Astrolux MF02 Flashlight Review

Preface
Official Specs
Versions
Price
Short Review
Long Review
  What's Included
  Manual and Packaging
  Build Quality and Durability
  Size
  Retention
  Power
  User Interface and Operation
  Modes
  LED and beam
  Tint vs...
  Beamshots, Runtime, etc table.
  Comparisons
Conclusion
  What I like
  What I don't like
Up Next
Notes

Preface

Today I have the Astrolux MF02, the first in my quest to have all the MF0x series lights from Astrolux.  This is the [smaller?] thrower option – there’s also the MF01, which is a can “wall of light” light, and the MF04, which is a super thrower.  I generally like Astrolux and (certainly like the S41! thought technically I reviewed the Manker E14 version.)  The MF02 is a nice large thrower with a warm emitter – a good combo.  Let’s see how it works out!


Official Specs and Features

Versions

There’s just one version of this light.

Price

The list price for the MF02 is $125.95, but I’m talking to Banggood at the moment to get a good coupon for you all! If you just can’t wait, buy it here!

Edit: Got the coupon! Here’s the flashlight link and the discount price is $79.99, code: 85dd97. That is a referral link (traffic tracking)!


Short Review

As far as ‘handheld throwers’ go, this one is a beast.  It’s deep smooth reflector really gets the light out there.  I like the whole package, and I like that it’s not a cool white tint.  The huge reflector make it a little unbalanced in my hand, but that’s not too big a price to pay for >1300m throw!

Long Review

What’s Included

  • Astrolux MF02 Flashlight
  • Nylon Pouch
  • Shoulder strap
  • Lanyard
  • Spare o-rings (2)
  • Threaded lanyard connect

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Package and Manual

White glossy slip fit box.  Foam inside, stamped illustration of light on front.  Simple.

IMG_3053.jpg

The manual has the same illustration of the light, with some diagrams and whatnot.  A fine manual.

Build Quality and Disassembly

The MF02 has quite a presence in hand.  It’s very sturdy, and there’s a lot of mass in the head.  The build quality is great, and is at least as good as Astrolux is normally.

The head has two fin areas for great heat dissipation.  And also tons of mass, as I mentioned.

Here’s a general teardown of the parts.  The tailcap has nothing – no spring, no contact etc.  The business part of the body is in the cell holder.  The format is 2s2p.

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The bezel seems to be stainless, but I never was able to remove it for inspection.  There are slight crenelations, but not of the “murder” variety.

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Here are some detail shots of the body.  The center tube is just that, a tube.  Diamond knurling in larger squares provide ample grip.  The cell holder is conveniently reversible (but the cells are absolutely not! Take care to install them properly!).

Size

Officially 189mm x 84mm x 54mm(length x head x body diameter).

I hate to call such a small (?) light “massive,” but this light carries quite large.  The head (I’ll say it again) has a lot of mass!

Retention

There are a few ways to carry this light.  Primary is the nylon pouch.  It’s directional, with bezel up carry.  It’s a pretty nice pouch, with the exception that the belt loop doesn’t detach at all and so you’d need to remove a belt to remove the pouch.  Otherwise it’s a standard plastic d-ring nylon pouch.

Also included is an adjustable shoulder strap.  This attaches through permanent loops in the tailcap, and a screw-in loop mid-body.  The hole in the screw-in loop is just a touch small, so the hook does not rotate very freely, but the tailcap connection fits well, and the hook has a bit of freedom.  This strap is quite adjustable, and has a pad for shoulder contact.

IMG_3105.jpg

There’s also a threaded hole, but it’s not a standard tripod threading.  As far as I know this really can only connect the threaded, included, lanyard attachment.  It’s likely there’s a screw in attachment that will convert this hole to a tripod mount.  That would be a very nice inclusion with the package.  I believe some light I’ve had has one of those, but the name escapes me (possibly the Astrolux S42!).

While it’s not really intended this way, I think a better lanyard attachment would be to just connect both ends on tailcap, and have the light hang straight down.

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Power

Four 18650 cells are used for powering this light.  The cells are in a 2s2p configuration (or to quote u/kaybi_ “or 2p2s”).  This means that the battery holder voltage is around 8.4V at a maximum.  It also means that the light will work fully on some combination of 2 cells!  That combination is actually versatile – any bay of the holder in which two cells are opposing each other will work! (ie, with one positive on “top” and one negative on “top”).  And output won’t suffer; output should be the same with 2 or 4 cells.

In the photos above, I have 4x 30q flat top cells, and to be perfectly honest, they just barely fit.  I’d recommend your shortest cell, but protected/unprotected and flat top/button top shouldn’t matter (yes, there’s a little plastic …. thing over the positive terminal, but that didn’t stop flat top cells from working.  I do expect it’d prevent damage, but I’d still be extra careful and don’t push your luck.

In the last photo below, you can see the plastic things on the positive terminals.  Also note the cell arrangement.  ++– (instead of probably the more common +-+-).

I like lights that have no cell holder, but I do appreciate cell holders.  I am not smart enough to know why a maker decides to do one or the other.  I can say that lights without this holder seem to be smaller, as in the case of the Imalent RT35 (which I’ll be reviewing soon!).  That light throws almost as well, and has on-board charging too.

Runtime.png

Here’s the runtime.  I reset the light to turbo twice toward the end (because I just like to see what happens).  The switch does turn red when the voltage gets low.  I was using unprotected cells, so I opted to shut the light off, and the cell holder was at 6.7V (ie 3.35V each).  The switch indicates as follows:

Green: Cell holder is at >6.8V
Red: Cell holder is at >6.1V
Flashing red: Cell holder is <6.1V
Light off: Cell holder is <5.8V.

User Interface and Operation

The MF02 has one side indicating e-switch.  Under normal operation, the switch will be lit green (and also fade in and out).  This can be turned off easily.  It’s a nice switch, with a very positive click.  It’s not huge, but it’s plenty big.

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Here you can see the green nature of the switch.  Yes, it’s visible during daytime.  Yes, it’s not even across the whole switch.  I think some users had a problem with this on a previous light’s group buy but it really does not bother me.

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The switch is very visible in dark.  There’s also a red emitter under the switch, for other indications.

Here’s a UI table!

State Action Result
Off Long Press Lock
Locked Long Press Unlock
Off Click Low
On Hold Off
On Click Mode Cycle (LMHT)
On Double Click Turbo
Any Triple Click Strobe (Fast)
Any Triple Click Strobe (Fast)
Strobe Click Strobe advance (Fast, SOS, Beacon)

I like the UI, but there’s just something that’s taken me a while to get used to.  I love that there’s no memory and it always starts on low, for absolute sure!!  Strobes are not front and center, too.

Modes

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Mode Measured Lux Tailcap Amps
Turbo 3000 2.5h 20400 5.04
High 1700 3.5h 12180 1.72
Mid 350 25h 3030 0.28
Moon 15  300h 152 0.00

LED and Beam

Astrolux has a Cree XHP35 HI in this thrower.  It’s labeled as “NW, 4000-4500K” but it’s really quite warm.  The reflector is smooth and quite deep.

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Tint vs BLF-348

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Beamshots, Runtime, and Lux Measurements

Astrolux MF02
Emitter Cree XHP35 HI
Emitter Notes NW 4000-4500K
Cell 18650×4
Glamour Shots Beamshots [0.3″, f/8, ISO 100, 5000k]
Runtime Chargetime N/A
LVP?
Claimed Lumens (lm) 3000
Lux (Measured) 4370 lux @ 10.517 m
Candela (Calculated) in cd 483353.9
Throw (Calculated) (m) 1390.5
Throw (Claimed) (m) 1587

 

Random Comparisons and Competitive Options….

For an 18650 “can” style light the emitter of choice is what should be the emitter of choice.  As such there are a bunch of competitors!  I like this one in particular because it handles the 5A well, with plenty of mass in the head to deal with the heat.  I also like the tint – very far off of cool.

Conclusion

What I like

  • Great throw!
  • NW tint
  • UI is simple
  • Indicating side switch

What I don’t like

  • Tint is warm but a bit muddy
  • Head seems bigger and heavier than it really needs to be

Up Next

I might wrap up the Thrunite Catapult V6 by Friday.  That’ll be all for this week, though! More stuff coming next week!

Notes

  • This light was provided by Banggood for review. I was not paid to write this review.
  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.wordpress.com.  Please visit there for the best experience!
  • Whether or not I have a coupon for this light, I do have a bunch of coupons!!  Have a look at my spreadsheet for those coupons. It’s possible to subscribe and get notifications when the sheet is edited!!

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