Full disclosure time: As a long-time gear reviewer for the hallowed pages of SHTF Blog and other lesser sites, I’ve developed an unofficial system for reviews. Since the quality and usefulness of gear sent in for reviews varies wildly, I usually follow this formula: I take a product, try my damndest to use the product as you fine readers would – within the allotted time before the deadline that is sometimes required.
I try to find the good points I really like and can appreciate, and I highlight these attributes. The low points I do note, and I try to let the reader be aware of, but I don’t always dig in on them a whole lot unless it’s a serious quality/safety issue.
If the product is utter garbage and I have a hard time finding the good points to highlight, I let the manufacturer know before I write the review so they have the option to formally address the issues or not have me run the review at all.
I do my absolute best to be honest with you, dear readers…but I also be sure to let you know a product’s viability while still maintaining my integrity. This holds true whether I’m reviewing knives, firearms, flashlights, whatever. You’re banking on these reviews to survive when the chips are down, and I always keep that in mind when testing and writing.
That having been said, I hope you can believe my honesty when I state the following: HOLY CRAP THIS NEW OLIGHT SEEKER 3 PRO IS FREAKING GREAT. After a lifetime of playing with flashlights outdoors, I don’t make that statement frivolously; let’s dig in and see why this Seeker 3 Pro is holding my illumination lust.
Overview of the Olight Seeker 3 Pro
It should be known that I am completely unfamiliar with the lineage of the Olight Seeker family of flashlights; I’m not sure what the upgrades are over the previous Seeker 2 model, nor am I aware of what makes the model I received a “Pro” variant over a standard Seeker 3. All I know is that right out of the box, the Olight Seeker 3 Pro had my attention.
The first attribute of the Seeker 3 Pro I noticed was its rubberized grip surfaces. Olight usually goes above and beyond with the gripping surfaces of its flashlights; my Olight Warrior Mini has some extremely aggressive – to the point of maybe being too aggressive – knurling machined into the barrel of the flashlight.
This detail goes with the territory; an EDC flashlight needs to maintain its gripping surface no matter if the situation is wet, muddy, or bloody. However, on the Seeker 3 Pro, Olight chose to incorporate some extremely comfortable, sticky rubber grip panels set into the body of the light. Not only attractive, these rubber grips are incredibly comfortable and offer very positive retention in your hand.
Lifting the Seeker 3 Pro out of its sleek packaging, you’ll notice the heft. Over 7 ounces of heft, that is. The aforementioned Olight Warrior Mini – no slouch in the EDC performance department – weighs min at half as much. The weight of the Seeker translates into a feeling of solidity, quality, and comfort knowing you could probably bludgeon a small elk to death with the light if required.
The weight certainly edges the Seeker 3 Pro out of the pocket EDC carry category – there’s no pocket clip anyway – but Olight thoughtfully provided an outstanding belt/MOLLE holster to carry the light around with you comfortably.
Inspecting the Olight Seeker 3 Pro further, you’ll notice but one control input – a singular button on the side of the Seeker’s body, ridged and surrounded by a ring of small green indicator lights. We’ll get into the controls later, but the single button format is welcome; too many flashlights have various modes and functions enabled by too many switches in multiple locations.
A positively tactile single button is, in my opinion, most desired. No confusion, no analysis paralysis driven from multiple switches. Gimme one and done, thanks.
Rounding out the visual inspection of the black (other colors are available) anodized machined aluminum Olight Seeker 3 Pro, you’ll notice the fore and aft details: At the photon-discharging business end, you see not one, not two, but FOUR LED emitters nestled in a cloverleaf array inside the Seeker’s reflector under the lens; this hints at the horsepower we’ll be enjoying later.
A small pinhole in the reflector shows the location of the auto-dimming proximity sensor. Out back, we find the increasingly familiar Olight magnetic charging “port” – the Seeker 3 Pro comes with one of Olight’s proprietary magnetic puck-type chargers that snap positively onto this port to charge the 5,000 mAh 21700 battery.
Though Olight doesn’t include one with the flashlight, there is also a machined slot to accommodate a lanyard in the screw-on tailcap of the Seeker 3 Pro.
The Olight Seeker 3 Pro is also replete with the usual IPX8 waterproof ratings, so it can be used in the rain and probably even after you go swimming with it.
Not Tactical (Sorry Mall Ninjas)
I should start right off and let you know that the Olight Seeker 3 Pro is NOT a “tactical” flashlight per se. What it is, however, is a lumen workhorse.
There are several features that steer the design away from the tactical, towards what I usually think of as the “utility” category. The most noticeable differentiation between the Seeker 3 Pro and your average tactical flashlight is the lack of a tail cap switch.
Instead, we make do with a single button to run the show – the button on mine is about ⅜” in diameter, with ridges around the perimeter. The button lives on a raised boss that makes it easy to locate, even in the dark or with gloves on.
Also providing us an indication of the Seeker 3 Pro’s mission is the format of the controls and what happens when you push the button. Tactical-type flashlights usually offer a Low/High/Highest mode selection when the tailcap is punched or tapped; the Seeker 3 Pro’s controls are unique in function – more on that shortly.
The barrel (or handle) of the Seeker 3 Pro is also much wider than your usual 1” wide tactical lights (which are meant to fit in standard rings for possible mounting on a firearm), its body is a tenth of an inch wider. While that doesn’t sound like much of an increase, the extra width adds substantially to the circumferential gripping surface, and it is consequently much more comfortable in the hand.
Lastly, belying the utilitarian nature of the Seeker 3 Pro’s roots, we find a bezel that is not deeply crenellated. Rather, a series of fine notches allow the user to see if the light is on when the seeker has been placed face-down; most tactical flashlights instead have deep, sharp notches at the bezel to enforce a more aggressive, even offensive posture when using the light.
The Seeker 3 Pro’s bezel wasn’t designed for flesh-ripping capacity; it’s meant to allow the user to notice the light is on and consequently save battery power and minimize heat buildup in the light when not in hand.
All the Lumens!!!!
Speaking of heat buildup, the Olight Seeker 3 Pro can generate a LOT of it. Causing the handwarmer effect is the ultimate output of – wait for it – 4,200 lumens and 15,625 candela of light production! This power production capacity is staggering, especially when you consider that a decade ago the Mini-Maglite and its 35 lumens was considered to be the high water mark of personal EDC illumination.
The runtime at this insane power output is short, however; the light can only throw out this peak number for about 2.5 minutes; after this period of time the heat output is too intense and the light automatically throttles the light back to a cooler-running-yet-still-mighty 1,200 lumen level.
Power levels also on the menu are 600, 300, 50, and a “moonlight” 5 lumens, with continuous-on runtimes at 135 minutes, 10.6 hours, 55.5 hours, and 15 DAYs, respectively; that 5,000 mAh 21700 battery really earns its keep here, providing a huge capacity to power this light for a long, long time if you don’t need that full-tilt output.
However, the beam of the Olight Seeker 3 Pro is not intensely focused; rather its spill is more of an area-effect tool, illuminating a wide area around the user out to well past 200 yards. Here’s where those four LED emitters and all those lumens really shine (pun intended); the light is useful in a huge area, again giving the nod towards a more utilitarian design mindset; tactical lights usually have focused beams with bright hotspots that reach out a long distance to keep a large amount of light on a specific target.
The Seeker 3 Pro is all huge, bright, useful hotspot; I illuminated a huge 100+ year old maple in its entirety at about 75 yards’ distance; a yard could easily be lit up in one shot with the Olight Seeker 3 Pro if circumstances dictated.
The Olight Seeker 3 Pro also provides you with a proximity sensor; when the light detects an object directly in front of it, the light automatically throttles itself back in an effort not to blind the user, in case you turn and find a wall directly in front of you, or look at a map in the dark. It’s a nice feature and it works pretty well.
Also worthy of note: the wide, flat tailcap tailstands beautifully, allowing you to use the floodlight beam of the Seeker 3 Pro to really light up a room magnificently.
One Button to Rule Them All
The control system on the Olight Seeker 3 Pro is unique, and a most welcome indicator that Olight is constantly working on its innovation game.
When you go to fire up the Seeker 3 Pro for the first time and you tap that blue button expecting that big bold blast of light, you’re going to get nothing. Yes, your battery is probably charged. What’s going on here is another indicator that this flashlight wasn’t meant for the tactical world: the Seeker 3 Pro automatically locks itself after a 30 second period of non-operation.
To unlock the light, simply use your thumb (or other favored digit) and spin the button – yes it rotates! – 90°. After the button is rotated, the light is unlocked and you can use the flashlight normally.
Once the light is on and you insist on playing with that rotating button, you’ll note that the button actually incorporates a rheostat, meaning that if you keep spinning the button clockwise, the light will gradually get brighter.
If you turn the button counter-clockwise, the light will throttle back its output all the way down to its lowest 5 lumen setting. Pretty cool idea, and it works well. I suppose it makes your flashlight into a fidget spinner too?
Also, if you hold down the button without spinning it, the light cycles automatically through its low/medium/high settings. Let go of the button at the level you want and the light keeps the level selected.
To get the light into its 4,200 lumen “turbo” mode, a quick double-tap of the button at any power level will engage the juice. A similar double tap disengages the turbo and brings it back to its previously selected output level.
Though I’m not sure why manufacturers insist on providing strobes for their lights (maybe you bring them to raves? I don’t know.), Olight made sure you had access to a non-SOS beacon strobe: a fast triple-click brings the strobe to bear for when you need to induce seizures on hapless bystanders.
Olight also provided a simple, unobtrusive way for you to quickly check output level and battery charge. Around the perimeter of the function button, you’ll notice an array of small green indicator lights. A tap on the button while the light is locked will display the current battery charge level.
When the battery is at less than 10% charge, the lowest indicator light will glow red. At over 75% charge, all four right-side indicator lights will glow green.
On the right side of the button, a similar pattern of green lights will show your output level; one indicator means less than 5% power output being used, all four lights lit means you’re using over 50%.
Wrapping It Up
Although I only had a day and a half to play with the Olight Seeker 3 Pro before I had to write this review, during that time it quickly catapulted itself to my favorite around-the-house light, supplanting my beloved Fenix TH20R.
This light now finds itself in my hand when I head out at night to bring the pooches outside (we have lots of skunks in our neighborhood), and rest assured it’ll be on the side of my pack or belt when I venture outdoors on camping and hiking trips – anywhere a tactical tailcap type flashlight isn’t needed, but illumination horsepower may be required.
With the incredible size of the 21700 battery, I don’t need to worry about bringing a spare as long as I’m reasonably judicious with the high-output usage. And the wide, bright spill from the light illuminates a great area in front of the flashlight, negating the need to hunt with a focused beam for a noise that went bump – just light up the whole damn area!
In all seriousness, though – I’m not really finding any cons to all these pros. The Olight Seeker 3 Pro is a great choice for someone who doesn’t need a crazy tactical flashlight – it does everything most people will need a flashlight for – and it will do it very, very well.
As I use the light I’ll be sure to update this article with any issues; but for now, I will say that this Olight Seeker 3 is worth the price of admission for those in the market for a great all-around flashlight.