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Fenix HP25 with twin-beam and HL10 dual Review (4xAA – 1xAAA) -by Flashaholic* , Candle Power Forums

Publish Time:2013-07-12

With the recent release of Fenix's headline HP25 headlamp which has twin beams, and the much smaller HL10 at the opposite end of the Fenix headlamp spectrum, in this review I am going to take a closer look at both of these lights.

Every set of lights should include a headlamp, as only with this type of light do you have a mobile task light and both hands free to carry out the task. The HP25 provides power and versatility with its twin-beams, and the superlight HL10 making it easy to always have a headlamp with you, it looks like Fenix has all the bases covered.

Initial Impressions:

Picking up the HP25 and the feature that really stands out is its twin lens light-head, and that each lens looks different. One lens is a full flood beam, and the other has a focussed reflector to give a tight hotspot and plenty of throw.

Having reviewed the Fenix HP11 and HL30 previously, you may have picked up on my preference for flood beams on headlamps. For my purposes, I am more often working at close ranges, so find the flood beam far more suitable. However, whatever your preference, the HP25 gives you both flood and throw, either independently or combined, for excellent flexibility.

With the HP25s twin-lens head, high-output, top strap and separate 4xAA battery box this seems like a real 'working' headlamp.

On the other hand, the diminutive HL10 comes in a very compact package. Neatly designed to be used either as a headlamp, or if the light is unclipped from the housing, it becomes a tiny right angle floodlight you can keep on your key-ring.

The single strap design is perfectly stable as it has very little weight to hold. The flood beam seems surprisingly powerful for a single AAA light, and this is just such a handy size.

What is in the box:

Both these headlamps arrive in a hybrid cardboard/blister pack.

Removing the blister part from the cardboard surround allows them to open clamshell style.

Included in the HL10's package are the HL10, the head-strap, instructions, AAA alkaline battery and a spare o-ring.

Included in the HP25's package are the HP25 lamp unit and attached battery pack, the head-strap components, cable clips, instructions and 4xAA alkaline batteries.

Taking a closer look and looking inside – HP25:

The HP25's chassis is made from aluminium which can be seen here as the black parts of the lamp unit (not the hinged plastic headband mount). There is a yellow plastic insert surrounding both lenses. Each emitter/reflector has a flat glass coated lens.

The lamp unit is hinged on its headband mount, allowing the user to tilt the beam to their preferred angle.

When pushed flat, the mount half covers both the power switches to help avoid accidental activation when stored.

Looking a bit closer at the angle adjustment, you can see it is a simple plastic ratchet. This is the same system used on the HL30 which I have found over long term useto be reliable and stable.

The HP25 has two electronic click switches, one of each of the two beams. They operate entirely independently effectively making this like two headlamps-in-one.

To open the battery pack, the hand-wheel is unscrewed to allow the battery carrier (attached to the cable) to come out of the battery box.

At each end of the clear plastic battery carrier is a contact circuit board with durable metal pads and springs.

- As a little tip, under the middle two cells are cut-outs in the carrier that allow you to push these cells out from behind. It is then easy to remove the remaining two cells.

Looking dead onto the front of the lamp unit, you can clearly see the different reflector configurations.

On the left, the 'spotlight' reflector looks yellow due to focussing the light from the phosphor surface of the XP-E LED. To the right is the flood beam assembly which has virtually no reflector, instead having a clear dome over the emitter to smooth out the flood light.

Taking a closer look and looking inside – HL10:

As the HL10 is a dual purpose light, it uses a plastic lamp holder when configured as a headlamp.

There is a hinged door that opens to reveal the lamp itself and the metal clip that holds it tightly in place and allows for angle adjustment.

Pulling the lamp out of the holder frees it for use as a separate compact right-angle light.

On the back of the lamp holder each end has a headband strap clip. Like all other Fenix headlamps this allows the user to easily fit and remove the headband (for replacement or washing).

The single strap is a simple adjustable loop with sliding adjuster. On the free end of the strap is a strap clip allowing you to tidy the end of the strap (and stop it flapping around) by attaching it to the headband. A nice touch.

The flat glass lens has an anti-reflective coating.

An XP-E LED is used for the HL10 and being full flood, has no reflector as such. The lens has an oval shape making it look a bit like an eye.

The rubber switch boot covers an electronic click switch.

The battery tube thread is bare aluminium (meaning no lockout is possible) and are a standard thread profile.

The simple tail-cap has a gold plated spring contact.

The positive contact looks to be a slightly raised metal pad.

Modes and User Interface:

Starting with the HP25, which is two independent light in one housing, each one has a slightly different set of modes.

HP25 – Flood

To switch the flood beam on, press and hold the button for 0.5s
When on, a brief press cycles through Low – Medium – High – Turbo
To switch off, press and hold the button for 0.5s

The last used output level is memorised so it will switch on at this output level.

HP25 – Spot

To switch the spot beam on, press and hold the button for 0.5s
When on, a brief press cycles through Low – Medium – High (interestingly the output levels correspond with the flood beam Medium – High – Turbo levels)
To switch off, press and hold the button for 0.5s

The last used output level is memorised so it will switch on at this output level.

As an extra feature, if at any time you press and hold the power switch for 2s the spot beam will start to signal SOS. When in SOS, a single click of the button switches back to constant output.

HP25 – Flood and Spot combined.

As both lamps work independently of each other, they can be used in any combination of outputs. So any level of each beam can be mixed with any level of the other beam. This results in 24 different output combinations including those using SOS, or 19 different constant output combinations.

Fenix state there are 20 different output combinations, but with each lamp having 5 possible output modes (four levels and 'off'), I am not sure how they got to 20. Not counting both lamps being off, there are 5x5-1 modes (the '-1' is both lamps being off) or 24 if including the SOS modes and 5x4-1 modes when not including the SOS modes giving 19 constant output combinations.

Now onto the HL10 which is very simple in comparison.

To switch the beam on, press and hold the button for 0.5s
When on, a brief press cycles through Low – Medium – High
To switch off, press and hold the button for 0.5s

The last used output level is memorised so it will switch on at this output level.

Batteries and output:

The HP25 runs on 4 x AA batteries. Either Alkaline AAs, or Ni-Mh rechargeable AAs can be used.

The HL10 uses a single AAA battery. Either Alkaline AAs, or Ni-Mh rechargeable AAs can be used.

The testing was carried out with Eneloop LSD Ni-Mh cells.

To measure actual output, I built an integrating sphere. See here for more detail. The sensor registers visible light only (so Infra-Red and Ultra-Violet will not be measured).

Please note, all quoted lumen figures are from a DIY integrating sphere, and according to ANSI standards. Although every effort is made to give as accurate a result as possible, they should be taken as an estimate only. The results can be used to compare outputs in this review and others I have published.

Fenix HP25 I.S. measured ANSI output Lumens PWM frequency (Hz)
Flood/Spot combined Maximum 404 0
Flood Turbo 207 0
Flood High 108 0
Flood Medium 53 0
Flood Low 7 0
Spot High 207 0
Spot Medium 108 0
Spot Low 48 0

Fenix HL10 I.S. measured ANSI output Lumens PWM frequency (Hz)
High 73 0
Medium 30 0
Low 2 0

As both these lights utilise an electronic switch, there is parasitic drain to consider.

The HP25 settles on 43uA. With its 4S1P configuration this drain will take 5.3 years to deplete the batteries.

The HL10 has a drain of 25uA. For a single 800mAh cell this will take 3.65 years to become depleted.

Both these drain figures are effectively negligible, and only matter if the light is put into an emergency pack that might not be accessed for years (in which case, leave out the batteries).

The runtime graph shows the output traces for both the HP25 and HL10.

For the HP25, the output of each beam was captured individually and then combined. Fenix have got this high power headlamp right in that it has no timed step-down! If you select maximum output, it will maintain this as long as the batteries are able to.

Conversely, the HL10 has a timed step down every 5 minutes from High to Medium. Considering the limited capacity of the AAA cell, this is probably a good idea to help get a reasonable runtime. Medium is still a perfectly reasonable output level to work with.

Unsurprisingly, the HP25 dwarfs the HL10's output.

The very slight difference in runtime between flood and spot will likely be due to a different set of test cells being used.

Both lights have excellent regulated outputs.

The beam

This time starting with the HL10, the indoor beamshot shows the wide even flood beam with no hotspot. A really excellent close-range beam.

The HP25 has a wide range of combined beam outputs, but here I will just show the individual beams and the combined beam.

Firstly the very wide Flood beam.

Now the Spot beam with its slightly narrower outer spill and very tight bright hotspot.

And the combined beam with both beams on maximum output. Like this the spot if very prominent, but the spot output level can be reduced to soften this.

What are they really like to use…

The two headlamps on test offer very different types of use.

The much heavier HP25 has significantly longer runtimes and higher maximum output and has a versatile choice of beam making it suitable and tuneable for many different working environments.

Even with the extra weight of the 4xAA cells, thanks to the inclusion of a top strap, and positioning of the battery pack to the rear of the user's head, the HP25 is comfortable to wear for extended periods.

I'm not particularly partial to switches that need to be held down for a while to switch on and off. The HP11 uses a separate on-off switch to the mode changing switch, however as the HP25 has two beams to control, I can see why Fenix have opted for this design.

The HP25 also lends itself for more extended use, so this slightly more laborious 'switching on and off button holding' is less of an issue in real use as you won't be switching it on and off constantly.

At close ranges I do find the spot beam overpowering, even on lower settings, but of course, you can use the full flood beam instead. The flood beam is excellent for all close range use, and on maximum output is very bright, especially considering how widely the light is spread.

When you want a bit more range, the Spot beam comes into its own, and the tight hotspot really pushes into the distance.

Overall output is more than you will ever really need for a light strapped to your head (unless you are into off-road night time cycling, when you need a lot of light to ride quickly).

Maximum output feels very bright and so far I've not needed to run it on maximum (apart from to see how bright it is).

Overall the HP25 is a powerful, accomplished, versatile, stable, comfortable and long running light. The two beams giving you fantastic versatility, and a composite beam you can tune to your own preferences.

The HL10 is a very different light. It is very neat, compact, in fact a really sensible size being neither too small nor too large. This is a light you are very likely to have on you when you need it thanks to being so small and light.

The single band is secure enough and need not be too tight as the light unit is very light weight.

Considering the size of the actual light, the housing seems a bit oversized, and unfortunately when in the housing it is not possible to change the battery. Instead you have to pull it out of the housing.

The metal clip which holds the light in the housing is a bit on the strong side. When taking the light in and out of this, or just rotating it to adjust the angle, the anodising 'creaks' and will ultimately become scratched. So far in testing the anodising has not come off, but is starting to shine-up in the areas of contact. This would be less of an issue if you could change the battery while it was in the housing, but unfortunately you can't.

The 'press and hold' to switch on or off, is something I find a little irritating, but is a sensible design feature. This makes accidental activation less likely, so is a necessary evil.

During the runtime testing, the timed step down from High to Medium was another source of irritation, but again, as far as design considerations go, the HL10 is bright enough on Medium for most uses and this extends the runtime considerably. This is a very small light, and uses a very small battery, so this type of design consideration is very important. You have a higher output level should you want it, and to help you get the most runtime, Fenix have set the HL10 to step down from this automatically so you don't forget to do this yourself and then find your HL10 being hungry for batteries.

Although I have many headlamps (including single AA lights), the HL10 is the first I would truly consider to be an EDC headlamp. Yes it has some limitations, but these are only to be expected from such a compact light.

Given their clearly different strengths and intended functions, both the HP25 and HL10 have proven to be strong and accomplished performers.

Test sample provided by Fenix for review.

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