Had a chance to compare them side by side. My impressions: Soonfire is much smaller in size (see pic 1). It comes with a holster for ease in carrying. Although Soonfire is supposed to have slightly more lumens, I thought the Anker looked somewhat...
Had a chance to compare them side by side. My impressions:
Soonfire is much smaller in size (see pic 1). It comes with a holster for ease in carrying.
Although Soonfire is supposed to have slightly more lumens, I thought the Anker looked somewhat brighter (see pics 2,3). A little difficult to compare because of the Anker''s zoom function, which Soonfire lacks. The Anker''s zoom is smooth, works well, and helps you focus light where you need it. I also found the Anker''s light be be more white, Soonfire seemed slightly yellowish/greenish in comparison.
Anker has momentary-on option, Soonfire does not. Anker has zoom function, Soonfire does not.
To turn on the Anker, you press the switch. Turning on the Soonfire is a two-handed job: (NOT NECESSARILY.. SEE EDIT) you twist the head to the right, and the thumb switch glows. You then use the thumb switch to control the light. If you click it, nothing happens. If you click and hold for 0.5 seconds, you''ve turned the light on. If you click and hold for 0.8 seconds, you instead enter a mode which selects strobe.
To turn off the Anker, you press the switch. Turning off the Soonfire is again a two handed operation that requires that you twist the head to the left. (NOT NECESSARILY. SEE EDIT.)
Learning to operate the Soonfire was mostly a matter of trial and error. The so-called owner''s manual (pic 4) is poorly printed on the box, in type so small you may need a magnifying glass to read it. When you do read it, the instructions are complicated, sometimes seem contradictory, and don''t always make sense to an English speaking person. The Anker is more straightforward.
Recharging the Soonfire is done though a dedicated port under a rubber flap. It is simpler than recharging the Anker, which requires unscrewing the tail cap to access the port. Both units have good visual indicators of charging status. The Anker, after you have unscrewed the tail cap to charge, lets you know when it is fully charged, as a red LED changes to green. The Soonfire''s lighted pushbutton switch gives very nice status indications for when the unit is charging, or needs charging, or has completed charging.
Customer service on an Anker product is always going to beat the competition. I''ve bought lots of Anker gear, and these people stand behind their products. Any problem is taken care of right away, no questions asked. I will buy Anker over other brands just for their customer service alone.
However, Soonfire customer support did reach out to me, not even at my request, and provided a free replacement unit, showing that they can be players in this market.
I originally dinged Anker a star because of the need to unscrew the tail cap to get to the recharging port and my other objection, that I always end up having to cycle through the unsettling strobe mode when I wanted to alter brightness settings. But the Anker was my preference due to its seemingly brighter light, easier operation, the useful zoom function, and the fact that I know from experience that the Anker people will stand behind it. Also, it''s currently priced $4 lower than the Soonfire. Still wish the light mode function had its own separate switch, but you learn to work with it, and I went with 5 stars for the Anker.
I would have originally given the Soonfire three stars, but after a year''s usage and better familiarity, upgraded it to 5 stars as well.
EDIT: After using the Soonfire for more than a year, I have become more familiar with it. Most of the issues I had with it were the result of their difficult instructions, so I wrote my own instructions which are now posted in my separate Soonfire review. Much better now that I understand how to charge it and use it. Now I realize that you only have to twist the light at first, because they untwist it for shipping. After that, I leave it twisted on and just use the pushbutton switch. Am I incurring some battery drain by not untwisting it? Don''t know for sure, but have seen no hint of that in operation.
I still like the Anker for reasons stated, but now that I understand the Soonfire better, it is often the one I reach for. There is something very compelling about the compact size, and I have come to prefer Soonfire''s dedicated charging port, you just have to be careful not to lose the rubber flap covering it (they provide extras).