Warning: pic heavy, as usual.
The i-series lights by Olight replace the earlier A-series lights by ITP (which were always made by Olight, but are now produced under their own name). In this review, I will be comparing the i1 (1xCR123A/RCR) and i3 (1xAAA). Let's see how they perform relative to the earlier models …
Common Manufacturer Specifications:
- Keychain hole design, easy for every day carry
- Removable clip with removal tool in the package so you can easily install or remove pocket clip based on need
- Stable tail stand to serve as a candle
- Premium Type III hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish
- Battery reverse polarity protection
- Impact Resistant: 1.2m
- Water resistant to IXP-8 Standard
- High: 70 lumens / 0.7 hours
- Medium: 20 lumens / 1.5 hours
- Low: 2.5 lumens / 20 hours
- LED: Cree XP-G R5
- Battery: 1 x AAA (included)
- Max Beam Distance: 37m
- Peak Beam Intensity: 350cd
- Length: 70.8mm
- Diameter: 14mm
- Weight: 13.2g (excluding battery)
- MSRP: ~$22
- LED: Cree XM-L
- High: 180 lumens / 1.7 hours
- Medium: 40 lumens / 5.2 hours
- Low: 4 lumens / 72 hours
- Battery: 1 x CR123A (included)
- Max Beam Distance: 68m
- Peak Beam Intensity: 1150cd
- Length: 63.2mm
- Diameter: 20.3mm
- Weight: 22.5g (excluding battery) for aluminum version
- Includes 1xCR123A battery
- MSRP: ~$35 (aluminum), ~$45 (stainless steel)
Packaging and extras are unknown, as I received only the bare lights for review.
From left to right: Duracell AAA, Olight i3, ITP A3, Maratac 1xAAA, 4Sevens Preon 1, Titanium Innovations Illuminati Al, Lumintop Worm, Klarus Mi X6
Olight i3: Weight 13.2g, Length: 71.9mm, Width (bezel): 14.0mm
ITP EOS A3: Weight: 11.6g, Length: 69.7, Width 14.1mm (bezel)
Illuminati Aluminum: Weight 13.9g (with keychain clip), Length 68.8mm, Width 14.0mm (bezel)
Klarus Mi X6: Weight 16.2g, Length 72.9mm (battery installed), Width 12.8mm
4Sevens Preon 1: Weight 15.3g (with keychain clip), Length 75.6mm, Width 14.0mm (bezel)
From left to right: Energizer CR123A,Olight i1, 4Sevens Q Mini 123 Titanium, Nitecore EZ123, Zebralight SC30, Nitecore EX1, Sunwayman M10R
Olight i1: Weight 48.1g, Length: 63.9mm, Width (bezel): 20.4mm
Jetbeam BC10: Weight: 46.6g, Length: 90.3mm, Width (bezel): 23.2mm
Thrunite 1C: Weight: 45.2g, Length: 91.5mm, Width (bezel) 22.0mm
The stainless steel adds extra weight – I would expect the aluminum version to be in the range of other lights this size.
Build is very similar to the earlier ITP A1 and A3, reviewed previously.
The ITP lights had a built-in split-ring attachment point on the tail of the light, which prevented tailstanding. The new attachment point causes a split-ring to stick out from the side. While this now allows tailstanding, it prevents the lights from hanging freely. It also makes the lights slightly taller.
The other major change is the addition of a sturdy clip, firmly attached by screws. This is a definite improvement over the earlier models.
Otherwise, little has changed in external styling or choice of materials/anodizing colors. Like the earlier ITP lights, there is no knurling to speak of – the newer Olight i-series lights have the same length-wise ridge detail. Grip is ok, but not as "grippy" as actual knurling. I found the stainless steel i1 difficult to twist one-handed. Finish was good on both my samples – no chips or blemishes.
The ITP versions of these lights changed over time from their original mode sequence (Med > Lo > Hi) to Lo > Med > Hi. The new Olight i-series lights maintain this "newer" Lo > Med > Hi sequence.
To use the lights, simply fully tighten the head and it comes on in Lo. Do a rapid twist off-on and the light advances to Medium. Do another rapid off-on twist and the light advances to Hi. This cycle continues indefinitely. Wait a few seconds before re-activating the light after turning off, and it returns to default Lo.
As before, there is no memory mode with this series, and there is also no strobe or SOS mode.
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.
The new i-series lights maintain the same high-frequency PWM on Lo/Med as the later generations of the ITP A-series lights (i.e. about 2.4 kHz). This is not visually detectable – the lights are flicker free in practice.
I detected some high frequency noise on my i1 sample on Lo/Med, separate from the reoccurring PWM signal. But again, this was not visually detectable.
There is no strobe mode on either light.
All lights are on Sanyo Eneloop 1xAAA NiMH, 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.
All lights are on AW protected RCR, 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.
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.
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.
Overall external build of the lights remains fairly smooth. Although the fluted ridges lengthwise along the lights help with grip, they are not as grippy as actual knurling. I found the stainless steel i1 very hard to use single-handed.
Keychain split-ring attachment point prevents the lights from hanging straight down. However, the lights can now tailstand.
1x3.7V Li-ion sources are not recommended on Hi in either light, due to the excessive drive levels and heat produced. There is particularly a concern for 10440.
The Olight i-series are more an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, step up from the popular ITP A-series lights.
The main build differences are the placement of the split-ring attachment clip (now on the side, allowing tailstanding), and a reasonably sturdy pocket clip held on by screws. Although this placement for the split-ring is better, I personally prefer the 4Sevens' design (also made by Olight ) that supports both tailstanding and straight-hanging. I also prefer actual knurling (again, as seen on the 4Sevens' versions of these lights), but the length-wise ridges do help somewhat with grip.
Circuit/emitter-wise, not much has changed – although the i1 now comes with a XM-L emitter. Performance was very similar to my XM-L-equipped Thrunite Neutron 1C on 1xRCR, but my i1 was a definite stand-out over-achiever on 1xCR123A.
On my i3, Hi output seemed a little lower than my earlier ITP A3 sample - but still in the range of other lights with comparable circuits and XP-G R5 emitters (e.g. Illuminati). Performance on Med-mode was unchanged from the earlier version of this light.
All in all, a nice incremental upgrade to the ITP A-series.
Olight i1 and i3 supplied by 4Sevens for review.