Is this the best mini ‘keychain’ hand-held light available to backpackers? Possibly, and if not, it comes close.
RovyVon is dedicated to the design and manufacture of ‘illumination flashlights’. The brand is owned by Runfree, a company making outdoor gear and equipment, based in Shenzhen, China. Unlike some products coming out of China, Runfree has maintained high levels of innovation and quality while RovyVon has been consistently pushing at the boundaries of what is possible to squeeze into a small lighting package. Enough so that the light shown here may already be familiar to those who have seen a subsequently produced Nitecore ‘keychain flashlight’ that is perhaps more than a close mimic. Homage? Design rip-off? Convergent evolution? Who knows?
There are quite a few similar looking, and similarly named, small lights available in the RovyVon Aurora series and there have been some generational changes too. Three Points of the Compass is looking here at one specific product- the RovyVon Aurora A5x Red.
This little light is small enough to hang on a keychain. It weighs 17.1g and measures 60mm in length and 16.60mm diameter. There are a couple of attachable stainless steel accessories supplied, a 2.8g 25mm diameter split ring and 2g 36mm long pocket clip, that would also attach it to a hat brim.
It takes around 90 minutes to charge the internally sealed 330mAh 4.2V lithium polymer battery. A 300mm long micro USB lead is included on purchase though Three Points of the Compass wishes the light’s connector had been USB-C in line with upgrades occuring across almost all other electronics. RovyVon have used USB-C on their larger and heavier E200 and E700 ‘Angel Eyes’ series.
There is a two year warranty when purchased but how that would operate in real time I haven’t a clue. The light is totally sealed, with a small rubber button for the interface and flippy rubber cover over the charge port. These obviously provide a degree of weather resistance but how much I am unsure. Packaging for the light when purchased states IP65, but RovyVon’s website states IP66. IP stands for ‘Ingress Protection’. The differences between these ratings are:
- IP65 Rating– rated as totally dust tight and protected against water projected from a nozzle from any angle (limited ingress permitted with no harmful effects).
- IP66 Rating– rated as totally dust tight and protected against heavy seas or direct high pressure jets of water.
“650 lumen output is supposed to give a beam reach of 109 metres, however that may be a tad ambitious“
This little light has a number of features that make it interesting. All can be found in other lights but it is the bringing together here that puts the A5x in to serious consideration by the backpacker and for Every Day Carry. The front white LED is a CREE XP-G3 delivering four light intensities: Ultra Low (3 lumen), Low (25 lumen), Medium (400 lumen) and High (650 lumen). Respective runtimes are 66hrs, 10hrs, 1.5hrs+150mins, 1.5hrs+75mins. The slightly odd looking stats for medium and high are because the light stops down to 130 lumen (from medium) and 90 lumen (from high) after 100 seconds of operation. This is a safety measure due to the heat build up. CREE XP-G3 LED’s range from 5700-7000K(elvin) which deliver a bright blue/white light.
There is also a Nichia LED alternative available from RovyVon but that has a 450 lumen beam upper setting and less range with almost indistinguishable run-life.
Pressing and holding the button switches on the high beam, only illuminated while holding the button. Two taps turns the light on permanently. Pressing and holding turns it off. The various intensity beams are accessed via the number of taps of the single button. It is all pretty intuitive. The 650 lumen output is supposed to give a beam reach of 109 metres, however that may be a tad ambitious.
You may have noticed I wrote ‘front white LED’ earlier. There are also side LEDs on this light. This is where my model mostly differs with another very similar RovyVon model that includes a UV light on the side. Mine has White and Red LEDs in the side, these are: Low White (17 lumen, 12 hr run time), Bright White (65 lumen, 3hrs), Red (23 lumen, 2hrs) and flashing Red (23 lumen, 7hrs). As with the main headlight, each of these is activated by scrolling through them via the single button-controlled user interface. The low white sidelight is especially handy for use in a tent for reading and the like, or as a brighter white for hanging to one side while out of a tent, while preparing a meal perhaps or not blinding a companion by looking at them while wearing a head torch. The flashing red light would be good to hang off the back of a pack while road walking at night or in fog. The white side-LED is 4500K which is a warmer light than the headlight, less harsh and more settling to the brain rather than wakening it.
Another feature- the body of this light is an opaque green polycarbonate. This is GITD- ‘glow-in-the-dark’, and once passively charged enables the luminous light to be located easily for at least a couple of hours and still retains the slightest of glows beyond that.
There are a couple of features I would have liked to have seen. The aforementioned lack of USB-C charge port. The upper lumen level (for only 100 seconds), will be extremely helpful for a brief check long range, but most use for this little light will be much closer, so a little better spacing of lower lumen levels would have been appreciated, thereby also offering extended battery life. I might also glue a couple of small rare earth magnets to the casing so that it can potentially be attached remotely. There are flat sections opposite the charge port and on the end that are perfect situated.
This is a cracking piece of kit. Manufacturers continue to push on with innovation that also utilise better user interfaces and this is a prime example of what can be made especially suited to backpackers.