Most helpful positive review
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Excellent flood headlamp with great battery life
on November 13, 2012
I ordered Zebralight H502 along with the Surefire Minimus. Both are quality instruments however I returned the Minimus and kept the H502 for the following reasons:
1. I prefer the even flood of the Zebralight over the spot/flood of the Surefire. The H502 has a completely even flood, 120 degrees or more. The Minimus has a much longer range, but uses a more focused beam. It's not as focused as a handheld flashlight, but enough that your peripheral vision is limited. For most hands on work, climbing, and walking in the dark the same amount of light is more usable on the H502. For bicycling, the Minimus might be a better choice. The H502 does not seem as bright on the same level setting (100lm) however that's due to the focused beam from the Minimus. The 100lm setting on the Minimus will illuminate any object beyond 20ft better than the H502 using a 260lm setting. I tested the Zebralight on a combined backpacking and overnight camping excursion. I had no trouble hiking around perilous cliffs and cacti up 2600 ft of elevation. You will occasionally want a spot light to discern much beyond about 30 feet and I use a Fenix PD32 for that purpose.
2. Battery life for the same lumens of life is about double on the H502 compared to the Minimus. A single Eneloop AA battery is used on the H502 while the Minimus uses a Lithium 123A battery. The H502 recommends Lithium or Eneloop AA batteries since most alkaline batteries not being able to handle the current draw in H1 setting, and these batteries are just as expensive/scarce as a Lithium 123A. I used Eneloops and found that when battery runs low the light automatically switches down to a lower but usable setting. Battery life seemed shortened when running in low temps (30 to 40 degrees F, 0 to 5 degrees C). Manually warming the batteries helped.
3. The Zebralight H502 with battery and band weighs 2.8oz. The Surefire Minimus weighs 4.5oz. Even though the Minimus has a better forehead pad, the H502 wins in comfort due to its lighter weight and since it sits closer to the forehead. As other reviewers noted the headband does leave a mark on your forehead however there are fixes for that, including wearing a soft sweatband underneath. I tried jogging without a headband and found that while it is not uncomfortable, it definitely leaves two indentations on the forehead where the rubber sides are pushed against the skin.
4. The brightness dial on the Minimus is great, but it's nice to know what setting you are using for battery life estimation. I prefer to toggle between the familiar programmed settings than dial in the brightness. Also, the H502 features a battery level function.
5. Water resistance: The H502 is IPX7 - 2m for 30 minutes. The Minimus is 1m, barely IPX7.
6. MSRP on the H502 is $69 vs $139 for the Minimus - half the price!
What's better about the Surefire Minimus: More focused beam (for distance), brightness knob, comfortable forehead pad, Made in USA, presumably better support.
Note that the H502 comes in three versions. I purchased the standard 6000K, and 5000k (daylight) and 4000k high CRI versions are available. The trade off is more brightness for the same battery life versus more "comfortable" light. To help you choose ask yourself if you are more comfortable working with the brighter light of a florescent tube (usually around 6500K) or an incandescent light (somewhere around 4000k). It's personal preference so get whatever is more comfortable/usable for you. If I were to do it again I might go for the daylight version.