Warning: pic heavy, as usual.
Olight has recently updated their S10 and S20 models for 2013, bringing in some of the features of the more recent S15. The new 2013 editions all feature XM-L2 emitters, and are thus sometimes known as the S10-L2 and S20-L2.
This review will focus on the S20 XM-L2 2013 edition. Please see my S10 XM-L2 review for more info on that model.
Of course, there are few other differences as well – I'll go through all of those in the detailed discussion and testing below.
Manufacturer Reported Specifications:
(note: as always, these are simply what the manufacturer provides – scroll down to see my actual testing results).
- LED: CREE XM-L2
- Output (ANSI)/Runtime: High: 550 Lumens/2 Hours, Medium: 120 Lumens/9 Hours, Low: 5 Lumens/120 Hours, Moonlight: 0.5 Lumens/600 Hours
- Peak beam intensity: 3,500 cd
- Max beam distance: 118 m
- Aviation grade aluminum body, with anti-scratch type III hard anodizing.
- There are four brightness levels: Moon-light, low, middle and high. These levels can be memorized when the light turned off; one special mode: strobe.
- Under off status, single click will turn on the light, quick double clicking can get high brightness, triple-click enable strobe mode, while long time press enable moon light.
- With strong magnet in the end of tail, the flashlight can be stick on the iron surface. The magnet can be removed and replaced by users.
- Invertible U-shape embrace clip.
- Stainless steel head ring, which can bear higher tensile impaction
- Flat tail cap, can be easily head stood.
- S20 is designed for a wide input voltage and both 2xCR123A and 1x18650 are available.
- Time based thermal management, after lighting on high mode for 4.5 minutes, the output ramps down to 50% of high brightness to avoid overheating.
- IPX-8 water resistance
- Impact resistant to 2 m (about 6.5")
- Dimensions: Length: 4.2" (107 mm), Diameter: 0.9" (23 mm) [corrected from original specs]
- Weight (w/o Battery): 1.83 oz (52g)
- Standard Accessories: Flashlight x 1, Lanyard x 1, Spare O-RINGs x2 sets, Replacer of magnet x 1, User’ manual x 1, Battery Magazine
- Optional Accessories: TW10-W White Traffic Wand, TW10-O Orange Traffic Wand, FM10-G Green filter, FM10-R Red filter,
FM10-B Blue filter, DM10 Diffuser, OLB-123S One CR123A 1500mAh 3V Lithium Battery, OLB-123P Two CR123A 1500mAh 3V Lithium Batteries
- MSRP: ~$55
The packaging has been updated, and the new 2013 editions all look the same (i.e., similar to my recent S15 review). Inside the clear plastic container are the light (with CR123A magazine installed), extra o-rings, a simple wrist lanyard, replacement for the tailcap magnet, and manual. There is also an overview of specs on the bottom and back of the packaging.
From left to right: AW Protected 18650 2200mAh; Olight S20 (2013), S20 (2012), Sunwayman C20C; Nitecore EC2; Eagletac D25LC2, TX25C2; Foursevens Quark Q123-2.
All dimensions directly measured, and given with no batteries installed:
Olight S20 (2013, XM-L2): Weight: 52.4g, Length: 106.5mm, Width (bezel): 23.1mm
Olight S20 (2012, XM-L): Weight: 51.8g, Length: 105.4mm, Width (bezel): 23.1mm
Eagletac D25LC2: Weight: 50.0g, Length: 116.3mm, Width (bezel): 22.5mm
Foursevens 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
Skilhunt K11: Weight: 120.5g, Length: 129.6mm , Width (bezel): 34.1mm
Sunwayman C20C: Weight 57.6g, Length: 104.8mm. Width (bezel): 25.6mm
Thrunite TN10: Weight: 154.7g, Length: 145.5mm, Width (bezel): 35.1mm
Zebralight SC600: Weight 87.2g, Length: 107.8mm, Width (bezel) 29.7mm
Overall dimensions are very similar to the original S20, and other compact lights in this class.
Physically, the new 2013 editions of the S10 and S20 look generally similar to the old ones. These lights are all quite petite for their respective classes. Lights come with black anodizing (matte finish) and bright white labels. Although still without typical knurling, the raised checkered patterns on the body help with grip. With the pocket clip attached, I'd say grip is reasonably good.
The pocket clip is comparable to the earlier models, no real change for the S20. It 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.
As with the original S20 (but not the original S10), there is a spring in the head. Flat-top cells can work just fine in the light. This presumably also helps with maintaining stability of battery contact in jarring environments.
Like the other Batons, the S20 2013 uses the same square-cut screw threads as before (anodized for tail lock-out, like the earlier S10/20).
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 original S20, 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:
Note that they seem to have improved the design, as I no longer notice any rattle on the tailcap (as I did on the original S10/S20 with the magnet installed).
As before, the light uses an electronic switch, located near the head. However, the user interface has been updated slightly from the earlier S20 (see below). And the button design has changed – no longer a soft silicone cover, the new cover is a much harder plastic. Moreover, it only allows a small portion of the underlying red LED to show thought (i.e., the low voltage warning indicator is still there, but a bit less visible).
As before, the light has a flat stainless steel bezel ring with a red o-ring, and a lightly textured reflector. One difference – the lens anti-glare coating is not as pronounced now. This is actually good news, as I (and others) had found that the anti-glare on the original S10/S20 lens was contributing to the relatively greenish tint. Tint is therefore improved slightly on the new S20 2013.
The main build difference is that S20 has been updated with a XM-L2 Cool White emitter now. The plastic surround has been changed from black to white, but the emitter remains well centered. The reflector remains relatively smooth finish, like the older S10/S20 lights.
BTW, here is what the old S20 XM-L looked like.
Note the visible grid over the die, 3 bond wires, and green mask surround. These are all classic signs of the XM-L emitter that have been revised on XM-L2 (i.e., no grid, 2 bond wires, and silver mask on XM-L2).
The S20 2013 interface has been updated slightly from the previous S20, and is now the same as the recent S15.
Like the other Baton lights, the S20 uses an electronic switch for on/off and mode control. As before, a quick press and release (i.e., click) turns the light on/ off.
Mode switching is controlled by holding down the electronic switch. The light will cycle between Lo – Med – Hi, 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 continues to features the ultra-low "Moonlight" level. You access this mode directly from off by a sustained (>1 sec) press-and-hold of the switch from off. This is a nice feature, as it means 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.
EDIT: There is another shortcut option here - a double-click from Off will jump you to Hi output level. This is different from a double-click from on, which will give you strobe.
Note that the S20 has a revised "soft lock-out" mode now - if you hold the switch down from off for >2 secs, the light shuts itself off (i.e., after one second of the Moonlight mode). You will not be able to use the light until you unlock it (by pressing-and-holding the switch for >1 sec). Note that this means that if you want Moonlight, you must release the switch before the lock-out takes effect (hold the switch between 1 and 2 secs). To unlock, simply press and hold the switch for more than 1 sec now. Note that this also means that you will return to Moonlight upon unlocking.
There is still a "hidden" strobe mode, accessed by double-clicking the switch when on. Double-click again to return to constant on.
For information on the light, including the build and user interface, please see my video overview:
Note that this video was prepared based on the pre-release samples I received (without the final packaging – scroll back up for details on it). The physical build and user interface is unchanged in the shipping samples, so the lights look and behave exactly as described below.
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.
As with all my videos, I recommend you have annotations turned on. I commonly update the commentary with additional information or clarifications before publicly releasing the video.
As always, there is no sign of PWM at any output level – The S20 2013 is current-controlled like its predecessors.
The strobe is a fairly typical fast "tactical" strobe, of 9.8Hz frequency (as before).
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 27uA on 1x18650 on my S20 2013, which is basically unchanged from my earlier S20. For a 2600mAh 18650, that would translate into 11 years 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.
For white-wall beamshots below, all lights are on Max output on an AW protected 18650 battery. 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.
The original S20 XM-L from 2012 is simply labeled as S20 below, and the new S20-L2 is labeled as S20 2013 XM-L2.
Beam pattern remains very similar to the original S20, as you would expect (i.e., the Batons are all relatively "floody"). The main differences are a little more output on Hi (due to the XM-L2), and a slightly improved tint (which you can't tell above, due to the auto white balance).
The reduced anti-glare coating of the lens on all the 2013 Baton models has reduced the green tint-shifting somewhat, on all my samples. Note that it is common to see warm (i.e., green-yellow) tint shifting at lower outputs on current-controlled lights like these. The original anti-glare coating was exacerbating this tendency, however (by shifting more purple light to the beam fringes and allowing more green light through the center hotpot).
All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, as described on my flashlightreviews.ca website. 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).
Note: the official specs to not indicate if 2xRCR is supported, but I have tested it anyway. There is no guarantee that it is stable on this battery source, however.
As you can start to see above, there isn't much of a difference between the new S20 2013 XM-L2 and original S20 – aside from a little more output and throw on Hi.
Note that as before, the Moonlight and Low levels are slightly brighter on 2xCR123A than 1x18650 (and again for 2xRCR compared to 2xCR123A). Med and Hi modes don't change appreciably on different battery sources.
To better illustrate the output differences between the old and new model, here is a detailed output comparison on 1x18650.
Overall, my lumen estimates are pretty close to Olight's specs, although I continue to find a little more max output than they report.
As always, it bears repeating that my estimated lumen scale is just that - an estimate, based on a consistent calibration of my lightbox. But even though the absolute value correlation is unknown, the relative comparisons still hold. All I can really say is that one light is higher or lower than another, by a certain relative percentage. So please don't get hung up on the absolute values of the estimates, or on small relative percent changes.
Note: the official specs to not indicate if 2xRCR is supported, but I have tested it anyway. There is no guarantee that it is stable on this battery source, however.
Like many recent lights in this class, the S20 continues to have a defined step-down on Hi (after 4.5 mins of continuous runtime in this case). The difference on the Olight S20 series is that the step-down is gradual, taking about 4 mins to level off at the lower Hi level. This is unchanged from the original S20, and continues to mean that you are unlikely to notice the step-down on this series. Note that you can turn the light off-on to restore initial max output.
The output/runtime curves for the new S20 do not look appreciably different, except for a small bump in output on Med and Hi (thanks to the higher output bin XM-L2 used, presumably). As before, on all batteries, overall efficiency is excellent at all output levels tested.
All Baton lights use an electronic switch, and therefore require a small stand-by current when fully connected. However, the standby drain on S20 remains at a ridiculously low 27uA, which would translate into over a decade before an 18650 battery would be drained.
Accidental activation is always a potential concern with electronic switches. You can "soft" lock out the switch electronically, and you can always physically lock out the light at the tailcap.
My earlier S10 and S20 samples had a noticeably green tint, especially so at the lower output levels. This is improved on the new 2013 Baton lights, thanks to a reduced anti-glare coating on the lens (which was exacerbating the problem). However, you are still likely to notice a green-yellow tint in the hotspot - it is just slightly less pronounced than the earlier S10/S20.
The 2013 editions of the S10 and S20 are a nice update to the line. As you would expect, the changes are more evolutionary than revolutionary. My understanding is that these models will simply replace the old ones as dealers clear out inventory. As such, it's nice to see Olight has kept the price points consistent.
In terms of the S20, the main headline change is the new XM-L2 emitter (which will give you a small bump in max output due to the output bin increase). Olight doesn't report exact output bins, but my testing results suggest you are looking at about two bin steps here. This will also translate into slightly better throw, simply due to the higher max output.
Otherwise, the beam pattern doesn't change much – except for the slightly improved tint. The original S10 and S20 lights were known for a particularly noticeable green tint shift at lower levels. While common in current-controlled lights, the situation was exacerbated by a heavy anti-glare coating on the lens (which seemed to preferentially diffract purplish light out to the side of the spill, and allowed the green to shine through with the hotspot). All the new 2013 models (including the S15) have a new anti-glare lens coating that is less prominent. While this doesn't completely resolve the issue, you are likely the find the new 2013 models an improvement.
Another feature that has changed is the on/off button. Now made out of a hard plastic instead of soft silicone, it still retains the low warning voltage feature (i.e., the red LED underneath).
Circuit function is similar to before, but there have been a few user interface changes. For example, the soft-lockout is now on sustained press >2 sec from off (which I suspect many will find better than the previous location of after three mode cycles). Unlocking the light requires only a 1 sec sustained press though, which may not suit everyone (i.e., it's really no different than entering Moonlight mode normally). But you can always physically lock-out the light by unscrewing the tailcap partially.
What hasn't changed is the over build feel. As before, you get a decent clip (reversible orientation), keychain attachment point, and reasonable grip. The magnetic tailcap is present as before, and you can swap out the magnet if you don't want it.
Performance of the light remains excellent in my testing, in keeping with the good current-control circuitry (i.e. very long relative runtimes). Combined with the very serviceable user interface, I can see a lot of people finding much here to suit their needs.
Again, at the end of the day, this is a thoughtful update to the Baton line. A strong contender for those looking for a basic purpose flashlight.
S20 2013 XM-L2 was supplied by Olight for review.