A journey of a thousand miles begins (and continues) with a single step. This definitely seems to be Olight’s mantra when it comes to their now signature Baton series. Working continuously to improve already quality lights, in a manner reminiscent of eating an elephant, one bite at a time.
Meat and Potatoes
Olight is rapidly becoming the king of iterative advancements. The Baton series of lights is a surpassingly excellent example of these advancements. Every month it seems new variants appear in their lineup, with mild to moderate improvements in everything from aesthetics to output. They’re happening so fast, with changes anywhere from slight to major that it’s become hard to keep up with the specifics of each model. This latest few each offer something specific and unique to the Baton series, despite the overall effect being so similar.
Each powered by its own energy source, these lights offer continued expansion to the available battery configurations the Baton’s are capable of using. The S1A is an incredibly compact option, still offering much of the power and all of the useability that I’ve come to expect from this moniker, however it does so out of a single AA cell. The S2A similarly uses common household AA cells, this time a pair of them, to produce even greater quantities of illumination. The S1R and it’s Turbo S variant are are a merging of the S1, and the older S10R, adding magnetic docking style rechargeability to these more compact, 16340 powered lights. The S2R takes the same rechargeability system, adding it to the excellently pocketable, 18650 powered S2.
Each of these instant classics uses a Cree XM-L2 LED hidden behind a collimation lens to provide excellent mid level focus, trending toward floody, out of each of these torches. I can’t praise this choice enough. The reflector has seen its day, but lensing continues to prove itself far better suited to lighting under these circumstances. Continuously blending a central hotspot into a broad corona and ever diminishing spillbeam creates a far more useful, not to mention aesthetically pleasing, field of vision. I applaud the wider angle beams in these EDC designed torches as well, and they prove themselves to be far more useful on a daily basis because of it.
Of the five torches, the S1A seems to be the closest to all the lights previously released. This light is nearly identical to everything we’ve already seen from the S1 before it, with the exception of being slightly powered down to better accommodate the limitations of the AA cell. The user interface is the now familiar 4 mode with mode memory (Low, Medium, High, and time-limited Turbo), plus a moon mode and strobe under varying degrees of obfuscation. It also maintains the odd 3 and 9 minute shut-off timer functions, the purposes of which, admittedly, completely elude me.
Functionally, the S2A remains identical to previous iterations as well. Its biggest point of originality is the inclusion of a rubber grip section surrounding nearly the entirety of the light’s body. This provides the light with the obvious benefits of being comfortable to hold, and more difficult to drop, but also comes with a less obvious functionality. The rubber is designed to glow in the dark, and currently does so with alacrity. As of now, it does a wonderful job giving enough illumination to locate the S2A in the dark for the entire night, after being intentionally charged at bedtime. I’m sure that over time this performance will degrade (darn you, entropy), but for now, it’s quite impressive.
The S2R as follows this same exact pattern as well, substituting only battery and rechargeability compared to the others. Though the 1.5 minute Turbo setting is a resoundingly huge 1020 lumens, the true benefit of using an 18650 cell over the alternatives is the boost in longevity. There aren’t currently many power options that provide a greater energy density than this miraculous cell, while still remaining relatively compact.
The smallest of the bunch, the S1R and its “Turbo S” variant are by far the most luxurious of these. Combining the compact power of the previous S1 with the rechargeable convenience of the older S10R, the S1R’s add into the mix a couple of interesting changes. Previously, the magnetic charging options on the baton series have all been similar styled desktop docking stations. More of a place to park your light on display while it recoups lost electricity. The S1R has miniaturized even this dock, now reducing it to an understated magentic connection that blends together in everything but color to the tailcap of the torch. It actually seems to share more in common, conceptually, with the former mag-safe connectors found on portable Apple computers. Beyond simple rechargability, the S1R lights offer one rather unique feature that hasn’t shown up in many torches from any manufacturer. They both use a soft, ramping, transitional output when first switched on, or when modes are changed. This doesn’t add functionally to the light in the least, as far as I can tell, but the result is a far less tangible improvement in overall “feel” of using them. They aren’t actually more useful because of it, but they seem higher quality than the rest. I know this is nothing but a user impression, but those are important.
The difference between the two S1R types is fairly subtle. They both have the same mode levels, and overall features. In fact, Without knowing there was a difference between them, I wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at them. Literally the only variance in marking or manufacture is the laser engraved serial number on each. Where they actually differ is in the double click functionality. With the original S1R, double clicking, while the light was on, would enact either the lights 3 or 9 minute shutoff timer. Those have been eliminated the Turbo S version, replaced by a return to the selectable 600 or the full 900 lumen turbo mode. This seems to me like a far more useful option. Other than that, output, operation, and appearance all remain untouched.
What can I say about these that hasn’t already been said? Olight still tries to walk the line between a switch that cannot be felt in the dark, and one that accidentally activates in your pocket. Nothing has changed there. Both of those extremes will likely be true at some point, if you own one of these. The bodies of the baton series continue to be remarkably thin, though this has yet to cause me any consternation at all in many months of real world, hard use.
I am slightly disappointed in the lack of magnetic tailcap on the S2A, though I do see their point that its usefulness would be greatly diminished by the sheet proportions of the light. I still think it would be handy though.
These are 5 very excellent lights that continue to fill out the ranks in Olight’s ever expanding product line. At this point, no matter the purpose, it is likely there is an Olight directly suited to the task.