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Olight H05 Headlamps and S1R Baton Light
Olight - Olight is a name that I've come across many times while looking at EDC flashlights. I noticed that they are generally well-regarded, and offer a good selection of attractively-designed lights. Olight was established ten years ago in 2006, and have built up a good reputation as a maker of quality products.
Headlamps - I was sent two different types of headlamp; the H05 ACTIVE and the H05S ACTIVE. The main difference between them is that the H05S has an infra-red motion detector for hands-free activation/turn off. I actually use headlamps very often, mostly in the garage at night when working on the car or detailed, close-up tasks that require hands-free, direct illumination. Each headlamp comes nicely packaged in a clear plastic box.
H05 Active Headlamp - The H05 ACTIVE is a compact, lightweight, variable-output LED headlamp powered by two AAA batteries (included). It uses a Cree XM-L2 LED featuring a high light transmission rate TIR optic lens. It delivers an output of 10-150 lumens which is suitable for the demands of close range illumination. The H05 ACTIVE has two red indicator LED's to either side of the main lens for low light illumination which can either blink or be set for constant-on. The black headlamp shown below is the H05S; the H05 is only available in Orange, Purple, Blue and Green with matching straps. The adjustable head straps are removable for washing if needed.
Key Features of the H05 ACTIVE:
Included in the box:
Advertised run times are as follows:
Notes/Observations - I find it curious that the H05 is only offered in bright colours; I'd have expected basic black to be part of the colours offered, so it's not only available as the H05S. That being said, my wife and son like the bright colours and immediately chose their own ones, so it makes sense that Olight appeal to a wider market. All of them share the same rubberized blue on/off button on top. I would rather that the headlamp always turns on in the lowest setting vs. the highest setting. It's just a matter of programming, so I hope that Olight considers that. I'd rather cycle through from low to high than vice versa. Actually, I wish it were programmed such that you didn't have to cycle through the settings to turn the light off. The red LED's are very dim, and are more for use as markers/indicators than as illumination. They're too dim to use for illumination except at a very low level in complete darkness.
H05S Active Headlamp - The H05S ACTIVE differs from the H05 by featuring a hands-free motion sensor mode and brighter main LED (200 vs. 150 lumens). It uses a highly luminous efficient Cree XM-L2 LED coupled with a high light transmission rate TIR lens providing a brightness level ranging from 10 to 200 lumens. Like the H05, it has two red indicator LED's that can be constant or blinking. The H05S has a built-in infrared sensor that controls on/off through motion detection, visible low voltage indicator, and a battery polarity installation indicator.
Key Features of the H05S ACTIVE:
Included in the box:
Advertised run times are as follows:
Notes/Observations - The H05S is only offered in black, and shares the same blue rubberized on/off button on top as the H05. As with the H05, I would rather that the headlamp always turns on in the lowest setting vs. the highest setting when turning on the light initially. In wave operation mode, the light turns back on in the last output mode (brightness and colour).
The H05S has the same basic housing shape/envelope as the H05, but as seen below, differs by having the smoked window at the bottom with the infra-red sensors behind it. Another neat thing is that when the battery compartment is opened, there are lighted battery polarity indicators; the 'plus' signs light up red. They'll actually remain lit for quite a while without batteries (theres a small rechargeable battery inside the light that powers them). In the H05, they're just molded into the plastic and don't light up. There is also a low battery voltage indicator at the bottom that will glow intermittantly to warn the user that the voltage is below 1.8V and will need changing soon.
The Wave operation feature is neat, but isn't suitable for all tasks. It's designed to be use when your hands are wet, dirty, covered in oil etc, or otherwise occupied, such that a wave in front of the light turns it on and off. Note that it can be anything passing in front of the lamp within about 7 inches that will activate the infra-red sensors. So, if you're working under your car, in very close quarters, it can actually be unwanted as the light will turn on an off everytime you move your head close to an object. Working on an engine and it's a useful feature (although moving your head past an open hood may turn off the light if you're close enough). I found it useful when my hands were dirty and my wife came to ask me something. I was able to wave my hand to turn the headlamp off so I could face her without blinding her. Once you turn on the Wave operation mode, it's used for the next 10 on-off cycles, then the lamp returns to manual switch mode. If there are no operations for 10 minutes after the light if turned off with the Wave operation, the light will disable Wave operation so that it doesn't turn on inadvertently (like if it's tossed into a backpack).
The TIR (Total Internal Reflection) optics on the H05 and H05S produce a nice, artifact-free beam with a practical width that's good for close-up arm's length work, or illuminating the ground while running, walking or cycling at night. Both the H05 and H05S are lightweight enough to be unobtrusive under most conditions; some heavier headlamps can bounce when running. The low 10 lumen mode is bright enough to illuminate a path for walking while the medium and high modes are bright enough for cycling; depending on how fast you're going.
S1R Baton - The S1R Baton (S1R) is a very compact, rechargeable EDC flashlight, powered by a single RCR123 rechargeable lithium battery (included) of high discharge rate, with a maximum output of 900 lumens. It ulitizes a Cree XM-L2 LED with TIR optic lens and delivers an artifact-free, balanced beam. The S1R has five brightness levels and a strobe mode, covering an output range of 0.5 to 900 lumens. The outer appearance of S1R follows the style of Olight's BATON Series. It comes with a magnetic charging USB cable, lanyard and soft drawstring pouch in which everything fits into.
Key Features of the S1R Baton:
Advertised run times are as follows (on full RCR123 battery charge):
Note that Turbo S mode of 900 lumens and Turbo mode of 600 lumens are tested when the battery is full. The maximum output varies as the battery voltage changes. When the battery runs below 3.6 V, the Turbo S cannot reach 900 lumens, and when the voltage goes down to 3.1V, the Turbo S mode performs the same as the Turbo mode. When the voltage drops below 3.1V, the maximum output is restricted to 300 lumens.
The S1R comes similarly packaged to the headlamps; in a clear printed plastic box and internal carding. The light and included accessories make a very attractive package. The blue-coated bezel ring and switch ring accents are reflected in the logo on the lanyard and brown carry pouch, and anodizing on the magnetic charger.
At 2.6" long and 0.83" in diameter, the S1R is one of the smaller size CR123-compatible lights. It's small size isn't realized until it's held in the hand. I've illustrated it below with a couple of CR123 lights, the Nitecore SRT3, and the Sunwayman V11R. The SRT3 and V11R have mode selector rings which make them longer, but they're just there as reference in case you own one. As I mentioned above, the S1R has blue PVD coating accents on the bezel and switch rings, which I find very attractive. The bezel, body and tailcap are round, except for the portion of the body around the side switch, which is octogonal. This prevents the light from rolling if the clip is removed. The bottom of the tailcap is flat to allow the light to stand on its tail.
The body and tailcap are knurled for a secure grip, and the tailcap has a small lanyard hole. Each S1R is individually serial numbered on the side.
The S1R comes with an Olight 550mAh RCR123 customized battery, which you really don't have to take out of the light unless you replace it. Regular CR123A batteries can be used in the S1R, but the output is reduced. The positive end of the battery is installed facing the rear. Charging is done in the light with the included magnetic charging cable (MCC). I find this a really neat option, as it can be used anywhere you have a USB port (they're all over the place nowadays). The MCC has a blue anodized USB plug on one end, and a matching blue anodized button/base. The button itself is magnetized, and has gold-plated contacts which interface with the tailcap (also magnetized) of the S1R. Get the blue button close to the end of the S1R and it snaps right to it. The MCC cable is 19" long, which is long enough such that your light isn't hanging from a wall socket USB charger or computer USB port. When connected to a power source, the base lights up where the cable enters it; red for charging, and green for charged. Simple and convenient.
Operation (all operations are performed with the side switch):
It seems like a lot to remember, but as long as you get familiar with the light and use the different modes, you'll remember most of them. It's when I switch between different lights and haven't used them for a while that I tend to forget mode push button operations. It's a good idea to keep the manual handy, or someplace where you can find it. That's one of the pros/cons about push button vs. other mode selection options that you have to weigh. Lights that have ring selectors make it more simple to switch between modes, but they add weight and length.
Notes/Observations - While I really like flashlights, I'm not always up to date on the latest offerings out there like some flash-a-holics are. That's why I was really impressed to hear that 900 lumens was possible out of a single CR123 light. And rechargeable? Icing on the cake. It's pretty amazing how technology has progressed over the years. Small, EDC lights just keep getting better and better. The S1R offers a lot of features for the price, and being rechargeable helps cut down on battery costs. I can't find any fault with the quality; the S1R looks very well-made to me. As an EDC light, it's an ideal size.
As it comes, the light is carried bezel up vs. bezel down like most of the lights I have. Worn in the pocket, I had to get used to turning it around in my hand. However, the clip oriented this way enables the S1R to be clipped to the brim of a cap or hat, or other thin edge. The clip feels strong and provides a confidence-inspiring amount of tension. Good thing that the S1R spring clip is reversible, for bezel down carry in the pocket, which I prefer. I also rotate the clip so it's opposite the switch which makes the switch easier to find by feel. I don't generally use lanyards on EDC lights, but I can certainly see that they'd come in handy under some circumstances. The lanyard hole in the tailcap is tiny, so its a good thing Olight supplies a threading needle to help get the cord through the hole. The magnetic base of the S1R is another useful feature; it'll stick to any ferrous surface like the ladder shown below.
Performance of the S1R is impressive. There isn't a big practical difference (to my eyes) between Turbo and Turbo S mode; but both are very bright, and unexpected out of a light this size. Note that the light will get hot in the Turbo modes, which is why the output will step down after 1.5 minutes to the high 300 lumen mode so it doesn't overheat. For the higher modes, the light turns on 'gradually' over a split second instead of instantaneously, so it's not such a shock to the eyes. The cool white beam is clean and without artifacts. The beam has a large (flood) hot spot with little spill; more suitable for general use vs. a long-throw spot beam. Definitely wide enough to illuminate an average sized room up close, and a whole house from further away. While the beam will reach out further, I think that the practical range is about 50 yards depending on conditions and what you're actually trying to see. I didn't take any beamshots as your conditions may vary, and there are some good beamshot photos in other reviews if you search online for them. At the low end of the range, the moonlight mode is really useful as a night light in a room, tent etc. The S1R is a versitile EDC light with amazing performance in a tiny package.
Olight H1 Nova Headlamp
11/23/16 - The H1 Nova is a very compact (adult thumb-sized), uni-body aluminum alloy LED headlamp with an output range of 2 to 500 lumens powered by a single CR123A battery. The light is removable from its silicone headmount and can be used as a stand-alone pocket light.
The H1 Nova was inspired by the flagship Olight pocket light, the S1 Baton; with the goal being to produce a compact, heavy duty, all-metal construction, high lumen headlamp.
Key Features of the H1 Nova:
Advertised run times are as follows (on or fresh CR123A or full RCR123 battery charge):
The H1 Nova comes nicely package in a cardboard and plastic box with features and specs printed on the back. Everything is contained in a semi-rigid zippered carrying case, which is accented by Olight's signature blue. The top lid of the case has a small mesh sleeve in which the user manual and some marketing material. The marketing material can be discarded and a couple of spare batteries stored there instead. The headlamp sits in the lower part of the case, and some instructions are printed on the part where the spring clip is stored. There's a foam cylinder to which the clip squeezes onto until it's needed. All in all, a nicely presented package.
The H1 Nova has an adjustable black elastic heastrap with blue accents, and a blue molded silicone light mount from which the light can be removed for stand-alone use. The light mount has two rings which fit around the two grooves on the light's body. The silicone material is stretchy, and grips the light securely, but not so tight as to prevent rotation. The light can be rotated at any angle in the rings; a feature I prefer to three or four pre-determined angles. To install or remove the light from the mount, you simply push it out or into of the rings while stretching/moving them accordingly.
I thought that the S1R Baton was a small light when I first handled it, and the H1 Nova is even smaller. Same diameter but shorter in length, the Nova is about the size of an adult's thumb. The light has a right-angle head, instead of the normal inline head, which allows for more positioning options. It's especially useful when the light is standing on its tailcap. The angular head also prevents the light from rolling when placed on its side. The lens has Olight's signature blue-accented PVD coated stainless steel bezel around it, and a similarly coloured ring encircles the on/off switch, which has the universal power (or I/O) symbol molded into the rubber. The switch doesn't 'click', but is nonetheless positive. Grooves on the head act as cooling/radiating fins, although I'm not sure how effective they are. Each Nova is individually serial numbered.
The tailcap is magnetic and flat-bottomed, so the light can stand on its end or attach to any ferrous material. The single supplied battery is installed with the positive terminal towards the tailcap. The included spring clip is removable and can be installed to either groove on the body, so that the light is head up or down. I suspect that most people will just use it with the head up.
Operation (all operations are performed with the power switch on top of the head):
Notes/Observations - While the H1 Nova isn't the first aluminum-bodied, detachable headlamp (when I saw the Nova, it reminded me of the Zebralight Headlamp), it's the first one I've used. I think I'm sold on the concept. Up until now, I've either used regular hand held flashlights or dedicated headlamps like the Petzl, Princeton Tec, and the H05 previously featured. I use headlamps a lot, especially when working on my car. I carry and use hand held lights for all sorts of other things; like walking around the neighbourhood at night. My son like to carry one so he can shine it around. Dedicated headlamps aren't very good as handheld lights because the hanging strap just gets in the way and they aren't ergonomic. Hand held lights aren't hands free unless you only need them pointed in one direction. By combining the two, you pretty much get the best of both worlds. Like the S1R Baton, it's very well made and I couldn't find any issues with the quality of manufacturing or finish.
The carrying case is a bit large for carrying just the headlamp and clip, and could have been made more compact. Since we can't make the case smaller, we can make better use of its internal space. The block of foam in the bottom part of the carrying case that has printed instructions on how to remove the H1 from the silicone mount and a note that you have to remove the insulating film inside the tailcap that covers the battery terminal before using the light. Those become redundant after the first use. The clip is stored in that area, but the round piece of foam that the clip secures to is removable from the foam block. The whole block of foam is just held in the case with transfer adhesive so I took it out to utilize the space for other small items like spare batteries.
I think that up until a couple of years ago, there just wasn't the technology available to squeeze 500 lumens out of an all-metal light that was small and light enough to use as a headlamp. So, for a headlight to be powerful, it was usually heavier than the small, compact lights; sometimes necessitating an additional/separate battery pack in the rear. As LED technology advanced, and the lumens started creeping up, the compact single-cell lights got brighter and brighter. The H1 Nova is a great example of this as it's a tiny light; not much bigger than a thumb and very light. It's even smaller than the S1R Baton I reviewed above, but is capable of putting out an impressive 500 lumens in Turbo mode. As a headlamp, the medium and high modes are more than enough for normal room-distance use. The low mode is bright enough for reading or close-up use. The moonlight mode can be used for navigation or reading in complete darkness without messing up my night vision or disturbing others too much. The infinitely adjustable angle is really nice, which I prefer to a few preset angles. The press button switch on top of the head isn't as easy to actuate when the light is worn on the head as it's on the side, as most headlamps have switches on top. I got used to it though, using my thumb instead of my index finger to activate it. The light can be worn with the switch facing the left or right. The headstrap is easily stowed in a pocket when not in use, if you don't want the bulk of the carrying case.
The H1 Nova's beam is a wide angle soft beam. It's wider than the beam on the S1R; covering approximately twice the area at the same distance. As with the S1R, it's a very clean beam with no visible artifacts, providing an even flood of light. Just for kicks, I tried swapping the tailcaps on the Nova and S1R Baton. They'll work on each other, but the S1R will not work with it's own rechargeable battery and the Nova's tailcap; it'll only work with a regular CR123A battery. The Nova worked with the S1R's tailcap and both batteries.
Used as a stand-alone hand-held light, the right angled head has its pros and cons. The light is actually so small that you can't just hold it completely in your hand and point it like you would an inline head light like the S1R. The hand pretty much engulfs it, and you have to hold it with just a few fingers while shining it around. Where the right angled head has the advantage over the standard inline configuration is when the clip is used. The strong spring clip enables the light to be clipped vertically onto a shirt pocket, backpack straps, PALS webbing, belts etc with the light pointing forward, instead of straight up or down like a regular light would. I can still clip it to the brim of a cap; it just needs to be clipped from the side and on top. I wish there were a good way of storing the spring clip on the headband when not in use so that it's always available on the light instead of in the case. The spring clip can be clipped onto the elastic band, but I'm paranoid of losing it.
The light also works well when standing on its tailcap on horizontal surfaces, or attached magnetically to a ferrous object. I've illustrated it below stuck to a lug nut on a wheel. Just like inline lights with magnetic tailcaps, you'll have to find the surface orientation that works to point the beam in the direction you want.
So far, the versatility of the H1 Nova is unmatched by my other headlamps that I've used; I really like the ability to use it as a stand-alone light without the headstrap. It's a great little package.
Olight S30R Baton III Flashlight
12/9/16 - S30R Baton III Flashlight - The S30R Baton III (S30R) is the third generation of Olight's flagship S30R flashlight series, and is a rechargeable EDC flashlight powered by a single 18650 rechargeable lithium battery covering an output range of 0.5-1050 lumens. It ulitizes a Cree XM-L2 LED with smooth aluminum reflector to deliver an artifact-free, focused beam. The S30R has five brightness levels and a strobe mode. It comes with a 4.2V 1000mAh Desktop Charging Dock.
Key Features of the S30R Baton III:
Advertised run times are as follows (on full 18650 battery charge):
Note that Turbo mode of 1050 lumens is tested when the battery is full. The maximum output varies as the battery voltage changes.
The S30R Baton III comes in a clear printed plastic box and internal carding with the included accessories, similar to how the S1R Baton was packaged. It's larger than the S1R, but you get the advantge of increased brightness and runtime. Still, at 4.5" long, and less than an inch in diameter, it's still quite a small light. It has the signature Olight blue PVD coating accents on the bezel and switch rings, which are very attractive. The bezel, body and tailcap are round, except for the portion of the body around the side switch, which is octogonal. The head diameter is larger than the body so the clip is needed to prevent the light from rolling. The head has cooling grooves machined around its perimeter to aid in heat dissipation. The bottom of the tailcap is flat to allow the light to stand on its tail. The body and tailcap are knurled for a secure grip, and the tailcap has a small lanyard hole. The tailcap is magnetized for attaching the light to a ferrous metal surface. Each S30R III is individually serial numbered on the side.
The S30R III comes with a customized Olight 3500mAh 18650 battery, which you can leave in the light at all times unless you replace it. The positive end of the battery is installed facing the rear. Included with the light is a 4.2V 1000mAh Desktop charging dock. The dock is triangular in shape, with small suction cups on the bottom for added stability on flat, smooth surfaces. The included micro-USB cable is about 20" long and plugs into the side of the dock. The dock has an additional USB port on the side, into which the S1R Baton's magnetic charging cable (MCC) can be also plugged into for charging both lights at once. The dock has a charging status light which glows red while charging and green when charging is completed. The dock is also compatible with the S1R Baton. The S1R's MCC can also be used on the S30R when you're traveling and don't want to carry the dock.
Operation (all operations are performed with the side switch):
The modes are almost identical to that of the S1R, so the more I use both lights, the more I get familiar with the modes of operation. One difference is that in lockout mode, the S1R button glows red when pressed, but the S30R button doesn't illuminate. It just flashed in moolight mode to indicate the light is locked out.
Notes/Observations - The S30R Baton III is similar in size to double CR123 lights; definitely longer and a bit wider than the S1R Baton. Just to show how far flashlight technology has come in the past decade, I've illustrated it below with my old SureFire Centurion C2 light, which puts out 80 lumens with the LED conversion. The C2 was a bit of a bulkier design than the original SF P60, and the main bulk was in the head. Nowadays, you can get a lot more output from a smaller diameter head, which makes it more convenient for EDC in a pocket. So, as far as size goes, the S30R is definitely compact and light enough for EDC on the belt or in a pant pocket. It fills the hand better than the mini lights making it easier to manipulate. The magnetic base is strong enough to hold the light horizontally when stuck to a ferrous surface (in this case below, a table leg). I would have liked the spring clip to reversible for head-down carry in a pocket like their S30R II; it wouldn't have been too much trouble to put a clip groove near the tailcap. I don't use the lockout feature much as I haven't had it turn on accidentally yet, but one nice thing is that the clip can be rotated on the body to cover the side switch so you can lock it out that way.
There's not too much of a difference (to my eye) between the 900 max lumens of the S1R Baton and the 1050 of the S30R Baton III. Why wouldn't one just get the S1R as it's almost half the size? The answer is run time, and beam shape. The S30R has a spot beam vs. the wider flood beam of the S1R, as shown below. The S1R beam has a bright, wide spot (which becomes a flood as you get further away) with some side spill and very little corona. The S30R beam has a smaller but brighter hot spot with a well-defined corona and very little side spill. The two photos below were shot with the flashlights about a foot and a half in front of the wall, in moonlight and low modes respectively. The S30R beam also has more throw, with the concentrated hot spot reaching out further than the flood of the S1R. The S30R would be the one to pick for longer distances. As with the S1R, the beam on the S30R is artifact-free. If I estimated the practical usable distance of the S1R to be 50 yards, the S30R extends that to about 75 yards.
Run time is where the 3500 mAh battery of the S30R far outlasts the 550 mAh battery used in the S1R. Not only are the hight and medium modes about twice as bright as on the S1R, but the run times are tripled. On low, where they share the same output, the runtime is quadrupled on the S30R, and on moonlight the S30R will last an astounding 3 months! The moonight mode is useful as a night light in a room or tent to be left on the whole night. On the S1R, for the higher modes, the light turns on 'gradually' over a split second instead of instantaneously, so it's not such a shock to the eyes. I don't think that the S30R has this feature, as it's not listed, and seems to turn on instantaneously.
The charging dock is unobtrusive on my desk and I like that it can be used to charge any compatible Olight flashlight. That makes it very easy to keep them fully charged. I also like the fact that it has the extra USB port for 'daisy chaining' other chargers. I can plug my phone charger into it without having to occupy another wall socket. Quality of the S30R is just like the S1R and Nova H1 previously featured; it looks very well-made. While larger than the S1R, the S30R isn't too large for EDC and makes it a great choice for those who can use its extended run time and throw.
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