How many lumens can we cram into how small of a space. The flashlight industry as a whole seems to be in a race to figure out just that. Olight’s latest entrance into that race definitely qualifies as a contender.
Meat and Potatoes
The Intimidator line, produced by Olight, has always been one to turn heads. Usually this has been accomplished by physical size, as much as powerful output. I remember the first chance I got to pick up the monster SR90 and feel its incredible heft. This was a flashlight’s flashlight. When that monstrosity was introduced, 2,200 lumens was only capable with infrastructure of that size to back it up. The SR Mini here though puts it to shame.
Though not a single die like the SST-90, the SR Mini uses a trio of Cree XM-L2 LEDs to crank out an incredible 2,800 lumens from a light almost the size of a can of Coke. The output is incredible. It really doesn’t look like you should be able to see this well from something so small. The LEDs are located behind acrylic lensing to assist their focus, rather than reflectors. Then, to top it off, the beam is further crafted by a prismatic diffuser over the entire window. This combined effort comes together to create one of the nicest beam shapes I have yet encountered. It is floody and diffuse, though still retaining a soft transition to a hotspot. There isn’t even the slightest hint of beam artifacts. Also, the mark of lensing, the spill beam gradually reduces to zero rather than afflicting the user with a distinct, hard-edged cutoff that would result in tunnel vision. Take note manufacturers! This is how you craft a quality flashlight beam!
The SR Mini is powered by three 18650 cells or six CR123A primaries. This is a pretty monstrous setup, and really the defining factor of the light’s size. I can’t really imagine being able to cram those cells and LEDs into a smaller package. This makes for a fairly sizeable handle on such a small torch. Interesting to note, though the batteries are arranged in parallel, I was not able to activate the SR Mini with anything less than all three cells in place. This is probably a safety feature to prevent unsafe discharge rates for people trying to cheap out and use less than the full compliment of cells.
The user interface on the SR Mini is definitely well thought out, though a little interesting. On the surface it is a simple 3 mode with mode memory, accessed by double clicking the switch while it’s on. The nice feature however is that the “Turbo” output is accessible at any point, on or off, in any mode by pressing and holding the power button. This unfortunately means that full 2,800 lumen output is only available on a momentary basis however. Thankfully the 1,200 lumen “High” mode is more than adequate for the vast majority of tasks, plus it runs almost twice as long, with fewer heat concerns.
Heat concerns do look like they could be a slight concern with the SR Mini, but not terrible. There is a fair amount of mass in the torch’s head to absorb it and a selection of heat sink fins to dissipate it as well. Machine work on this light lives up to some of the best of Olight’s already impressive showings. I’d say there are maybe a few more sharp edges than I’m used to, but they really go to provide a grippier feel to the light, so I’m not certain they are unintentional. The anodizing is stunning as ever. I also am quite a fan of Stainless Steel bezel rings like this example. This particular model has a bezel that is distinctly thick enough to adequately protect the light from dings when dropped. There was a crenellated option that was included in the package, however that was so oddly shaped that I don’t foresee it ever spending time on the light. It only had two very large rounded nubs protruding from atop the ring, rather than the more common 3+. This effectively destroyed any option of setting the light down on its head, leaving tailstanding as the only available option. I confess I don’t understand the purpose there in the least. Thankfully the standard ring is excellent in the mean time.
Included in the package is surprisingly enough, a holster. I was actually a little shocked to see one. Most of the time a light of these dimensions is not considered a carry light at all, and is rather resigned to desk drawer, or glove compartment carry right from the get go. Olight has decided that this size might still be small enough for people to want to port it around on their person occasionally though, and included the option accordingly. I may someday avail myself of its existence, but in the mean time, the SR Mini lives in my EDC bag as a powerful backup to my daily drivers.
Constructing a tailcap that screws on, and yet maintains contact with 3 cells, side by side, is no laughing matter. Olight has done quite a decent job with a tailcap that houses a separate rotating center section, held in still by a short guide rod. This keeps all three springs in contact with the anodes on the cells powering the light while the cap is threaded into place. Problems begin to occur however because only the negative terminals are springed, while the positive terminals are simply solid contacts. When the light is activated and set down to tailstand on a table or other hard surface, it is almost inevitable that one or more of the cells will have enough intertia to compress the negative terminal springs and break contact with the positive terminal. The result is a distinct blink each and every time you set the light down. Granted, this may not affect long-term useage of the SR Mini, but it is a distinct annoyance. Springing both connections, or having heaver springs on the negative would alleviate this issue entirely.
Another hiccup I have found with the SR Mini seems to occur only while activated in “Low” mode. This mode has a barely perceptible flicker that rears its head occasionally. I’m not talking about PWM here, which is completely absent, but rather a subtle, arrhythmic blink that is really only noticable when the SR Mini is your only real source of illumination. I don’t know for certain, but it feels like there is some issue with the driver circuitry that causes these oddball fluctuations, especially since they only occur on the lowest output. All of the higher outputs seem exempt from this malady.
The SR Mini is actually one of the most interesting and distinct lights I’ve reviewed in recent months. My passion for writing these revolves around unique illumination experiences and I quite enjoyed getting the chance to review it. This is an insanely bright, compact light that works great in a glove box, or desk drawer. It doesn’t even have a semblance of moon mode, so don’t use it to check on the sleeping babies in the middle of the night, but for the roles it was designed to perform. Except for the oddball flicker, it’s a solid torch.
Provided for review by the kind folks at GoingGear.