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  • Stephen Knight

Flashlight Review: Olight Warrior Mini 3

Updated: Feb 3

Olight are one of the most popular consumer flashlight brands. The 1,750 lumen Olight Warrior Mini 3 flashlight/torch, is the 3rd generation of the 18650 format Warrior Mini tactical flashlight range. This review looks at the Warrior Mini 3 from the perspective of a consumer, flashlight enthusiast, and light painting photographer.


Disclaimer


The Olight Warrior Mini 3 was sent to me by Olight Australia for an honest review.

Olight Warrior Mini 3 Flashlight
Olight Warrior Mini 3 Flashlight

Design and Construction.


The Olight Warrior Mini 3 is a relatively compact 18650 tube format tactical flashlight, with a maximum output of 1,750 lumens. It is 111mm in length, has a head diameter of 23mm, and a weight of 122g (including the battery). It is slightly more compact than the Warrior Mini 2. The light has an IPX rating of IPX8, and should be able to withstand rain and being dropped into fresh water. The package includes a removeable pocket clip, instructions, safety instructions, L-shaped stand, USB-A to magnetic charging cable, and 3500mAh 18650 Li-ion battery.


The body colour of the tested version is Black. Other colours available at launch are Forest Gradient and Midnight Horizon. Olight regularly introduce more colour options to existing lights every few months. The recommended retail price is US$89.99, though Olight often have sales where the price is lower and/or bundled with other lights.


The Warrior Mini 3 has two switches, a two stage tail switch (which also doubles up as the magnetic charging port) and a side switch. Both switches have had design changes from previous versions for improved durability .The user interface is explained in the next section.


The 18650 battery has a capacity of 3500mAh, and has proprietary +ve and -ve poles at one end. This is fine for consumers, but many flashlight enthusiasts won't be happy. Maximum charging current is 1.5A, and it took 2hrs 40mins to fully charge the included battery. A light on the magnetic charger is red during charging, and green once charge is at approximately 95%.


The pocket side clip can only be attached in a reverse manner (clip attachment near head of the light). However due to the S-shaped clip design, it can be attached to clothing in either direction. The clip can also be removed completely.


The Warrior Mini 3 is compatible with the following light painting systems - Light Painting Brushes (Universal Connector), Light Painting Paradise (both "All in One" adapter and various cone adapters), and North American sized T8 Tubes (including Luminosify and Eric Pare's Light Painting Tubes). Due to the clip design adding 5mm to the diameter, it might not fit narrower European sized T8 Tubes. The light is compatible with U-shaped tripod mounts from Kaidomain, and also works with Convoy 24.5mm diffusers. However, before you rush out and buy this light for light painting photography, you might want to read the User Interface section!



Olight Warrior Mini 3 Packaging
Olight Warrior Mini 3 Packaging

Olight Warrior Mini 3 Contents
Olight Warrior Mini 3 Contents

Olight Warrior Mini 3
Olight Warrior Mini 3

Olight Warrior Mini 3
Olight Warrior Mini 3


Proprietary 18650 Li-ion battery.
Proprietary 18650 Li-ion battery.


Size comparison - Left: Olight Warrior Mini 3; Right: Convoy S2+
Size comparison - Left: Olight Warrior Mini 3; Right: Convoy S2+

Olight Warrior Mini 3 in a Light Painting T8 Tube
Olight Warrior Mini 3 in a Light Painting T8 Tube

User Interface


The Olight Warrior Mini 3 has a two switch user interface, with a side switch, and two stage tail switch.


The side switch has a fairly "normal" e-switch user interface with single click for on/off, and hold to cycle Low>Medium>High, with last mode memory, sort of. The last mode memory resets after a few minutes to Medium for High. A double click from on or off will enter Turbo mode, and a triple click from on/off will enter Strobe mode. Hold from off will enter Moonlight mode. If you keep holding moonlight, then the light locks out, and a the reverse move will unlock the light.


The tail switch user interface is designed more for "tactical" use, and only works as a momentary switch i.e. you have to hold down the switch for light to be emitted. There are two tail switch modes: 1) Medium/Turbo; 2) Medium/Strobe. The tail switch is a two stage momentary switch, a medium press and hold turns the light on in Medium, and a full press and hold turns the light on in either Turbo or Strobe. You can change between these modes by clicking the side switch whilst the tail switch is being fully pressed. True tactical users would probably prefer the Turbo/Strobe tail switch user interface from the original Warrior Mini. However, there may be some tactical use cases where Medium/Turbo is quite useful, such as searching a house with a lower brightness, and add more light if required. Personally, I prefer momentary tail switches to work with the all last memorised modes (including Strobe).


Good news for light painting photographers is that the Strobe is constant frequency at 13Hz, 50% on/50% off time, and is not affected by the proximity sensor. The bad news is that Turbo and High modes are automatically dimmed by the proximity sensor when the light is connected to light painting tools. This makes the Warrior Mini 3 only useful for light painting photography (where usually only the tail switch is accessible) in Strobe and Medium modes. It is not clear if the Warrior Mini 3 is compatible with Olight's remote pressure switches.


The Olight Warrior Mini 3 has a redesigned proximity sensor user interface. The proximity sensor is a safety feature designed to stop consumers from burning holes in things after accidental activations. This prevented the previous generation of Olight Warriors from being able to be used in light painting connectors, as the proximity sensor would activate. Sadly, this has not changed, other than for Strobe. In the Olight Warrior 3, the proximity sensor is active for Turbo and High modes, and will lower the brightness to Medium when the sensor detects it is close to another object. This can be overridden with a double click of the side switch. However, it is then reset to activate as soon as the light is turned off and back on again. As this flashlight is aimed at consumers, I can see why Olight have made this safety orientated design decision to protect themselves from litigation. However, I would like to see Olight give advanced users the ability to indefinitely disable the proximity sensor via something like 15 clicks of the side switch (that would be difficult to achieve accidentally). Most other flashlight manufacturers do not have the need for such a feature. As the proximity sensor is quite small, I was not able to disable it with the black tape trick.


A small LED in the side switch indicates battery voltage.


Olight Warrior Mini 3 Side Switch
Olight Warrior Mini 3 Side Switch

Olight Warrior Mini 3 Tail Switch
Olight Warrior Mini 3 Tail Switch

Beam, Output, and Runtime


The Olight Warrior Mini 3 has a single LED in a TIR optic. Whilst Olight do not specify the LED, it appears to be a Luminus SFT40 6500k (cool white). This dome-less LED is throwier, but slightly less efficient than the domed SST40 used in the original Warrior Mini. Luminus have recently released a 5000k neutral white SFT40, and I'll be interested to see if that appears as an option at some point in time.


With a maximum output of 1,750 lumens. The peak beam intensity is claimed to be 14,400cd (240m throw), and was measured at 18,000cd (268m). The resulting beam profile is what I would call a general purpose beam, with both flood and reasonable throw.


The Olight Warrior Mini 3 has 5 brightness levels, plus 13Hz Strobe, with the following claimed brightness and runtimes:

  • Turbo 1,750 lumens (step down to 29% by 2 mins, and 11% at 212 mins) - 242 mins.

  • High 500 lumens (step down to 40% at 215 mins) - 245 mins.

  • Medium 120 lumens - 18 hours.

  • Low 15 lumens - 165 hours.

  • Moonlight 0.5 lumens - 100 days.

  • Strobe 1,750 lumens.

Runtime and brightness testing was within +/-10% of claimed figures. On Turbo mode the light started at 1,750 lumens, and reduced to 1,600 lumens by 45 seconds. From 45 seconds, the light stepped down in brightness, and stabilised at 490 lumens from 2 minutes. This is a more rapid stepdown than the original Warrior Mini, and is a direct consequence of the higher maximum brightness and slightly less efficient LED. The sustained brightness is good for the light's size, but not outstanding. The light always stays within safe hand holding temperatures.


At the end of the runtime, the light switches off automatically. However, it is still possible to re-activate the light on Moonlight or Low settings so that the user doesn't end up stuck in the dark.


Using an Opple Light Master 3 Pro, I measured the hotspot colour rendering index (Ra CRI), correlated colour temperature (CCT), and tint (DUV):

  • Turbo - 69.8 Ra CRI, 6364k CCT, +0.0035 DUV.

  • High - 67 Ra CRI, 5967k CCT, +0.0072 DUV.

  • Medium - 67.2 Ra CRI, 5862k CCT, +0.0085 DUV.

  • Low - 66.8 Ra CRI, 5802k CCT, +0.0095 DUV.

As this is a high powered tactical flashlight aimed at the consumer market, it is no surprise that it uses a cool white <70CRI LED. Performance is typical for these types of LEDs, an increasingly green tint as the brightness is decreased. Flashlight enthusiasts may prefer less efficient high CRI LEDs, with a neutral tint, but I'm sure that 95% of Olight's customers just want more lumens.


Olight Warrior Mini 3 Optics
Olight Warrior Mini 3 Optics

Olight Warrior Mini 3 Beam Profile
Olight Warrior Mini 3 Beam Profile

Light painting photography with the Olight Warrior Mini 3
Light painting photography with the Olight Warrior Mini 3 and Olight i5R flashlights.

Conclusion


Positives:

  • Excellent maximum brightness/size.

  • Good sustained brightness/size.

  • Constant frequency strobe (13Hz).

  • Strobe accessible via momentary tail switch, with proximity sensor inactive.

  • Good user interface for general purpose use.

  • Good runtimes.

  • Compatible with most light painting systems.

  • Internal charging via USB-A to magnetic tail switch.

  • Battery voltage indicator.

Negatives:

  • The proximity sensor cannot be indefinitely disabled.

  • I would prefer Turbo/Strobe (or even last memorised mode including Strobe) to be accessible via the tail switch instead of Medium/Turbo or Medium/Strobe.

  • Only useable for light painting photography on Strobe and Medium modes.

For consumers, and flashlight enthusiasts, this is an easy to use, and safe to use, compact flashlight. It can either be used with a "normal" side switch user interface for general purpose use, or "tactical" tail switch user interface. As with previous Olight Warrior Mini series flashlight models, I'm sure this light will be extremely popular. True "tactical" users may prefer the tail switch configuration to be Turbo/Strobe instead of Medium/Turbo or Medium/Strobe. However, there are tactical use cases where Medium/Turbo could be quite useful.



For light painting photography (creating light trails) - due to the proximity sensor this light is again highly compromised for light painting photography, with only Strobe and Medium modes being useable. Update October 2023 - Olight have released the 1,200 lumen Warrior Nano, which is a shorter version of the Warrior Mini 3. This doesn't have a proximity sensor, and with a configuration change allows momentary Medium/Turbo or Medium/Strobe. It is thus more useful for light painting photography. The down side, is that the beam profile isn't as optimal for use with light painting tubes.




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