If you’re sick of constantly rotating batteries, or disassembling your lights to recharge, Olight might have the answer you’re looking for. Hope you’re looking for power though.
Meat and Potatoes
While Olight’s latest release looks like it falls within the venerable Baton series, it doesn’t appear like Olight has designated it as such. The machine work, switch style, and even the 3 mode with mode memory setup are all very similar. The real bonus features though are power related.
The R40 is definitely a larger light when compared to it’s spiritual ancestors, coming in closer to a traditional old school flashlight than todays tiny pocket rockets. This new larger torch is all about the power. First off, the emitter is a Cree XM-L2, running nice and hot. The R40 is cranking out a huge amount of light from its single die and pushing it out the front using a deep, smooth reflector designed more for distance than field of view. Gone are the days where thousand lumen flashlights were considered the stuff of legend. These are becoming commonplace as more and more lights cross this psychological threshold into massive searchlight territory. The R40 definitely joins this crowd with its 1100 lumen top end. This isn’t a true super-thrower, like it could be with larger optics, but it definitely sends a lot of lumens deep downrange. Secondly, the light has a rather unique power source. Instead of the commonplace set of 18650’s that generally power lights like this, the R40 Seeker channels the electrons out of a specialty 26650 cell.
This enormous battery is specialty enough that I will label it as a proprietary cell, though that description isn’t entirely accurate. Similar to some of the 18650’s I’ve seen before, this particular cell has some unique contact placement allowing for direct charging of the flashlight with a simple Micro USB port. Like other similar setups, the R40 will run just fine with a standard 26650 (not a common cell, but also not unavailable), lacking only the onboard charging capability. I would imagine that if an appropriate spacer could be found, it would be possible to run the light off from an 18650. But, when compared to the 4000mAh contained in the included cell, why would you want to?
Charging the R40 is a simple enough proposition. Like I said, it accepts a standard Micro USB plug and charges without any special hardware, allowing you to Plug in anywhere you already have a cell phone charger laying around. With the ubiquity of smartphones and tablets flooding the market with their less-than-stellar battery life, these chargers are becoming similarly commonplace. I personally have at least 9 scattered throughout my home, work, and vehicles (You can tell I don’t have too many Apple products). The charging port is protected by a rubber cover on the tail of the light. Beneath this is both the port itself, as well as a charging indicator LED that flashes red during charging and green when the charge is complete. It’s quite handy, removing any guesswork from the charging process. Another LED that found its way onto the R40 is a low battery indicator beneath the power switch. This blinks red a couple of times every few seconds once the light begins to run low. When I was testing this on High, the R40 appeared to drop down to a lower mode when this level was reached, proving redundant a secondary flag such as this. It is possibly this could be much more useful on lower modes, however, keeping you out of the dark.
Fit and finish of the R40 Seeker is typical Olight, that is to say, superb. There has really not been anything negative to point out for several generations worth of Olight product. Anodizing is thick and uniform. All of the machine work is excellent with no seemingly unfinished portions. Even the laser etched lettering is crisp and white, though the new logo looks to me very reminiscent of the One Ring of Tolkien lore. It appears that the thin SS bezel has become a mainstay of flashlight aesthetics, appearing now across the board in virtually every brand. I don’t mind this trend personally, but I’m not certain how much protection is gained from such a narrow strip. At least it protects from dings in the anodizing.
Flashlights in general are becoming polished enough I am having increasing trouble coming up with suggestions for this segment. The biggest reminder to consumers is to remember the light’s purpose before purchasing. If you’re buying a tiny pocket light, don’t expect it to light up acres of land for a protracted search and rescue op. Contrarily, when buying the R40 Seeker, don’t look for a light that is convenient to carry on your belt or check on sleeping children at night. This Olight doesn’t have a moon mode. Its lowest setting is still rated at 12 lumens, and because of its tight focus this seems brighter than that. It also doesn’t come with a holster, and barely shows up with a wrist lanyard. I really don’t see much use for those so 90% of my lights never get them installed. The R40 might prove to be the exception there in the long run.
Not having a moon mode isn’t the only operational differentiation from the Baton series. That aspect doesn’t really bother me much in the current format. Also gone though, is the quick access to high output directly from off, regardless of memorized mode with a simple double click. It is still available at any point via the mode memory, however there is no built in short cut such as in the Baton series. This is an oversight that I think shouldn’t have happened. Quick, instant power without having to fiddle is something I’ve been coming to expect from my lights, especially those in the Kilo-lumen range.
The R40 doesn’t fit everyone’s bill. It is large and powerful, but with the lower amount of flexibility that pairs naturally with a more dedicated design. If you’re looking for a light to keep in the truck, or stash in a desk for household use, it is hard to beat. Just don’t get it thinking about a daily driver.
Provided for review by the kind folks at Going Gear.