Olight S Mini Cu CW and Ti NW review with measurements (XM-L2, CR123A/RCR123/16340)

maukka

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Disclaimer: the S Mini Cu and Ti were provided for testing by Olight free of charge

The Olight S Mini a limited edition run (9999 of each colors produced) of the smallest CR123A/RCR123 battery compatible light by Olight. The light is available in three different versions in either copper or titanium. In addition to the raw copper and rainbow PVD titanium there's also rose gold and black copper as well as polished and bead blasted titanium.

Otherwise the S Mini is almost identical to the original S1 Baton, which was also available in limited quantities with copper and titanium finishes. The S Minis come with a non magnetic tailcap though, most likely to save space. Also there's no charging tailcap with a magnetic base like in the S1R Baton.

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Features and manufacturer's specifications
Battery: CR123A primary of a rechargeable RCR123/16340, a CR123A primary provided
LED: Cree XM-L2 in cool white (Copper versions) or neutral white (Titanium versions)
Waterproof: IPX8, 2m
Mode memory: yes, except strobe

Output specs (with a CR123A primary)
Maximum output: 550 lumens for 1.5 minutes, stepdown to 300 lm for 120 minutes
Other output levels: 60/12/0.5 lumens
Light intensity: 3000 candela
Beam distance: 110 m

Measured dimensions and weight
Length: 54.9mm
Head width: 21.0mm
Handle width: 20.0mm
Weight: Ti 31g, Cu 55g (without a battery, add 17g for 16340 or 15g for CR123A)

User interface
The user interface is identical to the S1R, except for the turbo modes. The light cycles all of the modes except moonlight when the side switch is held down.

From off:
Single click turns the light on with the last used mode memorized (even moonlight)
Long press activates moonlight
Keeping the switch pressed for 2 seconds engages electronic lockout mode where the light cannot be accidentally switched on
If locked out, the switch act as a momentary moonlight if not pressed long enough to unlock (2 seconds)
Double click activates the highest mode
Triple click activates strobe

From on:
Single click turns the light off
Double click activates the highest mode
Long press cycles modes (low, medium, high)
Triple click activates strobe
Double click and hold activates shutdown timer 3/9 minutes

The lights are packaged in a premium cardboard gift box. The light can be ordered with an engraving. There has been reports of the engravings looking very different and mine came with a typo, which was also apparent on the box. "Pursi" instead of "Putsi".

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The raw copper light is packaged into an airtight plastic bag to prevent premature patina forming on the light. As the flashlight gets exposed to oxygen and to human skin for example, it will get darker. There are several methods of polishing the copper back to its original shiny state. Even putting the light in a bag with ketchup overnight has been reported to get rid of tha patina.

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Under the pocket clip is a serial number which can be a lucky one. In the box is a table of winning numbers with the grand prize of an Olight X7 Marauder. I didn't win anything.

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The lights come bundled only with:
CR123A lithium primary battery
User manual

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Batteries are inserted to the light the positive end facing the tailcap. The bundled ones are Olight branded CR123A primaries, but 16340/RCR123 rechargeables can also be used.

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The tailcap has a protective ring on the edge so only button tops work, not that there is a lot of flat top 16340s anyway.

Beam and tint
The S Minis use a similar emitter/optics combo to the previously tested S1A and S2A and S1R/S2R. Therefore their beam pattern is identical.

Because of the optics, the beam is very large and defined with much dimmer spill than with lights that use reflectors. The tint shift between the hotspot and the spill is also much smaller than in Cree lights with reflectors. For close to medium range work the beam is very useful.

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16340 battery, S Mini Ti, S Mini Cu, S1 Cu, S1R, S1A

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Olight S Mini Cu, S Mini Ti, S1R, Astrolux E01, Astrolux S41

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The Astroluxes provide more lumens but are also bigger and use a higher drain 18350 battery. They're no match in efficiency though, the Olights provide longer runtimes at similar output levels even with less battery capacity.

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The tint of a Cree emitter is usually worst (greenest) on the lowest brightness mode. With the new batch of S series Batons even the moonlight seems more neutral. The older S1 Cu for reference.

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Tint in different brightness modes.

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Tint in different parts of the beam.

Spectral data and color rendering

For spectral information and CRI calculations I use an X-rite i1Pro spectrophotometer with HCFR, Babelcolor CT&A and ArgyllCMS spotread for the graphs and data. For runtime tests I use spotread with a custom script and an i1Display Pro because it doesn't require calibration every 30 minutes like the i1Pro.

Explanation of abbreviations (click link to read more)

CCT = correlated color temperature, higher temperature means cooler (bluish)
CRI (Ra) = color rendering index consisting of 8 different colors (R1-R8), max value 100
CRI (R9) = color rendering index with deep red, usually difficult for led based light sources, max value 100
TLCI = television lighting consistency index, max value 100
CQS (Qa) = Proposed replacement for CRI, RMS average of 15 color samples
CRI2012 (Ra,2012) = Another proposed replacement for CRI, consists of 17 color samples
MCRI = Color rendering index based on the memory of colors or 9 familiar objects
NEW Read more about the IES TM-30-15 method here (link is external)
TM-30 = The newest color rendering method using 99 samples. Preferred for comparing LEDs.
TM-30 (Rf) = Accuracy of colors, fidelity index. Replaces CRI(Ra).
TM-30 (Rg) = Gamut of colors, saturation index. Higher number means more saturated colors.
Tint dev. ("Duv" in the CTA screenshots) is the tint's distance to the black body radiator line in the CIE graphs. The higher the number, the greener the tint. 0,0000 means absolutely neutral white and negative numbers mean rosy/magenta tint. Anything over 0,0100 can be described as visibly green.

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S Mini Cu cool white spectral graph

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S Mini Ti neutral white spectral graph

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S Mini Cu CW CRI data

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S Mini Ti NW CRI data

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CRI and color comparison. Higher numbers are better, except for CCT (correlated color temperature) and Tint dev.

Runtimes and output

Please note: lumen measurements are only rough estimates
My diy 40 cm integrating styrofoam sphere has been calibrated using Olight R50 on that has with valostore.fi measuring it at 1178 lumens with their Labsphere. Results may vary with especially floody or throwy lights.

Both lights were measured with an Olight 550mAh IMR 16340 battery, which comes with the S1R model.

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Using a higher capacity Keeppower cell you get about 26% more runtime. There's no output advantage when using a higher drain cell such as the Olight IMR.

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The efficiency of different small S series lights is comparable. The S1R edges in ahead of the pack at 362 lumen hours. The titanium S Mini is understandably less efficient than the copper version because of its neutral white emitter.

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Comparing the S Mini copper to the four XP-G2 emitter Astrolux S41 at medium reveals that the Olight is indeed very efficient. Even with a higher capacity 18350 battery in the Astrolux the total output is significantly higher on the Olight.

PWM

The S Minis have (barely visible) PWM at 1500 Hz on moonlight mode only.

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Verdict

The limited edition S Mini is the perfect gift light. It can be engraved for no extra cost and there's plenty of fabulous finishes to choose from. They are also sure to impress in operation, because for their size the output is great - even if it is for just a minute. It also seems that these latest S series Baton lights have been manufactured with better emitters than before. Both S Minis were much more neutral (less green) than my previous S1 Copper and S10. This also holds true for the S1R I tested only a while ago. They're still no Nichias, but with the optic used, the tint shift between the hotspot and spill is greatly reduced.

+ Exquisite finish, can't get much prettier than this
+ Magnificent output for the size, even if the stepdown happens quite early
+ No worries of the lights getting too hot
+ Pocket clip which can be used to attach the light to a cap
+ Large defined hotspot is useful for close and medium range work
+ Smallish tint shift between the hotspot and spill
+ Good efficiency
+ Tailstanding possible

- No tailcap magnet like on other S-series batons
- The pocket clip can not be rotated or reversed, only bezel up carry in the pocket
 
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StandardBattery

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Thanks for the tests. That run-time on Medium really looks super impressive. On a primary it should be .... CRAZY, looks too good to be true.
 

maukka

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Dec 22, 2015
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Finland
I started to question the Astrolux runtime result, since it's so bad. I'll retest it.

Yep, the output level of the S41 is not correct, it's not at the lower mid mode of 68 lumens but over 100 lumens. Graph removed for now.

edit: new graphed added with the Astrolux S41 level corrected

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SphereByMilan

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Oct 26, 2016
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Thank you for the most detailed scientific and practical review out there. Really glad to have found your review as it answered all the technical question I had but from a user perspective. As much as I like to see tech specs presented the different light comparison and tint is what always helps me the most in making the correct purchase decision without having a product in hand before to test and decide so that's much appreciated. Cheers
 

mightysparrow

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Sep 27, 2006
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Palookaville, USA
Excellent review - thanks! One little error I noticed: in the second paragraph, it says the S Minis come with a magnet in the tail cap. You obviously meant to say that they do not come with a magnet in the tail cap. Incidentally, the absence of the magnet is a positive feature, from my point of view. In all, the S Mini appears to prove that good things come in small packages!
 

Lucky Duck

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Thank you for a well done, detailed review. Have you ever done a review of the Astrolux E01?
 

peahi

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Thanks for the excellent review! Just what the doctor ordered! I appreciate all the work and thought that went into this.
 

Grijon

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Yes, thank you for the great review!

I really, really want an NW, and the only thing that gives me pause is the PWM.

Thanks again!
 

CelticCross74

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I have this thread book marked for reference. That was the most technically detailed review I have ever seen on CPF. I now have the raw copper CW S Mini and just got the NW polished ti S mini today. Running new AW 750mah 16340's in them and they are incredible! Could not pass up the Black Friday deals and just ordered the brass S mini
 

CelticCross74

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I now own all the different S Mini's I could not help myself. I am going to chalk it up to my bad eyesight but I cannot tell any difference in output between 16340's or the Olight CR123 that comes with them. Good stuff...
 

member 6142

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@maukka
I've mine on the way, I've a question though: is this light able to FULLY cope with IMR chemistry? I.e. no over-discharge.
 

Boris74

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@maukka
I've mine on the way, I've a question though: is this light able to FULLY cope with IMR chemistry? I.e. no over-discharge.

Did you get it yet? I ordered the olight rcr123a with my bead blasted Ti and it runs better with it than the primary cr123 it came with. I noticed fade after about 40 minutes of playing with it at 60 lumens. It's annoying. Used it all day today to see run time on the rechargeable and it runs much longer at full brightness. I don't plan on wasting money on any primary to find out if any other brand runs it better. It don't take long to charge in the Nitecore D4 at all.

Awesome little light.
 

jon_slider

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I cannot tell any difference in output between 16340's or the Olight CR123 that comes with them. Good stuff...

because the output is regulated it also does not matter if you use a high drain IMR
maukka posted a chart that shows the modes are the same brightness, but the protected 550mAh cell dies sooner than his protected 700mah cell he said:
maukka said:
There's no output advantage when using a higher drain cell such as the Olight IMR.

is this light able to FULLY cope with IMR chemistry? I.e. no over-discharge.

no, the light has no protection,
if you require over discharge protection, you should use a Protected cell, such as the Protected Olight IMR 550 mah

The 700mah cell maukka shows I believe is a protected ICR
There is no advantage to high discharge capable IMR since the light is regulated, and if you choose to use unprotected IMR, that would mean you have no built in protection.
 
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