|It comes in a neat little gift box|
Product DescriptionPrice: $25 online
This is actually the 3rd generation of this flashlight. The first version was the iTP A3. It was a great light, and had a good following. Then Olight bought out iTP, improved the design and called it the Olight I3. The I3 was an even better light than the A3. It added a screw-on, deep carry clip and tail stand capability as well as using the XP-G emitter.
And now Olight has improved it even more and called it the I3S. My review sample was purchased from goinggear.com, and I see now that there's an Amazon store that beats them by a couple bucks.
Official Specs(from Olight's web site)
1. Utilizing the newest Cree XP-G2 LED, with the max output of 80 lumens (increased by 20%, based on the old i3)
2. Adjustable output levels: Moonlight, Low, High and Strobe mode (by rotating its head to shift models).
3. High quality stainless steel clip makes it durable and keeps a firm grip on your pocket.
4. The pocket clip is reversible, allowing for hat brim or similar attachment.
5. Aluminum body with scratch resistant type III Hard Anodizing (Only black is available).
6. Flat tail cap allows for tail-standing.
7. Adopt linear current regulation technology, no stroboscopic output.
8. Standard attachment: a triangle ring connects the tail hole with light body on one side
9. Orange reflector, comfortable light fit for close range lighting.
10. 96% transparency ultra-clear high optical lens.
11. Attractive gift box packaging.
NOTE: There does sometimes appear to be an issue where the light gets "stuck" on medium mode and is hard to get to advance to the next mode. I thought it might be me, or maybe I got a flaky sample, but it's done this on two different lights. It seems to happen mostly when I put a new battery in, and once I get it to advance modes, the circuitry seems to work fine after that. But a couple times it's really annoyed me.
UPDATE: It has been reported on the CPF Forums that the "stuck mode" issue seems to happen when the light and/or batteries are cold. Warming the light up in your hand or cycling through the modes a few times reportedly makes the problem go away.
Since the XP-G2 has a larger die size than its predecessor, the beam on the I3S has a larger hotspot, and has a beam which is more floody than the I3. Since a floody beam is usually more useful for a small EDC type light, it's actually a plus having more flood. Folks looking for an AAA light with lots of throw should check out the Thrunite Ti, which has the Cree XP-E emiiter with a smaller die size and much better throw.
Both of my units have a little bit of a greenish tint. I'm not really picky about tint on my flashlights, so it's no big deal to me. Flashlights in this segment are usually a grab bag of tints, except for a few companies that seem to seek out better tinted batches of emitters.But for me it's perfectly acceptable given that it's a budget light.
|The black version has a blacked out clip|
The black version of the I3S has a black anodized clip and keychain, where the other colors have just a plain steel clip and keychain. The keychain is neat because there's a little lobster claw on each end.
This model will tail stand. It has a completely smooth, flat tail. It will even tail stand on a keychain if you position it right. The ability to tail stand is another feature I look for in all my EDC type lights.
|This version has a flat tail, for more stable tail standing|
Constant Current Circuitry
It's worth noting that this light uses a very efficient, constant-current circuit. The previous version, the I3, had headache-inducing, low frequency PWM. In my advanced age, the PWM seems to bother me more and more, to the point where I now specifically look for lights that don't have it. Which also means I'm now spoiled on the long runtimes these more efficient circuits offer.
These are my informal runtime tests. I will fill these in as I run each test.
This light appears to be a "vampire" in that it will suck every last bit of power from a battery. Once it can't hold regulation on a mode, it lets it slowly coast down to nothing.
|Mode||Eneloop 2nd Gen.||Alakaline|
|Low||118:30 (started to dim at about 112 hours)||-|
|Medium||8:12 (started to dim at 7:45)||-|
|High||1:22 (started to dim at 1 hour even)||-|
Comparison to previous version- I3
|The new version is a bit shorter|
- The new version is a little shorter.
- The new version uses current regulation, where the I3 used PWM.
- The new version has a snap on, reversible clip, where the I3 had a screw-on clip.
- The new version has a M>H>L mode order, where the I3 used L>M>H.
- The new version has a much lower low.
- The new version has a re-designed, perfectly flat tail and comes with both a clip and keychain.
- The new version uses the newer XP-G2 emitter. Better output and runtime.
- The new version has better machined, square threads.
- The larger die size of the XP-G2 makes the new version have a more flood than the I3.
Fit and Finish
Body: This light has a good fit and finish overall, and seems to improve upon the previous version. The twisty action is smooth, and there's no play. This probably has something to do with the square threads, which the previous version didn't have. The threads on mine were lubed, with no grit or dirt, which almost seems to be common these days. The anodizing on the new version is also a little better.
Because of the improved threads, this light doesn't seem to suffer from "mode skipping" such as other lights in its class.
Emiiter: The emitter in mine is almost perfectly centered
|It has nice, square cut threads|
Keychain: The keychain is held on by a little triangular piece of metal which is easy to take off, so I'm guessing there could be some issue with it falling off of a keychain. They should've just made it a split ring.
This light is everything the previous versions should have been, and might just be an instant classic. So far it looks like it will dethrone my trusty Fenix LD01 for a daily place in my pocket. I really liked Olight's previous incarnation- the I3- but it had horrible efficiency, and the PWM gave me a headache. Eventually I moved on in my quest for the perfect AAA light, and left the I3 behind.
This new one has much, much better circuitry, and also the latest XP-G2 emitter. The flashaholics complained about the I3's horrible efficiency and obnoxious PWM, and Olight clearly listened. With the drastically more efficient circuitry, and the slightly more efficient XP-G2 emitter, this light could very well be the most efficient AAA light currently on the market.
One thing that baffles me though, is why they abandoned the L>M>H mode order of the I3, especially with the new moonlight mode. Most people use moonlight mode to check on sick children or use the restroom in a camp ground without blinding those around them. In a way, having to cycle through an 85 lumen high mode to get to the don't wake-the-children-up moonlight mode kind of defeats the whole purpose of the mode. But having said that, I understand why they made that choice, and I can live with it day to day.
I'm not normally a big fan of strobe, beacon, or so-called "disco" modes on AAA flashlights. The one time in a lifetime you'll need it in an emergency probably isn't worth having to cycle past it on a daily basis. But I really like the idea of having the strobe as a hidden mode. Having to cramp my wrist by twisting 7 times in a row in an emergency is a small price to pay for keeping it out of my way the 1,000 times in a row I don't need it.
Olight seems to have hit this one out of the ballpark. I've seen a few people on the forums complain that $25 is too much to pay for an AAA flashlight, but this light might be worth double that. It stops a tiny bit short of being my dream EDC light because of the mode order, but it still looks to be a superb light. And as if all the little design tweaks weren't enough, they even gave the new one square threads, which gives it a much better twisty feel. I've already given one of these away as a gift, and I have a feeling this one is going to be my go-to gift light for quite a while. Will it still be my favorite light once the honeymoon is over? We'll see.