Review: Olight H2R Nova (Cool White)

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Virisenox_
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Review: Olight H2R Nova (Cool White)

MSRP: $90

Olightworld page

Manufacturer provided eBay link

I was sent this light to review free of charge but, as always, I've tried to be as unbiased as possible.

Imgur album



TL;DR


Nova is right. At 2300 lumens, this is the highest output headlamp on the market. The UI is simple but still has shortcuts, and the build quality is very nice. Don't leave it on turbo for too long, and don't short the tailcap.



Packaging

Box front viewBox back
The Nova's packaging is very nice. The box has all of the details and specs on the back, and a slightly larger than life photo of the light on the front. I tried to open it from the top at first before noticing the blue tab on the back. The box containing the light slides out and presents the headlamp very well, like an Apple product or something. If felt fancy.

Inside box

What’s included

Contents
The box contains:

  • 1 Olight H2R Nova
  • 1 Olight protected 3000mAh high drain 18650 cell
  • 1 headband
  • 1 clip
  • 1 USB magnet charging cable
  • 2 foam pads in case you want to replace the magnet
  • 1 instruction manual

Build


This is my first Olight product, and I must say, the build quality is very good. The threads are square cut and very smooth, the body tube's ribbing is just right, and the anodizing is perfect.

The fins on the head are fairly deep at about 1.5mm. The magnet in the tailcap is stronger than the H03's and can securely attach the light to any flat magnetic surface. The button makes me feel like this H2R Nova was designed to be held in the hand. It's flush on the end of the light and it's angled back slightly so it's very comfortable to use when you're holding the light in your hand, but not so much when you're using it as a headlamp.

When the H2R is in the headband, pressing the button pushes it to the side of your head. I think a side mounted button like the Skilhunt H03's works better for a headlamp because you can pinch the head of the light between your thumb and index finger to press the button. No headband re-adjusting necessary.

Size


The only other right angle light I have is a Skilhunt H03. The Olight H2R Nova is exactly 1 cm longer than the H03, the body diameter is the same. The only difference is that the bezel sticks out from the head a little bit.

Clip and Headband


The H2R Nova's clip is really neat. It's double bent so you can carry the light head up or head down. At the top of the clip are two holes that you could thread a lanyard through. It's very tight, and there is only one spot to put it. Because of the placement of the groove it's in it isn't a deep carry clip, but it has roughly the same dimensions as Convoy's deep carry clip. The part that grabs the body tube is thick, and none of the edges are sharp. I like this clip a lot.

The headband is equally well designed. The part that holds the light has a strong magnet in it. This can hold the Nova by itself, but there's also a rubbery (silicone?) strap that goes over the light and attaches to a hook on the other side. I love this design. The thing I hated about the H03's headband is that you had to work the light through the two silicone loops. With this Olight headband all I have to do is pull the rubber loop over and hook it onto the other side. It's quick, simple, and secure. The magnet in the headband attracts the 18650 cell, not the aluminum body, so it'll work with any 1" right angle light. You can take out the magnet if you want. A foam pad is included to take the place of the magnet so the headband still fits the same.

Power Source and Charging


Usually high output lights don't work well with protected cells. The H2R Nova is an exception to this rule. Olight includes a high drain 3000mAh protected cell. After some detective work I was able to determine that the included cell is a protected Samsung 30q. It's an unusual protected cell. For one thing, the protection circuit is all on the positive end of the cell. No metal strips or anything. It also has interesting electrical characteristics. Maukka said that Olight told them the protection circuit's over current protection trips at 27 amps. That's really high, especially for a light with live cell contacts on the tailcap. The internal resistance is also pretty low for a protected cell. Here are some measurements from my Opus BT-C100.

  • EVVA protected NCR18650GA: 105 mohms 
  • Olight protected 30q: 57 mohms 
  • Unprotected Samsung 30q: 49 mohms 
  • Unprotected Sony VTC6: 38 mohms

This is one of Olight’s proprietary rechargeable cells. What makes these special is the fact that they have positive and negative contacts on the same end. This allows the cell to be charged inside of the H2R with the included magnet charger. If you dislike using proprietary cells as much as I do, you're in luck. You can use other button top cells in this light, but you won't be able to charge those cells with the magnetic charger.
The magnetic USB charging isn't the greatest. It takes a long time to fully charge the cell. It drew 0.6A from my USB wall adapter. The magnet in it is pretty strong though. Once you get it close to the Nova's tailcap it snaps securely into place. The H2R Nova appears to support pass through charging. The manual warns you not to charge the included cell in an external charger, but you can as long as you're careful not to short it out.

Modes and UI

The UI is simple. There are 6 modes: moonlight, low, medium, high, turbo, and SOS. There are shortcuts to moonlight, turbo, and SOS. It memorizes which mode you were in last, except for turbo. Moonlight mode is 1 whole lumen. This is okay, but I would have preferred something a bit lower. The jump from moonlight to low (1 lumen to 30 lumens) is too much. I think there should be a 5 or 10 lumen mode in between them.

Beam and Tint

This is a beast of a light. If you leave it on turbo too long it gets super hot. Mine got up to about 130 before it stepped down (Uncooled, indoors). If I had to compare it to a light I already have I would say it's similar to my S2 Triple. It can burn holes in things on turbo, so be careful with it.

I got the cool white version. I'd say it's somewhere around 6000K, but I don't have any reference point so take that with a grain of salt. It's cool, but there isn't any blue or green in it. Just pure white light. I usually prefer tints around 4000K but I really don't mind it.

The beam is about as floody as a Skilhunt H03. The honeycomb TIR optic does an excellent job of diffusing the beam. One thing I noticed is that the beam isn't perfectly circular. It makes more of a diamond shape. This isn't noticeable unless you point the light at a white wall and rotate it. This is almost certainly due to the shape of the XHP50's die. It doesn't affect everyday use at all, I just thought it was interesting. The H2R Nova doesn’t have any noticeable PWM except on the moonlight mode, but even then I only noticed it by waving the light around.

Tint vs Nichia NVSL219BT-V1 4000K 90 CRI, and vs Nichia 219C D240 4000K 90 CRI

vs 219b 4000Kvs 219c 4000K
Modding

The tailcap has a retaining ring in it. I tried to get it out, but either it's very tight or it was assembled with thread locker. I'll make another post if I ever get around to taking it apart, but don’t hold your breath. The bezel is press fit, as well as the button. I'm sure the battery tube could be unscrewed from the body, but I don't want to mess with it.



Bottom line:

Pros

  • Brightest headlamp on the market 
  • Convenient, albeit slow, charging 
  • Excellent clip and fantastic headband 
  • Strong magnet 
  • UI shortcuts 
  • Great build quality

Cons

  • Button is awkward when used as a headlamp 
  • Live contacts on the tailcap 
  • Mode spacing could be better 
  • Proprietary cell 
  • Slow, albeit convenient, charging

 

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions about the light I would be more than happy to answer them.

Edit: Formatting

I’m much more active on /r/flashlight.

Edited by: Virisenox_ on 07/26/2017 - 21:58