Sofirn SP32A 18650 LED Flashlight Package Review


Feb 10, 2004
Old Dominion, USA
[This Sofirn SP32A kit was provided by Sofirn for review. No other compensation or conditions were provided and I have no affiliation with Sofirn.]

The Sofirn SP32A is an upgrade to the earlier SP32 model, the changes include an expanded User Interface (UI; adding a stepless dimming or "Ramping” mode) and a higher maximum brightness level (increased from ~1000 to 1500+ Lumens).

There are a variety of similar straight bodied (~24mm), 1x18650/2xcr123a cell, side switch lights, what sets the SP32A Kit apart from the others are –

  1. a higher maximum level (specified to be 1550 lumens), other lights of this size typically range from a maximum of 750 to 1200 lumens
  2. Two mode Groups - an optional stepless ramping/dimming UI mode in addition to the standard L-M-H multi-level (5+Strobe) mode,
  3. the power bundle which includes a rechargeable 18650 battery (rated at 3000 mAh /6A) and portable USB charger

Here are the complete SP32A kit contents –

Here is the Sofirn SP32A compared for size to other 18650 body lights; although not the smallest, it’s fairly compact given the battery size –

[from Left-to-Right - 18650 Battery, MG L-mini II, Sofirn SP32A, Surefire 6P]

Different Bezel Sizes (MG-L-mini, Sofirn SP32A, Surefire 6P)

The SP32A beam profile is a balance of hotspot with spill pattern. The SP32A beam is in the middle (there is some mild reflector tint shift visible around the hotspot corona) compared to some other beam types for reference - a dedicated thrower light (Manker U21) on the left and a floody quad (Astrolux S42) on the right. FWIW, tint wise all three lights consider themselves to be “Neutral White”, my best guesstimate of the SP32a would be ~5000K. I don’t have a light meter but a ceiling bounce comparison between the S42 on max (Nichia specified as 1630 lumen) and the SP32A on Turbo appear comparable and hence the specified 1550 is feasible.

[From Left-to-Righ - Thrower, SP32A Hotspot w/Spill, Flood]

The SP32A Standard mode Group levels are well spaced and well placed -

  • 4 levels, L/M1/M2/H (changed with a short-click once On),
  • with last-level memory for all levels
  • hidden Turbo (double-click from any mode), and
  • hidden Strobe (triple-click from any mode)
with the latter two modes being “direct access” as they can be activated even from Off.

The new SP32A “Ramping” Mode Group is also nicely implemented –

  • To change from Standard Group, press and hold power switch for 3+seconds
  • Release the switch to stop ramp at any desired level
  • Ramping ranges from High (comparable to the Standard Group High) to Moonlight (which is lower than the Standard Group Low)
  • hidden Turbo (double-click from any mode), and
  • hidden Strobe (triple-click from any mode)
with the latter two modes being “direct access” as they can be activated even from Off.

The “Ramping” UI is slightly different to some other stepless-ramping lights I’ve used, but nonetheless smooth and natural in operation -

  • Ramping the full range from High-to-Low (and Low-to-High) takes about 3+ seconds, with a very slight pause at about 1/3-way for a de-facto Medium mode
  • When ramping, either up or down, the LED will stop and blink twice to indicate it has reached either the Max or Min end of the ramp
  • The last used ramp brightness level and last-ramping-direction are both memorized when the light is turned Off.
  • Once turned On again, press-and-holding the button will continue ramping in the last used direction (up or down).
    [*=1]after release, press and holding again within 1/2-sec to reverse ramping direction, or
    [*=1]after release, press and holding again after waiting more than ~1/2-sec to continue ramping in the most recent direction (up or down)

The other items in the SP32A kit are the power components, the battery and USB charger. The included Sofirn 3000 mAh battery appears to charge up to the indicated 3000 mAh capacity, with a relatively low internal resistance levels (123 mOhm after charge.)

And the included portable USB charger appears to provide a full charge, with the LED indicator changing over from Red (charging) to Green (finished) at 4.17V.

Two personal preferences I would have liked to see on the SP32A include –

  1. a more pronounced switch and/or lit /recessed button. The body construction symmetry while aesthetically pleasing means the button is difficult to locate in a dark environment and/or with a gloved hand. More prominent flats or a ridge around the button, and/or an illuminated button would be helpful
  2. direct access to Moonlight or low. Although the SP32A memorizes the last used brightness level, including Low (in the Std Mode Group) and Moonlight (in the Ramping Mode Group), there is no “direct access” to these lowest levels from Off. Being able to turn a light on directly to Low/Moonlight helps to preserve ones adapted night vision when the environment is dark. Ironically the prior SP32 version had Direct Access to Low/Moonlight, but Sofirn seems to have dropped it in order to use the long-button-press for changing between Std and Ramping Group modes.

Mfg Specifications -
Cree LED XP-L2 V6 (5350-5700K Neutral)
Smooth Reflector
Working Voltage - 2.8-4.3 Volt Dimensions - 122.7 mm (length) x 22.6mm (body diameter) x 23.6mm (head diameter)
Net weight - 70.8 grams (without battery)
Construction 6061 Aluminum, Type III HA finish
AR Coated Toughened Glass Lens
Waterproof to 2-meters
Reverse Polarity Protection
Last Mode Memory
Lock-out function (4-quick clicks to activate/deactivate)

User Interface
6-Mode Group

  1. Low (4 lm/200 hr)
  2. Med1 (43 lm/20hr55min)
  3. Med2 (160 lm/5hr37min)
  4. High (900 lm/1hr)
  5. Turbo (1500 lm/2-34 min)
  6. Strobe (900 lm/2hr)

Ramping (Stepless Dimming) Mode
Moonlight (1 lm) to
High (1067)
Turbo (1500 lm)
Strobe (900 lm)

Overall, I think the Sofirn SP32A represents good implementation of the small 1x18650 battery form factor and the UI provides a wealth of features. The XP-L2 LED (neutral with some mild tint shift around the hotpot) and smooth deep reflector provide a good balance of throw with spill beam. The body build and matte HA finish are well done. Hefty (single) springs are used on both driver (w/wired by-passed from Factory!) and tail-cap ends for good physical shock (and varying battery length) support. Turbo mode on the SP32A performs as designed, after 2-minutes the Over-heat protection steps the brightness down from Turbo to High, which is well timed as the light begins to get warmer than I wanted to comfortably hold at the 2+min mark.

The included 18650 battery (3000 mAh/6A) and compact portable USB charger make the SP32A kit a good introductory package for users who may be new to 18650 lights or users who prefer a complete package with battery and charger (and/or who prefer added water protection as compared to a light with an exterior built-in USB charging port.)

This is my first Sofirn brand light and based on my experiences with the SP32a, I can foresee more Sofirns lights in the future.


Newly Enlightened
May 27, 2012
Great review !!...Looks like a great bargain , under $18 today on AE.......Any idea if the battery is Chinese or Japanese ?....Protected ?


Feb 10, 2004
Old Dominion, USA
The included battery is labelled Sofirn "Made in China".

The manual refers to/recommends "unprotected" batteries, so presumably that's what they included. I can't tell from looking at it, as there isn't the obvious circuit strip that one usually sees running down the side.

FWIW, the SP32A has Low Voltage Protection so unprotected cells are good to go.
Last edited:


Flashlight Enthusiast
Jun 18, 2014
It's an unprotected 18650 cell. It's not too bad, considering it is thrown into the package for free. I measure it at about 2800mAh. It's not a true high-drain cell, but it's good enough for the light. The light puts out about 1200 lumens, not the 1550 advertised. That's still a bright light, and is pretty standard in high-output 1x18650 budget lights. I think it uses a FET+1 driver, but I'm not positive.

After some recent testing I did of the included charger, I would not recommend using it unless you have nothing else. It does not use a proper CC-CV charge method. It does a 750mA constant-current charge until the battery reaches 4.28v, then drops to a 4.20v constant-voltage charge. (The CC charge phase should only go to 4.20v.) Most batteries won't enter the CV state, because the 4.28v charge will already overcharge them even after termination. This leaves most "good" batteries charged to about 4.22v or 4.23v, but that's still within spec. However, it's the 4.28v max that worries me most. It's going to be hard on batteries, and reduce their cycle life. IMO, the faster charge time isn't worth it.

The light is fine. The battery is fine. The charger is not very good.
Last edited:

Latest posts