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Skilhunt H03F - H03 - H03R

 Budda    03 Apr 2017 : 16:55

I received the Skilhunt H03F from GearBest for the review.

Skilhunt Specs for the H03F:
Super bright & latest CREE XML-2 U4 LED, Max 1200 LED lumens. High-Performance, High-Efficiency and energy conservation.
Durable aluminum vacuum plating reflector, Efficiency reflection, perfect beamshot, excellent structure and temperature resistance.
Flat tail cap with strong magnet to secure to ferrous surfaces.
Rugged indestructible aluminum body with anti-scratching type III hard anodization
Multi-level dissipating heat designand new copper starboard, excellent heat dissipation. Flashlight head integrated construction, high thermal conductivity.
Side switch button to transferring mode user-friendly interface to adjust output.
Eight output levels and three Strobe, suitable for different environment.
Wide input range provides more choices of batteries. High efficiency driver circuit, no visible flash in any mode.
Automatic memory function, remember last used setting and can be preset to specific output mode for instant access.
Reverse polarity protection, to protect from improper battery installation.
Low-voltage prompts function, the light will flash when the battery is low,remind user replace the battery on time.
Engineered anti-slip knurling for a tightly firm grip.
Dual recoil absorbing springs, better impact resistance.
Tail stand as a candle-light.
New intelligent temperature control technology for headlamp stable and safe use
Low standby current below 0.5uA
New side switch lock-out function.

Skilhunt told me that the H03, H03R and H03F share the same driver, meaning that the only difference between the 3 is the reflector-optic: H03 has a TIR lens, H03R has a reflector and H03F has the reflector of the H03R plus a movable diffuser.
So, the light construction, the UI and the runtime plot will be the same for all the models (H03F with the diffuser in place and H03 may have a bit less output compared to the H03R and H03F without the diffuser in place). The beam of the H03R is the same of the H03F without the diffusor on the beam, so the beamshot will be identical.
Skilhunt told me that the H03 has the same optic of the H02… I have a H02 and I swapped the optic of the H02 on the my H03F. Now I have a H03 also Smile

So, this in review I can say that I am testing the H03F (the light I received, with the diffuser on the beam), the H03R (the light I received, without the diffuser on the beam) and the H03 (the H03F I received, removed of its diffuser and reflector, and installing the optic from the H02 I bought).

Let’s start with the H03F.
The H03F is the new headlamp from skilhunt. It recalls the form factor of the H02.
Like the H02 has a reflector, but the H03 has a detachable diffuser. I believe this is one of the few quality headlamps that has this feature.

The H03F itself:

Knurling on the body, anodized threads at the tailcap allow physical lockout.

The head with cooling fins and a hole for the lanyard.

Inside the tailcap there is a spring that keeps in place a strong magnet that can be used to attach the light.
At the positive pole there is a spring, so flat top cells will work.

If you don’t want the magnet in the tailcap, there is a spacer in the box to fill the void left by the removed magnet.

Now the main feature of the H03F.
The H03F features a XM-L2 U4 emitter, in a small OP reflector.

There is a diffuser that pivots around a metal rod, on the side. The diffuser is free to rotate, and has a few “stops”, due to the indents (green) present in the reflector pivot, and the bump present on the black part (red).
When the diffuser is in “open” position, it doesn’t interfere with the reflector beam, it is relatively stable.
On my sample there is some play when the diffuser is in the closed position.
What I mean is that when the reflector is closed and you move the light around, it “shakes” between resting on the glass, and being few millimeters from the glass.

Compared to the older H02 (you can see the modded emitter of mine) the H03 is smaller, the anodization is more matte, and the threads for the scews are now inserted in the aluminium.

Here with the optic of the H02.

Skilhunt provides a nice flowchart

The light has 4 modes: low, mid, high and turbo. Each mode can be set on one of the two pre-set. For example: low mode can be set at 0.2 or 3.5 lumen, mid at 20 or 70 lumens, and so on. The choice will be remembered by the light.
From off: a short click turns the light on at the last used mode, while a long click will give you low mode, and a double click turbo mode.
When the light is on, a long click will turn the light off, while a short click will advance the modes (low-med-hi-turbo-low-med-hi…).
To change from Low1 to low2 or from Low2 to Low1, make a quick double click when the light is in low mode.
When the light is on a triple click will activate the flashing modes: strobe and 2 beacons. To cycle between these 3 modes, make a double click. The light will remember your choice for the flashing mode the next time you switch from regular output to flashing mode.

! (link is external)
The led under the switch works as a power indicator (When the battery voltage drops down lower than 3.3V, indicator flashes twice every 2s; lower than 3V, indicator flashes 3 times every second), and also as a locator.
From off, keep pressed the switch for more than 1.5 seconds to activate the lockout and the locator. With the locator on the red led under the switch will glow every 2 seconds, and to turn the light on you will need to keep pressed the switch for more than 1.5 seconds.

1 meter from the wall.
Only Reflector, no diffuser (AKA H03R). You can see the pivot holder points of the diffuser in the upper part of the spill (this is only for the H03F, the H03R doesn’t have the contact point for the pivot, so no beam artifacts due to their presence). I measured 3’170 Cd for the H03R at the turbo level.

H03F with the Diffuser in place

The movement of the diffuser in the closed position has a very small effect on the beam pattern (it just moves a bit the rings, the sound it makes moving and hitting the head is more annoying) and does a good job of smoothening the spot.
The diffuser of the H03F, similarly to many other clip on diffusers works fine smoothening the beam, but will diffuse a lot on the side of the diffuser, making the light hard to use since the diffused light will hit directly on the eyes (for example when you mount it as a headlamp and aim it low).

Now, H03 (H03F removed by its diffuser and reflector, with the optic of the Skilhunt H02)

Now, these are few beamshot done with other headlamps (all lights at turbo mode, all with charged LG MJ1),at 0.5 meters from the wall.

Output and runtime
All the testing of the H03F has been done using unprotected 18650 LG MJ1, and the measurement of the output is done with the reflector (with the diffuser on the side). Remember that H03F, H03R and H03 shares the same driver, and will have similar performances (a bit less output on H03F with the diffuser and H03 with its tir optic).

My measure are consistent with Skilhunt specs.

Sampling rate is every 2” for T1 and T2, every 1’ for other tested modes.

In practical terms, Turbo 2 has the same brightness of Turbo1 after his only stepdown.
Yes, you can go back from T2 to T1 with a double click after the stepdown.

My thoughts for the common part (UI, Output, Runtime)
The light is well built. The user interface is similar to the one of the H02, but with customizable brightness (the H02 has 4 constant light modes, the H03 has 8) and a locator-battery indicator. The H03 series allows me to access: a low and a high output mode, and the last used mode. This is 100% according to my taste in flashlight UI.
I find the lack of a level between 500 and 1000 lumen, since after 3 minutes the output of T1 steps down from 1000 to T2 output, around 500 lumens.

Here is a small parenthesis about different kind of headlamp beams:
the completely flood (such as zebralight H602), where you have only spill. They can be used from a few centimeters to a few meters (because the light is not focused and will disperse itself in short distances).
The “throwy” (such as Zebralight H600, Skilhunt H02R, H03R), where you have a regular beam composed by a spot and a spill. The spill is narrower than the one of the completely flood light, and the spot makes them usable to longer distances, but not for close distances where the spot will dazzle your eyes)
The “middle ones”, they go from models with a frosted lens (Zebralight H600F) to the one with the optic/lens (Armytek wizard, Skilhunt H02, H03, H03F). They fall somewhere in the middle of the 2 above. The spot is very softened and widened by the lens, so even at close distances it won’t be an issue for your eyes, and can be used from close distances to a few meters more than the flood ones. Flashlight with optics such as TIR lens can still have “traces” of hotspot and its angle depends on the characteristic of the lens.
I don’t believe one of these beams is superior to another, simply there are different scenarios that requires different beams and there is also user preference.

The H03R, with the reflector, falls into the Trowy category of lights.
The H03, with the TIR optic, falls into the “middle ones” category of lights.
The H03F with its removable diffuser should allow to change between 2 types: a “throwy” (without the diffuser) and a “middle one” (with the diffuser).

Does the diffuser of the H03F works this way?
In practice, yes: as you can see from the beamshots above, there is a significant difference between the reflector and the diffuser.
I tried to use it as a headlamp and jump around to see if the diffuser moved (anything more than the small play that there is in the closed position), and it did not. The noise was still annoying.

Does the diffuser moving system feel 100% bombproof to me?
No. I was a bit worried what will happen to the diffuser in case of a fall on a hard surface, especially when in the open position.
In fact, after I accidentally dropped the light (from a bit more than 1 meter) on a hard surface, I noticed that the diffuser was rotating freely and did not stop in the “commended” spots. After close inspection I saw that the diffuser and the metal rod were fine, but one of the 2 attachment on the light was bent. The bending made the rod inclined and the diffuser was too far from the protrusion that keeps it in place. I applied some pressure with my hand on the attachment point that was bent and voilà:

Now, I may have been unlucky and got a defective sample, and your lights may resist many falls, or the light may be constructed so the parts will be safe if the light falls from 1 meters (since mine fell from 1.20-1.30 meters). I am aware that this is the only review I’ve seen so far with this kind of issues…
But I am not too much confident in the resilience of small plastic parts (especially when they fall with all the weight of the light on pushing them down), not only for the H03F but for all the lights that adopt them.
Also, the mechanism that keeps the diffuser in place only in certain spots feels unreliable.
Small Plastic protrusion against small plastic indent. What will happen when dust, dirt or just wear and tear will consume a bit the contact points?

I contacted Skilhunt about this problem, asking if the play of the diffuser was normal and asking for possible replacements (at that time it was still in one piece) and they told me to contact the seller.
GearBest told me that they don’t have any replacement from Skilhunt.

So, the conclusions:
I can recommend the H03 and H03R, which I have practically tested.
If you plan to buy a H03F, based on my 1 sample experience, I will recommend to use it with more caution than I did.

If someone asked me to improve the reliability of the design of the H03F, I’d say:
Make the squared glass retainer / pivot holder made of metal, not plastic.
The pivot is ok made of metal, but I’d like to be able to screw it on and off without the need of too much pressure.
Make a circular diffuser holder, made of metal. Just an “O” shaped ring, where you can fit inside the diffuser (how about different colours/diffusers available?). Thus doing you will also neutralize the blinding light coming off the sides of the diffuser.
To keep in place? Magnets.

Thanks to: AntoLed for lending me the luxmeter and the camera, Zampa for the tripod.
Thanks for reading.