Solarforce L2M mini review:
Table of content
Do you like to keep things to a minimum?
I’m not talking about less usefulness, I’m talking about fewer flashlights.
Then the Solarforce L2M should be on your research list. This is still a nice flashlight although many people think the system it is built upon has become obsolete.
But I’d like to share my ideas and experience with Solarforce flashlights that use P60 drop-ins, in order to help you reconsider getting one of these toys.
Let’s dive into a quick and dirty review.
Handling of the light
This is my 3rd or 4th Solarforce flashlight. The very first one I still have around, which is the L2i.. which has been out of production for a very long time, probably since 2013?
The Solarforce flashlights are made of very decent quality. And are still an excellent choice in my opinion. The L2m I own has a few special things to it, a shiny stainless steel bezel and a special tailcap. You can mix and match the different parts of the light…. more on that later.
The L2m with the shortest body tube holds nicely in 1 hand and is comfortable to hold.
- Yes, no problem even with the tailcap I am using.
Build Quality and Anodizing
Anodization is the coating of a flashlight. The quality of anodization of Solarforce is nothing to complain about. Not sure how much worse or better it is from other brands, but I feel like they are a little more sensitive and easy to get damaged. The L2m came in good condition though.
The build quality is good. The pictures don’t show the extended battery tube in order to use 18650 batteries, but you can see in the pictures that the L2M is not bad at all. Nothing is glued or whatnot.
Since I own the L2m for a few years (and almost never used it) I don’t remember if the threads came lubed, but it’s easy to do it yourself. The threads towards the tailcap are unanodized. This makes the threads a bit grittier than most other flashlights these days who have mostly anodized threads.
LED, Lens Bezel and Reflector
This is the coolest part of the Solarforce family.
You can LEGO them, so you can exchange parts from one model to the other. You can get all kinds of accessories, like different bezels, a different head, different reflectors, different LED, different tailcaps, a forward clicky switch, a reverse clicky switch, carry clips etc.
You can make the light look as cool as you want. My L2M has a different bezel ring (L2-B6), and a different tailcap (L2-S12). That is what is so interesting about the Solarforce family. Besides the L2M, you can change heads with the L2P , L2T etc. You can get some very cool-looking creations, like a shorty body with a large head etc…
In the pictures below you can see the original bezel, and the stainless steel one. The P60 dropin I use has not so much power though, but enough for most purposes, especially indoors. The reflector is slightly OP (orange peel). But you can get ANY type you want, OP, LOP, Smooth etc. Anything you wish.
Dimensions and weight:
- Length: 104 mm
- Diameter head: 32 mm
This means that it’s not a very small flashlight like some of the EDC’s that use 18350 batteries. But it’s a nice one to have anyhow. Just as I said above, you can change the dropin with a double extender so you can use 2*18650 for example. So it’s definitely not the smallest one out there that runs off 18350 batteries. And compared to some 18650 type lights, it’s quite bulky.
Again, this is one of the things you can completely control. Some of the more flashaholic style sellers (unlike the big online Chinese stores) let you choose the User Interface. And you can even flash the drivers yourself and have the exact User Interface you want!
That is what I have done with this L2M and my L2i. I don’t flash my drivers anymore, but these have a simple 4 mode setting, ultra-low, low, medium, and high. And no memory, so they always start on low.. extremely useful in the kids’ bedrooms.
- Yes and No.. It depends on the driver that the P60 has installed. You can flash it yourself in order to use it with Momentary On, but you also need a Forward Clicky then to make it easier.
- Yes and No.. This depends on the P60 dropin. My L2i doesnt have mode memory because it is used in my kids bedroom so it will always start in ultralow, in order not to wake them up. And if left unattended you’ll have a much smaller chance for burning down your house because of the minimal heat it produces. 🙂
- This is not necessary, because it has a mechanical switch that draws no energy!
- Depends on the driver that was provided with the Dropin!
This is probably the reason why these types of lights are not popular anymore.
Ever since we learned that you can get better use of copper MCPCB’s (led boards) flashlight have been getting brighter and brighter, and 1 of the negative things of a P60 flashlight, is that the heat transfer is not optimal between the P60 drop in and the body.
This results in a drop in output quite quickly because the heat built up lowers the output of the LED. Other flashlights don’t have this as much and have a much better heat transfer.
TRICK: you can use aluminum or copper tape to put around the reflector and have better heat transfer.
More expensive and top-notch P60 dropins have a good chunk of copper as their base/pill so they can transfer heat much better, away from the LED.
Don’t expect anything extraordinary here. It depends on the Led that is being used, the reflector and the type of head. The original head doesn’t allow a wide reflector so you can’t do anything about it, unless you buy an M3 head. Unfortunately, the M3 heads are not available anymore!
Overall conclusion of the Solarforce L2M
- You can use any LED you want
- Easy upgradeable to a better or newer LED
- You can choose the UI
- Cheap flashlight host
- Cheap upgrades
- Many kinds of accessories
- You can have your flashlight look as cool as you want
- You can have spare P60 bulbs that you can drop in the light within 15 seconds (unscrew the head and drop it in)
- You can have multiple kinds of dropins, like UV, Red LED, Blue LED, Infra Red, Cool White, Neutral White etc.. and have only 1 body.
- Heat transfer isn’t that great
- They aren’t the brightest flashlights
- Solarforce parts are getting more difficult to get
- No new Solarforce P60 models are being produced anymore
Rating: 5 stars: Excellent ☆☆☆☆☆
You can have what you want. Easy upgradeable and that for a very good price. You want a newer LED, just get a new drop-in. It’s also not so difficult to change the driver by yourself, or the LED if you want to learn how to solder. If you aren’t info soldering, just get a new P60 for 10-20 USD, and you can still use your favorite body and parts without having to buy another flashlight.