Review: Nitecore HC70 Headlamp

I apologize for my approximate English. I had the help of google translator but I do not know how much it served.

I received the Nitecore HC70 from Nitecore for the review.
Here the HC70 features on the manufacturer’s site:

The Nitecore HC70 is the latest Nitecore Headlamp. It is a different model from the rest of the house, as it is the first to be composed of two distinct parts: the illuminator that has a Cree XM-L2 U2 LED and a detachable battery case powered by two 18650 batteries. It is especially suitable for speleology, as well as for long hikes, camping, climbing, maintenance work (car, house) etc.
The HC70 has a maximum output of 1000 lumens and an autonomy of up to 220 hours.

The Nitecore HC70 comes in this box:

Package contents: headlamp with USB power cable, battery case, cable buckles(2), headband, manual and warranty.

Starting with the projector, this has a generous aluminum spotlight with a Cree XM-L2 U2 LED in the center, in my specimen is perfectly centered. The shell is made of aluminum and despite its size is not heavy.

The reflector is smooth and the lens has anti-reflective coating. It is mounted on a support, then inserted into the band, allowing it to move up and down by covering a 360 degree angle. The variation is constant without clicks.

In the upper part stands out the rubber button that serves to change the HC70 light levels. It’s right size with a silent click. With a single button we can control 5 levels of brightness and 3 special modes.
The lettering is done with well-readable and unobtrusive writing. The head has cooling fins to dissipate the heat produced by the LED.

The elastic nylon strap bearing the Nitecore print looks quite robust. I had no problem wearing it with or without the helmet. It has two buckles to secure the cable that connects the illuminator to the battery case and is adjustable in diameter and height.

The electrical connection between the illuminator and the battery case is made of a rugged and often coated nylon cable. This ends with a male USB connector that is inserted through a dedicated jack into the female USB port on the battery case. It is 140 cm long and can not be separated from the illuminator.

The battery case, made of a unique aluminum die-cast piece, has a large installed clip that is removable. It can also be used as a power bank / battery pack to power and charge electronic devices such as smartphones or tablets.

The micro-USB plug-in charging system allows recharge of 18650 Li-Ion / IMR batteries. These can be protected, unprotected, top or flat. Closing the battery compartment is done by screwing clockwise a large screw at the center of the battery cap. In this way, pressing on the rubber seal, the battery compartment is hermetically sealed. The Nitecore HC70 is certified IP67 as a water and dust seal. Installing a single lithium-ion battery 18650 can not operate the battery case.

On the other side, we have the three USB ports, the power button, and the three LEDs that indicate the remaining charge status. These flash slowly all three if we have full charge. With two flashing LEDs we have 70% remaining charge, with only one flashing led we have about 35% residual charge (Fig. 4). During charging, the battery case indicator will flash; at the end of the charge (100%) the light of the three LEDs remains lit continuously without flashing. It takes 11 hours to charge two 18650 li-ion batteries (3.7V 3400mAh). When power is adequate, charging is done with 1000mA.

The three USB ports are:

a) Connection port to the projector
b) Universal USB port
c) Battery charge port

a) The connection port to the projector, USB female input, is of particular shape as it is dedicated to powering the torch. The male USB connector that is inserted in this door is equipped with a gasket for good dust and water resistance. This USB socket can also be used with other electronic devices (Figure 1).
The HC70 can also be powered by an external source that powers 5V, but Turbo and High mode will not be accessible.

b) The General USB port, along with the projector’s connecting port if not used, allows you to take advantage of the HC70 battery case as a power bank and to simultaneously charge devices and external devices (2.1A MAX) such as smartphones.

c) Battery case charging port is in widespread micro USB format (Figures 2 and 4). Charging can be done via any adapter that can deliver 5V and 1000 mA.
The micro USB input is protected from water and dust by a good rubber grip.

The square rubber button near the three LEDs will serve, by pressing it, to give power to the lamp.

The battery case separated from the head can annoy but it also has advantages. We have less weight in the head, preserves heat when it is placed in backpack or pocket and can be used to power other electronic devices. When we use the headlamp, LEDs indicating battery status are visible because they are not in the head.


Connect the lamp to the dedicated USB port.

Switch on:
Press the switch on the battery case until the lamp is activated, the HC70 switches to the previously used mode. If the HC70 has been switched off with the switch over the illuminator, press this button to start it at the last used mode.

Turn off:
Press the switch above the light to turn off the light, or touch the power switch on the battery case to turn off the light.

Direct access to ultralow mode (1 lumen):
When the HC70 is off, lightly tap the switch over the illuminator to enter the ultralow mode.

Direct access to turbo mode (1000 lumens):
When the torch is off, press and hold the switch over the illuminator for a long time (for 1.5 seconds).

Change the brightness levels:
When the HC70 is on, tap the switch over the illuminator repeatedly to go through: “Ultralow-Low-Mid-High-Turbo” (The HC70 stores the previously used brightness level
return to this the next time it is turned on).

Special mode access (Caution Light / SOS / Beacon):
When the lamp is off, quickly touch the switch over the illuminator twice to turn on the Caution Light mode. Next, tap the circuit breaker repeatedly to cycle: “SOS-Beacon-Caution Light”. Just press and hold the switch to exit. (Special modes can not be stored).

ATR (Advanced Temperature Adjustment)
With the Advanced Temperature Adjustment Module, the HC70 adjusts its output and fits into the environment while maintaining the optimum performance.

Beam, Runtime and Beamshot:


The Nitecore HC70 beam has a tendency to neutral color with a spot tending to the yellow and with a not perfectly regular crown. The cover angle is over 90 ° and the spill starts at a distance of about one meter from the feet.

I made a comparison with the beam of an Armytek Wizard XM-L2 Warm and a Zebralight H602w Neutral (XM-L2). The large parabola of the HC70 allows you to have a very pronounced and deep spot and a very bright and discreetly wide spill. The Zebralight H602w with its 120 degrees is naturally unattainable as flood beam.


The runtime test was made in a closed environment with the help of a small fan at a temperature of 20 ° C. The batteries, fully charged, have been two Olight protected high drain by 3600 mAh. At the end I measured the voltage of the two batteries which was 2.82v.

In Turbo mode, you can see from the chart that after a departure around 8400 cd, we have a step down after an exact minute that brings the output of the HC70 to just over half around 5000 cd. We now have a flat and constant adjustment up to the minute 196 where another downhill brings the output just over 1800 cd.
Finally after exactly 4h and 30 ’, the torch goes off.
In high mode, we have 4560 cd on the start. This luminous output stays constant for over four hours. After a sudden descent to 1800 cd the flashlight continues to light up to 315 minutes when it shuts off.

I tried the runtime of the first 15 minutes without forced ventilation. It is obvious how the thermal regulation of the HC70 affects the runtime.

Beamshot (in Turbo):

In the cellars:


I took advantage of this opportunity and went for a walk with my wife on the heights of Genoa (Faiallo). We both wore the Nitecore HC70 and made some photos in the evening and later when it was dark.
The Nitecore HC70 wears well in the head, both headlamp with the projector and battery case are soon fitted. I was impressed by the HC70, the great cover angle with a very bright spill plus a discreet shot.


I like the Nitecore HC70; the battery case even though separated from the head does not particularly hinder the movements and has the possibility of a different use. Good materials and construction, although of course only a prolonged use can confirm it. On the head is light, I would prefer a rubber or similar cover in the part of the lamp in contact with the nape. The beam analyzing color, aperture and depth is as good as the five light levels well spaced as light intensity. We have a long runtime. Whether starting in turbo or using the High level, we have over 500 lumens available for a considerable time.
Finally, considering the price, the Nitecore HC70 seems a good buy.

Thanks for reading the review and sorry if some term is written badly.


Thanks for the review. Thought I had read that is was all aluminum construction but you say the reflector housing is plastic, wish it were aluminum for durability as well as heat dissipation.

I think you’re right, I have to be wrong, but it looks like aluminum. I make a correction.

Easy way to tell, stick your tongue to it, metal will be cooler than plastic.

Thanks for the good review!

Not sure if anyone wants to buy HC 70. I see that Fasttech is doing promotion on it by selling 67.99.It also claims that it sells for the lower price ever.

Does anyone know other sellers price? Then, we can compare.

Cheapest price I have seen, $3 less than other place that requires code.

Pretty remarkable how the HC70 gets about 2.5x the performance over the HC65. I guess having the emitter in a separate housing from the battery helps facilitate that advantage. It’s an inconvenience/encumbrance for general and home use… so in that case, the HC65/60 is a more practical choice. But if I were one to do a lot of camping/caving/outdoor-exploring, I would definitely go with an HC70 or 90.