- Stephen Knight
Flashlight Review: Olight i5R EOS vs Acebeam Pokelit AA CU
Updated: Mar 1
Ths This article is a review of three similar AA battery format EDC flashlights - the Olight i5R EOS, Olight i5R EOS HCRI, and Acebeam Pokelit AA CU.
The Olight i5R EOS and i5R EOS HCRI were purchased with my own funds. The Acebeam Pokelit AA CU was sent as a gift from Acebeam. This review is aimed at EDC/general purpose use cases, unlike most of my reviews that are written for light painting/night photography use cases.
Olight i5R EOS & Olight i5R EOS HCRI
The Olight i5R is a very compact, single AA battery sized flashlight, with maximum 350 lumens, and a tail switch. It is 95.4mm long, 17.8mm width, and weighs 60g with 14500 battery. The light comes with a custom 1420mAh AA/14500 sized battery, with USB-C charging port, and unusual voltage of 2.4V. This battery cannot be charged in a normal Li-ion charger due to non-standard voltage, and cannot be used in other flashlights. The light can also accept 1.2V NiMH rechargeable or 1.5V Alkaline AA batteries, but with less maximum brightness. The light does not work with 3.7V/4.2V Li-ion 14500 batteries. Due to the range of different compatible battery types, the charging port is in the battery, as otherwise a muggle could potentially charge a NiMH or Alkaline battery to 2.4V which wouldn't end well. The light also has a side clip, for carrying in pockets. The tail unscrews for battery insertion.
The light uses an unspecified cool-ish white LED, with a hotspot measurement of 5520k CCT (coolish white), 66.7 Ra CRI, and +0.0115 Duv (slight green tint). The light has a TIR optic with floody beam, and diffuse hotspot. Peak beam intensity is claimed to be 1038cd/64m throw. It has a maximum brightness of 350 lumens (250lm with NiMH), and after approximately 10 minutes steps down to 150 lumens for most of the 3hr runtime (3hr20mins with NiMH). However, the light always turns on in low mode, where the light can run for a claimed 37hr at 15 lumens with the included battery. Testing was within +/- 10% of claimed brightness/runtimes. The light has an old-skool forward clicky switch, which reminds me a bit of clunky Ledlensers from 10 years ago. As the light always turns on in low mode, a quick click off and back on again is the only way of accessing high mode. A half press can be used for momentary low.
A high/90 CRI version "Olight EOS i5R EOS HCRI" is also available with 285 max lumens, and an unspecified neutral white high CRI LED with a hotspot measurement of 4412k CCT (neutral white), 94.2 Ra CRI, and +0.0062 Duv (very slight green tint). I would personally recommend the HCRI version over the tested 66.7CRI version. High CRI lights have better colour rendition, notably reds and browns, and this can be useful for some medical and professional use cases. The HCRI version is only currently available in a blue body version. I would like to see more high CRI flashlights from Olight in the future, particularly in the EDC range of lights, and I'm sure if they sold the HCRI version in more body colour options, they would sell more.
This is a good pocket flashlight for use around the house or situations where you don't need instant access to high brightness. It is also useful for situations where you want the light to "enforce" a long runtime by defaulting to low mode - for example, for kids to take to camps without them emptying the battery within an hour of darkness. The momentary on low mode is also quite useful for creating "fairy dust" effects for light painting photography. This i5R EOS is available in various body colour options with varying price points. At the time of writing the options were black, plum, titanium, rose red, dragon and phoenix purple, and ice flower periwinkle. The i5R EOS HCRI is available in blue, blue, and, er, blue. For the $36 price tag for the black version, the light offers high quality build and an included rechargeable battery over cheaper hardware store flashlights. Maybe consider holding off until one of Olight's frequent sales, or package deals with another light.
Olight Australia (affiliate link).
Acebeam Pokelit AA CU
The Acebeam Pokelit AA is a very compact, single AA battery sized flashlight, with tail switch. The copper Pokelit AA CU version (tested) is 500 lumens max, with 95CRI Nichia 519A LED emitter, 94.8mm long, 18,2mm width, and relatively heavy at 94.1g with the 14500 battery. The copper version has a forward clicky tail switch, with 3 brightness levels and always turns on in low mode.
The standard aluminium version (not tested) is 550 lumens max with 90CRI Nichia 219F LED emitter, 94.8mm long, 18.8mm width, and weighs 54.6g with the 14500 battery. The light is available in Black, Orange, and OD Green body colours. The standard version has a reverse clicky tail switch with 3 brightness levels and last mode memory.
The lights come with a 14500 Li-ion battery (same size as AA), with USB-C charging port, and standard Li-ion voltage of 3.7V nominal/4.2V max. The light can also accept 1.2V NiMH rechargeable or 1.5V Alkaline AA batteries, but with less maximum brightness. Due to the range of different compatible battery types, the charging port is in the battery, as otherwise a muggle could potentially charge a NiMH or Alkaline battery to 4.2v. The 14500 battery can also be charged in a Li-ion charger. The light also has a side clip, for carrying in pockets. The head unscrews instead of the tail cap.
The Pokelit AA CU uses a Nichia 519A LED, with a hotspot measurement of 4711k CCT, 96.9 Ra CRI, and -0.0001 Duv (perfectly neutral tint). This is an excellent emitter option! The light has a smooth reflector, with a wide spill beam, and hard edged hotspot. Peak beam intensity is clained to be 1600cd/80m throw. It has a maximum brightness of 500 lumens and after 45secs steps down to 190 lumens for most of the 2hr20min runtime. There are also 100lm mid and 5lm low (default on) modes with runtimes of 5hr30mins and 58hrs respectively with the included battery. Testing was within +/- 10% of claimed brightness/runtimes. Maximum and sustained brightness in all modes are lower, and runtimes different with non-rechargeable AA Alkaline and rechargeable NiMH batteries.
The aluminium version has a higher maximum brightness at 550 lumens and sustained brightness at 330 lumens. It thus has a considerably shorter runtime at 61 minutes. Medium mode is also higher at 190 lumens and 2hr21mins runtime. I prefer the brightness spacing of the copper version.
The aluminium and copper version of the Pokelit AA have different tail switches and UI. The copper version has a forward clicky tail switch, which always turns on in low mode. Unlike the i5R, there is no momentary on low mode as a half click will advance the mode. Clicking off and back on quickly advances to the next mode level, with 3 brightness levels. The aluminium version has a reverse clicky tail switch with 3 brightness levels and last mode memory. This is better if you like last mode memory for your use cases. Whilst for light painting/tactical use I prefer flashlights with last mode memory, for EDC/general purpose use, I prefer always turn on in low, and I think Acebeam should consider updating the Pokelit AA aluminium version to have the same user interface (and LED) as the Pokelit AA CU.
It is fantastic that Acebeam are only using a high CRI LED emitter in this flashlight. High CRI lights have better colour rendition, notably reds and browns, and this can be useful for some medical and professional use cases, as well as being better for miniature photography illumination (e.g. light painting fruit bowls).
Potential buyers new to copper flashlights should be aware that the light's body will only be perfectly shiny when it is taken out of the packet. Copper develops a patina over time. A dark patina can be created by natural exposure to chemicals including skin oils. The patina can also be forced - for example placing copper above white vinegar in a (not quite sealed) container will create a blue/green patina within an hour from the mixture of vinegar vapour and oxygen. The patina can also be removed by rinsing copper with white vinegar for a minute, which creates a lovely rosy copper appearance. Obviously remove the battery from the light and make sure the head is tightly screwed on before any forced patina attempts!
This is a fun AA format flashlight, with good maximum and sustained brightness due to use of a 14500 Li-ion battery, but still with good NiMH performance. The aluminium version is US$29.90, and the copper version is $44.90. The brightness/size and high CRI as standard sets this light apart from hardware store AA flashlights.
Acebeam website - Pokelit AA Aluminium
Acebeam website - Pokelit AA CU
So which version is best? Well it all depends on your requirements:
Maximum or highest sustained brightness, but with resulting shorter runtime - Acebeam Pokelit AA (aluminium).
Best runtime on high - Olight i5R EOS HCRI, Olight i5R EOS.
Last mode memory - Acebeam Pokelit AA (aluminium).
Always turns on in low mode - Olight i5R EOS HCRI, Olight i5R EOS, or Acebeam Pokelit AA CU.
Momentary on low mode - Olight i5R EOS HCRI, Olight i5R EOS.
High CRI - Olight i5R EOS HCRI or Acebeam Pokelit AA (aluminium or CU version).
3 modes instead of 2 - Acebeam Pokelit AA (aluminium or CU version).
Non-proprietary battery included - Acebeam Pokelit AA (aluminium or CU version).
Battery charge % indicator - none.
All of these lights are excellent consumer orientated pocket EDC flashlights - i.e.useful for carrying around and/or leaving around the house for those occasions when you need short period, low to medium brightness light. These are all considerably better options than relying on a mobile phone as a flashlight, which eats up precious battery life! They won't have the crazy (and very brief) maximum brightness of some enthusiast grade 14500 battery Anduril lights such as the Luminop FWAA and Wurkkos TS10, but these are much more sensible lights for consumers that can also be used with NiMH and Alkaline AA batteries. Both Olight and Acebeam also have 2AA versions that are outside the scope of this review.
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