Thursday, January 5, 2017

BLF 348 (1xAAA stainless steel flashlight)

BLF 348 is a small single AAA flashlight in a clean stainless steel form.
This is a special BudgetLightForum edition flashlight,sharing design also with flashlights under other brands,but implementing some features suggested by the BLF members.

One of the main differences comparing it to other similar lights is the type of LED.
BLF 348 is equipped with a neutral white Nichia LED,which is preferred by many.

The second noticeable feature is the compatibility with regular 1.5V AAA batteries,as well as with Li-Ion 4.2V batteries.
Another important aspect of the flashlight is  its On/Off operation.Although a small easily pocketable AAA flashlight,BLF 348 gives you the comfort of operating it via reverse clicky switch at the tail.
Depending on personal preferences and ways of use,this may be a key feature.
The switch cap is flat on its top and allows tail-standing at some level,though not so stable.

The whole housing is precisely machined. There is no imperfections on my sample.
The switch cap is also made of metal,ensuring its durability.
The switch is positioned high enough to allow comfortable operation.
The UI is simple- Press the switch fully to turn the light ON/OFF.
There is no additional modes. The light is meant as an universal EDC light for the situations where additional lower modes are not required.

Comparison with similar flashlights-
Thrunite Ti, Thorfire PF03, BLF 348, Yezl S7, MXDL
Notice the difference in the LED's color.

Comparison of the tails.

BLF 348 disassembled on its base parts,with no use of tools.

The reflector is orange-peel type with fine texture. The beam in result is smooth without sharp differences between hotspot,corona and spill. As already was mentioned,the LED is Nichia 359.

The construction of the flashlight allows disassembling it on three main parts.
The front bezel is removable(it is so well fitting the battery tube,it is hard to see the line between them).
You can extract the reflector and the LED board together with the pill.
-Note that unscrewing the bezel could rotate also the LED insulating pad(a thin circular plastic pad),which stays very close to the LED's silicone dome and in my case resulted in cut silicone dome.
Removing the bezel several times to take pictures of the internal elements,I almost de-domed the LED,as the beam in this state is far from its initial condition. The bad thing is that I damaged the LED before able to take beamshots,so the beam you will see below is only demonstration of the light coming from the Nichia LED.
The beam profile is not on the original good level. Unfortunately the LED can't be repaired and I can't provide beamshots of the original beam.
A problem I found also with the position and form of the pocket clip,which adds the so preferred option for attaching the flashlight easily.
However in the original as delivered position the clip is mounted on the one part and having its pressing on the other part of the battery tube.
This makes unscrewing the tail-cap hard and also may cause damages to the tail threads.
Screwing/unscrewing the tailcap really takes much more effort than needed and I don't want to think about replacing the battery in the dark.
Bending the clip may help with the problem,but this will make it lose and not so secure when the flashlight is attached and it should keep it on place.
My solution for the inconvenient position of the clip was simple-just move it slightly to the front and it will stop catching both-tailcap and battery tube. Now changing the battery does not cause any trouble.
The flashlight is quite long and moving the clip at different position does not affect its work and stability that much.

The light from the Nichia LED is neutral white with noticeable pinkish tint on my sample,especially comparing it to other light sources. Paying attention to the accuracy of the object colors when illuminated with a flashlight,I have to note that white objects,as white paper,etc.,do not appear quite authentically.
Overall the light coming from the BLF 348 may be defined as more pleasant than the light from a cool white light,but as always personal preferences may vary.

Below is the run/time test graph.
Power source Duracell Duralock with capacity 750mAh.
To be honest I did not expect such a good performance.
The driver managed to maintain about 95% of its initial output Constant in period of 64 minutes.
You can hardly get constant output from a cheap(and not that cheap) flashlight with a boost driver.
Usually the output is highly depending on the battery voltage.

Overall the flashlight is a good EDC choice,giving you useful light and comfortable operation,easy even for new users without much experience with complex UI lights.

BLF 348 was provided by GearBest for review.