Price (RRP): $$249.95
LEDs are rapidly taking over the world of lighting. Thanks goodness. Amazingly efficient, they are especially suited to portable applications. And that brings us to Ledlenser, which dominates the quality end of the flashlight market. Here we’re looking at the Ledlenser MH11, a smart headlamp.
A headlamp is a portable, battery-powered torch designed to be worn on your head. It allows you to work or walk in the dark, while leaving your hands free. The Ledlenser take on that basic scheme adds the following:
- Powered by a long-life rechargeable battery (not that this is a first for Ledlenser).
- Multiple power levels.
- Strobe setting.
- Red, Green and Blue lights in addition to the main white lamp.
- Adjustable focus in lens.
- Bluetooth connectivity.
The body of the headlamp is fairly wide – around 90mm – and moderately deep at 60mm from the forehead rest to the front of the lens housing. That might suggest a tendency to tug down and forwards, but that proved not to be the case. Wide elastics traps – 26mm wide – hold the assembly on your head. I liked the material. It was soft on my skin and held everything firmly, without ever feeling uncomfortably tight.
The weight is back-loaded, with the battery near the rear. The forehead plate has a soft rubbery ring around it. At nearly 70mm by 50mm, it spreads the load well. The Lenlenser MH11 body can swivel up and down freely within that, but again is tight enough not to droop. It can be removed if you need to use it hand-held for some reason.
The whole thing, straps and all, weighs half a hair under 180 grams.
The Lenlenser MH11 is an outdoors unit, so it’s weatherproof. More formally, it’s rated at IP54, which means that it’s “Dust Protected” sufficiently to avoid any interference “with the satisfactory operation of the equipment”, according to the Wikipedia description. And it’s safe against water jets projected “from any direction”. Don’t go swimming with it, but a rainstorm is fine.
Ledlenser MH11 Lens
The lens can be rotated by perhaps fifteen degrees, extending it to change the spread of the beam. It’s quite the range. Standing at one metre from a flat surface, the vaguely square spot of light was around 200mm wide at its tightest focus. It was somewhat square because the white “Xtreme LED” it uses is square-shaped. Wound to the maximum width the now-round spot was 1350mm wide.
That comes to angles of between 11 degrees and 53 degrees. Use a tight spot to project the light further. A wide setting is good for close work with your hands.
Ledlenser rates the output at between 10 lumens and 1,000 lumens and the “Lighting Range” at between 30 metres and 320 metres. I can understand the distant range measurement, but the close one? There’s no reason why you can’t spread the beam and lower the brightness and use the unit up very close.
The battery life of the Ledlenser MH11 is rated at between four hours and one hundred hours, depending on use. The battery is a removable cylinder rated at 3.7 volts and 11.84Wh. That translates into 3,200mAh. Since it’s removable, you can buy a new one to replace it should it get tired. If I’m reading the website correctly, I think a new one is $49.95.
Have you ever used a cheap LED torch and had it start flickering unaccountably after a few months. That’s unlikely to happen with the Ledlenser MH11 because it comes with a five-year warranty, seven years if registered. Batteries being what they are, it’s only covered for 24 months.
The battery is not the same size (nor voltage) as any disposable one, so you can’t make do with alkalines in an emergency. I guess that could be a drawback for those going far from the beaten track. But do note that the charge cable, which snaps on magnetically, plugs into any standard 5-volt power source. Including the battery pack you may have with you for your phone.
An indicator LED shows for two seconds whenever you switch on the unit. It glows green, yellow or red to indicate battery state.
When I’ve finished writing this review I feel I shall almost be qualified to interpret hieroglyphics. Without a doubt, understanding the double-sided page of infographics – they’re the extent of the printed instructions – was the most challenging part of using the Ledlenser MH11.
That’s in large part because of the wealth of functions, and the fact that for the most part you have just one button to control it all. So, using different modes involves holding down the button for various lengths of time, awaiting the sought feedback. Some can be as long as 12 seconds (that gets to you to the colours).