Monday February 24, 2020

Olight H1 Nova (EN)

Olight H1 Nova


I was well into writing my review of Olight S1R Baton, when I got another call from guys at 365 Plus. They're receiving more products, that can be reviewed and I can drop by to pick them up.

One traffic jam and three near misses later I'm driving away with yet more stuff to write about.


Among them is H1 Nova, a headlamp with a twist. Literally.


























Picture 1: This picture shows the way, H1 is mounted in the strap. Simplicity and function had a sweaty night and the baby is tear-bringing cute.


Packaging is bulkier than with other products. H1 Nova comes with a PU case, containing the flashlight, strap, clip, user guide and a leaflet with recommended Olight products for 2016. Last two are temporary items and will be discarded sooner or later.

Numbers crunchers section:

H1 Nova

Max Output (lumens)


Low (lumens)


Max Run Time (hours)

15 days

Beam Distance

66 m

Peak Beam Intensity (candela units)

1,080 cd

Water Resistance

IPX8 (waterproof up to 2 meters)

Impact Resistance

1.5 m

Head Diameter

0.8 in. / 21 mm


2.3 in. / 58.5 mm

Battery Type



1.7400 OZ / 49,5 g



User Manual

Included in the case



Flashlight attachment is made of soft silicone and the strap is easy to wear, without putting any pressure on the head. Off course you have to adjust it to one's head first. Flashlight comes mounted in it and there's a graphic inside the case (non-removable), showing, how it can be removed from it. This was the first thing I liked about the H1 (I'll keep the name short, so it doesn't look like a generic dishwashing soap commercial). It can be taken out and used in other situations. One nice point for adaptability. There is a clip inside, that's the same as on other Olight flashlights. Sturdy and solid. It fits the flashlight with some force applied and stays there like a bad habit. I took this path of modification and fitted the flashlight back to the strap only for trying out the process a couple of times. Until time comes for camping or needing both hands it will stay just as it is; in my jeans' watch pocket (where is S1R Baton, you ask? More on that later). The clip can be good for attaching it to baseball cap (thus improvising a headlamp), but I'm not really a baseball cap kind of a guy. And most of those I know, wear their caps only during the day and keep out of sewers and other dark places.


























Picture 2: The contents of the package, as they reveal them self upon opening. Case is useful, once you clean it's contents.

The case is nicely built and its looks are appealing, almost on a fashion accessory level. But, unless you use tactical backpack as a daily »carryall« it has to stay home. I've got one such backpack, using it as an all-purpose companion, for work, going to the range, airsoft, and light travel. My biggest issue is having the tools at hand, when they're needed, so I have most of them in the backpack side pockets. The H1 case is no exception, sitting quietly next to my Revision glasses pouch. The strap for me is not that important and I don't use so much, as to justify having it at hand, outside of the case and with a flashlight mounted in it. But it's still very useful, when needed. Its design is simple, straightforward and once inside, the flashlight is safe. The twist I mentioned in the beginning is the rotating movement of the flashlight once in the strap. Perhaps I'm putting too much emphasis on it right now, but the fact, that no plastic gears or other retention contraptions are used to adjust the angle of flashlight, jut purely silicone hugging it firmly, is a selling point for me. So simple, almost to the point of silicone gliding perversion and with an effect. One has to love the simplicity of implementation, it's one of those a-ha moments, especially if you are familiar with similar products of low complexity. Off course, with low complexity I mean headlamps for campers, runners, sportsmen, fishermen; you get the idea. No complexity in terms of adjustable beam, IR emitters, high power output, different light colors. Some manufacturers, especially when looking at Chinese that are trying really hard to complicate matters and offer »Swiss knife« type of headlamps that eventually lack the execution and quality. Not by much in many cases, but I've learned that in some cases, good enough, may not in fact be.











































Picture 3: A significant part of the user manual. The other half contains more text, so I choose this »eye candy« over it.


There is some complexity to H1 Nova, though. It has three power levels, two special modes and an emergency turbo mode. With a single switch, it possess a dexterity challenge, as well as time keeping challenge. But a challenge, a five year old can pass.

Flashlight is turned on by normal press of a button. Once turned on, modes can be switched between by pressing and holding the button. There are three power modes available and they follow each other in order of luminosity.


Low: 15 lumens (42 hours battery life)

Medium: 60 lumens (8,5 hours battery life)

High: 180 lumens (3 hours)


Besides these, there are three other special modes available:

With flashlight turned off, two fast presses activate the Turbo mode that brings its output to 500 lumens for up to three minutes, after which it gradually lower the output to high mode.

Similarly, three long presses activate SOS mode, which emits SOS in Morse code.

When turned off, long pressing the power switch (2 seconds +) will activate a lockout moonlight mode, that has an output of 2 lumens and with one battery, H1 is able to last for around 15 days. Besides that, the switch becomes momentary, so the light is on only when pressed. Which also helps prevent unintentional button presses and resulting battery drain.










































Picture 4: Lens configuration is nicely visible here. The bead setup makes light flow seamlessly from center focus to flood on the sides. IMHO more useful than clear lens with center focus on most of the competitive products.

Important difference from other members of the 2016 lineup is the lens itself. These are of TIR bead type or better said, arrangement. Focus and flood have a soft pass between them, so the distinction is not really obvious and the light is present where it has to be, while angle is comfortable for having an overview.

Other notable feature of H1 is magnetic battery cover. The magnet is quite strong, able to hold the flashlight even under some stress applied to it. This enables some really innovative ways to use it, like attaching it to surfaces in a garage, turning it into fixed light. Together with high output, it's more than adequate to let you use both hands for serious work, while having a fixed light source. A couple of days ago, we went to see some friends for anniversary, which was organized in a hunting lodge, on the outskirts of Trnovo forest near Nova Gorica. Dense, wooded, fogy area. And barely enough room to turn a station wagon around on the edge of the cliffs. There's no better rear light than H1, if you remember it's magnetic tail cap. Set on high, attached on the tail gate it lit up the back side, enabling me to perform a gut wrenching (according to the Mrs.) maneuver easily. There's no real end to the possibilities with H1. Some things could be improved, but on the other hand, you can't have them all.

There's a couple of things, which bothered me; there's no rechargeable battery and the function itself is not provided. So, if you want to use rechargeable batteries with it, you'll have to get an external charger.

Other thing, that would improve it by light years, would be rotating head, or at least a lens. If it could be directed forward, we would suddenly have two in one; S1R is a flashlight I really enjoy and a crossbred flashlight of these two would cover all the needs, one has, until getting into some serious hunting, law enforcement or rescue.

Verdict? If you are looking primarily for a headlamp, your search is over. It's beam range is quite low, due to lens type, but you get around 66 m of wide angle light, that can be seamlessly tilted the way you want. Moonlight mode helps you stay either unspotted or lit up for a very long time between battery changes. If you are looking primarily for a standard flashlight, that can be mounted, as need arrives, you may look toward S1R Baton, or if on a budget, S10R baton. There are other options out there, primarily in large online Chinese stores, but none of them offer you 5 year warranty and quality on par with more expensive manufacturers.

Picture 5: H1 Nova is a convincing product from Olight and makes a nice holiday gift (honey, if you're reading this, I already got one, don't bother...). 

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