newest night-table light. The red glow from the sideswitch lets me know instantly where’s the light, and more importantly, where’s the switch. No more flipping around the light trying to find where the unlit switch might be. Instant access. Couple that with everything else it has, and yeah, I’m really happy with it!
Was just contacted by Wurkkos, got a surprise!
A discount link for 30% off (20% coupon and 10% promo code), 5XQDPZZI, that’s good up to March 31st.