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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2012
Verified Purchase
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.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2013
Verified Purchase
I decided to upgrade to the H502 on my quest to upgrade my backpacking gear. I used to carry the Petzl Tikka XP2 on my outdoor trips. The H502 has been a wonderful upgrade!

I researched online and found very good reviews for Zebralight products. I debated getting another light with a spot style beam (which is what I was used to) or trying the new flood style of beam. After using it I am so impressed with the flood style beam with this light. This light will fully light up an 120 degree wide area very well to a distance of about 20 yards. Which is perfect for everything around camp. The design of the light does not leave any shadows or imperfections in the light that it puts off. It's like being at home and turning on the light switch and walking into a room. Because the beam shines 120 degrees out in front of you, you're able to see everything so clearly. Even in your peripheral vision.

I purchased the 260 lumen Cool White version of this light. I decided I wanted the extra lumens if I need them in the middle of the wilderness.
(Rather than the H502d - 170 lumen CRI Daylight version or the H502c - 142 lumen Neutral White version. They give you a warmer feeling light but at the cost of less lumens available.)

I like this light much better than my Petz Tikka XP2 because:
- It's a hair lighter than my Tikka.
- It is hard anodized metal vs all plastic.
- It's waterproof.
- Wider flood vs spot beam.
- 260 lumens vs 80 lumens.
- Battery power is regulated for constant brightness for the entire battery. (Tikka XP2 is 80 lumens only on fresh batteries and then gets dimmer with use over time.)
- The ability to test the power left in the battery. (4 quick clicks of the power switch. Light flashes 1-4 times representing <25%, 50%, 75%, 100% battery life.)
- 6 selectable light levels to be able to choose the right amount of light for the task. Thus extending the overall battery life. (Settings: 2 low, 2 med, 2 high.)
- Being able to prevent accidental activation in my pack resulting in a dead light when I need it. (By unscrewing the end cap 1/4 turn.)
- The design of the light makes it a breeze to change out the battery by feel in complete darkness.
- It uses a AA battery which is the same battery type used in my GPS. (So I don't have to carry extra batteries of different types. My Tikka uses 3 AAA's.)

I fully expect this light will continue to be in my backpack on future outdoor trips for years to come..
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2013
Verified Purchase
I was reading about this light on a backpacking forum and decided to get it based upon recommendations. The logic is that for hiking you don't really need to see 100 feet out in front of you what you really need is to see 10 -15 feet. The logic also is that you really don't want the light mounted on your head, you want to attach it to your belt or sternum strap. If it's attached to your head, it cast the shadows directly behind the object (rock, tree root) so you loose depth perception and trip over things easier. If you don't mount it on your head, a spot type light only lights up what's directly in front of you so you can's see where you are going if you are going around a corner unless you turn your whole torso. Also, if you are just working around your campsite a flood is better because you don't have to point the light right at something to find it.

I have not had the light that long, but I have had it out for one 2 night backpacking trip. It is absolutly great for night hiking with it mounted on the sternum strap. As soon as you take a few steps the problems with a headlight washing out the trail become obvious. There is plenty of spill so it does not matter that it's not pointing directly where you are looking, everything in front of you is lit up.

I also like it better than a traditional light around the camp. It comes close to being a lantern; lights up the whole area while you cook, make camp and do other chores. I'll probably continue to take my 4 7s quark so that I have a bright spot light for those "what was that sound" moments, but the workhorse is the H502.

The bonus is that I find myself using it for many other task. I think it's far better than a spot for general handyman work. It's like an area light you can cary in your pocket. Under the car, working on the furnace, for all those kind of area light task. With a regular flashlight you have got find some way to get it pointed at the place where you are working. With the H502 you just generally get it pointed in the right direction and it lights up everything.

For me this light represents a new way of thinking about the technology of super bright LED flashlights. I'm gadget geek and I love flashlights, so I have been pursuing the brighter and brighter emitters. The trouble is that most of the time they are turned down do a low setting because they are too bright for most uses. This light puts out a lot of light but spreads it around and is more useful for most applications.
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2012
I just received one of these H502 headlamps which I intended to use for backpacking. I really like it and want to give it 5 stars, but the high mode lasting under an hour is just not practical to me. I would rather have the medium mode as the "high" so I wouldn't be tempted to use it on high while backpacking and kill the battery.

Unfortunately the flood is just waaaaaay to FLOODY! I knew this may be an issue before purchasing, but I wanted to try it anyway. In order to safely hike thru the woods with this light, I would need to run it on high, but with an hour runtime this thing would be dead within my first night hiking. I'll be purchasing an H51 for this.

4 stars since it is a terrific light but runtime on high is not practical. Great for the intended uses (up-close tasks, reading, cooking in camp, etc). Anything over 15' or so and you'll want more throw from a headlamp like the Zebralight H51.

Update: after some more use I found the headband is a little uncomfortable. Most headlamps I have sit flush against the forehead with the band fed completely behind part of the lamp. With the Zebralight, the band feeds thru each end so the band itself is on your forehead - but this creates two hotspots on your head at each end where the silicone holder touches. I thought it was too tight so I loosened it to the point where it wasn't bouncing around but it didn't help much. I don't want to have to stick something between the band and my forehead each time, so I'm going to try and make something to pad it.

** One final update ** - It looks like my concerns about the comfort appear to be felt by many others (search "zebralight dents head"). Fortunately, I found some help in a forum about re-threading the band thru the silicone holder a different way which should make it more comfortable.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2012
Verified Purchase
I have been using my H502 extensively for a few weeks and I have been very impressed.

The flood distribution is perfect, everything within reach is evenly lit.

I love the Glow in the Dark "reflector", a quick blast on High charges the GITD and its actually brighter than the .01 Lumen mode, I think this is a very nice feature. Along with the GITD Head band, it helps locating the light in the dark. The GITD material is very bright.

The Cool White tint is perfect for my needs. Pairing this light with my SC600, I have the ultimate EDC combo for work.

And the lowest output, 3 months on one AA? That's outstanding.

Very happy with my purchase!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2013
Verified Purchase
This is meant to be a headlamp but I really like it as a pocketable single AA flashlight. It has no reflector (what looks like a reflector in the photo is a glow-in-the-dark coating), so the beam is very wide and even (there are other models that have a more focused beam). This makes it very suitable when you just need a little extra light for walking, on the campsite, or working on something.

Pros
+ Can stand on its tail and cast light to the side onto a work surface
+ Can clip to your collar or belt and cast light forward for walking, or while working on something
+ Many modes to choose from with a very wide range of light levels
+ Although there's no lockout mode, just a tiny turn of the battery cap will prevent the light from coming on while in your pocket
+ Very high quality construction and finish
+ Highest mode is remarkably bright for a single AA

Cons
- Accessing the modes is easier than some lights I've used, but still a bit fiddly
- In particular, to get to the alternate High mode, you have to short click, then pause, then double click; it's very easy to instead end up in Low mode. In effect this means there's no quick reliable way to get to a strobe mode.
- Also, I often turn on High (short click) when I wanted Low (long click)

As a suggestion, it would be really quite wonderful for this light to have a ring to adjust the light level in steps or continuously.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2013
Verified Purchase
Most users of flashlights do not rely on the narrow "throw" capability of the beam, but rather value the ability to illuminate objects close to the viewer. The Zebralight H502 completely lights up your workspace like a florescent ceiling fixture! With its multiple settings, you can customize lighting to suit your night vision with a uniform light spill instead of a tightly focused spot. I also want to praise Amazon's quick response in correcting the shipment of the light, which was originally missing a part. Totally satisfied with both the flashlight and Amazon's customer service!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2014
Verified Purchase
the light is fine, but the flood is too floody and i returned it. it only looks great if you're working up close. if you are walking around and need something to see where you're going, or see what you're doing if you're working on house projects, then you should get the H600F mkii instead. This is so wide and floody that as soon as you back away a few feet, it gets too dim. Yes, it lights up everything evenly with no hot spot, but now that i tried it, it seems the hotspot is useful. I rather have a soft hot spot (no edges, just brighter in the middle) and a little flood on the sides then all continuous flood across your entire viewing area. This would be perfect if you were working on model building, or close up repair work because the light is so smooth and even, it doesn't distract from what you're looking at.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 12, 2012
Verified Purchase
All flashlights I know have hotspots and somewhat uneven illumination. We all know by now how powerful cree LEDs are. This light uses it to send forth a very WIDE angle beam. It is a compact little beauty for room (or forest path. It lights up everything in front of you. I am sure if you use the head strap and work in close it will provide more than enough light, but I feel its forte is letting you walk through a room during a power failure with the light clipped to your belt (clip included, as well as head strap) and see everything. It is a little marvel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2013
Verified Purchase
This thing is very small and lightweight but it is very bright on the highest setting. Make sure you read the instructions for the setting the different levels of light as it's not intuitive in my opinion. My only dislike is that the beam has almost no focus. It could easily light up a space but you will need to hold the light very close to an object to get focused light. I have not used the headband yet.
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