Sofirn C01S AAA Flashlight Review (three versions)

A while back Sofirn released a tiny little AAA light.  No TIR, no reflector…. basically a bare 5mm led (ok there was a tiny cone reflector built in but it did approximately nothing.)  It was awesome, and it was the Sofirn C01.

But it lacked.  It had only one mode and the beam was useful for a limited set of circumstances.  Fortunately Sofirn updated that light – same body but with a TIR, a two mode twisty UI, and importantly, a different emitter.  Here’s my testing of that light, the Sofirn C01S.


Official Specs and Features

Here’s a link to an official-ish product page.  This is Sofirn’s official sales page, so it’s as official as anything.

Versions

There are a number of versions.  There are two UI’s – the standard, which has High then Low.  And the BLF special, which has Low then High.

Also there are at least 4 body colors – red, blue, black, and silver (which I think it limited to the BLF edition.)

Price

Buy these at aliexpress, for $9.89.


Short Review

This is a wonderful update to the C01.  I liked it but my normal use cases don’t require that light all that often.  The C01S on the other hand has many scenarios of usefulness.  Also it’s just a great little light!

Long Review

The Big Table

Sofirn C01S – Black
Emitter: Luminus SST20 (4000K)
Price in USD at publication time: $9.89
Cell: 1xAAA
High Runtime
LVP?
Switch Type: Twist
On-Board Charging? No
Claimed Lumens (lm) 100
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 100 (100% of claim)*
Claimed Throw (m) 42
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 83lux @ 2.723m = 615cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 49.6 (118.1% of claim)*
All my Sofirn reviews!

 

Sofirn C01S – Red
Emitter: Luminus SST20 (4000K)
Price in USD at publication time: $9.89
Cell: 1xAAA
High Runtime
LVP?
Switch Type: Twist
On-Board Charging? No
Claimed Lumens (lm) 100
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 100 (100% of claim)*
Claimed Throw (m) 42
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 61lux @ 3.124m = 595cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 48.8 (116.2% of claim)*
All my Sofirn reviews!

 

Sofirn C01S – Blue
Emitter: Luminus SST20 (4000K)
Price in USD at publication time: $9.89
Cell: 1xAAA
Turbo Runtime
LVP?
Switch Type: Twist
On-Board Charging? No
Claimed Lumens (lm) 100
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 100 (100% of claim)*
Claimed Throw (m) 42
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 73lux @ 3.111m = 707cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 53.2 (126.7% of claim)*
All my Sofirn reviews!

* 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 C01S
  • Split ring
  • Spare o-rings (2)
  • Manual

Package and Manual

The box these are in is a simple cardboard box.  Inside is a bubble wrapper for all the parts.  Despite one of those boxes above saying “BLF edition,” none of my lights are the BLF edition.  I think the only difference is the UI direction (H>L vs L>H).  Still I’d like to have experienced both (and in fact would like L>H of the BLF better.)

Here’s the manual for the C01 “Pro” which is really the C01S.

Build Quality and Disassembly

These are nicely built little lights.  There’s nothing bad at all to mention, and the build is commensurate with the price.  On the other hand, I’ve had $200 AAA sized lights, and I wouldn’t necessarily say that these are more poorly built.  So the build is good!

The body is a two part build – the head comes off but the tail is built into the cell tube.  There’s a spring on the tail end, and the head has only a little contact point.  It’s not a pressure switch like many two mode twisty lights, so the UI is handled in the electronics.

Also note that the threads are fully anodized.

Only the body has a tiny strip of unanodized area, which is where the mcpcb makes contact for the negative end of the cell.

Size and Comps

Officially

Dimension: 71.6mm (length) *14.5mm (head diameter)
Weight: 15 gram (without battery)

Here’s the C01S vs some other common AAA lights (including the original C01).  That little Eagtac…. love that thing.

And here’s the C01 (left) vs the C01S.  Bezel is much chanced because now it has to hold in the TIR – before the reflector was the bezel (same metal!).

Retention and Carry

The tailcap has the same design as the original – there’s space for a 5mm magnet.  (The other slot is for a tritium vial.)  Though the hole can’t be seen from this angle, there hole for the split ring is between the magnet and tritium slots.

More important for carry is the friction pocket clip.  The mouth isn’t quite big enough for me (hard to get on pockets) but it holds well once on.  Also the balance when clipped is great (practically deep carry).  In these photos you can also see the split ring hole.

Power and Runtime

I performed runtime a test for each of my 3 C01S lights.  The color of the light doesn’t seem to play a role in performance, and none of my lights are the BLF edition, so as you might expect, the runtimes are essentially the same.  That’s good confirmation of build quality though, so there’s that. 🙂

The lights don’t seem to have LVP necessarily – they do shut off but it’s likely only because the forward voltage isn’t being reached any more.  For NiMH cells, lack of LVP isn’t the end of the world.

Modes and Currents

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Measured Lumens Tailcap Amps
Black High 100 1h21m 100 0.83
Black Low 3 25h15m ~ 0.02
Red High 100 1h21m 100 0.79
Red Low 3 25h15m ~ 0.02
Blue High 100 1h21m 100 0.75
Blue Low 3 25h15m ~ 0.02

PWM

These lights don’t utilize PWM for mode differences.  Photos are High then Low, as the UI dictates.

Blue:

Red:

Black:

For reference, here’s a baseline shot, with all the room lights off and almost nothing hitting the sensor.  And here’s the worst PWM light I have ever owned.  Also one of the very first lights I ordered directly from China!

User Interface and Operation

The switch on this light is a twisty head.  There’s ample knurling all over the light (including the head) for one handed operation.  The UI is twist for High.  If you want Low, you need to twist for High, then twist the light off, then twist again for Low.  The reset to avoid low is around 5 seconds.  That is if you turn the light on to High, then off, and wait around 5 seconds, the next mode will be High.

LED and Beam

The emitter in the C01S is a Luminus SST-20, in 4000K.  This emitter is high CRI as well, at 95 CRI.  Also used is a TIR.  This TIR is similar to what’s in my beloved D25AAA, and provides a very tight and even hotspot.

These beamshots are always with the following settings:  f8, ISO100, 0.3s shutter, and manual 5000K exposure.

Blue:

Red:

Black:

Tint vs BLF-348 (Killzone 219b version)

Again, Blue Red Black.

I compare everything to the Killzone 219b BLF-348, because it’s inexpensive and has the best tint!

Conclusion

What I like

  • High CRI!
  • Great color
  • Even beam with this TIR
  • Tritium slot
  • Magnet slot

What I don’t like

  • I’d like to see a short version, without the lanyard hole, magnet slot, and trit slot.
  • Mouth of the clip is less than perfect (needs to be bigger and grabbier)

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 BangGood and GearBest coupons. Please subscribe and get notifications when the sheet is edited!!

Author: zeroair

2 thoughts on “Sofirn C01S AAA Flashlight Review (three versions)

  1. How can I contact you via PM? There is no massage box or anything in the contact page. Just wonder if you’d like to review a Convoy S11.

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