The chat among my running friends at this time of year frequently turns to: “What’s the best head torch?” I have tried many head torches over the years and I have a list of essential features, including bright light, lightweight, easy functionality, comfortable fit, rechargeable battery and a price that doesn’t make me splutter.
A product was sent to me for test: The Olight Array 2S headtorch.
Features of Olight Array 2S headtorch include:
- 10 different light beams (including red and white beam and SOS mode).
- 1000-lumen beam maximum
- Hand wave control (as well as button control)
- Adjustable torch angle ups to 60°
- Lightweight: 131g (including battery pack and headband)
- Elastic headband
- Waterproof rating: IPX4 (this means the light is protected from splashing water, no matter the direction)
- 2600mAh USB rechargeable battery for top to 25 hours of runtime
- Safety taillight: The red indicator on the battery pack also serves as a safety tailligh
- Price £79.95. See Olight Array 2S headtorch.
My thoughts: Olight Array 2S headtorch
The website told me there were 10 different light beams. You’ll not find operating instructions on the website, but they are in a leaflet that comes with the torch.
I discovered six white beams of different brightness. There are three with one LED bulb (called flood light) and three with two LED bulbs (called Flood + Spot light), as well as three red beams of different brightness, plus a flashing SOS white light beam.
I am not sure how long it will take my brain to remember how to get to all these beams and especially when I am out running. I often have to stop to work out what setting I am actually on, but presumably I’ll get used to this. Or else I’ll use just a couple of beams and ignore the rest.
It would be better, in my opinion, if there were fewer beams choices to make it easier to switch between all the settings although I can see that more can be a good thing sometimes. It just tends to get me confused.
I found that when running with friends who also have a headtorch, it was enough to use the Flood only beam settings. When running on my own I used the Flood +Spot setting for a brighter view ahead of me.
The Flood + Spot setting also offers both a wider light field and a more intense spot light. There is not a huge difference between the Flood and the Flood + Spot beam but on a dark night and if running on trails, as I often do, it’s good to have an extra intensity of light beam.
The top beam of 1000 lumens is brilliant and for such a small headtruch this is a powerful setting. Note that the higher the lumen the quicker the battery will decharge.
Battery duration on Flood +Spot:
- 1000 lumens lasts 4 hrs
- 500 lumens lasts 5 hrs
- 100 lumens lasts 13hr 30 min
Battery duration on Flood:
- 500 lumens: 5hrs
- 250 lumens: 6hr 30 mins
- 30 lumens: 30 hrs
Note: This is according to the package details and I have not tested. I tend to switch between different lumens and so it makes it tricky to test the longevity of the battery.
The brightest light beam is excellent and provides a very good beam so you can easily see your way when running even in the darkest situations. But actually, the 500 lumen light is more than adequate for many night runs. I like the Flood +Spot more than the Flood light because it gives a great intensity of light.
By the way, to switch between the beams (from Flood, to Flood +Spot, to red) you need to double press the button on the lamp. Then to increase the beam brightness you hold down the button once for a slightly extended time. It takes a bit of practising.
Usefully, the headtorch remembers the last setting you used and when you switch it back on it goes straight to that mode.
Hand wave control
There is an alternative to the button. And this is a very good feature of the headtorch, although it does make you look a bit odd as you wave your hand about in front of your head!
So, a left/right hand wave switches mode and an up/down hand wave changes the brightness. This works well in most situations.
I did have a bit of a problem doing this while on the run and also I found that the brightness seemed to change of its own accord. This happened when I was running in a group and when ducking and diving among trees and so I wonder if that caused a simulation hand wave. It could be the sensor reacted to a tree in front of me, just as it would to a hand wave.
However, overall the hand wave control is a great idea and allows you to make quick adjustments.
The adjustable torch angle is useful and easy to use.
The headlamp and separate battery are small and lightweight. I found the headband comfortable (I wear a buff between the headband and my head) and it didn’t slip down. I think my ponytail helps to keep the headband in place.
An improvement would be to have a headband that splits at the back to offer greater security but I was actually impressed by how well the headband stayed in place. You can make it larger and smaller with a simple adjustor.
The technical details state that the headtorch is waterproof but an IPX4 rating means “water resistant”. So this means light is “protected from splashing water, no matter the direction”. I have been running in fairly heavy rain and the headtorch survived.
I own another Olight headtorch that has stood the test of time and being used in rain, so I would expect the same of the Array 2S.
The 2600mAh USB rechargeable battery is easy to charge with a USB cable (included). Olight state that it will give up to 25 hours of run-time but this does depend on the light beam setting.
The added extra of the red charge indicator on the battery pack, which also serves as a safety taillight, is another good feature. If you are running where there will be vehicles it is better if they can see you from in front and behind. This light is not that bright though so it wouldn’t work if you were on a bicycle.
Conclusion: Overall, this is a great headtorch. It’s lightweight and easy to wear and has a good range of lumens. The 1000 lumen beam is superb. I like the hand wave control.
I find the button control a bit confusing because I am not quite sure where I am amid all the modes and that usually means I need to take the headtorch off and have a look at what beams are on or off.
The Black Friday price makes this a very reasosable purchase. But even at full price you get a lot for your money.
Having tested other head torches for runners, I find they are durable and the battery appears to be long lasting. There are cheaper and more expensive head torches on the market but this one has become a go-to for me this winter.
- I was sent this headlamp free in return for an honest review.
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