Rovyvon A8U Review

Today I’m going to be taking a look at a neat little flashlight called the Rovyvon A8. Rovyvon’s Aurora series made a big splash in the EDC world, and for good reason. Here I’ll be breaking down both what I like and don’t like about their newest model the A8, as well as delivering my verdict.

I’d like to preface this review by stating that I’ll be using my other keychain light, the Omicron, as a basis of comparison. This is really an apples to oranges comparison because the Omicron costs five times as much and is custom-made, but it should help to highlight some of the points I’m going to make in this overview.

First things first, there’s a lot of different models in the Aurora series. If you can’t tell already this is the eighth version of the Aurora hence the name A8. Now here’s a fun fact: Rovyvon actually skipped the A7 and went straight to the A8. My guess is that this is because eight is lucky in Chinese culture, and they wanted the release of the A8 to coincide with the Chinese New Year. That aside, there’s a lot of other metal and LED options available. 

Running through the standard specs that most people will want to know, this particular model was $47 at the time of my purchase. The flashlight measures in at 0.57 inches in diameter, 2.16 inches in length, and weights 11.8 grams. All said, the A8 is about the size of a thumb which is a very respectable size for keychain carry. It measures up nicely against my other keychain flashlight. The package also includes a myriad accessories such as a necklace, lanyard, and clip but I’d posit that most users will opt for keychain carry. 

Now let’s talk about what I like. 

The first good thing here is the user-interface. It’s still a bit complicated, but it’s leagues better than previous models of the Aurora. In fact, the user-interface on previous models was a big reason why I opted not to purchase this flashlight sooner. The A8 is using an e-switch, and this allows for a lot of things that wouldn’t be possible on a standard 10180 keychain light like the one I have here. One small drawback of an e-switch is parasitic drain but that’ll probably be mostly negligible in real use. The first thing I’m going to demonstrate is the momentary high-mode which you get by holding down the switch. The hold is to prevent accidental activation which is crucial especially when there’s a physical switch. Next, two taps will always take you to moonlight mode which is a gentle 0.5 lumens. This is a moonlight mode done correctly, and honestly this shouldn’t be significant, yet it is, just because of how many manufacturers botch something so crucial for EDC use. Clicking the switch consecutively after you’ve entered moonlight mode will take you to low, medium, and then finally high. What’s really unique about the A8 though, and a good reason why these little lights are so popular, are these secondary LEDs on the side. Three clicks will take you to UV and then you click again to cycle constant-red and red-beacon. Four clicks will get you a constant-on white LED. All modes are turned off by holding down the switch. 

Alright, so interface is good albeit still a bit complex for most users. Next thing that’s good about the A8 – and the A6 I believe – is that it’s got a Nichia 219c LED. Previous versions used a Cree XPG3 which is notorious for its crappy tint. With the Nichia, you do sacrifice some brightness but you’re getting much better color rendering as a result. This means that you’ll be able to perceive colors more faithfully which can be important in color-critical applications. It’s really all a matter of quality over quantity, and everyone has their own preference. With that said, Nichia is the correct choice for a flashlight like this because the high doesn’t last long anyways. Rovyvon says that the LED is 4500 kelvin, but to my eyes it looks much closer to 5000 kelvin. Most people won’t care about this too much, but I know that it’ll be a point of contention for many. All the same, it’s a pleasant color temperature to my eyes. 

Final thing that I really like about this flashlight is that they’ve gone with a proprietary battery pack. What’s cool is that you can actually see the battery pack because of the see-through plastic used. It’s not your traditional 10180 battery that a lot of keychain lights use. The battery pack’s unique shape effectively facilitates the addition of the secondary UV, red, and white LEDs. The A8 also has integrated USB charging which is going to be a big plus especially for techy people who always have their cables with them. I would have liked to have seen USB-C for future proofing but it looks like we’re stuck with USB-A for now. I honestly don’t know of any flashlight that uses USB-C, but hey, I can dream. 

Anyways, let’s talk about what I don’t like. If you can’t tell already, I’m very much polarized on the proprietary battery pack. While it’s cool that it allows for the stuff I outlined just now, it also means that it’s not user replaceable. The battery will eventually wear itself out, and then you’re effectively stuck with a $50 keychain flashlight. That seems to be the trend with a lot of the enthusiast keychain lights manufacturers have been pushing out, for better or for worse. 

The next thing I’m not a fan of is the IP65 ingress rating. Just a quick recap for those of you who might not know what that means, the first number basically says that the flashlight is completely sealed against dust particles, and the second number means that it’s not generally, but not completely sealed against liquid immersion. The A8 will probably stand up to a good amount of rain, but completely dunking it is a no-no. And although most users won’t intentionally dunk their flashlight, a 7 or 8 rating against liquid immersion is always a plus. 

Another thing I dislike about the A8 are the use of PWM or pulse-width modulation. This is something that a lot of drivers use for efficiency and it basically means that the light flickers very quickly to the point where it’s imperceptible to the human eye. Generally this isn’t a big deal, especially when the frequency is fast enough. Some people are particularly sensitive to it, though, and the PWM is noticeably slow on the A8 especially when you use a camera to pick it up. 

Things I’m on the fence about include the intensity of the secondary emitters and the overall runtimes. The secondary emitters, particularly the red, are very bright. I think that Rovyvon intended for the red emitter to be used more so as an emergency signal, which makes sense for the red beacon, but that isn’t optimal for constant-on red. Some people will want to use the red emitter at night so as to preserve their night vision, and so the brightness is counterintuitive. Likewise, the mode progression of the secondary emitters comes on with UV first which isn’t optimal. So don’t expect to use the red emitter to preserve your night vision by any means. 

Inevitably, runtimes are not great with a flashlight of this size. That’s why it particularly irks me that the red LED is so bright especially when it’s generally something you’d use to conserve battery life. As it stands, and according to the manual, red will only last for an hour. The same goes for the UV. The medium and high modes top out at roughly an hour and half an hour respectively, and that’s not even accounting for step-downs.  

I think it needs to be said that you shouldn’t by any means expect incredible runtimes from a flashlight this small. In fact, it’s impressive that it puts out as much brightness as it does – albeit briefly – and big props to Rovyvon for actually publishing an image of the runtime graph on high. A lot of manufacturers milk the ANSI standards, leaving most users to blow their battery on the high expecting lots of runtime. On that note, something that I really like about Rovyvon is their transparency and willingness to take user-feedback and then implement it.  I might be a little salty that I never got a response to the email I sent about getting a review unit, but hey, I have to hand it to them. In fact, the revised user-interface and the Nichia LED that make the A8 so compelling are the result of community-driven feedback. 

As it stands, I would assert that the A8 and some of the Aurora’s more recent iterations set a new precedent for keychain flashlights. This progression has definitely been in the works for a while, and we’ve seen this with lights like the Nitecore TIP and TINI, but Rovyvon’s lights – particularly the A8 – set the bar at a whole new level. Granted, I do have a lot of nitpicks, but that’s mainly because I’m a connoisseur. It’s my job to give my objective feedback, and in my opinion, this is the keychain flashlight to buy whether you’re just getting into EDC or you’re already an avid flashlight enthusiast. 

Grade: B- ★

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