On The Road M3 (1x16340/CR123A) EDC Flashlight Review

19 posts / 0 new
Last post
FlashLion
FlashLion's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 4 months ago
Joined: 07/21/2013 - 18:51
Posts: 327
Location: Europe
On The Road M3 (1x16340/CR123A) EDC Flashlight Review

Hello
I am reviewing for you a nice RCR123A battery powered flashlight,called On The Road M3.
The flashlight was kindly provided for test by GearBest.com
Check out their website for this flashlight and many other models.
Here is a short link to the OTR M3 product page- https://goo.gl/fvBSQE

Get the flashlight for just $19.20 with the promo code OTRM3S

As most serious flashlights in our days,the M3 is made of durable Aluminum alloy material.
It is carefully anodized without spots or scratches. The body is precisely machined without dents or sharp edges.
Overall I am glad to find that the OTR M3 has no visible imperfection in the exterior.
Anodized surface has matte finish with a color which can be defined as a mix of grey and brown.

 
The small flashlight comes in a nice hard cardboard box.
Spare O-rings,lanyard and nice holster/pouch are included in the set.
The M3 is available also in a pack with battery and charger included.


There is a good deep pocket clip already attached and ready for use.
It is not too soft or too tight,so it should do its job quite well.

In my medium size hand.
Dimensions of the M3: (L x W x H): 7.00 x 2.30 x 2.30 cm / 2.76 x 0.91 x 0.91 inches



Specifications according to the Manufacturer:
Brand: ON THE ROAD
Model: M3
Lamp Beads: Cree XM-L2 U2
Beads Number: 1
Lumens Range: 500-1000Lumens
Luminous Flux: 920Lm
Luminous Intensity: 4200cd
Color Temperature: 1A 6500-7000K; 5C 3800-4000K
Switch Type: Side Clicky
Feature: Anti-Roll Rugged Design,Die-cast Unibody,Lightweight,Overheating Protection,
Pocket Clip,Power Indicator,Stainless Steel Bezel
Function: Camping,EDC,Exploring,Hiking,Household Use,Night Riding,Walking
Battery Type: 16340,CR123A,RCR123
Battery Quantity: 1 x 16340 / CR123A / RCR123 battery (not included)
Mode: 8(Turbo - High - Mid - Low - Ultra Low - SOS - Strobe - Location Beacon)
Mode Memory: Yes
Waterproof Standard: IPX-8 Standard Waterproof
Working Voltage: 3.7V
Impact Resistance: 2M
Beam Distance: 100-150m
Body Material: Aerospace-grade Aluminum Alloy
Available Light Color: Cool White,Neutral White
Available color: Titanium Grey
And more copy/paste features:
Instant turbo and strobe mode, producing extremely intense illumination for self-defense.
Long press to turn ON / OFF, preventing accidental activation.
IPX-8 waterproof standard, copes with being dropped in a puddle or stream with no ill effects.
Built-in protection circuit: Short circuit / reverse polarity / over-voltage / over-discharge / over-current / over-heating protection.
Memory function / power indicator / low voltage warning.


Cree XM-L2 LED,orange peel reflector,red color rubber O-ring.
No anti-reflective coating on the glass lens.
Made of stainless steel front bezel/retaining ring.
My sample is with a cool white LED. The M3 is available also with a NW LED on the GearBest's website.

 

The overall machine work quality is impressive for a non premium brand flashlight.
You can clearly see the perfection of the square cut threads-perfectly anodized,as well.
No annoying scratches or dents on my sample.

 

The tail cap contains a thin but very strong round magnet.The M3 can be attached to different metal surfaces for easy hands free work.
The magnet can be removed in case you don't want to carry a magnet in your pockets.
Just have to remove the spring with tweezers.

 

Here you can see the front of the battery tube with the visible side of the driver board.
Interesting to see is the manufacturer name printed on the board,as well as its webpage.
There is no physical reverse polarity protection. I can not test if there is an electronic protection,so I would suggest to insert the battery with a care.

 

The tail end threads are impressive for a low priced product. Excellent anodizing and no sign of bad machine work.
The simple square knurling is done pretty well,too.
Tailcap lock out is possible if you want to ensure physical disconnecting of the battery from the power source.

 



And here is the expected comparison with the main 'inspiration' the Olight S10.
The real difference in the design is mostly the cooling fins.

 

 

User Interface.
Operating the OTR M3 is relatively easy. However if you are not yet used to the press and hold activation,feeling comfortable the UI may take you some time.
As many other flashlights lately,to turn On the light,you have to press and hold the switch for a second.
The same operation turns the light Off.
To change the mode just briefly press the switch. Every single press will switch to the next mode.
Mode sequence is Moonlight-Low-Mid-High. Last used mode is instantly recorded for the next activation.
Turbo mode is not part of the base sequence and can be activated only with double clicking the switch from Off or On state.
Three quick presses will activate Strobe mode from On or Off state. Single click from Strobe goes to Beacon and SOS.


OTR's switch cover is made of silicone like the first generation of the Olight S10.

This could make it a little less prone to accidental activation compared to the hard switch of the S10L2 on the picture above.


Below is the expected Runtime graph that has the purpose to illustrate the maximum performance of the reviewed flashlight and to give an idea for the achievable run times.

I tested the OTR M3 on Turbo,High and Mid mode(twice).
Battery used for the tests Olight RCR123A 650mAh .
A small cooling fan was used for Turbo and High mode tests-ensuring optimal work temperature.

The M3 starts its Turbo mode with impressive output of about 870 lumens.
As we may expect it is hard for the small RCR123A battery to maintain such a high output for a long time.
The initial brightness drops down quickly.Yet,the output is still quite high in the first minutes.
From the 3th to the 4th minute there seem to have a step down(it is different in Turbo and High mode,so I am not sure it is timed).
The output after the step down is constant 494Lm,according to my measurements.

The High mode performed in a quite different way,in my test.
The step down came earlier and the constant output after that lasted just a few minutes.Initial output 595Lm, 500 Lm after step down.

I run the Mid mode test two times,as in the first test I cycled all modes(including high mode) quickly before starting the flashlight on the planed Mid mode,
but as we can see from the graph,this affected the performance in the last 15 minutes of the run.

Brightness in both Mid tests was about 285Lm.
The good news is that the M3 features a Low voltage warning-flashing red light under the switch.
Even better-after all tests the resting battery voltage was 3.2V. The OTR M3 seems to feature a low voltage protection,as well.



As with all flashlights that work with a momentary switch,the M3 draws a small StandBy current of 6,4microAmps.
All outputs seem constant current controlled. I don't detect any sign of PWM.

Initial Lumen outputs,according to my non-professional measuring equipment:
Moonlight mode:3Lm
Low mode: 148Lm
Mid mode: 292Lm
Hiigh mode: 595Lm
Turbo mode: 870Lm
(I can't guarantee full accuracy of my Lumen measurements)

Beamshots
The light from the Cree XM-L2 LED is cool white with very slight greenish/yellowish tint.
Well mixed beam thanks to the textured reflector. No noticeable artifacts or darker holes.

3 meters distance






Good points:
Excellent machine work and anodizing;Nice finish with distinguishing look;
Good beam profile for EDC light; Good pocket clip;Comfortable side switch with back illumination for LV warning; Direct access to Turbo and Strobe modes; Instant mode memory;
Low voltage protection and warning; All protected 16340 batteries that I have for test fit well;

Possible weak points:
The step from Moonlight mode to Low mode is large and hard to the eyes;
The switch has a hard feel and resists accidental pressing well,however unwanted activation is still possible due to its high position;

Somewhat inconsistent discharge performance; No direct access to the lowest mode;
Uses popular design well established by other brand (Olight);

Here is a short link to the OTR M3 product page- https://goo.gl/fvBSQE
Get the flashlight for just $19.20 with the promo code OTRM3S
You can get also other great flashlights with 18% OFF Coupon code LIG18OFF
Link to GearBest's Flashlights page: https://goo.gl/TQIvv2


Thanks for reading!
As usual thanks to the provider of the review sample- GearBest.com

Edited by: sb56637 on 09/02/2017 - 12:02
Tom E
Tom E's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 hours 4 min ago
Joined: 08/19/2012 - 08:23
Posts: 13556
Location: LI NY

Outstanding little light! Nice review!!

gastonpatagonico
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 20 hours ago
Joined: 10/31/2016 - 21:32
Posts: 193
Location: patagonia
Nice review, I have mine for almost 1 year, no problem a good flashlight for the price.
saypat
saypat's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 2 days ago
Joined: 07/13/2011 - 20:32
Posts: 3579
Location: Calif

one of my favorites!

EyeballFryer
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 1 month ago
Joined: 11/30/2015 - 02:17
Posts: 416
Location: California, USA

There is an undocumented sort-of shortcut to moonlight mode. Loosen the tailcap for at least 3 seconds. The driver will lose all power and “forget” the last memorized mode, resetting to moonlight mode. It’s the same with the 18650 version, the M6.

So in a sense, the M3 and M6 has both mode memory and mode reset.

firedome
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 1 day ago
Joined: 01/16/2016 - 05:45
Posts: 602
Location: Skagen - Denmark

Thanks for a great review. Big Smile

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light --- Plato

strayz
Offline
Last seen: 12 hours 29 min ago
Joined: 10/09/2012 - 18:01
Posts: 648
Location: In the land of the Midnight Sun..

And here I was going to spend some cash on the O-light this week.

Thank you for saving me a bit of cash. Smile

deleted-200707
Offline
Last seen: 4 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 12/16/2015 - 13:27
Posts: 1640
Location: mod-X

my wife likes her 5C version while it is a bit too orange for me
I prefer my 1A, and it’s brighter (like me) Big Smile

zoysiamo
Offline
Last seen: 4 hours 32 min ago
Joined: 04/30/2017 - 15:18
Posts: 75

I’m glad we all discovered this months-old review today! I enjoy my 5C warm tint version.

Tom E
Tom E's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 hours 4 min ago
Joined: 08/19/2012 - 08:23
Posts: 13556
Location: LI NY

I thought I'd take a look at what was around for the M3 and give FlashLion a little credit - weird this review went unposted for 6 months.

I just updated my M3 to NarsilM and a XPL2 V6 3B - crazy amps at 5.5A, 1,460 lumens @start with only a 2.6 26 uA drain, 224 uA with the switch LED on. It has a 15 mm TA triple channel driver.

 

strayz
Offline
Last seen: 12 hours 29 min ago
Joined: 10/09/2012 - 18:01
Posts: 648
Location: In the land of the Midnight Sun..
Tom E wrote:

I thought I’d take a look at what was around for the M3 and give FlashLion a little credit – weird this review went unposted for 6 months.


I just updated my M3 to NarsilM and a XPL2 V6 3B – crazy amps at 5.5A, 1,460 lumens @start with only a 2.6 uA drain, 224 uA with the switch LED on. It has a 15 mm TA triple channel driver.


 




So… How would one convince a custom builder to get on the list to get one of these pocket rockets made? (PM me if you feel the need. Smile ) while 600-800LM is interesting 1400 has my attention.

Tom E
Tom E's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 hours 4 min ago
Joined: 08/19/2012 - 08:23
Posts: 13556
Location: LI NY

This light mod is a "project" in itself. Not sure I'd be willing to put in this kind of time again and again. I'd have to think bout it.

FlashLion
FlashLion's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 4 months ago
Joined: 07/21/2013 - 18:51
Posts: 327
Location: Europe

Thanks for the comments! Better late than never Smile
I was also thinking to swap the driver,but as many other not so important projects,this will probably stay in my to do(later of never) list,as well as the warm white LED in Manker U11.

Tom E
Tom E's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 hours 4 min ago
Joined: 08/19/2012 - 08:23
Posts: 13556
Location: LI NY

Actually if I were to do this again, I'd look into replacing the stock driver, and see if I could do the cut out for the vertical switch board, like a did with a Manker U11:

Not sure if there's enough room though, using our available OSHPark drivers.

strayz
Offline
Last seen: 12 hours 29 min ago
Joined: 10/09/2012 - 18:01
Posts: 648
Location: In the land of the Midnight Sun..
Tom E wrote:

Actually if I were to do this again, I’d look into replacing the stock driver, and see if I could do the cut out for the vertical switch board, like a did with a Manker U11:



Not sure if there’s enough room though, using our available OSHPark drivers.

Let me just put this out there, if you loose your mind, or feel the need to sell it off. PM me. Smile

I like the form factor and with that much light in a edc light, I am all about having one take up residence next to the ZT452 and keys, Atwood tool, and other items that live in my pockets/belt.

Tom E
Tom E's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 hours 4 min ago
Joined: 08/19/2012 - 08:23
Posts: 13556
Location: LI NY

Hhmm. I got a 2nd stock one sit'n round...

P10pablo
P10pablo's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 5 months ago
Joined: 01/21/2019 - 21:37
Posts: 41
Location: Atlanta, Ga

How has the On The Road M3 fared for folks long term? Are there any EDC users out there? I’ve been looking at this form factor. Also, are there some good battery recommendations?

Pete7874
Pete7874's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 hours 51 sec ago
Joined: 11/23/2011 - 16:47
Posts: 3302
Location: USA

For a while, I used mine as a headlamp, attached to the brim of a hat, on my night walks. Other than overly warm tint, it worked well for that purpose. Lately, I gave it its second life as a flasher when biking during the day.

For 16340 batteries, look at Vapcell.

Tom E
Tom E's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 hours 4 min ago
Joined: 08/19/2012 - 08:23
Posts: 13556
Location: LI NY

Still using mine, though 16340 cells are a pain...