Everyone has a flashlight on their phone these days… why should you carry an extra piece of gear when your phone can do it all? Truth be told, a cell phone flashlight can come in pretty handy, but there are times when it’s not enough or just not cut out for the job. What if you need both hands to fix something and can’t hold your phone? What if your phone is low on batteries and you don’t want to waste them to light the way? What if you need to turn on the light quickly and don’t want to fiddle with settings on your phone to dim it or even turn it out?
Let’s face it. The phone flashlight is a good backup light, but if you want to be the coolest person in the room, you need something better. Now if you do a quick search on Amazon or elsewhere, you will find there are tons of options. The problem is sifting through all of those options and finding something that works the best.
Enter the Olight i3T EOS flashlight. It’s so good, I have 2 of them. I feature it in my daily carry over on our What We Carry page. These are very popular flashlights, so I’m going to walk you through what I like about this light and what I think is missing. Let’s get to it.
This is a nice, pocketable design that uses a single AAA battery for power. Olight makes another one of these in a AA size (Olight i5T EOS) that is very similar but chunkier. For an EDC flashlight, I personally prefer a AAA design. It’s just slimmer, but not so small that it can’t get the job done. Overall the flashlight comes in at 3.5” long and 0.59” in diameter. It’s about the same length as many Swiss Army Knives, so it will fit in nicely next to one in an EDC organizer or pouch and not seem too unbalanced. If you decide to clip it to your pocket, it does not get in the way at all. At less than 2 oz, this is a perfect size for most everyday needs.
Now I think it’s very important to mention that I’m not a flashlight fanatic. Another thing that I was surprised to learn about in the EDC community is the insanity behind flashlights. I say that in the nicest way possible. I can totally get the desire to get the brightest, most capable light out there. But personally, it’s just not high up on my EDC wishlist. I like my lights fairly utilitarian, and that’s the niche I think the Olight i3T EOS fills. There are plenty of options out there if you want to go nuts with titanium flashlights and insane levels of brightness.
You can get 2 brightness levels with this light – low and high. Press the tail switch once, you get low. Press it again, you get high. You can also do a soft press to momentarily activate the light or a long click to turn it on without the need to hold the button. If you’re the type that needs to know lumens, the low setting is 5 and the high is 180. If anything, I personally do not see the need for the low setting in my EDC rotation. If I’m getting out my flashlight, it’s because I need a bright light. It just takes one extra step to toggle past the low setting and get to the high. I know, I’m being really nit picky here, but if I had to complain about anything, it’s that I just wish it either had just one setting or the low setting was a little bit higher to make it useful but to conserve batteries.
I’ve had my pair of Olight i3T EOS flashlights for over 2 years now, and have not had any issues with them at all. The color has worn away in places, but that’s to be expected and even adds some character to the light! The housing is aluminum and has textured knurling along the length of the flashlight to give you some great grip, even in wet environments. An added bonus is the waterproof nature (IPX8 rating), which means you can submerge this thing below more than 3 feet of water and it will still work. I have not tested this yet myself, but maybe that’s a test that I’ll do for the blog one day…
One of the features that I like on the Olight i3T EOS flashlight is the pocket clip. It does not feel flimsy at all and can either clip in your pocket or the reverse section of the clip can hook onto your hat to almost act as a headlamp in a pinch. Worst case scenario, the clip can come off if you don’t want it catching on anything or want to keep the light in an EDC organizer or pouch. One feature that I wish this had was a keyring hole. Now, this light is not quite keychain sized, so it’s not essential or even recommended to hang this from your keys. But it would be nice to be able to attach a lanyard to the flashlight itself if you don’t want to keep it clipped to your pocket, but want to be able to easily fish it out in a pinch. Now, it’s completely understandable that it would be difficult to implement this feature with the tail switch button, so you have to give and take. I wouldn’t necessarily count this as a negative for the flashlight because you can always use the clip to attach a lanyard to.
This is where I think the light really… shines. Sorry, it’s the end of the article and my first flashlight pun. It’s unavoidable for a blog with two dads as authors. Anyway, I like that you can fill this with a single AAA battery if you need to. Some flashlights have built-in rechargeable batteries, and that can be convenient most of the time. But if you run into a situation where you need instant power and do not want to wait for a recharge, it is critical to have a light with a removable battery.
Now here’s the even better part. You can use standard Alkaline AAA batteries that you can buy in a 100 pack at Amazon or Costco, or you can buy some sweet rechargeable AAA batteries to avoid excess waste. Personally, I use Panasonic Eneloop AAA batteries along with a wall charger. These are Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries that have decent energy characteristics, and this particular one holds its charge pretty well over a long period of time. NiMH batteries do not have as much energy density as lithium-ion ones, but they are also tremendously safer. As someone that works in the battery field, trust me when I say that you want to be very careful where you buy lithium-ion cells. Counterfeits and poor manufacturing quality can be bad news, especially if you are just buying small quantity of cells. Personally, I’ll only really trust lithium-ion cells integrated into devices (such as a flashlight) by well-known and established companies with a good track record (if there’s an issue, at least I know there will likely be accountability). So for me, the trade-off for NiMH is worth it, even though I know I could get more runtime with a lithium-ion alternative.
- Great balance of brightness, lightness, and functionality
- Durable and rugged design
- Uses standard AAA batteries or rechargeable options
- Low light level could be brighter or just give me a single high option!
Rating: 4.5 / 5
I can easily say that the Olight i3T EOS earns 4.5 stars. There are a few design issues that make it lose minor points in my book, but overall it is an excellent flashlight and the price is right. You will not be disappointed in this flashlight if you pick one (or more) up.
Do you rock a flashlight? Do you have any recommendations that fit your needs better? Leave us a comment!