Review: Fenix HL10 2016 (1xAAA)

10 posts / 0 new
Last post
stephenk
stephenk's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 51 min ago
Joined: 01/30/2016 - 05:09
Posts: 694
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Review: Fenix HL10 2016 (1xAAA)

Disclaimer

The HL10 was won in a forum giveaway run by Gearbest
Link to product page – http://www.gearbest.com/headlights/pp_364030.html
GBLED2016 coupon will get you an 8% discount.

Introduction

The Fenix HL10 2016 version is a small and lightweight 1xAAA headlamp, which appears to be aimed at night runners, as well as other uses. It has been awarded the ISPO Global Product winner for 2016/17, and is available in three colours (black, gold, and purple).

The manufacturer specifications are as follows:
Utilizes Philips LXZ2-5770 LED with a lifespan of 50,000 hours
Three Modes of Operation:
High – Distance 98 feet (30 meters)
Alkaline:  70 Lumens – 40 min.
Ni-MH: 70 Lumens – 1 hr.
Mid – Distance 62 feet (19 meters).
Alkaline: 30 Lumens – 2 hr. 20 min.
Ni-MH: 30 Lumens – 3 hr. 10 min.
Low – Distance 20 feet (1 meter).
Alkaline: 4 Lumens – 24 hrs.
Ni-MH: 26 hr.
Uses a rotating optical lens for flexible adjustment of spotlight and floodlight
One-switch operation
As a headlamp, 180-degree tilt mechanism adjusts the beam when needed
As a flashlight, supports tail standing and works as a candle
Digitally regulated output maintains constant brightness
IPX-8 Waterproof Rating – 30 minutes to 6.56 feet
Length:  2.76 inches (70mm)
Width:  0.91 inches (23mm)
Weight (excluding battery): 1.2 oz. (33g)

I usually go for two 5km urban twilight or night runs each week, and tested out the light during a couple of runs. I also sometimes require a headlamp for IT purposes (e.g. wiring cables under desks). This light is being reviewed against this use cases. My existing headlamp for these purposes is a Varta (Reyovac) Indestructable 5-LED Head Light (55/21 lumen).

Due to the relatively low brightness and runtime, this headlamp is not suitable for situations where medium to long runtimes at max output (>45mins) or medium to high brightness (>70 lumens) are required, and will not be reviewed against such use cases. There are plenty of other headlamps available for these requirements.


Packaging

The light was safely packaged in a clear plastic case. After my last 3 lights arrived with no instructions, it was refreshing to see some instructions for this light! The light came with:
1 – HL10 2016 Headlamp
1 – AAA Alkaline Battery
1 – Key Ring
1 – Spare O-Ring
1 – User Manual
1 – Warranty Card

Ergonomics

I much prefer a single band/strap for headlamps, and this one is of that design. It is easy to adjust, holds its position, and fits well. With the light being small, and weighing only 33g (excluding batteries) this light is very lightweight, which is excellent for running. In fact, if it wasn’t for the light in front of me, I would have almost forgotten I was wearing it!

The HL10 light clips into a plastic holder. This allows the light be used either in the headlamp or to be used handheld/keychain if required. The downside is that the light has to removed for a battery change (or diffuser change), which meant I usually spend the first minute of a run trying to get the angle to its optimal position. The clip is quite tight, though this may be less so after more use. Due to this tight clip, the angle stays fixed when running (unless adjusted) which is good.

Operation

The HL10 has low, mid, and high modes in that order. It also has memory function. The mode button requires a half second hold to turn on and off, and a press changes modes.

The runtime on high was measured with a recently (within 48 hours) charged 4th generation FDK Eneloop. The high mode stepped down to medium brightness around 45 minutes. The light dimmed to the equivalent to low mode by around 55 minutes. The light appeared to be sub-lumen by around 60 minutes. This means that this light is suitable for a 6-7km run, but not for a 10km run (unless the runner is very fast).

The light has a rotatable diffuser filter. This diffuses the floody light to an even floodier light. When running there is little difference between the two, though I prefer the smooth light roll-off on the diffused beam. For reading or short range purposes, the diffused light is more preferable. The beam is smooth, and huge improvement over multiple emitter headlamps that are common at this end of the market.

White wall beam shots

The 70 lumen brightness on high is sufficient for urban night running. 50 lumens is roughly the minimum for urban night running. If the light is angled so that edge of the beam is around the runners foot, then the path is well illuminated for around 10m ahead of the runner. This is a critical area so that the runner can plan their next few foot strikes. Nothing worse than mistaking a leaf for a cane toad! The hot spot beam can illuminate up to around 30m ahead of the runner if required. I should note that much brighter lights may annoy motorists, and thus 70 lumens is a good brightness for urban night running.

Real-world beam shots (taken with iPhone 6)

It needs to be noted that some of the reseller adverts for this light have the CCT incorrect. The Philips emitter for this light is 5700k CCT, and minimum 70CRI. This is at the more neutral end of cool, or the cooler end of neutral. The CRI is good enough for most purposes, though I would personally prefer to take a hit on brightness for higher CRI and a warmer tint. However the tint and CRI are much better than most other lights at this end of the market, many of which have multiple 5mm cool white LEDs which illuminate objects in a “ghostly” blue/white light.

CRI test

Conclusion

This is a well priced, well built, comfortable to wear, and very lightweight AAA headlamp. Due to the resulting relatively low brightness and short run times it is mainly suitable for twilight and night running up to around 6-7km (for the average runner), night reading, close range work purposes, and emergency use.

The beam, tint, and CRI are better than most other headlamps available in this category, where multiple 5mm cool white emitters are common.

Adding a Fenix HL05 (which has a red or white, constant or flashing) light on the back of the strap may also help a night runner be seen by vehicles or cycles from behind, improving safety further.

Edited by: stephenk on 07/05/2016 - 06:16
264
264's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 days 14 hours ago
Joined: 12/08/2011 - 14:52
Posts: 901

Very nice review.

stephenk
stephenk's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 51 min ago
Joined: 01/30/2016 - 05:09
Posts: 694
Location: Brisbane, Australia

An update on the review

I forgot to mention that no PWM was detected, which again is an improvement over most multiple 5mm emitter headlamps found at the lower brightness end of the market which use PWM.

Below I have a beamshot comparison between the Rayovac/Varta 5-LED headlamp (left) which is typical of the multiple 5mm headlamps, and the Fenix HL10 2016 (right) with its single emitter. It is no brainer as to the improvement in the beam quality!

netprince
Offline
Last seen: 10 hours 36 min ago
Joined: 06/14/2012 - 13:48
Posts: 203
Location: Virginia

Thanks for the review, and checking for PWM. I’m probably going to get one of these…

tops2
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 2 weeks ago
Joined: 12/13/2015 - 03:10
Posts: 71

Thanks for the review. Looks like a pretty good basic light. Do you notice any reduction in throw between the 2 beams? Or is the smoothing of the hotspot the only difference? I don’t expect much throw anyways in these lights..and from your pictures it looks like spot has a “tinier” more throw, but basically negligible to me.

If I pick on up, looks like I’d probably just leave it on the flood setting all the time.

dhvl1357
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 3 weeks ago
Joined: 05/18/2016 - 05:59
Posts: 215
Location: South India

Does the light hit the top of your nose with the diffuser on?

Again, thanks for the review!

Slow is smooth; smooth is fast.

stephenk
stephenk's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 51 min ago
Joined: 01/30/2016 - 05:09
Posts: 694
Location: Brisbane, Australia

tops2 wrote:
Thanks for the review. Looks like a pretty good basic light. Do you notice any reduction in throw between the 2 beams? Or is the smoothing of the hotspot the only difference? I don’t expect much throw anyways in these lights..and from your pictures it looks like spot has a “tinier” more throw, but basically negligible to me.

If I pick on up, looks like I’d probably just leave it on the flood setting all the time.


The throw is slightly better when not diffused, though both can illuminate around 30m. Both modes are very floody when seems to be the intention of this headlight.

dhvl1357 wrote:
Does the light hit the top of your nose with the diffuser on?

Again, thanks for the review!

This depends on the angle of the light. When the edge of the beam is illuminating my feet, the nose shadow projects onto my running top and not the ground. This is not noticeable to my eye.

stephenk
stephenk's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 51 min ago
Joined: 01/30/2016 - 05:09
Posts: 694
Location: Brisbane, Australia

A “different” use for the Fenix HL10
Fenix HL10 on high, with red lighting gel wrapped around it, and Convoy L6 on medium as backlighting.

raccoon city
raccoon city's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 27 min ago
Joined: 10/06/2010 - 02:35
Posts: 8308
Location: रॅकून शहर Palm Desert CA USA

stephenk wrote:

Now that's a sweet photo!  :love:

Beachlogger
Offline
Last seen: 12 hours 16 min ago
Joined: 12/04/2013 - 23:08
Posts: 854
Location: S.E. Alaska

Looks like a scene from a movie Smile