Warning: pic heavy, as usual.
The S20 is the latest addition to the Olight Baton series of flashlights (a series that look like, well, batons). The S20 is a model up from the S10, taking 1x18650 or 2xCR123A. For a comparison to the other Baton lights, see my S10, S35/S65 and S80 reviews.
Manufacturer Reported Specifications: (note: as always, these are simply what the manufacturer provides – scroll down to see my actual testing results).
- LED: CREE XM-L
- Runs on: 2 x CR123A or 1 x 18650 battery (batteries not included)
- Working voltage: 2.5~6V
- Output (ANSI)/Runtime: High: 470 Lumens/2.25 Hours, Medium: 100 Lumens/9 Hours, Low: 5 Lumens/120 Hours, Moonlight: 0.5 Lumens/1500 Hours
- Max beam distance: 328 ft (100 m)
- Moonlight mode and High outputs can be accessed directly when the flashlight is off
- Both fixed frequency and Frequency conversion strobe modes
- Olight patented lock-out function
- Strong removable magnet at the end of tail for secure attachment to ferrous surfaces
- Removable pocket clip
- Stainless steel head ring
- Low voltage indication: side switch will glow red when power is low
- IPX-8 water resistance
- Impact resistant to 2 m (about 6.5")
- Dimensions: Length: 4.17" (106 mm), Diameter: 0.9" (23 mm)
- Weight (w/o Battery): 1.83 oz (52g)
- MSRP: ~$55
As with many of my other Baton-series reviews, my sample was an engineering sample without final retail packaging. However, I imagine it would look similar to the Olight S10 (which included a simple lanyard strap, extra o-rings, split ring, and manual). The S20 comes with a removable pocket clip, similar in design to the S10.
From left to right: AW Protected 18650, Olight S20, Foursevens Quark Q123-2, Eagletac D25CL2, Nitecore EC2, Zebralight SC600, Sunwayman C20C.
All dimensions are given with no batteries installed:
Olight S20: Weight: 51.8g, Length: 105.4mm, Width (bezel): 23.1mm
Eagletac D25LC2: Weight: 50.0g, Length: 116.3mm, Width (bezel): 22.5mm
4Sevens Quark Q123-2 X (Regular tailcap): Weight: 44.6g, Length: 112.7mm, Width (bezel) 22.0mm
Jetbeam PC20: Weight: 60.0g, Length: 127.5mm, Width (bezel): 22.6mm
Lumintop ED20: Weight 84.4g, Length 121.6mm, Width (bezel) 25.2mm
Spark SL6: Weight 77.8g, Length: 125.5mm, Width (bezel) 30.9mm
Sunwayman C20C: Weight 57.6g, Length: 104.8mm. Width (bezel): 25.6mm
Thrunite TN12: Weight: 64.0g, Length: 126.9mm, Width (bezel): 24.1mm
Zebralight SC600: Weight 87.2g, Length: 107.8mm, Width (bezel) 29.7mm
As you can see above, my sample was an engineering sample, but the shipping version should look similar (except for the tailcap label).
As with the S10, the S20 is quite small for its class. Overall build is similar to the S10, and features black anodizing (matte finish), with bright white labels. Although still without typical knurling, the S20 shares the same raised checkered pattern as on the S10. With the pocket clip attached, I'd say grip is reasonably good.
The pocket clip is comparable to the S10, although a bit longer now. It similarly seems to hold onto the light fairly securely. I personally like it, as you can clip it on you in either orientation (i.e., bezel-up or bezel-down carry), although it might be rough on clothing given how tightly it fits.
The S20 comes with plastic sleeve for use with 2xCR123A, to prevent battery rattle. You can take this out for use with 1x18650.
One other thing is new - there is now a spring in the head. You can safely use flat-top high-capacity 18650 cells.
Like the other Batons, the S20 uses square-cut screw threads (anodized for tail lock-out, like the S10).
Light can tailstand, and there is a split-ring/lanyard attachment hole on the side of the tail cap as before. The tailcap in fact seems identical to the S10, with the same removable strong magnet (i.e., firm enough for the light to stand horizontally off any vertical metal surface). I previously prepared a video of the S10, showing you how to swap out the magnet in the tailcap:
As with the S10, I find the tailcap rattles slightly in use. This disappears if you swap the magnet out, as the bundled o-ring is thicker than the magnet (at least on my shipping S10 sample), dampening any movement. If you want to keep the magnet installed, I'm sure you could fully dampen the rattle with a thinner o-ring inserted under spring.
As before, the light uses an electronic switch, located near the head. However, the user interface has been updated from the S10 (see discussion below). Also, the low-voltage warning LED under the switch is back (i.e., as with the S35/65/80, but missing from the S10).
On the S20, the switch will glow red as the battery nears exhaustion.
As before, the light has a flat stainless steel bezel ring with a red o-ring, and a textured (orange peel) reflector. Again, the head looks visually the same as the S10, although I would expect somewhat higher max output here (based on the specs).
I'll discuss tint later in this review. The reflector isn't very deep, so you should expect a wide spill beam. Emitter was well centered on my sample.
Something I noticed on the S10 ( but seems a bit more pronounced on my S20, likely due to the greater output), is that there is a purple tint to the edge of the periphery of the spillbeam. This may have something to do with the red o-ring and anti-glare coating on the lens.
Like the other Baton lights, the S20 uses an electronic switch for on/off and mode control. As before, a quick press and release turns the light on.
Mode switching is controlled by holding down the electronic switch. The light will cycle between Lo – Med – Hi, in repeating sequence. This is similar to the early Baton lights, but differs from the S10, which stepped down after stepping up in outputs (i.e., Lo – Med – Hi – Med, in repeating sequence).
As before, simply release the switch to select your desired mode. The light has mode memory – if you turn it off/on, the light returns to your previous level.
The S20 also features the ultra-low "Moonlight" level, as the S10 did. You access this mode directly from off by a sustained press of the switch. This is an excellent adaptation, as you can always turn the light on in the lowest possible mode if you want (i.e., no matter where you memorized it before). Mode cycling and memory works as before, once on.
There is still a "hidden" strobe mode, accessed by double-clicking the switch when on. Double-click again to return to constant on.
The S20 also restores the typical Olight "soft lock-out" (which was removed from the S10). If you hold the switch down from On, after three cycles through the output modes, the S20 turns itself off. It cannot be turned back on until you rapidly press the switch three times.
For information on the light, including the build and user interface, please see my new video overview:
Video was recorded in 720p, but YouTube typically defaults to 360p. Once the video is running, you can click on the configuration settings icon and select the higher 480p to 720p options. You can also run full-screen.
There is no sign of PWM that I can see, at any output level – I presume the light is current-controlled, as claimed.
Strobe is a standard "tactical" high frequency strobe, measured at 9.8 Hz.
As the switch is an electronic one, a standby current drain is always present when a battery is installed.
I measured this standby drain at 38uA for 2xCR123A, and 25uA on 1x18650. Although a bit higher than my S10, that still means for standard 1400mAh CR123A, you could expect over 4 years and 2 months before the batteries would be drained. For a 2600mAh 18650, that would translate into over 11 years and 10 month before a battery would be fully drained. Hardly a concern – although I do recommend you lock out the switch at the tailcap (or soft-lock out electronically) to prevent accidental activation.
And now, the white-wall beamshots. All lights are on Max output on 1x AW 18650 protected. 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.
Beam pattern is as you would expect for a XM-L light with this size textured reflector – a fairly big hotspot and decent sized spillbeam. Scroll down for full output details in my tables.
One potential issue – my S20 is rather green-tinted for a Cool White emitter, especially on the lower output levels. Note that there is always considerable variability in potential tints, as most manufacturers do not purchase specific tint bins from Cree. But it does seem like this relatively greenish tint is a common occurrence on these S10/S20 models.
Note also that it is to be expected that there would be some relatively "warm" tint-shifting on the lower levels (i.e., this is a common feature of current-controlled lights). In this case, I suspect this is accentuating the slightly greenish tint of many of these emitters.
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 devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values (ROV) to estimated Lumens. See my How to convert Selfbuilt's Lightbox 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.flashlightreviews.ca/FL1.htm for a discussion, and a description of all the terms used in these tables. Effective July 2012, I have updated all my Peak Intensity/Beam Distance measures with a NIST-certified Extech EA31 lightmeter (orange highlights).
The S20 has a balanced overall output pattern, not very throwy (as expected). Output is bit higher on max than the S10, but level spacing is otherwise not that different. Here is a summary table showing what my ANSI FL-1 lumen estimates are for the S20:
As with my Olight S10, my estimated output levels are not that far off the published specs – except on Hi, where I find higher initial output. Here's the S10 for you to compare:
The S20 has a similar distinctive step-down pattern as the S10: On Hi, after 5 mins, the light steps down to a slightly lower level – but gradually, over a period of ~4 mins. This differs from most lights that have an abrupt step. As a result, you are not likely to be able to notice the gradual dimming here.
Efficiency seems excellent on the S20, on both primary CR123A2 and 18650 Li-ion.
Baton lights all use an electronic switch, and therefore require a small stand-by current when fully connected. The standby drain on S20 low enough (25~38 uA) as to be practically negligible (i.e., would take several years to fully drain a battery). However, you can "soft" lock out the switch electronically (which should lower the current), and you can always physically lock out the S20 at the tailcap.
All my S10 and S20 samples to date have had a noticeably green tint overall, especially so at the lower output levels. It is hard to draw any conclusions from my limited samples, but it is common for current-controlled lights to tint-shift warmer at lower drive levels (thus accentuating yellow-green tints). But it is hard to predict what you will get, as Olight does not confirm a specific tint bin. There is also a noticeable blue-purple tint around the edge of the spillbeam periphery on all my S10/20 samples.
I described S10 as a nice addition to the Baton series of Olight lights - and the S20 continues in that tradition. Although very similar to the S10 overall, Olight has restored some of the earlier features of the other Baton S-series lights that I always liked.
Let's start with what's the same as the S10 – the overall look and feel. You get a similar good clip (reversible orientation), keychain attachment point, and reasonable grip (all of which were improvements over the older Baton lights). The magnetic tailcap is identical between the S10 and S20 – and like the later-model S10s, the magnet can be swapped out if you prefer.
The user interface of the S20 takes the best new feature of the S10 – the "hidden" Moonlight mode accessible from Off – and restores the other characteristics of the earlier Baton lights. Specifically, the mode sequence has returned to standard Lo > Med > Hi, and the "soft lock" after three cycles has been restored. They have also brought back the low voltage warning indicator under on the On/Off button (a feature which was missing from the S10).
The S20 continues the tradition of a relatively negligible low uA standby current. And the performance of the light remains excellent in my testing, in keeping with the good current-control circuitry (i.e. very long relative runtimes). The S20 maintains the gradual drop-off in the Hi mode step-down brought in on the S10.
Output levels are similar to the S10. Perhaps the only comment here is that some would like a brighter Lo mode, given you have the Moonlight mode available. I've handled several samples of S10 and S20 lights now, and all have had a noticeable greenish tint. Of course, tint is highly variable usually, but the apparent consistency here is something to keep in mind if you specifically don't like that end of the cool white spectrum.
The S20 is a nice example of the ongoing evolution of the Baton series of lights. Certainly a strong contender in the slim and compact group of 1x18650 lights, given the excellent runtimes, straight-forward build and thoughtful interface.
S20 was supplied by Olight for review.