Xtar H1 review - A Layman's Perspective

AardvarkSagus

Flashlight Enthusiast
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Jun 14, 2006
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Xtar H1

Headlamps have never been my forte. I don't know if it's a convoluted sense of style, or something more pragmatic, but I haven't ever been a huge fan. That being said, in terms of sheer usefulness, their capabilities are inarguable.


Xtar H1

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Meat and Potatoes

The Xtar H1 is a rugged, bichromatic, headlamp designed around the common AA cell. There are some serious advantages in designing a headlamp around this power source, most notably their near ubiquitous nature. For a light that is very well suited to emergency use, the ability to run using a single half-depleted cell scavenged from any number of household appliances or devices is a real-world benefit.

Using a Cree XP-G to emit white light, in tandem with a dedicated color 5mm LED in a separate reflector for night-vision preserving red light, the H1 is undeniably useful. Small and light, with enough brightness options, the H1 will provide all the hands-free illumination that you need for the majority of tasks. It is capable of 120 lumens on high. Not incredibly bright, but still somewhat impressive out of a single 1.5V power source. If more power is really needed, Xtar has graciously provided the opportunity to use a 14500 li-ion rechargeable cell to crank the output up to 330 lumens.


Cree LEDs

User interface is straight forward and simple to understand. Clicking the electronic switch will turn the H1 on in low mode each time. There is no mode memory to confuse the issue. Clicking it again will advance the mode through the three available white light options (4 with a 14500 rechargeable cell). Pressing and holding the button for a second and a half will turn it back off again. Double clicking at any point will bring up the red light instead. There is a further hidden red SOS mode that is a second double click away, but is sufficiently well hidden that I don't see any chance of accidental activation.

Fit and finish is excellent on the H1. It really feels solid in your hand. Its not a matter of weight, thankfully, because that would defeat much of the purpose of a headlamp. No it's fairly light still. The entire length though is covered with copious heat dissipation fins that add to its perceived bulk and durability without compromising heft. The light is also designed so that it can be used as a standalone torch, without the headband and attachment. Right angle lights are still few and far between, so finding something like this that can serve a dual purpose in a pinch is an interesting compromise.


Xtar H1

Constructive Criticism

Between the decidedly decent UI, and the apparent constant current regulation, I am honestly having some trouble coming up with legitimate suggestions to put into this category. The shallow, stippled reflector does a good job smoothing out any artifacts in the beam. I would still have to say that I find the focus to be a little too tight for my desires in a headlamp, but I tend to even opt for using the diffuser any time one is available for this application. I am quite a fan of flood lights to begin with, but as a headlamp, a completely undefined hotspot seems like the best idea. I'd love to see a durable diffuser built in, or at least included with this light. Barring that, a broader focus seems like a valid suggestion.


Xtar H1

Conclusions

The H1 is by no means a groundbreaking light, but it is quite a polished variant in this well-established subset. It's not particularly bright or efficient, however it does boast the separate LED for red output, which most lights don't bother with lately. This could be of specific use to hunters heading out to deer blinds early in the morning, or fishermen angling for nocturnal fare. If headlamps are your thing, I'd consider this one worth a second look.


Xtar H1

Provided for review by the kind folks at Xtar.
 

dts71

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Nov 16, 2006
Messages
191
Nice review! Could you please add some basics like runtime and lumens on the 3/4 modes?


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AardvarkSagus

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 14, 2006
Messages
1,471
Location
Lower Left side of the Mitten
Sure thing! I already mentioned the 330 lumen turbo on 14500 and the 120 lumen high. Those run for 80m and 2.1h respectively. Beyond that Med is around 60 lumens for 4h and low is not quite a sub-lumen moon mode at 3 lumens, but when it runs for as much as 95h, it's something I'm willing to forgive.
 
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