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Thread: Fenix HL10 Ultra-compact AAA headlamp- Review

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* FlashLion's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Fenix HL10 Ultra-compact AAA headlamp- Review

    Hello

    I am reviewing the mini headlamp Fenix HL10 in its updated/redesigned 2016 version.
    The original HL10 was released about 3 years ago. The new version features the really interesting advantage of a built-in diffuser.



    The review sample was kindly provided by GearBest for test and review!
    Check out their website for actual price-you can find also 8% discount code for this flashlight in the review on my blog FlashLionReviews.



    Fenix HL10 is a small AAA battery powered headlamp. It can be easily used as a small EDC light,
    which may be very useful,as there are not many AAA flashlights with a side/ right-angle beam.

    The HL10 is respectable small and still quite comfortable in hand.Not to mention its high versatility.
    The only downside-it does not come with a pocket clip. Yet,there is a hole for a lanyard on the tail cap.
    It can be carried on a keychain,as well.

    Size comparison- AAA battery,Fenix HL10,ThruNite Ti,Bronte BT01


    This is an animation of the clear/diffused plastic cover of the reflector,in action!
    It is quick and easy to switch between more focused and diffused beam.
    The plastic cover is placed over two O-rings,which make the movement smooth and seal the element.


    Specifications
    -Utilizes Philips LXZ2-5770 LED (cool white,very close to neutral white with great color rendition)
    -Powered by one NiMH or Alkaline AAA battery(not compatible with 10440)
    -Length: 2.8” (70mm)
    Battery tube: 12mm
    Head diameter:15.5mm

    -33grams (including headband,excluding battery)
    -Rotating optical lens for flexible adjustment of spotlight and floodlight(a plastic tube around the LED zone,
    which has a smooth and slightly diffused areas allowing you to switch between normal spot beam and slightly diffused beam,by just twisting the ring
    ).
    -180 degree vertical angle tilting possible
    -Tail-standing (with the headband removed)
    -Digitally regulated output mains constant brightness
    -Reverse polarity protection,to protect from improper battery installation
    -Made of durable aircraft grade aluminum

    Technical data from the HL10's instruction sheet.









    Read the full Instruction Sheet on different languages here-
    http://www.fenixlight.com.cn/downloa...ser-Manual.pdf

    This is the packaging and what you get in the box.
    Plastic box. Alkaline AAA battery is included.
    A small key ring and spare O-ring are also included in the set.



    The headband is 16mm wide. A little less elastic than expected. Its length seems sufficient to fit most heads,yet I can't guarantee it in 100%.
    Headlamp weight is not a concern,at all. The lamp is good for dynamic activities like running.
    The holder is made of strong plastic. Its form allows the HL10 position to be adjusted to the required vertical angle(adjusting the beam direction).
    My only concern is that the holder is maybe a little too hard and taking the flashlight out or inserting it in,takes me much more effort than needed.
    So,if I can change/improve something,I will make the holder a little different.






    In my medium size hand with thin fingers.




    User Interface
    It is quite convenient-3 modes Low(4Lm) -Mid(30Lm)-High(70Lm)
    Press and hold the momentary switch for a second to turn On/Off the light
    Press briefly to change the mode.
    There is an instant mode memory.

    Runtimes according to manufacturer's testings:
    High Mid Low
    Alkaline 40 min 2h 30min 24h
    Ni-MH 1h 3h 10min 26h

    Below is a run/time test on High mode.
    Battery used in the test: rechargeable Duracell NiMH 750mAh.
    As you can see from the graph,I measured higher max output of the HL10,than the manufacturers data.
    (My measuring setup is not professionally calibrated,so the provided by me lumen data may differ from actual laboratory tests.)

    Excellent regulation from the boost circuit. Constant light for 42,5 minutes.
    Then the battery is empty and should be replaced/recharged. The HL10 gives you about 20 minutes with a lower output to do the needed tasks.
    Battery voltage after the test= 0.9V
    Performance of the Fenix HL10 is impressive,having in mind its price tag.



    When the light is turned Off,the HL10 is in StandBy mode. This keeps the electronics of the driver powered,consuming 12microAmp current from the battery.
    If you plan to store the flashlight for very long time,it is recommended to take out the battery to prevent its discharging.
    You can also unscrew the tailcap a little to disconnect the power going to the driver.

    The switch is of momentary On type. Does not lock On position.
    It is small but protrude enough for comfortable operation. I found no any problem to use it.



    A close up picture of the Philips LXZ2-5770 LED and its shallow reflector.
    The Philips LED has slightly different board shape,which requires a little modification to the reflector.
    This is a flood beam light,so the pattern is not affected.


    A close up look at the diffused surface.


    The back of the HL10. There are markings indicating Focused and Diffused beam position of the rotating ring/tube.


    As expected,all threads are on the needed high level. Well machined and anodized.
    You can see also the bottom of the tail-cap. It does not feature tail-cap magnet.
    It seems easy to stick one on the bottom,though.


    Alkaline and NiMH batteries fit well in the battery tube.


    Beamshots
    The light from the Philips LED is warmer white than all other lights that I used for comparison.I will call it Neutral white.It may be just better Cool white than the others,anyway... Color rendition is pretty good,natural.
    The beam appears floody hotspot with good wide spill,thanks to the shallow reflector.
    As you can see from the pictures,beam profile with the diffuser on is more floody.It is not drastically different,but still this is a nice option to have.
    The spill gets a little more light and the angle of the beam is increased slightly.

    1 meter
    1/20sec


    3 meters
    1/6sec


    Fenix HL10 is one of the lights that are pleasure to use. Build quality is quite good. Handling and operating the flashlight is well thought out.
    I was very enthusiastic to test this small headlamp out and it does not disappointed me,at all.
    Very functional and versatile light. Great as a headlamp,great as a small EDC pocket light. Can be carried even on a keychain or on the neck.
    Maybe the diffused surface could be a little less transparent for more floody beam,but surely this will lead to brightness loss.
    So,maybe this is the compromise Fenix's designers came to when constructing this flashlight.
    A pocket clip could make the HL10 one of the best AAA EDC lights.
    Almost any of the latest flashlights,no matter the manufacturer comes with the press and hold the switch to turn On/Off the light way of operating,which works great as an anti-accidental activation protection,but this slows the the operation significantly. If you like to switch the light On/Off frequently and quickly,using it for short periods of time,you may need to look for another flashlight with a physical clicky switch or just with conventional UI.
    If you are already used to the press/hold UI operation,the Fenix HL10 is a great choice for every day carrying light/very compact headlamp.

    These are my impressions and tests,so far. If I find anything more about the HL10,I will update the review.
    Thanks for reading!
    Thanks to GearBest for providing the HL10 for test and review!
    Last edited by FlashLion; 10-10-2016 at 08:17 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Fenix HL10 Ultra-compact AAA headlamp- Review

    Nice looking light. Thanks for the review!

    If it had the option to do red in that built in diffuser I'd buy 5 of them.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Fenix HL10 Ultra-compact AAA headlamp- Review

    That's a very cute little light, and for $25 I would be tempted to get it. But here's my problem with it:
    Size:
    Length: 2.8” (70mm)
    Width: 1.0” (26mm)
    Height: 0.9” (23mm)

    Weight: 1.2 oz. (33g) excluding battery

    That sounds small, right? Now compare to the ZL H52w:


    • Dimensions
      • Head Diameter: 0.86 inch (21.8 mm)
      • Length: 3 inch (76.5 mm)

    • Weight
      • 1.1 oz (32 gram)


    The ZL is actually lighter, has a smaller head, and is only 6mm longer. So for an extra 6mm, you get a light that can run AAA *or* AA, and puts out four times the lumens (280 vs. 70) and can take a battery with three times the capacity. Or it can take 14500 or 10440 and crank out even higher lumens.

    When you compare it to the ZL, the HL10 simply is not *small enough* to make up for the loss in battery capacity, run-times, output, and battery versatility.

    Cute, but too big for what you get.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* FlashLion's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fenix HL10 Ultra-compact AAA headlamp- Review

    Quote Originally Posted by NeonPenguin View Post
    Nice looking light. Thanks for the review!

    If it had the option to do red in that built in diffuser I'd buy 5 of them.
    Thanks for reading!
    The red filter is a nice point.
    A small piece of red foil/sticky tape or even red marker may do the job quite well.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* FlashLion's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fenix HL10 Ultra-compact AAA headlamp- Review

    Quote Originally Posted by lampeDépêche View Post
    That's a very cute little light, and for $25 I would be tempted to get it. But here's my problem with it:
    Size:
    Length: 2.8” (70mm)
    Width: 1.0” (26mm)
    Height: 0.9” (23mm)

    Weight: 1.2 oz. (33g) excluding battery

    That sounds small, right? Now compare to the ZL H52w:


    • Dimensions
      • Head Diameter: 0.86 inch (21.8 mm)
      • Length: 3 inch (76.5 mm)

    • Weight
      • 1.1 oz (32 gram)



    The ZL is actually lighter, has a smaller head, and is only 6mm longer. So for an extra 6mm, you get a light that can run AAA *or* AA, and puts out four times the lumens (280 vs. 70) and can take a battery with three times the capacity. Or it can take 14500 or 10440 and crank out even higher lumens.

    When you compare it to the ZL, the HL10 simply is not *small enough* to make up for the loss in battery capacity, run-times, output, and battery versatility.

    Cute, but too big for what you get.
    Thanks for the comment.
    I did not find the mistake until you pointed it out.
    The real dimensions are:
    Length: 2.8” (70mm)
    Battery tube: 12mm
    Head diameter:15.5mm
    Maybe they have typed 2 instead of 1.

    AA battery weights about 27gr
    AAA battery weights about 12gr
    In most cases it is easy to feel the difference on the head.

    The HL10 with an alkaline battery,without headband is 26gr.
    Last edited by FlashLion; 10-10-2016 at 08:20 AM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Fenix HL10 Ultra-compact AAA headlamp- Review

    Quote Originally Posted by FlashLion View Post
    Thanks for the comment.
    I did not find the mistake until you pointed it out.
    The real dimensions are:
    Length: 2.8” (70mm)
    Battery tube: 12mm
    Head diameter:15.5mm
    Maybe they have typed 2 instead of 1.

    AA battery weights about 27gr
    AAA battery weights about 12gr
    In most cases it is easy to feel the difference on the head.

    The HL10 with an alkaline battery,without headband is 26gr.
    I'm not surprised that the battery-tube is only 12mm--the battery is 10mm, so walls of about 1mm thickness checks out.
    But the head size that they published is not a typo--they give the same diameter both in English and in metric.

    Your estimate of the head diameter does fit better with the photos you published. (I enlarged the screen picture until the length of the image was about 70mm, and then the width of the image was about 15.5mm, so that checks out).

    That's actually much more attractive to me now--a head size not much fatter than a bare AA (i.e. 14mm).

    Weird--I wonder why they publish "1.0” (26mm)" as the width, when the head size is only 15.5mm? Maybe that's the width of the head-strap and carrier?

    Thanks for clarifying this point--it makes a big difference to my interest in the light.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* FlashLion's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fenix HL10 Ultra-compact AAA headlamp- Review

    Yes,their measurements are most likely for both together: holder+flashlight. I was wondering why they wrote height and width.
    Thanks for commenting.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* stephenk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fenix HL10 Ultra-compact AAA headlamp- Review

    Great to see another review of this light (I reviewed it earlier in the year). This is my go to light for <6km night runs. Lightweight and nice tint.
    Fenix should make an AA version too for longer run times.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* FlashLion's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Re: Fenix HL10 Ultra-compact AAA headlamp- Review

    Quote Originally Posted by stephenk View Post
    Great to see another review of this light (I reviewed it earlier in the year). This is my go to light for <6km night runs. Lightweight and nice tint.
    Fenix should make an AA version too for longer run times.

    Thanks for the comment stephenk!
    I checked your good review. Our reviews give very good info about the HL10. I somehow expected a little more attention to this little headlamp,as there are no other similar form lights on the market and the HL10 performs quite effectively in its job.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Fenix HL10 Ultra-compact AAA headlamp- Review

    Thanks for the review. I hope you don't mind that I provide a link (and a tiny bit of self-promotion) to another thread where this light was discussed earlier in 2016.

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...0-2016-Edition

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* FlashLion's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fenix HL10 Ultra-compact AAA headlamp- Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Swede74 View Post
    Thanks for the review. I hope you don't mind that I provide a link (and a tiny bit of self-promotion) to another thread where this light was discussed earlier in 2016.

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...0-2016-Edition
    Thanks for the comment and for the link Swede74!
    Glad to see there are more comments on this headlamp.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* LeanBurn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fenix HL10 Ultra-compact AAA headlamp- Review

    I find it amazing that these little lights haven't really decreased in retail cost since they were introduced 6 years ago...even now when they have been discontinued or no longer sold in some stores still anywhere from ~$25 USD up to $37 USD.
    THRUNITE > Archer1AV2|TiS|TH20|TN4A Hi...all in neutral white
    YUJILEDS BC Series 95+ HiCRI
    > Sofirn C01|Dorcy Penlight (Yuji modded)
    XTARVC4, LCTBC500, Amaloops, 1999 MAG-LITE 2D Incandescent(glass lens) Petzl Tikkina 80L ..... E01

  13. #13

    Default Re: Fenix HL10 Ultra-compact AAA headlamp- Review

    Quote Originally Posted by LeanBurn View Post
    I find it amazing that these little lights haven't really decreased in retail cost since they were introduced 6 years ago...even now when they have been discontinued or no longer sold in some stores still anywhere from ~$25 USD up to $37 USD.
    Fenix doesn't seem to budge with their pricing much. I'm guessing whenever you see a current model marked down drastically it's either an open box or the seller is taking a loss.

    It looks like the HL10 is $26 on Amazon and a few other places. I probably wouldn't pay much more than that. Although, I would suspect this model probably won't be around much longer. Fenixlight.com doesn't show the 2016 model discontinued just yet, however.

    I've been using mine for 3 years and still like it. It's definitely not a brightness or runtime champ but being that it weighs about 2 oz with the battery it's my go-to for when I need a simple, lightweight hands-free solution.

    I like the versatility, too. The light pivots nicely on the holder and can be detached if need be for a small right angle handheld.
    Last edited by PartyPete; 05-19-2019 at 05:16 PM.

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