About 7 ½ years ago while living in Northern Virginia, I began searching for a good flashlight to light my way when walking my dogs early in the morning. After much research I decided on a brand I’d never heard of – Olight. I was amazed – 120 lumen! It was incredible. Of course, I had to learn about batteries, etc., and spent the unimaginable sum of just over $100 for that light. And today that light is still in use – riding in the console of my daughter’s SUV.
7 years later, Olight is still going strong and technology has definitely advanced as evidenced by the 2 samples that we’ll look at in this review – the Olight S1R and S2R. In the interest of brevity and due to the similarities between the 2 lights we’ll look at them together.
In all honesty, the thought of reviewing these lights bored me. I owned a couple of similar Olights and, while I liked them overall, I ended up selling them. The ones I owned did not have the built-in charging. But after a week of regular use/carry and enjoying the ease of charging the lights, I’m a fan.
The lights both come packaged in plastic boxes.
Both lights include a rechargeable battery, removable pocket clip, lanyard, felt pouch and charging cable/base.
In a thoughtful touch, the lanyard comes pre-threaded into a ‘threader’ to help you work the lanyard through the tiny lanyard hole.
The charger base utilizes a STRONG magnet – it basically jumps onto the base when you are ready to charge.
The based of the light is flat to allow tail standing and, of course, attachment to the charger base.
Both lights utilize a TIR optic that focuses the beam into a nice, round spot with no discernible “hot” spot, plus a decent amount of spill. More photos further into the review will show the beam profile.
The lights look essentially the same with the obvious exception of the extra length of the S2R versus the S1R.
As mentioned, the charging base is nice. When the battery is charging the LED indicator is red – when charging is complete it changes to green.
The S1R includes and is powered by an Olight branded 550mAh RCR123 customized battery of five times discharging rate, giving a maximum output up to 900 lumens.
The S2R includes an Olight branded 3200mAh 18650 battery and the light is rated up to 1020 lumen. Both batteries are stated as having high discharge rates.
The side-mounted buttons, like so many others, are sometimes a pain. They are small and don’t fall easily under the finger or thumb. Here are a couple of photos comparing the Olights to similar Zebralights – the Zebralights have large, textured buttons and deeper sockets for the buttons. Granted, the Zebralights are a bit larger, but personally I can tolerate a little bit larger size to make it easier to find the buttons.
Control interfaces are very similar between the 2 lights.
Click the side switch to turn the light on at the last used level (it has mode memory and will return to the last used level.)
From “off”, press and hold the side switch and the light will come on in moonlight mode.
With the light on, press and hold the switch and it will cycle through low/med/high. Double click from on and access turbo – another double click accesses “turbo S”, the highest level.
A quick triple click accesses strobe
From off, press and hold the switch for 2 seconds to lock the light “off”.
The S1R also has a long (9 minutes) and short (3 minutes) timer…with the light on, double click and hold the side switch and it will blink to indicate timer mode (9 minutes). Double click again to toggle between long and short timers. The light will turn off when the time expires.
Operation is essentially the same except there’s no Turbo S…when you double click the light goes to maximum.
Here are a few photos to help illustrate the beam profile.
These photos were taken with the S2R out waking “Heidi the wonder dog.”
These photos offer a comparison to a few popular lights (including 1 Lego) light.
We have the Zebralight SC600 MKIII HI, with a maximum rated output of 1126 lumen and a very defined hotspot; the HDS Rotary with a 200 lumen high CRI Nichia 219B emitter; the venerable old Surefire 6P, only this one with a custom 200 lumen high CRI emitter with a nice smooth spot to spill; the S1R then the S2R, both using a cool XM-L2 emitter behind the aforementioned TiR optic.
The shed is about 75 feet – here’s a photo in the daytime.
The differences in tint are obvious. I prefer the warmer or more neutral tints as they tend to reveal better color rendition and more depth, but the tint of the Olight’s XM-L2 emitters is fine.
Verdict? After a week I came to really appreciate these lights. The S1R is a perfect little EDC – fits in the watch pocket of your favorite jeans or drops into the pocket of your dress slacks and you barely know it’s there. If you prefer to clip it to your pocket or waist, the clip is plenty strong enough. The S2R is larger than I want to EDC, but your mileage may vary. It’s still small enough to be unobtrusive.
The S1R typically retails for under $65 and the S2R for under $75. Seems reasonable considering all you get for the price. The S1R can be purchased HERE and the S2R HERE. The S1R is available in cool or neutral tint – obviously we reviewed the cool tint.