Sofirn C01 and C01S first impressions

I ordered these on on Sept 1 and they arrived yesterday, 2 weeks from China to US, not bad at all. I won’t include photos since you can find them online easily enough. I have a few more on order from Aliexpress (particularly in 670nm red, not available at Sofirnlight) and they are not here yet, so maybe is a little quicker.

The two lights look basically identical unless you look straight into the bezels. They have a mix of diameters and knurling on the battery tube. Machining is adequate, with a little bit of both forward/backward and sideways play in the threads, not more than we are used to. The tail end has some intricate milling with an endmill so it tailstands easily, while having a tiny hole for a split ring, a small round hole for a magnet, and an oblong hole for a tritium marker. I’m not sure about the idea of a $10 trit marker in a $4 flashlight, but they give you the opion. Each light came with a little baggie containing two spare O rings and a split ring. Weight of the battery tube is 9 or 10 grams (my kitchen scale with 1g resolution is not that accurate) and the head is 4 or 5 grams. The battery tubes and heads interchange between the two lights, but the heads are not machined the same way. The C01 has a 5mm led with a deep reflector while the C01S has a SMT led with an optic.

I dropped a fresh alkaline cell into each light and found the C01 has a large round hotspot without much spill. The C01S has a narrower hotspot with more spill. The C01S on low was maybe similar to the C01 in total brightness, and impressively bright on high. Afterwards I switched a charged NiMH cell (generic, not Eneloop) into the C01S and it didn’t seem as bright, but I don’t have any measuring gear so it’s hard to tell. Led color is nice and warm on both, with C01 a little warmer, I think. It would be interesting to see a voltage vs lumen graph of both these lights.

The C01S seems like a good EDC since the two levels are enough for most purposes. I am likely to put an L92 lithium cell into it to get the output a bit higher, on the idea that it is fairly sensitive to cell voltage. This is unlike some Fenix lights that had very flat regulation until the cell was near dead. The C01 is more of a party favor or backup because of its 1 level, though it is around 7 lumens, considerably brighter than the original 3 lumen Arc AAA that first popularized this format on CPF 20 years ago. So it is also perfectly usable as a go-everywhere light.

Each came with a black spring steel pocket clip made of quite thin steel, that seems nice and should be able to do the hat brim thing if you wear a hat. I usually carry a 1aaa light in my jeans’ watch pocket, so I tried clipping it there and the clip worked nicely. However, I had chosen a fairly light color (orange) for the flashlight body, and having it sticking out of my pocket made it more visible than I liked. So if buying again with this in mind, I’d pick brown or black.

I ended up pulling off the pocket clip with the idea of putting some heat shrink tubing over the rear of the flashlight, so I can hold it in my mouth more comfortably if I have to use it hands free. That means I also didn’t attach the split ring, so no lanyard or keychain for this at the moment.

Nice lights and good value, especially on AliExpress which offers the 670nm red led. I have heard they are discontinued so this is your chance to get them. On the other hand, if you miss out, there are lots of comparable lights now. I’m still awaiting a Skilhunt E3A which is a little bit smaller and brighter, supposedly.

I guess the most interesting feature of the C01 is the availability of the 670nm red led. I have never had one of those before (just the usual 635nm or so), so I’m looking forward to the two I ordered arriving.

The C01 was originally priced at $9.95 and at the time of its first release, you could get a trit vial for about $6.50 (plus shipping). Since the C01 has been around for a while, these deep discount deals come around occasionally. $4 is well worth it. Never hurts to have a couple of backups. A simple AAA battery and you’ve got light.

The C01 does remind me a little of the original Arc, or even a Peak LED. Times have indeed changed.

The C01S is worth the cost to get the glass lens and 3 modes 2 modes. It’s well made but I do prefer the Thrunite Ti3 V2, overall (and I got it when there was that blowout sale, $6 each) with 3 modes. The Jetbeam Jet-U has the best build of the 3, but it’s unfortunately a cool tint and its discount days of $11 are long past (hard to get for less than $19 now).

Good points. My C01S has 2 modes but I think there are also some with 3. I think I paid $8 for it vs $4 for the C01, plus shipping, but I’ve lost track. I’d rather have gotten everything in one order since I ended up buying 5 lights to spread the shipping charges across more of them. It’s ok, can always use more 1aaa’s, I have a lot of them. I do like the Arc and Fenix E01 designs better though, since they were straight sided while the C01 has a less attractive (imho) mix of diameters. That’s a subtle thing though, and not of functional consequence.

I saw another post claiming that certain colors of C01 body came with potted electronics and others didn’t. I don’t know how to check the one I got without prying out the pill. I might do that sometime though.

To me, the most interesting feature of the C01 is the warm, pleasant, smooth beam of that little emitter. It is a great light for around the house after dark, or inside a car, when short distances and partially dark-adapted eyes make it easy to have too much light. I use mine regularly. And I find it a good level for reading.

It’s also an effective battery vampire. If you were ever in a pinch for batteries, you can use cells that other devices can’t function with.

The mix of diameters on the C01 is because the community requested Sofirn make it compatible with a pocket clip, and in fact, be reversible (so there’s two locations the pocket clip can mount).

My bad, I was thinking of Thrunite Ti3 v2 and Jetbeam Jet-U which both have 3 modes, but the C01S has just 2 modes. The C01S is not potted. Only some of the C01 are potted, based on color. You can read more HERE.

This is really the wonderful quality about the C01 that makes it an ideal backup flashlight, as well as a simple task light. The fact that it can totally suck out the last remaining juice from a common alkaline battery. I’ve not tried putting mine to reading use, but I might give it a go instead of constantly repositioning my bedside light.

The main drawback as a reading light is that a flashlight has be held somewhere. Most people don’t wear hats when sitting down to read, so they can’t clip it to the brim, and it gets tiresome to hold it up, although I’ve found a position for reading in bed that works ok. There’s probably some sort of mount that could be managed to clip to a headboard, but I haven’t thought up anything clever.

I keep on thinking of just using the head from one of these lights as the converter and led part of a simple headlamp.

I have 2 C01S and like them a lot. First, one being the Low-High sequence one and the second is the High-Low sequence one. I use it all the time as my computer desk main light for things around the desk and floor kinda thing. The only thing now is trying to choose between the one that starts out Low first or the one that starts out High first. :laughing: