Convoy S21E Review - A Layman's Perspective


Flashlight Enthusiast
Jun 14, 2006
Lower Left side of the Mitten
First off - I'M BACK, BABY!

Convoy S21E

Jumping back into the review game, I was offered the chance at a new budget flashlight that still promised some interesting features. Time to see if the inexorable march of technological improvement has continued apace since I last poked my head in here.


Meat and Potatoes

It's been awhile, that is for sure, but I do not apologize for it at all. When I began reviewing I had 1 child and only had to fit reviews between parenting him and a basic full-time job. Really not terrible. The review request that broke me was when someone sent me a whole box of $5 lights and wanted honest reviews on all of them. I was as generous as I could, but if I remember correctly, my summary was "don't". At this point I had become a foster parent and had an extra 4 children that had joined my family, including infants, massively reducing my available time. It was time for the break.

Now? Well, I've upped the score even further, having adopted a total of 6 children (plus still my oldest), and have complicated my life further by returning to school. How then am I getting back into reviews? Well, a better question might be "why?". Simply because I missed it. It was something at which I had some skill, and more importantly, enjoyed. Was I then disappointed at reconvening my review game with another "budget" light? Not so much. First off, I'd happily engage with anyone to get my foot back in the door, as it were. And secondly, it appeared the functionality of this particular light was anything BUT budget, despite what the price tag may claim. I just hoped it would live up to even a portion of the hype.

The Convoy brand, it has been explained to me, lives squarely in that "budget friendly" zone of lights. Offering quality and features at first to the exclusion of "presentation". The lights ship with no fancy box, no extra accessories, no user manual. In fact, they ship with no instructions of any kind. All of that is available from your favorite retailer, because I haven't even been able to find the manufacturer's website.

The S21E is the first (only, really) flashlight I've ever had the pleasure of testing of this brand. I hadn't even heard of them prior to being asked to provide my opinion. This puts me in a unique position of having absolutely no prior knowledge to bias me for or against the brand. I have plenty of overall flashlight experience, but that is admittedly years out of date. This particular light however offered quite a large number of highly sought after features. The claimed draw of 1,000-1,200 lumens (I was never entirely sure what was the official number) was nice. The smooth ramping output selection was even better, but to me, the 2,700k color temperature paired with a 90+ CRI was the pièce de résistance.


I'd had the pleasure of testing out a few Neutral White flashlights before (my favorites both being supplied by DarkSucks), but never before had I had a chance to test out a true Warm White LED. When you first activate the light during the daytime (as we all do the moment we open the package, let's be honest), it shows up as a distinctly orange color, almost reminiscent of an ancient dying maglite. I was admittedly a little disappointed by this, thinking I had made a mistake in thinking I would prefer this. Those doubts were laid to rest however when I began using the light at night around the house and yard. The true warm white light was simply warm and comforting, rather than unnaturally orange as I had feared. The high color rendition of the Nichia 719a LED really "shines" in this context. The light it outputs is such a joy to behold that I never want to go back to the harsh cool white low CRI of LEDs gone by. I will happily trade the increased lumen counts for the better quality of light supplied by this breed of LED.


The UI of the S21E isn't any slouch either. It has a complex programming worthy of some of the best lights of years gone by. Just because the light is inexpensive didn't cause the company to skimp on a quality, usable UI. To me, the light has 3 easy access modes, with several more complex further options available. The light is primarily a fully ramping output with mode memory. You can set your single click output easily by pressing and holding the button while the light is on. It takes about 3 seconds to ramp from lowest to highest, or back again, with blinks to indicate the extremes. From off you can easily long press the button to reach a dedicated moon mode with 0.2% output, or double click it to head directly to max output. That latter one does reset your chosen output to max as well, though.

The light also has mode options for strobe (triple click), 100% only with no latching on "tactical" mode (4 clicks), voltage reporting (5 clicks), and even an option to switch from the fully ramping output to a predetermined 4 mode output (6 clicks). A user interface that is both this easy to use, and simultaneously has this many options used to require a truly premium brand (and price) only a decade or so ago.

The fit and finish also lives up to far more than I would expect of a sub $30 light. Everything from an evenly coated deep orange anodizing over the clean knurling to the highly polished stippled orange-peel reflector sitting behind the AR coated lens.


Constructive Criticism

The S21E takes a 21700 Li-ion cell, which unless things have changed dramatically in the last few years, aren't exactly the most common size. This definitely gives the light a significantly larger capacity for a longer runtime, as well as potentially higher current output. This does however come at the cost of a light with a fairly beefy diameter. With the included deep carry pocket clip I've noticed that having both this and a knife in the same right-hand pocket of my jeans leaves very little room for my hand to reach in and retrieve any change or keys that may also be kept in that pocket (Yes ladies, I have enough daughters to know that pockets are male privilege at its best).

This light comes with built-in USB-C charging, in a recess directly across the light from the switch. This in itself is a very positive thing, both for the onboard charger, but also for the use of USB-C, the nearly ubiquitous connector that replaced the vile and hated USB Micro. The problem (really just an inconvenience) comes because the charger port is sealed behind a rubber cap that, in the dark, feels almost exactly like the activation button. The number of times I have quickly grabbed the light and repeatedly pressed the button without any illumination, only to discover I am simply holding the light backwards is staggering. There are a number of potential fixes for this issue if Convoy chooses to address it in a future revision. It's not a huge issue, just something that I have run into many times in the last few weeks.



This light is a joy to use. The Warm White, good UI, and respectable output all come together to make a quality tool. Not just a quality tool *for the price, but quality in general. If it were only a touch smaller this would become a true daily driver.

Provided for review by


Flashlight Enthusiast
Jul 19, 2007
Welcome Back!!

Great review!! I just got my first two Convoy lights and I am very impressed with them! Great value for the dollar in my opinion!!!:geek: