Skilhunt S2 Pro and S3 Pro Flashlight Review

Preface

It should be well known by this point that I am a fan of Skilhunt.  I’ve been a huge fan of the H03, and that’s just fostered a favor toward the brand.  I’ve been asking over and over to get some other Skilhunt lights from Gearbest, and finally they obliged me by sending this S2 Pro and S3 Pro.  Both are form factors I already know I like (like the Nitecore P30) but add on-board charging to the mix.  Let’s see how they fare!!


Official Specs and Features

Here are the official pages for the S2 Pro and S3 Pro USB rechargeable lights.

Versions

Each of these lights is available in a HD and HI version.  The S2 Pro box indicates there are different tint options (CW/NW), and those are all available at GearBest (5000K and 6500K in HD and HI both).  The S3 Pro is available in only HD or HI (no tint options.)

Price

S2 Pro is ~$50 street price, and the S3 Pro is around $57 street price.


Short Review

These fit in my arsenal just like the H03 did;  Replacing anything I was already using in that slot, and performing better too.

Long Review

What’s Included

The package is virtually the same:

  • S2 Pro or S3 Pro flashlight
  • Pocket clip
  • Lanyard
  • USB charging cable
  • Spare mechanical switch boot
  • Spare o-rings (2)
  • Manual

S2 Pro:
20171109-IMG_5548.jpg

S3 Pro:
20171109-IMG_5544.jpg

Package and Manual

The package is better than I remember from Skilhunt.  There’s a black sleeve around a cardboard box.  This box has a sticker describing the light specifics, but not much more.

S2 Pro:

S3 Pro:

The manuals for both of these lights are specific to the light, but still essentially the same.  The UI is the same for both, as are many other features.  The manual is English on one side, and Chinese on the other.  It’s a good-enough manual, but the text isn’t all that sharp (one too many copies upstream before production? idk).  Still completely functional.

Build Quality and Disassembly

There’s just nothing negative to say about the build quality of these two lights.  The knurling is good, the cooling fins are good, the threads are unanodized (head) and anodized (tail) and square cut on both.  There are springs on both ends of both lights, and they’re double springs, too.  The reflectors are flawless, the buttons are responsive and accurate….  The build is just great on these lights!

The S3 is the bigger light, rated for (and achieving) more throw.  These lights differ in very little, but of course throw (and emitter) is the main way they do differ.

20171109-IMG_5551.jpg

These lights are so similar that the tailcap and body may be interchanged.  The head is really the only difference.  In fact the head even has most of the same parts, too, as the UI is exactly the same on both.

The driver side of both has some interesting little bump outs on the negative contact.  I expect that these play a role in the “tactical” nature of the light, helping prevent momentary disconnects while being used on a weapon.  I don’t know this; just guessing.  I am not sure how this driver is secured.  The tailswitch is secured by a retaining ring.

Here’s the main difference in the S2 and S3.  The S2 Pro has a very easy to disassemble head, allowing for easy access to the mcpcb.  The S3 does not come apart in this way.  I believe with the right motivation (read: strong hands), the S3 would come part too, and I expect the internals would look similar.
20171109-IMG_5568.jpg

Size

S2 Pro:
Length 143.7mm/5.66inch
Head diameter 36.0mm/1.41inch
Body diameter 25.4mm/1.0inch
Weight: 125g /4.4oz(exclude battery)

S3 Pro:
Length 150.2mm/5.66inch
Head diameter 45.0mm/1.41inch
Body diameter 25.4mm/1.0inch
Weight: 125g /4.4oz(exclude battery)

(There’s a copy paste error on Skilhunt’s text, but the images on their page are correct).

S2 Pro:

S3 Pro:

They do look quite different in head size, but in hand/pocket they’re much closer than in feel than they look.

Below, with the Skilhunt H03.

20171109-IMG_5569.jpg

Retention

With each is provided a pocket clip and lanyard.  Neither has a pouch (though the bigger could probably find one useful.)

The cell tube is directional, and the pocket clip can only go on the tail end (bezel down carry).

The lanyard is attached on the tailcap, through a tiny hole in one of the flares.

Power

These are 18650 lights, though they may also be powered by two 18350 cells.  There are springs on the head and tail end, so the lights are indifferent to cell type (button/flat; protected/unprotected).

20171109-IMG_5570.jpg

Below are runtimes for these lights – two for the S2 Pro, and one for the S3 Pro.  All are cooled runtimes.  Skilhunt claims there is LVP, and the light certainly steps way down.  There’s an indicating side switch as well, which should help users be aware of cell voltage.  The lights even have a bit of a ‘batt check’ mode – when the light is initially powered on, the indicating side switch will give an idea of the remaining power, as follows:
Constant Blue: >80% Power
Flashing Blue: 80-50% Power
Constant Red: 50-20% Power
Flashing Red: <20% Power

This is displayed for 5 seconds, after the light is powered on.  I’ll note that the blue is faint, and one might have to look carefully to notice it.

During use, the indicating switch does have low voltage warning, as follows:

“When battery voltage is less than 3.3V, the low-voltage indicator flash twice every ten seconds; when the voltage drops to 3V, the low-voltage indicator flash three times every few seconds, prompts to replace the battery as soon as possible.  When the voltage below 2.8V, the flashlight may not work (flashing or shutting down).”

Runtimes (for both lights):
Runtime2.png

The output for the S3 Pro is higher, as we’d expect (it is an XHP35 after all).  And the lights have the same stepdown (timed), at a respectable 2.5 minutes (see below).  Further proof that these lights have almost the same [everything].

Neither light gets too hot to hold.

Runtime1.png

A very nice feature of these lights is the on-board charging.  These rubber covers for the micro-USB port on the head of the light fit very snug, and was easily distinguishable from the mode switch, on the other side of the head.  The light will actually charge with the mechanical switch in either position.

20171109-IMG_5563.jpg

I can’t recall testing a Skilhunt with on-board charging, so I didn’t really know what to expect.  As it turns out, these lights have excellent charge rates, staying just above 1A until the CV phase.

S2 Pro Chargetime:
S2 Pro Chargetime.png

S3 Pro Chargetime:
S3 Pro Chargetime.png

The shenanigans at the end of the S3 Pro chargetime are possibly due to my recording setup, and I wouldn’t worry too much about how… thick… that line looks.

Of course, do not charge 2×18350 in either (or any) flashlight (or charger, for that matter).

User Interface and Operation

These lights have two switches; a mechanical tail clicky:

20171109-IMG_5559.jpg

And an indicating side e-switch.

20171109-IMG_5553

Again, these are exactly the same in every regard for these components, including the UI.

There are two mode groups on these lights. “Simple tactical mode” and “Extended multi-mode.”  To switch between, turn the light on with the tail switch, then turn the light off with the side switch (hold for a couple seconds).  Once off, hold the side switch for >3s.  The main light will flash: 1 time for EMM, 3 times for STM.

You’ll note from the above that it’s possible to have the mechanical switch on, but the light off, which is a nice (?) feature.  Versatile, anyway.

The mode groups are not all that dissimilar – in fact they’re close enough that it’s pretty easy to [remember their differences/get them confused] (not sure where you’d fall here).  I’d call the primary difference to be what double clicking does.  In EMM, double clicking switches between the high and lower option of your mode (H1/H2, M1/M2 etc).  In STM, double clicking enters strobe mode.  Triple clicking in either also enters strobe mode (thus triple clicking isn’t a reliable way to check which mode group you’re in.)

The modes advance in a L>H direction in both groups.  In EMM, double clicking in any of the main 4 modes will switch between a lower/higher option for that mode.  (And it’s sensible – the higher option in Low, is still lower than the lower option in Medium, etc.)  Strobe is always a high output (and isn’t based on the mode you entered strobe from).

The operation is very straightforward.  Turn the light on using the tail clicky.  Advance the modes with the side clicky.  Hold the side clicky to turn the light off (soft, still has electrical connection), or click the tail clicky for “real” off (no electrical connection).  When the light is on, double click to change brightness (EMM), or enter strobe (STM).  Triple click to enter strobe.  Both switches have mode memory (including strobe).  EMM does remember which sub-level has been chosen.

Modes

S2 Pro HI/S3 Pro HI

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Mode Measured Lux
T1 1100/1400 3m+2.5h/3m+1.5h 16700/13000
T2 630/850 2.5h/1.5 10370/12060
H1 410/550 4.5h/3h 6560/7950
H2 220/360 9h/5h 3550/5360
M1 135/185 18h/10h 2070/3160
M2 45/90 40h/20h 885/1511
L1 5/45 260h/40h 164/775
L2 1/8 -/200h 9/244

LED and Beam

Head size and emitter are the main differences in these lights.  The S2 Pro has a Cree XP-L HI, and the S3 Pro has a Cree XHP 35 HI.  (On my sample, anyway, HD versions of both are available).  These are great choices for these lights, and I’d always opt for the HI version in a thrower like these.  (Ok a good case could be made for the HD in the S2 Pro…)

The reflectors are very smooth in both lights, and there’s a nice white centering ring around the emitter in both.  Both lights are basically thowers, with the S3 Pro outperforming the S2 Pro by a fair margin.

20171109-IMG_5557.jpg

Tint vs BLF-348

S2 Pro:
20171030-IMG_5272.jpg

S3 Pro:
20171030-IMG_5261.jpg

Beamshots, Runtime, and Lux Measurements

Skilhunt S2 Pro
Emitter Cree XP-L HI
Emitter Notes
Cell 18650.0 18350×2
Glamour Shots Beamshots [0.3″, f/8, ISO 100, 5000k]
Runtime 18650
Chargetime 18650
LVP? Yes
Claimed Lumens (lm) 1100.0
Lux (Measured) 1465.0 1415.0
At (m) 5.8 6.0
Candela (Calculated) in cd 48504.0 51161.0
Throw (Calculated) (m) 440.5 452.4
Throw (Claimed) (m) 371.0 371.0
Skilhunt S3 Pro
Emitter Cree XHP35 HI Cree XHP35 HI
Emitter Notes
Cell 18650.0 18350×2
Glamour Shots Beamshots [0.3″, f/8, ISO 100, 5000k]
Runtime 18650
Chargetime 18650
LVP? Yes
Claimed Lumens (lm) 1400.0
Lux (Measured) 1757.0 2460.0
At (m) 6.0 5.4
Candela (Calculated) in cd 63780.2 70727.6
Throw (Calculated) (m) 505.1 531.9
Throw (Claimed) (m) 521.0 521.0

Random Comparisons and Competitive Options….

My go-to in this category has long been the Nitecore P30.  Both of these lights add charging, and have a tailcap that can actually tailstand – better for my preference, but not objectively better (ie, the P30 won’t tailstand, but it’s setup is probably actually better for weapon mount).  Other comparisons might be the Convoy C8, which is much cheaper but tail switch only and no on-board charging.  As these lights are priced ($50-55 range), they’re good.  If they could be had in the 40-45 range, they’d be great.

Conclusion

What I like

  • Build quality
  • Dual switch
  • Indicating switch
  • Sub-mode options for all modes
  • Choice of HI and HD emitters in both lights.
  • On-board charging at 1A is very good.

What I don’t like

  • Price? Maybe a little high but these are still great lights.


Up Next

I’m working on some heavier stuff, but next I’ll probably have the Xtar VC2 Plus Master charger.

Notes

  • This light was provided by GearBest for review. I was not paid to write this review.
  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.wordpress.com.  Please visit there for the best experience!
  • Whether or not I have a coupon for this light, I do have a bunch of coupons!!  Have a look at my spreadsheet for those coupons.  Note I’ve upgraded that sheet so that now, you may subscribe and get notifications when the sheet is edited!!

Author: zeroair

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