Hover over the image for rating details. Quarks rating explanation here.

Olight is a well known manufacturer of high quality illumination tools. After incursioning in both the outdoor and the flashlight enthusiast markets in Europe, Olight turned its focus onto the tactical market and began designing products tailored to meet the needs of law enforcement and government agencies. The i3s series are portable flashlights ideal for EDC enthusiast. Read on for a detailed review of the latest two models in the series.

Hardware Design

Rating: 8/10

The flashlight is shipped with a sturdy plastic case with room for the actual devices and a AAA battery (included).

Flashlight with Case
Olight i3s Box

For a (very) portable flashlight, the design is almost flawless. I say almost because they were pretty close to the ideal type of power switch for this type of device, which is simply a side button (like the one they have included in their Baton series). Instead, the flashlight is turned on/off by twisting the upper part (the same that needs to be unscrewed to install the single AAA battery).

Olight has provided three levels of light intensity, which come in handy when you don’t really need a full blast of light or when trying to save battery life. To switch between them, you just twist on and off the light until getting to the desired light intensity. Although perhaps not as convenient as a button, it’s definitely a clever way to achieve the effect and it can be done with just one hand, if needed.

Hardware Quality

Rating: 10/10

Hardware quality is top notch, there is really few that can be improved. The Pure Brass version arrived with some minor scratches to the side, but I guess that’s just me being too picky.

Flashlight Comparison
Top: i3S Pure Brass. Bottom: i3S Titanium Gold

The finish on the i3s Titanium Gold edition (i.e. Shiny one) is supposed to be scratch resistant. Although I didn’t do any technical tests (not the focus of this review), I can attest there were no visible marks after finishing this review and using it for a couple of weeks attached to my keys. The PVD edition is an example of excellent craftsmanship.

General Performance

Rating: 10/10

Testing the actual performance of these flashlights is a challenging task. Although they are rated in lumens, manufacturers seem to use different benchmarking methods to come up with the final lumens designation. Ideally, one could use a light meter at different distances and come up with an accurate measure, but other factors like range, intensity and covered area would also have to be taken into account. Such test would be overkill for the reader, and I thought the best way to provide a general idea of these flashlights performance, would be through a comparison.

For that, I’m using a Coast HP1 rated at 190 lumens by Coast.

Coast and Olight Comparison
Size comparison: Coast HP1 and Olight i3S Pure Brass.

This particular model from coast is a solidly built, very well regarded device in the EDC community, with a similar luminosity specification to the i3s brass series. Below you can see an illumination comparison picture (olight on the high setting ).

Light Comparison
Light intensity comparison. Left: Olight i3S Pure Brass. Right: Coast HP1

As it can be seen, the olight is much brighter than the Coast. The i3s was set to its maximum intensity, and the Coast was set to both the wide angle and the focus mode (which was the one with the highest light intensity). I tried to take photos of the other comparison tests I ran, but unfortunately due to the extreme lighting conditions (really dark areas being lit by both flashlights), the images were not really representative of the actual differences. That being said, I can confirm with complete confidence that the Olight flashlights outperformed the Coast HP1 in every single test.

Price

Rating: 8/10

These lights can be found on Amazon at around $29 at the time of this writing. Although not exactly a bargain, it’s definitely a fair price. Hardware quality is great and the finish gives them a very stylish look, regardless of which one you pick.

Ease of Use

Rating: 8/10

The twist to turn on/off is not the most comfortable or convenient way to operate a flashlight, but it’s definitely better than the obnoxious (at least in my opinion) back button that most manufacturers are fixated with for tactical flashlights (unfortunately the well regarded Coast flashlight used on this review has that kind of switch). The fact tha the flashlight can be operated with one hand is an advantage that should not be underestimated.

Other Pros

Rating: 7/10

This section is intended to account for features out of the ordinary or not usually found in similar products. The Olight i3s Brass/PVD flashlights present the following advantages over similar products:

  • Three levels of light intensity.
  • Scratch resistant finish.
  • Included AAA battery.

Other Reviews

Rating: 4.4/5

These flashlights are rated with 4.4 stars out of 21 reviews on Amazon. This number was used to calculate the Quarks rating. No Newegg reviews were available at the time of this writing.