Skilhunt H03 NW Review (TIR Lens)

Preface

Skilhunt has 3 main models from their current H03 lineup; there is the H03 (TIR Lens), H03R (Reflector) and H03F (basically a H03R with a removable diffuser) – each of these 3 models has a Cool White (CW) and Neutral White (NW) variant.

This headlamp seems to be one of the best bang-for-the-buck headlamps around or is it?

Note:

  1. This review is based on the Skilhunt H03 Neutral White (NW) model.
  2. In Q1 2018, the Skilhunt H03 RC was released as the new magnetic rechargeable version of the same H03 model reviewed here.

*** Click HERE to see where to get this headlamp at a special Flash Sale price of $33.99! ***

Packaging & First Impressions

This is what the light will come with as shown below.

  • The threads and o-rings were well lubricated. Threads were rather smooth and clean (no gritty feeling).
  • The provided clip is reversible. However, it will require quite a bit of effort to reverse it once it has been installed.
  • The clip has sufficient tension to ensure that the light will stay clipped to any material, to prevent the light from falling out.
  • The magnetic tail cap is able to bear the light’s weight when attached horizontally and vertically (upside down) to a flat ferrous metallic surface.
  • The side electronic switch has a nice tactile feel that produces an audible click upon activation (full click).
  • Anodizing of the light is uniform without any missing specs.
  • Headband provided is of good quality and should withstand day-to-day abuse without issue.
  • Battery compartment holds a KeepPower 18650 3400mAh battery with sufficient room for a slightly thicker battery width. 18650 3500mAh batteries should be able to fit without issue as well.
  • Scanning the QR code with your phone/tablet on the box’s side would bring up the Skilhunt’s main page only – it will not bring you to the H03’s product page.

Front:

Back:

Sides:

Top:

Bottom:

Box Contents:

Quick Overview (Manufacturer Specifications)

  • Body Material: Black HAIII Aluminium
  • LED: XM-L2 U4 bin
  • Battery Format:  1 x 18650 / 2 x CR123A / 2 x RCR123A ONLY
  • Output & Runtime (with 18650 3500mAh battery):
    • Low – L1 (3 lumens / 18days 18h) or L2 (0.5 lumens / No Information)
    • Mid – M1 (70 lumens / 25h) or  M2 (20 lumens / 75h)
    • High –  H1 (365 lumens / 5h) or H2 (160 lumens / 11h)
    • Turbo –  T1 (900 lumens / No Information) or T2 (490 lumens / 3h 30min)
    • Special Modes – Strobe / Beacon / Fast Beacon
  • Output & Runtime (with 2 x CR123A 1700mAh battery):
    • Low – L1 (3 lumens / 8days 8h) or L2 (0.5 lumens / No Information)
    • Mid – M1 (70 lumens / 10h) or  M2 (20 lumens / 35h)
    • High –  H1 (370 lumens / 2h 30min) or H2 (160 lumens / 5h)
    • Turbo –  T1 (1000 lumens / No Information) or T2 (500 lumens / 1h 30min)
    • Special Modes – Strobe / Beacon / Fast Beacon
  • Max Beam Distance: 123m
  • Beam intensity: 3,800cd
  • Waterproofness: IPX-8 Standard
  • Impact Resistance: 1m
  • Dimension: 99.9mm (length) x 23.5mm (head diameter) / 21.6mm (body diameter)
  • Weight: 44g (excluding battery)
  • Battery reverse polarity protection
  • Accessories Included:
    • 1*Clip
    • 1*Lanyard
    • 1*Headband with removable top strap
    • 2*Spare O-rings
    • 1*Removable Magnet (for tailcap)
  • MSRP: ~$52 –> Click HERE to see where to get this headlamp at a special Flash Sale price of $33.99!

UI (User Interface)

UI for this light is good for Every Day Carry (EDC) as it is relatively straightforward to use.

Switching ON and OFF is done by the electronic switch on the side of the light, so no momentary activation is possible.

Its UI is somewhat similar to a non-programmable Zebralight H600w‘s UI which we reviewed previously.

From OFF:

  • 1 Click  – Light will switch ON to last used mode (last mode memory).
  • 2 Click – Direct access to TURBO (T1 only).
  • 3 Click – Direct access to SPECIAL MODES (STROBE, BEACON or FASTER BEACON) – based on last brightness level memory; every 2 Click for mode change (STROBE, BEACON, FASTER BEACON) – another 1 Click to return to last used mode.
  • HOLD (~0.5 sec) – Direct access to LOW (L1 or L2) – based on last brightness level memory.
  • HOLD (~1.5 sec – till LOW mode switches OFF) – LOCKOUT mode is enabled; HOLD (~1.5 sec – till LOW mode is activated) – LOCKOUT mode is disabled.

From ON:

  • 1 Click – Mode change (light cycles through LOW, MID, HIGH & TURBO -> LOW, MID, HIGH & TURBO).
  • 2 Click – Switch between current level’s sub-levels (L1 or L2 / M1 or M2 / H1 or H2 / T1 or T2).
  • 3 Click – Direct access to SPECIAL MODES (STROBE, BEACON or FASTER BEACON) – based on last brightness level memory; every 2 Click for mode change (STROBE, BEACON, FASTER BEACON) – another 1 Click to return to last used mode.
  • HOLD (~0.5 sec) – Light will switch OFF.

Note:

  1. When the headlamp is ON, the switch will glow GREEN and gets progressively brighter for all modes except L2.
  2. When LOCKOUT mode is enabled, the Switch Location Indicator will flash RED (as seen in picture below). 1 Click will deactivate the Switch Location Indicator and 1 Click again to activate the Switch Location Indicator.

Form Factor

For flashlights that are intended to use on a daily basis (EDC) and for possibly a long period of time, form factor is extremely important.

This light fits a medium sized hand easily. For headlamps, there isn’t many ways of holding it but rather it would be more of test of comfort whilst it’s on your head. The Skilhunt-branded headband held the light sturdily even when doing more vigorous activity (e.g. jogging/running), at no time did the light feel like it was about to fall off. However, the headlamp mounts would leave a slight mark on one’s forehead after prolonged usage.

The inclusion of reflective material on the back portion of the headlamp head mount is a very welcome addition, to ensure that the user is visible from vehicles approaching from the user’s rear.

While using the light without the headband, the light is able to stand perfectly on its head or tail. However, if the lanyard is attached, the headlamp will only be able to tail-stand only.

Note: Installing the headband together with the clip would cause the rotation of the headlamp angle to be much stiffer.

Beam Style/Beamshots

For this light, the spill, corona and hotspot is somewhat predictable due to the TIR (Total Internal Reflection) Bead Lens optics. The LED is fully covered under the TIR optic. Hence, the beam has both “throw” and soft flood for recognizing items in the up-close to near range distance.

The above beam profile is a rough interpretation of what is seen when white wall hunting. The beam has a wide circular hotspot with some slight corona and very little spill (almost all of the beam produced is focused into the hotspot). There are some beam artifacts in the beam when whitewall hunting but not visible in real world usage.

All of the beamshots taken below are done so with the following camera settings (L2: 5sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB, L1: 1sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB, M2: 0.8sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB, M1: 1/2sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB, H2: 1/3sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB, H1 & T2: 1/5sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB, T1: 1/6sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB).
Some pictures have been adjusted slightly to depict as close as to what is seen in real life. The distance of the light from the door is 4.6m.

Control shot:

L2 (0.5 lumens):

L1 (3 lumens):

M2 (20 lumens):

M1 (70 lumens):

H2 (160 lumens):

H1 (365 lumens):

T2 (490 lumens):

T1 (900 lumens):

Mode (Output) Spacing

Mode spacing appears to be progressively brighter to the eye and the modes are well spaced enough to be able to know which mode one is currently in. With that in mind, TLR tend to view mode spacing as battery life indicators (amount of runtime left) rather than the specific output (lumens).

The L2 mode of 0.5 lumen is a true moonlight mode and is perfect for night-adjusted eyes and midnight snack runs.

Tint & CRI

Skilhunt did not disclose the exact tint (color temperature) and/or the CRI (Color Rendering Index) for the main LEDs used in their light. For this light, a guesstimate would be in the 5000K and 80CRI ballpark.

There is tint shifts throughout the beam profile.  The wide circular hotspot & corona has a slight yellow tint and the spill having a slight pinkish-purple tint.
This is however, not as noticeable in real life.

Waterproofness

The light was subjected to warm water submersion, followed by cold water submersion and left under room temperature running water tap whilst running on Turbo.

No signs of water intrusion in the head, switch or body was seen.

Lockout Capability

Both electronic lockout and mechanical lockout are possible when needed, like during transportation in a bag.

See UI (User Interface), on how to activate and deactivate Electronic LOCKOUT.

A quarter turn (anti-clockwise) of the tail section of the headlamp will enable Mechanical LOCKOUT.

Note: If electronic LOCKOUT is enabled followed by enabling mechanical LOCKOUT, the electronic LOCKOUT will be automatically disabled when the mechanical LOCKOUT is disabled.

Scale Comparison (Ruler)

Summary

To sum up, we believe that the most important part of any review is if given the chance to purchase the same light for our own EDC or to gift to our loved ones out from one’s pocket (wallet), would we still do it?
For this light, it is a YES – especially if you are looking for a more wallet-friendly headlamp to gift or for personal usage.

The rather straightforward UI, removable magnet in the tailcap, excellent up-close usage beam profile provided by the TIR optics, nice neutral white tint and decent CRI are all plus points for this headlamp.

Scrutinizing the light over throughout our review period, we were hard pressed to find any flaws at this price point . If we were to nit-pick, it would be nice if Skilhunt included a deep carry pocket clip instead – it would have made this headlamp an excellent pocket EDC, when it is not attached to the headband.

Here is a bonus size comparison with some of the other headlamps we reviewed previously.
From Left to Right: Sample Nitecore 18650 battery, Imalent HR70, Skilhunt H03, Jetbeam HR30 with DC-film fix, Nitecore HC65.

As with all gears, two is one and one is none.

Stay safe,
The Lite Review


Disclaimer: Light was provided for by GearBest for this review. No other compensation was provided.


Where to Buy Links

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Skilhunt H03

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