Olight rounds out a trio of quality low priced offerings with the little brother of them all. Is this little ‘un capable of running with the big boys?
Meat and Potatoes
1xAAA and a Cree XP-G? Its not the first, but I haven’t seen too many lights like this before. Fundamentally, the i3 isn’t anything different than its larger sibling, the i2, but its diminished size makes it feel that much more fulfilling. This efficient powerhouse coupled with the diminutive reflector create a very pleasing, floody beam that is excellent for EDC. It is definitely not built for throw, but if you are buying an AAA light for that, you need to rethink your goals some I suspect. The i3’s light emission is very smooth and effective with nary an artifact to be found. Torch manufacturers these days are getting particularly adept at producing a quality beam with little apparent effort, and this light is no exception.
In spite of using the incredibly capable XP-G, the output of the i3 has been limited similarly to the i2 to a level far more manageable by the meager output of the 1.5V AAA cell. On high, Olight has granted us a still incredibly useful 70 lumens. This seems underpowered at first, until you think about your power source and compare it to what this class of lighting has been limited to until very recently. It also has the same low end outputs that come with the i2, which still nets you a usable 2.5 lumens for a very usable 20 hours.
Fit and finish of the i3 is exactly on par with what you would expect from a quality Olight. The design is purely genetically related to the other “i” lights I have reviewed thus far. It is undeniably a member of the same line. Olight’s production line definitely does not skimp when it comes to professionalism. Even their budget lights come with well smoothed edges and uniform anodizing. As a matter of fact, as seen in the pictures, this model is even available in a number of extra colors rather than simply the monochromatic offerings seen previously. Despite the fact that this doesn’t even remotely affect the lights functionally, it does wonders to increase its “curb appeal” so to speak. It really starts to suggest that it would make great Christmas gifts to pass out to non-connoisseurs and those on the fence about quality lighting.
Being an AAA cell, the i3 is very definitely more pocketable than its siblings, and is even finally to the size where I consider it to be keychain worthy. There is one problem however, and those of you who have been following this blog for a while can see this one coming already. The keyring/lanyard attachment on the i3 is arranged exactly the same as those on the i1 and i2. It protrudes from the side of the light’s tail and is incapable of twisting to the vertical. This causes it to hang a little strangely from your keyring or whatever other attachment point you have chosen. A simple adjustment in the machining on the creation end would create a far more useful contact point than what is currently the case.
Again, for those that have read my previous reviews, this next point of critique is not much of a surprise either. The i3 is a bit of a mode skipper. Loose threading can cause an accidental moment of activation prior to getting the head screwed down tight enough to maintain contact. With the simple L-M-H arrangement of modes, thankfully this doesn’t ever result in accidentally strobing yourself or ending up sending up a distress beacon, but it does often land you using more light than you had originally intended to use. Interesting to note though, the alternative colored lights seem to be more solid than the basic black when it comes to this issue. I don’t know if they are simply using a thicker o-ring and that holds them more steady, or if their machining is slightly different, resulting in better fitting threads. The end result though is that I far prefer to use the more attractive looking colored lights. Big surprise, I know.
The Olight i3 is an inexpensive quality offering from a well known manufacturer. It makes an easy to carry light that is both good in an emergency, and fairly capable even under more demanding circumstances.
Provided for review by the kind folks at 4Sevens.