Another Sofirn for review!  This time it’s a small AA/14500 version, with a mechanical tail switch.  Thanks to Sofirn for sending this light for review.


Official Specs and Features

Versions

This is the new version (v2.0).  So there’s an original version, and this one.  Among the 2.0 edition, there are two possibilities.  One is with charger and cell, and one is without.  Here’s what Sofirn says about the upgrade to v2.0:  “NOTE: We upgraded SF14 with better anodized shell, more reasonable construction, and more stable performance. It’s a better mini flashlight you deserve!”

Price

This light is currently $19.99 on amazon.  I have a 35% off code for this light on amazon! The code is YL87LKX4.


Short Review

This is a nice little light, and I appreciate that it supports Li-Ion and other chemistries.  It has a simple UI, and I appreciate that!

Long Review

The Big Table

Sofirn SF14 V2.0
Emitter: Cree XP-G2 (5350-5700K)
Price in USD at publication time: $19.99
Cell: 1xAA
Turbo Runtime
LVP? No
Switch Type: Mechanical
On-Board Charging? No
Claimed Lumens (lm) 230
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 160 (69.6% of claim)*
Claimed Throw (m)
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 90lux @ 3.873m = 1350cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 73.5
All my Sofirn reviews!

 

Sofirn SF14 V2.0
Emitter: Cree XP-G2 (5350-5700K)
Price in USD at publication time: $19.99
Cell: 1×14500
Turbo Runtime
LVP? No
Switch Type: Mechanical
On-Board Charging? No
Claimed Lumens (lm) 550
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 520 (94.5% of claim)*
Claimed Throw (m) 112
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 232lux @ 4.191m = 4075cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 127.7 (114% of claim)*
All my Sofirn reviews!
  • Standard measurement disclaimer: I am an amateur flashlight reviewer. I don’t have $10,000 or even $1,000 worth of testing equipment. I test output and such in PVC tubes!! Please consider claims within 10% of what I measure to be perfectly reasonable (accurate, even).

What’s Included

  • Sofirn SF14 v2.0 Flashlight
  • Sofirn 900mAh 14500 li-ion cell
  • Sofirn Li-ion charger
  • Charge cable
  • Lanyard
  • Spare o-rings (2)
  • Key hook
  • Manual and paperwork

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Package and Manual

This light ships in the usual Sofirn package, where the only light-specific part is the amazon inventory sticker.  Unfortunately for a while Amazon had their stock wrong, and as you can see below, the sticker is wrong.  I’ve had this review ready for a while waiting for the go-ahead from Sofirn, to confirm that Amazon’s inventory is fixed.  It is fixed, and now if you order this light, you’ll get the correct light.

The manual is again, typical Sofirn.  It’s complete, and has a nice diagram of the light.

manual.png

Build Quality and Disassembly

This is a good quality light.  It feels solid in hand.

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The clip, like many of Sofirn’s clips, isn’t my favorite.  That said, it’s a step above the stamped out, thin steel clips on some of their other lights.

The head and tail come off the cell tube easily.  The tail switch is held together by an aluminum retaining ring.  On the tail there is a medium thickness, medium springy spring.  On the head there is only a brass contact button.

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The threads are square cut, and anodized, which makes locking the light out physically as easy as a 1/8th turn on the head or tail.

Size

Officially: Weight of flashlight: 39 g.  Size: 96mm (length)× 19mm (diameter) × 20mm (head).  It’s a pretty good size for an AA light.

But it’s by no means the smallest AA light available.  Below, see it with the Lumintop Tool (AA version).  The Sofirn is thicker, and slightly longer too.

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zeroair_sofirn_sf14_v2-15.jpg

Retention

There’s a pocket clip included.  The clip is not technically reversible for bezel up or down carry, but the cell tube is.  So in effect, the clip is actually reversible.  The clip is passable, but not nearly deep enough.

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A lanyard is included, too.  It can connect through two holes on either side of the tail cap, or possibly through the pocket clip as well.

Power

The SF14 v2.0 is powered by AA sized cells.  The driver supports both low and higher voltage cells.  Alkaline, Lithium, NiMH, and also Li-ion cells work just fine.  Though the head has only a brass button, the flattest 14500 cell I have on hand still worked fine.  Sofirn includes a 14500 cell with this light!

zeroair_sofirn_sf14_v2-16.jpg

Here’s a runtime on High with the included 14500 cell.  There’s a heavy step down after a shor time (just around 2 minutes), and the output is fairly stable at that level.  The light will reset to the highest output level, but this seems to track with cell voltage and never regains the highest, initial output.

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The runtime with a NiMH cell is very different.  Output is greatly reduced, but the stepdown still occurs.  The light may be reset to the highest output, with little change throughout the runtime.

zeroair_sofirn_sf14_v2-28.png

In both runtimes, the light did not exhibit LVP.  However on the bench power supply, there does seem to be LVP which kicks in around 2.6V, which is safe for a cell (generally speaking).

Sofirn also includes a charger (if you purchase the package with a charger.)  I’ve tested this charger before in my C8F review.  It’s a fine charger, but not meant for NiMH (which is fine, since NiMH isn’t included.)

User Interface and Operation

There’s just one switch on the SF14, a mechanical tail reverse clicky.

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It’s a fine clicky.  In fact, it seems to have addressed a problem I had with a previous Sofirn reverse clicky, in that there was some weird pause after clicking and before the action.  This light does not have that.  It works exactly like it should.

Here’s a UI table!

State Action Result
Off Click Low
On Half click Mode advance (L>H direction)
On Click Off

And that’s it….  It’s a very simple UI.

Modes

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Measured Lumens Tailcap Amps
14500 High 550 1h 6m 520 0.95
14500 Medium 100 5h 34m 112 0.19
14500 Low 5 75h
AA (NiMH) High 180 56m 165 1.50
AA (NiMH) Medium 50 9h 35m 50 0.20
AA (NiMH) Low 5 71h

LED and Beam

The emitter of choice is a Cree XP-G2.  The reflector is smooth.

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This results in a beam with a distinct hotspot (with sharpish edges), and a good bit of spill.

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First are beamshots with a NiMH cell.

Next are beamshots with the supplied 14500 Li-ion cell.  The light is noticeably brighter with the 14500!

Tint vs BLF-348

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Random Comparisons and Competitive Options….

Here’s a relevantly filtered page on parametrek.com. There aren’t all that many competitors, but what’s available are made by the likes of Fenix, Sunwayman, and JETBeam.  All good brands!  I think the XP-G2 emitter is a bit dated, so it’s likely much of the competition has moved on to newer emitters, like the XP-L HD.  The other brands are, on the whole, more expensive than the Sofirn.

Conclusion

What I like

  • Good build quality
  • Multi-chemistry support!
  • Simple UI with no strobe messiness
  • Full package includes 14500 cell and charger

What I don’t like

  • I don’t care for the emitter choice here, but it’s not strictly bad.
  • Stepdowns are quite heavy.

Notes

  • This light was provided by Sofirn for review. I was not paid to write this review.
  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.org.  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. It’s possible to subscribe and get notifications when the sheet is edited!!

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