Review: OLIGHT S2A Baton (TIR, XM-L2, 550lm, 2xAA)

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xevious
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Review: OLIGHT S2A Baton (TIR, XM-L2, 550lm, 2xAA)

SPECIFICATIONS:

Olight S2A Colors

Olight S2A

NOTE: I was provided this S2A for review by Olight.  I always endeavor to give an honest, objective review.  If a light does not meet my standards, I will avoid reviewing it.

The S2A Baton is a new entry in Olight's AA battery flashlight lineup.  It would appear to be an evolution from the S15 model, comparatively with the additional battery tube to accommodate a 2xAA battery setup.  Notably, it has the newer UI introduced with the S1 model that adds another brightness mode and a timer.  Whereas the S15 maxes out at 280 lumens, the S2A can achieve 550 lumens in turbo mode... although only for 1~3 minutes. High mode is comparable, but runtimes at all modes are longer with the S2A.  The S2A also benefits from the TIR optic in place of a traditional reflector and glass lens.  This increases light transmission efficiency, while producing a wider spill for close range tasks (typically needed for a light this size). The XM-L2 emitter is a fairly neutral cool white.  While the S2A does not have a magnetic tailcap as found on the S15 and S1, it does retain the battery lockout by making a small turn of the cap.  Actually, a tail cap magnet doesn't make much sense in a thin AA light this tall.  But it is completely flat for easy tail standing.  The switch is exactly the same as all other switches Olight employs in their small form factor lights, which is well proven and reliable.

Olight's packaging for the AA class lights is very good.  They use a fine quality glossy plastic (recyclable) with plenty of details on the back.  It showcases the light very well, and houses it securely.  There's also a nice neoprene style lanyard affixed to the inside.  Additionally, Olight puts a clear circular layer of plastic in the battery tube to ensure no accidental activation before removed from the packaging.

Aesthetically, Olight has recently introduced color themes to the lens bezel and the switch bezel. The S2A gets the classy blue anodized color theme.  It also has a textured silicon gel grip around the battery tube that comes in a variety of colors, three of which are glow-in-the-dark (grey, yellow, and blue). The sheath is incorporated into the body, so it is not possible to remove or change it. The grip design is nicely done -- enough for good handling without being too aggressive to trap dirt particles. The quality feels like it will last a very long time.  It is somewhat of a lint magnet, though (I used tape to remove the small white particles prior to photographing).  Still, the sizing of this light is excellent.  I find it fits very well in my hand (L-XL).

When deciding on a flashlight, there is always the consideration of the task at hand.  A 2xAA light is large enough for convenient hand holding, usually delivering a reasonably powerful beam for close and short range tasks.  However, the TIR optic is generally more efficient than typical reflector based flashlights, while also eliminating the additional space requirements of a reflector, plus the added parts.  It also provides a wide beam with copious spill, minus a halo effect or striations, with softer hotspot edging.  Some TIR designs provide more throw than others.  The S2A TIR optic provides very respectable throw. 

Here are some comparison photos of an S2A to an S1 (titanium).

By the way, the S1 and S2A both have moonlight modes, but the S1 is dimmer... almost unusable except in the darkest of settings. The S2A moonlight mode is brighter, though still dim enough that you could point it at your eye very comfortably (TIR shaping still visible).  I find it "just right" for civilian purposes.  I'll try to include some light balanced beam shots later on.

Notice the S2A has a cool-neutral beam, while the S1 Ti has a warmer tint.

Construction wise, the tail cap spring is nicely firm and coated in gold. The o-ring just after the threads sits perfectly and the square threads are lubricated for smooth turning. The HA-III seems to be excellent quality.

S2A Highlights

  • Powerful CREE XM-L2 emitter, delivering longer runtimes than the S15 and very usable low mode with no visible flicker (PWM)
  • Easy to use UI with good mode spacing 
  • Excellent runtime on 2xAA (14500) battery cells (alkaline, Li-ion) with over-discharge and reverse polarity protection
  • TIR optic for efficient light transmission and broad spill.  Reasonably good throw.
  • Convenient timer (3 or 9 mins)
  • Lightweight 5.2" long HA-III coated aluminum alloy body with silicon gel grip, twist lockout, and tail standability
  • IPX8 water resistance
  • Removable reverse clip for easy mount on a hat brim
  • Glow in the Dark grip for the yellow, blue, and gray versions

Room for improvement: None that I could think of. Well, I have to admit I miss the tail cap magnet. But for a taller light, it would have to be extra powerful in order to resist tipping... which would add height and weight. It would also be nice to have a user replaceable grip.  As a future enhancement, I think OLIGHT should introduce a screw-down bezel that extends a few millimeters beyond the head, for better protection.  The 550 lumens max mode barely lasts 3 minutes on fresh cells.  Once that runtime is used up, you cannot achieve 550 lumens again until fresh cells are installed.  But frankly, for a light in this form factor, it's asking too much to have a sustained beam of that intensity for very long.

Overall, I have to give OLIGHT high marks on the S2A. It really hits all of the important needs of a 2xAA light, delivering ample power, a very usable mode spread, and excellent ergonomics while providing a fine aesthetic design. The retail pricing is pretty fair when keeping in mind all of what the S2A has to offer.

The S2A is readily available for purchase on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HLT8N74 (link is external) US 
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01H3DQRVC (link is external) UK

Edited by: sb56637 on 09/02/2017 - 11:48
The Miller
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Nice review! Thanks
Love those comparison pics with the small titanium light, sweet!

xevious
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^ Thanks. I didn’t have an S1A handy, so I figured the S1 would be a good stand-in. It’s interesting to see how much shorter the S1 head is, compared to the S2A.