Always a fan of Boruit headlamps, I saw this one from 77 Outdoors which looks very similar to the D25, and wanted to try it. The nice thing is the relation to Sofirn, which speaks to its quality. And indeed, this light came with a Sofirn-branded 2200mAH cell.
It came in a nondescript brown box, sturdy corrugated cardboard, not the usual Cheap White Box that might as well be made of wet pasta. Nicely packed, the headlamp and headband folded to fit, with USB charging cable on top. There were no printed instructions included, but I got a followup email with a .pdf of the manual. Just as well, as most printed manuals require an electron microscope to read the smudged molecule-sized text anyway.
First impression is that the light is very lightweight, even with the cell. Even with the headband loose, the light didn’t feel heavy at all and didn’t flop around much. The band adjusts quite well from brain-squeezingly tight to being able to pull it over my head and use it as a necklace. There’s no 3rd over-the-head strap, but it still fits well and seems stable.
Anodisation seems pretty good, a flat black, no nicks or bald-spots that I could see. There are two end-caps on the body. One on the switch-side unscrews but is captive, just opening enough to expose the otherwise protected USB charging-port. The other cap unscrews to replace the cell if necessary. Both caps are very thin-walled. Threads on both are frighteningly shallow. I imagine this is done to save weight, but makes me very hesitant to overtorque them. Minor quibble, but the threads could also use quite a bit more lube, as they’re a bit “scratchy”.
The light has a pair of emitters vs a single one. That can help as far as efficiency and brightness (sharing the current instead of handling it all). Front glass is in fact glass, not plastic. It uses orange-peel reflectors vs TIR lenses. Oh, well, maybe I can swap them. One downside of using reflectors, even OP ones, is that the beam has some artifacts. The hotspot has a bright corona with slightly darker center, and the spill has a few “bullseye” rings. This is only objectionable when looking at a blank wall, and doesn’t seem to interfere with normal use. It’s also a very cool-white, quite blue, especially in the spill. A warmer white, even neutral white, would be so much better.
On the bright(!) side, it is in fact quite bright! 1100lm? Yeah, I’d say so. I don’t have any meter to measure it precisely, but comparing to other ~1000lm lights via ceiling-bounce, it’s definitely up there.
As for the UI (user-interface)… I was all prepared to hate it, but it grew on me. :)) One click for on (medium), another quick click to high, another click for off. Simple. Chances are you’ll be using those two modes most of the time, so I can see how/why they designed it that way. Once on, press’n’hold cycles from the current setting to the next-lower, cycling from highest to lowest. Eg, click on for level 3, then press’n’hold for 3-2-1-5-4-3-2-1-5-4-…, release when you want that particular setting.
It’s no secret, I hate blinkies, especially on lights where it’s just inappropriate, eg, AA- or AAA-lights, headlamps, etc. A doubleclick gets you to strobe, another to SOS, another to beacon. Hate the first two, but beacon is a nice Nitecore-style beacon, a quick bright flash every few seconds Very noticeable, intensely bright, but very low average power. I suppose if you get lost in the woods, that’d provide lots of “beaconing” for days. Still, blinkies are fairly hidden.
Despite there being a “tailswitch”, make no mistake that this is an e-switch light, and there’s some parasitic drain unless you physically lock out (eg, partially unscrew the tailcap by the battery) the light. Treat it as such, and don’t leave it somewhere unattended for months as a just-in-case light.
So, the two most-used modes are just 1-2 clicks away, and you can still get to the others very easily. Like I said, it grew on me.
Charging it in situ via USB (and included cable) comes in pretty handy. I’ll be doing more tests later on both the battery and the charging, but first impressions are quite positive. A similarly-covered indicator next to the port glows red when charging, green when done. Can’t ask for simpler.
Last, while the light swivels up/down in the ‘C’-shaped prongs on the headband, it’s removable, and quite easy to use when “palming” it. Hold the light as if holding a small can of breath-spray or Mace (just don’t confuse the two), and you can click on/off easily if not naturally.
All in all, it’s a great little headlamp. The color is way too blue and ringy for me, but it’s way bright, and the lightweight feel and pretty much every else wrap it up into a nice little package. And the included Sofirn cell is icing on that particular cake.
[pix’n’stuff to follow]