Astrolux S43 Flashlight Review

I’ve reviewed many iterations of this light.  I did the S42 not that long ago.  And one of my very first reviews was of the Manker E14 (which I later sold, and hugely regretted selling).

This is yet another update on that platform, with 219c emitters, and some other improvements.  Read on for more!


Official Specs and Features

Versions

There are two versions of the S43.  There’s a Nichia 219c version (seen here) and a Cree XP-G3 version.  There’s also a S43s version, which adds a big copper middle part for heat transfer.  It’s also available with both emitter options.  Both lights include a 18650 and 18350 cell tube.

Price and Coupon

This one’s going for $38.95 on Banggood right now, and there is a discount for it now, $29, code:  9f1297.  The S43S copper head version is only a dollar more than the regular priced S43, at $39.95.


Short Review

This is a great step for the S4x platform.  It’s much better than the S42, which suffered from a terrible charge port cover, among other things.  I like this light quite a bit, and find it to be well built and reasonably priced!

Long Review

The Big Table

Astrolux S43
Emitter: Nichia 219CT (5000K)
Price in USD at publication time: $38.95
Cell: 18650
Turbo Runtime High Runtime
LVP? Yes
Switch Type: Mechanical
On-Board Charging? Yes
Chargetime
Power off Charge Port with no Cell? 3 modes
Claimed Lumens (lm) 2100
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 1900 (90.5% of claim)*
Claimed Throw (m) 184
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 436lux @ 4.341m = 8216cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 181.3 (98.5% of claim)*
All my Astrolux 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

  • Astrolux S43 (18650 and 18350 cell tube both)
  • Lanyard
  • Spare o-rings (2)
  • Pocket clip
  • Manual
  • Glass breaker point for tailcap

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Package and Manual

Typical Astrolux package, with a slip fit box, and edge relief for grabbing and opening.

The manual does it job well, and is a nice looking manual to boot.

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Banggood includes two manuals on their site.  I’ll link them directly:

Click Here To Get: User Manual 1
Click Here To Get: User Manual 2 (Detailed Explanation Of The Manual)

Build Quality and Disassembly

The build quality here is again, typical Astrolux.  I like their build quality particularly at the price point of $29.

Here’s the 18350 sized edition.

And here’s the 18650 sized version.

Again, both cell tubes come with the purchase.  The head and tail just swap between the two.

There’s not much knurling on the light overall, and what there is, is needed.  The tailcap has these three little soul patches of knurling.  I would like more.  It’s just enough for gripping, particularly when the pocket clip is installed for bezel down carry.

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The tailcap still includes the removable glass breaker.

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This thing is fully removable.

Here are the 3 main parts.  Head, tail, and 2 cell tubes.  The cell tubes are directional, and have anodized, well lubed threads, which allow mechanical lockout.

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If you can tell a difference in the direction of the cell tube….. It’s directional!  So if you’re having trouble with your light, check the cell tube direction!

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The tailcap has a big thick beefy double sprung spring, and the head has only a contact patch.

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Seriously, beefy spring in there!

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The bezel that holds the rubber boot over the switch unscrews easily.  I don’t know why you’d want to do that, but anyway; easy to remove.  (A spare boot is not included.)

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The bezel unscrews easily, too.

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Size and Comps

Officially: 88.7mmx 27mm (Length x Diameter) for the 18350 version, and 122mm in length for the 18650 version.

It’s longer than the Convoy S2+ in the 18650 format, and much shorter in the 18350.

With the bigger head than the Convoy S2+, there’s more room for the fourth emitter of this quad.

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The 18350 is bigger than the S41.  (These lights differ in that one’s a mechanical tail switch light (S41), and the S43 has a side e-switch).

Retention and Carry

Aside from having the option of a strike point, the screw hole in the tailcap fits a normal tripod mount.  There’s also a screw in adapter for smaller tripod mount, too.  That’s a nice touch!

The included pocket clip may attach on either end of the 18650 tube, but only one end of the 18350 tube.  The clip is just like some Manker lights I’ve had, and is very beefy.  It has finished edges, unlike some very high end lights, or even some clip makers like Steel Flame.

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The pocket clip works better on the 18650 version, in opinion.

And finally, the lanyard attachment point is on the tailcap, through a small hole.  The pocket clip doesn’t support the lanyard at all.

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Power and Runtime

A single lithium ion cell is used to power the S43.  Depending on which tube you have connected, that’s either an 18350 or 18650.  Any type cell will work – button top/flat top, and protected/unprotected.  I’ve tested the light in the 18650 setup, but performance should be the same (only shorter) with a high quality 18350 cell.

Here’s turbo.  Turbo doesn’t last long, and steps down hard. I flicked the light back up to turbo almost immediately, and the output was the same but duration was shorter.  Later in the run, with a depleted cell, a turbo reset saw the output only reach around 800 lumens, and then the output stepped down but not quite as hard.  Likely due to thermal reasons.  The light does have LVP, and my test saw the light shut off at 2.96V.

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High (that is, in stepped mode, the second highest output also steps down hard with the temperature increase, but at least it holds for a little while, and also on reset, lasts longer.  The step down is again, very heavy.

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The S43 also has a charge port in the head, allowing micro-USB charging.  The flap that covers the port is reasonably good, and not too hard to open.

Charging looks good, at around 0.7A, which is good for both sized cells that can fit in this light.

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On bench power, the main output blinks at 2.9V, then the light shuts off around 2.8V.

User Interface and Operation

There’s a single indicating side e-switch on the S43.  It’s a responsive and clicky button.  The S43 has NarsilM which makes this a ramping UI.  Ramping is all the rage, and I do like ramping just fine.  The Narsil version of ramping is good, too.  (Narsil also has a stepped option, which is what I generally opt for, at least for testing purposes).

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There are two groups.  One group has ramping, one group has discrete modes.  It’s possible to switch between ramping and discrete easily.  The default is ramping, and to switch to modes, firs turn the light on, then hold the switch for 3.2s.  It’ll blink twice, pause, and blink once.  At that point, click once.  This disables ramping.  Once this is done, put the light down so you don’t change other settings (which is very easy to do.)  There are other things you could do to expedite termination of programming, but just skip it, and wait.

Narsil is wonderful firmware.  It’s extremely versatile, and possible to change many (most? all?) of the settings about the light.  I still don’t think it’s suited for a table, so I’ll leave the UI at the flow chart above, for now.

Again, here are the two manuals.  They’re worth reading, since there are some differences from “normal” Narsil.

Click Here To Get: User Manua 1
Click Here To Get: User Manual 2 (Detailed Explanation Of The Manual)

Interestingly the S43 seems to always have a Moon mode activated.  So selecting a discrete mode group set can be confusing, since, when picking 5 modes, you get 6 (since moon is always added).  It’s a little confusing.

The switch does have some indicating functions, too.

Modes and Currents

I tested the discreet modes, which aren’t all that defined in the product literature.  I include this just so you can get some idea of the amperage drawn across the range of outputs.  I did not test Turbo over 5A.

Mode Tailcap Amps
5 5+
4 1.96
3 0.27
2
1

LED and Beam

The emitters in the copy I have are Nichia 219c, in 5000K tint, and there are four of them (ie, a “quad”).  I like these, and generally the tint is very good.  The TIR optic is clear.

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Tint vs BLF-348 (Killzone 219b version)

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Random Comparisons and Competitive Options….

Here’s a relevantly filtered page on parametrek.com.

What I’d consider the nearest direct comparison is the Acebeam EC65, which I reviewed just the other day.  I actually love that light, but it’s around 4x the cost of this Astrolux.  The difference in build quality certainly makes the EC65 more reasonable, but I’m not sure the build quality is 4 times better.  Also it’s 21700, not 18350 or 18650.

Conclusion

What I like

  • Nichia 219c option
  • On-board charging works very well
  • It’s a quads; quads are fun
  • I like the indicating switch (but there could be more done with it!)

What I don’t like

  • Does get quite hot on Turbo (even warms greatly on High)
  • Stepdown from High and Turbo is just extreme
  • Longer than I like (even in the 18350 edition, it seems a bit long)

Up Next

I hope to wrap on a couple of chargers for tomorrow, and more Fun on Friday!

Notes

  • This light was provided by Banggood 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!!

Author: zeroair

5 thoughts on “Astrolux S43 Flashlight Review

  1. Hi. I have this light. Thank you for your reviews! I would like to replace the optic with a floody 10509 Carlo. Do you know if this would work?

    thank you…

    patrick

    1. Hi Patrick – No, the 10509 won’t work. That’s a triple optic, and the S43 is a quad emitter light. Thanks!

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