Olight S10-L2 (S10 2013, XM-L2, 1xCR123A/RCR) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO+

selfbuilt

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Warning: pic heavy, as usual. :whistle:

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 sport XM-L2 emitters, and are thus sometimes known as the S10-L2 and S20-L2.

This review will focus on the S10 XM-L2 2013 edition. Please see my S20 XM-L2 2013 review for info on that light.

S10-2013003.jpg

S10-2013004.jpg

S10-2013002.jpg


Of course, there are few other differences as well – I'll go through all of those in the detailed discussion and testing below. :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-L2
  • Output (ANSI)/Runtime: High: 400 Lumens/1.25 Hours, Medium: 85 Lumens/7.5 Hours, Low: 5 Lumens/108 Hours, Moonlight: 0.5 Lumens/360 Hours
  • Peak beam intensity: 2,700 cd
  • Max beam distance: 104 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.
  • S10 has high efficient synchronous boost-buck driver circuit, perfectly support CR123A & RCR123A battery.
  • IPX-8 water resistance
  • Impact resistant to 2 m (about 6.5")
  • Dimensions: Length: 2.8" (70.5mm), Diameter: 0.9" (23 mm)
  • Weight (w/o Battery): 1.48 oz (42g)
  • Standard Accessories: Flashlight x 1, Lanyard x 1, Spare O-RINGs x2 sets, Replacer of magnet x 1, User manual x 1.
  • 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
  • MSRP: ~$50
S10-2013029.jpg

S10-2013030.jpg

S10-2013031.jpg


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, 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.

S10-2013028.jpg

S10-2013021.jpg

S10-2013017.jpg

From left to right: CR123A; Olight S10 (2013), S10 (2012); Nitecore EC1; Eagletac D25C; Jetbeam RRT-01; Sunwayman V11R; Nitecore MH1C.

All dimensions directly measured, and given with no batteries installed:

Olight S10 (2013, XM-L2): Weight: 41.5g, Length: 70.8mm, Width (bezel): 23.2mm
Olight S10 (2012 XM-L): Weight 41.1g, Length: 70.6mm, Width (bezel): 23.0mm
ArmyTek C1 XM-L: Weight: 43.0g, Length: 80.2mm , With (bezel): 23.1mm
Lumintop ED11: Weight: 44.1g, Length: 83.7, Width (bezel): 21.8mm
Foursevens QTLC: Weight 36.4g, Length 84.1mm, Width (bezel) 22.1mm
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
Eagletac D25C Clicky: Weight: 30g, Length: 76.0mm, Width (bezel): 20.0mm
Jetbeam PC10: Weight: 50.5g, Length: 93.6mm, Width (bezel): 22.6mm

Overall dimensions are very similar to the original S10, and other compact lights in this class.

S10-2013011.jpg

S10-2013009.jpg
S10-2013005.jpg


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 later-model S10a. 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.

The original S20 had a spring in the head, but the original S10 had a flat contact with reverse-polarity detectors beside it. The new S10 for 2013 has a small spring (but oddly the reverse-polarity detectors are still there). But this spring presumably also helps with maintaining battery contact stability in jarring environments.

Like the other Batons, the S10 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 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:



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 from the earlier S10 (see below). And the button design has changed – no longer a soft silicone cover, the new cover is a much harder blue plastic. Note that there was never a low voltage warning sensor on this model (i.e., there was no LED under the switch), so this change is really more cosmetic than anything else.

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. :thumbsup: 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 S10 2013.

S10-2013006.jpg

S10-2013015.jpg


The main build difference is that S10 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 S10 XM-L looked like.

S10 XM-L
S10019.jpg


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).

User Interface

The S10 2013 interface has been updated from the previous S10, and is now the same as the recent S15.

Like the other Baton lights, the S10 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 S10 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 S10 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 >2secs again). 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.

There is still a "hidden" strobe mode, accessed by double-clicking the switch when on. Double-click again to return to constant on.

Video:

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.

PWM/Strobe

As always, there is no sign of PWM at any output level – The S10 2013 is current-controlled like its predecessors. :)

S10-2013-Strobe.gif


The strobe is a fairly typical fast "tactical" strobe, of 9.8Hz frequency (as before).

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 6.2 uA for both 1xCR123A and 1xRCR on my new S10 2013 sample. This is pretty close to my original S10, which was 5.7uA/5.8uA respectively on those batteries. For a standard 1400mAh CR123A and 750mAh RCR, that would translate into almost 26 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:

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 S10 XM-L from 2012 is simply labeled as S10 below (with battery type), and the new S10-L2 is labeled as S10 2013 XM-L2.

1xCR123A

S10-2013-CR123A-Beam001.jpg
S10-CR123A-Beam001.jpg

D25CXML-CR123A-Beam001.jpg
C1-XML-CR123A-Beam001.jpg


S10-2013-CR123A-Beam002.jpg
S10-CR123A-Beam002.jpg

D25CXML-CR123A-Beam002.jpg
C1-XML-CR123A-Beam002.jpg


S10-2013-CR123A-Beam003.jpg
S10-CR123A-Beam003.jpg

D25CXML-CR123A-Beam003.jpg
C1-XML-CR123A-Beam003.jpg


S10-2013-CR123A-Beam004.jpg
S10-CR123A-Beam004.jpg

D25CXML-CR123A-Beam004.jpg
C1-XML-CR123A-Beam004.jpg


1xRCR

S10-2013-RCR-Beam001.jpg
S10-RCR-Beam001.jpg

D25CXML-RCR-Beam001.jpg
C1-XML-RCR-Beam001.jpg


S10-2013-RCR-Beam002.jpg
S10-RCR-Beam002.jpg

D25CXML-RCR-Beam002.jpg
C1-XML-RCR-Beam002.jpg


S10-2013-RCR-Beam003.jpg
S10-RCR-Beam003.jpg

D25CXML-RCR-Beam003.jpg
C1-XML-RCR-Beam003.jpg


S10-2013-RCR-Beam004.jpg
S10-RCR-Beam004.jpg

D25CXML-RCR-Beam004.jpg
C1-XML-RCR-Beam004.jpg


Beam pattern remains very similar to the original S10, 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).

Testing Method:

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).

S10-2013-FL1-Summary1.gif


S10-2013-FL1-Summary2.gif


As you can start to see above, there isn't much of a difference between the new S10 2013 XM-L2 and original S10 – aside from a little more output and throw on Hi.

Also as before, there also isn't a big difference in output levels between CR123A and RCR.

To better illustrate the output differences between the old and new model, here is a detailed output comparison on 1xCR123A.

S10-2013-Lumens.gif


Overall, my lumen estimates are pretty close to Olight's specs. :)

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.

Output/Runtime Graphs:

S10-2013-HiCR123A.gif

S10-2013-MedCR123A.gif


S10-2013-HiRCR.gif

S10-2013-MedRCR.gif


Like many recent lights in this class, the S10 continues to have a defined step-down on Hi (after 4.5 mins of continuous runtime in this case). The difference on the Olight S10 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 S10, 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 S10 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.

Potential Issues

All Baton lights use an electronic switch, and therefore require a small stand-by current when fully connected. However, the standby drain on S10 remains at a ridiculously low 6.2uA, which would translate into decades before a CR123A or RCR 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.

Preliminary Observations

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. :whistle:

In terms of the S10, 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 – it is now made out of a hard blue plastic instead of soft silicone (i.e., just like the S15 now). Note that there was never a low warning voltage feature on the S10 (i.e., there was no red LED underneath the switch previously). It is just the S20 and the earlier Baton lights (S35/S65/S80) that have this feature.

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). :thumbsup: 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 portable basic purpose flashlight. :wave:

----

S10 2013 XM-L2 was supplied by Olight for review.
 
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Badbeams3

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Lol...I was just reading the review of the S-20...and was getting ready to ask if you were doing one of the S-10...no kidding.
 

Badbeams3

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S10 is still a/the run time champion...and a bit brighter now.
 

selfbuilt

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Lol...I was just reading the review of the S-20...and was getting ready to ask if you were doing one of the S-10...no kidding.
Yes - the S20-L2 and S10-L2 reviews are nearly identical in their descriptions and text, but of course all the testing results and pics are different. But the conclusion is comparable - both are leading performers for their respective classes.
 

selfbuilt

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Did you copy and paste the S20 review and change things where needed?
Pretty much. Normally, I would do a combined review for members of the same family. But that would mean a lot of graphs, charts and beamshots to scroll through, so I figured it was easier to have two separate reviews in this case.
 

Flanagan

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I just discovered this site and based on this review, which was great, I just ordered the Olight S10 XM-L2. I appreciate all the work that you put into these reviews and have found them to be very useful.
 

selfbuilt

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I just discovered this site and based on this review, which was great, I just ordered the Olight S10 XM-L2. I appreciate all the work that you put into these reviews and have found them to be very useful.
Thanks, and :welcome:
 

jeffsf

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I'm very impressed by this light and its general usability. It has great beamwidth for general-purpose use, easily lighting up a 20'x30' yard when I was trying to figure out what was making the dogs bark so much. You don't need a "super-secret, magic decoder ring" to figure out how to use it, which is a big plus for me.

I definitely wouldn't trust the soft-lock feature to keep the light off if you are clipping it inside a pocket or tossing it in a bag. Twisting the tail cap is straightforward and the threads move smoothly, but with enough "stickiness" to trust that they won't loosen or tighten unexpectedly. On the upside is that it will turn on to the "moonlight" setting if it does get accidentally turned on (though it can cycle up from there).

If you're a first-time LED-flashlight buyer looking for a general-purpose light, I wouldn't hesitate to buy this. I just got our second one :thumbsup:
 
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selfbuilt

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If you're a first-time LED-flashlight buyer looking for a general-purpose light, I wouldn't hesitate to buy this. I just got our second one :thumbsup:
Yes, I think that's a fair assessment - and the same goes for the S15 and S20 (it just comes down to your preferred battery type).

I just had someone over looking to borrow a general purpose light for an over seas sight-seeing trip, and they quickly settled on the S20 (due to size, runtime, and ease of use).
 

stevieo

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EDIT: or a quick double click after tailcap tightened to go straight to high & also from regular off from switch (without switch lock) from last mode memory other than high. from electronic switch lock out you still have to go through the low modes to get to high.

Twisting the tail cap is straightforward and the threads move smoothly, but with enough "stickiness" to trust that they won't loosen or tighten unexpectedly. On the upside is that it will turn on to the "moonlight" setting if it does get accidentally turned on (though it can cycle up from there).

If you're a first-time LED-flashlight buyer looking for a general-purpose light, I wouldn't hesitate to buy this. I just got our second one :thumbsup:
 
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sspc

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Thank you selfbuilt. Can you confirm if a double click from off takes you directly to high on this S10?
 

Flanagan

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I've had this light for several days now and am very pleased with it. I'm a pressman on a web offset press and I use it for checking ink/water balance, roller settings and general troubleshooting. It has all the power I need for my job and it is very convenient to carry in my pocket. I'm surprised by the amount of light from such a small flashlight.
 

zs&tas

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great review ! ive become a big olight fan and use them more than others now. i have a bit of a strange question but im wondering what the total runtime on rcr in strobe would be ??
 

selfbuilt

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great review ! ive become a big olight fan and use them more than others now. i have a bit of a strange question but im wondering what the total runtime on rcr in strobe would be ??
Well, the strobe mode is a 50:50 on: off cycle. So, presuming output Is a full power strobe, that would mean about twice the runtime of max on RCR. But I don't have the light in front of me at the moment, so can't confirm the output level.
 

zs&tas

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Well, the strobe mode is a 50:50 on: off cycle. So, presuming output Is a full power strobe, that would mean about twice the runtime of max on RCR. But I don't have the light in front of me at the moment, so can't confirm the output level.
thanks SB. about 1hr40 then ish. would you off the top of your head know of a light that dosnt use 100% brightness on strobe ?
 
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