Zero [Review]s: Olight S1A (heavy pic warning)

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zeroair
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Zero [Review]s: Olight S1A (heavy pic warning)

#Preface

Olight just released a couple of new lights – the R50, and the S1A Baton. Today I’m looking at the S1A Baton, and an R50 review is upcoming. I’m excited to review these, and appreciate Olight for providing these for review. And thanks to Calvin at Illumn for facilitating.

Right-click and open in new tab for the full size of the pictures!

*****

  1. Olight S1A Baton Official Specs:

KEY FEATURES:

  • Cree XM-L2 LED
  • Powered by one AA battery. Conventional output: 0.5 lumens, 5 lumens, 50 lumens, 220 lumens, strobe mode at 10Hz.
  • Special output: turbo mode at 600 lumens (only available when 14500 rechargeable lithium battery is used)
  • High light transmission rate TIR lens resulting in a balanced and useful beam
  • Eco-friendly AL6061-T6 aluminum alloy body with anti-scratch Milspec type-III hard anodized finish and a blue PVD stainless steel ring on the switch and bezel
  • Controlled by a thermal protection program, the turbo mode is limited to 1 minute and then the brightness gradually steps down to 50% of the initial brightness (only available when 14500 rechargeable lithium battery is used)
  • Built-in timer: Short timer (3 minutes) or Long timer (9 minutes)

This product has the following specifications (ANSI/NEMA FL1-2009 Standards):

Max Output (lumens) 600
Low (lumens) 0.5
Max Run Time (hours) 25 days
Beam Distance 118 m / 387 ft.
Peak Beam Intensity (candela units) 3,480 cd
Water Resistance IPX8 (up to 2 meters)
Impact Resistance 1.5 m / 4.9 ft.
Head Diameter 0.83 in. / 21 mm
Length 3.13 in. / 79.5 mm
Battery Type 14500
Weight (oz) 1.2900
Pocketclip No
User Manual N/A

The above section contains the manufacturer’s descriptions and claims, not my impressions or results.

***

  1. Olight S1A Baton Short Review:

Spectacular AA light, with potential for even greater output using an 14500 cell.

  1. Olight S1A Baton Long Review:

##What’s Included

  • Lanyard
  • User Manual
  • 1.5V Lithium Iron Disulfide Battery
  • Spare o-ring
  • Pocket clip

##Pictures

Hope you like a few pictures of the Olight S1A and some other items: (full album link).
I also took a few beamshots, for your comparison: 14500 and Eneloop AA
And just for the sake of saving you some reading: here’s the Olight S1A tint vs the tint of the BLF-348

##Quality, Build and Disassembly

Being an Olight

you can trust that the build quality of the S1A

is excellent. This light is no exception. Build quality is on par with my Olight S1 (brushed titanium). The threads are nicely lubricated, and though few and small, do appear to be square cut. The body metal is thin, and occasionally one may have to be careful threading the tailcap on, but the square cut threads do help here.

The S1A appears to have a physical means of reverse polarity protection. The head end of the battery tube has a rubber donut that should keep a reverse-input cell from making contact. The positive terminal is a little brass

(?) ball – first time I’ve seen anything like it. Contact is good, of course.

The blue anodized bezel

is press-fit in. While that can be removed, I chose not to (as it’s quite difficult, and often also destructive).

The clip of course comes off easily, but as far as disassembly, there’s not much more to do.

I always like spotting the leads, through the TIR optic

(One can see the red wire, through it there.)

##Package and Manual

The package

is a display-type package. There’s a little hang tag
on top, a QR code on the side and the whole package is clear plastic so one can view the goodies. The light is held in place by an o-ring Note that this is your spare o-ring so don’t cut it to get the light out! Some people complain about this and some people don’t mention it… I think it’s clever, and appreciate one less thing to throw in the trash I do wish the package itself was recyclable; I kind of prefer a cardboard package. I’m sure the visibility does help sell though: this is a nice looking light.

The English part of the manual is a total of 4 pages, and there are a whole host of other languages included. The manual is fair and explains things nicely. The UI

and specs are on one side, and the warranty etc
is on the other.

##Power

The S1A runs on a single cell: AA or 14500. It ships with a 1.5V Lithium Olight-branded primary (non-rechargeable) cell
Also runs on an alkaline, and Eneloops.

I will not fault Olight here, but it would have been awesome of Olight – since they’re providing a cell – to include a 14500. Olight even has Olight branded 3.7V 14500 cells, and a 2 pack is only $[9.95](https://www.olight.org/olight-14500-lithium-ion-battery-2-pack.html). Since this light will only achieve turbo when using a 14500, the light really thus performs best with 14500, and Olight would have been nice to provide one. However, that would oblige them to provide a charger, so I do understand the logic.

##User Interface and Operation

There is one silicone capped side button
on the S1a. The UI is complex but not complicated, and the same as other current generation, smaller Olights.

State|Action|Result
—|—|—
Off| Press| Last mode (Memory)
Off| Hold | Moonlight
Off| Double Click| High (Turbo with 14500)
On|Press|Off
On|Hold|L>M>H
On|Double click|Timer of current mode
Any|Triple Click|10Hz Strobe

Notes:

  • Timer works in moonlight (also).
  • Timer seems to remember the last timer used, and double clicking to turn on timer selects the next timer (ie if you used 3m last time, 9m is next.

There are a bunch of lights now requiring a user to hold the button to turn the light off. The Olight S1A is thankfully not like that – just a quick click and it’s off.

There is no electronic lockout for this light.

The UI is friendly – it’s unlikely to accidentally get strobe, and if you do accidentally get a wrong mode, it’s not likely to be a mode worse for your need than that you expected (ie, you probably won’t carelessly get turbo if looking for moonlight.) That’s one thing I have liked about all the Olight’s I’ve owned: the UI is trustworthy.

#LED and Beam

The emitter is an XM-L2
behind a TIR optic I happen to be a huge fan of TIR optics, and this one works just like you’d expect. There’s a nice even spot, with little spill, and not even much corona. For a light like this, typically as an EDC light, this is a great beam shape.

There is no mention of which XM-L2 version this is, but it’s certainly the Cool White (CW) version of the XM-L2 – approximately 5000-8300K. There are also WW and NW versions of the LED, but they are not available in this light. Even though it’s well on the cool side, I wouldn’t call the tint blue. It’s more of a greenish to me, but even at that, it’s not a bad tint in any way whatsoever.

##Runtime

Three types of runtime:

The hard cutoffs suggest (as /u/Zak said) that the stepdowns are voltage based. One could argue that the stepdown from turbo is designed to skirt FL1 standards – I would not make that argument. The light stays on turbo for almost a minute, and FL1 standards requires 30 seconds.

Otherwise, the stepdowns are fine, and a sort of “user oriented” stepdown. The fact that the stepdowns are voltage based, does lend credence to the possibility that the light does have low voltage protection, but that LVP kicks in at lower threshold than my tolerance to test it. Anyway, you can judge that for yourself:

14500 Turbo Cooled, Stopped and cell was 2.88V.
14500 High Uncooled, Stopped at 2.77V.
Eneloop AA High Cooled, Stopped at 1.12V.

So, I can not say for certain whether this light has low voltage protection or not. It is not mentioned in the manual (usually it would be) and most other commentary about the light does not indicate that it has LVP. These runtime test would indicate the same. Normally a light would terminate output above 2.77V (as with the 14500), but I actually shut the test off at that point myself, and there was still light being produced. Take that for what you will. Many people will prefer LVP, and I know some do not. If you’re sensible about it, this shouldn’t really matter.

Sidenote on the Eneloop AA test – there was a testing error at the ~40 minute mark. My guess is that the “high” setting should be basically flat all the way to about 70 minutes, at which point the light drops to low, or nearly low.

##Beamshots

Flashlight | 0.3s, f/8, ISO 100, CWB 5000k
—:|:—
Olight | S1A Baton [14500](http://imgur.com/a/wId2w), [AA](http://imgur.com/a/mti1M)
Convoy | [C8 XPL-HI](http://imgur.com/a/KXW3J)
JETBeam | [JET-I MK](http://imgur.com/a/ZN8yu)
Klarus | [Mi7](http://imgur.com/a/x9o6g)
BLF-348 | [A](http://i.imgur.com/PykzDf8.jpg), [B](http://i.imgur.com/Yjhkm5b.jpg)
Manker | [E14 ](http://imgur.com/a/HLAaf)
Astrolux | [S41 ](http://imgur.com/a/9nzcR)
Convoy | [L6 (5000k)](http://imgur.com/a/lNPdt)
XintD | [C8 XP-G2 S4](http://imgur.com/a/yaHNx)

All beamshots are at the same settings in practically the same conditions. Many are beamshots used in previous reviews: I have included them here just for fun.

##Retention

Even though the manufacturer specs say it comes with no clip, it does in fact (of course) come with a pocket clip installed
There’s also a lanyard. The lanyard has a nice little pin so threading through the hole in the tailcap will be easy. And a tailcap magnet If you’ve read my reviews long enough you’ll know that I love tailcap magnets, and these Olight ones are great. The clip is reversible, though if you reverse it from how it ships, the clip tip will extend slightly past the output end of the light. As it ships, it’s an “emitter up” configuration. And of course the light will tailstand. (Headstand too, but with a flush bezel, that’s not any way to use a light.)

There’s a tab on the inside of the clip, designed to hold the light in place more securely. I found difficult to get the clip over my pants past that tab. Others have used a Dremel to remove that tab, and I think this light would be good without that tab, too.

Without the pocket clip, the light does roll relatively freely.

##Size

The S1A is a great AA sized light. I was recently corrected when I said that the Klarus Mi7 seemed a little long for what it is – the 87mm Mi7 is actually shorter than the median AA sized light. Well the S1A answers my specious claim, as it’s quite a bit shorter even that the Mi7, at 79.5mm. The diameter is also perfect for clipping to a pocket (that’s where I always carry my edc light!)

Everyone knows how big Chapstick
is, right? The S1A carries much like a chapstick.

##Random Comparisons….

This S1A is of course, an update to the S15, an XM-L emitter light. The XM-L2 of the S1A gives over double the output (and for a longer rated time), has a much higher peak beam intensity (3480 vs 1750 rated), and is both shorter and narrower. Versus the S15, the S1A seems like a clear upgrade.

It’s also hard not to compare this to the recent Olight S1. I have the brushed titanium version, and I love it. Notably, it’s a neutral white light, an option not available on the S1A. Size wise, the S1A feels much better in-pocket, and also never tips out, something my S1 has done from time to time. The UI is the same of course, and the tint between the two isn’t that different. If you’re married to AA’s, then the S1A is a definite win here.

S1A vs S1 size:

Tail
.
Head
Height Clip Button
Bezel

Vs many other lights

Vs a few other similarly sized lights

#Summary

##Pros

  • Small
  • Accepts 14500 cell
  • Nice runtime and the stepdowns are fine
  • Build quality is great (and it looks great, too!)
  • No accidental activation issues.
  • Magnet!!

##Cons and Conundrums

  • Ships with 1.5V lithium primary, not a 14500.
  • Really, not anything else. It’s a quality package.

#Final Thoughts

This is a great little light, and a very solid upgrade from the Olight S15. I’m happy to have it alongside my brushed titanium S1, and would love to see this model come in some titanium options. I recommend the light, and expect you’ll love it

##Parting Shot

What a great little pocket light!

***

Footnotes:
1. This light was provided for review by Olight, facilitated by Calvin at Illumn. Thanks to both!!
2. This review was originally written for r/flashlight : please forgive any reformatting errors! – I have tried to get it right for BLF.
3. Sorry the pics are so wide. 1800px is just right on other forums, and there is also auto-resize. Sorry!

***
Edit List:
Noted here as needed.

Edited by: zeroair on 08/11/2016 - 14:30
The Miller
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Nice review!
Thanks.
All looks good, text and images next to each other here on the phone makes it fluent!

stephenk
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Crikey, I now really feel even more like I’m the only BLF member who didn’t get sent a S1A for review! Wink

zeroair
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You didn’t get yours when you signed up for blf, stephenk?

stephenk
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zeroair wrote:
You didn’t get yours when you signed up for blf, stephenk?

No, must have missed the tick box!