Once I got more into the flashlights, it was a near certainty I would end up with a BOSS 35 from Oveready — it was more a matter of when. This light is sexy, expensive, and neat. There’s a lot about this light, and most of it is nuanced to love, but I am convinced this light is all show, very little ‘go’ if you will.
So read on to find out why…
Power and LED
The BOSS 35 is an 18350 powered light, whereas the ‘70’ is an 18650 powered light. I love the 18350 size as it offers a ton of power, and great capacity, while still being a small and light battery. This variant of the BOSS 35 has three XPL 4000k emitters which are not high CRI, but also not gross green looking.
In addition, the BOSS offers an auxiliary light color, and here this light has been configured with a red auxiliary light. Generally speaking, the way to look at this light output is that it is pretty damned bright. Whether using the AUX or the main emitters, it’s a very bright light.
I honestly thought I would hate the XPL 4000k choice, but I find it to be perfectly fine. It’s not what I would choose given all the other options out there, but I find them mostly inoffensive, and unless you are comparing them directly to a high-CRI light, they are fine. Yeah, fine is the right word.
UI and Use
Ok, so first you should know a couple things about this light:
- There’s two switch choices: McClicky and MOFF. This light has the McClicky, which is a very standard flashlight switch and a very good one. The MOFF is the newest hotness and it would take an entirely separate article to explain that switch.
- The light uses the LuxRC driver, which has all sorts of tech packed into it. The most relevant though, is that you ‘program’ this driver using a video clip you generate on a website. Meaning you can program this light wirelessly with a phone/tablet/laptop whatever. It’s wild.
Ok, so having said that, I want to focus specifically on the UI and how it felt to use this light. And the summary of that is that I don’t like the UI of this light, and I think it kind of sucks to use the BOSS as a flashlight generally. I highly suspect I am in the minority of this opinion, based on all the positive commentary I have seen about this light, so here’s my reasoning:
- Programming: there’s no doubt that this light is the best of any programmable light I have tried. Clicking around the visual setup interface for the light is amazing. Not having to use a cable, also amazing. But there’s two parts of the programming which felt like an “oh sooo close” situation and it didn’t deliver.
- The available options are limited, why they are not more variable I don’t get. Largely, my biggest issue is that you cannot get the low, low enough.
- There’s no way to see what is currently programmed, at least not that I know of.
- You can only program one group at a time, which can make it tedious if for setting up the light when you get it.
- The Modes: the light comes with the ability to have four modes in any one ‘group’. What this means is that you can select four outputs, in the order you want, and send that to the light. But if you just want one output, or two, you can only send those and mark the others as used, make the light a single/double setup. This is phenomenal because if you want a light which is simply low-high only, you can do that. In fact the mode setup itself, is fantastic.
- The Groups: the light also has 4 (I am keeping it simple here) groupings of modes you can program. Basically you can program 4 sets of modes (which themselves have up to four settings in each mode). Practically speaking you could then set something like this:
- Group 1: single mode, only high output.
- Group 2: aux + low outputs
- Group 3: some edc output
- Group 4: maybe starts high and moves low
The thinking with this group setup is that it allows you to quickly change the configuration of the light on the fly to something completely different. In theory, this is fantastic. But…
- The PIN Switches are annoying: to change the light into different settings, or groups, or get it into programming mode, you need to execute a series of clicks on the switch (called PIN programming). And it’s not a normal “tap really quickly this many times” there’s pausing and delays you have to hit to get the light to change. And even if you manage to remember what the series is (I just tried while writing this, and cannot remember the sequence to chance the groups, I got it a couple minutes later) you then need to wait for the light to very slowly cycle through the group options. In my head I thought I could set a single output high group, so when I ruck in the morning I could swap the light over to that group as I headed out, and back to my normal when I get done. In practice, I grabbed a different light after wasting a couple minutes trying to get the light to change over. And swapping the groups, is among the easiest of the PIN switches to do.
- There’s a beacon mode for the McClicky switch to let you find the light in the dark, with the AUX blinking. Or so says the documentation. This is awful. Like, should be removed bad. Not only could I never get it to work, but once you turn on this setting, the switch becomes inconsistently responsive for even normal operation. And getting back into the PIN settings which are already hard, is made increasingly more difficult when this mode is on because of how it breaks the reading of the switch itself. I am actually surprised I got it back out of this mode.
That’s my issue with this light: for such a wiz-bang programming setup, it’s oddly devoid of the truly custom options that I want. All of the output options are effectively too bright for being able to use the light to not stub my toe while letting my wife sleep in the same room. The AUX has one mode, and it’s insanely bright, not even that useful generally. I turned it off in most of my modes, and I typically love a good red light output.
Ok, yes, the output on high is really good. But flawed. Flawed because when you want to use the light at a useable (mid-high) output in the daytime, the light heats up so fasts that it becomes something you don’t want to be holding, or to put back in your pocket, quite quickly. At about 70% output mode in the configurator, I get about 45 seconds of use before I find the light becoming too hot and I need/want to stop using it, but can’t put it in my pocket yet.
In fact, this is the only light I have tested where it consistently got too hot for me to want to keep using it, when I pulled out the light to use it. And that’s not even running it super high, and also not doing something extreme with the light. Just searching around on dad-spider-hunting duties, or looking for a screw I dropped in the carpet — all of that lead me to put away the light and grab something which handles heat better. A D4V2 certainly gets hot, but it feels like a cool running light compared to this.
In short: I love how this UI is programmed, but the programming options are limited for people who like low outputs, and the light heats up fast for those who like high outputs. Leaving you in a weird middle ground which I find to be not overly useful.
Carry and Looks
Ok, BUT, this light looks fucking amazing. Carries even better. And feels even better in your hand than either of those. I cannot downplay any of those categories.
This light is the best looking light I have owned — it’s not even close.
In my pocket, this light is my favorite to carry. It packs a huge punch, and great runtimes from my 18350s, in what has to be one of the lightest packages for an 18350 light. It weighs nothing. And, the clip is fantastic — top notch — one of the best. This light clips securely, but slides in and out of your pocket like a dream.
Then you put it in your hand. The finishing is so good, so smooth. It feels almost soft in your hand. There is not another light I enjoy holding in my hand as much as this one. I feel entirely silly writing that, but I know of no better way to put it: I love holding this light.
Give me this host with a better output set, we might need to ditch everything else. It’s that good looking/feeling/carrying.
I am not going to keep this (might be gone by the time you read this). For as great as this light is to hold, to carry, and to look at — I still use my lights all the time. And I really don’t like using this light. For this much money, the UI leaves a lot wanting, and for $100 the RRT01 Raptor has a leaps and bounds better UI and doesn’t heat up nearly as fast.
If you don’t use/need to turn on your lights that often, but you want something which nails everything else — BOSS 35. If you care more about your light being great to use (me) then this one doesn’t make the cut.
But you’ll want this light to make the cut, because the body of this thing is that good.