I've seen a lot of chatter about Olight products in several firearms circles, so when I received an Olight i5T EOS Handheld Flashlight a couple of month ago I decided to do a review. Like any good content creator, as soon as I got it home I immediately started seeing if I could break it. Ok, that’s an exaggeration, but I did give it a good workout.
Olight is an international company headquartered in Shenzhen, China. They have offices in eight countries including the US. According to their website they are “Outdoors-men, Sportsmen, Veterans, and DIY go-getters” that use their own products regularly. All Olight products are tested to ANSI/NEMA FL1-2009 standards.
I got the Olight i5T EOS from Mark with Fit’n Fire after our interview for my article on starting a YouTube gun channel. Olight is one of his sponsors so he had several products at home, including some things not yet released to the public. It's always a good day when we get free stuff to test out!
I replaced my normal every day carry flashlight with the i5T EOS for two months to see how comfortable it was. My testing locations were both indoors and outdoors at home to test the brightness and light spread and at the range when I was working with students. I also did a drop test, the results of which are below.
Olight advertises the i5T EOS as an every day carry (EDC) LED flashlight. Mine is Desert Tan, one of the limited edition colors. I'd describe the color as a kind of burnished bronze that was really quite lovely. I was more than a little sad when it got nicks during the drop testing. There are several colors available to choose from if that's something that matters to you.
The flashlight runs on one standard AA battery. It has a high and low setting but no strobe setting like what is available on similarly sized and priced flashlights. The i5T EOS weighs in at 2.12 ounces and is 3.74 inches long. It has a raised activation button and knurling on the body to help with grip. There is also a clip that allows you to hook your flashlight into a pocket, on a belt, or on the brim of a hat.
This was my first time performing a drop test on anything and it was harder than I expected. We spend our whole lives trying to NOT drop things that can break, so doing so on purpose was difficult. I dropped the i5T EOS from a height of 5 feet a total of nine times. 3X each on the side, the light side down and the button side down.
Because the activation button is raised, the light shut off all three times I dropped it on that side. The flashlight casing got a few nicks as you can see in the pictures, but nothing substantial. The light never flickered and the lens is still intact. I also accidently dropped it several times at work onto concrete flooring. No additional damage occurred and the light still works
Depending on what you are looking for in a handheld flashlight, the Olight i5T EOS may or may not be for you. It's a really nice looking light and wouldn't junk up your nightstand. The raised activation button could be very helpful, especially when trying to turn on the light quickly. It is small enough to carry comfortably in your pocket and the design is easy to grip. The pocket clip is sturdy and held tight for general use. It did get pushed out of my pocket once or twice, but only when squatting at odd angles. The flashlight also stood up really well to several rough drops on hard surfaces.
The i5T EOS has a great battery life so far. I use mine frequently during private lessons and in classes to show how to check a barrel for obstructions. I used it to walk to a neighbor's home after dark many times as well, and accidently left on once for several hours over the past few months. The battery is still going full force with no dimming.
The Not So Good
The high setting on the Olight i5T EOS only offers 300 lumens and 910 candela. This is a pretty low candela compared to other similarly sized and priced flashlights. My normal EDC flashlight is the Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA, which offers 350 lumens and 6400 candela at 4.25 inches long and 2.8 ounces. The low setting on the i5T EOS is effectively worthless. The images below were taken at 25 feet for the close and 50 feet for the farther distance.
A major concern for me is that the flashlight turned off when dropped on the activation button end. In non-emergency situations that's not a big deal, just a pain in the rear. However, if you are depending on your flashlight in a dangerous situation and you drop it, you won't have time to be fishing around in the dark looking for it on the ground.
Another issue with the raised activation button is the propensity for turning the light on accidently. There were multiple times during the two month testing period where I reached in my pocket for something else to find the flashlight on. Like any light, it gets pretty hot when left on for extended periods of time. This one got hot enough more than once to be uncomfortable against my skin.
The Olight i5T EOS is often marketed as a quality budget flashlight option. It runs between $29.95 and $32.95 depending on where you shop and if you get a limited edition color or not. This isn't bad for what you get, but you can spend $10 more and get the Streamlight ProTac, which is considerably brighter and offers a strobe feature.
The i5T EOS does offer a very wide hot spot and light spill compared to other handheld flashlights. This can be helpful if you are using it for things such as camping or going on an evening walk. These situations usually require a wider light pattern closer in as opposed to seeing farther out. If that is your intended use, the Olight i5T EOS could be a good option for you. If you're shopping for home defense purposes though, I'd invest a little more money and get a brighter light.
Even with the nicks from the drop test, my i5T EOS makes a nice addition to my nightstand. I've used it to fish my dropped headphones out from under my bed after I've shut the lights off more than once. It looks less utilitarian sitting out than my ProTac, which has returned to duty as my every day carry flashlight. Overall you could do worse that the Olight i5T EOS, but you can also do better.