[Review] Nitecore HC35 Headlamp ... 2.7K+TIR+21700+USB

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CivilGearReviews
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[Review] Nitecore HC35 Headlamp ... 2.7K+TIR+21700+USB

Here arrives a new and next-gen addition to the Nitecore HC headlamp series, featuring not only their first 21700 headlamp, but it’s also got TIR! Link to product page: https://flashlight.nitecore.com/product/hc35

Overview

What stands out to me is the addition of the TIR lens which gives it a super smooth beam profile. This light also features one of my favorite UIs so that’s a plus. The main issue for me is that the larger cell takes more toll on the neck and takes time to get used to. Well, I also it came with a warmer color temperature.

Quick Specs

Note: the specs say they are tested with a 5,000mAh cell but the included cell is only 4000mAh so these numbers will be lower than shown.

Features

Included

  • HC35 light
  • Headband
  • Pocket clip
  • Lanyard
  • Manual
  • Warranty Card

Options

This is the only option at this time. I hope there will be a warm tint available in the future.

Price

Current price is about $100 USD on amazon: https://amzn.to/3cuWl72

Look & Feel

Outside

The look and feel are very similar to the previous HC30 and HC33 with smoother diamond knurling. The most obvious difference is the beaded TIR lens and the larger battery compartment. The headband is the new style that deputed with their UT32 and is quite different and has a perforated pattern and reflective stripes. Another note, the bevel ring is screwed on and I was able to remove by hand.

Inside

The cap is sized great and feels like it seals well. The anode has a plastic cover which only allows button top cells to make contact. There are 2 slots along the inside length of the battery compartment which is a really neat idea for preventing suction when taking the battery out.

Accessories

Not much came with the light but nice there is a holster which can be attached 3 ways. I also noticed that the inside of the holster is slightly rubbery which should keep rain from soaking through.

Optics

LED specs

The light uses 4 x CREE XP-G3 S3.

Beam Profile

According to my tests, the light has a beam angle of 39° FWHM. I measure the angle at 50% of the max output (this is called “Full Width Half Maximum” aka FWHM) as I feel this gives a better overall impression of the light. This is a very wide beam angle.

Tint

The HC35 is on the left and is fairly cool compared to the the Nichia 21b in the NItecore MT06MD penlight on the right.

Output Levels

The mode spacing is very much tailored for closer range which I think is the right way to go for this light. There is a noticeable gap between 800 lumen HIGH and the full 2,700 lumen TURBO which some might prefer to have a step in between but I don’t mind.

Outdoor Beamshots

 All the pictures below are taken with the light in TURBO.

Power

Battery

The light does come with it’s own button top 21700 cell with 4000 mAh capacity and 15A peak current. The light also come with an internal sleeve for use with 1×18650 and 2xCR123 or 2xRCR123; if you want to get to TURBO though the 18650 needs to have at least 8A current.

Indicators

To my surprise, there actually is an indicator under the power switch! The indicator used for battery check and charging. It is also bright enough to see during the day but not too bright and to light up a room in the dark.

Cell Voltage

You need to unscrew the tail cap a tad then tighten. The indicator will blink pause then blink again. For example for a voltage of 4.1, the indicator will blink 4 times, pause for 1.5 seconds, then blink one more time. Some times this check can be fidgety, generally you might need to unscrew and wait for 2 seconds before tightening.

USB Charging

When charging, the indicator will blink slowly. When charging is complete, the indicator will remain steady on.

Charging

For the included 4000mAh cell, it took about 2h 45m to charge via the onboard USB charger and plugging directly to a USB 3.0 power supply on my computer. The manual says to expect about 3h 15m but that is for a larger 5000mAh cell. The light uses a mini USB plug to connect to the light. Note that the light cannot be turned on during charging.

Performance

Runtimes

TURBO holds for a decent 7 minutes seconds and decreases to 67% about 310 min later; the final drop is at 2 hours from ~50% down to ~3%. I initially did a turbo reset but because it was later on in the runtime, the light did not recover due to lower power available. There is quite a sudden drop at the very end which doesn’t give the user much warning but the blinking indicator light should keep the user informed. 

Temperature

A max body temp of 120°F and out-the-front temp of 106°F was observed for starting in turbo with no resets and no fan cooling. The body temperature is pretty mild as the light drops output significantly to 30% and 20% soon after. 

PWM Check

There appears to be no significant PWM on any constant mode. 

User interface

The light uses a single stage electronic switch. The UI is one of my favorites from Nitecore, because you can set your level so fast with a bunch of single clicks starting at low and also have easy shortcut to mode memory. Depending on your use, the main con is that you cannot access strobe from the primary mode, but I don’t think many headlamp users need that option.

Conclusions

 Highlights

  • Finally a TIR lens for the HC-series!
  • STILL love the UI
  • New clip on headmount is better vs old rubber o-ring style
  •  USB charging (also new for the L-shape H-series)
  • Comes with a cell
  • You can use any high current 18650 button-top!
  • Battery indicator (also new for the L-shape H-series)

 Comments

  • The 21700 cell is a bit too heavy for me
  • Would prefer warmer tint option
  • I think it’s time Nitecore should try the button placement on the side of the head instead of the very top (I really like Armytek’s button position for headlamps)
  • The 45min on TURBO is a bit miss leading because the average user cannot run the light without temperature regulation it should just say 30s/3h10m for turbo like Olight does for their super power lights.

Purchase

The current price for the light is about $100 USD and if you appreciated my review and would like to support me, feel free to check out this product on amazon using my affiliate link (does not cost you more, amazon gives me very small % of their profit):

Amazon Link: https://amzn.to/3cuWl72

Notes

Disclaimers:

  • CivilGear Reviews received this product for testing and providing an honest review.
  • CivilGear Reviews was not paid for writing this review.
  • CivilGear Reviews is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com
Edited by: CivilGearReviews on 04/28/2020 - 01:16
Overload
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No usb c connector but a micro usb… Facepalm
Btw, nice review!

Agro
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2.7K stands for output? I thought that was CCT….and now I’m somewhat disappointed.