Review: Ultrafire UF-H2 Infinitely Variable 1xAA Headlamp

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sb56637
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Review: Ultrafire UF-H2 Infinitely Variable 1xAA Headlamp

Ultrafire UF-H2

Reviewer's Overall Rating:  ★★★★★

 

Summary:

Battery:  1xAA
Switch:  Digital "soft" pushbutton
Modes:  ∞ (Infinite)
LED Type:  Cree XR-E Q5
Lens:  Flood
Tailstands:  Yes
Price @ Order:  $32.90
From: Manafont.com
Date Ordered:20/Nov/2010

 

Pros:

  • Runtime, runtime, runtime, runtime!
  • Infinitely variable brightness
  • SOS not easy to activate by accident
  • Perfect last brightness memory
  • Excellent quality
  • Great, sturdy, practical pocket clip
  • Tailstands perfectly
  • Clipstands perfectly
  • Refrigerator-stands perfectly with magnetic tailcap

Cons:

  • Rather pricey
  • Parasitic drain of battery from digital switch

 

Features / Value: ★★★☆☆ 

Let me start by prefacing this review with a disclaimer: Manafont.com was kind enough to send me a sample of the Ultrafire UF-H2 headlamp for review. Nevertheless, I will still try to be objective with this review. I am not receiving any monetary compensation from Manafont.com for this review. All opinions are my own.

The Ultrafire UF-H2 is the first headlamp I have ever owned. I was never interested in headlamps for wearing on my head, and I'm still not interested in them. However, after running across the Ultrafire UF-H2, it dawned on me that it still would be incredibly useful for me, in fact even more so than a straight flashlight. I strongly prefer flashlights with a pocket clip, and the UF-H2 obliges with a superb, sturdy, attractive clip. I also realized that when I clip a regular flashlight somewhere onto my shirt, it usually ends up pointing straight down to the ground, instead of illuminating my path ahead. The UF-H2 solves this problem, featuring a lens that projects a wide flood beam along a plane at 90° relative to the flashlight body. So when it's clipped somewhere onto my shirt with the flashlight body parallel to my body, the light shines straight ahead. This is a major advantage and a perfect fit for my work style. The Ultrafire UF-H2 also throws in another unique feature that no other flashlight of mine has, boasting a magnetic tailcap, which works outstandingly well for sticking it sideways on a refrigerator or any other ferrous metal object. One final feature that sets apart the UF-H2 is its switch and mode setup. Instead of the usual reverse clicky mechanical action switch, the UF-H2 has a digital "soft switch" that feels approximately similar to the action of a pushbutton on a modern car radio and makes a muted "click" sound. While holding down the switch, the digital circuitry oscillates the brightness level back and forth from low→high→low. Releasing the switch sets the level. And happily, after turning it off, even for less than a second, it remembers the last setting perfectly. Very well done. It does have a superfluous SOS mode, but fortunately it is accessed by quickly double-clicking the switch, so it's not easy to activate by accident. I wish that the ramping rate was a bit slower, and I wish there was a pause at the highest and lowest levels of the range to make it easier to set those two common extremes. Overall, this headlamp boasts a plethora of useful, unique features. So why not give it 5 stars for this category? The price. $32.90 is a tad bit pricey for my budget oriented preferences. If they could get the price down to about $25 I would give it 4 stars, or anywhere under $20 would easily earn a full 5-star rating. But for some, it may well be worth the premium pricetag for a premium product with these very desirable, well-executed features.

 

Build Quality / Design: ★★★★★

The build quality and the overall design of the Ultrafire UF-H2 are top notch. My first impression of this light centered on its pleasingly compact size. You can see from the following picture that the Ultrafire UF-H2 is one of the smallest lights I own, and by far the smallest 1xAA light in my collection. In fact it's practically the same length as my smallest twisty 1xAAA flashlight.

Top to bottom: Trustfire F20, Eastward J09, MXDL 1xAAA, Ultrafire UF-H2

Tiny

Another extremely important feature for me and most other flashlight buyers is that the Ultrafire UF-H2 is tailstandable. And thanks to the switch on top of the light above the right-angle lens, the bottom of the light is left to tailstand by design. Therefore, buyers can order with the confidence that it isn't subject to random manufacturing variation as is the case with other cheap flashlights that occasionally ship with a slightly protruding tailswitch that prevents the light from tailstanding. But the Ultrafire UF-H2 doesn't only tailstand. It also clipstands. Thanks to two thoughtfully placed flats on the pocket clip, on a flat surface the UF-H2 can easily lie on on the backside of its clip with the lens facing upwards to illuminate a room. The pocket clip also reflects thoughtful, careful design in its judiciously placed holes that allow for a lanyard to be threaded or attached. Specifically, it has one hole in the tip of the clip, a metal loop that protrudes from the trough of the clip to which a small metal clip could be attached without affecting the clipstanding, and farther up the clip another hole. This affords the user numerous options to attach one or more lanyards however he wants. Again, very very well done Ultrafire! This tailclip has many truly unique, useful features for my daily usage.

Sturdy, practical pocket clip

In addition to clipstanding, the UF-H2 even refrigerator stands sideways, thanks to the reasonably strong magnet in its tail. All these feature make it a very fun, flexible tool that I am enjoying very much. Fortunately, all these nifty features are complemented by excellent overall quality. Careful inspection of the body reveals excellent color uniformity. There is a nice knurled section in the middle, although if I rotate it I can see the sparkle of two or three knurl points that apparently didn't quite come out right. The inside of the lens arrived clean. I didn't have to tighten anything. For some reason the tailcap seems to close the circuit more quickly by inserting the battery with the flashlight pointed down. Otherwise it requires more force to really tighten down the last threads until it makes contact. The light signals a closed circuit with a single brief dim flash. The threads on the tailcap are quite smooth and well oiled, although it felt a bit gritty until I wiped off the threads a bit. There is an O-ring in the correct spot on the tailcap. I'm not sure about the area around the lens. I'm sure it's water resistant at least for rain or a brief drop into a puddle. Overall, the design and quality of the Ultrafire UF-H2 is superb, with many thoughtful touches that really make for a pleasant user experience. An easy 5-star rating on this criterion.

 

Battery Life:  ★★★★★

Battery life for the UF-H2 is excellent beyond my wildest expectations. I would give this light 6/5 stars if I could for this category. Thanks to the aforementioned infinitely adjustable output system, the light can be set to a very low level. I have no equipment to measure it, but comparing it to other lights with known values I would estimate the lowest level to be approximately 1 lumen. It is low enough that I can almost comfortably look directly at the LED. At this level, the UF-H2 turns into a veritable battery miser, resulting in off-the-chart runtimes compared to my other lights. With an Eneloop, the UF-H2 ran for somewhere between 80 and 84 hours nonstop. That's more than 3½ days on an Eneloop! The runtime results were even more impressive with a common Rayovac alkaline AA battery-- it ran for more than 116 hours, almost 5 days. During the entire duration of the runtime test output was impressively flat; even with the alkaline I noticed very little battery fade toward the end of the test. It finally just shut off. I should mention that the output on this low level is actually very usable indoors at night. If I had to pick a single light to use while trapped in a mine with just one battery, I would pick the Ultrafire UF-H2 hands down. The only caveat related to battery life on the UF-H2 has to do with the digital "soft" switch. Since the switch is electronic and thus always connected to a closed circuit, it causes a certain amount of parasitic battery drain. Theoretically the battery could run dead just by being installed, possible within a month according to some estimates by other sources. The obvious solution to this issue would be to unscrew the tailcap a few turns to break the circuit. At any rate, the Ultrafire UF-H2 easily receives a class leading 5-star rating here and has become my long run endurance standard for all future flashlights.

 

Light Output:  ★★★★★

The Ultrafire UF-H2 uses a fairly run-of-the-mill Cree XR-E Q5 emitter. However, the lens is much more interesting, since it produces a pure flood beam. For a headlamp (or when clipped onto clothing) a flood beam is the most practical, since precise aiming with the hands is unnecessary with a very wide beam. And wide it is. At about 30cm from the wall, it produces a beautiful, huge circle of uniform light approximately 50cm in diameter.

For me, this is the most usable, practical beam of all my flashlights. Additionally, the light is a pleasant neutral color, and the beam is perfectly uniform all the way out to the very outer edges, where it finally shows a bit of a halo. The beam pattern is perfect for working around the house in the dark on the lowest setting without precisely aiming a hotspot at the most important area. It's worth mentioning that my rather sensitive eyes can not detect any PWM flicker on the lowest or any other output setting. As for the highest setting, I have no exact lumen figures, but it does an impressive job on high of illuminating a dark kitchen or office with excellent detail. It also worked great on about 70% output for a brief walk down a fairly dark, rocky path with some diffuse residential light pollution. The Ultrafire UF-H2 is not the light to use on a search and rescue team, nor would it be a good backup for the main beacon in your lighthouse, but it's a great multipurpose instrument for almost any other mundane task. 5-stars here.

 

Summary:  ★★★★★

So here we have it. In summary, the Ultrafire UF-H2 averages out to 4.5 stars, being slightly knocked down only because of its relatively high pricetag. But I will follow my normal rules of rounding up, which results in a perfect 5-star rating for the UF-H2. And it's a well deserved rating. The Ultrafire UF-H2 has become my favorite flashlight, combining jaw-dropping runtime with a smooth, wide beam and a superb array of minute details that combine to make it a real pleasure to use. The Ultrafire UF-H2 is a valuable instrument that every serious flashlight fan should have in his toolkit. Highly recommended.

 

 

Do you own the Ultrafire UF-H2 headlamp? If so, please give it your own star rating below!

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Edited by: sb56637 on 09/02/2017 - 12:30
fran82
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Incredible light and incredible review.

Maybe MANAFONT could start a promotion on this flashlight and giving it to us at 25 dollar or less.... Then it will be the best seller on manafont!

I want one, but is veery expensive!

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sb56637
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Yes, I agree with Fran. If they could get the price down a bit at Manafont it would be a best seller.

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Very nice review - Thanks. Im on the lookout for a headlamp and this absolutely are

on the way to my wishlist. But I also agree with Admin and Fran, its too expensive

at the moment.

Cheap quality is good - Expensive crap isn´t

fran82
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And, important things (also)

14500 support?

How many lumens estimated "by eye"?

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Don
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But then when you compare it to the competition....

http://www.zebralight.com/H50b-Headlamp-AA-Flood_p_35.html

And that is on clearance and costs $45. I have one of the original Q5 ones of these, I think it cost $59 at the time and was worth it.

I have bought only two headlamps since the H50 about 4-5 years ago. A gimmicky flood-throw 14500 only light that didn't work and the 18650 version of this light. The H50 really is excellent.

The Ultrafire is more flexible and cheaper. But if the price can be brought down a bit more, I could probably be persuaded to buy another headlamp.

For a lot of people in the EU, a price of $28 or less removes import duty hassles and big Customs clearance fees.

 

The numbers from my light tests are always to be found here.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0ApkFM37n_QnRdDU5MDNzOURjYllmZHI...

sb56637
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Hmmm, how many estimated lumens by eye? Not sure, but it's about as bright as my Trustfire F20 on high, both with an Eneloop.

14500 support? I honestly don't know. It seems there are various versions of this light out there, in typical Ultrafire fashion. These two links at Kaidomain make me think that there are two versions- one is only AA with variable output. And the other is only 14500 with a single mode. But I don't believe any of KD's descriptions.

http://kaidomain.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductId=10241

http://kaidomain.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductId=10707

There's also this description on eBay. It claims to support AA and 14500 and be infinitely variable.

And finally there's this review on CPF, which claims that a 14500 works fine.

I think there's hope that we could probably persuade Manafont to get their price down a bit on this light, if we ask politely. Wink

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fran82
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mmm similar to F20 on High, so about 130 chinese lumens. Probably 100 fenix lumens

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sb56637
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Sounds about right. Thanks Fran!

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Don
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The UF-H3 which could well have the same driver varies from about 3-120 lumens. I happen to have some 65mm long NiMH cells lying around if i can find them - they weren't where I first looked.

 

The numbers from my light tests are always to be found here.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0ApkFM37n_QnRdDU5MDNzOURjYllmZHI...

sb56637
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I also suspect that the UF-H3 does have the same driver, in which case it supports 3.7V, right?

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Don
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That's what I'm thinking, which is why I'm looking for my 4/3A NiMH cells (Essentially 18650 in NiMH) which came from a laptop battery pack. Trying to make up a test adaptor for an AA Eneloop isn't working so time to play hunt the cell. I really must tidy up in this place.

 

The numbers from my light tests are always to be found here.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0ApkFM37n_QnRdDU5MDNzOURjYllmZHI...

sb56637
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Ah, 4/3A, I wondered if an 18650-sized NiMH battery existed. Thanks Don, please let us know if you get a chance.

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ezeqdb
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fer18gts from ForoLinternas owns an UF-H3, he tried with one AA eneloop, and even with two in series, and it didn't light up..

"no le temo a la oscuridad, la oscuridad me teme a mí"

Nautic
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Here you can have it for 29$: http://www.hkequipment.net/index.php?p=6&id=444&lang=en&msg=Session%20Expiried!&s=

Shipping 2$!!

 

Manafont should be convinced to sell it at that price.

Cheap quality is good - Expensive crap isn´t

Don
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Found the cells. Now where did I put the charger?

 

The numbers from my light tests are always to be found here.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0ApkFM37n_QnRdDU5MDNzOURjYllmZHI...

Don
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Yes, Fran is right, it must be a lithium only circuit. Which could mean there are two variants on the UF-H2.

 

The numbers from my light tests are always to be found here.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0ApkFM37n_QnRdDU5MDNzOURjYllmZHI...

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Thanks for the great review. Very interesting light indeed and already added to my wishlist.

Just one question: If you lock out the tailcap to securely prevent the parasitic drain, how big is the risk that the tailcap comes off or closes the circuit accidently when carrying the light in a bag/pocket? Is this something that could be adjusted with a suitable o-ring?

Don
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Huny74 wrote:

Thanks for the great review. Very interesting light indeed and already added to my wishlist.

Just one question: If you lock out the tailcap to securely prevent the parasitic drain, how big is the risk that the tailcap comes off or closes the circuit accidently when carrying the light in a bag/pocket? Is this something that could be adjusted with a suitable o-ring?

 

Exactly none. There are two O rings - keep it between the two and no problem. At least on the H3

 

The numbers from my light tests are always to be found here.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0ApkFM37n_QnRdDU5MDNzOURjYllmZHI...

Don
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http://www.spark001.com/Products.aspx?ProductID=6

Pity it is $90 from Shiningbeam. I do doubt whether 360 lumens from a headlamp is actually useful but that's another story.

 

The numbers from my light tests are always to be found here.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0ApkFM37n_QnRdDU5MDNzOURjYllmZHI...

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Don wrote:

I do doubt whether 360 lumens from a headlamp is actually useful but that's another story.

It depends on what you do with the headlight, I use a XM-L C2 as a headlight when skiing. Nice and bright, though I'd rather take my less bright Zebralight when viewing stuff at a closer distance : )

Now with 100% all natural asbestos!

Don
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SPAMBOT wrote:

Don wrote:

I do doubt whether 360 lumens from a headlamp is actually useful but that's another story.

It depends on what you do with the headlight, I use a XM-L C2 as a headlight when skiing. Nice and bright, though I'd rather take my less bright Zebralight when viewing stuff at a closer distance : )

 

True.

 

For what I do with headlights, this is way past useful. |Others do different things.

I walk splay-footed. For me, skiing is an expensive way of hurting myself.

 

The numbers from my light tests are always to be found here.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0ApkFM37n_QnRdDU5MDNzOURjYllmZHI...

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Don wrote:

Exactly none. There are two O rings - keep it between the two and no problem. At least on the H3

Thanks for the info.

Looking at the pictures at manafont there seems to be only one o-ring on the H2 tube but I think there is a second groove for an additional ring so it should work out fine. Well, I'll see when it arrives. Moved from "wish" to "ordered" Wink

sb56637
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Huny74, I think that there's very little risk of losing the tailcap if you carry it slightly unscrewed. It requires very little turning to break the connection, it still remains almost totally screwed on.

Let us know how you like it when you receive it!

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Huny74
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sb56637 wrote:

Huny74, I think that there's very little risk of losing the tailcap if you carry it slightly unscrewed. It requires very little turning to break the connection, it still remains almost totally screwed on.

Let us know how you like it when you receive it!

Thanks for the info. I already like the light, mostly because of the UI. It will also be my first light shining sideways. Can't wait till it arrives (well, I'm afraid regarding this I don't have much choice...)

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fefelir from Afghanistan wrote:
ýêñïëóàòàöèÿ è ðåìîíò àâòîìîáèëÿ íèññàí àëüìåðà ñêààò

I say, old chap, stop messing around with that poppy milk. For your health's sake!

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The nice review surely needs some cleanup.

kragmutt wrote:

They're gonna send you a green redcat with a black LED.

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Don wrote:

Yes, Fran is right, it must be a lithium only circuit. Which could mean there are two variants on the UF-H2.

 

Yes there is, UF-H2 and UF-H2B

Don
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Found some parasitic drain figures in the Other Place.

4.38mA from an Eneloop, 20 days and it should be stone dead.

30 microamps for the H3 - about 9 years

Mine measures at around 75 microamps - or about 4 years.

 

The numbers from my light tests are always to be found here.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0ApkFM37n_QnRdDU5MDNzOURjYllmZHI...

ezeqdb
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For the owners of the Manafont version of the UF-H2: do you dare to try a 14500?

"no le temo a la oscuridad, la oscuridad me teme a mí"

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I double dare you. Wink

Don wrote:

"But as I said long ago, you are more likely to be killed by a dead fish dropped by a seagull in the Sahara Desert than by a lithium ion

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