Armytek Wizard Pro v3 headlamp/right angle review (18650, XHP50)

Dio

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Thanks for the info. If true, that makes them liars. One more reason to stay away from them if you so choose.




I believe their lights, construction wise, should be and are tougher. However, it hasn't been determined whether they are CONSISTENTLY as impact and water resistant TO THE DEGREE AT advertises. I'm personally turned off by their persistent exaggeration of output, throw, and runtime performance. The out of box reliability of their lights is also a gamble. I'm therefore not a bit surprised that AT doesn't have a bigger share of the market.

To those who still willingly choose AT, I simply try to help them along. If they get a light they're happy with, great. If they don't, then that's fewer that will buy AT in the future. It's a win-win situation.

I bought an Armytek Predator Pro as one of my first 'high end lights'. It no longer gets used. Not only was I mislead about where they are made, my personal experience (and MANY others' it seems) with their warranty/product support is absolutely pathetic.

I didn't initially know but the PP I purchased came with the lens installed backwards and as such, a simple wipe of the lens with a soft cotton cloth rendered many clearly visable scratches on the exposed surface. From my initial Lux tests, about 10-15% was lost over the initial numbers due to what is the equivalent of 'lens fogging' albeit permanent due to actually scratching up the AR coating which should have been facing the emitter not the user.

I contacted AT after I worked out what was going on (removed lens, wiped other side and no more scratches appeared, wiped originally exposed side some more and low and behold, further scratching occurred) which was about a month after receiving it and was basically abused and called an idiot for wiping the AR coated side.......ahhhh well, had you not sent it out with the wrong side exposed it wouldn't have happened....they basically said I should have been able to tell that the AR coating was facing the wrong way, flipped it and called it a day. I asked how exactly a user is to know without obvious signs like scratching and received no further response despite resending the email another two times over the course of a few weeks. Get stuffed if you call that customer service!!!

It has also been long established that AT are straight up trying to scam/mislead consumers based on their CANADIAN MANUFACTURER claims. They have absolutely no production done anywhere but China. No matter how many times they are called out on this, they refuse to change their wording so for me that is the 1st reason not to buy from them as a new user - I just wish I knew this before looking into whether or not others had issues.

It seems to read like this: customer A has a great experience or customer B has a terrible experience so flip a coin, you might get lucky but I'd never take my chances again.

Then you have the outright dangerous operation of the new high powered models. Seems they just had to one-up everyone else and make a headlamp that produced an absolutely insane output but neglected simple safety features like functional thermal management like Zebralight. So so many users have reported their XHP-50 headlamps getting to near scalding temperature before THEY THEMSELVES shut it down as the light simply doesn't do what it is supposed to..

Not really surprising as they couldn't even get the lesser powered headlamps working for a number of years (did they ever!?!) as I read numerous reports of users receiving defective models in their infancy only to send them back and literally wait months and months - some over a year - with no light, no communication and no refund.

At the end of the day, anybody foolish enough to know all of this and still buy (DO YOU LIKE GAMBLING???) an AT really has money to burn if you ask me. It's kinda like throwing your money out the window of your car at a busy intersection and hoping to find it in a weeks time. No thanks...
 

Chad Varnadore

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That was straight from the horse's mouth.
Sorry if it read like I was vouching for Armytek. I wasn't and I won't.



Thanks for the info. If true, that makes them liars. One more reason to stay away from them if you so choose.




I believe their lights, construction wise, should be and are tougher. However, it hasn't been determined whether they are CONSISTENTLY as impact and water resistant TO THE DEGREE AT advertises. I'm personally turned off by their persistent exaggeration of output, throw, and runtime performance. The out of box reliability of their lights is also a gamble. I'm therefore not a bit surprised that AT doesn't have a bigger share of the market.

To those who still willingly choose AT, I simply try to help them along. If they get a light they're happy with, great. If they don't, then that's fewer that will buy AT in the future. It's a win-win situation.

Thanks for the response. At this point I don't know whether to write off their email support as just being a new or poorly trained rep, who wasn't familiar with their product yet, or a warning to steer clear. They'd hardly be the first online site to hire completely unqualified first tier support lines. Though that still doesn't explain or excuse why my initial email was bumped to a more qualified operator, if the agent who responded couldn't even follow the questions. Their are a number of amazon vendors selling Armytek, but Armytek's own amazon store appears to be rather new, based on how few feedback ratings they've received, which wasn't pretty - I think it was only 60% positive when I looked the other day. At the moment I'm wishing I didn't pass on Gear Best's $30 price on the Skilhunt H03 a week ago. I could have gotten 2 for the price of one comparable LED Armytek or 3 for the price of the XHP50 Wizard and had one or two to spare should I drop another light when working off a ladder.
 

Chad Varnadore

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I bought an Armytek Predator Pro as one of my first 'high end lights'. It no longer gets used. Not only was I mislead about where they are made, my personal experience (and MANY others' it seems) with their warranty/product support is absolutely pathetic.

I didn't initially know but the PP I purchased came with the lens installed backwards and as such, a simple wipe of the lens with a soft cotton cloth rendered many clearly visable scratches on the exposed surface. From my initial Lux tests, about 10-15% was lost over the initial numbers due to what is the equivalent of 'lens fogging' albeit permanent due to actually scratching up the AR coating which should have been facing the emitter not the user.

I contacted AT after I worked out what was going on (removed lens, wiped other side and no more scratches appeared, wiped originally exposed side some more and low and behold, further scratching occurred) which was about a month after receiving it and was basically abused and called an idiot for wiping the AR coated side.......ahhhh well, had you not sent it out with the wrong side exposed it wouldn't have happened....they basically said I should have been able to tell that the AR coating was facing the wrong way, flipped it and called it a day. I asked how exactly a user is to know without obvious signs like scratching and received no further response despite resending the email another two times over the course of a few weeks. Get stuffed if you call that customer service!!!

It has also been long established that AT are straight up trying to scam/mislead consumers based on their CANADIAN MANUFACTURER claims. They have absolutely no production done anywhere but China. No matter how many times they are called out on this, they refuse to change their wording so for me that is the 1st reason not to buy from them as a new user - I just wish I knew this before looking into whether or not others had issues.

It seems to read like this: customer A has a great experience or customer B has a terrible experience so flip a coin, you might get lucky but I'd never take my chances again.

Then you have the outright dangerous operation of the new high powered models. Seems they just had to one-up everyone else and make a headlamp that produced an absolutely insane output but neglected simple safety features like functional thermal management like Zebralight. So so many users have reported their XHP-50 headlamps getting to near scalding temperature before THEY THEMSELVES shut it down as the light simply doesn't do what it is supposed to..

Not really surprising as they couldn't even get the lesser powered headlamps working for a number of years (did they ever!?!) as I read numerous reports of users receiving defective models in their infancy only to send them back and literally wait months and months - some over a year - with no light, no communication and no refund.

At the end of the day, anybody foolish enough to know all of this and still buy (DO YOU LIKE GAMBLING???) an AT really has money to burn if you ask me. It's kinda like throwing your money out the window of your car at a busy intersection and hoping to find it in a weeks time. No thanks...


Thanks for that. I thought it was Olight that was supposed to be making people nervous wearing their light on their head? Maybe I need to look closer at Nitecore and Zebralight or just wait for Skilhunt to drop back to half price again. I've already seen them under $35 twice in the past few months. Or maybe a $30 Wowtac.
 

Dio

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Thanks for that. I thought it was Olight that was supposed to be making people nervous wearing their light on their head? Maybe I need to look closer at Nitecore and Zebralight or just wait for Skilhunt to drop back to half price again. I've already seen them under $35 twice in the past few months. Or maybe a $30 Wowtac.

I've got over a dozen ZL's so I may be biased but IMO you really can't touch them in terms of usability and reliability. I have read of the Olights getting very hot but that really just comes down to how hard it is manage heat on something isolated from thermal relief (like your hand drawing heat away or very low ambient temps) which isn't to say that they are dangerous in that regard.

IMO the danger with the Olight in question is the iffy charging contacts reportedly being able to create sparks in the event they are shorted out. I would trust Olight to have their thermal management under control but some users may still find they are less than comfortable with how hot they can get.

With the ZL the thermal management is user programable to an extent - from 'stock' you can go 5 levels less severe meaning thermal management will allow it to get hotter before throttling output back or 5 levels more severe meaning it will drop output down at a lower threshold which means the light wont get as hot. Basically the hotter you allow it to get is up to your choosing. With thermal management all the way down, even a ZL will get uncomfortably hot for some users.

I prefer to err on the side of caution and set it to cut output at a lower temp threshold. This also benefits runtimes as less energy is wasted trying to maintain a high output...LEDs run far more efficient at lower temps AFAIK..
 

Chad Varnadore

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Thanks again. The Zebralight headlamp sounds very good, great in fact. Though I couldn't find a drop rating on their site. But I assume it's about the same as most, since their water rating was consistent with other lights, maybe a little deeper. Most of the consumer reviews I found have been overwhelmingly positive. Unfortunately, I had to cross it off my list for lack of a pocket clip and no magnetic tail. I could have probably gotten by without the magnetic end, as I've got plenty of small craft magnets I could have stuck to it myself (or glued rather, if the tailcap is aluminum like the casing) to achieve the same purpose - at least I don't assume such would have had ill effects on the battery or circuitry, if it wasn't designed for such. But, no pocket clip was a deal breaker for my application. Which was odd considering their AA headlamps include clips, but none of their 18650 models do.
 

Chad Varnadore

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Well, after much deliberation while reading loads of consumer complaints and praise - truthfully it was as much burnout from reading and watching videos on the same topic for two weeks without a convincing conclusion one way or the other - I picked a horse and gambled on what made me so excited in the first place, the Armytek. I ended up buying through an Amazon(US) vendor though, who would at least respond to my pre-sell questions, assuring me they're shipping the latest model or the one with cooling fins anyway. A couple other buyers from the same listing reported getting the newer version too. And being Prime, I'm covered by amazon for at least 30 days while I test it out, not to mention it'll be here a lot faster than if it were to ship from Canada or China, and I needed it weeks ago. The Olight was the runner up. I almost bought both, but I just don't need two, especially if the Wizard is even half as tough as Armytek claims. I'd have loved to see the extra brightness Olight has pulled out of the XHP50. But the top switch just didn't seem as functional for one handed operation. And, in my work, it's a foregone conclusion I'll end up dropping the thing more than 4.5 feet at some point. Oh well... fingers crossed, I didn't pass up the $30 Skilhunt sale again for nothing. Though, if the Armytek doesn't pan out, and I doubt I'll give them a second chance if it doesn't, I'll probably opt for the Olight and tack on a few years of accident protection for another $15.


BTW, anybody tried charging a magnetic charging Wizard off Olights magnetic charging stand? Any reason that wouldn't work?
 
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Kaban

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Can you charge this Armytek (or the Olight for that matter) with a USB car (cigarette lighter) charger or through a USB wall charging block?
 
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Kaban

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So which one is the preferred light the Armytek or the Olight H2R?

The only thing I was never a fan of on my Armytek Predators is the complex UI. Having dozens of lights, I never remember how to work the damn thing after not using it for a while.
 

maukka

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Considering the latest version of the H2R doesn't leak current out of the tailcap anymore, I think it's one of the best 18650 headlamps on the market. The UI is subjective of course, but there's no denying that the Olight is more efficient than the Armytek so you get more out of your battery. Then again, Armytek's temperature regulation is more sophisticated.

Which one would I choose then? Neither. I love my Skilhunt H03 with a high CRI Nichia 219C 4000K.

But if Armytek comes out with a high CRI Nichia 144A version of the Wizard Pro...
 

Chad Varnadore

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Considering the latest version of the H2R doesn't leak current out of the tailcap anymore, I think it's one of the best 18650 headlamps on the market. The UI is subjective of course, but there's no denying that the Olight is more efficient than the Armytek so you get more out of your battery. Then again, Armytek's temperature regulation is more sophisticated.

Which one would I choose then? Neither. I love my Skilhunt H03 with a high CRI Nichia 219C 4000K.

But if Armytek comes out with a high CRI Nichia 144A version of the Wizard Pro...

Is there some place to send a Skilhunt for such modification? I've got a H03 that won't turn on 2/3 of the time, but when it does turn on it seems to still operate fine, so I don't know if it might be worth fixing or if the modification would also fix the problem. It fell about 5 feet onto concrete and hasn't worked right since.

I was under the impression the Olight had higher temporary peak output, but that the Armytek had higher sustained output. Is that not correct?
 
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Kaban

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Whose warranty department is better to deal with and quicker/less pain in the butt in case something happens? Olight or Armytek?
 

Chad Varnadore

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Whose warranty department is better to deal with and quicker/less pain in the butt in case something happens? Olight or Armytek?

Since nobody with actual experience is responding, I'll try to help. Based on months of reading customer discussion and reviews and watching video reviews, and spending several hours per day doing nothing but such for the past 2-3 weeks in particular, focused on the Armytek and Olight line, one would expect Armytek to have the better warranty support, being that their warranty is 10 years no hassle and their lights are rated to be virtually indestructible, so there shouldn't be any question of abuse in warranty claims. Where the Olight is 5 years and only rated for the bare minimum impact and waterproofing, no better than a $20 light, which is essentially no impact resistance adequate to protect the electronics inside themselves.

That said, a lot of what I've read leaves one with a distinct impression that Armytek might give better service to reviewers and customers who live in Canada, the country they're based in. While the light itself is supposed to be virtually indestructible, quality control or replication consistency seems to more problematic for Armytek than Olight. Meaning, it would seem you're more likely to get a defective Armytek than a defective Olight. Still, those who haven't had problems, swear by Armytek in such a absolute manner, one wouldn't want to even consider another brand. And even many who have had problems seem to feel the same. Again, reviewers who've had problems, which seems to be most of them, which is kind of scary, all seem to think very highly of Armytek's post-sell support. Customers outside of Canada have reported significantly less satisfaction, from non-responsive email support, to not living up to their idea of hassle-free, compared to the likes of Surefire. But, most people who are satisfied with any product don't post about it. Those who have problems represent a disproportionate amount of feedback found online for most products. One can reasonably assume the same is true for flashlights.

In all my research, I really don't remember reading any personal experiences with Olights customer support, good or bad, which I took to be more praise for their quality control than their actual support department. But most of the reviews of the Olight appeared to come from new customers who's previous experience with flashlights in general were incandescent or the kind of cheap LEDs that are featured in amazon lightning deals daily for $5-$15. Outside of this board and video reviews, most customer feedback I read didn't appear to even be aware of Armytek, as they credited Olight for unique innovation that as I understand it Armytek came out with first - you know the kind of "best flashlight ever made (first quality LED I ever bought)" type of reasoning.
 
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Kaban

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I almost pulled the trigger on the Wizard Pro V3 last night, but came to my senses after reading how long it takes to recharge an 18650 with their provided USB charger.

For me it's a deal breaker. I realized I do not need a light with 2000+ lumens. I don't even need a light with 1000 lumens. 500 is good enough for me.

Is there any option out there for rechargeable headlamps that offer much quicker charge times than 5+ hours (as needed in the Wizard Pro)? I do not need crazy output so my though was maybe a smaller battery light would require less charge time?

Any input?
 

Chad Varnadore

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I almost pulled the trigger on the Wizard Pro V3 last night, but came to my senses after reading how long it takes to recharge an 18650 with their provided USB charger.

For me it's a deal breaker. I realized I do not need a light with 2000+ lumens. I don't even need a light with 1000 lumens. 500 is good enough for me.

Is there any option out there for rechargeable headlamps that offer much quicker charge times than 5+ hours (as needed in the Wizard Pro)? I do not need crazy output so my though was maybe a smaller battery light would require less charge time?

Any input?


It's another "crazy output" light - uses the XHP50 LED, same as the Wizard - but the Olight H2R is said to charge very fast, and features the same USB magnetic charging. I can't recall reading any exact charging times though, just general impressions with it's charging speed, which some sounded rather hyperbolic, but I do remember at least one saying it was considerably faster than Armytek. Sorry, I don't remember specifics. It wasn't a high priority for me. If I need more than one battery in a day, I always keep an extra 18650 or two charged and ready. You could also invest in a stand alone universal battery charger that'll charge faster, like some from Nitecore, Eastshine, etc.
 

Chad Varnadore

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This is one seriously schizophrenic charging interface. I assume that having to loosen the tailcap for charging is at least partly how they prevent it from shorting when in use. But aside from it being the new gold standard for slow charging, it's extremely finicky as well. I finally got the tail cap positioned where it seemed to stay solid red, indicating it's charging. Seven hours later I'm wondering why this things not green yet. I move it maybe a half inch and it turns green indicating it's through. What timing right? I start to disconnect the magnetic charger and it turns red again!?! It's just flipping back and forth between red and green with every movement. So, I take the battery out and put it in my universal charger/tester and it shows it's still only about 2/3 charged after 7 hours!!?!! So, I left it in the universal charger and popped a Lumintop (rebadged Panasonic cell) button top 18650 in the Wizard, as I wanted to see what it could do before hitting the sack. Grabbed the Klarus XT12GT too and went outside. WOW! This thing is brighter in turbo than I expected and the Olight is supposed to be significantly brighter still? Makes me really want to see the XHP50 version of the Viking! Standard bright should be more than adequate for work though, and it seems to stay relatively cool in standard modes. Twenty minutes go by and I check the Armytek cell and it's almost fully charged with the Eastshine charger set to fast charge (I want to say 1000mah, but the mah part might be the wrong terminology). I check again at 30 minutes and it's already done. I figure the Wizard magnetic charging couldn't do in 7 hours what the Eastshine could have done in 2 hours max. I really like the light so far, but I'm concerned the charger isn't working properly, being how it so easily flips between green and red. Armytek should have realized making the charger to remain green, even when disconnected from the light, would be problematic.

Any chance of user error on my part? Is there a trick to beyond what the instructions tell you? I was charging via a computer USB. Next time I'll try a USB tied directly to an outlet.

My only other concern so far is with the impact resistance rating. Armytek's site claims 10 meters. But the box only claims half that. Which is a pretty big difference. It's still at least 3x what anybody else rates theirs for, but being that they redesigned the light with cooling fins, it begs the question, did redesigning the light decrease it's impact resistance? Or did they do further testing and discover their original claims were overly optimistic? Or maybe it's just a case of the company that printed the box messing up.

Like I said, I tried the light with a 3400mAh protected Lumintop (Panasonic cell) and it worked perfectly as far as I could tell. However, the Lumintop is about 1/8 or an inch taller than the 3200mAh Armytek cell that comes with the light, not including the button on the top. Any reason why using the longer button top Lumintop might be bad for the light?
 

maukka

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If you charged using a USB2.0 port, it may well take nearly 10 hours to fully charge the battery, since they only supply 500mA. With a 3.0 port you should be closer to the 7 hours I tested. For these sort of problems it is always handy to have an inline USB power meter.
 

Chad Varnadore

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If you charged using a USB2.0 port, it may well take nearly 10 hours to fully charge the battery, since they only supply 500mA. With a 3.0 port you should be closer to the 7 hours I tested. For these sort of problems it is always handy to have an inline USB power meter.

Thanks. It was 2.0.
 

Chad Varnadore

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BTW. Armytek got back with me saying their site was correct on the impact resistance being 10 meters. She said the 5 meter rating was a mistake on their first batch of boxes. If so, that also would seem to confirm what an amazon vendor told me about the non-fin pictures being from a pre-production version of the light, that all production units have featured cooling fins. Since mine came with fins and the misprinted box... Still, it's rather fishy. I suppose they could have printed more boxes than they made lights originally, since an amazon customer claimed he received the non-fin version direct from armytek. Which I'm inclined to believe him, considering soon after I brought his review to Armytek's attention, they removed the picture with fins in the listing, rather than removing the non-fin pictures, implying the non-fin picture was correct, for the version they're selling through their US amazon store anyway.

Who knows... Maybe the original version had fins and they dropped the fins in later versions, as that would explain some things. I certainly can't tell the fins do much; they get just as hot as the head, which doesn't just get too hot to leave your hand on, it's practically too hot just to touch. This is the hottest light I've used by far. The Skilhunt got very warm in turbo, but nowhere near so hot that you practically couldn't hold your hand on it long enough to turn it off. Even the shaft gets extremely warm. In turbo 1 the switch will blink green for several minutes before turning orange. It'll stay orange for at least twice that length of time, but it's still almost too hot to clip to a shirt pocket or hold the head of the light where the switch is, long before it actually starts blinking red. I'd guess turbo 1 is usable for maybe 5-10 minutes. Turbo 2 turns orange pretty much as soon as you activate it, even before it's very warm. It turns red within a minute or two, which is so hot it makes you wish you were wearing gloves. I thought the circuitry is supposed to ramp down the brightness to keep the heat under control. If so, you can't tell it by touch. It just seems to keep getting hotter, until you take it out of turbo, even when just in turbo 1, which I thought was only supposed to be a little over 700 lumens. Nice light, but I think they should have put in at least one turbo mode that's better regulated for extended run times, or amped up the standard high mode closer to 500 lumens. At least that's my thinking today. Who knows about tomorrow...
 
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