Wednesday, December 21, 2016

On The Road M3 (1x16340/CR123A) EDC Flashlight Review

I am reviewing for you a nice RCR123A battery powered flashlight,called On The Road M3.
The flashlight was kindly provided for test by
Check out their website for this flashlight and many other models.
Here is a short link to the OTR M3 product page-
Get the flashlight for just $19.20 with the promo code OTRM3S

As most serious flashlights in our days,the M3 is made of durable Aluminum alloy material.
It is carefully anodized without spots or scratches. The body is precisely machined without dents or sharp edges. Overall I am glad to find that the OTR M3 has no visible imperfection in the exterior.

Anodized surface has matte finish with a color which can be defined as a mix of grey and brown.

The small flashlight comes in a nice hard cardboard box.
Spare O-rings,lanyard and nice holster/pouch are included in the set.
The M3 is available also in a pack with battery and charger included.

There is a good deep pocket clip already attached and ready for use.
It is not too soft or too tight,so it should do its job quite well.

In my medium size hand.
Dimensions of the M3:  (L x W x H): 7.00 x 2.30 x 2.30 cm / 2.76 x 0.91 x 0.91 inches


Specifications according to the Manufacturer:
Model: M3
Lamp Beads: Cree XM-L2 U2
Beads Number: 1
Lumens Range: 500-1000Lumens
Luminous Flux: 920Lm
Luminous Intensity: 4200cd
Color Temperature: 1A 6500-7000K; 5C 3800-4000K
Switch Type: Side Clicky
Feature: Anti-Roll Rugged Design,Die-cast Unibody,Lightweight,Overheating Protection,
Pocket Clip,Power Indicator,Stainless Steel Bezel
Function: Camping,EDC,Exploring,Hiking,Household Use,Night Riding,Walking
Battery Type: 16340,CR123A,RCR123
Battery Quantity: 1 x 16340 / CR123A / RCR123 battery (not included)
Mode: 8(Turbo - High - Mid - Low - Ultra Low - SOS - Strobe - Location Beacon)
Mode Memory: Yes
Waterproof Standard: IPX-8 Standard Waterproof
Working Voltage: 3.7V
Impact Resistance: 2M
Beam Distance: 100-150m
Body Material: Aerospace-grade Aluminum Alloy
Available Light Color: Cool White,Neutral White
Available color: Titanium Grey
And more copy/paste features:
Instant turbo and strobe mode, producing extremely intense illumination for self-defense.
Long press to turn ON / OFF, preventing accidental activation.
IPX-8 waterproof standard, copes with being dropped in a puddle or stream with no ill effects.
Built-in protection circuit: Short circuit / reverse polarity / over-voltage / over-discharge / over-current / over-heating protection.
Memory function / power indicator / low voltage warning.

Cree XM-L2 LED,orange peel reflector,red color rubber O-ring.
No anti-reflective coating on the glass lens.
Made of stainless steel front bezel/retaining ring.
My sample is with a cool white LED. The M3 is available also with a NW LED on the GearBest's website.

The overall machine work quality is impressive for a non premium brand flashlight.
You can clearly see the perfection of the square cut threads-perfectly anodized,as well.
No annoying scratches or dents on my sample.
The tail cap contains a thin but very strong round magnet.The M3 can be attached to different metal surfaces for easy hands free work.
The magnet can be removed in case you don't want to carry a magnet in your pockets.
Just have to remove the spring with tweezers.

Here you can see the front of the battery tube with the visible side of the driver board.
Interesting to see is the manufacturer name printed on the board,as well as its webpage.
There is no physical reverse polarity protection. I can not test if there is an electronic protection,so I would suggest to insert the battery with a care.

The tail end threads are impressive for a low priced product. Excellent anodizing and no sign of bad machine work. The simple square knurling is done pretty well,too.
Tailcap lock out is possible if you want to ensure physical disconnecting of the battery from the power source.

And here is the expected comparison with the main 'inspiration' the Olight S10.
The real difference in the design is mostly the cooling fins.

User Interface.
Operating the OTR M3 is relatively easy. However if you are not yet used to the press and hold activation,feeling comfortable the UI may take you some time.
As many other flashlights lately,to turn On the light,you have to press and hold the switch for a second.
The same operation turns the light Off.
To change the mode just briefly press the switch. Every single press will switch to the next mode.
Mode sequence is Moonlight-Low-Mid-High. Last used mode is instantly recorded for the next activation.
Turbo mode is not part of the base sequence and can be activated only with double clicking the switch from Off or On state.
Three quick presses will activate Strobe mode from On or Off state. Single click from Strobe goes to Beacon and SOS.

Below is the expected Runtime graph that has the purpose to illustrate the maximum performance of the reviewed flashlight and to give an idea for the achievable run times.

I tested the OTR M3 on Turbo,High and Mid mode(twice).
Battery used for the tests Olight RCR123A 650mAh .
A small cooling fan was used for Turbo and High mode tests-ensuring optimal work temperature.

The M3 starts its Turbo mode with impressive output of about 870 lumens.
As we may expect it is hard for the small RCR123A battery to maintain such a high output for a long time.
The initial brightness drops down quickly.Yet,the output is still quite high in the first minutes.
From the 3th to the 4th minute there seem to have a step down(it is different in Turbo and High mode,so I am not sure it is timed). The output after the step down is constant 494Lm,according to my measurements.

The High mode performed in a quite different way,in my test. The step down came earlier and the constant output after that lasted just a few minutes.Initial output 595Lm, 500 Lm after step down.

I run the Mid mode test two times,as in the first test I cycled all modes(including high mode) quickly before starting the flashlight on the planed Mid mode,but as we can see from the graph,this affected the performance in the last 15 minutes of the run.
The brightness in both Mid tests was about 285Lm.
The good news is that the M3 features a Low voltage warning-flashing red light under the switch.
Even better-after all tests the resting battery voltage was 3.2V. The OTR M3 seems to feature a low voltage protection,as well.

As with all flashlights that work with a momentary switch,the M3 draws a small StandBy current of 6,4microAmps.
Initial Lumen outputs,according to my non-professional measuring equipment:
Moonlight mode:3Lm
Low mode: 148Lm
Mid mode: 292Lm
Hiigh mode: 595Lm 
Turbo mode: 870Lm
(I can't guarantee full accuracy of my Lumen measurements)

The light from the Cree XM-L2 LED is cool white with very slight greenish/yellowish tint.
Well mixed beam thanks to the textured reflector. No noticeable artifacts or darker holes.

3 meters distance

Good points:
Excellent machine work and anodizing;Nice finish with distinguishing look;
Good beam profile for EDC light; Good pocket clip;Comfortable side switch with back illumination for LV warning; Direct access to Turbo and Strobe modes; Instant mode memory;
Low voltage protection and warning; Works with all protected 16340 batteries I have for test;

Possible weak points:
The step from Moonlight mode to Low mode is large and hard to the eyes;
The switch has a hard feel and resist accidental pressing well,however unwanted activation is still possible; Somewhat inconsistent discharge performance; No direct access to the lowest mode;
Uses popular design well established by other brand (Olight);

Here is a short link to the OTR M3 product page-
Get the flashlight for just $19.20 with the promo code OTRM3S
You can get also other great flashlights with 18% OFF Coupon code LIG18OFF
Link to GearBest's Flashlights page:

Thanks for reading!
As usual thanks to the provider of the review sample-

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