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Thread: Olight H1R Nova headlight review w/ measurements (16340, usb charging)

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* maukka's Avatar
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    Dec 2015

    Default Olight H1R Nova headlight review w/ measurements (16340, usb charging)

    Disclaimer: the H1R Novas were provided for testing by Olight free of charge

    The Olight H1R Nova is the rechargeable version of the superb H1 Nova headlamp derived from Olight's popular S series flashlights. The differences are minimal, so some sections of this review have been copy & pasted from the original Olight H1 Nova review.

    In addition to the headband the light features a removable pocket clip and a strong tailcap magnet. This makes the mounting options very versatile. There's a cool and a neutral white option available. Both versions will tested here.

    Features and manufacturer's specifications
    Battery: CR123A primary of a rechargeable RCR123/16340, a custom 650 mAh 163450 rechargable battery provided
    LED: Cree XM-L2 in cool or neutral white
    Waterproof: IPX8
    Mode memory: yes, also moon and turbo (for 10 minutes)

    Output specs (with a 16340 battery)
    Maximum output: 600 lumens for 3 minutes, stepdown to 180 lm for 180 minutes
    Other output levels: 180/60/15/2 lumens
    Light intensity: 1280 candela
    Beam distance: 72 m

    Measured dimensions and weight
    Length: 61.8 mm
    Head width: 21.2 mm
    Handle width: 19.6 mm
    Weight: light only 24 g, 29 g with clip, 52 g with headband, add 17 g for 16340 or 15 g for CR123A

    User interface
    The user interface is your usual Olight with mode memory and direct access to moon and turbo from off. Operation is done with an electronic switch at top of the head.

    From off:
    Single click turns the light on with the last used mode memorized, also moon and turbo for 10 minutes
    Long press activates moonlight
    Keeping the switch pressed for 2 seconds engages electronic lockout mode where the light cannot be accidentally switched on
    If locked out, the switch act as a momentary moonlight if not pressed long enough to unlock (2 seconds)
    Double click activates turbo
    Triple click activates SOS

    From on:
    Single click turns the light off
    Double click activates turbo
    Long press cycles modes (low, medium, high)
    Triple click activates SOS

    Box contents

    The light comes bundled with:
    Cloth pouch
    16340 rechargeable battery
    Magnetic usb charger
    Pocket clip
    Headband with a silicone holder
    User manual

    The original hard case of the H1 has given way to a relatively large brown cloth pouch.

    Battery and charging

    Batteries are inserted to the light the positive end facing the tailcap. The bundled ones are Olight branded 16340 rechargeables with a capacity of 650 mAh.

    Charging takes a bit over an hour with 0.77 amps drawn from the usb power supply.

    The only difference between the H1 Nova and the H1R version is the included magnetic charging base familiar from Olight's S1R and S2R. It attaches almost automagically on its own when near the tailcap. The H1R Nova also comes with a proprietary rechargeable 650 mAh 16450 battery, even though any 16340 can be used, just not charged inside the light.

    One word of warning though, even though the charger dock included with the S10RIII and S30RIII is physically compatible with the H1R tailcap, the charging current is different. You shouldn't use the S10RIII/S30RIII chargers with the battery that comes with the H1R. Their maximum charge rate is about 1 amps (S30RIII charges at higher currents a bit longer), whereas the H1R charger charges at 0.75 amps. The difference isn't big, but it might shorten the lifespan of the battery. Using the identical S1R/S2R charger is fine though.

    Olight H1 Nova (16340), Olight H1R Nova (16340). The H1R's tailcap is a bit longer which makes the H1R 3.3 mm longer overall (61.80 mm vs. 58.5 mm). The tailcaps are interchangeable so you can make the H1 a H1R if you wish.

    Beam and tint
    The textured TIR optics make for a very floody beam. The beam is also smooth and practically perfectly consistent in tint. This is optimal for closeup work, but doesn't work for spotting things far away.

    Tint in different brightness modes.

    The tint is absolutely beautiful on the higher modes. The Cree emitter turn greener on lower driving currents, but it's not bad.

    Spectral data and color rendering

    For spectral information and CRI calculations I use an X-rite i1Pro spectrophotometer with HCFR, Babelcolor CT&A and ArgyllCMS spotread for the graphs and data. For runtime tests I use spotread with a custom script and an i1Display Pro because it doesn’t require calibration every 30 minutes like the i1Pro.

    Explanation of abbreviations (click link to read more)

    CCT = correlated color temperature, higher temperature means cooler (bluish)
    CRI (Ra) = color rendering index consisting of 8 different colors (R1-R8), max value 100
    CRI (R9) = color rendering index with deep red, usually difficult for led based light sources, max value 100
    TLCI = television lighting consistency index, max value 100
    CQS (Qa) = Proposed replacement for CRI, RMS average of 15 color samples
    CRI2012 (Ra,2012) = Another proposed replacement for CRI, consists of 17 color samples
    MCRI = Color rendering index based on the memory of colors or 9 familiar objects
    NEW Read more about the IES TM-30-15 method here (link is external)
    TM-30 = The newest color rendering method using 99 samples. Preferred for comparing LEDs.
    TM-30 (Rf) = Accuracy of colors, fidelity index. Replaces CRI(Ra).
    TM-30 (Rg) = Gamut of colors, saturation index. Higher number means more saturated colors.
    Tint dev. (“Duv” in the CTA screenshots) is the tint’s distance to the black body radiator line in the CIE graphs. The higher the number, the greener the tint. 0,0000 means absolutely neutral white and negative numbers mean rosy/magenta tint. Anything over 0,0100 can be described as visibly green.

    CRI Data, neutral white

    CRI Data, cool white

    CRI and color comparison. Higher numbers are better, except for CCT (correlated color temperature) and Tint dev.

    By all color rendering metrics, the H1R Nova NW is the best small Olight I've ever tested. The CRI is still mediocre at a bit over 70, but the beautiful neutral white tint and the lack of any green or magenta tint make it just perfect.

    With a small battery such as the 16340, every bit of efficiency helps and a high CRI emitter would reduce the output and efficiency quite a bit (20-35 %). The cool white version is more powerful and also has a nice pure white tint with a hint of blue.

    Runtimes and output

    Please note: lumen measurements are only rough estimates
    My diy 40 cm integrating styrofoam sphere has been calibrated using Olight R50 on that has with measuring it at 1178 lumens with their Labsphere. Results may vary with especially floody or throwy lights.

    The H1R Nova was measured with the bundled Olight 650mAh 16340 battery. There's no output advantage when using a higher drain cell such as the Olight 550 mAh IMR.

    The battery protection circuit activated on both lights on all runtime tests. I measured 3.0 volts right after resetting the protection on my SkyRC MC3000. The magnetic usb charger can also reset the protection circuit so running the battery flat isn't a problem. Just remember to charge it as soon as you can, since leaving lithium ion batteries empty for prolonged periods is bad for them.

    The standby parasitic drain is not an issue at 25 µA, which translates to over 3 years until a 650 mAh battery is drained if the light is left on a shelf unused. The drain can be avoided by opening the tailcap just a bit or removing the battery.


    I didn't have a chance to verify this yet, so the images are from the H1 review. There is high frequency circuit noise on moonlight (7 kHz) and low (34 kHz) modes. In practice they are not distracting but may show up on camera.

    Moonlight mode

    Low mode


    The Olight H1R Nova is a tiny headlamp which differs from the preceding H1 Nova with the integrated charging tailcap. The H1R transforms easily to an EDC light with the included pocket clip. Magnetic tailcap and the right angle form factor improve versatility ever still, since it's easier to direct the light wherever needed than with a traditional flashlight.

    The textured TIR optics make for a floody and consistent beam with no apparent hotspot or tint variation, which is optimal for closeup work. Color rendering is nothing to write home about at a bit above 70, but the absence of green in the beam is much more important. The neutral white version measured at 4800 K and the cool white at 6300 K with a CRI of 73 and 71 respectively. The neutral white H1R was even better than the original H1 which had a bit of a magenta cast to it. The cool one is lacking any hint of green or magenta too, just a nice bluish and bright beam.

    One problem I noticed now during the winter with the H1 Nova and the new H1R is that the small 16340 battery cannot handle freezing temperature (-5°C) and the turbo mode very well. After being subjected to cold for 15-20 minutes with the light on low or medium, the turbo mode no longer works. 15 minutes inside a jacket pocket warms the battery enough for the turbo to work again though.

    + Choice of cool and neutral white
    + Clever magnetic usb charger
    + No green or magenta tint in the beam in either of the versions
    + Consistent beam, no tint shift from center to spill
    + Very small
    + Several mounting options, headband, pocket clip, magnet in the tailcap
    + Comes with a sturdy carrying case
    + Lots of light for 3 minutes
    + Doesn't get too hot

    - Battery doesn't like cold weather
    - No low voltage protection or threshold low
    - PWM on low modes (not distracting in real life but possibly visible to a camera)
    - Integrated charging is possible only with Olight's proprietary batteries

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* Tachead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Northwestern Ontario, Canada

    Default Re: Olight H1R Nova headlight review w/ measurements (16340, usb charging)

    Thanks for the review maukka. Awesome as usual.

    It's a little disconcerting that the charge rate is 750mA. That is crazy high for a 16340/RCR123 and is 3 times higher then most people like to charge these cells(250mA). Most 16340/RCR123 cells only have a maximum 1C(650mA average) charge rating and some lower then that. I wonder why Olight would make the charge rate so high? I doubt the cells will last very long with this extreme charge rate and it could potentially be dangerous depending on the cells used in their proprietary battery.
    Last edited by Tachead; 01-31-2017 at 11:21 AM. Reason: Updated due to knowing now that it can only charge Olight's proprietary cell.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Olight H1R Nova headlight review w/ measurements (16340, usb charging)

    Thank you, Maukka!
    Another great review!

    Hope they realize the need for warmer tints and issue the 4000K version soon.

  4. #4
    Unenlightened Ladder31's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Chicago, IL

    Default Re: Olight H1R Nova headlight review w/ measurements (16340, usb charging)

    Thank you for the review.

    I just picked one up yesterday and have it attached to my radio strap at work. I'm a little concerned about the lack of tolerance for the cold, but time will tell if this ends up being an issue for me or not. I'm impressed by the build quality, but not surprised since I've been continually impressed by Olight. The floody beam should work well for its intended use at medical calls.

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