Olight S Mini (Black copper/Stainless Steel Combo Review) Flashlight Review

Preface

Marshall at Going Gear sent me these two Olight S Mini’s for review – he asked which I’d like to review and I tried to pick two that otherwise might not get reviewed, or looked at much. Black copper, and Stainless Steel. I’ll admit I love the look of the SS version. Let’s see how they stack up.

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Olight S Mini CU (Copper) “Black Onyx”, and Olight S Mini (Stainless Steel) “Thunder Grey” Official Specs:

The specs for these two are the same.

Light Form: large and very concentrated spot, very bright.
Light Intensity (candela): 3000
Max. Performance (lumens): 550
Beam Distance: 110 m / 361 ft

Mode Output (lm) Runtime
Level 1 550 1.5 m
→Stepdown 300 120 m
Level 2 60 8.5 h
Level 3 12 64 h
Level 4 0.5 30 d
Strobe

TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS

  • Compatible Batteries: 1 x CR123A (included) or 1 x RCR123A
  • Cree XM-L2 Cool White.
  • Waterproof IPX8 – 2m
  • Weight 1.90oz / 54g (excluding battery)
  • Length x Body Diameter 2.5 in. x 0.83 in / 54.5 mm x 21 mm
  • Package Contents: S Mini Flashlight, 1 x 1600mAh CR123A Battery, Instruction Manual
  • For: general purposes , gift, everyday carry , key-chain , camping, fishing and other outdoor activities
  • Warranty: 5 years

Versions

There are many versions of the S Mini, but most are just finishes. There are Raw Copper, Black Copper, Rose Gold Copper versions. There’s the Stainless Steel (Thunder Grey) version. There’s a Brass version. All of those are cool white. There are three titanium versions, too: Polished, Rainbow PVD, and Bead Blasted Titanium. All of those are Neutral White. Surprisingly (sadly?), there are no aluminum versions of this light!


Short Review:

I had the H1 first, then I got the S Mini. I said I’d be carrying the H1 all the time, but that’s changed to the S Mini (or maybe, both!). It’s smaller, and so useful. This is a great little light, and I love the available finishes. I just wish more (all) of them were available in NW.

Long Review:

What’s Included

  • Olight S Mini
  • Pocket Clip
  • Manual
  • Olight primary 1600 mAh cr123a

Pictures

Here are some photos, some beamshots Black CU, Stainless Steel. And finally runtimes.

Package and Manual

All of these S Mini Olights are limited editions. So they all come in very nice waxy coated box,

lGOG2sb.jpgwith a “bow” (ie a picture of a bow), and quite a bit of bold branding.

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The back of the box has pertinent information, including a serial

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(something Olight seems to be doing more of lately, and something I do like). Inside the box, the light takes center stage,

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surrounded by some foam, and a nice ribbon to help with removal. The manual is in the top of the box, in an envelope

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(out of focus photo warning! sorry!) which is tight enough that it won’t flop around or get in the way when viewing the light – this is a nice touch. Under the foam that holds the light….. there’s nothing under that foam. It’s glued down.

The manual

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is the same for both lights (and likely all these lights). It’s the big paper one

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with all the languages – only about 3 panels of this paper will apply to most users. I count 11 languages.

Of note in the package of the Copper unit (all copper, and titanium units too) is the lucky number card. Every light has a set of numbers on the body of the light, under the pocket clip (even the stainless one, but it’s not part of this drawing). If the numbers on your light happen to match up with any of these lucky numbers on the card, you’re a winner! My light did not match up.

Build Quality, Disassembly, and Durability

Both of these lights are simply impeccably built. I’m not sure where to start with the superlatives. The knurling is perfect for grip but not aggressive. The tailcap screws on so smoothly…. onto some nice, thick, square cut threads. The O-ring on the tailcap provides just the right amount of tension while closing the light. The clip even has two holes, in an unusual spot (at the apex), to allow lanyard connection!

The body of the light also has the serial.

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If I’m honest, I’m not sure there is any indication which is CW and which is NW between these lights…. the H1 has a “C” or “N” before the serial (on the body of the light) but the S Mini does not seem to have that. However, NW is only available in the titanium lights, so that’s a good way to check.

There’s a fair bit of lube

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on these threads; probably enough that some could be removed and you’d have enough still. The head of the light has a thick spring,

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but the tailcap has only a padded donut. This works well and the cell doesn’t bounce around much, if any.

There are some unusual characteristics worth mentioning. First, the clip is stationary. It clips into one spot, and one spot only.

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It doesn’t even rotate around the light. It’s location puts it directly opposite to the activation switch – this may be cause a problem with accidental activation, depending on how you carry the light.

Of note, since I have both this and the H1: The H1 feels nice but lacks the premium feel that these limited edition S Mini’s have. Of course they’re copper/stainless and the H1 is aluminum, but still, these S Mini’s just feel so nice.

The downside of almost all these batons, is lack of disassembly. There’s not much you can do unless you’re extremely motivated, to get this light apart: The bezels (head and switch) are press fit in.

It’s quite durable too. I haven’t beat these two to death, but nothing about them is suspect. And the parts (ie, button) are tried and true. So I don’t suspect any issues with durability whatsoever. The finish on the Black Copper has held up extremely well, and PVD has a reputation for durability. The Stainless is…. stainless. So the finish on it will hold up regardless.

One note about the Black Onyx Copper version of this light. The black is PVD, yet in the parts that aren’t black, you won’t see copper. Apparently PVD need help sticking to copper, so a layer of chrome is laid down first. So the threads (etc!) on the black copper version, really look chrome, not copper. Rest assured that this is a copper light – other users have scratched through the coatings and revealed copper just under the surface. (It also has the heft of a copper light, which is another way to tell!) The black

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is quite nice, too – not quite like most black flashlights. Seems much glossier.

Size

Basically the smallest cr123 light available. I suppose it’d be possible to strap a bare emitter to a cr123, and that’s about what it’ll take to make a smaller light. It’s so small they decided not to include a magnet. 😦 (And I can report to you that the tailcap from the diminutive H1 Nova does not fit the S Mini, much to my chagrin.) [Edit: The H1 magnet tailcap does fit the S Mini.] The S Mini is probably small enough for a coin pocket, and it’s certainly small enough to be your second/backup light. For example my daily will be this light and a bigger, throwier 18650 light, at the very least (I often carry 4 or so lights).

Regarding the size for actual use – I find myself using three fingers to hold it. It’s really not long enough for much more. So it rests between my thumb and middle finger, with the index used for balance. It’s a comfortable grip, and it’s strange to have so much hand unused. That probably sounds a different way than I actually mean it, but I’m not going to change my wording there.

In any case this light is a size such that there’s no good reason not to carry it (unless CW is a reason for you, and we’ll get into that later).

Here are a couple of comparisons:

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Retention

The S Mini comes with a pocket clip installed, and without it looks a bit strange (though it can be easily removed). The clip only goes in one place, which demands a bezel-up carry, and can’t even be rotated.

The clip does have an interesting lanyard attachment point: right at the top. (Or at the bottom, in this pic.)

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Either way, right at the apex are two holes for attachment. And I’m not talking about that bumpout in the body of the clip. There are two actual holes for lanyard attachment. The package doesn’t come with a lanyard, but it shouldn’t be hard to source one.

Unfortunately there’s no magnet, and there’s no pouch either.

Power

The light is powered by a CR123A sized cell. A primary cell is provided, but 16340’s work just fine too. The primary comes installed but you’ll need to remove the usual plastic protector

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before use. Unlike most other flashlights (but like most other small Baton series lights) the cell goes into the light with the negative terminal toward the LED). There’s a nice little etched note

on the inside of the tube to indicate that.

Both of these lights seem to terminate at a high voltage – 3.33V for the Copper, and 3.12V for the Stainless. I can’t say why that is, but it would also point to a timed shutoff (instead of being voltage based.) As a result of that, I can’t say if this light actually has low voltage protection or not. I would recommend using protected cells in this light, anyway. I can say that both these lights fired back up (to high!) after shutting off during the runtime test.

User Interface and Operation

The S Mini isn’t unusual from other Batons. It has a single black silicone side switch and a blue bezel around that button, exactly like most the other Batons. It’s nicely clicky. I haven’t had a problem with accidental activation, but based on the clip position (180 degrees from the switch) it could be something to consider.

State Action Result
Off Click On (Mode Memory [Moon, L, M, Hight for 10 minutes then medium])
On Click Off
On Hold Mode Cycle*
Off Hold Moon
Any Double Click High
Any Triple Click Strobe
Strobe Click Off
Off Long Hold Lockout
Lockout Hold Moonlight

* Manual states Moon is included in mode cycle, but it is not.

LED and Beam

These lights have Cree XM-L2. And they have a TIR optic.

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Both of these lights being reviewed are also Cool White. That’s not fantastic; I almost universally prefer NW. The beam is typical TIR. A sort of broad spot with not much spill. As I’ve said before, TIR is practically my favorite beam for most everyday uses.

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Beamshots, Runtime, and Lux Measurements

Olight S Mini Copper “Black Onyx” S Mini Stainless Steel “Thunder Grey”
Emitter Cree XM-L2
Emitter Notes CW
Cell 16340
Runtime 16340 16340
Beamshots [0.3″, f/8, ISO 100, 5000k] 16340 16340
Claimed Lumens (lm) 550
Lux (Measured) 610 749
At (m) 2.69 2.32
Candela (Calculated) in cd 4414.021 4031.4176
Throw (Calculated) (m) 132.876198 126.9868907
Throw (Claimed) (m) 110

Random Comparisons and Competitive Options….

This light is similar to the comparisons for the H1 Nova: If you’re looking for the smallest CR123A light, then this is your only choice. There are some bonuses, too. That these are all limited, and thus generally “specialty” metals, you’ll get some better thermals from the copper (for example), you’ll get a cool look from the titanium (for example) and you’ll have a light that looks like a light saber if you get the Stainless…. Really hard to beat.

The closest real competitor is likely the Zebralight SC32W. It differs in that it is aluminum, and has a reflector not an optic. It also has a non-movable clip, which is 180 degrees from the switch. It’s over a centimeter longer, and costs approximately the same.

Conclusion

What I like

  • Size
  • Finish (particularly the Stainless! Love this thing)
  • TIR
  • NW availability

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What I don’t like

  • No magnet
  • Probable timed stepdowns would be better if PID was utilized
  • Shutoff seems timed too (with high voltage at termination)

Final Thoughts

I liked the H1 from Olight, but I really like the S Mini more. If the H1 was some metal other than aluminum (ie, some premium material) I might lean toward it, but the S Mini just has a great weight, and has the typical Baton series usefulness.


Notes:

  • Thanks to Marshall at Going Gear for sending these lights at my request, and even obliging with my pick of the bunch. Thank you u/storl!

Edits:

  • Users report (u/ozythemandias ) that the H1 tailcap does in fact fit and work on the S Mini – so I gave it another shot. It does work!
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