Review: Astrolux HL01 Headlamp 18650/18350 1200 lumens

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WalkIntoTheLight
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Review: Astrolux HL01 Headlamp 18650/18350 1200 lumens

This is a review of the Astrolux HL01 headlamp, by Banggood. It is a high-powered quality headlamp that takes a single 18650 or 18350 battery. A single emitter, either Cree XP-L or Luminus SST20, in four different tints, produces 1200 lumens in turbo mode. This review covers the Cree XP-L 4000K warm white version.

For the full video review, including pictures, demonstrations, and night shots, see the following Youtube review:

The light was provided by Banggood for review purposes. I receive no other form of compensation, and all my reviews are independent. You can find the Astrolux HL01 on Banggood’s site here, along with further details:

Astrolux HL01

There is a discount code which brings the above light down to $31.99. Use code BGHL01 at checkout. It’s on top of the existing sale price.


Overview:

Astrolux is known for making good flashlights with plenty of features, for a modest price. The Astrolux HL01 headlamp is no exception. It’s great to see Astrolux get into the headlamp category, because it gives a quality light at an accessible price.

Most headlamps are either cheap AAA-powered junk sold in department stores, or high-priced quality lights sold online or in specialty stores. Astrolux now gives us a middle ground, so people looking to save a bit of money don’t have to buy junk.

The HL01 runs the Anduril firmware, so it comes with a ton of features to satisfy even the geekiest flashaholic. It comes with all the accessories you need, including a headstrap, pocket clip, 18650 and 18350 body tubes, lanyard, nice manual, and extra o-rings. All in a box that is very presentable for a gift.

Design:

The Astrolux HL01 is made of aluminum, and is available in three different coatings. I admit the shape of the head is rather strange: a large block that looks like a masher. But, it’s functional, and definitely prevents the light from rolling if you put the light down. It also provides excellent thermal mass, so the light doesn’t overheat.

With the 18650 body tube, the light is fairly typical in size and weight to many every day carry 18650 lights. Some may find that slightly on the large size for a headlamp, but it’s not too bad. Luckily, if you want a smaller version, the light comes with a 18350 body tube, which makes it significantly smaller and lighter.

The light is comfortable in the hand, and won’t slip.

The light has a strong magnetic tailcap, so it easily attaches to steel surfaces if you want to use it when working on plumbing or under the hood of your car. Does anyone actually still do that, now that cars are all computer-controlled? Oh well, with the HL01, you can at least look like you know what you’re doing.

The included headstrap is functional, though a little thin. But it’s comfortable, and the 3rd overhead strap prevents the light from bouncing around. I found that it works well for walking, though runners might have an issue if they’re using the full-sized 18650 configuration.

Aside from the main LED, the light also has blue auxiliary LEDs. More on that later.

Finally, the HL01 has built-in charging, via a sealed USB-C port. Of course, you can also charge your batteries externally, too. However, the protected port, sealed with 2 o-rings, is great. It allows for on-board charging, while also keeping the light waterproof. Well done, Astrolux!

User Interface:

The Astrolux HL01 uses the Andruil firmware to control the light, so yes, it probably has more features than you will ever use, but you can fairly easily ignore all those features and just use the basic on/off and ramp interface. My only complaint is that if you happen to click some random combination, you can put yourself into a mode you don’t understand, or into a programming mode. Thankfully, this is usually easily remedied by just turning off the light. Worst case, if you totally mess things up, you can always use a reset combo to set the light back to factory defaults. But unless you’re really messing around with the light, I don’t think you’d ever run into that situation.

I won’t go into all the features of Andruil, since those are covered in other posts much better than I can do. And many of you are probably familiar with the interface.

The simple ramping interface is:
- click to turn on
- press and hold the button to ramp up and down
- click to turn off

Pretty simple, right? Okay, I’ll also mention that double-click will put the light into turbo mode, which isn’t normally available with the standard ramp.

Auxilary LEDs:

The light comes with four blue auxilary LEDs, which adds some nice bling. They can be configured to be in 4 different states: off, low, high, and flashing. You use 7-clicks to configure them.

My concern was how much current do those LEDs use? Luckily, not much, so you can safely leave them on low without any worry about parasitic drain on your battery.

The currents I measured were approximately as follows:

Off: 40 microamps (8 years to drain a 3000mAh cell)
Low: 70 microamps (5 years to drain a cell)
High: 440 microamps (9 months to drain a cell)
Flashing: all over the place, but similar to high.

So, I wouldn’t recommend leaving them on high, unless you use the light fairly regularly and charge it at least every month or two. On low, there’s absolutely no issue at all.

The auxiliary lights are obviously meant to be used as a locator function, as well as simply for decoration. But, I find that even on low, they function as a dim moonlight mode, comparable to some of the dimmest moonlight modes on Zebralight flashlights. Of course, the blue color isn’t so great for a moonlight mode, but you can use it that way if you want.

The regular LED in the light has a very nice range from a dim sub-lumen output, to a turbo of around 1200 lumens. The beam profile is what you would expect from a small EDC light using a XP-L emitter. It’s nice! You have a bit of throw, but also a lot of useful spill. It’s a perfect beam profile for the average user.

Beam profile:

Some people (myself included) prefer a more floody beam in a headlamp, if they use it strictly for close-up work. But I have to carry another light to see further away. If you only carry one light, the HL01 has a great beam profile. And, you can always put a diffuser or some tape over the lens for those times you want a wide beam.

Thermal management:

Since the Astrolux HL01 has a fairly large (and oddly-shaped) head, it handles heat very well. You can easily use the light for several minutes on full turbo without issue. The light will automatically ramp down in brightness if it becomes too hot.

You can program the temperature threshold of the light, before thermal controls kick in. See my Youtube video for a detailed showing of this. I recommend setting the temperature settings when you first get the light, and then you can safely ignore it after that.

Specifications:

Output: Very flexible user Anduril interface. Output is from about 0.1 lumens to 1200 lumens. Tons of output modes, too many to describe. The HL01 comes with a nice manual that describes them all.

Throw: 160 meters.

LED: 1 Cree XP-L or Luminus SST20.

Tint: Four different tints available, from a warm 4000K, neutral 5000K, or cool 6500K temperature.

Size: 124mm long (18650) or 86mm (18350), 25mm diameter.

Weight: 122g with 18650 config, 96g with 18350.

Construction: Aluminum body with anodized coating. Drop-proof (1 meter). Water resistant to IPx7 (do not submerge in a lake, but anything else is okay). Feels very solid and well built.

Battery type: High discharge 18350 or 18650 for best results, but it will work well with lower drain cells, though turbo won’t be as bright.

Springs: Tail uses a double-spring for high current conductivity. The heads uses a brass post to minimize resistance.

Over-discharge protection: Yes.

Beam profile: General purpose.

Heat: The light doesn’t easily overheat, but it does have configurable thermal management to prevent overheating.

Tail-stands: Yes.

Tail-magnet: Yes.

Standby drain: Low. Up to 8 years.

USB charging: Yes, USB-C. Hidden port, protected from water.

Contents:

Astrolux HL01 Flashlight/Headlamp
18650 body tube
18350 body tube
Headband
Spare o-rings
Lanyard
Pocket clip
English manual

My impressions:

Pros:

- Wide range of brightness, from low moonlight to very bright highs. Useful general-purpose beam profile.

- Powerful user interface.

- Nice selection of available tints.

- Built-in USB-C charging with water-proof port.

- Well constructed, watertight.

- Illuminated blue LEDs makes for easily locating the light in the dark.

- It has very low standby current, even with the illuminated blue LEDs.

- Magnetic tailcap

- Supports 18350 and 18650 battery types, and includes both bodies.

Cons:

- The light may be a little large for a headlamp with the 18650 configuration. Though, I found it fine for most uses, those are not for long periods of time. Use the 18350 configuration if you want something lighter, especially for running.

- Odd shape. It’s not pleasant to look at, but you get used to it. Or, stick it on your forehead so you don’t have to look at it.

That’s all for now. Thank you for reading.

ryukin2000
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Been looking around for a right angle 18650 light to take over my Nitecore HC50. The NC is heavy and drains fast during use. always wanted a Zebralight headlamp but these are affordable options. Thanks for the review and video. I agree it does look big. the knurling on the head reminds me of a meat tenderizer. looks robust.

WalkIntoTheLight
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Yes, it seems solid, and it’s definitely affordable. I do prefer Zebralight headlamps as well (smaller and lighter), but they are 3 times the price. So, the HL01 falls into the budget value category. The HL01 also comes with more features and bling. My wife has already stolen it to work on puzzles at night, so we don’t need a bright light on in the room. So, it’s definitely going to get used.

One thing the HL01 has, that I sometimes wish my Zebralights had, is a magnetic tailcap. Those are really useful in some situations. Though, I admit I probably won’t use the magnet a lot. And, of course, it adds to the size and weight.

d_t_a
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ryukin2000 wrote:
Been looking around for a right angle 18650 light to take over my Nitecore HC50. The NC is heavy and drains fast during use. always wanted a Zebralight headlamp but these are affordable options. Thanks for the review and video. I agree it does look big. the knurling on the head reminds me of a meat tenderizer. looks robust.

I find the HL01 to be quite heavy and big (in 18650 format) — the weight listed above is without batteries. With 18650 battery installed on the HL01 18650 tube, total weight would be around 175 grams — this actually makes it a bit heavier than for instance, the Fireflies PL47 (around 82 grams without battery, and around 150 grams with 21700 battery).

mfruit
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Thanks for the YouTube review. Very nicely done! I stumbled across this thread when doing a search for headlamps and I’m very interested in buying one. I may have missed the mention in the review but which emitter do you prefer? The SST20 or the XPL? Thanks again!

d_t_a
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mfruit wrote:
Thanks for the YouTube review. Very nicely done! I stumbled across this thread when doing a search for headlamps and I’m very interested in buying one. I may have missed the mention in the review but which emitter do you prefer? The SST20 or the XPL? Thanks again!

HL01 with SST20 is more throwy, but is available only in warm color temperature (SST20 4000k). Also, the SST20-4000k has a bit less lumens, but it makes up for this with its high CRI (color rendering index)

HL01 with XPL-HD is a bit less throwy, and is available in cool and neutral-white color temperature (6500k, 5000k). It outputs a bit more light than the SST20 version. (however, the unit I got for XPL-HD neutral-white seems to have a not-so-good tint — it can look a bit greenish-yellowish, though I’m not sure if other XPL-HD used by the HL01 are similar or not. I’ve had some XPL-HD which looks fairly good even if they’re not high CRI. But the HL01 with XPL-HD neutral-white I got appears to be one of my less-desired tints though – having this slightly greenish-yellowish hue..)

Sunnysunsun
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mfruit wrote:
Thanks for the YouTube review. Very nicely done! I stumbled across this thread when doing a search for headlamps and I’m very interested in buying one. I may have missed the mention in the review but which emitter do you prefer? The SST20 or the XPL? Thanks again!

Don’t buy this one, there are many other better ones on the market. I was super glad I skipped the group buy on this one and got the HL3A instead. I’d even take the SP40 over this unnecessarily large hunk of metal.

mfruit
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Thanks d_t_a and Sunnysunsun for the info! I read some more reviews and it seems the PWM is pretty visible so I’m kinda sad about that. I will look for reviews on the HL3A and the SP40.