This Skilhunt H04F RC was providen by Skilhunt for review.
Killzone Flashlights, a Skilhunt dealer for the US facillitated the arrangement. Here's the H04F RC at Killzone. Those are affiliate links to Killzone, and my affiliate coupon code "zakreviews" will get you 10% off most flashlights, including the H04 series.
The Skilhunt H04 series is a follow-up to their successful H03, which was the enthusiast's budget right-angle headlamp of choice for several years. The latest H04 models feature a 90+ CRI Samsung LH351D 4000K, Skilhunt's new customizable user interface from the M150 v2 and new revision of the M200 along with my new favorite headband. The line has evolved into a more mainstream offering since its introduction, with optional magnetic charging and an optional bundled battery.
I consider the 1x18650 right-angle light to be the most useful and versatile flashlight form factor, especially with a magnetic tailcap as the H04 series uses. Lights in this style can be used handheld, carried in pockets with a clip, clipped to clothing or equipment, attached to surfaces with a magnet, and of course worn as headlamps.
The H04's design is farily conventional for a right-angle light, aside from the F model's diffuser. What sets it apart most from its competition is the range of available configurations. It comes with a cool or neutral white Cree XM-L2, or a neutral white, high-CRI Samsung LH351D. There's a choice of reflector (throwy), beaded TIR (floody), or reflector with flip-up diffuser. There's an 18350 size option. There's a choice of onboard magnetic charging or not for 18650 models.
The headband mount, however is unconventional. It supports easy installation and removal with the pocket clip attached. This headband design provides a significant improvement in versalitily relative to the rest of the industry, and can be purchased separately and used with some other brands of right-angle light.
The driver uses a relatively efficient buck converter and supports a wide voltage range, though low voltage protection only works with a single Li-ion cell. A pair of CR123s, 16340s, or 18350s can be used in the 18650 model i a pinch. There's a choice of user interfaces, one of which allows the user to enable and disable modes for increased flexibility.
The H04 is well-machined, with smooth, square-cut threads, and no visible defects in my sample. Output is stable and flicker-free in all modes, aside from timed stepdowns in turbo modes. Efficiency is competitive. Where the H04's electronics do suffer is peak output, where a high-resistance spring in the tailcap results in significant output sag depending on the length of the battery.
The magnetic charging system works well and provides significant convenience for some use cases, but the charging contacts on the light can output some current. The circuit detects a short and shuts off output in a fraction of a second, but I was able to ignite steel wool with it after several attempts. People working in an environment with metal dust or shavings may be better off with the non-charging model.
The diffuser is surprisingly useful. I was expecting it to be a gimmick, and possibly fragile, but the difference in beam pattern and usable throw is significant, and I haven't broken it yet. I do sometimes find it to be a distraction in my peripheral vision, however.
Users looking to wow their friends with peak output probably won't be thrilled by any version of the H04, but it's a tool, not a toy. The H04 excels at extended use in more practical medium modes, with a competitive price, good color quality, and my favorite headband in the industry.
|Battery||1x18650, 2xCR123A, 2x16340, 2x18350|
|LED||Samsung LH351D (Cree XM-L2 optional)|
|Color rendering index||> 90|
|Max output||777lm (unprotected 18650), 860lm (protected 18650), 952lm (2x18350)|
|Max sustainable output||470lm|
|Max output at 50% battery||504lm|
|Best efficiency||132lm/W @ 328lm|
|Candela per lumen||2.4|
|Candela per lumen (diffused)||1.16|
|Weight with battery||95g|
|Weight with battery and headband||135g|
|Power from charge port||Yes, all modes|
|Power from charge port without battery||Yes, max output is reduced|
|Low Voltage Protection (LVP)||Yes, 2.8V|
|Lockout||Mechanical and electronic|
- High CRI
- Headband mount works with pocket clip installed
- Headlamp mount is quick in/out while being fairly secure
- Flip-down diffuser offers a choice of beam patterns
- Configurable levels
- Good efficiency, given the high CRI
- Tint is a little green
- Tailcap spring has too much resistance with unprotected cells
- Impacts or vigorous shaking can turn the light off with unprotected cells
- Charging pad can produce a spark under the wrong conditions
Details and technical analysis
The H04 offers a choice of Samsung LH351D or Cree XM-L2 LEDs. The LH351D was 4000K (recent models are 5000K) and 90+ CRI, and the XM-L2 is cool or neutral white and unspecified CRI. There's a choice of floody beaded TIR optic (H04), less floody reflector (H04R), or reflector and diffuser (H04F). USB-magnetic charging is optional on every version. The same options are available in a mini version with a 1x18350 body.
This is the LH351D, reflector + diffuser, 1x18650 version with magnetic charging.
The H04F RC comes with a headband, pocket clip, charging cable, lanyard, user manual, and spare O-rings. A 3500 mAh 18650 battery is optionally bundled.
Modes and user interface
There are two different UIs: mode group A, and B. A resembles Skilhunt's older products, while B is similar to UIs used by Acebeam, Olight, and Thrunite, but with more modes, and user control over what modes are available. Skilhunt uses L, M, H, and T 2 and 1 to designate the modes, in order of lowest to highest. Blinking modes are designated S 1-3.
Mode Group A
|Off||Click||Last used (except Turbo, Strobe)|
|Off||Hold||Low (last-used of L1, L2)|
|Off||Double-click||Turbo (last-used of T1, T2)|
|On||Double-click||Toggle sub-mode (e.g. M1, M2)|
|Off||Hold 5S||Mode group B|
Mode group B
|Off||Click||Last-used (except T1, S)|
|On||Hold||Cycle through steady modes (except T1)|
|Strobe||Double-click||Cycle variable strobe, slow beacon, fast beacon|
|Lockout||Hold 2S||Lowest enabled|
|Off||Hold 5s||Mode group A|
Note that while the lowest mode can be saved into memory, it is not saved when accessed using the shortcut from off.
Loosening the tailcap a quarter turn locks out activation mechanically.
In config, the light will cycle through all the modes other than T1. If enabled, the indicator light under the switch will be on, and if not, the light will be off. Click once to toggle the active mode. The cycle will continue until interrupted by either a long-press to save the current settings, or a triple-click to reset to factory defaults.
Output, runtime, and efficiency
Advertised performance is with a Skilhunt 3500 mAh 18650 battery. Tested performance is with a Sony VTC6 3000 mAh 18650 battery, which should result in slightly shorter runtime.
|Mode||Advertised Lumens||Estimated Lumens||Estimated throw (FL1 meters)||Estimated throw (FL1 meters, diffused)|
|Mode||Estimated lumens||Time to 80%||Time to 50%||Time to 10%||Tailcap current (mA)||Efficiency (lm/W)|
|Standby||-||-||-||8.5 years||40 uA||-|
|H1||328||3.6 hours||3.8 hours||4 hours||765||132|
|T2||470||128 minutes||147 minutes||165 minutes||-||105|
|T1||777||2 minutes||124 minutes||165 minutes||-||111|
The H04 has a timed stepdown for thermal protection.
Open, diffused, and vs Zebralight SC64c LE (LH351D 4000K)
Open, diffused, and vs Armytek Wizard Pro Nichia (144A 4500K)
Batteries and charging
The H04 series will run on any 18650 battery, two CR123A batteries, or two unprotected 16340 or 18350 batteries. I do not believe protected 16340s/18350s will fit, but I have none to test. It's not clear if there's low-voltage protection for a series of two Li-ion cells; my test was interrupted by a failure of one of my 18350 cells I believe is related to the cell, not anything to do with the H04.
The magnetic charger charges at a rate of 0.95A and requires about 3.5 hours to fully charge a VTC6.
The magnetic charging pad has detectable current and can create sparks briefly when shorted. Skilhunt is not the first company to produce a flashlight with this issue. The current is shut off very quickly, and it is difficult to ignite steel wool with the charging pad, but not impossible. Users working in environments with metal dust or shavings should consider the H04 without magnetic charging.
The optics are held in with four Torx T4 screws and easily removed, providing access to the MCPCB. LED and optic swaps are therefore very easy. Any 3V LED should work.
It's also trivial to reverse the orientation of the diffuser on the F model.
Bypassing the tailcap spring for reduced resistance increases maximum output to 907lm with an unprotected Sony VTC6.