How do you call it when a headlamp manufacturer decides to prioritise novel and interesting tech solutions instead of the actual useability? Answer: Olight H16 Wave.
Olight H16 Wave is made of two pieces, the LEDs and the battery pack are located on the opposite sides of the head, held together by an elastic headband with reflective markings, alongside which goes the power cable. The headlamp weighs 115g and is rated IPX4 for protection against water – according to the manufacturer, it should withstand rainfall, but not submersion.
The front casing is made of plastic and metal and features two Cree XP-G3 LEDs witha cold hue of light. One of the LEDs features a plastic diffuser, while the other doesn’t, and as a result Olight H16 has a lightbeam that is both wide and has a far reach. The angle of light can be regulated within a set of steps (clicks) chosen by the manufacturer – this is also the weak point of the torch and the part that broke rendering H16 virtually useless.
Behind the LEDs there is a small metal heatsink.
Underneath the LEDs the manufacturer has placed a small switch, which can be used to turn on the headlamp and switch between the modes (both actions are triggered with a single pressing). When you press and hold the switch you will turn on the ‘wave’ mode – the touchless operation of the switch. The switch will then shine light blue, and waving your hand will result in changing the mode or turning H16 off. This mode is also not limited to your hands, and tends to be triggered accidentally in the worst possible moments.
The available modes are:
- 500 lumen / 2h i 5 min
- 100 lumen / 9h i 30 min
- 5 lumen / 160h
Olight H16 is powered with a built in 2000mA rechargeable cell, which can’t be replaced or changed. The battery can be charged through a micro USB port located on its sided protected Za zasilanie czołówki H16 Wave odpowiada . The port itself is covered with a sketchy rubber cap.
The battery pack also features four LEDs indicating the remaining battery charge, and a small speaker, which emits a very annoying sound when the battery level is low.
At first impression, Olight H16 Wave feels like a nice torch – it fits nicely on your head and has a strong output. Unfortunately, an it’s a real shame because I quite liked this torch, its strengths end there. The battery which can’t be change is a very limiting factor, and as a result instead of simply switching the depleted battery to a fresh one you’ll need to spend quite a while charging the torch from a powerbank or socket. Now imagine doing that when you’re outdoors, it’s evening, bad weather, still long way to go, and your Olight H16 just run out of battery…
Another problem comes with the switch. Simply forget about using it while wearing some thicker winter gloves. At the same time, it is very easy to accidentally trigger the touchless mode, what results in accidental switching the mode or turning the headlamp off when you least expect (or want) it. Also, the set of just three modes is simply impractical.
A final nail to the Olight H16’s coffin came with the fact how fragile it is. This is not even about the micro USB port with a cover than can easily open on its own or the low water resistance. One day I needed some extra light during a bit of simple garage work, so I grabbed Olight H16 and turned it on. Only a few minutes later I hear a cracking sound, and for some reason the plastic part resposnible for adjusting the angle of LEDs broke off. From that moment the front part of the headlamp is hanging limply and Olight H16 is basically useless.
Olight H16 at first seemed like a nice and comfortable headlamp. Unfortunately, with use, it has proven to be more of a collection of some interesting tech solutions, which tend to get in the user’s way and simply don’t make up for the numerous flaws of this headlamp.
Special thanks for giving us a chance to test the OlightsH16 Wave goes to the Polish distribution of Olight torches – Militaria.pl!