Warning: pic heavy, as usual.
The "Baton" lights are a new series from Olight, featuring a streamlined body design and support for multiple AA-based configurations. How do they compare to other multiple-AA lights? Let us see …
Common Manufacturer Specifications:
- CREE XM-L LED
- Three adjustable brightness levels with a strobe
- Rugged aluminum body with anti-scratching type-III Hard=Anodizing
- Orange peel reflector
- Mil-spec: MIL-STD-810F
- Water resistant to IPX-8 standards
- Impact Resistance: 3.9 ft (1.2 m)
- Includes: batteries, holster, key ring, and diffuser
- More than 590" (180 m) throw
- Uses 3 x AA batteries (Included)
- Peak Beam Intensity: 8100
- Weight (excluding batteries): 6.1 oz (173 g)
- Size (L x D): 5" x 1.41" (128 x 36 mm)
- Output (Lumens): Lo: 20, Med: 120, Hi: 380
- Run Time (Hours): Lo: 240, Med: 3.5, Hi: 1.5, Strobe: 3
- MSRP: ~$85
- More than 820" (250 m) throw
- Uses 6 x AA batteries (Included)
- Peak Beam Intensity: 15600
- Weight (excluding batteries): 7.7 oz (219 g)
- Size (L x D): 7" x 1.41" (180 x 36 mm)
- Output (Lumens): Lo: 20, Med: 200, Hi: 700
- Run Time (Hours): Lo: 360, Med: 5.3, Hi: 1.3, Strobe: 3
- MSRP: ~$110
Packaging and extras are unknown, as I received only the bare lights for review.
From left to right: Duracell AA, Olight S35, Sunwayman M40A, Jetbeam PA40, Olight S65, ITP A6 Polestar, Fenix TK45.
All dimensions are given with no batteries installed:
Olight S35 3xAA: Weight 177.3g, Length: 127.7mm, Width (bezel): 38.7mm
Olight S65 6xAA: Weight 215.4g, Length: 180mm, Width (bezel): 38.7mm
JetBeam PA40 4xAA: Weight: 184.0g, Length: 183mm, Width: 40.8mm (bezel), 42.1mm (max width)
ITP A6 6xAA: Weight: 209.9g, Length: 174mm, Width (bezel) 48.0mm, Width (tailcap) 37.8mm
Sunwayman M40A 4xAA: Weight: 247.0g , Length: 145mm, Width 57.0mm (bezel)
Fenix TK45 8xAA: Weight: 307.3g, Length: 202mm, Width (bezel) 50.6mm, Width (tailcap) 44.0
As you can see, the Baton lights are quite petite for their battery configurations. They are smaller than I expected.
Build is distinctive, with an overall cylindrical shape. Anodizing is glossy black, and there were a few chips on the screw threads on my samples (which are anodized for tail lock-out). Labels are bright white against the black background.
There is no real knurling as such, but Olight uses a series of fine ridges along the bodies of both lights (similar to the Fenix TK45). Lights may be slippery when wet.
Lights can tailstand, and there is a recessed lanyard attach hole on the tail. Lights have a flat stainless steel bezel ring
Lights use an electronic switch, located near the head. The switch appears white, but actually has a red LED underneath that lights up as a low battery warning indicator.
Lights use square-cut screw threads, anodized for lock-out. Threads feel somewhat "gritty" on both models, and there are noticeable nicks in the anodizing on both lights. There was also a minor defect on my S65 - a narrowing of the distance between the last two threads - resulting in increased stiffness when screwing down the tailcap/battery carrier.
You can see this in the photo above – to the right of the arrow, the thread distance is consistent. But to the left of the arrow, the bottom-most thread runs in closer to the one above it. With extra lube, I found this wasn't too much of a problem (but it was quite stiff upon arrival).
Note also that I don't see o-rings anywhere on the body tube. I presume these are integrated into the tailcap/battery carrier.
The carriers are mainly plastic, composed of multiple segments screwed together. I presume this design was to facilitate manufacture, as it allows similar parts to be manufactured for both carriers. However, it results in a less sturdy-looking 6xAA carrier (i.e. you can see above how the segments don't line up perfectly on my S65 sample). But it should hold together fine given the screws built-in to each seam.
The lights use an electronic switch for on/off and mode control. Press and release for constant on.
Mode switching is controlled by holding down the electronic switch. The lights will cycle between Lo – Med - Hi, in repeating sequence. Simply release the switch to select your desired mode. The light has mode memory – if you turn it off/on, the lights return to your previous level.
There is a "hidden" strobe mode, accessed by double-clicking the switch when on. Double-click again to return to constant on.
Lights use the typical Olight "soft lock-out" - if you hold the switch down from On, after three cycles of output modes, the light turns itself off. It can not be turned back on until you rapidly press the switch three times. This is a soft lock to prevent accidental activation. However, I always recommend you store lights fully locked out at the tailcap when not in use (see Standy current below).
For a more detailed examination of the build and user interface, please see my video overview:
Video was recorded in 720p, but YouTube defaults to 360p. Once the video is running, you can click on the 360p icon in the lower right-hand corner, and select the higher 480p to 720p options, or even run full-screen. Sorry for the somewhat choppy video – these were filmed in lower light conditions.
There is no sign of PWM that I can see, at any output level. Either they are using a frequency that is too high for me to detect, or the light is actually current-controlled as claimed.
Strobe was measured at 9.7 hz on both the S35 and S65. As revealed by the oscilloscope traces, the strobe pattern shows a rapid oscillation at the beginning of the On signal, shown in more detail below.
Since the switch is an electronic switch, there needs to be a standby current when the battery carrier is fully connected. Measuring this current is not simple, however, given the negative contact point is buried deep in the tailcap below the carrier. When connecting all contact points as best I am able, my DMM gives me an initial current draw in the high tens of uA (i.e. <100 uA), that quickly drops down over a few seconds and settles at 6.3uA on the S35 and 5.8uA on the S65. Since both lights appear to place the cells in series, that would translate into 36 and 39 years respectively, on a 2000mAh NiMH cell.
Note I don't have my usual degree of confidence in those numbers, given the the more complicated wiring setup needed. Also, I'm not sure what the outside metal ring on the top of the carrier is doing, if anything. There is a plastic ring in the head of the light that blocks access of this metal ring to anything that I can see (although it is possible that contact might still occur with a protruding solder point on the contact plate in the head). I have tried to connect the outside carrier ring to that solder point with no apparent effect - you need to establish negative contact between the terminal at the base of the tailcap and the body of the light for a current to flow.
Although most Olight models (including these lights) come with a "soft lock-out" of the switch (to prevent accidental actiation), you need to lock out the light at the tailcap to actually break the current.
Low Battery warning
The low-battery warning flash is integrated under the on/off button, as shown below:
Typically, I only noticed the indicator flashing once the output started to dim (i.e. fell out of regulation).
The S35 and S65 seem to use an identical head. Below the stainless steel bezel ring is a red o-ring, holding the lens in place. The reflectors have a medium orange peel (textured) finish. Both lights use a Cool White XM-L emitter, well centered on my samples. I would expect a fairly smooth, well-balanced beam.
And now, what you have all been waiting for. I have only done the S35 beamshots below, since the patterns are comparable – only overall output changes.
All lights are on Sanyo Eneloop NiMH, at the maximum supported number for the given models (3x or 4x). Lights are about ~0.75 meter from a white wall (with the camera ~1.25 meters back from the wall). Automatic white balance on the camera, to minimize tint differences.
And now for the outdoor shots. In this case, I have used the S65, since greater output is needed at a distance.
(sorry, the PA40 above should say 4xAA, not 8xAA). These beamshots were done in the style of my earlier 100-yard round-up review. Please see that thread for a discussion of the topography (i.e. the road dips in the distance, to better show you the corona in the mid-ground).
As you can see, the S65 is significantly brighter than the MC-E-based ITP A6 or the JetBeam PA40. Scroll down to my Summary table for some comparison output and throw numbers for all the lights.
EDIT: if you are curious about those red lights in the background, see my post #6 below.
All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, a la Quickbeam's flashlightreviews.com method. You can directly compare all my relative output values from different reviews - i.e. an output value of "10" in one graph is the same as "10" in another. All runtimes are done under a cooling fan, except for any extended run Lo/Min modes (i.e. >12 hours) which are done without cooling.
I have recently devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values (ROV) to estimated Lumens. See my How to convert Selfbuilt's Lighbox values to Lumens thread for more info.
Throw/Output Summary Chart:
My summary tables are reported in a manner consistent with the ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. Please see http://www.sliderule.ca/FL1.htm for a description of the terms used in these tables.
The 3xAA S35 is close in output to the XM-L-based 4xAA lights, and the 6xAA S65 is similar in output to the 3xXP-G-based Fenix TK45 (8xAA). The older ITP A6 (MC-E, 6xAA) is closer in max output to the 4xAA lights.
Throw is relatively good for the Baton lights, in keeping with their relative size and XM-L emitter.
The S65 is well suited for either NiMH or Alkalines, at all levels. I was impressed to see the regulation pattern be maintained for so long on Hi on 6x alkaline. Note that there is an intial drop-off in max output over the first few minutes, followed by a long regulated period.
The S35 is able to maintain regulation a lot long on Hi on NiMH compared to alkaline. But overall performance is still reasonable. At Med output levels, you can see NiMH and alkaline typically perform similarly on the S35.
I am happy to report that manufacturer ANSI FL-1 lumen estimates seem quite accurate for both lights. Reported runtimes are actually quite conservative – especially on Med mode, where I got much longer runtime than the specs show.
Baton-series runtimes are definitely very good for their respective battery and emitter classes. The 3xAA S35 typically performs as well as many 4xAA lights.
Overall build of the lights is fairly smooth, and grip is relatively low. Lights also roll easily.
I have no idea of final packaging, but I doubt a clip would be included (no obvious attachment point).
Lights use a plastic battery carrier, integrated into the tailcap. Design seems flexible enough, but long-term stability is unknown.
Lights use an electronic switch, and therefore require a stand-by current when fully connected. Current seems low enough to not be a concern (i.e. apparently several decades before the cells would be drained), but I generally recommend you store the light locked-out when not in use.
There were inconsistencies in thread distance on my S65 sample, leading to increased resistance. Threads felt "gritty" on both samples, with obvious nicks in the anodizing.
It is nice to see the expansion of the multiple-AA-class of high output lights – a frequently under-served flashlight constituency.
3xAA and 6xAA are unusual battery multiples, but the performance here suggests you get a lot of bang-for-your-buck on the Olight Baton models. Runtimes handily exceeded manufacturer's specs on both lights, with accurate lumen estimates.
Spacing of output modes is good, with three standard output levels and a "hidden" strobe mode. Given the excellent output/runtime efficiency, Olight is clearly using a good-quality constant-current circuit. Regulation is impressive on all battery sources and levels, even on alkalines.
Build design is distinctive – I don't think I've ever seen such consistently cylindrical bodies (i.e., the Batons are well named ). Despite the name, I wouldn't suggest using these as personal defense weapons - they are much smaller than I expected, and relatively thin-walled. Personally, I would have preferred a few more grip elements, as they are somewhat minimalist in external styling. But I am glad to see tailstanding has been maintained, with a lanyard attachment point.
The location of the control switch near the head will be good for traditional consumers (i.e. standard under-hand grip). The low battery indicator built into the switch is a clever idea, although I typically found it activated fairly late in the lifespan of the cells (i.e. output had already dropped out of regulation). Still, I'm always glad to see warning indicators included as secondary features (i.e. much better than flashing in the main beam).
Despite some thread issues on my samples, the overall builds seem ok – certainly a step up from the earlier ITP A6. However, the lights do use plastic battery carriers, and the bodies feel a lot less substantial than the typical Olight higher-end lines (e.g. M-series lights).
That said, performance, beam profile and user interface are all well-designed and well-executed. I could see these lights being popular with traditional consumers (i.e. non-flashaholics, who use only standard alkaline cells ).
Olight S35 and S65 supplied by 4Sevens for review.