Welcome to my Olight S10R review. :wave:
Olight has recently updated their popular Baton series of lights (S10/S15/S20) with a new rechargeable version (known by the "R" addition to the model name). These new "R" version lights are very similar to previous generation Baton lights, except they all come with an Olight-branded 3.7V Li-ion battery, and desktop USB-charging dock. oo:
Given the large number of comparisons required, I've decided to process these into three individual reviews for the S10R (for 1xCR123A/RCR), S15R (for 1x14500/AA/NiMH) and S20R (for 1x18650) separately. Note that the user interface and charging design are common to all three models, and will be repeated in each review.
Let's see how things shape up for the S10R, especially in comparison to the second edition S10-L2 (2013) that I reviewed previously.
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 Cool White
- 1x 650mAh 3.7V RCR123A rechargeable lithium battery included
- Output (ANSI)/Runtime: High: 400 Lumens/0.8 Hours, Medium: 85 Lumens/3.5 Hours, Low: 5 Lumens/56 Hours, Moonlight: 0.5 Lumens/168 Hours
- Peak beam intensity: 2,700 cd
- Max beam distance: 104 m
- NEW Low-profile side switch featuring a battery power indicator, which glows red when battery runs low
- NEW Includes patent-pending Micro-USB charging dock and a 650mAh RCR123A rechargeable battery
- NEW Thermal management safety program provides overheating protection by dropping high output by 50% after 4.5 minutes of constant on.
- NEW Glow-in-the-dark o-ring in bezel to help locate flashlight from accidentally dropping it
- 99% light transmittance rate through tempered glass, with two-sided anti-reflective coating
- Multi-function side switch with four brightness levels, plus a strobe mode
- Automatically return to your last brightness level with the built in memory function
- Removable two-position pocket clip
- Flat tailcap with strong magnet, giving you the ability to use the light as a hands-free worklight
- Highly reliable 6061-T6 aluminum alloy structure with ant-scratch, Type-III hard anodizing with a stainless steel bezel to protect against drops
- Reverse polarity protection to prevent improper battery installation
- Can be powered by one non-rechargeable CR123A lithium battery as a last resort in an emergency.
- Low standby current below 8uA
- IPX-7 (waterproof up to 1m)
- Impact resistant to 5 ft / 1.5m
- Flashlight Body: 2.89 in/73.4mm x 0.91 in/23mm
- Charging Dock: 2.17 in/55.1mm x 1.97 in/50mm x 0.63 in/16mm
- Weight: 43g/ 1.52 oz (body excluding batteries), 24g/ 0.85 oz (charging dock)
- MSRP: ~$60
The packaging is similar to the 2013 edition S10, but includes the extra items described above. Inside the clear plastic container is the S10R (with Olight RCR battery installed), extra o-rings, split ring, good quality wrist lanyard, product insert, manual, charging dock base, micro-USB cable for dock, adhesive gel-pad for dock, gel-pad installation manual. As before, there is also an overview of specs on the bottom and back of the packaging.
From left to right: Olight RCR (650mAh), S10R, Olight 14500 (750mAh), S15R; Olight 18650 (2600mAh), S20R.
From left to right: Olight RCR, S10R, S10-2013; Skilhunt DS10; Nitecore EC1; Eagletac D25C; Armytek C1; Jetbeam RRT-01.
All dimensions directly measured, and given with no batteries installed:
Olight S10R: Weight: 43.1g (59.8g with Olight RCR), Length: 73.3mm, Width (bezel): 23.1mm
Olight S10 (2013): Weight: 41.5g, Length: 70.8mm, Width (bezel): 23.2mm
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
Skilhunt DS10: Weight: 47.0g, Length: 76.1mm, Width (bezel): 24.0mm
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
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 similar to the S10-2013, except the S10R is slightly heavier and longer now (likely to accommodate the charging circuitry).
Physically, the new "R" editions of the Baton lights look generally similar to the 2013 editions of regular Baton family. These lights remain relatively 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 reversible pocket clip attached, I'd say grip is good. What has changed is the button and tailcap design, which I will get to in a moment.
The bi-directional pocket clip is comparable to the earlier models, no real change here. 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.
In the head, the original S10 had a flat contact with reverse-polarity detectors beside it. But the S10-2013 (and new S10R) both have a small spring (with oddly the reverse-polarity detectors still there).
The R-series tailcaps have been re-designed with a new charging dock feature – but otherwise functions as before. The S10R uses the same square-cut screw threads as before, still anodized for tail lock-out. Light can tailstand, and there is a split-ring/lanyard attachment hole on the side of the tail cap as before. And the tailcap still has a strong magnet, to allow the light to stand horizontally off any vertical metal surface. That said, I don't find the magnet quite as powerful as before. This means you may not be able to get the S10R to hold as stably off a small piece of metal (like a screw head on plastic plate cover, for example). It also does not seem to be removable now, as it is integral to how the charger functions.
What is new on the tailcap are the two exposed metal areas – an outside ring, and a recessed inner circular contact. These connect magnetically to the charging dock. I am happy to report that there is no open voltage at the tailcap, so there is no risk of accidentally shorting the RCR battery inside the light. Scroll down for discussions of the dock and charging process.
As with the earlier models, the S10R uses an electronic switch in the head for on/off and mode changing. The button design has updated though – the hard plastic switch is now slightly recessed behind a raised metal surround. This means that the risk of accidental activation is now greatly reduced. :thumbsup:
A second change is the addition of a low voltage warning sensor under the switch (visible through the clear pinhole opening in the middle). The earlier S10 models lack a low voltage sensor (previously present only on the S20). The red LED below the switch will light up and flash as the battery nears exhaustion.
The head of the light is relatively unchanged, with a flat stainless steel bezel ring as before. However, the standard red o-ring has been replaced with GITD blue one, and the S10R now uses the same smooth reflector as the S15 (was light orange peel on the S10/S20 2013). Note that early versions of the Batons had an excessive anti-glare coating on the lens that produced some green-tint shifting. This has been revised over time, and the current anti-glare coating doesn't produce any obvious issues.
The S10R uses the same XM-L2 Cool White emitter as the previous S10-2013. The emitter remains well centered on my samples. Please scroll down for beamshots.
All the new R-version models come with an appropriately-sized Olight-branded battery (3.7V Li-ion). Rated capacity of the RCR (16340) included on the S10R is 650mAh, which is about typical for this class. Scroll down for actual testing results.
The new charging dock for the R-series lights has an interesting design. The desktop dock connects by a supplied micro-USB 2.0 cable for a standard USB port (no AC adapter supplied, but you can easily find an after-market one). Note that the charging docks are common for all three R-models, so all are limited to the standard 500mA max charge rate of USB 2.0. See a charging analysis later in this review.
The is an adhesive gel pad supplied with the dock, in case you want to semi-permanently mount the dock on your desk.
Charging contact is made through those two metal areas on the base of the light's tailcap. Thanks to the magnetic attraction, this firmly holds the light in place, and allows charging to commence. A similar magnetic mechanism is used on the Klarus lights, though without the flat desktop mount dock.
A LED on the dock lights up constant red during charging (slowly flashing red when no light is present, or if an error is detected). The dock is supposed to terminate the charge and go green once the battery is fully charged (~4.2V). In practice however, this initial batch of lights has an issue in fully charging the cells. On my S10R, the dock charging terminates and the indicator starts flashing red once the RCR reaches a resting voltage of ~4.13V. On the S15R and S20R, the dock terminates and the indicator goes green – but the 14500/18650 batter is again only ~4.14V. I understand from Olight that they plan to fix this on subsequent batches, to allow charging up to the typical ~4.2V.
Personally, this is not a big issue for me, as it is better to consistently under-charge Li-ion than over-charge (i.e., better for the health of your cells). And you can always take the cell out of the light and charge separately if you want.
Note however that there seems to be an issue with the supplied RCR on my S10R – the battery will not charge beyond ~4.15V resting on any of my chargers. :thinking: The 14500 and 18650 batteries from the S15R/S20R both take an externally supplied full charge as expected.
The "Extended" USB port on the dock is a secondary output port. Basically, with the dock plugged into a power source, this provides a pass-through to charge other USB-based devices (e.g., cell phone, tablet, etc.), up to a reported 2A charging current. Of course, for that kind of charging, you are better off using an AC adapter for the input source, with good quality cables (i.e., I wouldn't want to to push a standard USB port too hard).
Scroll down for an overview of specifics of the charging process, along with other performance characteristics of the light.
The R-series interface is unchanged from the 2013 models of the Baton series.
As before, a quick press and release (i.e., click) of the electronic switch turns the light on or 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 R-series lights continue 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.
You can physically lock out the light by a twist of the tailcap, as before. The "soft lock-out" is similarly unchanged - 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 (or turn off and on).
Note that there is an undocumented "short cut" to jump to Hi from off: simply double-click the switch from off.
For information on the new R-series lights, including the build, user interface and dock charging, please see my video overview of the recent models:
For 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 an aside, if you want to get an instant notification for every new review that I post, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel. The vids go public at the same time as the reviews here on CPF.
As always, there is no sign of PWM at any output level – The R-series lights are current-controlled, just like their predecessors.
The S10R 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 as a miniscule 9.1uA on my S10R, on both RCR and CR123A (was 6.2uA on my S10-2013 sample, and 5.8uA on my S10-2011 sample). For the supplied 650mAh RCR, that would theoretically translate into over 8 years 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.
Because the AC charger uses a USB connector to the charging cable, I was able to take direct measures of the charging parameters using my Xtar VI01 "USB Detector" (basically a specialized USB current/voltage meter). There are many of these on the market now, and this model was favorably reviewed by HKJ here.
For charging tests, I started with a discharged Olight RCR battery, measuring ~2.7-2.8V at rest (i.e., heavily depleted). For all these tests, I left the USB detector in place for all readings. Note that the voltage reading on this device refers to the input voltage (i.e., from the USB port).
Initial charging current and input voltage:
As you can see, charging started at 0.49A with a typical USB ~5V input voltage ("U" is meant to represent Volts on the top display above). This is fully consistent with the USB 2.0 specs.
After 30 mins, the charging rate was unchanged
By 60 mins into the charge cycle, output had started to drop:
About ~10 mins or so later:
And by ~1hr 15 mins total time, charging had terminated (and the dock was flashing red):
While the CV phase was a gradual process that occurred over ~25 minutes, this is a bit more rapid than most CC/CV chargers I've seen. Note that the resting voltage of the RCR battery was only ~4.13V at this point (which Olight apparently plans to adjust for the more typical ~4.2V full charge on later batches).
Also, keep in mind that charging pattern is different for each member of this family, due to the varying battery capacities. As an advance preview, the ramp down in current was longer on the S15R (i.e., took ~2hr 15min to charge to ~4.14V, with most of that time in the CV phase). Similarly, on the S20R, the current started to drop slowly after ~3 hours of CC charging, taking another ~4 hours in the CV phase before terminating. Again, all three lights from this initial batch terminated prematurely ~4.14V resting.
For white-wall beamshots below, all lights are on Max output on an 3.7V Li-ion (RCR) 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.
Beam pattern remains very similar to the previous generation S10, as you would expect (i.e., the Batons are all relatively "floody").
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).
There isn't much of an output difference between the new S10R and the previous generation S10 (2013).
To better illustrate that, here is a detailed output comparison on 1xRCR.
As you can see, the specs haven't changed from the S10-2013. That said, there are some subtle difference between my S10R and S10-2013 samples – specially, the output on Lo on my S10R was twice that of the S10-2013 (and of the Olight specs). Max output on CR123A (before step-down) also seemed a bit lower on my S10R sample – but that may just be variation between individual samples.
Practically, I would consider the output levels to match pretty well between the S10 and S10R.
For comparison sake, I have included runtimes on both my standard AW "750mA" protected RCR and the supplied Olight RCR. Note that the Olight RCR battery would not charge past ~4.15V resting, on any charger.
First comment is that the supplied Olight RCR has a slightly longer runtime than my AW RCR, suggesting this is a high capacity cell (especially since it was only charged to ~4.15V to start).
Second observation is that output/runtime performance on RCR is basically unchanged from the S10-2013 on all levels tested. As before, there is a gradual step-down from max on Hi, taking about 4 mins to level off at the lower Hi level.
There seem to be a slight reduction in efficiency on CR123A on my S10R on Hi (compared to the S10-2013), but that again may just be natural variation between samples.
As before, on all batteries, overall efficiency is excellent at all output levels in the Baton series.
All Baton lights use an electronic switch, and therefore require a small stand-by current when fully connected. However, the standby drain on S10R remains at a ridiculously low 9uA, which would theoretically translate into almost a decade before a RCR battery would be drained.
Accidental activation is always a potential concern with electronic switches – however the likelihood of this has been greatly reduced thanks to the new switch design. You can also "soft" lock out the switch electronically, and can still physically lock out the light at the tailcap as well.
The tailcap magnet is no longer removable (i.e., it is integral to how the charger functions), and it doesn't attract as heavily as before.
Supplied in-light charging feature on this initial batch of lights will only charge batteries to ~4.13-4.14V resting voltage (and give an error flash when terminating). I understand Olight is looking to correct this on subsequent batches.
The R-version update to the Olight Baton series offers a new functionality: in-light 3.7V Li-ion charging (with supplied Olight battery). Otherwise, general performance of the S10R remains largely unchanged from the most recent S10 (i.e., comparable beam patterns, output levels, runtimes, etc).
That is not to say that nothing has changed though – there are a number of noticeable upgrades for 2014 on the R-series lights. One significant update from the previous S10 model (released in 2013) is a revised electronic switch. Physically, the switch is recessed slightly from before, with a built-up metal surround now. This means that accidental activation is far less likely - a significant improvement in my view. Olight has also introduced the low voltage warning feature from the S20 (which has long been missing from the S10/S15 models). On all the new R-series models, there is a red LED below the switch that lights up to tell you when the battery is running low.
The build and overall feel of the lights are similar to the earlier models (i.e., decent bi-directional clip, keychain attachment point, magnetic tailcap, etc.). The R-series lights are a tiny bit longer than before (likely to accommodate charging circuitry), and I find the magnet has slightly less pull (but still more than enough). There is no open voltage at the tailcap, as the magnetic connection is required for initiating charging. Unlike before though, the magnet is no longer removable (i.e., it is integral to how the charger functions).
The beam pattern of the actual light hasn't changed much. The reflector has switched from light orange peel (OP) texturing to smooth, consistent with the S15 line. And a new GITD blue o-ring has been added to all models.
The charging dock is well designed, with a secondary output feature (i.e., you can charge your cell phone right from the dock). It even includes a gel pad to stick it to your desk. That said, a slightly longer input USB cable would have been nice (as well as an AC-adapter), but you can easily pick these up elsewhere. Note that the initial batch of R-series lights/docks will only charge batteries to ~4.14V resting, but I understand Olight is working on raising this to a more typical ~4.2V.
Performance of the supplied Olight-branded RCR is excellent, lasting longer than my standard AW RCR battery.
Circuit function is similar to before, with an identical user interface and set of output levels. Again, over output/runtime efficiency is unchanged from before (and remains excellent). :thumbsup:
Basically, the S10R is an updated version of the S10-2013, with definite build improvements and a whole new functionality added. Unless you are trying to save a few bucks, there is no real advantage to getting the previous S10 – the S10R does everything and more. A strong series just got better. :wave:
S10R was supplied by GoingGear.com for review, on behalf of Olight.