REVIEW: Fenix HL23 headlamp

Flyingtest

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Joined
Dec 11, 2015
Messages
9
(Picture heavy)

Hello everyone!

As this is my first post I thought I'd do something useful with it, a review of a light that has not been reviewed before: the Fenix HL23 headlamp.:)

HL23.png


This headlamp is a compact IPX-8 waterproof LED light running on one AA battery. It has a Cree XP-G2 cool white LED with orange peel reflector.

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The LED driver in this headlamp is current controlled, so the LED will retain the same brightness until the battery is nearly empty. The light has 3 output modes.

On the side, there is an electronic soft-touch switch that lets you control the light. This also means the light has parasitic drain.

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Press and hold the switch for 1 second to activate the light. It always starts on the high output, which is according to specifications about 150 lumens. Quick press the switch to go to low, 3 lumens, press again to go to medium, 50 lumens, and press again to go to high. After this the sequence repeats.
Press the switch and hold for 1 second to turn the light off.

The hotspot looks uniform thanks to it's orange peel reflector, is quite large, and has a smooth transition to the spill. This is mainly usefull for close range illumination.

(Low)
Low.png

(Medium)
Medium.png

(High)
High.png



Here it is next to the hotspot of a Fenix LD10, which has a cool white Cree XP-G LED, with a deeper smooth reflector. Both lights are on their highest output. I seem to have lost the LED lotery with this headlamp, it has a strong shift towards green/yellow. As you can see the HL23 has a large hotspot.

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The headlamp is made of durable type 3 anodized aluminium and the holder is made of sturdy plastic. It has a solid feel and gives the impression it can stand rough handle.

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The LED is thermicaly connected to the outer case which functions as heatsink. I noticed that in static room temperature air the light can become quite hot on the highest setting, also the brightness decreases slightly because of this heat.


The whole light can rotate 180 degrees around in it's holder, which has teeth to hold the light in a certain angle. The light is not detachable from the holder. Those teeth are by the way only partialy present, when you want to point the light up or far down there are no splines. I think the teeth is a weak design that could wear out by excessive use, so best is to rotate the light as little as possible.

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The battery compartiment opens on the side with a screw on cap. It has a good outer profile for grip to help tighten and loosen it. On the side of the switch there is the same profile to help you turning the screw cap.

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The thread is, as often with Fenix lights, square, which aids waterproofness. On the end is a rubber ring. The whole screw thread is annodized, so lock-out of the light is possible for traveling or long storage.

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There is plentyfull of room for an AA battery, so the fatter aa's out there should also fit nicely.

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The light comes with an elastic headband, which is about 3,5 centimeters wide and feels soft and durable. The length of the band can be adjusted with a buckle.
The headband can be removed from the light holder, so you can use the light for other purposes, with a tie-wrap as helmet light for example.

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Technical info (based on a fresh 2000mah nimh battery):

Output (lumens, these are manufacturer spec).
high: 150
medium: 50
low: 3

Runtime.
high: 55 minutes, after this automatic step down to medium.
medium: 5 to 6 hours
low: 80 hours

Weight (with nimh AA battery).
~100 grams.

Current drain from battery.
high: 2,1 A
medium: 0,36 A
low: 26 mA

Parasitic drain: 0,013 mA. The battery will be empty from parasitic drain alone after 18 years.


Verdict:

Pros:
compact, IPX-8 waterproof, nice design, operable with one hand, sturdy, lock-out, runs on one AA.

Mediocre: average brightness for outdoor use. No soft cushion between the light and your head (only the elastic band).

Cons: parasitic drain, fragile-looking rotation mechanism.

I give it a score of: 8 out of 10.


Well, I hope this review was usefull. I like to hear your response! :huh:
 
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KeepingItLight

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May 25, 2015
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California
:welcome: Welcome! Thanks for the review.

It looks like you are using Base64-encoded inline images. I do not think those work at CPF.

You need to resize your pictures so the largest dimension is 800 pixels or less, and then upload them to an image hosting site such as postimage.org. From there, copy the direct link, and use it in messages at CPF.

Hope that helps.
 

Flyingtest

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Dec 11, 2015
Messages
9
I use firefox and just dragged and dropped the images into the post. But it seems that doesn't go very well. I'd love to edit my post and fix it, but editing is impossible! :duh2:

EDIT: first post fixed :grin2:
 
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KeepingItLight

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I use firefox and just dragged and dropped the images into the post. But it seems that doesn't go very well. I'd love to edit my post and fix it, but editing is impossible! :duh2:


Reply to this post. That will get you the third post you need so the moderators can give you standard posting/editing privileges. Wait a day or two for your status to be updated. Come back and edit your original post.

Gotta hand it to you. Turning in a review on your first post is pretty amazing. Have you been reading CPF for a while?
 

Flyingtest

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Dec 11, 2015
Messages
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Thanks! I indeed have been reading it for some time. I used CPF mainly as a source for reviews now and then. Then I saw no one had reviewed this light, and someone even complained about it. I am quite a gadget freak and focus on the product details, so I thought heck I make a review about it.:grin2:
 
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Flyingtest

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Dec 11, 2015
Messages
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I have almost finished a review of a well known bicycle headlight, that has by the way also not been reviewed before. Look for it in the bicycle section.
 
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Flyingtest

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Dec 11, 2015
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Gracias, good to know they do work now. UPDATE: I had written some summarized technical info that I forgot to put in, see the first post.:)
 
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Prepped

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Aug 16, 2015
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I'm more inclined to buy the HL50, seeing as I can choose between AA and CR123.
 

Flyingtest

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Joined
Dec 11, 2015
Messages
9
I'm more inclined to buy the HL50, seeing as I can choose between AA and CR123.
When I bought the HL23, the HL50 wasn't on the market yet.

AA has by the way some specific advantages over CR123. If you are for instance somewhere deep in Africa or something, you can better have a light that runs on the well available AA battery.

@Joseph Mosser: check https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IP_Code. The battery is a Sanyo Eneloop AA.
 
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marinemaster

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Mar 1, 2003
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Atlanta, GA
Thanks for the review.

Typical Fenix, they are a manufacturer not a flashlight maker. Headlamp turn on by default to High 150 lumens.....instead of Low level, just go to show they no idea about headlamps. Try that in a middle of the night camping or hiking , it ruins the whole purpose of using a headlight.
 
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blah9

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Mar 10, 2011
Messages
2,055
Thanks for the review.

Typical Fenix, they are a manufacturer not a flashlight maker. Headlamp turn on by default to High 150 lumens.....instead of Low level, just go to show they no idea about headlamps. Try that in a middle of the night camping or hiking , it ruins the whole purpose of using a headlight.

True, good point. I almost always have my lights set to start on low for that reason.
 

Walterk

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Jan 21, 2010
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Location
Netherlands
You can make the light a flood light.
Unscrew the bezel, remove reflector, put something in place to keep led pressed in place.
 
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