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Brief Review of ThorFire PF01S AAA Flashlight

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#1 David Quevedo

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 11:16 PM

I need to tell you guys – this is the first review I’ve ever done on a flashlight; so please go easy on me lol.  I had written several paragraphs, but my web browser  decided to take a dump, so I had to kickstart it, and of course, lost all of what I had entered.  So, from now on, I’m writing all of my stuff in Word, then copying it over.


Now, when I say "brief", I mean, brief, compared to the likes of user selfbuilt, of Candle Power Forums.  He is a professional reviewer, and gives extensive, everything, including the kitchen sink, reviews, which always include an abundance performance graphs and charts of all sorts, with tons of information.  He's got these reviews down to a science.


His reviews are absolutely nothing shy of amazing - practically works of art, in and of themselves.  He also posts video reviews on YouTube.  Great stuff, if you haven't seen any of them, yet.


I don't have any of those cool toys (a light sphere, the excellent computer apps to log and illustrate my findings.  Maybe someday...?


I’d like to take a moment to thank the folks at ThorFire, for kindly providing me with this light, for review.


The light arrived in today’s mail, from Las Vegas, Nevada.  It only took a couple of business days, via USPS Surepost. Nice!


There's not a lot of information given in the sparsely worded owner's manual.  Here is what I found on Amazon’s website:

  • PF01S pen flashlight is the upgraded version of ThorFire PF01 flashlight. PF01S is smaller, brighter and has memory.
  • PF01S pen light working voltage: 0.8-1.5V. Powered by 1x AAA battery(NOT Included), gives out MAX 120 lumens
  • Smaller than PF01, Sized 98x15mm, fits more nicely in hand; Clip it to your pocket; reverse the clip, it's cap light.
  • PF01S LED flashlight also has tactical switch for momentary-on without making a sound.
  • Warranty: ThorFire provides customers with 40 days money back guarantee and helpful customer services.

Oddly, no output or run time spec’s are given, in the manual, but the max is 120 lumens.  What little I know is:


  • Moonlight mode - .5 lumens
  • Low - Unknown
  • High - 120 lumens

The Low setting is really close to the Hi setting; so some better spacing might be in order, for the next generation of this light.  It was hard to truly distinguish a significant difference between Low, and Hi. 


It would be nice if they would include those output spec’s, including run times, based on alkaline, lithium primary, and NiMh batteries.  Long run times wouldn’t be expected from a light this small; but it’d still be nice to know what to expect from the light.


I would strongly recommend the use of a good NiMh battery, for best performance, and for economy’s sake. The extra battery expense will easily pay for itself, with a couple of uses.



The light came in a no-frills cardboard box, which was packed inside a nice, padded shipping envelope. Inside the box, was the light (which was wrapped in bubble wrap), the extremely short owner's manual, and a pair of spare o-rings.  The bottom of the inside of box was lined with foam.  Unfortunately, the outside of box was mis-marked (it said PF10S, rather than PF01S), but the picture just below the title showed the correct model.


The cardboard box also had a QR code.  When I scanned it with my phone, it lead me to the ThorFire website; but that model of light isn't yet listed - just the previous model (the PF01).


This particular model is a bit shorter, lighter, and slightly more powerful (the previous model was 100 lumens).  They also switched over, from a XP-E emitter, to an XP-G2 emitter.  I guess there were complaints about the previous clip being too loose. This one is super strong.  I like that,  in a clip.  No accidentally dislodging the light, and losing it forever. I can't tell you how many times I've done that. 


The clip is also reversible; but I found it so snugly attached to the light, I didn't want to mess with it.  I couldn't' get it to budge, at all, and I think that's a good thing.  It's extremely solid.





Here's a close-up of the tail cap and body threads.  The gnurling on this light make it very easy to grip firmly, without the light slipping out of your hand - yet not so aggressive that it would chew up your pants pocket.



The lightly crenelated bezel is mainly great for seeing if you've accidentally left the light on, when the light is standing on its head.  It also provides some protection for the glass lens.  Doesn't look like it has any kind of coating on it (wouldn't expect it to, at this price point).  The emitter was nicely centered.  The orange peel reflector really smooths out the beam.   This is truly a close range light - not a thrower.  Also, not surprising, given the format/type of battery being used.



Note - this is with the light set on Hi.  If it were on Moonlight mode, it would probably be impossible to tell that it was left on.



Here is the light, next to a twenty dollar bill, for size reference.



In a cargo pocket, as pictured here, the switch is barely longer than the tip of a typical ball point pen - not obtrusive, at all.


I might mention - the switch, which was supposed to be super quiet, was kind of squeal-ish, when I used it.  I didn't want to take the switch apart to lubricate it.    Probably just a fluke.


The threads are not anodized, so there is no manual lock-out on this light.  I would strongly recommend using the clip, and pocket carrying it, to avoid accidental activation.



This pen, by the way, is a Zebra  F-402 - one of my favorite, affordable ball point pens.  Writes smooth as glass!



I didn't really have any other AAA lights to picture, next to this one; but I chose these lights, for a reason.


The Thrunite T10 (2014 Edition), is actually shorter, in body length, than the ThorFire.  Not sure why, since it uses a larger (AA) battery.  They managed to leave the button recessed.  Also, it's a reverse clicky.  I think the ThorFire is a bit long, for a AAA light, even though it has the tail cap switch.


The light has mode memory, and will come back on, at whatever setting you left the light, last. But, you need to remember to leave the light shut off, for at least two seconds, before turning it back on, otherwise, it'll just bump the mode up to the next level (or start at the lowest level, if the light was on Hi).


If you want to select a different mode, you have to do it, while the light is switched off.  Once on, you're committed to whatever mode the light memorized last (unless you break the two second shut-off  rule lol). While the light is off, half presses of the switch will cycle through the three modes.  Or, if that's too awkward, shutting off and quickly turning the light back on accomplishes the same thing.


One thing I'd like to see, from ThorFire (well...all flashlight companies, actually), is a choice of tints.  Some companies, like Thrunite, EagleTac, Armytek (and others) offer many of their models in alternate tints.  Not everyone likes to use cool white light - especially hardcore flashlight enthusiasts.  Neutral and warm tints are more accurate for color rendition - more realistic-looking; less washed-out, in appearance, especially at the higher settings.


Warm lights (of similar output) cut through fog and smoke, more easily than cool white lights. For some, that is crucial.


It's nice to be able to buy a light in a more neutral tint - even a warm tint, sometimes. 


I pictured the 2-AA Mini Mag, since everyone know what those look like.


The ThorFire is, of course, the skinniest light of the bunch. You can barely tell it's in your pocket.  That's a definite plus, for many people.


To be quite honest, I haven't really been a AAA light user, in quite some time.  I ended up opting for lights with higher performance batteries (namely, 18650 batteries), which meant higher output, longer run times, and, in general, more advanced feature sets.  But 18650 lights aren't  for everyone, and a lot of people don't want to be inconvenienced with carrying the larger-sized lights, and prefer something micro-sized, like the one I'm reviewing.



(more edits to come....stay tuned



Beam shots and comments to follow!

#2 David Quevedo

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 11:16 PM

Here are some comparative beam shots , to give you an ide of how the light works, in real world settings.


The first picture below was taken from approximately five feet away.  I used two ceiling bounced Nichia 219B lights, on a super low setting, just to make something register in the shot. The settings were optimized for the next picture.  I used a Canon SX1 IS, in Manual, Daylight white balance, neutral colors, .5 second exposure at f/3.5.


In all instances, the light was on the High setting.



Control shot



These (most of) my 18650 lights. There are about half dozen lights not pictured.


Here's the shot taken, using the PF01S.  There's a pretty decently-sized hot spot, and a generous spill beam.



Nativity set, taken in the living room, also from about five feet away.



Side of the house.  The back wall is about 52 feet away.  This is definitely more of a near-field light, as one would expect, in this form factor, from a AAA-powered light.  A smooth, deeper reflector might have increased the range, a little bit, but at the expensive of a less-balanced overall beam.  This was a decent compromise.

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