Sofirn SF10 and SF12 review

Hi, this is my first review, feel free to ask any questions that you might have or suggest additions to my review that I may have left out. I don’t have any equipment for measuring output, but I will be comparing it to my Trustfire Z2

Today I got these AA/14500 flashlights.

  • The SF12 has a weird forward clicky switch. It’s the only flashlight I have that has one and I find it weird compared to all the reverse clickys I have used.
    Has 3 modes from low to high.I sincerely don’t know if this flashlight has memory or not, it seems it starts on the next mode from where you shut it off, except from high, where it seems to come back on high.
    It has a glow in the dark O ring in the front glass (no coating), a smooth reflector and comes with a clip.
    Xp-G2 S3 5500k emiter, claims 400 lumen with 14500 battery

  • The SF10 has the looks of a mini convoy S6 (and those that inspired it).
    Has 4 modes going high to low and a strobe accessed by double pressing. No memory.
    Has a black O ring in the glass (no coating), an OP reflector and comes with a lanyard.
    Xp-G2 R5 6500k emiter, claims 500 lumen with 14500 battery.

  • On the SF12 the tube is almost too tight to fit my Keeppower 14500, and the Nitecore still has some trouble. When loading the battery on the SF12, I had to push it to the end of the tube to make contact because it would not slide on its own and the spring in the tailcap was not strong enough to do the job

  • (Updated) I tried to remove the internal assembly from the flashlights, initially the driver from the SF10 wouldn’t come of after removing the retaining ring, and the SF12 retaining ring had the holes too small and close to the inner walls for my pliers to grip it, but after some tool improvising, I did it.
    The SF10 assembly has a longer pill and longer reflector.
    Both use a 16mm MCPCB and 17mm driver, so I might be tempted to do a little modding on them, despite looking like they don’t have very good thermal path with those tiny pills.

  • Here is a comparison from the beams on high. 1st the SF12, than the SF10, than the Trustfire Z2 for comparison. All pictures took with ISO 80, 5500k white balance and 1/125 shutter speed.Except for the SF12 high mode, all modes from both lights emit a constant buzz sound you can hear when close to your ear, and at least a couple of times during my testing I could hear the buzz from 50cm away.
    The SF12 beam has cool tint, with hints of green in corona (more visible) and hot spot (less visible).
    The SF10 beam has a neutral to warm hot spot and a very, VERY rosy corona and spill, which is not accurately represented in the picture.

Final considerations:

Despite being ~$10 flashlights, I can’t say I’m happy with them.
The machining in the SF12 is not great (not that the SF10 is).
The U-shaped tailcap is nice in 18650 flashlights, but is not comfortable to use in the AA/14500 size
The interface and forward switch is awkward.
The engravings are either faded or crooked.
Both emitters have weird tint shifts.
The SF10 has more redeemable features; interface, machining, doesn’t have the buzzing noise nor tint shift when using and AA battery.

I’d recommend the SF10 as an AA flashlight and that’s it.

Thanks for your review on these lights!

From the pictures, it seems that SF12 has a “greenish” tint.
Does the light have AR coated lens? If so, it seems that it has the same problem as the Zanflare F1 : LED is yellow and the “purple/blue/whatever” collour of the AR lens turns it into a green tint.

Concerning the UI modes, and despite there is no “clear” information on Sofirn’s store, is it possible that it works like “Mid-High-Low”, like other similar lights? Maybe that would explain the apparent modes changes when switching it ON…

Hum…knowing that the driver of the SF10 doesn’t come out easily makes me wanna…try and remove it anyway! :smiley:
The start on High is somehow annoying (for me) being this a small light that may be (also) used for indoor purpose!
I have 1 on the way, so I’ll find out soon.

Btw, is your 14500 Keeppower battery protected? They seem to be larger and to struggle to fit on these lights :person_facepalming:

One last remark: I got my SP32 two weeks ago and the LOGO was also scratched! So, I guess they have a problem with this! Does not interfere with the light’s functioning, but…it is a “problem”.

Thanks again! :+1:

The SF12 looks just like the ThorFire TG06, which had a forward clicky until ThorFire released the TG06S, which has a reverse clicky. The inside is laid out the same as well. I’m really liking the look of the SF10, I’ll have to get one and pry the driver out somehow…will be a nice light to edc. As far as the SF12 goes, you’ll probably need a pair of pointy tweezers as that’s what I have to use when I mod the TG06/TG06S. The SF12, after removing the retaining ring probably has a pill that is threaded as well (if it’s like the TG06), which means you’ll have to pull the driver out a little on one side…put pliers or tweezers in the wire holes of the pill and screw it out counter clock wise. It should use a 17mm driver.

Updated the review with the disassembly of the pill!

With a little modding I think the SF10 can be a nice indoor light. the SF12 can be passable, but the machining quality is just not there.

Neither lens are coated and both batteries are protected

I managed to remove the ring on the SF12 with reverse pliers, applying pressure from the inside out, and the SF10 driver was fasten enough in the pill to unscrew them from the little gaps in the edge of the driver

Thank for the review, and disassembly.

Thanks again Persechini!
Glad you disassembled them and showed what’s inside!
I’m thinking about swapping driver (at least) to make it start on lowest modes!
Concerning the batteries, I have the Sanyo UR14500P, unprotected, I’ll see if they fit nicely and let you know.
Thanks!! :+1:

I wonder what kind of drivers are those, I can’t exactly identify them, and I wonder if I can use nanjg, convoy or fet+1 on these flashlight and still get them to work with both 14500 and AA batteries

I hope you don’t mind if I post 2 photos here, Persechini! I didn’t want to start a thread just for this
I received my SF10 today… I just want to show how it arrived…

Is it normal to get a stock light like this? I don’t think so…

I guess I was a Sofirn enthusiast at first, but now I’m thinking that they tried to get a name here and are becoming careless and reckless!
Some logos are scratched, my SF10 has big scratch on the anodization, the box in which it arrived was completely screwed up (I just don’t know if the scratch due to that or not!)…

About the light, I confirm the “pinkish” tint, and that it has PWM stripes in all modes (caught in a cellphone camera), using any battery. Exception is Highest mode with alkaline and Ni-MH.
Also, the switch has a kind of “delay” when pressing. The next mode light has a small delay to “enter” (the same happens with the SP32).
The Sanyo UR14500P unprotected batteries fit well.

^ With the box crushed like that and no foam/bubble wrap around the light itself I’m guessing that a lot of the scratches may have happened in shipping.

The SP 32 was inside a box with foam and the logo was turned to the inside, so that was not a shipping issue! Also:

So…I guess that this is a problem in the origin!
I doesn’t affect the light’s performance, but it’s damages the look…

Both my sofirn flashlights came in a brown cardboard box with a foam cradle inside, nothing like the package you received O_o

I have some SF10’s in the mail right now, bought directly from the Sofirn Aliexpress store. We shall see…

From the aspect of the box this is eventually a SF12 box! The box is made for a light with pre installed clip (SF10 doesn’t have one)…
It is a generic “Sofirn” box, no flashlight model name associated on it.
The SP32 arrived in a card box, with flat piece of foam inside, and with a sticker outside identifying the model. So far, so good.
Even the single battery charger I ordered arrived in that kind of box, with flat foam too.
If it had a bubble-plastic wrap, it would have prevented the damage on the light!
Yeah, they’re cheap, but we pay for them!

I’ll send a message to the seller in AliExpress and PM to Tracy here. Buyers can’t be buying and getting this kind of things!
But…that’s just my point!
And yes, I know I will scratch and use it like if there was no tomorrow…Scratches are no problem, but this is a matter of principles that the company must have!
Apart from this, the light is usable, of course :exclamation:

The pictures in the review above suggests that the SF10 emits neutral white light? Can others confirm that’s what they received as well? Having previously bought SF31/SF32 from Sofirn’s Aliexpress store, I was considering getting the SF10 but was put off slightly by the emitter being described as “Light Source BIN: XP-G2 (R5) White LED 6500 K CW”, which suggested cool white light.

I’ve also noticed that the SF10 is available on at a price which is comparable to the Aliexpress price, and I guess delivery might be quicker, depending on exactly who dispatches the goods.

Hi Rexx, and welcome to BLF!

If this can help:
Left to right: XML2 U2-1A (CW) - XP-G2 R5 (Sofirn SF10) - XPL-HI U6 3A (NW)

The light seems more inclined to Neutral White than Cool White.
From AliExpress mine took 21 days to arrive (after shipping).

Many thanks for the prompt response and those beamshots. Cool White and 6500K seems inaccurate for the XP-G2 R5, but having checked some on line sellers of that LED, it seems to have a wide temperature range and the warmest ones are neutral white. Anyway having seen the beams on here I will go ahead and get a couple of the SF10’s to try out. My SF31/SF32 from Sofirn aliexpress store took 2.5 weeks to arrive to UK and using store coupons etc I was able to get them at a pretty good price.

Well, I’d call neutral only the vicinity of 5500k, which will make a white wall look the same tint as sun light. 5000k already starts to look warm to me ,and anything bellow 4000k is too yellow for my taste.

Taking that in consideration,the sf10 tint looks like 5000k (warm, but cooler than my 4000k flashlight), but more rose than yellow with a 14500 battery. The tint shift with aa batteries are much less intense though, I’ll try to update the pictures using a camera instead of my phone to more accurately represent what I see and add beamshots and other details with aa batteries, which make the flashlights a lot less unsatisfying

Yesterday I received a SF10 and a SP31 I ordered from Aliexpress :

They came in a black box put in a black plastic mailer no bobble wrap or padding at all. Despite the poor packaging the arrived flawless, I think they are very good flashlights for the price the only small grievance is the mode order in the SF10.

Utorch UT01 3D 5000K (left) Sofirn SF10 (right)

The picture is a pretty much what I see with my eyes. I think Persechini’s description of the color as 5500K is pretty much what I would call it.

About the situation I exposed above (Sofirn SF10 and SF12 review - #8 by MascaratumB), I contacted Sofirn seller through their AliExpress store and a solution has been given to the problem.
I presented photos of the damaged flashlight and damaged box, and I got a very quick and attentive reply from the seller (saturday and today). I also alerted for the shipping conditions, suggesting better wrapping, at least!

@ khas
My SF10 arrived in that kind of box too, that seems less protective, especially if it doesn’t have anything else wrapping it on the outside!
I’m glad that yours arrived well :wink:

@ Rexx
I tried again the flashlight and it it doesn’t seem completely NW, it tends to decay a bit to a warmer tint. Persechini and khas explanations above are more accurate than my “visual” assessment, but I just guess that it is not “pure” Neutral White.
Hope it helps your choice!

It’d have to be one that’s “dual mode”, then.

With an alkie/NiMH, it needs a boost converter to turn 1.5V to 3.5V or so.

When using a 14500, it’s almost always a buck converter.

So by default it needs to be a more complicated boost/buck converter to handle both. Else, if using a 14500 in a strictly boost converter, rather than chopping the input voltage to charge an inductor, it’d just crowbar the pass element and feed the LED almost direct-drive. Sometimes that (the higher voltage) can fry something in the boost part of the circuitry, so that once you go 14500, you won’t be able to go back to using an alkie/NiMH again.

Which kind of converter you get is strictly pot-luck. You have to try it, then it’s go or blow.