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Sofirn SC02 review
Sofirn SC02 specs
|Brand & Model||Sofirn SC02|
|Max. output||320 lumens|
|Max. beam distance||(not claimed) meters|
|Max. beam intensity||1633.8 cd|
|Battery config.||Internal Li-Po 3.7v|
|Blinkies||Coloured LED blinkies|
|Review publication date||June 2023|
The Sofirn SC02 is a new breed of flashlight, being made from plastic with an integrated battery and on-board charging.
It is very compact and lightweight, but does it deserve to be included in your flashlight collection? Hopefully we will be able to explore the features and performance of the SC02 and make this determination.
The SC02 comes in the nice cardboard presentation style package from Sofirn. Clearly stating the model, LED and Kelvin rating.
Included with the SC02:
- USB-C charging cable
- Pocket clip
- Lanyard wrist strap
- Instruction pamphlet
Flashlight in use
The SC02 is compact and lightweight, with pretty decent runtimes and performance. You could use it as a general purpose light or an EDC flashlight.
As it has an electronic switch and continual drain it probably doesn’t make for a very good backup or emergency light, as if left for too long, it may well be flat when you come to use it.
The SC02 also contains several flashing modes, not the usual SOS and strobe. These are completely absent from the light. Instead there are 6 additional LEDs on the PCB that shine through the body of the light. There are four red LEDs and two blue ones. I really wish torch makers would stop adding such useless features and hardware to their products. A red light might be handy to preserve night vision, but in the case of the SC02 it is a flashing light, you can have several flashing modes using just red or both colours. They serve no purpose whatsoever that I can see and flashing blue and red is more likely to land you in trouble trying to impersonate the Police than any practical purpose I can think of.
Being as small and lightweight as it is, it might be good for children. Although I personally would have reservations about giving LiPo equipped items to children.
Build Quality and Warranty
On face value the SC02 looks to be sturdy and well made. The switch has a positive click and the USB cover is easy to open and close.
A few gripes, the pocket clip, while looking like it should be excellent, is far too stiffly sprung. Once attached to the SC02 I cannot lift the clip to secure it to anything, other than stiff thin card or thin sheet metal. It is way too stiff to clip to my jeans or shirt pocket.
The plastic body also feels a bit cheap compared to an aluminium flashlight. It is smooth, but sort of has that unpleasant feel that makes you want to recoil from holding it. Some stippling or texture on the body would probably have helped here.
Ultimately this review has not been a destructive one, but I do wonder just how robust the plastic body really is, should say the light get dropped, trodden on or otherwise crushed by items in a box or bag.
LED, Lens, Bezel, Beam, and Reflector
The SC02 has a silver bezel, which looks like it might be aluminium. It is glued or otherwise sealed to the body of the SC02 and is not user removable. The SC02 comes equipped with what appears to be a stepped TIR optic, looking somewhat like a small Fresnel lens.
As a rule I normally like such lenses, but the beam is not overly well balanced with a middling sized hotspot and dull corona spill around it. There are also noticeable rings in the beam and the beam changes colour from centre to outer edge.
Given the size and small battery the SC02 actually performs quite well in terms of output and runtime. Sofirn claims that this is a High CRI (and even CIR in a typo in the instruction manual) LED. But to my eyes it really isn’t a very pleasant beam.
Dimensions and its competition
Dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter, and to the nearest tenth of an Inch.
|Weight in grams||Weight in Oz|
Weight is rounded to the nearest gram, and to the nearest tenth of an Oz.
Flashlight size comparison with its competition:
Group 1: Convoy T3 (AA/14500), Sofirn SC02 (integrated LiPo), Astrolux A01 (AAA), Trustfire BLF Mini (16340)
Group 2: Sofirn 21700 battery, Sofirn SC02
Sofirn SC02 UI: User Interface and Driver
- 3 (L-M-H)
Available blinky modes:
- Red/Blue disco mode
- Press and hold: Turn on in last used mode
- Single click: Battery meter
- Double click: Lock
- Press and hold: Off
- 1 click: Advance modes
- Double click: Enter red/blue flashing mode
- To Low: No
- To Turbo: No
- To Strobe: No
Low voltage warning:
- Battery meter LED should flash and light should shut off
- Only Red/Blue LEDs in a dazzling flashing mode
- Yes, double click when off
- None that I could detect
Additional/summary info on the UI:
- It’s ok, although I’d prefer click and hold to scroll through the outputs.
Sofirn SC02 Charging and batteries
The SC02 uses a small LiPo (Lithium-polymer) battery, the type you might find in an Ultra Micro Radio Controlled airplane or helicopter.
LiPo batteries usually offer high performance, non round shapes, but sometimes limited charging cycles. In the case of the SC02, this kind of battery has allowed for a very small light to be created.
The SC02 has integrated charging via a supplied USB-C cable, the SC02 takes approx 1 hour to charge from flat. It has a red flashing LED by the switch to indicate charging, which turns solid green when fully charged.
This same LED is used as a battery meter also. With the light off, press the power button once.
- Green means 70%= charge
- Red 30-70%
- Flashing red below 30% charge
As the battery is sealed within the SC02, it is non-removable or replaceable. I have quite a lot of experience with small 1C LiPo batteries in many RC models. In all cases I have found such batteries to have a somewhat limited shelf life. They all fail, often swelling at first and have even had one catch fire. I question how suitable such a battery as a LiPo is for longer term use in a flashlight?
I think you have to go in, knowing that it is essentially a disposable light that you will one day (possibly sooner rather than later) end up throwing away due to the battery.
Lumen measurementsHow Lumens are Measured: Understanding ANSI FL1 Standards How Lumens are Measured: Understanding ANSI FL1 Standards: The ANSI FL1 standards specify that output in lumens should be measured 30 seconds after turning on, as this is the standardized time for measuring brightness according to the industry standard. This is why we focus on this part in our measurements.
Lumen measurements (for each mode)
|Mode||Amps at start||Specs||Lumens @turn on||Lumens @30 sec||Lumens @10 minutes|
- 35µA (claimed)
Sofirn SC02 Battery Life: Runtime graphsHow Runtimes are Measured: Understanding ANSI FL1 Standards About ANSI FL1 runtime standards: The runtime is measured until the light drops to 10% of its initial output (30 seconds after turning on). This does not mean that the flashlight is not usable anymore. The last column shows how long the light actually works till it shuts off. If there is a + symbol, it means that the test was stopped at that particular point, but the light was actually still running. This happens on certain occasions, with certain drivers, firmware, or batteries.
*The SC02 seemed to not shut off but dropped to single lumen figures. I terminated the test after a period at this output.
|Mode||Specified runtime||Measured runtime ANSI||Time till shut off|
|Low||7h||7h 35min||8h 32min|
|Med||2h||1h 38min||*1h 55min+|
|High||1h||1h 7 min||*1h 20min+|
Peak beam intensity and beam distance measurementsAbout Peak beam intensity: Understanding ANSI FL1 Standards About peak beam intensity The calculated value of distance in meters at which the flashlight produces a light intensity of 0.25 lux. (0.25 lux is about the brightness of a full moon shining on an object). This means that the intensity has decreased so much, it becomes difficult to see darker objects, or objects that don’t reflect light. The columns ‘Meters’ and ‘Yards’ use rounded numbers.
Camera settings and distance:
Canon EOS 200D – Canon 18-55mm EFS IS – 2”/F6.3/ISO 400/WB 5200k “Daylight”
Beamshots of the following flashlights compared:
- Convoy T3 Nichia 519A (14500)
- Convoy T3 Nichia 519A (AA)
- Thrunite T10T XM-L2 (AA)
- EagleTac D25A Ti XPL-HI (14500)
Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to me for review at no cost by Sofirn. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.
- Small & lightweight
- USB charging
- Red & blue LEDs
- Poor beam
- Pocket clip
- LiPo battery
Explanation on star ratings:
1: Avoid: a match would be a better choice – 2: Poor: significant defect or issues; almost unusable – 3: Average: some defects or issues; but still usable 4: Good: recommended (minor issues) – 5: Great: highly recommended
2.5 stars: ★★⋆
While our star rating provides a reliable indicator, we encourage you to read the full review to make an informed decision based on your own needs and preferences.
The SC02 appears to be a very average light, its design brings with it some ideas that appear to be good, but also quite a lot of things that really dampen this view. While I’m not one to harp on about saving the planet, I’m not sure a plastic throw away light is where I’d put my money, especially when it doesn’t have a very nice beam and you know you have been charged extra for the red & blue LEDs you neither want or have a use for.