Olight recently released a 10 Year Anniversary light. I don’t imagine this will become a normal production light, and as such that’s how I’ll evaluate it. It’s an unusual keychain light, with glass front and back, an integrated cell, and on-board charging. It’s the Olight Ion, and here are my thoughts!
There is only one version of this tiny light.
The MSRP of the Ion is $59.95. As it’s limited, that’s probably the street price, too.
I like this little light quite a bit, but I don’t like the UI. There’s no feedback, and it’s hard to press the buttons. But it’s a fantastic looking light, and once on the usage is great.
The Big Table
|Emitter:||Cree XP-G3 x2|
|Price in USD at publication time:||$59.99|
|Power off Charge Port with no Cell?||?|
|Claimed Lumens (lm)||320|
|Claimed Throw (m)||55|
|Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s)||71lux @ 3.036m = 654cd|
|Throw (Calculated) (m)||51.2 (93.1% of claim)*|
|All my Olight reviews!|
* Standard measurement disclaimer: I am an amateur flashlight reviewer. I don’t have $10,000 or even $1,000 worth of testing equipment. I test output and such in PVC tubes!! Please consider claims within 10% of what I measure to be perfectly reasonable (accurate, even).
- Olight Ion Keychain Flashlight
- Charge cable
- Split ring
- Key ring with chain
- Glass protective covers for front and back
- Thank you … thing (it’s metal!)
Package and Manual
Olight has a bit of special packaging on this light. It’s a fairly typical “special light” box, but with some 10th anniversary embossing. The light is held in a plastic tray, and the other goodies are under this tray.
Here’s a pdf of the manual. It’s very Olight, and useful enough. It covers all the basics, and some ways past the basics.
Another part of the package is this metal card, which thanks users for making Olight hang around for 10 years. It’s a nice touch, but I have no idea what to do with this thing.
Build Quality and Disassembly
The Ion, in hand, is spectacular. It feels exactly like an older model iPhone. Maybe iPhone 5? The front and back are very glassy, and extremely reflective (see below). The front and back are not marred with any buttons or switches – it’s just flat glass.
The back has the same 10th anniversary branding that the box had. I believe this is screen printed. The front has the switches, which we’ll talk about later.
The sides are metal bands – seamless in fact. The front and back get pressed into this metal band.
All in all it’s a very nice package. I’ll cover many aspects later, but take note that there is no waterproof rating for the light, and the micro-USB port has no cover at all. I’d also question the waterproofness of the switch. Scratch that… it’s actually rated IXP0. So, not waterproof at all.
Officially Weight, 32g. Length 58mm. Head Diameter 11mm. Body Diameter 27.5mm.
The Ion is a small light! It matches up roughly with the Nitecore Tip, though I’d say it feels a bit sleeker, with the glass front and back.
The only means to carry the Ion is by connecting a lanyard or split ring (included) and the keychain (included). I preferred using this light in my pocket, and it’d be perfect for a coin pocket, too.
I don’t think a pocket clip would work with this aesthetic, but it’d be a nice addition if it could be sorted.
The Ion has a built in cell of unspecified capacity. This cell is charged by micro-USB, and Olight has included a cable for this purpose.
I tested the light on the highest mode I could find (more on that later), and this seems to match with the manual’s estimate for Turbo. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a runtime with such flat output. This light maintains turbo @ >96% until the cell is depleted completely.
The charge port is on the side, and has no cover at all. This helps the Ion achieve it’s waterproof rating of IPX0.
Charging is a very nice CC/CV curve, with the CC phase being around 0.32A, and the total capacity of the cell in the 300mAh range. Unfortunately that’s quite a small cell.
One more note on power. On the front of the light is a printed name, “ION.” The “O” in that name actually has an emitter behind it, which will indicate the power of the light. If it’s red, the light has low power. If green, the light has full power. Same goes when charging the light. Red means charging, green means charged.
User Interface and Operation
Here’s the fly in the ointment for the Ion. The user interface. Primarily there’s a side switch. This is the on/off switch. (Below, the switch is seen in the “on” position.)
Once the light is on, the modes are controlled by switches on the front of the light. There are two places to press. One’s a “+” and one’s a “-“. There is no feedback whatsoever for these two switches. It’s very hard to tell if you’re pressing the right spot. Furthermore, it’s not really a “press.” It’s a bit of a sharp press. A sharp press on a nebulous glassy surface with no texture…. it’s hard to change modes on this light.
Fortunately, if you’ll primarily use the light in just one or two modes, it’s not that bad. The light turns on to the last used mode.
On the other hand, Olight has added a nice feature with these front glass switches: They allow infinitely variable change of the output. The steps are very clean all the way up to max brightness, and there are indeed many steps.
|Mode||Mode Claimed Output (lm)||Claimed Runtime||Mode Measured Lux|
LED and Beam
Olight opted for a Cree XP-G3 for the Ion. XP-G3 hasn’t been all that popular among enthusiasts for the less than stellar tint, but the center of this beam is just fine. The outside edges tend toward greenness, but generally this is a good beam tint.
The dual emitters don’t seem to be all that noticeable in the beam profile. The dual TIR likely helps with that. The beam looks like most other beams – round. There’s little spill with this light.
These beamshots are always with the following settings: f8, ISO100, 0.3s shutter, and manual 5000K exposure.
Tint vs BLF-348
Random Comparisons and Competitive Options….
Here’s a relevantly filtered page on parametrek.com. The Cree XP-G3 sets this light nearly in it’s own class. There are only a couple others, maybe just one, that compares. That’s the Manker LAD, which is also available with Nichia. And why would anyone not buy the Nichia version?
What I like
- The build is unique, and a great gadget to fiddle with
- The dual emitters look cool, and have nice output for such a small light
- Staying at >96% output for the entire (short) runtime on turbo is respectable
- Physical on/off switch with mode memory makes the light useful
What I don’t like
- Not waterproof
- Mode switches are very hard to feel and use
This week I’ll have two more Olights, the H16 Wave, and the M2T (next, probably). I have two other things that are nearly wrapped on, and I’d love to get those out soon too!
- This light was provided by Olight for review. I was not paid to write this review.
- This content originally appeared at zeroair.org. Please visit there for the best experience!
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