Most helpful positive review
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Very capable, though the older iTP A3 EOS is a bit better overall
on December 2, 2012
The Olight i3 is the newest version of a line of lights with the same basic design, including the older iTP A3 EOS and Maratac AAA. It is an excellent light overall, for offering multiple light levels, decent light levels and efficiency, a very good beam with a good balance between hotspot and spill (the area outside the center hotspot), and decent build with excellent waterproofing. However, there are a number of factors which make the iTP A3 EOS a potentially better choice:
1. The high mode of the Olight i3 is rated at only 70 lumens, and that of the iTP A3 EOS at 80 or 96 lumens, depending on the specific sub-model. This can make a noticeable difference in some circumstances and does represent a bit of extra functionality, though in many circumstances it wouldn't be noticeable.
2. The middle mode of the iTP A3 EOS is rated at 18 lumens for around 4 hours, instead of 20 lumens for only 2.5 hours as with the Olight i3. This is a major functional advantage for the iTP.
3. The low mode of the iTP A3 EOS is rated at 1.5 lumens for 50 hours, and that of the Olight i3 at 2.5 lumens for only 20 hours. Again, this is a major functional advantage for the A3 EOS. Either 1.5 or 2.5 lumens can be used to light one's way in deep darkness, read, etc. just fine; but the lower level of the iTP leads to twin advantages of much better runtime / power conservation, as well as less likelihood of destroying night vision when turned on for short periods.
In addition to these substantial advantages for the iTP A3 EOS, there is a non-negligible difference in the outer design, similar though it may be: the clip. On the iTP, the clip is held on by tension, and can be simply slipped off the light. This makes it more attractive for a person who doesn't want to use the clip on a day-to-day basis, for instance by dangling the light from a keychain. The Olight i3's clip is held on by screws, meaning that dismounting the clip leaves two tiny holes or else two unsightly, useless screws. On the other hand, for a person who prefers the presence of the clip, the Olight's design would be preferable as there would no longer be a possibility of the clip coming off (though I must say that the iTP clip stays on rather well, it is not proof against coming off).
If it weren't that this light represents a step backward in a few areas (the numbered ones above and not the clip difference), I would unreservedly rate it at five stars. It is still a tremendously good value compared to more expensive offerings from Fenix and other manufacturers, and is a wonderful little light in its own right. If I could give it 4.5 stars, I would likely have done so.
One thing that is likely to happen in the future is that more efficient circuitry and newer LEDs will constantly find their way into the cheaper lights such as the Olight i3, and so someday we will probably see an Olight AAA model that surpasses the runtimes and power of the iTP A3 EOS at a decent price point. At that time I will be thrilled, despite my preference for the older-style clip. Another thing to watch for in the future is the introduction of stainless steel and titanium models, sadly currently lacking from the Olight i3 line-up. (For readers who like oddball lights, the Maratac AAA is even still available in copper in a few places.)