Surprises - Good and Bad

Just a question out of curiosity:

What light or lights have been the biggest surprise to you…whether that was a pleasant surprise, or a not so pleasant surprise?

Was there a light you bought, not expecting much, but it turned out to be WAY nicer than expected?

Conversely, was there a light you were excited to get that just felt lackluster?

For me, a pleasant surprise was my Thrunite T1. I have had an affinity for small, easy to carry lights. The best flashlight in the world is the one you have with you when the lights go out. When I bought the T1, I knew it was a good EDC light, but didn’t expect to like it as much as I have. I love the UI and for day to day activities, it does what I want…and more!

I was surprised with this nice little light i bought from Neal (219c version) for 15$ or so.

Its very small, but puts out enough light, pleasant tint with the nichia in it and very pocketable.

I have to buy more, my kids already stole this one, as well as my Enogear AA, Reylight pineapple…

As it turns out, i like to use simple lights, with good light, tint and well chosen mode spacing.

I barely use my Q8, my SP36 however (converted with Samsung LED’S) is used very often.

All lights have pros and cons

I would have to say that my last 2 lights have been a very pleasant surprise.

First, the Thrunite TN4a. I just wanted something that used AA NiMh batteries so that I could gift it to a friend. Was not expecting to like the tint or the UI as much as I do. I think the UI is pure genius and I wouldn’t have thought of it in a million years. Actually I did not much care for it initially but I forced myself to use the light for a week or two as my primary dog walking light and I grew to truly appreciate it. First, the long press to turn it on is simple and anyone can understand it. This gives you a very decent moonlight that makes it easy to move about without affecting your night vision and most importantly not waking up SWMBO;-) Double click and you get over 1000 lumens out of a AA light. Double click again for a strobe. Simple turn on and off with a normal click. Memory as well as very nice mode spacing make this a surprisingly nice light! I also like the fact that when you hold the switch down to change modes it always goes down first. Sounds dumb and wrong but in real world use this is what I like. I guess I was also surprised at how nice it feels in the hand and how easy it is to put in a coat pocket. Definitely not an EDC thing but a great house light.

The second surprise is the Sofirn SC31B that I only got because the coupon code made it a no brainer. I really like the beam pattern and tint of the SST 20. (Still like the TN4a NW a touch better.) Completely amazed at the amount of throw. Last tube light I had was some kind of P60 host with the first XM-L. This is a whole different world and has me completely re-thinking my aversion to 18650 Tube lights. I still like my C8s but for the most part this is just better all around with somewhat less throw and of course a lot less time above 500 lumens (where I rarely need that much time anyway). Also a bit surprised the the built in charging is as good as it is. Lastly the thing that surprised me is how great the reversible body (clip) is. Wonderful for using as a head lamp, then can easily be changed to clip into a pocket. Great design.

First was high CRI in LEDs, that opened up a whole new world.

Second was the multi emitter soda can lights.

Third was the small (single 18650/18350) multi emitter lights.

Fourth was the LT1.

And in all of them firmware from ToyKeeper.

Surprise would be the Fireflies PL47 I didn’t care much about the angle light but its usefulness has grown on me and is my current EDC

Lackluster would be the Fireflies E01 I was kind of expecting more throw from it, I might sell it.

I also not liking the tint on my SST20 5000k Astrolux MF01 Mini, might also sell it and get me a XPL-Hi version.

WK30. Was under the impression it’d be a “gimmick” light, but damn, was I wrong. One of my faves…

Wuben TO46R Nichia. Saw it on sale and purchased on a whim.

I think very underappreciated. Great 2 button interface. Very slightly rosy tint. Well made light.


Yes WK30 nice surprise too!

WK30 a solid little light that I use often. Now that I know Wurkkos will be making a multicolored led version of it, I'll keep my eyes open.

Sofirn sc31b

This light is the one that will put sofirn on the map of folks beyond flashaholics

As long as the reliabilty and CS holds up

There is no better value beginner light with integrated USB charging

It is literally a wowtac killer, and maybe even a s2+ killer for non flashaholics

If you slapped a fenix/olight/etc logo on it and charged double the price, no one would blink

+1. Yep. I got one because the National Day price made it a no brainer but I am amazed with the size, quality, and ease of use. The beam is way nicer than any of my Olights and it is super compact for an 18650 light!

I just bought a Thrunite Neutron 2C and this one really surprises me as well. Very nice light with a lot of options. Great upper end brightness, throw and the right amount of flood, with a moonlight mode that gives me 49 days of light.

The FW3A has been both good and bad surprises for me. After two years of waiting, I was happily surprised to be able to buy my first one. Bad surprises trying to order more. Bad surprise to have to fix all of my lights to get them to work consistently. And finally, a bad surprise to discover the “Muggle Mode Bug” on most of my FWXs. It’s too bad LuminTop used every cost cutting trick to turn a really great idea into just a profit margin, but workin in specialty electronics manufacturing, I’ve seen that too much to be surprised.


Olight i3s - CU EOS
I really thought this was just going to be a light I used a couple of times and put on the shelf.
I bought it because I just wanted a brass light.
It ended up being my edc for a couple of years, before being replaced with an sc52.
It’s now on my wife’s keychain.
It’s never missed a beat. It’s a well built piece of equipment.

Nicest surprise: the Zebralight SC64w HI. I knew I’d like the light, but the tint blows my socks off. Nicest tint I have, that isn’t a Nichia 219B emitter. It’s almost impossible to tell the difference.

Worst surprise: the FW3A. Maybe my expectations were too high, but it really failed to meet them.

Taking a chance on getting nuked for saying it, I really expected to be much more impressed with the FW3A than I was. I certainly love the UI…the multitude of options are very nice and the nice fast ramping is welcome (my one complaint with the Thrunite ramping UI is that it is so slow) but I am just not head over heels for the light.

A light that definitely is not getting much pocket time with me is my Olight S1 Mini. Considering how much I like my Thrunite T1, I figured this one would be carried a lot. However, I really am not a huge fan of the UI, the run times bother me and mine has a random flicker in moonlight mode.

Cannot beat the Lumintop Tool AAA in Copper for only $11. shipped. And $16 for the Ti. That was such a super deal.

The tint and all around goodness of the sst-20 in my FW3A was a pleasant surprise. The switch on that one has the dreaded hair trigger, but I just switched the heads with my first one and haven’t had any of the other issues I’ve read about. Winner all around now, I carry it a lot.

The bad is that my other FW3A with XPL HI has an awful tint, and now also has the ridiculously light switch. Isn’t likely to leave its box anytime soon.

Sure wish I’d jumped on that light when it was available. The i3s-CU didn’t have a very good emitter, tint wise. Recently a site called “” had a batch. I almost bought some, but waited too long. With 18 left in stock, someone swooped in and bought them all in one shot. :rage:

I know what you mean, Xevious. I wish I had bought a couple. Prices went up like crazy on some used ones I saw online.