Review of the Olight SR51 Intimidator
The fine folks at Olight recently sent me their new SR51 Intimidator LED flashlight for a 3 week evaluation and review. Most of my LED flashlight experience has been with the tactical variety of LED flashlights, as well as with more general purpose “EDC” (Every Day Carry) type lights. But the Olight SR51 is my first exposure to a flashlight primary designed for camping/hiking and alternatively, as a search and rescue light. This is also my first experience with Olight products. The SR51 Intimidator came packed with a very solidly constructed and well padded aluminum case, which I believe is something of a standard for Olight, but something I’ve not seen done previously by other flashlight manufacturers:
The case is a nice accessory, but its utility will depend on the user. I’m sure it will take up space in a closet or under the bed of many users, while others will find great utility for the case, and not necessarily just for carrying and storing the flashlight.
The SR51 Intimidator features a CREE XM-L emitter, combined with an “orange peel” textured reflector designed to maximize the flood beam properties, and professes to have a 700 meter throw in the 900 lumen high mode – impressive performance which would no doubt be welcome in the environments the SR51 is intended to perform.
With its considerable size (190mm length, 63mm bezel diameter) and weight (400g), it does have limited tactical/defensive capabilities. I know I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of a blow from the SR51 Intimidator – particularly the stainless steel strike bezel. Here’s some size comparison photos showing the SR51 next to a Fenix TK-12:
Operation of the Olight SR51 is fairly straight forward – given the specific purposes for which the SR51 was designed to perform, few modes of output are required. The SR51 has two illumination modes – a “low” mode of 250 lumens (10 hr. run time), and a “high” mode of 900 lumens (110 minute run time). Additionally, the SR51 has a strobe mode. All of the output modes are accessed from as single blue button on the SR51 which I found not only simple to use but very comfortable as well:
The SR51 has a unique “lock out” feature which can prevent unintended activation (which runs down the batteries). By holding the blue activation switch, the user can cycle between the output modes, but if you hold the switch down for three seconds, the light will turn off after it cycles through it’s various modes and will not turn back on if you press the activation switch. To defeat the lock out feature, simply press the blue switch three times in succession within one second.
Now, I have to be honest that I’m not really a “camper/hiker” type – camping for me is the Holiday Inn. But I would think that someone in the market for a light primarily used for camping, hiking, or even search and rescue would find an SOS signal output mode more attractive than a strobe mode. So I was surprised at the absence of an SOS mode on the SR51. Similarly, I would think a lower output mode with a higher run time would also be an attractive feature. The SR51 does tail stand and can be used as a lantern to fill up a room with light (particularly with the included diffuser.
Power for the ultra-high output SR51 comes from a unique power core designed to hold a total of six CR123 batteries. Alternative, and accessory power core is available to power the SR51 which holds two 18650 rechargeable batteries:
I was not provided 6 CR123 batteries for my evaluation of the SR51, so all my beam tests were conducted using the 18650 batteries. If you click on the video below, you can see my video supplement to this written photo review, along with my beam tests:
Overall I found the Olight SR51 Intimidator to be an extremely solid, well built (Mil-spec to MIL-STD-810F, and water resistant to IPX-8) flashlight. Options are always a good thing in my mind, and I like the fact that the SR51 can be run with either six CR123 cells or two rechargeable 18650 cells. And the output from the XM-L emitter is certainly outstanding. At a retail price of $149.95, the Olight SR51 seems quite a bargain when compared against other high-output offerings in this segment (particularly when you factor in the nifty aluminum case). So do give this light serious consideration for your next outdoor adventure.
You can save a few bucks by ordering this light from Amazon.com:
Olight SR51 Cree XM-L U2 LED Flashlight 900 Lumens
John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of ThruMyLens.org, as well as LuxuryTyme.com and TheSeamasterReferencePage.com. *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.