Author Topic: Olight S1 Mini CW/HCRI Review  (Read 1111 times)

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Offline rookiedaddy

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Olight S1 Mini CW/HCRI Review
« on: December 17, 2017, 01:00:05 AM »
Due to Hi-CRI model availability, I have again agreed and received these 2 small and compact lights from Olight for review.

Olight S1 Mini CW and HCRI
Reviewer's Overall Rating: ★★★★★

  • Small and lightweight
  • 600 lumens Bright (450 lumens for HCRI model)
  • Micro-USB rechargeable RCR123A battery included (Micro-USB cable included too
  • Instant access to Moon mode and Turbo mode
  • Dual direction pocket clip
  • Colour reproduction of HCRI model is good
  • Underrated lumens
  • Magnet strength is much weaker than other Olight flashlights
  • Blue bezel ring is flush
  • Presence of artefacts in the beam profile
  • Turbo and low battery warning not available when using Primary CR123A

The HCRI model name is printed at the tailcap.

Features / Value: ★★★★★
Retail at US$49.95, with plenty of coupon/discount codes and promotions especially during this year-end festive season, it's really a steal for such a small, compact and bright flashlight. The included Micro-USB rechargeable RCR123A battery is plenty good and adds more value to the light as a whole. Olight even included a quality micro-USB data cable (yes, it can be use for both data sync and charging).

charging in action...

charging completed...

Design / Build Quality: ★★★★★
The build quality is of typical high quality from Olight. The anodizing is good. Modes switching is very stable via the side switch.

As we have direct access to Turbo mode via double clicking, memorizing Turbo mode is not necessary. I'm glad Olight chooses to leave Turbo mode out of memory group.

Only the high mode will be memorized for 10 minutes, not the Turbo as written in the User Manual. There is a workaround/surprise if you turn off the light in High mode and loosen the tailcap to lockout the S1 Mini. You will find that even after 10 minutes, when you then tighten the tailcap back and turn on the light, it comes back on in High and not reset to Medium. This is due to no power being supplied for the 10 minutes timer to work.

Loosening (>3 seconds) and tightening the tailcap will also disengage the electronic lockout mode.

The clip, the pocket clip, the 2-way pocket clip that is similar in design to FourSevens' Mini MKII but IMO is better by a tad bit because the clip covers the whole length of the S1 Mini unlike Mini MKII. This allows deep pocket carry both way while MKII only allows deep pocket carry in a head-down direction. Both are functional of course and the MKII design suits the twisty nature of the light and is probably why it is designed as such for better UX on the MKII while the electronic switch made this 2-way deep pocket carry clip on S1 Mini possible without compromise.

Unlike previous S-series model, the magnet at the tailcap is weaker, much weaker and possibly due to Olight trying to squeeze out every milimeter to make it the shortest possible light while still incorporates the positive design feedback of previous S-series model. One of the criticism when Olight released the S-Mini limited edition last year was the missing magnetic tailcap, some users have expressed they would like to see the magnetic tailcap return in such a small form factor light and IMO, Olight has deliver.
I also have in confident from Olight Engineer that one can "demagnetize" the tailcap magnetism by heating up the tailcap if one desire the non-magnetic tailcap on their S1 Mini. If you have a demagnetizer, that will probably do the job too.

Now, about that bezel design... not that I have any proof that it's not as good as the older S-Mini protruded bezel, but I have more faith in the protruded bezel protecting the flashlight head than the S1 Mini's flush bezel. It's just a personal preference.

The optic are different between the normal CW and HCRI model, the CW is using optic similar to S1 and S-Mini models, but HCRI is using a flat, lightly diffused TIR optic... probably trying to reduce the ugly tint-shift of the XP-G3 LED tho... above picture shows the clay imprint of the different optics used. From left, S1 Mini CW, S1 Mini HCRI, S Mini Ti Polished.

Battery Life: ★★★★☆

The included Micro-USB rechargeable RCR123A is labelled to have 650mAH capacity, and following is the runtime tested...

Below included a runtime in Medium mode...

Above runtime is consider decent. A 4-star rating due to the light does not have Low Voltage Protection (LVP) and rely solely on the protected RCR123A LVP, this mean you should not use unprotected LiIon cell in the light. This also creates an issue for when running the light with primary CR123A as the warning RED LED will not function when using primary CR123A (besides the fact that S1 Mini doesn't goes Turbo mode when using primary CR123A).

The Low Voltage Warning function needs above 3.4V to function, where the RED LED located at the switch button will lights up when the Voltage goes below ~3.2V and continues to light up until the battery protection kicks-in. Thus, as good primary CR123A starting Voltage is ~3.25V, the Low Voltage Warning never comes into activation.

Picture showing the Low Voltage Warning activated when battery power is low.

Light Output: ★★★★★
My home-made lightbox gives the following readings:

Note that the above measured lumens are by no means authoritative nor an indication of over/under-stating the output by manufacturer (although in this case, I'm confident that Olight S1 Mini has mostly under-stating their lumens output). It's calibrated against some known output lights (e.g. Fenix, SureFire) so take it with a grain of salt and just as a relative reading.

measured current to be:

Standby current or parasitic drain: 25µA

About the artefact in the S1 Mini CW beam profile... yes, it's there. There is a cross/star shape artefact in the beam when white wall hunting.
What about the green corona and tint-shift in the S1 Mini HCRI? Yes, it's there too when white wall hunting.
Now, see below picture of the hard to capture artefact and green corona...

Ripples/PWM-effect in the light? Yes, it's there when taking the Optic front with a camera that can do ultra fast shutter speed except it's impossible for my eye to capture that no matter how fast I wave the light in front of myself like a crazy flashaholic.

So ignoring the ripples effect, what can we crazy flashaholic (I mean myself) do about that artefact and green corona? Well, I dug out my old magic diffuser film, cut a small round shape and stick it to the front optics...


Voilą! No more artefact and green corona (above pic shows what the diffuser film do to cast the green corona away, and I guess you just have to trust me that it also removes the CW beam artefact too).

Summary: ★★★★★
I think Olight has improves a fair lot since the S1 Baton released 2 years ago. Design and build quality of this S1 Mini is top-notch, the included Micro-USB rechargeable RCR123A battery is good, the 2-way clip is likely the best clip amongst all Olight S-series light and the HCRI model, although the beam is not as pleasing to look at as Nichia's 219B LED, but the High CRI part of XP-G3 90-CRI delivers. And the color rendering is as good as the Nichia R9050 LED.

I would whole-heartedly recommend this S1 Mini to anyone looking for a pocket/purse EDC light... and my personal preference would be the HCRI model of course. With the various price promotions this festive season, it's a good gift option to consider.

I'm gonna leave you with a couple of box shots of S1 Mini...

and a collage of still photos of the same scene lighted by S1 Mini and many other lights...
« Last Edit: December 17, 2017, 01:51:32 AM by rookiedaddy »