Friday, May 24, 2013

Review: Fandyfire STL-V2 Flashlight

FandyFire STL-V2 Flashlight
Product Description


The FandyFire STL-V2 is a triple emitter (XM-L T6) flashlight which takes 2 18650 Lithium-ion batteries lengthwise. It features a smooth reflector, reverse clicky switch at the tail, and a 5 mode driver.

My review sample was provided by WallBuys.


ProsCons
Only 35 Bucks!Noticeable PWM
Good Build QualityUseless Strobe/SOS Modes
Good Run TimePlastic Lens


Official Specs (From WallBuys site)

Name: FandyFire STL-V2 CREE XM-LT6 5Mode 1000LM 3LED Tactical Flashlight (2x18650)
Brand: FandyFire
Color: Black
Color BIN: White
Model: STL-V2
Type: CREE XM-LT6
Total Emitter: 3
Brightness: 1000LM (Max)
Runtime: 90 minutes at high mode
Battery: 2x18650 battery
Voltage rated: 8.4V
Current Rated: 3000mAh
Features:
Mode: 5, Hi > Mid > Lo > Strobe > SOS
Material: Aerospace Grade Aluminum Alloy?
Sturdy military grade hard-anodized
Switch Type: Clicky
Switch Location: Tailcap
Lens: Coated glass lens
Reflector: Aluminum Smooth
Waterproof


Tail Switch

FandyFire STL-V2 Flashlight - Closeup Of Tail Switch
The STL-V2 uses a "reverse clicky" tail switch, which is typical for budget flashlights. The inside of the tail uses a plunger rather than the typical spring, but other than that, it's a very typical switch for a budget light. Well, maybe a little more beefy.

The recessed design of the tail switch allows the light to do a stable tail stand.
FandyFire STL-V2 Flashlight - Closeup Of Tail Plunger



Spacer Section?

The body of the flashlight has what looks like a spacer section to allow the light to run on one cell. But that's not the case. A single 18650 cell sits too deep to engage the switch. My next thought was maybe that it was meant for 3xCR123 batteries. No such luck there, either. The third cell sticks out too far to be able to screw on the tail cap. So what is it for? I'd be willing to take one for the team if anyone has any thoughts on what to try with that section left off the light.


User Interface / Driver

The STL-V2 uses the typical 5 mode driver you will find on just about every xFire light in existence. The mode order is L>M>H>Strobe>SOS, and the modes are accessed via half presses on the reverse clicky switch.

Because it's the typical budget driver, it has noticeable PWM on the low mode, which I'm sensitive to. It bothers some people more than others (and some not at all) so your mileage may vary.

Beam

The beam on this light has a pretty good hot spot, but also lots of spill, due to the 3 emitter design. All 3 reflectors are smooth, and the light does a good job of focusing the beam. It has decent throw, due mainly to
FandyFire STL-V2 Flashlight - Beam Shot: High
the sheer force of lumens it puts out.

The tint leans toward neutral white, with no trace of greenish or blueish tint.

Run Time Tests

These tests were performed with TrustFire Flame 18650 batteries. I thought about using expensive batteries for my test, but decided that hey, this is a budget light, so I'm going to test it with budget batteries.

High Test
(Current Draw: 1.63 A)
The light started getting really warm at about the half hour mark, and at 1:05 I stopped the test because it was too hot to hold, and I was concerned about doing damage to the light. It hadn't dimmed noticeably in that time, so I'm guessing that the stated runtime of 90 minutes is probably accurate.

Medium Test:
(Current Draw:  .77 A)

Low Test:
(Current Draw:  .13 A)


Heat Dissipation

FandyFire STL-V2 Flashlight - Closeup Of Head
High output flashlights all contend with heat dissipation issues. I am not an electronics engineer, but the heat dissipation on this light seems more than acceptable. It was just past the hour mark where it was getting too hot to hold in my hand. That seems entirely reasonable given the fact that it has three emitters, even if they do seem slightly under-driven. 


Build Quality / Fit and Finish

The build quality on my review sample is good. The threads are well machined and the light seems to be put together well. The switch looks solid and has a good feel. The spring loaded plunger on the inside of the tail  is a nice touch. It makes the light a little more shock resistant, and it's not something I usually see on budget lights. My only complaint about the build quality is that it has a plastic lens, though note above in the specs that the manufacturer claims it is glass.

The overall fit and finish is also good. The anodizing is uniform and there's no scratches or tool marks I can see anywhere. All three XM-L emitters are well centered. There's a tiny anomaly in one of the reflectors, though it doesn't have any effect on the beam.


Usability

Since I'm not a first responder such as a fireman or policeman, and I'm unlikely to be called on for search
FandyFire STL-V2 Flashlight - Held In Hand
and rescue. So, I'm having a hard time finding any real world use case for this light, other than pointing it down the street and hearing a bunch of people say "WOW." Make no mistake, this model does put out a "wow" amount of light. But I have no doubts that this level of output would be ideal for something like search and rescue.

In a real world scenario, this thing could probably go the full 90 minutes on high if you really needed it to. I'm not thinking this light would be your best fit if you intended to use it mostly on low. Sure, you would get great runtimes out of it on low, but it's a little heavy if that's all you're using it for, and the PWM is really noticeable on low, which really drives me nuts since I'm sensitive to it. But this isn't a light you buy to run on low.

Conclusions

This is a solid light. My few little issues with it (PWM, plastic lens, etc.) are minor considering that its next closest name brand competitor costs 4 times as much as this one. You get 3xXM-L performance for 35 bucks, which gives it an excellent cost-to-performance ratio.

It's also nice to see the xFire brands like Fandyfire grow into mature brands. It looks like they are upping their game as far as build quality goes, and they're even publishing accurate specs! The run time and lumen estimates for this light appear to be conservative, and maybe even understated.


Gallery


FandyFire STL-V2 Flashlight - Front View

FandyFire STL-V2 Flashlight - Rear View


FandyFire STL-V2 Flashlight - Showing All Three Reflectors

FandyFire STL-V2 Flashlight - Closeup Of Reflectors

FandyFire STL-V2 Flashlight - Shown with Sunwayman M20C, Nitecore EA4, Nitecore MT1A, Sunwayman V11R, Blackshadow EVA
Shown with Sunwayman M20C, Nitecore EA4, Nitecore MT1A, Sunwayman V11R, Blackshadow EVA for scale

FandyFire STL-V2 Flashlight - Closeup of Spacer Threads
Threads are typical budget triangular, with above average machining

FandyFire STL-V2 Flashlight - Closeup of Body Threads

FandyFire STL-V2 Flashlight - Closeup of Head: Inside
Inside of the light is pretty torn up ... wasn't me!


FandyFire STL-V2 Flashlight - Closeup of Components
I'm baffled as to the purpose of that extra spacer piece

FandyFire STL-V2 Flashlight - On Scale
One pound even on the digital scale

2 comments:

  1. What I love most about your reviews are 1. the quality of the photos and 2. how balanced and honest they are. Thank you for the great site.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You are most welcome. And thank you for the great compliments!

    ReplyDelete