Olight S10 Baton (XM-L, 1xCR123A/RCR) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

selfbuilt

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Warning: pic heavy, as usual. :whistle:

UPDATE September 7, 2013: FYI, this model has been replaced by the S10 2013 (aka the S10 L2). See my full review of it here.

UPDATE October 12, 2012: Olight has revised the S10/S20 tailcap design, which now features a removable magnet and spring. Scrol down for details


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The S10 is the latest addition to the Olight Baton series of flashlights – a series that look like, well, batons :rolleyes:. The S10 is the smallest member of the family, and takes one CR123A or RCR cell. For a comparison to the other Baton lights, see my S35/S65 and S80 reviews.

Let's see how it compares to others in its respective class – as well as what has changed from its larger Baton predecessors. :whistle:

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 LED
  • Four outputs: Three in regular operation; the moonlight mode can be accessed directly when the flashlight is off; double click the on/off button to activate strobe mode
  • Hi: 320 lumens / 1hr30min
  • Med: 70 lumens / 7hr30min
  • Lo: 5 lumens / 4d12hr
  • Moonlight: 0.5 lumens / 15d
  • Strobe 10Hz / 3hr
  • High efficiency constant current drive circuit; perfectly compatible with CR123A and RCR123 batteries
  • Peak Intensity: 1800cd
  • Beam distance: 85m
  • Waterproof: IPX8, 2m
  • Equipped with auto memory function and a side switch
  • Strong magnet in the tail, the flashlight can be attached vertically on any ferrous surface
  • Two-direction invertible pocket clip
  • Stainless steel bezel
  • Flat tail cap allows tail standing
  • Battery reverse polarity protection
  • Dimensions: 70.5mm (2.7") length by 23mm (0.9") depth
  • Weight 52g (1.47 oz) excluding battery.
  • Included accessories: lanyard, o-ring
  • MSRP: ~$50
S10034.jpg

S10033.jpg


My other Baton-series reviews were often based on early samples, so full retail packaging generally wasn't available. Olight did send me a shipping S10 for this review, so you can see the compact packaging up above. Olight includes a belt clip (attached), simple lanyard strap, extra o-rings, split ring, and manual.

S10026.jpg

S10022.jpg

S10012.jpg

From left to right: Duracell CR123A; Olight S10; Sunwayman C10R; Eagletac D25C Clicky; Sunwayman M11R; Nitecore EC1; Jetbeam PC10.

Here is how it compares to the other Olight Baton-series lights:

S10015.jpg

From left to right: Duracell CR123A; Olight S10, S35, S65, S85; Duracell AA NiMH.

All dimensions are given with no batteries installed:

Olight S10: Weight 41.1g, Length: 70.6mm, Width (bezel): 23.0mm
Sunwayman C10R: Weight: 57.3g, Length: 76.2mm (no lanyard plug), 82.3mm (with plug), Width (bezel): 25.6mm, Width (head at widest part): 28.6mm
Sunwayman M11R: Weight 45.8g, Length: 76.4mm, Width (bezel): 23.1mm
Sunwayman V11R: Weight 50.5g, Length: 84.3mm, Width (bezel): 23.1mm
Eagletac D25C Clicky: Weight: 30g, Length: 76.0mm, Width (bezel): 20.0mm
Jetbeam PC10: Weight: 50.5g, Length: 93.6mm, Width (bezel): 22.6mm

S10009.jpg

S10008.jpg

S10003.jpg

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Note: Olight initially sent me an engineering sample to test, so many of the pics above are from that original sample. Externally, the final shipping version differed only in a few body labels, shown in the close-ups below.

S10028.jpg

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UPDATE October 12, 2012: Labels have changed again - on the currently shipping tailcap with the removable spring, there is no longer the "N" or "S" label on the tail. Scroll down for details

The S10 is quite petite for the class. Overall build is similar to the earlier cylindrical Baton lights, but with a few upgrades. Like the other Batons, the S10 features black anodizing (matte finish now), with bright white labels. Although still without typical knurling, the fine ridges of the other Batons has been replaced by a raised checkered pattern on the S10. With the pocket clip attached, I'd say grip is reasonably good.

New to this model is the pocket clip. Although only of the clip-on style, it seems to hold onto the light fairly securely. It is also reversible, allowing you both bezel-up or bezel-down carry options. :)

Light can tailstand, and there is a split-ring/lanyard attachment hole on the side of the tail cap. There is also a fairly strong magnet on the tailcap, allowing the light to stand firmly on any metal surface. In fact, on the original tailcap, this the magnetic pull is so strong that it could even hold onto the battery through the spring, as shown here:

S10032.jpg


UPDATE October 12, 2012: Note that this is no longer the case with the currently shipping tailcap. The removable spring is no longer in direct contact with the magnet, so magnetic pull through the spring is greatly reduced. Scroll down for details.

As before, the light uses an electronic switch, located near the head. There is a textured power logo on the switch now (the earlier model Batons were smooth white). Also, there doesn't seem to be a low-voltage warning LED under the switch anymore (at least, I saw no evidence of a sensor on my sample).

Like the other Batons, the S10 uses square-cut screw threads as before – but now anodized for tail lock-out. :thumbsup:

S10006.jpg

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As before, the light has a flat stainless steel bezel ring with a red o-ring, and a textured (orange peel) reflector. The reflector isn't very deep, so I would expect a wide spill beam. Emitter was well centered on my sample.

Tailcap Design Update (October 12, 2012):

As shown above, the original batch of S10s had a non-user-removable magnet. More recent shipping versions have a modified spring design that allows the user to remove the magnet. For those of you with the original tailcap, you can contact your dealer to obtain a free replacement version with the removable spring. Alternatively, Olight is offering a free diffuser wand to those with the original tailcap who are happy to keep it. More details on this "Compensatory Scheme" are available on the Olight website.

You can tell which version you have from the pics below (original shipping is on the left, current version is on the right).

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There is a Olight instruction manual on their website, which will explain how to swap out the magnet in the current design. I also have prepared a video showing you how to do it. As always, you are likely to want to run this video at the higher 720p resolution for more detail.



In addition to the ability to now swap out the magnet, there are two signficant factors I've noticed with the new tailcap design (explained in the video). The first is that the new spring design introduces a slight rattle when handling the light (with the magnet installed). Secondly, while the magnetic pull is just as strong out the back of the tailcap, you can no longer pick up a battery by the spring on the inside of the cap.

Both of these are likely due to the spring not being as deeply/securely fastened inside the tailcap (i.e., it no longer seems to make direct contact with the magnet, hence the reduced magnetic pull through the spring). The rattle issue disappears if you swap the magnet out - the bundled o-ring is thicker than the magnet, and makes direct contact with the spring (dampening any movement). If you want to keep the magnet installed with the new design, I'm sure you could fully dampen the rattle with a thinner o-ring inserted under spring. An extra thin o-ring from a 1xAAA keychain light would probably do the trick.


User Interface

Like the other Baton lights, the S10 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 - Med, in repeating sequence. This differs from the other Baton lights which were Lo – Med – Hi (i.e., in this case, the S10 steps down after stepping up in outputs). 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.

Note that if you memorize the light in Med, when next you turn it back on, it will always be in the first Med in the sequence. In other words, the next level in the sequence will always be Hi when re-activating in Med mode from Off.

The S10 features a new innovation – a "Moonlight" low mode that is directly accessed 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. 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 S10 no longer features the typical Olight "soft lock-out." :shrug: Holding the switch down when on simply continues cycling between output modes indefinitely. To lock out the light, I recommend you twist the tailcap.

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.

PWM

There is no sign of PWM that I can see, at any output level – I presume the light is current-controlled, as claimed. :)

S10-Strobe.gif


Strobe is a standard "tactical" high frequency strobe, measured at 9.7 Hz.

Standby Drain

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 5.7uA for 1xCR123A, and 5.8uA on 1xRCR. For a standard 1400mAh CR123A and 750mAh RCR, that would translate into over 28 years and 14 years, respectively, before a battery would be fully drained. Hardly a concern – although I do recommend you lock out the switch at the tailcap to prevent accidental activation.

Beamshots:

And now, the white-wall beamshots. ;) All lights are on Max output on the identified battery type. 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.

1xRCR (AW Protected 750mAh) Li-ion Comparison:

S10-RCR-Beam001.jpg
C10R-RCR-Beam001.jpg

M11R-RCR-Beam001.jpg
D25CXML-RCR-Beam001.jpg


S10-RCR-Beam002.jpg
C10R-RCR-Beam002.jpg

M11R-RCR-Beam002.jpg
D25CXML-RCR-Beam002.jpg


S10-RCR-Beam003.jpg
C10R-RCR-Beam003.jpg

M11R-RCR-Beam003.jpg
D25CXML-RCR-Beam003.jpg


S10-RCR-Beam004.jpg
C10R-RCR-Beam004.jpg

M11R-RCR-Beam004.jpg
D25CXML-RCR-Beam004.jpg


1xCR123A Comparison:

S10-CR123A-Beam001.jpg
C10R-CR123A-Beam001.jpg

M11R-CR123A-Beam001.jpg
D25CXML-CR123A-Beam001.jpg


S10-CR123A-Beam002.jpg
C10R-CR123A-Beam002.jpg

M11R-CR123A-Beam002.jpg
D25CXML-CR123A-Beam002.jpg


S10-CR123A-Beam003.jpg
C10R-CR123A-Beam003.jpg

M11R-CR123A-Beam003.jpg
D25CXML-CR123A-Beam003.jpg


S10-CR123A-Beam004.jpg
C10R-CR123A-Beam004.jpg

M11R-CR123A-Beam004.jpg
D25CXML-CR123A-Beam004.jpg


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.

Testing Method:

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).

S10-FL1-Summary-1.gif


S10-FL1-Summary-2.gif


The S10 has a balanced overall output pattern, with a good spacing of levels. Reported Olight ANSI FL-1 output and beam intensity specs seem accurate. :)

Output/Runtime Comparison:

S10-HiRCR.gif

S10-MedRCR.gif


S10-HiCR123A.gif

S10-MedCR123A-1.gif


The S10 has a somewhat distinctive step-down pattern on Hi: after 5 mins, the light steps down to a slightly lower level – but gradually, over a period of two minutes. This differs from most lights that have an abrupt step. As a result, you are not likely to be able to perceive the gradual dimming here. :)

Efficiency seems excellent on the S10, especially on primary CR123A. :thumbsup:

UPDATE October 10, 2012: Here is a summary table showing what my ANSI FL-1 lumen estimates are for the S10:

S10-Lumens.gif


As you can see, my results are very closely in-line with Olight's published specs on 1xCR123A. :thumbsup: Max output increased slightly on 1xRCR, but the difference is barely noticeable in real life.


Potential Issues

Baton lights all use an electronic switch, and therefore require a small stand-by current when fully connected. However, you can lock out the S10 at the tailcap, and the standby drain is so low (<6 uA) as to be negligible on the lifespan of the battery (i.e. many decades). But note that the S10 no longer uses the "soft" electronic lock-out feature of its predecessors.

Mode sequence has been changed from a consistent repeating Lo > Med > Hi on the other Baton lights to a repeating Lo > Med > Hi > Med. Originally, I felt this would could be potentially annoying (i.e., you may have forgotten where it is in the sequence after leaving it off for ahile). But on further testing, I see now that it always comes on in the first Med in the sequence (i.e., Hi will always follow Med after a re-activation).

There is no low-voltage warning sensor on the S10, as there was on the S35/S65/S80 (previously located under the power switch).

Preliminary Observations

The S10 is a nice addition to the Baton series of Olight lights. :wave:

I like most of the updates to this model, including the good clip (reversible), keychain attachment point, and revised knurling. The S10 is quite comfortable to carry and use, with good ergonomics in my opinion. Personally, I'm not crazy about magnetic tailcaps – but they do have their uses, and some people really like them. In this case, it is certainly strong enough to hold the light horizontally off a metal surface. And magnets can always be permanently disabled by the local application of high heat. In this case, a typical butane lighter was only able to diminish it slightly on my sample, but as suggested in the discussions below, a soldering iron would be a lot more effective (and certainly safer).

UPDATE October 12, 2012: Olight has revised the tailcap design, which now features a removable magnet. :thumbsup: See my updated build section for an overview and video on how to swap out the magnet.

The user interface updates are generally goood – the "hidden" Moonlight mode accessed from Off is brilliant, and a great addition to the interface. :twothumbs The Lo > Med > Hi > Med is a little unusual, but the light always re-activates on the first Med mode from Off (i.e., Hi will always be next in the sequence upon re-activation).

Nice to see they have kept the standby current at a completely negligible low uA current. I am not sure why the "soft" electronic lock-out mode was ditched on this model, but I don't really miss it given that a physical lock-out is now possible at the tailcap. This is my preferred way to prevent accidental activations anyway.

Output mode spacings remain good – better in fact, with the new Moonlight mode on the S10. And the performance of the light is excellent in my testing, in keeping with the good current-control circuitry (i.e. very long relative runtimes). It is a particularly thoughtful idea to have the gradual drop-off in the Hi mode step-down, so that you won't notice the dimming. ;)

The S10 is a nice update and extension to the Baton line of lights. I like most of the light tweaks and updates, and am impressed with how Olight handled the magnetic tailcap issue (i.e. offering free updates to those with the original permanently-installed version). The S10 stands out as another good potential option in the defined-level 1xCR123A/RCR space. A very strong contender. :)

UPDATE September 7, 2013: FYI, this model has been replaced by the S10 2013 (aka the S10 L2). See my full review of it here.

----

S10 was supplied by Olight for review.
 
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Dubois

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Good review - thanks. Sorry to be a pedant, but in the last Output/Runtime chart,for Primary CR123 at Medium, the number of hours (4) for the S10 is missing from the box.
 

Fireclaw18

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The magnet can be disabled with a candleflame? I didn't know that.

EDIT: Just checked online. Assuming its a standard n-grade Neodymium magnet, then the magnet will start to lose its strength at 176 degrees F (80 degrees C) and completely demagnetize at 590 degrees F (310 C). Doesn't sound like a candleflame is going to be hot enough to completely demagnetize the magnet, but it might be enough to weaken it.
 
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Badbeams3

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As always, great review. Can you tell us a little more about the red battery warning light in the switch...does it start to blink while on? does it blink while off? Did you happen to notice at about what voltage the warning started or can you give a guess? Is it bright enough to be noticeable? Does the blink rate increase as the battery drops down?
 
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ZRXBILL

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Great review as always. I gotta believe that low-med-high-med-low set up would drive me nuts if I left off in med. since you wouldn't know if low of high was coming next.:thumbsdow
 

Badbeams3

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Great review as always. I gotta believe that low-med-high-med-low set up would drive me nuts if I left off in med. since you wouldn't know if low of high was coming next.:thumbsdow

Don`t think thats right...watch the video from around 3 minutes forward and keep track...at 3:42 he shuts it off in medium after coming down from high, at 4:10ish he presses to change and it goes up...would have gone down under your concept. I noticed playing with one last night, that if you shut it off in medium, turn it back on, starts back on medium and it always goes up by default (does not matter which way you were going before shutting it off). It does not do this if kept on...you need to remember which way you were going...a problem for me...but thats my memory problem , not the lights...
 
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ZRXBILL

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Don`t think thats right...watch the video from around 3 minutes forward and keep track...at 3:42 he shuts it off in medium after coming down from high, at 4:10ish he presses to change and it goes up...would have gone down under your concept. I noticed playing with one last night, that if you shut it off in medium, turn it back on, starts back on medium and it always goes up by default (does not matter which way you were going before shutting it off). It does not do this if kept on...you need to remember which way you were going...a problem for me...but thats my memory problem , not the lights...

He even specifically complains about the low-med-high-med-low interface in the video.
 

Badbeams3

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He even specifically complains about the low-med-high-med-low interface in the video.

Yes, but just wanted to clarify...does not matter which way you were going before shutting it off...will always go up when turned back on, then pressed, by default...no guessing from off....last level then up (unless last level was high of course...then down, only way it can go). Selfbuilt perhaps, might wish to correct/clarify that video...it is a little misleading...
 
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KuanR

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Yes, but just wanted to clarify...does not matter which way you were going before shutting it off...will always go up when turned back on, then pressed, by default...no guessing from off....last level then up (unless last level was high of course...then down, only way it can go). Selfbuilt perhaps, might wish to correct/clarify that video...it is a little misleading...

I just got mine in the mail and you are right, no matter if you're going up or down, once turned off and on, it will always begin going up when you cycle through the power levels

I have an i1 ss and I definitely like the s10 levels and side switch more, but it obviously does not feel as robust or well built as the i1 ss
 

jamjam

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Another excellent review from Selfbulit!

I did a runtime test on med (70lm) with a no-name brand CR123A. When the battery voltage drop to 2.0v after 6.5 hours, the light start to flicker (My Zebralight H51w did the same thing). If I switch to low mode the flickering stops, and it will continue on low for another 30 minutes and then auto shut-off at 1.9v. And it can still turn back on moon mode and last for a very long time.

So did your S10 share the same behavior? In term of the flickering and the auto shut-off voltage.
 

selfbuilt

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Away traveling, so will double check the Med activation when I am back and have the light in front me. Same goes for the red LED low voltage warning - I will post more details when I have time to interrogate.

As for the candle flame, I havent tested it, but I know others reported it worked on the foursevens Preon P0.

Sent from my handheld device
 

jamjam

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To nuetralize a magnet, you can also use a soldering iron to do that, and its a lot safer and easier to control than using cadle fire.
 

NorthernStar

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Great Review! :)

The S10 has a somewhat distinctive step-down pattern on Hi: after 5 mins, the light steps down to a slightly lower level – but gradually, over a period of two minutes. This differs from most lights that have an abrupt step. As a result, you are not likely to be able to perceive the gradual dimming here.

When the light has steped down in effect after 5 minuters,can one turn of the light then immediately turn it on again and it starts at the highest mode again? Is there a risk that the light get permanently damaged by doing so? Is the clip removable?
 

selfbuilt

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I double-checked, and the light always comes on in the first "Med" mode upon re-activation (i.e., always advances to Hi next). So no matter which Med you leave it, you can predict what will happen upon re-activation - I will update the review and video.

As for the magnet, my comments were based on the principle that magnets can be permanently disabled by the local application of high heat. I have just gone and tested it, and a typical butane lighter was only able to diminish it on my sample. Basically, after a few secs with the lighter, the magnet would no longer hold the battery by the tailcap spring (as shown in the pic and video), but the you could still mount the whole light stably to a metal surface.

So did your S10 share the same behavior? In term of the flickering and the auto shut-off voltage.
No flickering on mine, but I still need to interogate the specific voltages for the warning sensor.

To nuetralize a magnet, you can also use a soldering iron to do that, and its a lot safer and easier to control than using cadle fire.
Good tip! That should definitely do it.

When the light has steped down in effect after 5 minuters,can one turn of the light then immediately turn it on again and it starts at the highest mode again? Is there a risk that the light get permanently damaged by doing so? Is the clip removable?
If you turn it off and back on, it comes back on at max output again. Whether it is "safe" to do so repeatedly is hard to say. It is not what the manufacturer intended. But I've certainly seen more heavily driven lights that don't step down, so hard to say what long-term effect could be. I would recommend common sense be applied - if the light is feeling really warm by hand, let it step down, or manually drop down to Med.

And yes, the clip is removable.
 
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