Armytek Elf C2

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Armytek Elf C2 Review: Headlamp

Armytek Elf C2 specifications

Brand/modelArmytek Elf C2
LEDLH351D
Lumens1023 lm (warm) / 1100 lm (white)
Beam intensity2756 cd (105m)
Battery config.1*18650
MaterialAluminum
Modes6
BlinkiesNone
ReflectorTIR optics with honeycomb lens
WaterproofIP68 10m waterproof
Review dateSeptember 2021

Introduction:

Armytek is well known for making durable flashlights with good drivers. Their tactical lights have been around for over a decade and I’m sure they last that long too. Armytek hasn’t released many new lights in a while and unlike most other manufacturers they don’t seem to be chasing lumens that only last a few seconds. Instead, they’ve been gradually refining their series.

Armytek has a few right-angle flashlights, including the Elf, Tiara, and Wizard series lights. Marco reviewed the bigger and higher spec Wizard C2 Pro recently, which has magnetic USB charging. The Elf C2 comes with a standard micro-USB port instead. These are all multi-use lights that can be used as headlamps, bike lights, powered by USB, or as EDC lights.

Armytek has an Elf C1 and Elf C2 (this one): the C1 fits a 18350 cell and C2 fits a 18650 cell. Many of them also come in “white” and “warm” too. I picked the white version, to see how it compares to the warm C1.

The two Elves are my first Armytek lights and I was interested to see if the cheaper Elf range still met my expectations of Armytek’s almost legendary build quality.

Package quality.

Armytek supplies the Elf C2 in a printed cardboard box, which includes all the specs. In fact the box has some information that isn’t in the manual.

Included is:

  • Armytek Elf C2
  • Clip
  • Head mount
  • 18350 cell
  • 2 spare O-rings
  • Micro USB cable
  • Manual

Armytek also sells an optional bike mount and hard hat mount for the Elf C2

Flashlight in use

A few differences from the smaller C1 here, including the clip attachment, lanyard hole, and headband.

The Elf C2 is a fairly standard size for an 18650 light, though has a skinny waist.

Unlike some manufacturers, Armytek has put the e-switch on the side of the light instead of the top. This seems to work better when used as a headlight or held in the hand but can take a moment to get the right orientation when it’s in your pocket.

Unlike the C1, the steel pocket clip of the C2 attaches to either towards the head or an inch lower towards the tail and can still go on either way up. This lets the Elf C2 clip to a pocket very nicely and also makes it easier to find the switch. By itself, the Elf C2 rolls a bit on a table but with the clip, you can aim it in any direction. The clip goes on fairly easily but is a challenge to remove!

Unexpectedly, the C2 tailcap doesn’t include a lanyard attachment, even though the C1 does. The tailcap includes a magnet that easily holds the weight of the flashlight in any direction. The magnet doesn’t look easy to take out.
The headband supplied with the Elf C2 forms a single adjustable loop and also has an over-the-top band to support the extra weight. The light clips onto the band with a plastic mount, which is more sturdy than the C1 mount and also includes a thick rubber o-ring to secure the light. This should secure the light very well and make it more suitable than the C1 for things like caving. When in the clip on the headband, the light can be angled up or down easily. You can’t really use the pocket clip and headband at the same time.

Build Quality, and Warranty

There’s no knurling on the Elf but I don’t think it needs it due to its shape. It also has matte anodisation which is nice and grippy. As Marco noticed with the Wizard C2 Pro, the anodisation attracts minor scuff marks. This seems purely cosmetic and as a tool I’m not bothered about it. If you like your lights to look pristine then avoid the clip.

The tail cap takes 4 turns to unscrew, revealing lubricated anodised threads. These have a fairly tight fit. With the tail cap removed you can see that Armytek have used 2 O-rings. The only other lights I have with 2 O-rings are diving lights, so this is a welcome addition. This helps give the light its IP68 and 10m waterproof rating.

The head doesn’t detach from the body from what I can tell. This probably results in a stronger build but means that you can’t swap between a short and long tube.

The bezel doesn’t easily remove either. Armytek really doesn’t want you (or water or dirt) getting into the flashlight. Armytek states that the Elf can survive drops from 10m. 

Armytek have an impressive 10-year warranty for the light, though the batteries, chargers, switches, and connectors have a 2-year warranty.

LED, Lens, Bezel, and Reflector

This Elf C2 came with a cool white LED. Previous versions of the Elf range came with a CREE XP-L emitter but Armytek have switched to using a Samsung LH351D. This gives a few more lumens and possibly a higher CRI.

I picked the cool white version, which looks to be somewhere between 6000K and 6500K. The warm white is around 4000K.

You can’t actually see the LED, as it’s behind the honeycomb TIR. This gives a very smooth and floody beam pattern with no artifacts at all. The flood is great for a headlamp but even on turbo this definitely doesn’t throw far in to the distance.

The stainless steel bezel sits over the TIR and lens. You can see that the lens is recessed further down than in most lights, giving extra protection.

Dimensions and size comparison

  • Length: 10.86 cm / 4.27 inches
  • Head diameter: 3.02 cm / 1.18 inches at widest
  • Body diameter: 2.03 cm / 0.80 inches

Weight: 

  • Without cells: 62g / 2.2oz
  • With cells: 110g / 3.9oz

The headband adds an extra 55g / 2.0oz

Flashlight comparison

From left to right: 

  • Zebralight H53c
  • Armytek Elf C1
  • Armytek Elf C2
  • Wurkkos HD20

Driver & User Interface:

Click on, click off, hold to change modes. That’s always a good start in my opinion, though there’s a couple of things that make Armytek’s UI a bit different to what you may be used to.

From off there’s no double / triple / quad click. All that does is keep turning the light on then back off again.

When the e-switch is pressed then it lights up orange. The indicator light will also flash 3 times after you turn it on or change modes. Green when the cell is nearly full and red when empty. There’s no info in the manual about this.

Available modes: Firefly1, Firefly2, Main1 (low) , Main2 (medium), Main3 (high), Turbo

From OFF:

  • Single click: last used memory (including firefly and turbo)
  • Double click: light turns on then back off again
  • Press and hold: Firefly1, then keep cycling through modes

From ON:

  • Single click: turn off
  • Press and Hold: change modes
    • If in a main mode or turbo: Main1, Main2, Main3 then back to Main1
    • If in a firefly mode: Firefly1, FIrefly2, Main1, Main2, Main3 then back to Main1
  • Double click: turbo

From Turbo:

  • Single click: off
  • Hold: change modes (Main1)

Mode memory:

  • Yes, including firefly and turbo

Shortcuts:

  • To Low: press and hold

Low voltage warning:

  • Yes, the light will step down

Strobe/blinkies

  • None

Lock-out mode: 

  • None, though you can physically lock out with a quarter turn of the tail cap

PWM

  • None detected at all

Batteries & Charging

You get the best of both worlds with Armytek here. They supply the light with a cell but you can easily swap in your own as there’s nothing proprietary going on.

Armytek supply a 18650 cell with the Elf C2. This is an unprotected cell, rated at 3200mAh.

The Elf can take unprotected cells. It should be fine with protected cells too based on how much the spring can compress but I don’t have any to test.

The charging is done via the micro-USB port on the head. This charges at up to 0.502A and will take 5 or 6 hours to fully charge the cell. Charging stopped at a reasonable 4.19V.

I’d have liked to have seen USB-C here, as that could charge the cell in a couple of hours.

Performance

Lumen measurements (for each mode)

Lux meter: All lux and lumen measurements are from my home made integrating sphere, calibrated with a S2+ measured by Maukka. Measurements are done with a UNI-T UT383S lux meter and Adafruit TSL2591 connected to a Raspberry Pi (using RuTiTe by bmengineer). Expect them to be within +/-10%.

DMM: Current readings were taken with a Precision Gold PG10B DMM for low currents and a Mustool X1 clamp meter for high currents.

I used Armytek’s included 3200mAh cell, charged to 4.19V each time.

ModeAmps at startSpecsLumens @10minLumens @30 secLumens @ start
Firefly 11.4mA0.1100
Firefly 26.1mA211
Main 162mA403737
Main 20.24220189190190
Main 30.71500411422424
Turbo2.64A110053810501083

Parasitic drain:

  • Less than 1µA (this is so low that I checked it a few times to make sure)

Runtime graph

The cool white C2 almost hit 1100 lumens at turn on and didn’t drop much in the first few seconds, staying around 1000 lumens for a good 4 minutes. Around the 4 minute mark the flashlight started dropping faster, down to around 500 lumens. The 18650 cell sustains 500 lumens for just over 2 hours before the low voltage protection kicks in and it drops to low, then firefly. As expected, this is slightly higher output than the 18350 C1 and around 3 times the runtime.

On high (sorry, Main3) the light starts off just over 400 lumens, which it maintains for 3 hours 40 minutes. This is one of the straightest lines on a runtime chart that I’ve seen, pointing to the fully regulated driver being very good.

The Medium (Main2) line on the graph tells a similar story, starting at 190 lm and only dropping down 4 lumens over 9 hours!

I didn’t test the lower modes but based on the current draw you can see that Main1 will last well over 24 hours. The 2 firefly modes are even more impressive: Armytek states them lasting 26 days and 200 days!

Throw numbers: 

Throw was measured indoors at 5m with a UNI-T UT383S lux meter.

ModeSpecsCandela measured MetersYards
Main185 cd1820
Main2595 cd4953
Main31381 cd7481
Turbo105m3230 cd114 m124

Beamshots

Photos were taken with a Pixel 3a, set to 1/3s shutter speed and ISO 1600, F1.8. White balance was locked on cool white.

Distance to the bench is 6m, the tree on the right is 13m, the tree on the centre right is 18m and the building behind it is 69m.

  • Armytek Elf C1
  • Armytek Elf C2
  • Wurkkos HD20
  • Zebralight H53 (modded with 219B)

Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to me for review at no cost by Armytek. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.

Final Verdict

Pros

  1. Solid as a rock, including the head strap
  2. Firefly mode that lasts almost a year!
  3. Comes with everything you need: cell, headstrap, clip and built in charging
  4. Even, floody beam
  5. Simple UI

Cons

  1. Micro-USB instead of USB-C charging

Explanation on star ratings:

1: Avoid: my phone flashlight would be a better choice – 2: Poor: significant defect or issues, much better options available at the same price – 3: Average: some defects or issues – 4: Good: recommended (minor issues) – 5: Great: highly recommended

Reviewer Dave
Author: Dave

4.5 stars: ★★★★⋆

The Armytek C2 is a great light, just like its baby brother the Elf C1. Both lights definitely have their benefits: you either get a lighter weight flashlight with the C1 or around 3 times the run time with the C2.

I mentioned the Micro-USB charging being a small issue with the 18350 cell in the C1 but it’s a bit more of an inconvenience with the C2 as the slow current takes 3 times as long to charge. USB-C could be 2 or 3 times faster. It’s far from the end of the world though, as most cells should work fine with the C2, so it’s easy to swap in a spare.

With the more substantial headband than the C1, the light feels like it could be used by professional cavers or other more extreme activities. That, combined with the extra run time makes the C2 feel like a more serious flashlight than the C1.

I’d have a tough time if I had to pick between the C1 and C2. In the end, I’d probably pick both – 2 is better than 1, right? The only thing I can easily decide between is warm white over cool white.

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1lumen selects and reviews products personally. We may earn affiliate commissions through our links, which help support our testing.