The original Olight S2R was one of the first review flashlights I ever did back in 2016. I’d had one or two Olights before that, but the S2R changed the way I thought about an EDC flashlight since it fit nicely in the pocket in a way that the larger lights I’d been using never did.
When I had opportunity to check out the S2R and compare it against the original that I still have, well I was certainly interested.
Two other flashlights I’ll be drawing comparisons to are the Lumintop Tool AA 2.0 and Olight’s M2R.
The rational for that is this. The Lumintop Tool has been my everyday pocket light for the last year, so any light that wants to be my new pocket light needs to be contrasted there. And the Olight M2R is a good example of a similarly sized, slightly larger flashlight built to get brighter and throw further.
Does the S2R II justify its larger size than the Tool AA 2.0 for pocket carry for what it brings to the table? And how close (or not) does the S2R come in illumination to a more “serious” tactical light?
Body and Design
The body style is similar to the original S2R, with a blunt bezel, non-reversible pocket clip, and on/off button on the side near the bezel.
The on/off button is also how you switch modes: once the light is on, press and hold the button to cycle through the different modes and let go when you get to the brightness you want. It’s pretty easy, and that’s in line with Olight’s M2R as well which functions the same way.
I’ll say that when the light is properly situated in your hand it feels pretty natural to work the button with your thumb. However, almost every time I take the S2R II out of my pocket in the dark to use it I inevitably have to rotate it a bit hunting for the button.
It’s not a big deal, but if I were in a hurry, or in an emergency situation where I needed light right away, I could see that being troublesome.
Compared to the Lumintop Tool AA 2.0 with a tail switch, the Tool AA is easier to pull out of the pocket and use immediately.
Otherwise the S2R has the standard faire anodized aluminum body. That’s not to be dismissive, but most flashlights are built this way now.
The texture on the middle area is nice for grip, but as you twist the tube to unscrew the bezel the clip wants to rub against the knurling. I’m concerned that that would rub the black paint off the knurling over time if you’re not holding it up off, or bend it enough so it stays off. It’s a minor fit and finish gripe, but luckily if you rely on the included tail charger you probably won’t need to unscrew the bezel often.
Beam Quality, Distance, and Impressions
The S2R II might surprise you with how good the beam looks from a flashlight with such a shallow bezel. It looks like you’d get similar throw distance to a penlight, but I think the shaping is affected by the design inside the bezel with the circular housing around the LED that gives a good hot spot distinct from the spill light around it.
The S2R II definitely handles distance more easily than the Lumintop Tool AA even on the low mode. Even when I use the 14500 li-ion battery in the Tool AA for closer to apples to apples battery comparison, the light seems more diffuse on the Tool AA.
The S2R II seems to excel are the medium range, providing a wide amount of useful light with a solid amount of hot spot detail.
The longer ranges are, as you’d expect, where it starts to fall apart versus deeper bezel lights like the M2R. There’s a definitive roll off point that stepping up into higher modes mostly seems to add more spill brightness but not more distance.
It’s not a big knock against the light since this light seems to be geared at being an all-around pocket light and not a long distance tactical thrower.