Skilhunt H02 (XM-L2, 1x18650 2xCR123A/RCR) Headlamp Review: RUNTIME, BEAMSHOTS+

selfbuilt

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Along with the DS-series, Skilhunt has also recently released their first headlamp model, the H02. Physically, the build is similar to the DS20 (1x18650, 2xCR123A/RCR) that I recently reviewed – but adapted with a side-mounted emitter, with permanent diffuser cover.

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In this review, I will compare the H02's performance to the DS20, as well as other headlamp models that I have tested. :wave:

Manufacturer Reported Specifications:
(note: as always, these are simply what the manufacturer provides – scroll down to see my actual testing results).

  • LED: CREE XM-L2
  • Battery: 1x18650, 2x CR123A or 2xRCR123
  • Rated Range: 3V ~ 9V
  • Output and Runtime: Turbo 820 lms / 1 hr, Hi 550 lms / 1 hr 45min, Med 280 lms / 4 hrs, Lo 5 lms / 120 hrs
  • Max beam distance: 105 meters
  • Max peak beam intensity: 2800cd
  • Super bright & lastest CREE XM-L2 LED, High-performance, High-efficiency and energy conservation.
  • 960 LED lumens of light. Extremely bright headlamp powered by one 18650 Li-Ion battery.
  • Bead surface lens, wide and uniform flood beamshot. Max beam distance 105 meters.
  • Detachable straps with silicone holder, multiple, adjustable flashlight positioning loops.
  • Flat tail cap with strong magnet to secure to ferrous surfaces.
  • Rugged indestructible aluminum body with anti-scratching type III hard anodization.
  • Multi-level dissipating heat design, excellent heat dissipation.
  • Side switch button to transferring mode user-friendly interface to adjust output.
  • Four output levels and strobe, suitable for different environment.
  • Wide input range provides more choices of batteries.
  • Automatic memory function, remember bast used setting and can be preset to specific output mode for instant access.
  • Reverse polarity protection, to protect from improper battery installation.
  • Low-voltage prompts function, the light will flash when the battery is low, remind user replace the battery on time.
  • Engineered anti-slip knurling for a tightly firm grip.
  • Dual recoil absorbing springs, battery impact resistance.
  • Tail stand as a candle-light.
  • Tail hand hole design for lanyard use, to prevent accidental dropping.
  • Waterproof: IPX-8
  • Impact resistant: 1.5 Meter
  • Dimension: Length 109mm/4.29inch, Head diameter 24mm/0.94inch , Body diameter 22.8mm/0.9inch
  • Weight: 63g / 2.2 oz (without battery)
  • Accessories: Headband (Detachable straps with silicone holder ) , clip, lanyard, magnet replace O-ring, Operator’s manual, Warranty card, Spare O-ring
  • MSRP: ~$50
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The packaging is identical to the DS20, except for the inclusion of the good quality headband. Inside the standard display packaging is the light, extra o-rings, replacement gasket for the removable tailcap magnet, reversible pocket clip, warranty card and manual.

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From left to right: AW Protected 18650 2200mAh; Skilhunt DS20, H02; Nitecore HC50; Spark ST-5.

All dimensions directly measured, and given with no batteries installed:

Skilhunt H02: Weight: 61.3g, Length: 110.8mm, Width (widest): 28.0mm
Nitecore HC50: Weight 85.4g, Length: 86.0mm, Width (widest) 36.4mm

Other 1x18650 flashlights:
Eagletac D25LC2: Weight: 50.0g, Length: 116.3mm, Width (bezel): 22.5mm
Foursevens Quark Q123-2 X (Regular tailcap): Weight: 44.6g, Length: 112.7mm, Width (bezel) 22.0mm
Jetbeam PC20: Weight: 60.0g, Length: 127.5mm, Width (bezel): 22.6mm
Olight S20 (2013, XM-L2): Weight: 52.4g, Length: 106.5mm, Width (bezel): 23.1mm
Skilhunt DS20: Weight: 53.8g, Length: 110.0mm, Width (bezel): 24.0mm
Sunwayman C20C: Weight 57.6g, Length: 104.8mm. Width (bezel): 25.6mm
Thrunite TN10: Weight: 154.7g, Length: 145.5mm, Width (bezel): 35.1mm
Zebralight SC600: Weight 87.2g, Length: 107.8mm, Width (bezel) 29.7mm

Headlamps:
Olight H15S Wave: (1xLi-ion, 4xAAA): Head alone: 42.2g, Battery compartment alone: 31.0g, Battery compartment alone with OPS-H15S Li-ion battery: 58.3g, Battery compartment alone with 4xAAA: 77.3g, complete unit (with basic headband and Li-ion battery): 118.1g
Petzl Tikka XP2 (3xAAA): 52.3g, 88.4g with batteries
Spark ST5 (1xAA): Weight, 41.5g, Length 58.4mm, Width 42.8mm (max body), Width 24.0mm (bezel)
Zebralight H31w (1xCR123A): Weight: 28.6g, Length 66.9mm, Width (bezel) 22.1mm.

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Physically, the H02 is very similar to the DS20 – except for the enlarged head with side-mounted emitter (under a diffuser). The same accessories for the DS20 fit here (e.g., reversible pocket clip), and the H02 has the same removable magnet in the tailcap. :)

Despite opening at both the head and the tail, the H02 is reasonably compact for a 1x18650 class headlight. The light comes with black anodizing (gloss finish) and bright white labels. There is knurling over the body tube, but of fairly mild aggressiveness. Note the H02 shares the same body tube and tailcap with the DS20. With the raised checkered pattern and protruding switch cover, I would say overall grip is pretty good.

The headband is good quality, with lots of adjustment points. It comes with top strap as well as the side strap. The rubber attachment holds the light fairly firmly, so I wouldn't expect much accidental movement in use.

The removable clip is a nice feature, if you wanted to carry the light on you (i.e., angle-head style). It holds onto the light fairly securely.

Thanks to spring in the head, flat-top cells will work fine. Screw threads are anodized at both the tail and head regions for lock-out. Note that there are not a lot of threads at either location, but enough to do the job.

Lights can tailstand as well as headstand, and there is a split-ring/lanyard attachment hole on the side of the tailcap. More interesting, the tailcap incorporates a removable magnet that is strong enough for the light to stand horizontally off any vertical metal surface. Similar to the Olight Baton lights, the main difference here is that the tailcap springs are screwed in place over the magnet (i.e., they were spring loaded on the Baton lights). Swapping out the magnet and replacing the supplied rubber gasket is thus very simple, as long as you have a small Phillips head screwdriver handy.

The H02 shares the same interface and control mechanism as the DS20. There is an electronic switch on the head. The button cover is quite raised, making it easy to find by touch. See below for a discussion of the UI.

H02013.jpg


The H02 has a built-in diffuser cover, with a flat stainless steel bezel. This should provide wide-spread dispersed light, as opposed to a focused beam. Scroll down for specific beamshot comparisons.

User Interface

Turn the light on a single click of the eelectronic switch (i.e., rapid press release). Turn the lighs off by a sustained press-hold of the switch for ~1 sec.

There are four main output levels controlled by a click (rapid press release) of the electronic switch. Mode sequence is Lo > Med > Hi > Turbo, in a repeating loop. The light has mode memory, and retains the last level set when you turn it off/on.

Double-click the switch to jump to Strobe. You can exit at any time by a single touch of the switch. As such, there is no mode memory for strobe – you exit as soon as you press the switch.

Note that this interface is different from most lights, in that you need a sustained press to turn off, and a simple click to change modes. On most lights, it is the other way around.

You can lock out the lights by a turn of the tailcap or head.

Video:

For information on the DS-series lights and the H02 - including the build and user interface - please see my video overview:



As with all my videos, I recommend you have annotations turned on. I commonly update the commentary with additional information or clarifications before publicly releasing the video.

PWM/Strobe

Like the DS-series lights, the H02 is current-controlled – there no indication of pulse width modulation on any level. :thumbsup:

There was no circuit noise observed on the H02 on any of the constant output levels.

H02-Strobe.gif


Although the H02 has a fairly typical strobe frequency of 9.6 Hz, the on-pulse of each cycle is longer than typical (i.e., normally a 50:50 on/off cycle). It is doesn't make much of a difference visually, though. You can also see some high frequency circuit noise on the Strobe level on this light, but it is not visible in use.

Standby Drain

As the switch is electronic in a nature, a standby current drain is always present when a battery is installed and the head/tailcap fully connected. Consistent with the DS20, the standby current on my H02 was miniscule at ~23uA on an 18650. That would translate into >15 years before a 3100mAh capacity 18650 would be depleted (i.e., below the cell-discharge level of Li-ions). Not a concern. :)

Note that you can always lock out the light by a quick turn of the head or tailcap, relative to the body. This will also prevent accidental activation.

Beamshots

For white-wall beamshots below, all lights are on Max output on an AW protected 18650 battery. Lights are about ~0.75 meter from a white wall (with the camera ~1.25 meters back from the wall). Automatic white balance on the camera, to minimize tint differences.

H02-001.jpg
HC50-Beam001.jpg

H15S-4AAA-Beam001.jpg
ST5NW-Day-Beam001.jpg


H02-002.jpg
HC50-Beam002.jpg

H15S-4AAA-Beam002.jpg
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H02-003.jpg
HC50-Beam003.jpg

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ST5NW-Day-Beam003.jpg


H02-004.jpg
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H15S-4AAA-Beam004.jpg
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It is hard to meaningfully compare lights at such ridiculously close distances. :rolleyes: But the general take-home message above is that the H02 has a wide and dispersed beam, due to the diffuser lens.

This might help you compare a bit better:

H02 Beam:
H02-Beam2001.jpg


DS10 Beam:
H02-Beam2002.jpg


Although still hard to see, the point is that the diffuser cover spreads the light out over a much wider area. In actual use, you will not see much of a "hotspot" with the H02.

Testing Method:

All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, as described on my flashlightreviews.ca website. You can directly compare all my relative output values from different reviews - i.e. an output value of "10" in one graph is the same as "10" in another. All runtimes are done under a cooling fan, except for any extended run Lo/Min modes (i.e. >12 hours) which are done without cooling.

I have devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values (ROV) to estimated Lumens. See my How to convert Selfbuilt's Lightbox values to Lumens thread for more info.

Throw/Output Summary Charts:

My summary tables are reported in a manner consistent with the ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. Please see http://www.flashlightreviews.ca/FL1.htm for a discussion, and a description of all the terms used in these tables. Effective July 2012, I have updated all my Peak Intensity/Beam Distance measures with a NIST-certified Extech EA31 lightmeter (orange highlights).

First compared to other headlamps:

H02-FL1-Summary.gif


The main observation is that the H02 is extremely bright on Max, compared to other headlamps. :eek:oo:

And now let's see how it compares to other 1x18650 lights:

DS20-FL1-Summary1.gif


DS20-FL1-Summary2.gif


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Finally, let's take a look at estimate lumens across all levels on the H02:

H02-Lumens.gif


As with most of the DS-series lights, overall output is very consistent with the Skilhunt specs. However, I would have prefer an additional Lo mode between ~11 and ~300 lumens.

Runtimes

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H02-MedHi18650.gif

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H02-HiRCR.gif


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The H02 is flat-regulated (stabilized) on all battery types, across all levels. There are a series of step-downs on Turbo however, on all batteries.

Potential Issues

As with the DS-series lights, the H02 uses an electronic switch and therefore requires a small stand-by current when fully connected. However, the standby drain was negligible on all batteries – with multi-year (or decades) before batteries would be drained.

Accidental activation is always a potential concern with electronic switches. However, you can physically lock out the lights at either the tailcap or head.

Light is larger than most headlamps, but relatively compact for the 1x18650 headlamp class.

Beam is diffused with built-in diffuser lens (i.e., not removable).

Mode spacing has a relative lack of low levels.

Preliminary Observations

The H02 is functionally very similar to the 1x18650 DS20 that I have just reviewed. The difference is that the H02 is a headlamp with a side-mounted emitter and non-removable diffuser. ;) Despite that, I was surprised to see higher output initially on the H02 compared to the DS20.

Physically, the H02 light and headlight band are good quality. Personally, I've not been a great fan of the 1x18650 headlamp class (due to the large size and weight), but Skilhunt has managed the H02 well. As with the other Skilhunt lights I've reviewed, this light shows good attention to detail, with thoughtful build features and elements (e.g., interesting to see the same sort of tailcap magnet here as the Olight Baton series). And it is impressive that Skilhunt was able to keep the H02 so small while still allowing access to both the head and tailcap (i.e., opens at both ends).

Performance-wise, the H02 has an efficient current-controlled circuit, with flat stabilization. Note however that there are a couple of step-downs from Turbo. These appear to be time-based, as they consistently occur after ~5 and ~10 mins of continuous runtime, respectively.

Personally, I would have preferred an additional low mode between the ~11 and ~300 lumens measured here.

Beam pattern is good, with a fairly smoothly distributed flood beam (thanks to the built-in diffuser cover). I typically like a diffused beam for close-up headlamp work. :)

The Skilhunt H02 is certainly a contender for the 1x18650 headlamp class. It is rather compact, with a straightforward interface. Personally, I would have liked the option to switch between throw and flood with a removable diffuser cover (and a secondary red mode would be nice). But if you just want a basic feature set - at low cost and with generally excellent performance - the H02 is one to consider. :wave:

----

H02 was supplied by Skilhunt for review.
 
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Charles L.

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Has there really been no reply to this review? Awesome as usual, Selfbuilt! Did this review change your mind about the utility of 1x18650 headlamps? I have the Nitecore HCC50 and, while it is a very nice headlamp, I agree with you that it is a bit heavy for comfortable, extended use. But I also have the ZL H600F, which is considerably lighter. I share your wish for a secondary red mode as well as a throw/flood option, but otherwise the ZL headlamp is amazing. I suspect the Armytek Wizard is as well. Hope you get one (or both) for review! This Skilhunt looks quite nice for the price -- much less than either the ZL or Armytek.
 
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selfbuilt

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Well, headlamp reviews get relatively little uptake ... unless it is one of the well-known models. ;)

The H02 is certainly a good choice for the price. Personally, I still like the smaller weight of a 1xAA size light (although I admit, I do recharge my Spark ST5's 14500 an awful lot). But these sorts of "lightweight" 18650 headlights are a pretty good balance. I'm sure the H600F is a nice light (the Armytek too), but I haven't tried them.
 

Charles L.

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Yep, I totally get the weight/size factor. I have a Black Diamond Spot which, even with 3 AAA batteries, feels weightless on my head. But consider:

- Spark ST5 weight without battery 40g.
- ZL H600F weight without battery 39g.
- Armytek Wizard Pro weight without battery 56g for current model, and a claimed 46g for the upcoming version.

Of course the 18650 adds more weight compared to a 14500, but perhaps a reasonable trade-off for the increased lumens and runtimes?
 

Crocodil

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Oct 6, 2014
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Hi :)

After reading this review, I've already ordered the Skilhunt H02 headlamp from Banggood but I wonder if maybe someone knows which exact XM-L2 led is used? What is the color/tint?

If not, maybe someone can please describe if it's more Cool or Neutral?

Best regards,
Crocodil
 

selfbuilt

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If not, maybe someone can please describe if it's more Cool or Neutral?
The H02 uses a cool white tint. Unless specified, all lights typically come with cool white. I don't have any further info on output bin, but I would presume it's probably a T6 (i.e., if it were a U2, I suspect they would have said so).

And :welcome:
 

Crocodil

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Hello :)

Thank you for your answer and your welcoming :)

I was wondering about the tint because there's an offer on Aliexpress according to which there's both a Cool White and Neutral White version.

I know for a fact that the LED can be easily exchanged by someone who knows what he's doing ;) There's a thread on Polish forums swiatelka.pl called Skilhunt H02 mini mod :)

Best regards,
Crocodil
 

selfbuilt

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according to which there's both a Cool White and Neutral White version.
Good to know they are offering one now in stock form. But as you say, most lights can be easily modded by someone who know what they are doing.
 

Jammin

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Thank you selfbuilt, amazing review. Has anyone seen the Skilhunt h02c? It seems to have similar performance as the H02 just from what I've been reading but it has red, blue, green and white modes. Charles L. recommended it to me and Mhanlen reviewed it. I'm buying the H02c as my next light

edit: just saw the white output seems as though the H02 has 820 lumens max output and the H02c white is only 260...
 
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MountainKing

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A bit late to the party but the Turbo (1h50min)has higher runtime than hi mode (1h46min)? :confused:
Thanks for the great review!:party:
 

selfbuilt

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A bit late to the party but the Turbo (1h50min)has higher runtime than hi mode (1h46min)? :confused:
Yes, that's because if you look at the runtimes, you'll see that the Turbo mode steps down twice within the first 10 mins, ultimately running regulated at a level that is ~10% lower than the constant Hi mode. This is why the runtimes are pretty much the same, ultimately.
 

nuts4cree

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I read somewhere that this headlamp has somekind of noise, a "whine" or "siren" sound. If it does, how loud is it?
 

selfbuilt

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I read somewhere that this headlamp has somekind of noise, a "whine" or "siren" sound. If it does, how loud is it?
"whine" usually refers to inductor whine, which can occur on many flashlights (as inductors are common circuit elements). If present, it can vary from mild to severe - it is subjective to the hearing thresholds of the individual. Some lights tend to be more prone to it than others (and certain drive levels/voltages on those lights). I didn't notice any on my one sample, but that doesn't mean much.

Ultimately, it's hard to predict - unless there are widespread reports of a problem on a specific model, I wouldn't worry too much about it. If you find it obtrusive on any particular light, I would suggest you return to the vendor.
 

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