Fenix HL10 Headlamp Review
by "Mad Dog" Earle for webBikeWorld.com
The Fenix HL10 is a useful design that combines a headlamp with a miniature 90-degree flashlight.
The headlamp case opens and the small flashlight can be removed.
The flashlight also rotates through 100 degrees when it's in the headlamp holder.
The flashlight has the same high-quality machined aluminum and anodized body as other Fenix flashlights.
It is also IPX-8 waterproof rated to 2 meters with 1 meter impact resistance and the flashlight has a Type III hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish with a glass lens with anti-reflective coating.
This is a lightweight, comfortable and useful headlamp with extra features that make it a lot of fun to use.
As a flashlight junkie -- and a big fan of headlamps for use around motorcycles -- I couldn't resist when I first saw the Fenix HL10.
Fenix has come a long way in the last few years and all of their flashlights, headlamps and other lights that I've tried are really well made and most have unique features.
Once you join the Fenix "family" by joining a Fenix retailers' email list, you'll get updates on sales and notices on new products.
I was one of the lucky ones to get on the initial list for the first production run of the HL10; the initial batch was a near-instant sellout and Fenix is taking names at this point for the next round, that's how popular the HL10 was at its launch.
So what's different about the HL10? It's a very clever design that is a hybrid headlamp and flashlight. Let's take a look...
The Fenix HL10 is a small, lightweight (58 grams with AAA battery and head band) headlamp. Pop open the orange cover and inside you'll find a miniature 90-degree, three-way flashlight that can be used independently.
When installed in its stainless steel friction holder inside the headlamp body, the flashlight can rotate through 100 degrees, just like other headlamps.
The Fenix HL10 works very nicely as a regular use or emergency headlamp. It takes up very little space on the motorcycle, so it's perfect to take on a trip. If you haven't used a headlamp, you don't know what you're missing. They are the dog's bollocks when it comes to usefulness. Pop one on your head, aim the light and you have two hands to hold tools or whatever.
The headlamp is also useful around the house as a reading lamp and the flashlight can be attached to a key ring for general use.
This means a machined aluminum body; an O-ring gasket under the battery compartment screw-on cover (a spare O-ring is included in the kit); a knurled surface on the battery compartment cover; a Type III hard-anodized finish; anti-reflective glass lens over the LED; and IPX-8 waterproof rating down to 2 meters and Fenix says the flashlight has a 1 meter drop impact resistance.
The headlamp assembly is mostly plastic, with a translucent orange cover and a stainless steel spring-type friction holder for the flashlight. The flashlight is machined so that it fits inside the holder in the headlamp and there's enough friction to hold it tight but the flashlight head can still be turned through a 100-degree arc to aim the light.
The HL10 flashlight has three power settings: Low (3 lumens); Medium (27 lumens) and High (70 lumens). To turn on the light, press and hold the rubber button on top for about a half-second. The light will turn on at whichever setting was used previously.
Once it's on, click the button to cycle through the next light setting. So for example if the 27 lumen medium setting was used the last time the flashlight was turned off, that's the setting that will start the next time the flashlight is turned on. Press again and it will go to the 70 lumen setting; press again and it will go to low; press once more to get to medium, etc.
The HL10 uses a single AAA battery that's easy to replace by unscrewing the battery compartment cover at the opposite end of the light. An off-brand "Airdeer" alkaline is provided with the kit.
The alkaline battery life was rated using the ANSI/NEMA FL1 standard to a claimed 30:00 on low; 02:15 on medium and 00:35 on high. NiMH battery life is claimed as 27:00 on low; 02:45 on medium and 0:50 on high. Distance is 15 meters maximum and 55 cd (candelas) maximum luminous intensity, also according to the FL1 standard
The circuitry in the flashlight has a built-in reverse polarity protection guard to protect against improper battery installation and the light output is digitally regulated to maintain a constant brightness as the battery reserve diminishes.
The Fenix HL10 headlamp uses a Cree XP-E LED with a rated life of 50,000 hours. This is the same LED used in the Fenix MC11 reviewed recently on webBikeWorld.
The overall dimensions of the headlamp with the flashlight inserted are 62 mm long by 30 mm wide at the base by 25 mm in height. The flashlight measures 69 mm long by 17 mm wide at the head and 15 mm at the base. The flashlight alone with the AAA alkaline battery weighs 30 grams.
The head band is a basic stretch textile type with soft micro-fleece type cushioning on the inside. It has a simple friction type adjuster. The base of the headlamp is curved to fit across the forehead and the light weight and small size of the HL10 makes it very comfortable to wear; probably the most comfortable headlamp I own.
This is probably the only area of which I might disagree with Fenix. The 3 lumen low setting on the HL10 is very dim, useful for providing just enough light to navigate to the head when you get up in the middle of the night but not much else. I'd have suggested making this maybe 10 lumens instead.
The 27 lumen medium-power setting is useful for general flashlight work, with the high 70 lumen setting the one to use for working on the motorcycle.
The light pattern from the reflector is very broad and perfectly circular with absolutely no hot spots. In fact, when compared to the Maxxeon Pocket Floodlight (review) that was so popular with webBikeWorld readers when it first appeared, the Fenix HL10 throws a much wider, more even light pattern.
This makes the HL10 very useful for walking at night in a dark place like the woods when camping or for illuminating a broad area of the motorcycle when unpacking (or packing) at night.
But I'd probably prefer something with a touch more intensity at the center of the pattern, perhaps making the overall width of the beam narrower. I think that would be more useful for work during the day when you're just trying to illuminate an area around the motorcycle's engine or parts as you're working.
That would be something perhaps not quite as focused as the U.S.A.-manufactured Princeton "Yukon" LED headlamp (review) when it's on high and maybe more like the Princeton Impact XL flashlight (review).
The Fenix HL10 is a brand-new design that is as unique and cool-looking as it is useful. It's light enough and small enough to be easily carried in a pocket or under the seat of a motorcycle (even if you don't have a storage compartment, you should keep an HL10 handy somewhere on the bike just in case).
The overall construction of the miniature flashlight is up to the same excellent quality standards as the rest of the Fenix products I've tried; the plastic headlamp assembly seems rugged but time will tell. It should hold up nicely with minimal care, however.
I'm not 100% satisfied with the choice that Fenix made with the three brightness levels or the width of the light pattern, but overall the Fenix HL10 is yet another must-have for flashlight junkies or anyone needing a quick, easy and useful light.
More wBW Flashlight Reviews
|wBW Review: Fenix HL10 Headlamp|
||List Price: $29.95 USD|
|Colors: Black with orange cover.||Made In: China|
|Review Date: May 2013|