An Olight S1A review from this side of The Pond

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scrumpypaul
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An Olight S1A review from this side of The Pond

Hello all.,

I received this Olight S1A Baton for free, to do a review.

Lucky me.

Many thanks therefore to Lydia of Olight USA and also Sandra of Olight UK. Both are lovely, lovely ladies.

Don’t make the mistake that I’m biased however.

I’ve seen other reviews of this torch, but they’ve all seemed to be in American, which some people may find hard to understand.

This review will be in plain, old fashioned English. Therefore, the word f***hlight will NOT be used. Over this side of the pond, they are “torches”. Okay??

Plus, we even invented them….. In 1899 (according to Bing) by the English inventor David Misell. Apparently his first version used a LatticeBright LED but he improved it over time.

So there.

God bless Her Majesty.

I already own two Olight torches, the diminutive S1 Baton and the (largely comparable to this) S15R Baton, both of which I bought out of my own hard earned wages, from dark days digging down t’pit (actually I’m a cop, though not for much longer, lucky me again). I’ll be briefly comparing this S1A against those two torches, though I will also make a pictorial reference, to give a better idea of scale, to some others that I own as well. These are the Thorfire C8s, the BLF Kronos X6, Astrolux S3, BLF-348, Thrunite Ti2 and the teensy Astrolux M01.

As you can also see, the S1A is barely bigger than the Ti2, about 1cm shorter than the S15R and considerably smaller than a Bantam hen (she is called Cheddar)

Basics.

Firstly, the torch arrived in the standard Olight packaging which is attractive in itself, being a quite compact, classy retail display clear plastic box showing the torch sitting inside. As you can see, the box is around the height of a normal can of pop.

As well as the torch, it contains an instruction leaflet and a nice quality padded Olight lanyard. The lanyard has a useful pin on it to allow for easy, frustration-free threading into the hole on the tail of the torch. The lanyard itself may not be suitable for people with large hands. I am about a medium hand and I can put it on my wrist easily enough but if you’re blessed/cursed with really beefy fists you may struggle a bit. You could always just get another lanyard of your choosing easily enough though, if needed.

The torch is held in place in the box by a rubber ring. Some reviewers have said this is a spare O-ring but I’m not convinced as it seems thicker than the one in place between the tail and battery tube. May be worth keeping hold of though.

The torch comes with a (non-rechargeable) Lithium AA cell inside it, protected by a little plastic sleeve to prevent it from inadvertently completing a circuit and discharging. Take out the plastic sleeve and you’re good to go. The torch will happily run on any type of AA cell, but to get the most out of it you will need to use a 14500 Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) rechargeable cell.

Dimensions.

The torch with the included Lithium cell weighs 56g or about 1.98oz. It is 79mm (3 1/8”) tall and about 21mm (13/16”) wide at the head.

Here is a mug shot line-up with the S15R and S1 Batons. As you can see, the S1A is a nice size with a very deep carry clip.

Here it is compared to the size of a credit card.

Have a think about becoming a donor, it’s easy to do, just look on the NHS website. Or just text SAVE to 62323.

Outputs.

So, moving on, the S1A has standard (with AA cells) outputs as follows:

On “moonlight” mode (great for night time use such as map reading or checking on the baby) it is 0.5 lumens.

On low, 5 lumens, medium 50 lumens, high is 220 lumens. The better the cell, the greater the run time at these different levels but, broadly, any cell will run moonlight for two or three weeks continually, low for two or three days, medium for four to ten hours and high for between one and two hours (though the highest 220 lumens output will always step down after a while to prevent overheating to 100 lumens, the time when it does this is cell-dependant)

So – if used with a Li-Ion 14500 cell it also has a crazy bright turbo mode which reaches 600 lumens, though to prevent overheating that will also step down after one minute then run at 300 lumens for an hour.

Used with other types of cell, you can’t access the turbo mode – the other just cells don’t have the grunt to be able to run it at that level and instead they will peak at 220 lumens until their own step down.

Switching.

Accessing the modes is done as follows, using the soft silicon side-mounted button (which doesn’t seem prone to accidental switching when in your pocket but if you’re really concerned about this, back off the tail-cap for about 1/8th of a turn to disconnect the cell)

One click accesses the last used mode which is stored in memory, be it moonlight, low, medium or high.

Press again to turn it off.

Press and hold from off to access moonlight.

When torch is on, press and hold cycles through L/M/H with an interval of about 1/3 of a second between each mode (this is much easier to use than the S15R and S1 which have longer intervals of almost a second between each mode). Release the button when you’re at the brightness level you want.

Double click from off enters high or turbo mode dependant on cell.

Triple click from off or on enters strobe mode, should you need it to ward off marauding wolves, errant motorists or just to play cruel tricks on people.

When switched on at your required brightness level, a double click will activate a choice of timers, either three or nine minutes, if desired. The timer will flash once for three minute, twice for nine minutes. Just double click until it flashes either once or twice dependant on how long you want it to stay on, it will turn off after the allotted time. Or you can press the switch again to turn it off yourself.

The mode switching is quite intuitive once you get the hang of it and, compared to other torches I own, I like the mode switching. Especially being able to access turbo or moonlight easily from off.

Build.

The torch is a very high quality affair. I have pored over my sample with a fine-toothed comb and I cannot find a single blemish. The TIR (total internal reflection) lens is recessed below the beautiful glossy blue anodised head. The soft and slightly tactile switch sits within a ring with the same blue anodising (I actually prefer the flush metal switch of the S15R with it’s LED indicator, but that’s just personal preference). The knurling is square cut and is absolutely perfect, very classy looking. There are three flat surfaces on the cell tube with the name and model/serial number on two of these. These two flats are both at 90 degree angles to the switch so can act as a means to locate the switch in the dark. However, what I do with my Olight torches is move the pocket clip (strong and dependable, just like me. Also tight, again like me) so it is directly opposite the switch, meaning I can locate the switch (which is a little difficult to do sometimes) very easily. Conversely, moving the clip to cover the switch will mean the torch can’t be inadvertently turned on. The base of the torch is flat, so it can tail-stand easily. Within the tail is a strong magnet so the torch can easily be mounted on an iron or steel surface if need be. The threads for the tail cap are very positive and it screws on tightly. The torch is impact resistant to 1.5 metres and also certified to IPX8 standard, meaning it can be submerged continually. It’s a sturdy little thing.

My only real criticism of the build is the clip. It is mounted for lens-up pocket carry, seated within a channel just below the head. When taken off and reversed in this channel, the clip edge protrudes over the head of the torch and the whole thing sits too high for pocket carry. In my view, there should be an opposing channel nearer the tail of the torch to allow the clip to be placed in a reverse position for comfortable, secure, deep lens-down carry. This would, in my view, protect the lens and would also allow the advantage of the torch being able to be retrieved from your pocket with a trailing lanyard if you want. This is certainly what I do with my folding pocket knives so they can be easily, quickly and intuitively taken from my pocket to be used.

Knives? Did someone mention knives? Oh, why not have a gratuitous knife shot then? Here’s my Spyderco “British Blades” limited edition Urban inflicting a grievous wound on an old table……

Illuminati.

Moonlight is perfect for my needs. Easily accessed, it allows for a quick but unobtrusive check on my surroundings. It is very low so it is perfect for deep darkness.
Low, medium and high are nicely spaced. I won’t discuss tint/light “temperature” other than to say it is an attractive tint and doesn’t seem to have the blue/green tinge that some people find ugly. However, I’m colour blind.
At around eight to ten feet, it has a nice, quite defined hotspot around three feet in diameter, with a useful spill. This isn’t a torch that will have a pencil thin beam at half a mile, nor is it an out and out floodlight. It sits somewhere in the middle. According to the specs it is rated as having a throw of 118 metres with a Li-Ion. That may well be accurate.
With the Li-Ion, turbo is very bright. Noticeably brighter than my S1 Baton which has a turbo of 500 lumens and way brighter than the comparable S15R.

Pros.
Small enough to pocket, big enough to use.
Lightweight.
Bright with a good range of levels.
Comprehensive cell options.
Strong.
Waterproof.
A comprehensive step up from the S15R in terms of output and wider range of cells.

Cons.
A little pricey in my view.
Clip could be redesigned.
Lanyard a little on the small side (really picky, I know)
Switch from the S15R is classier, in my opinion.

Conclusions.

I’d say this light is just about perfect. It has a small enough form-factor to be easily pocketable, but also big enough not to be swallowed up in your palm as is sometimes the case with the tiny S1 Baton. I can get a full four finger grip on this torch. If it is like my other Baton torches, it will be hard-wearing and reliable.

If Olight redesigned the clip slightly to allow it to be reversed effectively, and also made the torch rechargeable with a micro-USB charging base like the S15R Baton has, it would be perfect as an EDC (Every Day Carry) all-rounder.

djozz
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Thanks for the European, even though not continental, version of the S1A review, the most reviewed flashlight on BLF ever. It was a joy to read. Smile

quetzalcoatl
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Thanks scrumpypaul. Nice Elmax Urban LW and chick! Thumbs Up

DavidEF
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Nice review. I keep seeing in these reviews so many things I missed mentioning in mine. Good to see we’re not a mono-culture here, so even when the same light is reviewed 50 times, there will be 50 unique reviews! Big Smile

The Cycle of Goodness: “No one prospers without rendering benefit to others”
- The YKK Philosophy

Jambo
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Great review mate, thanks.

chinooker
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I think you Brits weren’t first with a torch. Silly