This review is for the second of two ThorFire flashlights I recently ordered. I posted the review of the TK15S earlier. This review covers the VG15S, which comes with a battery and a charger. The VG15S is similar in size and rated brightness, but uses a different emitter, reflector, and user interface.
The ordering and delivery process was the typical no problems Amazon experience. At the time I ordered the package price on Amazon was just under $30. This is worthy of note because it places the light in a price class normally found by shopping from far away sellers with long delivery times. This easy ordering, along with the complete package to get up and running, makes this an interesting starter set for those just entering the world of 18650 powered lights. Could I recommend this to friends who saw my lights but were put off by the investment in support equipment required? I put the light into my EDC rotation a few months to find out.
The light, battery, USB cable, spare O-rings, and charger arrived in a small tan cardboard box. Everything was packaged well and there was no shipping damage. This is typical packaging for lights of this type, but was above the bubble wrap in an envelope used by many inexpensive Amazon sellers. (Photo from the Thorfire web page.)
VG15S LED flashlight is the upgraded version of ThorFire VG15 flashlight. VG15S is brighter and has 5 more reasonable brightness levels.
Gives out 0.5LM-1000LM output with 200m beam distance.
Firefly, Low, Mid, High, Turbo. Double tap quickly to activate Strobe Mode. Firefly mode gives out 0.5LM and Turbo mode 1000LM. (Test with ThorFire 18650 Battery)
Runs on 1x 18650 battery ONLY. (3V CR123A batteries are banned)
Made of Aircraft-grade Aluminum. Waterproof to IPX-8 standard.
Low Battery Alarm
Low battery warning flash
After unpacking, I put in a charged battery that I had on hand and turned on the light. The light has a very low firefly level and a very bright turbo mode. Mode changes are easy with a partial click on the tail switch, never skipping a level from an uncertain switch. The single frequency strobe is hidden but easy to enter if desired. Mode changes are slightly different from other lights with a moment of darkness between levels. It is so short that it does not affect the usefulness of the light and is not an issue, but it does show in some runtime graphs presented later in this review.
The textured reflector gives a smooth, even beam. I found it very well suited for indoor use, with the hotspot to spill transition very smooth and only visible when shining on a white wall. The color temperature is not specified but it is just cooler than neutral. I am not a huge fan of the yellowish tint of warm LEDS so this was very good for me. Outdoors the beam does well, with colors slightly shifted to the cool side of the range by the emitter color. This is mainly noticeable when looking at beam photos for color accuracy.
I set up my tripod mounted camera using fixed exposure settings for outdoor beam photos. I chose settings that gave the image that best matched what I saw in person. The light is mounted above the camera. All beam photos use the ThorFire 18650. Firefly mode is so dim it does not show on the photos and is not included here. It is just enough light to navigate the house with eyes fully adjusted to the dark.
LEVEL 2 - LOW
LEVEL 3 - MID
LEVEL 4 - HIGH
LEVEL 5 - TURBO
To make more sense of the turbo photo, I’ve added distances to the objects. There are trees at 150 and 200 feet, and a house at 440 feet. To verify the claimed throw distance, the light illuminated a house 520 feet away. There are no photos of this test as it was done quickly to avoid annoying the neighbors. Colors are close to true, but the cooler emitter does push the house siding and cement to appear more gray. Compare to the photos shot at the same time in the TK15S review. Note that the beam is very smooth, without a heavy central hotspot. The slight texture of the reflector helps make this beam pattern. I was very happy with the just cooler than neutral, wide and smooth lighting.
I used the Ceilingbounce app on an S5 cell phone, along with a white box, to get relative brightness measurements using the supplied 18650.
The turbo mode specifies a 3-minute timed stepdown, and this is accurate. The light can be put back into turbo when it steps down. For this test, I let turbo step down, went back, and then ran through the modes in order. High is bright enough for close tasks, while turbo really reaches out to see things farther away. Using the app again, I compared the VG15S with ThorFire cell to an Astrolux S1 with an HG2 18650. This light is generally considered to be 1200 lumens on its highest mode and 800 lumens when it steps down. The graph shows that the VG15S on turbo is between these two levels, supporting the advertised lumen rating.
I could not see any difference in the light's performance between my high current HG2 18650 battery and the ThorFire cell, but I checked the two in the box. The measurements showed no real difference.
After multiple 3-minute runs on turbo, the light became warm but not too hot to hold. The heat was transferred through the head into the body tube. Here is the light after this test, on an insulating pad in a 70F room. During the test, I could see the head heat and then watch the warm area move toward the tail of the light. All temperatures are in degrees F. The emissivity (e=0.85) setting for anodized aluminum is not a good match for the wood desk, which shows 88.2F.
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