Introducing the Vosteed Rook, a first collaboration flashlight with Reylight. It’s EDC focused, featuring 3 Nichia 519a LED, a USB-C Rechargeable 18350, battery, and a choice of 5 colors, Red, Blue, Black, Gray and Orange. What I have here is a prototype that’s in bead-blasted aluminum, with a different clip design. This is a Kickstarter project that is already funded but joining it’s the best way to get a Rook early and at a discount. Hurry though because the campaign ends early January 3rd, 2023. Full disclosure I helped Vosteed make an intro video for the campaign and my link below is an affiliate link.
Due to this and a few other changes, this won’t be a full review, but it will be pretty close. Thanks to Vosteed for sending this to me to review.
Watch this review on YouTube:
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Packaging & Accessories
My prototype here was too early to have any of the packaging you will get. That said I have bought several Vosteed knives and the packaging is top-notch I expect nothing different from the Rook. Yours will come with a 18350 battery with USB-C recharging onboard, and if the campaign reaches $30,000 you will also get an EDC Pouch and Vosteed Patch.
Construction & Design
The rook is made from aluminum and will be anodized in a number of colors initially. Red, Blue, Black, Gray, and Orange. Its design takes inspiration from the Rook chess piece. It features 7 places for 1.5 x 6mm tritium vials, 3 in the tail button which my prototype doesn’t have, and then 4 in the tail section of the flashlight. The button here is a mechanical reverse clicky button, meaning you have to press the button all the way to turn the light on, and then half presses will change modes. The button itself takes a little more force to press and is flush with the top so it tail stands well, and should help prevent accidental activations. Tolerances here are better than the Reylight Pineapple/Lan series so there is less side-to-side play but there is still a rubber disk below so keep that in mind.
The light uses a standard “steel flame” screw spacing, so it will have a wide variety of clip compatibility. Right now I have a standard Reylight clip on it, as my prototype came without one. It’s a tad too long and hits the head section which results in a scratch on this raw anodized bead-blasted aluminum. The production light will have a redesigned clip to add some style and take care of this issue. The clip will be the attachment point for a lanyard if you wish too. In the hand it feels pretty good and the recessed area on the body gives your finger a place to index.
The light does come into 3 main pieces the tail section, body tube, and head section. There isn’t any knurling on the light but ther various aspects of the design give you something to hold on to that should be adequate for many EDC situations. This isn’t a tactical light designed for extreme or tactical conditions.
The head has a smooth bezel, a very scratch-resistant sapphire lens, TIR style Tripple optic, on top of the LED’s. The result is a pretty nice beam profile I will get into later on here.
I will grade the light as easy to modify emitter-wise, the main pill unscrews easily and gives you access driver and mcpcb should you want to dedome the LED’s or replace them with something else.
Size & Weight
My prototype is going to have a bit of difference from the production light on size and weight. I know the production light will be slightly longer, have a different clip, and battery, and be anodized. So I won’t give too many specifics here. The diameter is 24mm, the length is 74 and the light is IPX68 water rated. Normal use scenarios shouldn’t be an issue.
The Rook is using the Reylight Programabale interface from the most recent version of Reylight’s popular Pineapple, Pineapple Mini, and Lan lights. It has 4 preprogrammed modes with different brightness outputs, by default it ships in mode 2, Moon, 10, 40, and 100% output. You can toggle memory mode on or off, as well as moonlight on or off. SOS and Strobe are only available in programming mode 4. The interface is pretty easy to use once you have the light set to how you like it. When changing modes though I would recommend consulting the manual.
LED & Beam
The Rook comes with 2 LED choices, the Nichia 519a LED which is what I have here or Cree XPL Hi LED’s. Both are good choices, but for me I will be sticking to and recommending the Nichia 519a LED’s myself. As mentioned in previous reviews these are the most popular LED’s among enthusiasts in 2022 due to their highly desirable tint, ease of dedoming, high CRI, and increased output over previous similar LED’s.
On my prototype here with the Nichia 519a LED, on my Opple Meter, I measured 3848k tint, with an RA of 97. The tint was very neutral and pleasing. These should dedome nicely too if you want to push it a bit rosier. The beam here is a very even large hotspot from the TIR reflector and has a minimal spill. It’s ideal for short and medium-range EDC-style tasks. On the higher mode, it does a decent job of lighting up things up to about 100 years I would say. There is PDM here on the lower modes, but it’s fast and I dont see it with my camera or eye.
A quick note on Outputs, I didn’t get the claimed outputs on my sample. The peak output I saw was just shy of 1400 lumens in my lumen tube. I theorize this is because of a few things. #1 I am using a prototype and I know there were planned minor changes to the driver. #2 The two LED options that are being offered, Typically Cree XPL Hi LED’s will have more output than the Nichia 519a I have in my example. My runtime graphs in the next section will give you a rough idea of what’s happening.
Heat & Runtime
Here are the heat and runtime graphs. The light sustains its maximum output for around a minute before starting to step down and stays above 1000 lumens for about 2 minutes. Starting on Turbo total runtime was 72 minutes or so and the maximum temp was a very warm 75C. I then did a comparison runtime between Turbo, Hight and Medium runtimes. High runtime gains you an extra hour or so of runtime, and medium goes out to an impressive 9 hours 20 minutes.
As previously mentioned the light will be shipping with a 18350 battery that has USB-C recharging onboard. My prototype didn’t come with this battery, however, so I was unable to test this feature further. I can report the light will work with a standard flat top or button top 18350 battery. The light does have reverse polarity protection and LVP protection.
I am a fan of the Rook, it has the makings of what should be a nice, reasonably affordable EDC light in the 18350 form factor. A great LED choice here with the Nichia 519a, and Cree XPL Hi LED options for those that want a cooler tint. Combine that with a solid familiar user interface and it makes for a good all around EDC light.
It’s worth noting these are “small batch” lights from a single maker. While not a true custom, are CNC produced, they are likely assembled by just one or two people. Both Vosteed and Reylight are small companies with just a handful of employees or a single entrepreneur. That said they both have some of the best customer service I have seen in the industry.
Aluminum may turn off some people here but it really is a great material for flashlights, and among the best in terms of cost, weight, machineability, heat dissipation, and durability. That said I wouldn’t be surprised that if the Rook is a success, we see more specialty materials in the future or a 18650 body tube to increase the length and runtime. Be on the lookout for a few stretch goals the campaign has tool.
If you are interested there will be a link below that does help support the channel if you decide to back the Kickstarter. As always I’m interested in what you think of the Rook and if you will be picking up one. This is likely my last video for 2022, but I have lots more planned for early 2023, so make sure you are subscribed so you don’t miss the next one.