Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Olight S10 Baton Review by Reed

A great flashlight, in my opinion, is harder to design and implement than most other EDC items. While Tony's reviews tend to rate knives lower than lights, my experience is the opposite; a knife is more likely to get a perfect score than a light because I expect/desire so many different things from a light whereas I look for knives to only do a few things well. (For those interested, as of this writing Tony has 37 knives rated with 4 receiving a perfect 20 (10.8%) vs. 22 rated lights with 4 receiving a perfect 20 (18.2%). The overall average of knife scores was 15.7 vs. 17.0 for lights.) This is not to say I'm correct or that Tony is wrong because a review is nothing but a subjective opinion anyway, but it is to say I come at a light review a little differently than what you normally see on this blog.  

EDITOR'S NOTE: I found this analysis to be fascinating and I can't explain why that's the case.  Also note that Reed did the calculations about three or four months ago so I wonder if this holds true. 

Today I will review the Olight S10 Baton. I've carried this light daily for nearly two months using primarily a RCR123 battery. Here are the basic specifications for the light: 4 brightness levels (high mode, 320 lumens for 1.5 hours; mid mode, 70 lumens for 7.5 hours; low mode, 5 lumens for 108 hours; and moon mode, 0.5 lumens for 15 days); side switch; magnetic, flat standing tail; strobe; reversible pocket clip; and total length of just 70.5mm. 

You can purchase the light here for approximately $50 USD shipped. Here is the Olight product page.  The light is reviewed here. It was also discussed by Tony here


Design: 2 

All in all, it is a well designed, well thought out light. There are a lot of features especially for a $50 light. 

Fit and finish: 1 

The finish is uniform but the HA isn't as tough as I would hope. It may be Type II rather than Type III. My light shows a little wear after steady use so if you like the Boba Fett look you'll be happy. The light survived being used as a toy for an infant's bath without any water intrusion even when the selector switch was used.

Grip: 2 

A bit small for a primary light, the light is a great size for EDC. The selector switch is well placed, the knurling well cut. 

Carry: 2 

This light is small and light. It carries well. I carry it without the pocket clip (no desire for a clip on a light this small) but I will note that the clip is the worst I have ever used. My nine year old son could design a better clip. Really, I can't emphasize enough how terrible the clip is designed. If you want a clip on your light, pass on the S10. I don't so no point is deducted. If the clip were included this would get a 0.

Output: 2 

No complaints. 320 lumens is a whole lot of light from a one cell battery, either primary or rechargeable. What really sold me, though, is the opportunity to have a very bright light in my pocket which also passes the important nightstand test with flying colors. 0.5 lumens is just right in the middle of the night to check on crying children or visit the bathroom. A particularly attractive feature is that the moon mode is directly accessible no matter what level is in memory. To access moon mode simply long press the on switch. In my view the light levels are well thought-out and appropriately spaced. 

Runtime: 2 

I have not performed a runtime test to verify the manufacturer's stated performance but I have no reason to doubt their accuracy. Over seven hours of 70 lumens (remember when Surefire said 65 lumens was an appropriate level for tactical use? I find that is a satisfactory level for general purpose work) from one CR123 is perfectly acceptable in my book. The light steps down from the maximum output after five minutes but I have not noticed this being a problem on evening walks. 

Beam type: 2 

I find the light has a good balance of spill versus flood, especially for being as compact as it is. Beamshots are shown below. 

High beam 

Moon mode:

Beam quality: 2 

I am not as picky as some regarding whether a LED is warm or cool. It isn't blue and I'm content. The reflector is an orange peel type for a smooth beam. 

UI: 1 

Life is a compromise. I agree that a selector ring may be the best UI available. The side selector on the S10 is convenient, better than a tail clickie, but it sill requires you to either pick one level for the memory function or go to moon mode. There is no way to instantly select another level without cycling. Olight did the best they could with the UI but it still isn't the best option available. That said, nothing is easier to access than a side switch so when the memory is set to the desired level the side switch beats the twisting of a selector ring. Strobe is available but requires a double press while the light is already on. A tactical light this is not. 

Hands free use (Tailstand and anti-roll): 2 

The head is slightly larger than the seven flats so the light still rolls a bit. The selector slows it so it won't roll off the table without a push but it isn't as roll-free as it would initially appear. Where the light excels, though, is the magnetic tail. I cannot say how much I've enjoyed this feature. As the photo below shows, the magnet is plenty strong to hold the light in a horizontal orientation using only a minimal magnetic surface.

On occasion the light has "stuck" to my keys or my knife and been pulled out of my pocket. One early morning business trip it fell into the grass faintly, such that it was a small miracle I wasn't without a light the entire trip. As with the UI, life is a compromise. I do not know of a way to make a magnet magnetic only at request. If one does not like this feature it is easily remedied with a candle. With a flat bottom the light tailstands well. 

Overall Score: 18 out of 20

With a few caveats based more on the user's needs than the light itself, I wholeheartedly recommend the S10 Baton as a quality EDC item.

1 comment:

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