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Olight O’Pen Glow review
Olight OPen Glow specs
|Brand & Model||Olight O’Pen Glow|
|Flashlight category||Pen Light / Laser|
|LED||Unknown 5700k LED / Green Laser / Unknown 4000k LED|
|Max. output||120 lumens|
|Max. beam distance||14 meters|
|Max. beam intensity||48 cd|
|Battery config.||110mAh Built-in|
|Onboard charging||Cradle Charging|
|Waterproof||IPX4 (Upper Half)|
|Review publication date||May 2023|
Olight has had quite a few iterations of pens in the past. On top of that, they have made countless color and material options available as well. There comes a point where you think nothing else can be done to a pen that hasn’t already been done. Then you hear about a new release. This is one of those times where there is genuine thinking ‘outside the box’ and something you (well, I) would have never thought of makes its way onto a pen. Come along with me to see if Olight has perfected the light, or if this is just a gimmick and Olight should probably just quit while they are ahead.
The O’Pen Glow arrives in a package on par with their other ‘non-limited items’ and when opened, a thicker white cardboard (press material) insert slips out, carefully securing your nested light and ink. Behind that, the remaining accessories are in their own individual pouches. Altogether, everything in the package is
- O’Pen Glow
- Charging Base
- Magnetic Badge
- Blue Ink Refill
- Type C Charging Cable
- User Manual
Flashlight in use
For the O’Pen Glow, Olight has ditched the rifling grooves of their standard O’Pen Pro and went with a ‘golf ball’ style dimpling that, while does give good grip, it also leaves a lot of empty space on the pen. The rifling took up more of the lower part of the body and it seemed more complete. In a change from its predecessor, this new model now has two e-switches.
The tail where the laser comes out, is used for unlocking the light and activating the pen-tip light, when that is out. The bolt action switch turns on the laser pointer and also engages the pen function.
Since it is a pen after all, it fits in your pocket very well, except for the occasional snag of the bolt action switch, hence the lockout.. This same finish applies to the charging base and, while it doesn’t look seamless, you can tell they definitely go together. Now again, since it is a pen, you don’t have to worry about tripod mounts or lanyard holes. It is specifically designed to fit in a pocket and since the pocket clip is permanently attached, there won’t be any need for any sort of two-way pocket clip. After all, it is designed to be able to shine outward while clipped inside a shirt pocket.
The O’Pen Glow is effective and usable for anyone with hands (I crack myself up). However, each particular function may serve useful in a particular field. If you give presentations, the laser may come in handy. I see the pen tip light being very useful, potentially in the medical field, where you may walk into patient’s rooms and need to take notes without turning on any lights.
And finally, onto something you probably wouldn’t expect to see in a 1Lumen review, the ink works quite well and seems to write a lot more smoothly than the ink that originally came in the O’Pen 2. The model number is RF-OL182 and while Olight has officially said that the ink that comes with the O’Pen Glow is different and others won’t work, I have confirmed that while it may not be officially supported, you can use any ink that fits AND has a full metal cartridge.
Build Quality and Warranty
As with most everything I have used that has the Olight name attached to it, the machining and build quality is fantastic. It is made of 6061 aluminum and is finished with a type 3 hard anodized coating. This particular one is OD green, but upon its release is also offered in blue, black, and their popular stars and stripes finish. As I said before, the rifling has been ditched for a dimpling that does give good grip and leaves the rest of the pen feeling very smooth. The anodizing is matte and very even and contrasts well with the anodizing on the pocket clip, laser head and the bolt action. If you unscrew the two halves, you will see a few other changes that have been made. First off, you will see Pogo pins that allow those electrons to flow to the front half of the pen and, the anodizing on the threads has been removed and that is because it is now electrically conductive. Since the new pen charges in a base, they have to make sure that you are able to get conductivity all the way down to the tip of the pen where there is a brass colored ring. But, we’ll cover more of the charging later. Additionally, the bolt action has a fantastic spring to it. It feels much more robust than my current O’Pen Pro, but I’m unable to tell if this is a different spring or if I just wore out the other one.
At Olight, we always care about your experience as a customer and want to ensure you have no concerns regarding after-sales service. On September 16th, 2023, we sincerely make the following important promise:
If you purchased an Olight® product from Australia, China, France, Germany or the USA after January 1st, 2023, the local service centers in these countries will honor your LIFETIME WARRANTY for your purchase. If your Olight® product (including its structure, built-in battery, LED, or lens) ever experiences any issues, we promise to take care of it. If we are unable to repair your product, we will promptly replace it with a product in perfect working condition, which will be of equal or better physical condition. If your purchase is a limited or discontinued edition of Olight® product, we will repair or replace it with another Olight® product of the same or higher value.
LED, Lens, Bezel, Beam, and Reflector
The O’Pen Glow has three different light sources. There is one on the pocket clip, and this serves as your main emitter. Then, you have a laser that comes out of the back end of the light. Finally, there is a small ring of light that emits from the very tip of the pen. This is used for when you need to write in the dark.
Firstly, the main emitter located on the pocket clip is listed at being 5700K, and across the board measured between 5689 and 5806. Seeing fluctuations between brightness settings is completely normal and this window is pretty close. And while I don’t know what size this LED is, it is incredibly tiny and is hidden behind a plastic gridded/waffle lens at the base of the pocket clip. I never felt any significant amount of heat coming from this so I can assume that this would be good for extended use.
The second LED is in the tip of the pen and is listed at 4000k. However, listed at an outstandingly small .2 lumens, it was suboptimal trying to get a reading with the Opple Lightmaster Pro. It is noticeably warmer than the clip light and noticeably dimmer as well. This appears to be in a frosted lens inset from that brass charging ring I spoke of earlier. Without dismantling everything, I couldn’t quite get in there as closely as I would have liked.
Finally, the laser. This is a class 1 laser (so, not using it as a death ray), but you still want to be careful and avoid eye contact with yourself and others. It is a vivid green that appears visually to be on par with the green used in their Arkfeld. It is not the most focused beam I have ever seen, and you will notice artifacts around the ‘dot’.
Dimensions and its competition
|Length||155 mm||6.1 in|
|Body diameter||13 mm||.5 in|
Dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter, and to the nearest tenth of an Inch.
|Weight in grams||Weight in oz|
Weight is rounded to the nearest gram, and to the nearest tenth of an Oz.
Flashlight size comparison with its competition:
Comparison 1: O’Pen Glow, O’Pen Pro, O’Pen 2, Wuben E62
Olight O Pen Glow UI: User Interface and Driver
- Moon, Low, Medium, High, Laser and Pen-tip light.
Available blinky modes:
- Press and hold (side switch): Activate laser
- Press and hold 2 seconds (tail switch): lockout
- Single click: turn main light on
- Single click (while ink is deployed): turn pen-tip light on
- Double click: High mode on main light
- Press and hold: Cycle through main modes
- 1 click: Shut light off
- Double click: High mode
- No mode Memory. Always turns on the lowest (moon) mode first.
- To Turbo: Double-click
Low voltage warning/protection:
- None found. The light will shut off after the battery has discharged enough.
- Hold the tail switch for 2 seconds to lock the light out. It will still work in momentary on low, but will not stay on unless lock-out is disengaged.
Additional/summary info on the UI:
- Fortunately there are images in the new manual as there are a lot of situational circumstances with the new UI.
Olight Open Glow Charging and batteries
The pen has a Lithium-Polymer battery built-in, with a total capacity of 110mAh, just like its predecessors. However, unlike its predecessors, it has ditched the USB-C port in favor of cradle charging. The charging base included is almost as easy as having magnets to guide your other Olight products. There is a barrel in the base that guides the tip of the pen and allows that brass ring to make contact, and send that ‘Zeus Juice’ (electricity) through the ink cartridge, across those pogo pins and into the battery.
During charging, a red ring LED indicator is visible on the base, and this turns green upon finishing its charge cycle. It won’t stay on forever though, as when I checked on it again some time later, the green light had turned off. The green looked nice, too, so I am not sure why they made it shut off.
Its charging rate is 200mA (0.2A, and I measured about 196mA) and takes only 33 minutes from start to finish. You don’t need a high-power USB adapter, and any USB A port (like a laptop, or a desktop computer) should be good enough.
One thing that should be noted, is the new O’Pen Glow does severely limit your ability to choose your ink. There is a new electrical requirement that necessitates having a completely metal ink cartridge to be able to dock charge and use the pen tip light on your new pen. While this is a bummer, I am sure there will be some sort of work-around soon enough.
Lumen measurementsHow Lumens are Measured: Understanding ANSI FL1 Standards How Lumens are Measured: Understanding ANSI FL1 Standards: The ANSI FL1 standards specify that output in lumens should be measured 30 seconds after turning on, as this is the standardized time for measuring brightness according to the industry standard. This is why we focus on this part in our measurements.
For my output measurements, I utilized a purpose built integrating sphere and an ExTech SDL400 datalogging light meter. These figures were compared to a tested, known light source. All tests were performed with the included battery after a complete charge cycle.
|Mode||Specs||@turn on||@30 sec||@10 minutes|
Battery Life: Runtime graphsHow Runtimes are Measured: Understanding ANSI FL1 Standards About ANSI FL1 runtime standards: The runtime is measured until the light drops to 10% of its initial output (30 seconds after turning on). This does not mean that the flashlight is not usable anymore. The last column shows how long the light actually works till it shuts off. If there is a + symbol, it means that the test was stopped at that particular point, but the light was actually still running. This happens on certain occasions, with certain drivers, firmware, or batteries.
|Mode||Specified runtime||Measured runtime ANSI||Time till shut off|
|Moon||5hr||5h 16min||5h 16min|
|Low||1hr 50min||1h 52min||1h 52min|
Good job, Olight! These are probably the most accurate runtimes I have experienced. And this is while exceeding the specifications on output!
Peak beam intensity and beam distance measurementsAbout Peak beam intensity: Understanding ANSI FL1 Standards About peak beam intensity The calculated value of distance in meters at which the flashlight produces a light intensity of 0.25 lux. (0.25 lux is about the brightness of a full moon shining on an object). This means that the intensity has decreased so much, it becomes difficult to see darker objects, or objects that don’t reflect light. The columns ‘Meters’ and ‘Yards’ use rounded numbers.
Tested at 30 seconds in each mode Using an Opple Lightmaster Pro at 1m
I am not surprised in the slightest that the throw figures are better than specification, considering the output tested higher all around as well.
Camera settings and distance: Camera settings and distance: All photos taken using a Panasonic Lumix G7 locked at 5000 ISO, ev 0.0 at 70y
Beamshots of the following flashlights compared:
- Olight O’Pen Glow
- Olight O’Pen 2
- Wuben E62
Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to me for review at no cost by Olight. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.
- Pen-tip light is surprisingly functional
- Ergonomics of the O’Pen line
- Charging base
- Multiple uses
- Proprietary ink
- A lot of potential electrical failure points
- UI is a little on the tedious side
Explanation on star ratings:
1: Avoid: a match would be a better choice – 2: Poor: significant defect or issues; almost unusable – 3: Average: some defects or issues; but still usable 4: Good: recommended (minor issues) – 5: Great: highly recommended
4 stars: ★★★★
While our star rating provides a reliable indicator, we encourage you to read the full review to make an informed decision based on your own needs and preferences.
I have used O’Pen lights for quite some time and was pleased to be able to test this. As I said before, It does get to the point where you can sit and think, and not come up with any new useful gimmicks or abilities that a manufacturer can put on a pen light without really straining.
This on the other hand, may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but those who may need a low lumen pen tip light, may wonder how this wasn’t a thing earlier. It does make sense, although in my eyes, it does introduce quite a few potential electrical failure points.
The different output levels of the O’Pen Glow are evenly spaced and even easier to get to. One thing I hear complaints about for Olight is their proprietary charging. USB-C is easily accessible and unfortunately this does away with one of the few lights that was USB-C capable. It is back to the proprietary charging for Olight! Although the charging base is very convenient, it does limit your ability to be able to keep things topped off if you are away from home.
So, while there may be downfalls and positives about all of the changes made to the O’Pen lineup, I can confidently say that the compromises are worth it in my opinion and the new level of features that this brings, keeps Olight at the forefront of pen light technology. Being frank, if you don’t have a pen light yet, the upcoming sale has them listed at 55 dollars and this is an excellent price point to get your first.