Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Olight H05S Active 2xAAA Lightweight Headlamp REVIEW

Olight H05S is a new light weight and compact headlamp designed for ease of use and portability,without loading the user too much when carrying and using it.
H05 is available in two main versions-H05 and H05S Active. The first is available in different colors of the body. The second is available in black color as this version has the unique feature to respond on waving hand.
The light can be turned On/Off by simply waving your hand-finding and pressing a switch is not required.
Just wave your hand in front of the headlamp and its sensor will activate the light.
Read more in my review below.
The tested H05S was provided by Olight for test&review purpose.

Specifications from the included Instruction sheet

The H05S comes in the already standard for Olight transparent plastic box.
Two Lithium primary AAA batteries with the Olight brand are included in the set-the headlamp is ready to use right after unpacking it. No need to prepare additional AAA batteries when purchasing it for short camping or when it is for gift.
The User guide sheet is well explained and contains all important information about headlamp specifications and operation.
The wave function works similarly to the proximity sensors on the smartphones.
There is a IR emitter which light when reflected from objects at about 15-20cm are received from another electronic component which on its side activates the main XM-L2 LED circuit.
This way of activation give us the option to conveniently hands-free activate the light in some cases with no  need to find and press the switch.

My impressions after testing the Wave function for some time are good.
There are some specific things that I should mention.
The headlamp reacts not only on a hand,but on every other object no matter its direction of movement.
It reacts even on if you stay very close to a wall.Another possible limited use of the Wave feature could be when walking through wooded terrain.Every close branch can deactivate the light in a very uncomfortable moment.Accidental movement of the hand will turn the light off too. 
Interesting to note is that the IR sensor reacts on a TV remote control(at close distance),as well.
Placing the headlamp on a table with the beam horizontally to the surface sometimes turns the light off/on unexpectedly.
In this cases it is better to keep the wave option deactivated.
Cree XM-L2 LED.
Close up of the TIR lens.  The reflector is con-caved. There is no additional glass lens to protect the exposed front surface of the reflector.
Comparing the H05S to the popular Olight S1,we are noticing that both reflectors look identical.
However,as we can see from the beamshots below,both beams are different.

The housing is entirely made of plastic. Most of the surface has matte finish,as some of the zones are smooth,semi-clear to allow good light transmission for the IR sensor.
The button is placed on the top of the headlamp. It is large on size and easy to find/operate.
The switch is a momentary switch-does not lock down when pressed. 
It has a short way when pressing,with loud clear click sound.

The vertical angle of the headlamp to its holder can be adjusted on four defined steps.
This is enough in most cases,but the H05S definitely could benefit from more flexibility.

Olight H05S runs on two batteries size AAA.
Alkaline,Lithium or rechargeable NiMH can be used.

With the headlamp already loaded with batteries,we find an interesting feature which should help use when replacing the batteries in the compartment. The plus shaped channels marking the positive contact points are back illuminated with red light. This will be in help when we have to replace the batteries in the darkness and hesitate about the right direction for inserting them.As we can notice from the picture below,both plus and minus metal contact points have almost identical form.No spring on the minus contact. So,the illuminated pluses are probably more of a requirement than an extra feature.
The pluses seem to have an additional small battery or capacitor that keeps them glowing for quite a long time.
The housing is sealed with a black rubber gasket-it is hard to identify it on the pictures but it is there and the H05S seems well water sealed.

User Interface

The H05S has three modes of the white light and two of the RED light.
High-Mid-Low-Off  in this sequence.
As you already may noticed,there is no direct Off option. All modes have to be cycled in order to turn the light Off. Yet the modes are just three,which means if you use the light on High mode,you will activate it with one click and will deactivate it with additional 3 clicks. So,two extra clicks compared to the more common  instant On/Off interface.
Direct access to Low mode is not possible.

The red LEDs works constantly or flashing.
Can be activated by two quick clicks from On position(with the white light activated).
The headlamp will start on RED light until another two clicks,which will return it to the white light modes.
Red light mode sequence On-Flashing-Off.

To activate/deactivate Wave mode-press and hold the switch for about two seconds.
In Wave mode,all lighting modes are memorized by the driver and the light can be turned On on the last used mode.

My lumen measurements:
High 180Lm
Mid 44Lm
Low 12Lm

High mode is quite bright for a 2xAAA light. 180Lm should be sufficient for close to medium distance lighting.
Mid mode output is well selected.
Low mode however is not lower enough than the Mid mode and in practice leaves a desire for a much lower mode. 3 or even 5 lumen mode would be much more useful especially for close use in the darkness. 
The light from the red LEDs is very low and I see them useful mostly for signalling or using at very close distance with fully adjusted to the darkness eyes.

Check out my quick demo video to see the wave function in work:

Below is the usual run/time graph which is giving us illustrative look of the driver performance-how it does regulate the output.
As we can see from the graph Olight H05S is programmed to decrease the brightness gradually 10 minutes after activation.After this state the light is constant for about 110 minutes.
Batteries used for the test-Duracell Duralock 750mAh.

The H05S features low voltage warning-flashing when the voltage is low.
In my tests I did not detected low voltage protection,as the driver works at very low voltage,which is undesirable when working on NiMH batteries. To protect the NiMH from over-discharging,stop the light once the low voltage warning kicks in. In this state the voltage of each battery is about 1.08V and quickly drops lower.

Headband width 2.5cm.
Good quality. Can be adjusted for different heads.

The beam from the TIR reflector is similar to the S1's beam,but has different proportions.
The hotspot is smaller with the spill reaching larger area.
Depending on the user preferences,the beam will meet most requirements for a headlamp,but in my opinion not all. I personally would like to have a larger spill with less pronounced hot-spot.

The light from the Cree XM-L2 LED used here is cool white,with no noticeable greenish or bluish tint.

Olight H05S Active Beam profile.
White wall

A profile image of the red light in the dark.
In reality,the red light is much less bright than the lowest white mode,so I had to take the picture with a longer exposure time.

All modes
Low-Mid-High and comparison with Olight S1.
1/20сек,White wall
Olight S1 is not on its highest mode.

My impressions of the headlamp are only good,so far. I did not find any problems with the build quality or electronics operation,so far.
Thanks to its light-weight body and working on small batteries(especially with the included lightweight Lithium batteries),the headlamp is very comfortable to wear on the head and use. should be suitable also for running in the dark.
As I already pointed above,my preferences are for more diffused beam and switch operation similar to the baton series flashlights.

Thanks for reading!
Thanks to Olight and Olight BG for providing the H05S for test and review!