*Another* Olight HS2 review - From a Trail runner's perspective

Wurkkos

Rekkie

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Messages
53
Disclaimer: Olight SA / Torch SA provided me with a HS2 for testing / reviewing.

As Maukka did such a nice and detailed review of the HS2 already and I don't have access to all the equipment he used, I thought I'd base my review from an end user's perspective...as an Ultra Trail runner. Therefore I'm not going to repeat what's already been said as well as the information that's readily available on Olight's website. I’ll focus purely on what I think is important to look at when it comes to running. So I’ll try to keep it short and stick to the essentials.

It's only recently (a few days ago) that the HS2 has become available on the Olight SA website, so in South Africa, this is still fresh off the press.

Some quick manufacturer’s specs:

  • 400 Lumen Maximum brightness from 2x LED’s each with a different lens/beam
  • IPX4 water resistant (it will hold just fine in the heaviest of rains)
  • Aluminium body
  • Sealed USB-rechargeable 2000mah Lipo battery a Fuel gauge
  • Single switch operation
  • Lightweight @ 115 grams

In the box:

  • A very nice pouch to carry and store the headlamp in
  • The headlamp consisting of the front unit, the back Li-Po battery unit and the headband with some reflective decals on.
  • User manual
  • A USB cable
  • Spare cable clips

I've placed a portable Hard Drive next to everything for a size reference:


All of which are of exceptional quality. You really get the sense that a lot of time and effort has been put into every single detail of the HS2.

Upon receiving the headlamp, I charged up the battery with the supplied USB cable. The blue lights flashed to indicate that it’s charging. All four lights stay on when it was fully charged, which in my case didn’t take too long as the battery came somewhat pre-charged. Connected the battery to the headlamp and I was ready to RocknRoll. Easy and simple.



Now I used the HS2 for two 1-hour runs, followed by a 2.5-hour night of sweeping and route cleaning at the Hella BigOsports Night race. Now I wasn’t shy to use the High mode(s) as I wanted to put the headlamp through the paces, and I also needed a lot of light as I was going at a decent pace. And after roughly 5 hours of use (including all the times I spent playing with it around the house and taking the photos) only one of the blue battery indicator lights were off. So it lost only 25% of its battery life in 5 hours of use…WHAT!?? Perhaps I was too easy on the battery than I realized but I expected to have at least drained 75% of the battery based on the amount of light I needed. So to me, using the headlamp at the desired level(s) for my running, I only needed 25% of the power it's capable of. This will easily get me through a whole night of running. And on the plus side, you can power the light from any USB power source, either directly, or via the charge port on the battery, but I’ll get into this a bit later.


The single switch operation is easy enough to get used to, although the location of the switch did take some getting used to though. There are 6 constant modes in total and you switch between the modes very easily. I decided to draw a simple diagram to explain the user interface instead of typing it all out:

cyOfEq.jpg


Very importantly for running, brightness and beam quality needs to be discussed hand in hand, because a whole lot of Lumens means nothing if the beam quality isn’t great. And the HS2 does a really good job of this. The combination of both a wide and a spot lens gives an even beam of light ahead of you, which is what I want and what I look for in a headlamp when you're blitzing down a trail.

Beamshots below.:
Note; On the left side photo, from where I'm standing to the other side of the wooden bridge is roughly 60 meter. The photo on the right is to show what you'll be seeing if you wear the headlamp for the roughly 25 meters ahead of you.


Control(no light):
qaShac.jpg


Mixed-Beam_High Mode:
DX2PJw.jpg


Mixed-Beam_Low Mode:
qSx6jO.jpg


Wide-Beam_Low:
WideLow1024x359.jpg


Wide-Beam_High:
WideHigh1024x359.jpg


Spot-Beam_High:
SpotHigh1024x359.jpg


Spot-Beam_Low:
SpotLow1024x359.jpg


Now everyone will have a different take on this, but for the average single track and/or Jeep track I found that roughly 100 Lumen (Mixed-Beam_Low in this case) is sufficient for trail running, depending on how technical the terrain is of course. Because too much light can also cause a blinding effect when light bounces off of nearby obstacles as you move along. That said, the Mixed-beam_High mode is really nice if you’re planning on tearing up a local trail at lightning speeds. Even so, never once did I think to myself: “I wish it was brighter”, not once. And the option to switch between the wide and spot beam is a nice feature, and can help you to get even more out of the battery. If you’re power walking up a steep slope, the Wide-Beam_Low mode is more than enough. Then one feature I can’t capture with a photograph as that whenever you switch between the different modes, the light would gradually change from bright to dim and visa versa. This really helps your eyes adjust more easily to the difference in brightness. So there’s almost nothing to complain about when it comes to the amount and quality of the light from the HS2.

Next, comfort:
I think a lot of manufacturers and users tend to overlook this too often. I’ve ran with headlamps that will outshine the Sun, but are unbearably uncomfortable on your head, or at least on my head. And others that are light as a feather and barely noticeable when you wear them, but offer very little in terms of battery life and Lumens. So it all boils down to balance for me. Especially when a headlamp goes beyond the 100gram range. This is when they tend to bob and bounce a lot, then you tighten the strap and give yourself a migraine.

The HS2, in my opinion handles the “comfort level” exceptionally well. I was a bit concerned when I saw the 115gram weigh-in, but my concerns were put to bed the minute it got on my head. The battery pack is curved (with a foam insert) so no awkward block at the back of your head. And the front…this is so simple, yet genius, the doubling up of the strap means you never have the plastic side “bars” of the light unit touch your forehead, only the strap. It’s brilliant. It just sat nicely…a little pull, twist, shift and “aah” sweet spot. The only part(s) I found irritating are the two buckles either side of the headband you use to tighten it, they sit and rub on top of my ears. But this is specific to me I think as everyone’s preferred fit will be different in terms of headband tightness.



Now normally I would wrap it up right about here, BUT…what I discovered when I took the headlamp “apart” to give the strap a wash, is that you can actually mount the front unit to the back of a cap or visor, depending on the cap/visor of course. Then run a cable to a battery bank with a USB output in your pocket or hydration pack. This means, you can cut down on some weight on you head and some bulk in your pack. The front unit only weighs in at 30g. A particular scenario which I think this can be very useful is during an Ultra. And I’m referring to something like the Addo 100Miler from my experience, but the same can apply to any Ultra which you’ll potentially be running deep into the night. Because with this type of setup you’ll be able you to carry less bulk (minus the strap and battery) as you’re likely to carry a battery bank/power bank anyways to charge your watch or whatever. Your cap then serves as the headband so you don’t have to take it off when it gets dark, you just swing it around, rig the headlamp in, connect and of you go.



This setup isn’t perfect and you’ll probably find your cap won’t work as the strap is to wide or whatever, and I don’t believe (correct me if I’m wrong) Olight intended this type of setup when they developed the HS2, but it opened up the idea for me of maybe looking at a headlamp a little differently…multi-mountable / wearable if you will. If there is maybe a clip(s) that could be included with the light that will actually allow you to fix the light unit to the brim of your cap etc.…something to think about.


Also, following the above setup, I found running the light directly from certain USB battery banks doesn’t work perfectly all the time. I only have one Power bank which it works with(pictured). The other two: it turns on and you can switch modes etc. but after about 20 seconds or so the light would start to blink. I’m not sure if this is because of that particular power bank’s output voltage/amp is outside the operating parameters and triggers a safety mechanism in the driver or something. I also, for purpose of the experiment, plugging the light into a standard cellphone charger and the USB port from my PC and both worked fine, so you’ll just gave to try your own power banks to see if it works or not. Even though all 3 of mine identical, two of them must be faulty…the batteries /circuitry inside must be damaged or they have slightly different outputs. Nonetheless, the setup works and big thumbs up to Olight for adding that feature.

So in conclusion:
The Olight HS2 is a fantastic headlamp in my opinion. Battery life is plenty for a Ultra distance race. The beam pattern and spread of light is phenomenal in my opinion, as a runner. The location of the switch did take some getting used to, and the comfort factor is really good for me. The build quality is really really good!! and it’s backed by a 5 Year Warranty. I’ll take the HS2 over any other light from your local outdoor shop, any day. This is a very good headlamp for anyone looking to upgrade, or is maybe looking to buy their first headlamp. If you’re like me: I like to buy things once, this is a very good buy. I believe you get what you pay for, and this light is no exception. It's a very welcome addition to my headlamp arsenal, and I think chances are very good for the HS2 to show up at my next Ultra.:naughty:
 

zs&tas

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jan 5, 2009
Messages
1,075
Location
UK
Really enjoyed reading that thanks ! ;)
Its definitely a well thought out system.
 

regulator

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 22, 2006
Messages
1,221
Just received mine today. It is very compact and comfortable to wear. Having a slim and lightweight polymere battery and small front light really helps. There is very little "protruding" that would contribute to making it bounce. I like the output/runtime for such a compact light. I think Olight hit a homerun.
 

Rekkie

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Messages
53
Really enjoyed reading that thanks ! ;)
Its definitely a well thought out system.
Thanks! [emoji3] Pleasantly surprised. I think the HS2 will do well amongst the trail runners.

A home run without a doubt!
 
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