Review: Dual LED Headlight from Wallbuys
I received my first two of three New years sale orders today (13 days from order to delivery in Canada, not bad). In there were two of the dual-LED headlights that were on for $8.92. Now that I have them, I should have ordered more. These are quite nice for the money. They have small issues, but overall very good.
One thing that surprised me right away was the throw on the XP-E. It easily throws 70-80 yards, maybe more! Not bad for a tiny little headlight.
The next thing that surprised me was when I connected it to a power supply. The input voltage range is MUCH wider than the 3.6-4.2V spec on Wallbuys. This little thing can run down to 0.8V! Yup, if you’re in a pinch you can throw any old battery in there (with some kind of adapter, maybe a small bolt or stack of coins) and it’ll run just fine.
Opening up the unit reveals why. There’s a boost driver included!
The output (and possibly run time) will be lower on an AA, but it’s a great bonus option to have anyway.
Edit: A cautionary note. Because the driver will happily run your battery down to 0.8V, you may want to use protected 18650’s, or make sure your battery has enough capacity for the task. If the light output noticeably drops, the battery is probably below 3.0V; time to change the battery. Because it is still rather bright at 2-3V, you may not notice right away.
Opening up the next level revealed yet another surprise; two decent sized aluminum heatsinks. The XP-E has an aluminum SMO reflector which is the front part of the heatsink.
The enclosure has vent holes on top and bottom to allow air (and rain) to pass through and cool the heatsinks. The electronics are in a separate enclosure that appears to be at least rainproof, although, I would not guarantee that. Definitely not dunkable though.
Inside the XP-E heatsink is a 14mm star with no thermal compound which might not matter a lot here. I added some anyway, just because. The emitter is held in by a flat piece of aluminum that screws into the back of the heasink/reflector.
One final tid-bit not mentioned on the Wallbuys page is the charger port. This is directly connected to the battery, so you will need to have a regulated CC/CV 4.2V power supply with a (I think it’s a) 1.5mm plug.
It comes with a single-strap headband, but the plastics are designed to accept a double-strap headband as well. I did change it out on one for my son as the supplied strap does not adjust small enough for him.
Regarding the various modes, The XP-E has three modes (High, Low, Strobe), and the generic LED has two (High, Low). The high and low modes are well spaced, and there is no mode memory. Both LEDs start in High mode. There is noticeable PWM in the Low modes for both LEDs, meaning it may not be wise to bike or run in low mode.
Now for the one issue that may be considered a negative. Only one LED can be on at a time. I initially thought this would be a problem, since I like the wide area coverage of the generic LED (almost 180 degrees) with the throw of the XP-E. However, the XP-E has adequate spill (thanks to an OP reflector) so this wasn’t a problem for me.
The UI is not bad, with everything implemented on one button. Full presses cycle through XP-E – OFF – Generic – OFF. Half presses change modes on the current LED that is on. Simple and works quite well.
The switch is a reverse-clicky and is firm but can be pressed with medium weight gloves on.
The fit for me is nice and it is comfortable to wear. No issues for me there, but this is a very subjective thing so YMMV. I also like that the head doesn’t stick out too far. The head is adjustable from horizontal, down about 45 degrees with several click steps allowing for fine angle adjustments. Going past the last click (it is a larger click) allows a 90 degree down-light, if you wish.
Weight (without battery): 106g
XP-E current draw (4.2V): H=1.37A, L=0.40A
Generic current draw (4.2V): H=0.53A, L=0.22A
XP-E current draw (1.2V): H=1.09A, L=0.36A
Generic current draw (1.2V): H=1.02A, L=0.32A
Overall, this is a very nice headlight, and is probably worth the regular price on Wallbuys (currently $11.15).
This light is Relic Recommended.