Olight has proven themselves the masters of evolutionary updates lately, does this trend Improve their products, or are detractions the order of the day?
Meat and Potatoes
As of late, I have begun to view Olight’s new product releases almost in the same light as paid software updates. Every couple months they come out with a new version of their existing torches with serious advancements in place. The S-type Baton series seems to be the latest and greatest of their guinea pigs for these improvements. From their point of origin, they have continuously developed over the last couple of years to the lights I am detailing today.
New to this iteration of the venerable and now proven series is, most notably, the new included rechargeable batteries and bundled charging dock. I’ve been saying for years that companies needed to start to release some kind of executive desk set where a flashlight comes paired with a charging dock so it can easily be operated on the freshest of batteries without the need to disassemble the torch nightly or constantly keep replacing disposable primary cells. A number of USB charged options have crossed my hands lately, but none have included the highly sought after docking station.
Since the entire series uses an electronic side switch, Olight has been toying with the mostly unused tailcaps on the Batons since their inception. The new charging docs have given these a new life of usefulness. The tailcap now houses the connections necessary for dock charging. The Olights don’t appear to use inductive charging, but rather a conductive method. A strong magnet in the base of the tailcap assists in properly attaching the light to the charging dock, as well as doubling in purpose by allowing attachment to any magnetic surface. I’ve been using this feature regularly performing machine maintenance on the printing presses I operate for my day job. It’s incredibly handy to simply stick the light down somewhere useful and have it stay right there until you need to move it.
The charging docks themselves are simple enough to use. They have a USB input that you can attach to your favorite USB power adapter (one of those isn’t included) and a full-size USB output. This means you can put the flashlight charger inline with your phone charger and top both of them up overnight from the same power outlet.The magnetic base to the lights attaches firmly and lines up quickly to the right spot, allowing the charging to happen. The chargers are the same between all 3 versions of this light that I tested, which let me set up just one single charger and keep all of them topped off by rotating them through.
User interface for the baton series is identical to the previous generation, from everything I can tell. It is a side-switched 3-mode light with mode memory and a couple of surprises. Holding the button while the light is on will cycle through L-M-H, and releasing it will memorize the level. Beyond that, the light allows quick access to high directly from off by double clicking the button, while pressing and holding it while off will access a kind of secret moon mode. Both of these levels are memorized when they are used, so the light will continue to activate there until intentionally changed. I harped a little on that last time, but since these are essentially the same lights, and it wasn’t a huge gripe, I won’t bring it up again.
Still among the list of identical stats, powered by your choice of 18650, 14500, or 16340, and running a Cree XM-L2 LED, outputs on these lights understandably haven’t changed in this iteration. This makes sense since the components remain identical except for the new charging features. Highs are still searingly bright, and levels are spaced appropriately. I was a fan of the lights themselves the last time I wrote about them, if you want more info about the basics, I recommend that you check out my previous review.
One final feature that has been changed between that last version and now actually addresses one of my constructive criticism points. The previously protruding side switches have now been replaced with a much more protected recessed button. This seemingly innocuous change has actually dramatically altered my view on the usability of these torches. No longer has it been the norm to have my light riding on my belt with a depleted battery thanks to accidental activation. The new switches have done wonders for protecting them from unintentional discharge. Now the only cause of unattended light emission is the roving fingers of an adventurous 3 year old.
Though my complaints about the too-easy-to-activate switches were completely addressed, there is one point that I should have mentioned on the last review of these lights. The belt clips that they use are, in my opinion, less than stellar. This is something I brought up when reviewing the Maverick series, which share the same components. These clips are close to being excellent, but do not achieve it because of a couple of drawbacks. First off is the strange metal tension tab about halfway into the clip. This does more to hamper their use than help with retention. I am honestly on the verge of trimming it off with a dremel so I can have the clip I really want. Second is the simple tension attachment to the body of the light. This works probably 90% of the time just fine, however every couple of days I would find myself bumping the light on something and sending it rolling to the ground while the clip stayed firmly attached to my pocket. I would love to see these clips updated to relieve these two hiccups.
Also included with the charging dock, is a gelatinous “snot-glue” sticky pad used to attach the dock to its assigned location. While in concept this works excellently, in practice, I’ve had a little more trouble with it. The protective covers over the adhesive are quite difficult to remove without damaging the pad, and I’ve only got about a 50% success rate in adhering it properly without destruction.
Good lights that just keep getting better. They’re not a tactical torch, but if you don’t try to use them as such, they are excellent EDC style lights with a lot of power on tap if you need it. Small, unobtrusive, and reliable now intersects with easily and conveniently charged. I’m definitely a fan.
Provided for review by the kind folks at Going Gear.