Warning: pic heavy, as usual.
UPDATE JUNE 5, 2012: My refiew of the Rofis JR30 (a 1xAA, XP-G R5 transformer) is now up.
Rofis is a new manufacturer on the scene, with an innovative rotating head design for their first series of lights – the Jazz "Transformers". Here I will be reviewing the 1xCR123A JR10 and 2xCR123A/1x18650 JR20 models.
So what's special about these lights? Well, you can run them as straight-through flashlights, or angle the heads up to 90 degrees:
Common Manufacturer Specifications:
- Cree XP-G LED (R5)
- Using a unique lamp holder rotating patent structure, so that the flashlight can rotate to a 90° angle.
- Two modes and seven types of outputs
- Digitally regulated output - maintains constant brightness
- Intelligent memory circuit, automatically memorizes the brightness level when switched off
- Reverse polarity protection, to protect from improper battery installation
- Waterproof to IPX-8 (underwater 2m)
- Tactical tail cap switch with momentary-on function
- Made of durable aircraft-grade aluminum
- Premium Type III hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish
- Toughened ultra-clear glass lens with anti-reflective coating
- Impact resistant to 1.5m
- Notice: The below-mentioned output/throw/runtime parameters were tested in lab by using quality CR123A primary Lithium batteries, and are approximate (may vary between flashlights, batteries, and environments).
- Uses one 3V CR123A Lithium battery
- ANSI FL-1 Max output: 180 lumens
- ANSI FL-1 Max runtime: 83h
- ANSI FL-1 Peak beam intensity: 3100cd
- ANSI FL-1 Beam distance: 111m
- 111mm (Length) x 24mm (Diameter)
- 78-gram weight (excluding batteries)
- MSRP: ~$55
- Uses two 3V CR123A Lithium batteries or one 18650 Li-ion battery
- Voltage range 3.0-8.4V
- ANSI FL-1 Max output: 310 lumens
- ANSI FL-1 Max runtime: 205h
- ANSI FL-1 Peak beam intensity: 4600cd
- ANSI FL-1 Beam distance: 135m
- 144mm (Length) x 24mm (Diameter)
- 90-gram weight (excluding batteries)
- MSRP: ~$65
Packaging includes a good number of extras in both cases – along with the light, you get a decent quality holster (reminds me of the early Fenix TK-series ones), paracord-style wrist lanyard, extra o-rings and boot cover, stainless steel clip (attached), manual and warranty card.
From left to right: Duracell CR123A; Rofis JR10; JetBeam PC10, BC10; 4Sevens Mini 123; Thrunite Neutron 1C; Surefire E1B Backup; Novatac 120P.
All dimensions are given with no batteries installed:
Rofis JR10: Weight 75.0g, Length (max): 110.6mm (angled): 92.9mm, Width (bezel): 24.8mm
Jetbeam BC10: Weight: 46.6g, Length: 90.3mm, Width (bezel): 23.2mm
Lumintop ED10: Weight: 21.5g, Length: 70.4mm, Width (bezel): 20.7mm
Olight i1 Stainless Steel: Weight 48.1g, Length: 63.9mm, Width (bezel): 20.4mm
Thrunite 1C: Weight: 45.2g, Length: 91.5mm, Width (bezel) 22.0mm
From left to right: Surefire CR123A, AW protected 18650; Rofis JR20; Jetbeam PC20, Jet-III ST; Klarus NT20; 4Sevens Quark 123-X; Thrunite Neutron 2C; Lumintop ED20.
All dimensions are given with no batteries installed:
Rofis JR20: Weight 907.g, Length (max): 144.4mm (angled): 136.6mm, Width (bezel): 24.8mm
Lumintop ED20: Weight 84.4g, Length 121.6mm, Width (bezel) 25.2mm
Spark SL6: Weight 77.8g, Length: 125.5mm, Width (bezel) 30.9mm
Thrunite TN12: Weight: 64.0g, Length: 126.9mm, Width (bezel): 24.1mm
Here is how the light looks in angled-head mode:
From left to right: Duracell NiMH AA; Sunwayman L10A; Duracell CR123A; Rofis JR10.
The Rofis lights are clearly longer than typical lights in their respective classes, due to the angle-head rotating mechanism.
The build of these Rofis lights is surprisingly robust – these are two of the most solid lights I've seen in their respective "slim-lined" classes. The overall construction (e.g. wall thickness, etc.) seem thicker and more solid than traditional lights this size. The best way I can describe it as somewhere between the standard Fenix LDx0/PDx0 series lights and the Fenix TK series lights.
The lights have knurling of significant aggressiveness along their battery tubes and tailcaps, providing good grip. Anodizing is a matte black and seems thick (i.e. no dings or scratches on my samples). Labels are bright white against the black background.
Bundled clips fit on very firmly, and are stronger than most clips I've come across in these classes. Interesting, the clip is reversible – you can attach it around the base of the tailcap for head-down, deep-pocket carry.
Tailcap switch is a forward clicky, with traditional traverse and firm click. Even with the tailstanding flanges, I found it easy to access with any finger or thumb. The head mode-changing switch is an electronic switch, with a good click-feel for this type of switch.
Lights can tailstand, but may be slightly wobbly (better than most, though). Note that tailstanding also works when in the angle-head position (weight distribution is fine).
Lights have a slightly beveled aluminum bezel.
Lights use high quality square-cut screw threads, anodized for lock-out.
There is a spring in the head, so flat-top cells can be used.
The dual-switch UI is similar to that used on some of the early Klarus lights, and more recently Fenix.
Turn the light on by pressing the tailcap clicky (press for momentary on, click for locked on).
Click and release the side switch to change output levels. In standard General mode, the output will change in the following sequence Lo > Med > Hi > Turbo, in repeating order. The light will memorize the last mode used, and return to it upon re-activation (turn off/on by the tailcap switch).
To access the blinking modes, press and hold the side switch for about 1 sec. You now have Strobe > SOS > Beacon modes, in repeating order. Note there is no memory feature for the blinking modes – the light will always come on in the last memorized General constant output mode.
For a more detailed examination of the build and user interface, please see my video overview:
Video was recorded in 720p, but YouTube typically defaults to 360p. Once the video is running, you can click on the quality settings icon and select the higher 480p to 720p options. You can also run full-screen.
There is no sign of PWM, at any output level. I believe the lights are current-controlled.
Strobe is an alternating strobe, switching between 14.7 Hz and 6.7 Hz (for 2 secs and 1.7 secs, respectively, in a repeating loop). Certainly
Beacon mode is one flash every half a second (i.e., 2 Hz).
The Rofis lights share a common reflector, Medium Orange Peel (MOP) finish. XP-G Cool White XM-L emitters were both slightly off-center in my samples, but it didn't seem to affect the beam significantly.
All lights are on AW protected RCR, about ~0.75 meter from a white wall (with the camera ~1.25 meters back from the wall). Automatic white balance on the camera, to minimize tint differences.
For white-wall beamshots, all lights are on 1x18650, about ~0.75 meter from a white wall (with the camera ~1.25 meters back from the wall). Automatic white balance on the camera, to minimize tint differences.
All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, a la Quickbeam's flashlightreviews.com method. You can directly compare all my relative output values from different reviews - i.e. an output value of "10" in one graph is the same as "10" in another. All runtimes are done under a cooling fan, except for any extended run Lo/Min modes (i.e. >12 hours) which are done without cooling.
I have recently devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values (ROV) to estimated Lumens. See my How to convert Selfbuilt's Lighbox values to Lumens thread for more info.
Throw/Output Summary Chart:
My summary tables are reported in a manner consistent with the ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. Please see http://www.sliderule.ca/FL1.htm for a description of the terms used in these tables.
Max output is quite high for a XP-G-equipped 1xCR123A light – among the highest I've seen. Output on 1xRCR is very bright – but note that you lose all the defined lower modes on this battery. This is very similar to what you see on the Fenix PD20 circuit.
A few quirks – I notice that the Lo mode was indistinguishable from Med on a fresh 1xCR123A. As the battery lost some capacity, the Lo mode became clearly identifiable. Note also that as the battery continues to drop in capacity, you will eventually lose the Turbo mode (i.e. becomes indistinguishable from Hi).
Max output seems higher in my testing than in the reported specs, but max throw was a little lower in my testing.
Good output level range on all cells. I am glad to see the body tube bore width is wide enough to accommodate protected 18650 cells. I didn't test 2xRCR as it is not explicitly supported in the battery specs, but the voltage range spec suggests that they should work (as long as you keep your cells to <4.2V).
Max output again seems higher in my testing than the reported specs, but max throw was bang on.
The JR10 is clearly a highly efficient light on 1xCR123A, with good regulation. Max output is quite high for a XP-G R5-equipped light.
On 1xRCR, you will see there is no difference between any of the output modes initially. For example, between Hi and Turbo, you will see the only difference is how the circuit responds at the end very end of the run.
The Turbo 18650 runtime is simply outstanding – I don't know how Rofis managed that on an XP-G R5. The Med and Hi modes are similarly top-of-class, although the difference to other good current-controlled lights isn't as pronounced as it is on Turbo.
Performance on 2xCR123A is very good, certainly in keeping with other well-performing lights.
The JR10 does not fully support 1xRCR. Like the Fenix PD20, you get only Turbo mode initially on all levels, until the battery is nearly drained.
On a fresh CR123A, you may lose the Lo mode initially on the JR10. Similarly, you may lose the ability to enter Turbo mode as the cell runs down.
The JR20 doesn't explictly support 2xRCR, but these batteries should work if you make sure to keep the cells <4.2V each (i.e. max voltage range is up to 8.4V).
Lights are longer than typical in their respective classes, due to the angle-head mechanisms.
The Rofis JR10 and JR20 are very impressive lights. The build is surprisingly robust for the size, and the lights feature an innovative rotating angle-head design that I have not seen before. Performance is excellent, with output/runtime efficiency on par with (or exceeding) the best current-controlled circuits I've seen.
Let's start with the build – the attention to detail is impressive, in all aspects of the lights. From the switch feel, knurling, body thickness, screw threading – even the sturdy and reversible clip – everything seems well thought-out and well executed. I particularly like that the JR20 can easily accommodate protected 18650 cells.
But of course, what stands out is the innovative rotating angle-head design. I was a bit dubious of this concept when I first heard of it, but Rofis has executed it well. The heads are appropriately stiff, and do not slide around accidentally. I'm not sure how the mechanics of this works, but I experienced no issues in my testing. There aren't a lot of angle-head lights on the market, so I'm sure the added flexibility here will be well appreciated.
Performance-wise, these are clearly among the most efficient XP-G R5-equipped lights I've seen. The outstanding 1x18650 performance on the JR20 is particularly eye-opening. I suspect part of the excellent efficiency has to do with the more limited voltage range (e.g., on the JR10, 1xRCR is not practical and not all modes are available initially on 1xCR123A). This is a trade-off - if you want broader voltage support on all models, it typically comes with a circuit overhead cost (i.e., I'm guessing the JR10 is boost only, no buck). The regulation pattern, overall efficiency and battery compatibility of the Rofis circuits seem very reminiscent of comparable Fenix lights.
My only other comment here is that I expect many would rather see XM-L emitters for even more output on max. But that said, these are among the brightest XP-G R5 lights I've tested – and XP-G does typically offer better relative throw than XM-L, if you are into that.
The dual-switch interface is intuitive, and well implemented (i.e. good switch feel, at both ends). I found the lights a pleasure to use, with good ergonomics, although they are bit long in head-extended mode.
There really isn't much else to criticize or recommend here (a very unusual situation for a new maker with a novel design). Frankly, I'm looking forward to seeing the AA-series lights, and whatever else Rofis comes up with.
UPDATE JUNE 5, 2012: My refiew of the Rofis JR30 (a 1xAA, XP-G R5 transformer) is now up, as well as the more budget ER12.
Rofis JR10 and JR20 supplied by SBFlashlights.com for review.