Last Updated on September, 2023
The Sofirn SP36 BLF flashlight is a GIANT in the flashlight market.
Boasting durability, a long runtime, an impressive UI and an output of 5650 lumens, the Sofirn SP36 sounds like a dream.
But does this flashlight actually live up to the high expectations it sets?
To save you the trouble of having to trial and error the process of getting a good flashlight, I’ve put together the Sofirn SP36 flashlight review you’ll find in this article.
So sit back, relax, and find out whether the Sofirn SP36 is worth your time and your money.
Table of Contents
- About the Sofirn SP36 BLF Flashlight
- The Basics of the Sofirn SP36 Flashlight
- Using the Sofirn SP36
- Customer Reviews
- Pros and Cons of the Sofirn SP36 BLF Flashlight
- Is the Sofirn SP36 Worth Buying?
- Final Thoughts
About the Sofirn SP36 BLF Flashlight
If you are a veteran flashaholic, you’ve no doubt heard of the Sofirn SP36.
But for those in the dark, the Sofirn SP36 Anduril flashlight is the most popular model in Sofirn’s SP36 flashlight line.
It’s a soda can style light that uses the Anduril user interface with four LH351D emitters, and an output of 5650 lumens of high CRI LED light.
This model is essentially a smaller and lighter version of the BLF Sofrin Q8 with the addition of USB-C charging.
Sofirn is known for making quality lights for great prices and using input from the community of flashlight enthusiasts to make their lights better and better (hence the ‘BLF’ in the name of this flashlight).
Continue to find out whether the Sofirn SP36 is worth all the hype!
The Basics of the Sofirn SP36 Flashlight
What Comes in the Box?
The Sofirn SP36 comes in an unlabelled plain brown cardboard box with foam at the bottom, and the light itself is wrapped in a sheet of bubble wrap.
The following is what you should expect in the package your flashlight comes in.
- The Sofirn SP36 BLF flashlight
- Three Sofirn branded 3000mAh 18650 cells inside the light (with a protective cap on each cell)
- The USB-A to USB-C cable
- Two spare o-rings
- The instruction manual
- A promotional card
- A card regarding the insulators on the batteries
The card regarding the insulators is essential because most people return the Sofirn lights- not because of faulty lights- but because they hadn’t removed the insulators!
The following are the specifications of the Sofirn SP36 BLF light.
|LED||Samsung LH351D 5000K 90CRI|
|Reflector||Custom smooth quad reflector|
Modes and Their Currents
The Sofirn SP36 BLF flashlight has many modes because the Anduril UI is a highly sophisticated yet customizable interface.
You can access the light’s lockout mode by either untwisting the tail cap a bit or clicking four times to enable a software lockout.
When software lockout is accessed, holding the light switch will only switch it on in moonlight mode.
The following table shows the modes available with this flashlight and their associated claimed outputs.
|Mode||Claimed Output (lm)|
The following are the physical dimensions of the Sofirn SP36 BLF flashlight.
- Length: 126.8mm (4.99”)
- Body diameter: 44.7mm (1.76”)
- Head diameter: 49mm (1.93”)
- Weight without accessories: 295.5g (10.42 oz)
- Weight with included cells: 433.3g (15.28 oz)
Using the Sofirn SP36
Handling the Sofirn SP36
One of the main things you need to know about the Sofirn SP36 is that it is by no means a small light. This flashlight is quite hefty, and you may be in for a ride if you have small hands.
If you’ve got larger hands, however, this light will be a good fit for your hands.
The cooling fins at the head of the light are adequate at preventing the light from sliding in your hands, and the knurling gives you a good grip and a nice feeling.
The light is extremely round, though, making it liable to rolling off an uneven surface. So be on the lookout for that.
The User Interface
The Sofirn SP36 is part of the clan of Anduril lights as it uses a custom FET+1 driver that runs Anduril.
Note that no components are accessible on the driver board, and it’s glued in, which means removing it is difficult (but not impossible).
Temperature calibration is also recommended.
For thermal calibration, leave your flashlight near a thermometer for a while and let it settle to an ambient temperature.
Proceed to click three times while the flashlight is off, then click in three sets of two, and finally four more times to enter thermal configuration mode.
After this, you will experience one flash and a buzz, and you will need to click the button the same number of times that corresponds to the ambient temperature in Celsius. And finally (this is the last step, I swear), you can ignore the final two flashes and the accompanying buzz, and you’re good to go!
The sophisticated nature of the UI does make things complicated after a certain point, but the basics of operating the light are as follows.
When the light is switched off:
- Clicking once will switch the light on to mode memory.
- A hold click will set the light to the bottom of the ramping mode.
- A double click will put the light on the top of the ramp.
When the light is switched on:
- One-click will switch it off.
- A hold click will ramp the light upwards while releasing quickly, and hold clicking again will ramp the light downwards.
- Double-clicking will put your light in turbo power mode.
From here on out, things get complicated, so the image below should help you figure things out. You can also access a textual user manual here.
Batteries and Charging
The Sofirn SP36 only functions with button-top cells because of its shaped battery compartment and the connected driver.
These cells are in a parallel configuration, which means the driver is expecting a battery voltage of 4.2V at most.
This light has a long runtime, lasting up to45 days in Eco power mode.
Only when the light reaches its temperature limit will the automatic temperature regulation kick in and reduce the brightness level to prevent the flashlight from overheating.
You can charge the flashlight via the USB-C port on the back of the flashlight. The flashlight’s charging port only accommodates the USB-A to USB-C charging cable because the driver lacks the hardware for voltage negotiation.
This wasn’t that big of an issue for me, but there are still a group of people who like to see USB-C to USB-C charging capabilities in their lights.
When the light is being charged, the LED indicator on the switch will blink blue. When charging is complete, the light on the button will be a steady blue.
You have the choice of either charging the batteries from inside the light or charging the batteries externally.
Charging the batteries inside the light is very convenient, but it’s also much slower than simply charging them externally.
The batteries supplied are three Sofirn 18650 3000mAh button top batteries that put out 10A, which is an adequate amount for the emitters to handle.
Another excellent feature of the Sofirn SP36 is that the USB-C charge port can also output power very well! It produces a comfortable output of around 3.2A with a max high output of 4.1A.
However, it should be noted that there is low voltage protection when using the Sofirn SP36 as a power bank.
You can also use the head of the light just connected to USB charging with no batteries inserted. You can’t use it in turbo mode or any other high mode, but you can still make it work as an improvised lantern.
Build Quality and Machining
The Sofirn SP36 is made primarily of aluminumalloy and is surprisingly heavy considering this, but some solid pieces inside the flashlight contribute to this weight.
The flashlight is, on the whole, very well made. The lens is made of tempered glass and there are no rattling parts or shifts in weight, plus there are no issues with the anodization.
The waterproofing of this light is done exceptionally well. There are o-rings on the top of the light, body threads, bezel threads, and tail-cap threads.
All the threads in the battery tube are square-cut and well-lubricated, so reassembling the light will be as easy as pie. This ease will serve you best if you’re a person who likes to remove batteries from the light to charge them.
It is important to note that the rubber cap covering the charging port is liable to break off and that there is no wrist strap on the light.
The lack of a wrist strap is not the end of the world and the rubber cap holds its ground in general use. HOWEVER, getting too rough with it may cost you, mainly because it would affect the light’s waterproofing.
So, it would be best to AVOID stuffing your flashlight into too small pockets!
The Sofirn SP36 has a flood type beam pattern and uses the Samsung LH351D 5000K 90CRI. This is an excellent emitter as it lends a far superior tint to the light than the XPL emitters in the previous SP36 model and because it provides a high CRI.
Possibilities for Modification
First, only attempt to modify the flashlight if you are very confident in your ability to pull it off or if you are prepared to fix things/ buy replacements for anything that breaks in the process.
This is especially true because quite a few parts of this light (such as the driver and the button PCB) are glued in and require force to break.
There aren’t a ton of things to modify in this light. The emitter is satisfactory, and the bezel isn’t glued in, which is nice.
Because this light is of an official Anduril user interface build, you can remove the driver and re-flash it with the newest build, making many new features available to you. Removing the reflector will also require you to remove the driver and remove the screws holding it.
Removing the driver, as required to accomplish the above, can be challenging.
You’ll need to remove the button cover and its bezel, which can be best done with a pair of circlip pliers. Then you will have to remove the button board.
Once that is done, pressing a small flat head screwdriver inside the driver should be enough to take it off.
Price, Warranty and Where to Buy
You can purchase the Sofirn SP36 BLF flashlight for a discounted rate of $58.99 if you head over to their website here.
Concerning warranty, you can contact Sofirn through the email address [email protected] within a year of purchase to get your light repaired or replaced.
Battery warranty is limited to within half a year of purchase.
The Sofirn SP36 has excellent reviews on amazon, with 4.6 stars out of 553 ratings.
Many users praise the light for its high maximum brightness and for it being an extremely usable light right out of the box.
Some people mentioned that the UI was a bit confusing to understand at first, but they adapted to it in a relatively short time with the help of the user manual.
This flashlight also has good reviews on the Sofirn official website, with a rating of 4.9 based on 58 reviews on the platform.
The following are what some users had to say regarding their experience with this flashlight.
“The SP36 BLF has three things that anyone who likes flashlights needs to experience: Anduril, nice tint, and high CRI.
Anduril is so flexible and can be simple or has tons of features you can play with. In the SP36, you can turn it on so low you can look straight at the LEDs. This is helpful for looking around at night when you don’t want the light to wake your family up. You can also double tap and go straight to 5,000 lumen turbo. You can check the battery voltage, set the thermal calibration, and play with the candlelight or strobe modes.
The LH351D LEDs have a wonderful tint at 4000k. It’s slightly warm without being yellow. Indoors it’s great because it isn’t harsh. Outdoors it’s great because it looks like natural light and doesn’t wash anything out. The throw on this light is good too and makes a perfect mid range light.
Lastly, the CRI (color rendering index) is great On the LH351D. If you’ve never experienced high CRI, you’re missing out. Colors look more realistic instead of washed out, therefore depth perception is better. It’s like the difference between cheap non polarized sunglasses vs nice polarized ones on a bright day. Everything just looks more vivid.
Runtime on this light is great because it uses three 18659s. Sofirn’s 18650s measured out right at 3,000 mAh and are pretty good.
The only downside to this light is the size/weight, but you can’t have these features without accepting that. It’s a great light for a bag, jacket pocket, or just taking short walks. It might be far and heavy, but it’s still easier to handle than a D size maglite and spanks them in any measurement of performance.
One last thing. If you get a mentos gum bottle, cut the label off, and trim off the top lip, you can pop it onto the SP36 and it makes a nice lamp for camping or power outages.”
– Via Amazon.
“I have done my research countless hours ,for want you pay this is a good
flood flashlight( ideal for beginners or people who like flashlights). I’m interested in the
BLF Q8 and thought I’ll try something a little cheaper first . No regrets purchasing it. Look forward to my Sofin Q8 which is brighter(11 000 lms). Lights up my whole back yard easily 80 meters. Neighbour’s not too impressed when l use it at night, scaring away possums from my fruit trees.”
– Via Amazon.
Pros and Cons of the Sofirn SP36 BLF Flashlight
- Relatively Inexpensive
The Sofirn SP36 is relatively cheaper than most other flashlights at $56.99. It gives you great value for your money with a sophisticated UI that gives you access to every conceivable flashlight mode EVER.
- Anduril UI
As I just mentioned, the UI is a big plus point for this light because of its sophisticated and intuitive nature. Party mode, candle mode, you name it- this flashlight’s got it thanks to its fantastic UI!
- Good Light Output and Long Runtime
The total claimed lumen output of this flashlight is 5650, and it manages a good amount of this. This is further accentuated by an excellent choice of emitters and a tight beam profile.
The cells of the Sofirn SP36 being parallel means that it also has a long runtime of up to 45 days in Eco mode.
- The UI Can be Confusing for First-Timers
Because of the sheer complexity of this UI, first-timers may find it tough to work things out in the beginning.
But this should not stop you from going for this flashlight because, as many users have confirmed, it is relatively easy to adjust to the UI once you give it some time.
Is the Sofirn SP36 Worth Buying?
Yes, the Sofirn SP36 is totally worth buying!
It is an outstanding light, with a great shape and size, and a heck of a long runtime.
Sofirn has paid heed to the calls of users to build flashlights with higher CRI emitters and better UIs and absolutely smashed it with this light.
The UI of this light is elaborate, but that doesn’t make the light unusably confusing, if that’s something that worries you. Rather, it makes this light worth every penny you spend on it!
Other Sofirn brand’s flashlight reviews:
I had a great experience with the Sofirn SP36 BLF flashlight. It’s perfect for camping and other activities and is almost as bright as the sun!
The UI is excellent, and I can guarantee you’ll have a good experience with this light if you choose to go for it.
I hope this Sofirn SP36 review has helped make your life easier and opened up the way to the flashlight of your dreams!
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