Gyorgy Kemenes is lauded for creating some of the smallest, most intricate flashlights in the world; prime examples are the Nucleus flashlight and this flashlight. In fact, the flashlight I’ve linked to probably holds the world record. These flashlights were so small that they had to use disposable button cells, and they often (understandably) had less-than-stellar performance. The Omicron is the natural progression of Gyorgy working his way up in the flashlight world, and it is a feature-rich, rechargeable keychain flashlight.
- Driver: MTN 10DD FET
- Firmware: Guppydrv Rev. 1 (24 Mode Groups)
- Body: Grade 5 Titanium w/ bead blast finish
- Switch: Twisty
- Ingress rating: Water resistant (fully o-ring sealed withstanding submersion up to 15ft, but sold as water resistant for warranty purposes)
- Battery: Mecharmy 10180
- Weight: 15g (titanium version with battery)
- Size: 1.87 x 0.5″ (48mm x 12.5mm)
- Location of manufacture: USA (San Diego, California). Machines used for making these lights: Haas SL-10, Haas VF3 SS
Dimensionally, the Omicron is slightly longer than most 10180 flashlights (courtesy of its reflector) but thinner too. It’ll fit without issue on most keychains, and can even be used as a neck light without too much trouble.
Let’s get the nasty stuff out of the way first. The Omicron has numerous rings milled into the body of the flashlight for grip, this is important because it’s a twisty. You twist and untwist to turn on the the flashlight and progress modes; however, I dislike how it uses the tail as its actuation point. The tail is quite small, and although Gyorgy has tried to mitigate this with small notches, I more often than not end up using the split ring itself to turn on the flashlight. And more importantly, unlike with some other 10180 torches which have the twist point near the head, this means you need two hands to actuate the Omicron.
Unfortunately, the Omicron also doesn’t have integrated USB charging like a lot of mainstream 10180 flashlights. So you’ll need a special charger like the Veleno Designs one to charge the batteries properly. The problem here…is that these chargers are incredibly difficult to find now, and you might have to make do with a penny spacer to charge the battery.
I’m sure you’re tired of me whining, so something that deserves praise are the tritium vials in the tail: There’s six slots milled, and this is how you do tritium vials correctly on a keychain flashlight. Because of the way they’re slotted, the vials are protected from impact and it’s nearly impossible to accidentally shatter one. Aesthetics aside, tritium vials are surprisingly practical. There’s sort of an ironic dichotomy to flashlights that don’t have something similar – you use a flashlight to see in the dark, but how do you find your flashlight in the dark in the first place?
Now if there’s any doubt about the build quality and finish of the Omicron, let me assuage such doubts. The build quality and finish are phenomenal. And I don’t use that word lightly. Over the course of a couple years, the finish has aged exceptionally and now has the look of a well-worn tool, I’ve swam with the flashlight on numerous occasions without an issue, and the threads are the best I’ve seen on anything titanium (Fellhoelter, McGizmo, Okluma, etc. have nothing on these threads).
Physical Grade: B+
Most mainstream 10180 flashlights limit you to two outputs: High and Low. But the Omicron’s FET driver running GuppyDrv Rev 1 means that there’s a myriad, pre-set mode groups you can choose from. These mode groups are thought out well and have good mode spacing which easily makes the Omicron one of the most versatile keychain flashlights on the market.
Something else surprising is that the Omicron is packing a traditional reflector. It’s a cheapie but I can’t say it doesn’t work very well. In tandem with the Nichia 219C LED, this gives the Omicron a wide, diffuse hotspot that is ideal for close-up tasks. Without a doubt, this is one of my favorite beams from a keychain flashlight and is edged out only slightly by the Muyshondt Maus (which I don’t recommend purchasing).
Runtimes and output are inevitably not good because of the small cell size. I highly doubt the Omicron is pushing close to 200 lumens, and from the moment you turn it on at 100% output, the Omicron is going to start toning it back. But to go back on the versatility I outlined earlier, you can stretch the runtime more than you can with a mainstream 10180 flashlight by sticking to lower output levels.
So sure, performance-wise the Omicron’s not going to be able to contend with the newer stuff from the likes of Rovyvon, Nitecore, and other mainstream keychain flashlight manufacturers. But the Omicron makes far fewer mistakes technically, and realistically how much power do you need from a keychain flashlight? That the Omicron manages to pack a fully programmable driver into such a small package is praise worthy alone.
Technical Grade: A-
Assessment of Value
With pricing starting at $195 for a copper model and $245 for the titanium model, the Omicron is one of the most expensive keychain flashlight on the market. Most mainstream keychain flashlights will also give you better performance at a fraction of the cost, so this price differential will reflect itself in the Omicron’s cumulative grade.
On a subjective level, I adore this keychain flashlight. Like Gyorgy’s other work, it’s built to the utmost highest standards and it represents a level of flashlight innovation rarely seen nowadays. While it doesn’t keep up with most mainstream keychain flashlights from a performance standpoint, it’s also much more thoughtfully designed and makes fewer mistakes. Yes, the Omicron is a very good keychain flashlight, and if you don’t have a budget, or simply want a work of functional art, the Omicron should be on your list. But I think most people will balk at the price and find much greater value in a throwaway, mainstream keychain flashlight.