I was contacted by Olight about taking their new micro EDC light for a run around the block. As it turns out, my new work schedule (and winter) have me leaving the house in the dark and getting home in the dark. Plenty of opportunity to put a light through its paces.
First thoughts –
The new packaging is very compact and looks great. This would make it an attractive and affordable gift item. The current Amazon price on the Olight i3e (4 colors) is, $11.99. There is a black model for $9.99 and the silver is $13.99. That makes this light a great value, too. The second thing I noticed was how tiny this thing is. It’s barely a 1/2 inch longer than the battery that powers it. Speaking of batteries, one AAA battery is included in the package.
The light also has a small key ring on the back end. The i3e uses a TIR lens rather than a traditional reflector. For a more in depth description see our review of the Olight S1. The TIR lens works great for giving a nearly artifact free wash of light. Very “floody” with no noticeable “spot” to the light. This lends itself very well to the up close kind of tasks that are most common with an EDC light.
Now, there aren’t a ton of great lights in the single AAA battery category. Most of them have very anemic output and even worse runtimes. There are a few exceptions and Olight makes one of them. I carried their other model, the i3S EOS, for a couple years as my second EDC light. It is small enough to drop in your pocket and forget about. So much so, that I’ve washed AND dried mine in the laundry on several occasions. It still works. Not even a hiccup. This little i3e?…It’s even smaller! At 2 and 3/8 inches, the i3e is roughly 3/8 of an inch shorter than the i3S I carried.
I’ve carried this red i3e in my pocket for about 3 weeks now. I’ve tried to use it as much as possible. Most days, that works out to at least twice. I’ll use it in the morning when I load up to leave and again in the evening when I check the mail. I’ve had a few dozen other opportunities to brighten my day with this little guy. It has worked every time I needed it, except one… The battery finally died. I didn’t track runtime for the first battery because I started using the light as soon as it arrived. I did manage to get 72 minutes out of a standard Duracell AAA battery. Not too shabby and 20% more than the rated 60 min. Output is 90 lumens with the exception of the silver model (120 lumens).
When you consider the purpose and price point of this light, it is hard to find a negative. I’d like to see a pocket clip but that adds to the cost. I’d like to see a way to tail stand it but you’d lose the key ring. I’d like to see a “low mode” but, again, that adds to the cost. For what it’s intended purpose is and it’s under $15 price tag, this mini EDC light hits the spot on all counts.