The Vault Regulars

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Xtar H1 Commander torch review

Boundaries of the review.
My review of the Xtar H1 flashlight is an enduser, customer review.
It is not my intention to test or prove one way or the other the specifications and data which is provided by Xtar themselves. I will provide a link at the end which anyone who is interested in that type of review can go to for further information and testing results.

I have been kindly supplied the head torch free of charge by Xtar for the purpose of this review. No restrictions or limitations have been put on my post writing whatsoever although i have been asked if i would provide a graphic of the company card with its media connections.
I think that is a reasonable request.

What’s in the box.

As purchased the torch comes in a clear plastic case. 
Included are:-

  • The H1 torch
  • Silicone headband that is wide and adjustable along with the torch mount.
  • Lanyard
  • Stainless steel pocket clip
  • Instruction sheet
  • Warranty card
  • Spare ‘O’ ring.

  • NO BATTERIES ARE SUPPLIED.
  • The unit can be used as a stand alone hand held torch or as a head torch.


First Impressions.

It is much lighter in weight than it looks.
After assembling the torch to the headband i did expect it to be somewhat unbalanced with the torch being a tube type and not the usual shape for hiking head torches, normally round or oval. This was not the case, it is well balanced in the holder.
The switch position which is in the LED end of the tube is simple to use when the torch is in situ. Much easier than my Petzl E light for example.
The silicone head band is good quality and the torch is nicely finished.
Xtar H1 Commander with head band.

Basics

Weights:- 
  • Torch (Body only) 53 grams
  • Head band with mount 33 grams
  • Battery 20 grams.
Dimensions:-
  • Length 97mm
  • Diameter (Max) 23mm
Lighting:-
  • Main light. Cree LED XP-G2 R5. Lifespan 50,000 hours.
  • Secondary. Red night light with auto flash SOS. Cree 5mm dia. Signal light.
  • Luminous ring around the reflector top when not in use.
Power:-

This H1 takes the standard AA 1.5volt non rechargeable battery, the rechargeable AA size 1.2 volt batteries and the powerful 14500 3.7 volt rechargeable Lithium ion battery.
The H1 recognises which battery is in place and alters the output and features to suit. The user doesn’t have to change anything which ensures at all times that you are getting best efficiency of battery life.
Very neat feature.


Torch Material.
Anodised aircraft grade Aluminium alloy 6N01, with Type III hard anodised anti abrasive finish.
Ultra - clear tempered glass with an anti -reflective coating that allows 98.5% transmittance. (Normal glass gives 89 - 92%)
Deep orange peel reflector around the main LED.
The battery spring is gold plated to resist corrosion.

Waterproof.
To IPX8 std. Specified as Protected against water submersion and continuous submersion down to 2 metres.

Using the torch.
As i mentioned earlier, depending on what battery you have installed alters the features and the outputs.
Starting with the easily obtainable Non rechargeable 1.5v battery. ( This section also covers the features for the 1.2v rechargeable battery too). The torch has 3 main light settings as well as the red night light and the SOS.

With torch switched off. 
  1. Press the end click switch once to enable the minimum or Low output level to illuminate. This gives a 3 lumens output which is suitable for use around and in the tent and for general close contact for example porch cooking and reading. This setting gives 95 hours of use.
  2. Press end click switch again to enable Mid level illumination. This gives a 60 lumens output which is suitable to most flat ground night walking and has a usage time of  4 hours.
  3. Press end click switch again to achieve the Maximum illumination with this battery type.
  4. This gives an extremely bright light which is only really necessary to be used when walking in difficult terrain for short periods. It gives 120 lumens for 2.1 hours.
  5. The maximum beam throw is 65 metres with the AA batteries.
  6. To turn the torch off from any position hold in the switch in for around 2 seconds.
  7. To turn on the red night light double click the switch and again double click to get the red flashing SOS.
Moving onto the large 3.7v lithium ion rechargeable battery.
  1. All 3 levels give the same lumens outputs as for the AA battery but the longevity increases to the following:- Low 180 hours, Mid 6.0hrs, high 1.5 hours*
  2. With this 14500 battery you get an extra Turbo power level with 330 lumens. This has a run time of 1.2 hours. Unless you were in search and rescue or similar i doubt that any hiker would need this 
  3. The red night light and the SOS function is the same.
  4. Maximum beam throw is increased to 106 metres.
Features during use.
  • When using the fully charged Lithium Ion battery in Turbo mode the H1 will automatically change to High mode after 5 minutes to save power and to reduce heat. It can be switched back to Turbo as required.
  • When changing batteries in the dark the H1 has reverse polarity protection just in case the battery is fitted wrong way round.
  • Waterproof down to 2 metres.
  • Shock proof from 1.5 metres.
  • To help maintain a light as long as possible, if the battery voltage (Lithium) drops below 3 volts  it will revert to Low Mode.
  • If the voltage drops below 2.5 volts then the torch will switch off. (Over discharge protection)
The light beam and Luminescence.

Pic1 
With setting on lowest 3 lumens. Distance to building from head torch 20 metres.
Beam hardly noticeable.

 Pic 2. 
Settings on Mid level  60 Lumens. Good spread and beam length.

 Pic 3. 
Setting on high level 120 Lumens. Much brighter and good beam and spread.

 Pic 4. 
Turbo setting 330 lumens. 




Conclusion

Well made, head torch and useable hand torch with sturdy headband that supports the torch well. Lower end beam is better suited to reading or in tent use or wherever a low level light is required.
The Turbo setting has limited use. Otherwise output is pretty good.
The red SOS is always a must have feature for any mountaineer and hill walker and works very well as well as the steady red light..
Nothing much wrong with it as you would expect from a quality light.

Likes
Weight.
Rugged design.
The ability to use 3.7v batteries as well as everyday 1.2v batteries.
The stability of the light.

Dislikes
The luminescence ring around the reflector is not good enough. It doesn't make it easy to find in the dark. I need something better than this.

Suggestions
For my own use as a hiker i would much prefer that there was an extra setting between the 3 lumens and the 60 lumens. I would easily give up the Turbo setting as it is so limited in battery time that i think it would rarely get used. I would consciously not use it to ensure i save power on longer walking trips.

Other torches of interest.
Xtar H2 Commander

Link to test data for those more interested in a technical review.

* I have queried this time with Xtar and am waiting confirmation.

The charger i have for the 3.7 volt Lithium-ion batteries was supplied by Xtar and is the VC2. I will review this separately.

7 comments:

Dawn Linney said...

Looks an interesting bit of kit Alan. It certainly kicks out a fair bit of light. For winter I would definitely stick with lithium batteries.

AlanR said...

I appreciate that Dawn. It will replace my e-light for winter months.

Anonymous said...

One question - can the red mode be accessed directly with double click if the light has been turned off or do you have to turn it on into white-low mode first and only then the double click will bring on the red light?

AlanR said...

Thanks for the comment. The red light is independent of the white light and comes on with a double click.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, much appreciated!
Pitty the light in question is sold out at most of Chinese vendors that ship worldwide without need to rob piggy bank :)!

AlanR said...

Would you like me to find out how much i can get one for you direct?

Anonymous said...

Nah, thank you!
Ive contacted Xtar and all they could do is point me to nearest dealer, they dont do direct sales.
Cheapest I could find is Ebay, however, I would love to see it sold at banggood/gearbest, because with them its usually easy to arrange group buys so it saves lots of cash :)!

Find it Here