REAL WORLD REVIEWS – HELIUS Sigma VI

Wurkkos

zespectre

Flashlight Enthusiast
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May 21, 2005
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REAL WORLD REVIEWS – HELIUS Sigma VI
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A brief opening note about the "Real World Reviews"
At this point many fellow "flashaholics" have developed very sophisticated and detailed methods for measuring nearly every conceivable technical aspect of the illumination products on the market. The "Real World Reviews" acknowledge the existence of the detailed technical reviews (and I'll link to them below if I can) but will not re-hash all of that tech data. Instead the focus of the "Real World Reviews" is to take that "laboratory" informa**tion out into real world conditions to give the reader an idea of how the numbers translate into actual use.
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Technical Review (done by someone else):


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Intended Use: Keychain/Every Day Carry (EDC
Power Source: 10180 Li-ion battery, 80 mAh/3.5v (recharge in-light via USB)
Average Cost: $26.00 (USD)

What you get:


  • Nicely laid out Packaging
  • HELIUS Sigma VI light
  • Short “charge only” Micro-USB cable
  • Small split ring and two spare “O” rings
  • Some documentation
[URL="https://i.imgur.com/UlQoZyS.jpg%5b/img"]https://i.imgur.com/UlQoZyS.jpg[/img[/URL]]

[img][URL="https://i.imgur.com/UKPnmBu.jpg%5b/img"]https://i.imgur.com/UKPnmBu.jpg[/img[/URL]]


[B][U]Initial Impression(s):[/U][/B]

[B]One item that needs to be addressed immediately is that HELIUS has produced three lights that could be confused for each other.[/B]

[LIST=1]
[*]The Sigma VI (the light being reviewed here) with a GITD (Glow in the Dark) insert
[*]The Sigma VI “short” which has no “glowy part” and is therefore about half the length
[*]The Sigma IX which is identical in appearance to the VI, but has a tritium tube for the glow, not a GITD insert and is double the price.
[/LIST]

[B]This light[/B] is roughly the same size as most of the “AAA” type keychain lights like the Coast G19 or the Olight i3E EOS. The main difference is the power source being a 3.7v 10180. Since it is machined out of stainless steel and then polished you get an extremely sturdy feeling light with a surprising amount of heft to it. My big confession here is that I bought this light completely based on looks as the polished stainless and cutouts around the GITD insert give it a very distinct high-tech look.
As with nearly all lights I receive, this one needed a quick swipe of Nyogel on the threads and “O” rings before it felt smooth in operation but even this didn’t change the fact that the threads seem to be cut very sharply with micro-burrs that catch at your finger if you run it over the threads. This doesn’t affect function at all but indicates a certain level of machining to me. Interestingly the cut-outs for the GITD insert are also cut extremely square on the edges, nearly enough to create a sharp edge. On one hand this improves grip on an otherwise slippery polished stainless surface, on the other hand I could see this causing micro-cuts on the pads of your fingers in use.

The emitter is a Cree XP-G2 (S4) in the 6000-6500k color range sitting behind some form of TIR optic and is decently recessed to provide sufficient protection against damage and the Micro-USB charging port is hidden under the head. This design is a bit better than many others as you don’t have to completely remove the head to charge. When mostly unscrewed the head reveals the charge port on one side and a small indicator light on the other.

[B]The interface[/B] is a simple “twist on, twist more to go up a light level” type. A very straightforward and well known format. There is a fairly large range between coming on and going to “HI” which I appreciated. There is [B]no PWM[/B] flicker on the lower light level mode.

[B]The beam[/B] is biased toward throw, the TIR optic producing a mild hot-spot that blends into a wider beam with a modest side spill. I tend to prefer more of a “controlled flood” for this type of keychain light but I can appreciate that this beam might be very useful for peering into nooks and corners or for tasks like finding jammed paper in a printer. Because of the throw, this light has surprising range for it’s category.

[B][U]Output (Per manufacturer):[/U][/B]
[B]Mode 1 (20 Lumens/4.5hr):[/B] suitable for night in-house use, map reading, et-al.
[B]Mode 2 (130 Lumens/0.5hr):[/B] suitable for "general" indoor flashlight use or close to moderate distance outdoor use.

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The “Standard evening walk” begins with illuminating 3” circular reflectors and then seeing if I can make out the trees to which they are attached (neutral brown bark). Part Two then takes place over either a 1.5 or a 2.5 mile loop on an unlit and mostly open grassy area with a few trees, and then ends going through a short, steep, uphill/downhill gravel trail surrounded by trees and heavy undergrowth which I call the "confidence course".

[B]Target Test[/B]
[B]Target 1: 30ft [10yd/09M][/B]......... Illuminated in mode 1+
[B]Target 2: 60ft [20yd/18M][/B]......... Illuminated in mode 1+
[B]Target 3: 120ft [40yd/36M][/B]......... Illuminated in mode 2
[B]Target 4: 180ft [60yd/54M][/B]......... Beyond design capabilities
[B]Target 5: 300ft [100yd/91M][/B]...... Beyond design capabilities
[B]Target 6: 450ft [150yd/137M][/B].... Beyond design capabilities
[B]Target 7: 600ft [200yd/182M][/B].... Beyond design capabilities
[B]Target 8: 750ft [250yd/228M][/B].... Beyond design capabilities

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[B][U]The Walk[/U][/B]
The night was pleasant and mild and fairly dark so my eyes were well dark adapted by the time I began the walk. The throw biased beam was sufficient for moderate confidence on the paved part of the trail when set at [B]Mode 1 (20 Lumens/4.5hr)[/B]. Switching up to [B]Mode 2 (130 Lumens/0.5hr) [/B]was far more appropriate for walking and gave a nice even view of the ground throughout the walk but of course also greatly reduced runtime. Very good performance from a light not really intended as a “walk around” type. Leaving this light on “HI” does cause the head to start heating up and there doesn’t seem to be any kind of thermal management. Given that this isn’t really a “walk around” light I skipped the “Confidence course” part of the walk and went straight to my garage, popped the hood of my car and just “looked around” doing the sort of normal checks and work you’d often use a keychain light for. I also used it to peek into a computer case, look inside a heating duct, and remove a jammed piece of paper from a printer. The light was handy and very functional for all of these tasks.

The lowest setting [B]Mode 1 (20 Lumens/4.5hr)[/B] is on the bright side for a night time “bathroom run” but the well-controlled beam kept it from disturbing my spouse or my dog. I did notice a distinct habit of flickering if you jostle the head while in “LO” mode. This doesn’t happen in “HI”. The GITD tube in the handle was a nice touch for finding the light in the dark. Like most GITD stuff, when it is “charged” with another light it glows pretty brightly and then dims down rapidly, however it does seem to hit a threshold where it softly glows for many hours and is easily seen by dark-adapted eyes.

Recharging was convenient and I think the way HELIUS set up the charging indicator is good and gives you plenty of information as to what the light is doing. Charging on a 1A USB plug tops the light off in a very reasonable amount of time.

[B][U]CONS:[/U][/B]

[LIST]
[*]Sits in the “larger/heavier” range for a modern keychain light.
[*]GITD insert needs a pretty bright light to “charge” for glowing.
[*]“Lo” can flicker if you jostle the head of the light
[*]Machined edges are distressingly sharp
[/LIST]

[B][U]PROS:[/U][/B]

[LIST]
[*]This is a very pretty/attractive/distinct looking light
[*]GITD makes it an easy to find nightstand light
[*]Integrated charging works very well (approx. 1hr from dead to full charge).
[*]Battery capacity is well balanced with the light modes for its intended use (pocket keychain light).
[*]TIR optic gives good beam control
[*]Easy/intuitive interface.
[/LIST]


[B][U]Summary:[/U][/B]
I can’t say it enough, I –really- like the way this light looks. It is the sort of thing that would make a very classy “presentation light” for someone. Overall performance and function fall within the “standards” for this class of light, nothing outstanding but it seems to be a good solid performer.

[B][U]Final conclusion:[/U][/B]
4 (of 5) Photons (Good light, worth buying).
 
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