[The Lite Review]: Olight H16 Wave Review

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[The Lite Review]: Olight H16 Wave Review

Preface

For most headlamp users, having dual (flood & "focused") LEDs is like a dream come true.

Olight went a step further and included the "wave technology" that sounds kinda gimmicky or is it?

Packaging & First Impressions

This is what the light will come with as shown below.

  • Newly redesigned Olight packaging style is minimalist (looks a little like Apple's packaging style). [Same packaging as the Olight M2T we reviewed].
  • The electronic switch requires a firm and deliberate press to activate and helps in preventing any unwanted activation of the light.
  • The light appears to be made of a type of polymer (plastic?) to help bring down the weight.
  • Mechanism for adjusting the beam angle (0 ~ 45 degree) is surprisingly sturdy with no sideways flex.
  • Headband provided is of good quality and should withstand day-to-day abuse without issue.
  • Wire connection from the battery to headlamp are non-removable and feels sturdy.

Front:

Back:

Sides:

Top:

Box Contents:

Quick Overview (Manufacturer Specifications)

  • Body Material: Polymer (Plastic?)
  • LED: 2 * XP-G3 CW
  • Battery Format:  Customised Li-Ion 2,000mAh Proprietary Battery
  • Output & Runtime:
    • Low (5 lumens / 160h)
    • Mid (100 lumens / 9h 30min)
    • High (500 lumens / 5min) -> (350 lumens / 2h)
  • Max Beam Distance: 100m
  • Beam intensity: 2,500cd
  • Waterproofness: IPX-4 Standard
  • Impact Resistance: 1m
  • Dimension: 58mm (length) x 38mm (height) x 24mm (width) [Headlamp] / 71mm (length) x 42mm (height) x 19mm (width) [Battery Pack]
  • Weight: 120g (including batteries)
  • Accessories Included:
    • 1*Olight 2,000mAh Battery Pack
    • 1*Headlamp Strap
    • 1*Micro-USB Cable
  • MSRP: ~$60

UI (User Interface)

UI for this light is good for Every Day Carry (EDC) light as it is extremely straightforward to use.

Switching ON and OFF is done by the electronic switch on the light, so no momentary activation is possible.

From OFF:

  • 1 Click  - Light will switch ON to HIGH (no mode memory).

From ON:

  • 1 Click - Mode change per every click (light cycles through HIGH, MID, LOW & OFF). Yes, that is the only way to switch OFF the light!
  • HOLD (~1 sec till light blinks once) - WAVE OPERATION is activated (switch BLUE indicator is ON); HOLD (~1 sec till light blinks once) again to deactivate WAVE OPERATION (switch BLUE indicator is OFF).

Notes:

  1. WAVE OPERATION is operated by waving of one's hand in front of the headlamp (<~5 cm) in one direction to switch ON or OFF.
  2. When WAVE OPERATION is activated, the switch BLUE indicator will remain ON even if the light is switched OFF using WAVE OPERATION (see below photo). The light does not shut OFF completely but instead goes into STANDBY mode - waiting for the next WAVE for up to 1 hour, before switching OFF completely.
  3. Avoid wearing black gloves as the WAVE OPERATION's sensor will be unable to pick up any movement.
  4. The light has mode memory for WAVE OPERATION (it will remember if it was activated/deactivated even after switching OFF).
  5. Both LEDs will be lit when the light is ON, there is no option to select "spot" or "flood".

There is no STROBE or SOS (blinky) modes for this light.

Form Factor

For flashlights that are intended to use on a daily basis (EDC) and for possibly a long period of time, form factor is extremely important.

This light fits a medium sized hand easily. For headlamps, there isn’t many ways of holding it but rather it would be more of test of comfort whilst its on your head. The Olight-branded headband held the light sturdily even when doing more vigorous activity (eg jogging/running), at no time did the light feel like it was about to fall off. The battery pack at the back does help the light feel more well-balanced on the head and the mounts of the headlamp did not leave any marks on one’s forehead after prolonged usage.

Battery Indicator

Clicking the blue button on the battery pack will light up the blue battery level indicators (4 in total) to show the current battery charge left.

When the headlamp is worn, the battery pack will be situated at the back of the head so it is difficult to check the current battery charge left. Olight fixed the issue by enabling the battery pack to emit a beeping sound for 10min when the battery reaches ~10% battery level; 1 click the blue button to silence the beeping notification.

Charging Process

With the provided Micro-USB Cable, the battery was charging at 0.99A which is close to the recommended 1A charging rate.

The light is capable of operating on all modes even when charging (at the expense of a slower charging rate). However, it is recommended to use "LOW" only, to ensure that the battery does get charged.

The blinking BLUE indicator (any of the 4 indicators) depicts charging in progress and 4 BLUE indicators lit (non-blinking) depicts charging has completed.

Beam Style/Beamshots

For this light, the spill, corona and hotspot is somewhat predictable due to the dual LED TIR (Spot & Bead) optics. The LEDs are fully covered under the TIR (Total Internal Reflection) optics. Hence, the beam has both "throw" and soft flood for recognizing items in the up-close to near range distance.

The above beam profile is a rough interpretation of what is seen when white wall hunting. The beam has a wide circular hotspot with wide corona that fades out to a fairly wide usable (circular) spill. There are some slight rings in the beam when whitewall hunting but not visible in real world usage.

All of the beamshots taken below are done so with the following camera settings (LOW: 1, F3.5, ISO100, Daylight WB, MID & HIGH: 1/2, F3.5, ISO100, Daylight WB).
Some pictures have been adjusted slightly to depict as close as to what is seen in real life. The distance of the light from the door is 4.6m.

Control shot:

LOW (5 lumens):

MID (100 lumens):

HIGH (500 lumens):

Mode (Output) Spacing

Mode spacing appears to be progressively brighter to the eye and the modes are well spaced enough to be able to know which mode one is currently in. With that in mind, TLR tend to view mode spacing as battery life indicators (amount of runtime left) rather than the specific output (lumens).

It would be nice if Olight would incorporate a MOONLIGHT mode to one that is actually at moonlight level (sub-lumen or 1 lumen) for those bedtime runs or during which having 5 lumens is still too bright for the night-adjusted eyes.
An alternative would be having a choice to have either the "spot" or "flood" LED lit only.

Tint & CRI

Olight did not disclose the tint (color temperature) and/or the CRI (Color Rendering Index) for the LEDs used in their light. For this light, a guesstimate would be in the 6000K and 70CRI ballpark.

There are tint shifts throughout the beam profile. The hotspot is cool white whilst the corona possess a slight yellow-green tint; and the spill having a slight purple tint.
This is however, not as noticeable in real life.

Waterproofness

As the headlamp is rated for IPX4 only, the light was subjected to being left under room temperature running water whilst running on HIGH.

No signs of water intrusion in the head or battery pack was seen.

Lockout Capability

There is neither electronic nor mechanical lockout available when needed, like during transportation in a bag.

While the switch may need a deliberate press to activate, the first mode that the light comes ON in is HIGH. Hence while transporting the headlamp, it is recommended to store it in a compartment by itself or have it in a separate pouch/container to prevent any accidental activation.

Summary

To sum up, we believe that the most important part of any review is if given the chance to purchase the same light for our own EDC or to gift to our loved ones out from one's pocket (wallet), would we still do it?
For this light, it is a possible YES if the UI is not an issue for your usage.

The comfort rating for this headband is by far one of the best - sufficiently elastic with no mounts "imprint" on the forehead despite long usage and the battery pack at the back helped make the headlamp well-balanced. Having both beam types ("spot" and flood) was extremely useful compared to the traditional reflector-based headlamps, however there were times when we wished we could have flood only (e.g. up close reading).

The WAVE OPERATION although seemingly gimmicky at first, was rather useful when wanting to have light ON with dirty hands (<~5cm). Even then, it is more of a novelty than a necessity.

Being accustomed to Olight's great EDC UI (S Series), the UI on this headlamp seemed somewhat lacking in comparison. Having no direct access to LOW or HIGH, starting from HIGH and being forced to cycle through all the modes to switch OFF the light; all does not seem what Olight would have in this headlamp's UI. However, if HIGH is what is needed when the light is first switched ON, then this is the light for you.

To get a sufficiently throwy light to complement the beam profile of this headlamp, may we suggest the Fenix PD32 2016 we reviewed.

As with all gears, two is one and one is none.

Stay safe,
The Lite Review


Disclaimer: Light was provided for by Olight (manufacturer) for this review. No other compensation was provided.


Where to Buy Links

Click HERE to check out where to get this light.

The Lite Review (click for my Review website!)