Convoy C8+

The Product

GearBest sent me the new Convoy C8+ to review. This light is an update of one that has become a bit of a classic, and one that most readers here are familiar with. I asked them for, and received, the tan version of the light. For those unfamiliar, this is a throwy single-cell 18650 light that uses an X-PL Hi. One of the main draws of this light, and all the Convoy lights, is the ease of modification and the availability of aftermarket parts.


Here is a tracking link to the light I was sent.

Spoiler

No surprises here, I like this light a lot. It has a good emitter, a good driver, and a great build. Convoy hasn’t changed much other than the styling - which is a good thing! The feel in the hand, especially with the aggressive knurling pattern, is excellent.

Build

Like most of Convoy’s lights, this is made of anodized aluminum. The bezel is slightly crenelated, in the way that I enjoy - not so much that it looks like a medieval mace, but enough that you can tell if the light was left on when it’s standing head down. Behind the bezel, the head is where the most striking changes were made from the original C8. A series of thick fins has been added to help with cooling - more on that later. The reflector is smooth, and the emitter is perfectly centered at its base.


The body tube has been updated as well, with the most aggressive knurling I have seen. This texture feels like it would cut into the hand if it were any sharper, and I love it. On a slimmer EDC light, this would make it a pain to get in and out of a pocket, but on a larger like this I like it. It really adds to the ‘hard working’ feel of this light.

I say larger, but the light is actually quite compact. Even with the tail switch, the light is only slightly longer than the D1S, and the head is just a bit slimmer.
The light will tail stand without issue, but it’s long enough that it’s fairly easy to knock over. The head is attached to the body with thick but unanodized threads. The tailcap threads are anodized, which means the light can be physically locked out with a quarter turn of the tailcap. The tailcap also has some shallow fins for grip and aesthetics, but these don’t serve much use for cooling.

What’s Included

The light comes in a pretty modest package, wrapped in some bubble wrap with a basic lanyard attached. There are no extra o-rings or other accessories included. My package was a bit on the squished side when I got it, but the light itself arrived in good condition so the packaging did what it was supposed to. I actually prefer this to packaging with a lot of wasteful foam that just ends up in the garbage bin the next day.

Modes and Interface

This light uses the Biscotti UI that many of the Convoy series is shipping with. That firmware has many options, and I won’t cover it exhaustively here. The important thing is that you can choose how many modes you want, cycling from low to high or reverse, whether or not the light has memory, and whether or not you get strobe modes. You can pick options that include bike strobe and battery check modes as well, and there is a single mode option.
This driver has low voltage protection, but does not have any timed or thermal step downs. Regardless of which mode group you pick, a single click turns the light on. While on, a half press of the reverse clicky tail switch will cycle through the modes, and a full click will turn the light off.

Light Quality and Beam

This light is available with a variety of X-PL Hi emitters, which I happen to very much like. I chose a neutral option listed as 5000 K. As with the Emisar D1S, I find lights like this to be a bit on the throwy side for day to day general use, but in a wide open space, at a lake, or if you just need to see far, they really get the job done. I found this just great for keeping an eye on the pooch at the lake at night.
Skilhunt H03 with 5000K 219C vs C8+ with 5000K XP-L Hi

Power and Runtime

This light takes a single 18650 cell. There are springs at both ends of the cell tube, so everything from unprotected cells to protected button tops will work.
I realized after starting my test that this light does not have any step downs. It’s large enough and has good enough cooling that no serious damage should happen if left on high indefinitely, but I’m a wimp when it comes to high temperatures and I didn’t want to risk it. For that reason, the runtime was manually stepped down to medium and then terminated. Once at medium, the light was able to cool to a comfortable temperature quite quickly. Other than a small blip down to 96% output while it was still on high, there output was very stable.

Water Resistance and Backwards Compatibility

Convoy has always been touted for their ability to take some abuse, and I wanted to put that to the test - so I tool the C8+ on a short snorkelling route around the lake. The light was submerged at about 1.5 m for 15 minutes, and didn’t have any issues whatsoever. I opened it up afterwards, and there was no water inside.

Although it didn't leak a drop, lights that don't match the ground are usually better for water use. Or lanyards.
What’s with the shiny bezel in that picture? Well, I have a soft spot for stainless steel bezels and couldn’t resist testing if the updated C8+ would work with one designed for the C8. Here’s a tracking link to the one I ordered from GearBest. The bezel fit perfectly, and adds a bit of style (and weight) to the light.

Summary

Pros:
  • Great price
  • Wide variety of tints
  • Even tint across the beam
  • Good throw
  • Aggressive knurling
  • Easy to use, powerful UI
  • Works with C8 components
Cons:
  • Packaging could be better
  • No step downs

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