By Matthew Hecker
I’m a huge fan of outdoor gear – bags, backpacks, knives, guns, flashlights, and just about any useful gadget that can get me out of a jam or help me. I also love to carry as much as I can with me everywhere I go, but I try to keep it relatively light and simple. I carry most of my gear in a shoulder bag, but there are a few items I carry on my person frequently. A phone, a knife, my wallet, and a small flashlight are my usual EDC items, but the flashlight often gets left behind due to size and weight. For this review, GoingGear.com gave me the S30 Baton Flashlight by Olight. It turned out to be an almost perfect EDC type of flashlight that easily fits in your pocket or in your gear bag.
What You See First
The first thing I noticed about this flashlight was its small size and large lumen output. It is only 4.6 inches long and has a bezel diameter of .98 inches. The largest lumen output setting of the CREE XM-L2 LED is 1000 lumens, which is really cool for such a small light. In addition, it only weighs 2.6 ounces, minus the batteries. Even with the two batteries inside, it is very light.
The next attribute is one that I have mentioned in all of my previous Olight reviews – quality. There are no loose parts or pieces dangling off of the light. The body of the light is made of aircraft-grade aluminum and has a type III hard anodizing that provides an above average level of scratch resistance. This handy little light just exudes toughness. The tempered glass lens is slightly recessed, so if you drop the light on the bezel, the chances of breaking the lens are reduced.
Another feature that you’ll notice immediately is the location and function of the power switch. This light uses a small power button on the side of the handle to turn it on, off, and to cycle through the various settings. This same button also acts as a power indicator that will glow red when the battery is low.
The light has square-shaped knurling on the main part of the handle and on the tailcap. Towards the front of the light, just behind the reflector housing of the LED, the light is equipped with an anti-roll bezel. These are always useful to help prevent the light from rolling off of whatever you set it on. Perhaps my favorite feature is the magnetic tailcap. The light strongly adheres to metal objects, and it allows you to have both hands free. This is the first light I have used with this feature, and it was very convenient.
The light also comes with a relatively deep-carry steel pocket clip. The clip mounts towards the end of the handle and allows just enough of the tailcap to sit above the pocket but yet still provide some purchase for pulling it out.
The light is packaged in a simple, clear plastic box that lists all the various features, and it includes two spare O-rings, a battery magazine, and a set of instructions.
How It Works
There are six settings available – moonlight, low, medium, high, turbo, and strobe. The moonlight setting provides 1 lumen for 720 hours. The low setting provides 20 lumens for 26 hours. The medium setting provides 100 lumens for 8 hours. The high setting provides 600 lumens for 2 hours, and the turbo setting provides 1000 lumens for 1 hour.
To cycle through the settings, you either press the side switch a certain number of times, or you press and hold the button down for a certain amount of time. A single click will turn the flashlight on at the last setting you used. To cycle to low, medium and high, just turn it on and then hold the switch down. If you continue to hold it, you’ll keep cycling from low to medium to high. To enter the strobe mode, click the switch 3 times. To enter turbo mode, just click 2 times once the light is on. To enter moonlight mode, you simply start with the light off, then press and hold the power switch.
You can also lock out the power switch to prevent the flashlight from accidentally turning on. To do so, you start with the light off, then press and hold the side switch for 2 seconds. The light will enter moonlight mode momentarily, then it will shut off and be locked. Subsequent short presses of the side switch will not turn on the light. To exit the lockout mode, press and hold the side switch for 1 second. The light will enter moonlight mode and then be ready for other modes.
Olight has chosen to use the CREE XM-L2 LED in the S30. During my tests, I found all five of the main light settings have a use. I found the 20 lumen low setting and the 100 lumen medium setting to be the ideal balance between output and battery life. If you need to do general tasks, these 2 settings are very useful.
I used these settings for simple tasks like finding out just how quickly spilled oil spreads onto engine parts. It is really amazing how clumsy I can be while performing a simple oil change. The bright light kept showing oil in new places. The moment I thought I was done cleaning up one area, I’d find another spot even farther from the previous one.
I also carried the light around on my left pocket of my jeans or in my gear bag for a few weeks. It’s surprising to see how many situations can make use of an EDC flashlight. Since it is so small and light, I actually forgot I had it with me a few times. One time while I was at work, I needed to switch around the rat’s nest of wires under my desk. At first I just pulled out the light and started rooting around. Then I remembered the magnetic tailcap. I stuck it on the underside of my sliding desk drawer, and then I had both hands free to deal with all the wires. The magnetic tailcap is very useful.
The moonlight setting is best used in very dark conditions, and the turbo is so bright that you may not need that level of light output frequently. However, throwing 1000 lumens from such a small, easily-carried light is an amazing feat.
It is important to note that the light is equipped with a “thermal management safety program” that reduces the lumen output in the high and turbo settings to 60% after 3 minutes of having the light on. This is meant to help prevent overheating. Olight also adheres to all ANSI industry standards, so when you’re shopping around, make sure you check that the competitors are also following the same standards. Many flashlight companies do not follow the ANSI standards.
The S30 also has an IPX 8 waterproof rating, so it is submersible to 2 meters. I tested the flashlight by putting it underwater with the light turned on. I had no issues, and it worked fine for the remainder of my tests. It is also impact resistant to drops as high as 4.9 feet. I dropped the light several times on my hardwood floor. The only thing to sustain damage was my floor.
The S30 Baton takes two CR123A batteries or one 18650 rechargeable battery. The batteries fit inside a plastic battery magazine that aids in shock absorption. Olight also provides a 5 year warranty, which I think is excellent.
What I Think
If you haven’t noticed yet, the main theme of this review is portability. The S30 is very convenient to carry on your person, whether it’s clipped to your pants pocket or tucked into a bag or backpack. Combine the small size and weight with six useful light output settings, a very durable aluminum shell, the magnetic tailcap, and you get a very useful, handy flashlight. The price is $49.95, and it’s available at goinggear.com.