I also think the S2+ is a good choice, but it doesn't have USB-C charging, which would be a bit more beginner friendly. I have the Sofirn S11C (zoomie), which is cheap ($10-$15 depending on what discount Sofirn is offering at the time you buy it, including an 18650 battery). It's zoomable, USB-C chargeable, and has a high-CRI spectrum (LH351D), although it's neutral white (5000K). It's light, and compact, but it feels cheaper than the S2+, maybe because it's so light. It doesn't zoom so tight that it makes a great thrower, but it's not too bad. At that price, including a battery and built-in charging, I'd say it's hard to beat. But since your friend's budget is higher, you might go up to a Sofirn SC31 Pro (or SC31T), which is available in cool white, is a pretty good hybrid throw/flood type beam similar to the S2+, and is USB-C chargeable. It's closer to the $30 end of the budget, but unlike the S11C, Sofirn offers it with shipping from the US, if that matters. If you want the best tradeoff between cheap and good under $30, it's likely to be Convoy or Sofirn.
I’ve given the Convoy S9 in the past to friends and family.
The internal charging means they never have to remove the battery. It’s a good size, has temp regulation, LV protection, and you can get high lumens (XM-L2) or high CRI (219B) versions. The ramping firmware is also somewhat basic and easy to learn. I just print the instructions and put it in the box in case they need it later.
It seems like a safe flashlight to give away as a gift and has the usual Convoy high quality.
"**ATTN: He would like a USA seller and something with changeable batteries***"
Sofirn (https://sofirnlight.com) ships some items from the US, but I'm not sure if that qualifies as a USA seller? Sofirn sells on Amazon as well (https://www.amazon.com/stores/page/993CBC25-2A09-4C75-8EE4-072BBF4C221D), but you'll pay a bit more.
Convoy is also a third party seller on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/s?me=A1Y1CNUWR8NKE2), but it's slow shipping from China instead of Prime shipping from your local Amazon warehouse. However, the S2+ (https://www.amazon.com/LITNIT-S2-Temperature-Protection-GraySST40/dp/B0977857RJ) and S21A (https://www.amazon.com/LITNIT-Temperature-Protection-Flashlight-S21A-GRAY-SST40/dp/B09776X7BL) are under $30 there. I have both, and recommend them. But they don't come with a battery or charger.
Another recommendation is the Wurkkos FC11 (https://www.amazon.com/Wurkkos-Flashlight-1300Lumen-Waterproof-Activities/dp/B08JCM95X6), currently on sale for $26.39 on Amazon, but only comes in warm white colors. For $33, they have the neutral white 5000K version.
The SC31 Pro I recommended above is currently $31.44 (https://www.amazon.com/Flashlight-Rechargeable-Powerful-Camping-Fishing/dp/B09SZ37FX6), which appears to be the lowest priced 18650 flashlight Sofirn sells on Amazon right now. I think the Wurkkos FC11 is solid, though, if you want to be strict about keeping it under $30, it just doesn't have cool white. Also, check out some beam shots, because it's not really much of a thrower.
Most budget 18650/21700 flashlights will have interchangeable batteries, so that's no problem for anything that's been recommended so far. But buying spare 18650 batteries gets into a whole 'nother discussion...
Any particular reason?
Personal preference shouldn’t roll over to others. If someone simply wants “light” from a torch, and they aren’t all hung up on high CRI - or even know about tints / bins etc - why not recommend cool white? In fact you may not literally be “recommending” it at all, as the perfect device may only come in cool white. I believe if a person asks for recommendations and know all about tints, then they actually know a lot more than they are letting on. Most people don’t even notice or care about tint, they just want light.
So right. I have something like 100 plus lights. Most were purchased based just on lumens. Which, of course, means 6000 plus K. They are all perfectly fine for doing what most people do with a light, meaning light things up in the dark. In addition, they are the most efficient at doing it.
There are situations where lower CCT and tint perfection, as well as high CRI and RA are very important. But for a person getting a first decent light needing to make the dark light, it simply should not be the determining factor. Most of us have gotten to be CCT/CRI/tint snobs have done it over time and with lots of experience. That doesn’t mean that a first light should be discarded from consideration just because it does not meet our “connoisseur” expectations.
In fact, probably most new users will be more impressed and quite happy with a high CCT light, than something that makes some of us perfectionists happy.
In response to the OP, your friend would likely be quite happy with any of the recommendations above in neutral to cool white.
I picked up a Csteboke (Sofirn) SC31T SE for a good price from Amazon (shipped from USA) with an 18650 battery and cable. LH351d sort of neutral white. I gave one to my neighbors in their 80s. Added a cheap wall wart for charging (I have dozens of them). They love it. Not a huge thrower, but a great beam for walking or around the house. I think it was under ~$25.
Because they don’t care to complain, based on what I said in my post. Those of us who are knowledgeable about these particular things may “complain”, but 99.9999% of the population just don’t care or know about tints to know then can complain. I’m my 41 years, I’ve never met another person in to torches, and no one I know has ever turned one on and gone “damn, this tint is horrid” - because they just want light. We are not the average layperson… They are when it comes to lights.