Olight continues to expand their cadre of excellent photonic offerings with further options, this time adding to their impressive duty light line. Who doesn’t love options?
Meat and Potatoes
The Javelot line of lights is a relatively recent development in Olight’s lineup, but they seem to denote the lights best suited for distance viewing. When it comes to this aspect, the R20 is definitely much less of a thrower than other lights of the same title, It does however, appear to be still bright enough to bear that moniker with pride.
Cranking out a massive 900 lumens out of a typical duty carry 18650 powered light isn’t anything to sneeze at. Olight’s choice of a new Cree XP-L Hi domeless LED sitting in a relatively deep smooth reflector does the trick. It also does so with a surprisingly pleasing beam pattern absent of all artifacts and distractions. Again, this torch has been designated as a part of the Javelot line of throwers, but it isn’t nearly as tightly focused as the majority of them I’ve seen so far. This is mostly due to the fact that the beam has not only the bright hotspot and wide spillbeam, but this setup adds a useful transitional corona into the mix as well. This makes for a slightly floodier, mid-focus beam that is more useful over short distances than a pure thrower.
User interface isn’t anything special to write home about. The R20 always starts in its timed Turbo mode. The 900 lumen marker is actually only active for the first 3 minutes of output before it is necked down to 450 lumens to protect the heat-sensitive electronics. This isn’t a technique I’m particularly fond about, but it is increasingly becoming the way of the industry. After that you can step down to a medium or low mode with a simple half click of the reverse clicky power switch. There isn’t a strobe or moon mode that I can find, which I find intriguing. This makes the operation of this torch that much more predictable. That I can appreciate.
The design of the R20 has been kept very subtle. This is not a torch designed for Tacti-cool situations. It looks like it would be far more at home in an office environment than mounted to a rifle. I really like the understated looks, as well as the intentional recessing of the tailcap (without scallops to subvert tailstanding capabilities). Fit and finish are very well done, with apparently thick anodizing covering the entire body. After an extended period of testing, I am starting to see some of the corners flake off, but this light has really been through some rough use in the last couple months. I’ve pocket carried this with pens and other lights, as well as holster carry on my belt. I’ve dropped it on concrete, gravel, dirt, and woodchips, as well as subjecting it to the sandblasting of late night beachcombing. Admittedly, it’s none too grippy, but the knurling still does it’s job better than if it weren’t there.
I mentioned before that this light is 18650 powered. Generally this has come to mean that it also supports 2xCR123A cells, but I can find no mention of them in the documentation. Given that I also haven’t located a detailed operational voltage, I would be very reluctant to attempt to use anything other than the venerable 18650. One additional feature that made it into the R20 is onboard USB charging. The light is, however, only capable of using this feature with the included proprietary customized 18650. You are allowed to use any cell you may already have to power the light, but nothing but the included variant will work with the onboard charge port. Would it really have been that hard to allow USB charging with any standard 18650? I really don’t know, but I suspect not.
I admire the use of USB charging, however I would also have preferred to have seen USB-C used instead as it promises to become the new norm. I haven’t mentioned this for previous reviews with this feature, since it seems to have a rather slow adoption rate, but once peripherals and other technology begins to use it as well, the poorly designed USB Micro can finally be put to rest.
The R20 is somewhat of a departure from the remainder of the 18650 based Olights. It is the slightly bulkier light than the tiny EDC Baton series, but not as militant or tactical in appearance as the M series. It fills a niche that I wasn’t really aware existed, but it does so very well. Elegant and subtle, yet powerful as any duty light. Add USB Rechargeability into the mix, and you have a real winner.
Provided for review by the kind folks at Going Gear.