Manker E03H Headlamp Review

Preface

It’s been a long time since I reviewed a Manker light, though I have liked most of the Manker’s I’ve had.  The E14 is still a personal favorite (and in my opinion, a watershed light).  Good friends have described the E03H as a must have, so I … had to have one!  Fortunately Fasttech came through for me.  So here’s the review of the E03H!

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Official Specs and Features

Versions

There’s just one body/package available for this light, but it’s available with two emitter choices.  There’s the Cree XP-L (seen here), and the Nichia 219C (>90CRI).

Price

MSRP on the E03H is $29.95 for both versions.  They’re both 29.85 on FastTech right now.  Cree XP-L HD, and Nichia 219C.


Short Review

I like this little light.  I like it enough that I’m likely to get the Nichia version.  That’s the one I’d recommend, and I think it’s certainly worth the asking price.

Long Review

What’s Included

  • Manker E03H Headlamp
  • Headband
  • Spare o-ring
  • Split ring
  • Pocket clip
  • Lanyard
  • Red, Green, and White (diffused) lens covers
  • Manual and paperwork

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Package and Manual

The package Manker uses here is a display-ready cardboard package with a window, which displays the light nicely.  The package has very general specs, and an illustration of the light, but not more.

The manual is very useful, and quite required for the UI diagram.  The UI is Manker’s typical UI (not sure offhand if there are variations on this, or if this is standard on all their lights).  More on the UI later.  The rest of the manual covers specs and output/runtime as you’d expect and it should.  It’s a fine manual.

Build Quality and Disassembly

The E03H has a good feel – right away this is noticeable.  The knurling on the body and tailcap is diamond pattern, and not too grippy.  The head has some cooling fins, but they’re not very deep.  Due to the way the diffuser connects and works, the head is a little unusual in shape, but not unweildy.

The threads on the tailcap are quite nice, being square cut and reasonably lubed.  They’re anodized, and the anodizing is slightly matte finish, and a bit …. chalkboardish (but nowhere near Armytek level), so that can be felt in the threads.

It’s possible to unscrew the body from the head, as well, but I believe it is glued in.  With a little effort, though, it did come off (and left a bit of nasty glue residue, too).  The driver is held in place by a brass retaining ring, and should unscrew fairly easily.

All in all the fit and finish is fine.  Especially a the $30-light-level.

Size

Officially the E03H is 78mm long and 20mm in diameter.

About the same diameter as an 18650, but a little longer.

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Retention

There are a number of methods of retention included for the E03H.  Primarily, as this is a headlamp, is the headstrap.  This is the thinnest, stiffest headstrap I’ve ever seen or used. Not to say it’s bad, it’s just quite unusual.  Just like the R1 I just reviewed, I really like the color choices on this headband.  The body-gripper is silicone, and is just one piece.  It holds the light well, but is incompatible with the pocket clip.

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Next is the pocket clip, which again is very “Manker.”  It’s not just like the one on my U11 (which is one of my favorite lights, and now has a Nichia 319 emitter.)   It’s a fine clip, and extremely sturdy – one of the thicker clips I can recall offhand.  It’s also reversible, with attachment points on the head and tail end of the body tube.

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Then there’s the magnet, which is on the tailcap, is very strong, and holds the light quite well.  The magnet is on the outside of the tailcap, which is somewhat unusual, and undoubtedly adds to the feel of strength.  This also means that the magnet is glued in, and could only be removed permanently.

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The final option is the lanyard, which is a standard lanyard, and connects through a hole in the tailcap.  It could also connect on the pocket clip without interfering with the use of the pocket clip.

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Power

Two options for powering the E03H are NiMH and Alkaline.  Li-ion is not supported.  In fact, the manual fortunately gives a working voltage range of 0.6 -1.8V.  I don’t mind lack of Li-ion support – in all honesty if a light supports both or all, I’m almost always going to use a NiMH in it anyway.

The positive terminal has physical reverse polarity protection, which means flat tops shouldn’t make contact anyway.

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The output is impressively specific – the manual says there’s a stepdown after 3 minutes, and the light maintains literal 100% output until over 3 minutes!  After that, the light steps down to High (specifically, not some generic output near high – it’s actually exactly “High”).  And it maintains High until it shuts off without any further stepdown, or fade, or anything.

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User Interface and Operation

One silicone e-switch is located on the head of the E03H.  To be sure it’s quite small, and just a little recessed for my tastes.  It’s quite responsive, and quiet.

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Here’s a UI table!

State Action Result
Off Click Moonlight
Off Hold Regular Group* (Mode memory)
Regular Group Click Mode Cycle**(Moon,L,M,H,M,L,Moon>)
Regular Group Double Click Turbo
Off Double Click Turbo
Turbo Click Strobe>SOS>Beacon>[Regular Group]
Turbo Group*** Hold Off
Turbo Group Double Click Regular Group
On Hold Off
Off Single then Double then Triple Click Lockout
Lockout Single then Double then Triple Click Unlock
Off Four quick clicks Engineering Mode#

* Regular group is Moonlight, Low, Mid, and High.  Regular Group does not include Turbo.

** Mode cycle in the Regular Group goes up every click until High, then goes down to Moon.  That’s the cycle – there’s no gross swap from High to Moon or vice versa.  All very gradual.

*** Turbo Group is Turbo, Strobe, SOS, and Beacon.  That Turbo is in the group with these other probably less desired mode means those can be hit accidentally and easily.  But a little care can prevent use of all Strobe modes entirely.

# Engineer mode is for programming Moonlight mode. When in Engineering mode, single clicking advances through 10 (or so) possibilities for Moonlight. When at the desired output, long click to set this as Moonlight. The light cycles from lowest to highest (moonlight) and then at the highest goes back to the lowest. (Which is what I’d want it to do – you can always be sure you’re getting the very lowest, or the very highest easily.)

I love that off is reliably a long hold from anything.
I love that moonlight is the default on action.

This is a fantastic UI.

And here is the Manker UI graphic, which is pretty useful indeed:

manker-e03h-ui

Modes

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Mode Measured Lux Tailcap Amps*
Turbo 350/140 3m/2.8h  3970  2.880
High 140 3h  1823  0.700
Mid 50 7.5h  640  0.230
Low 12 30h  50  0.026
Moonlight 0.1 175h  0  0.006
Strobe 350  –  –

* Series measure Amps

LED and Beam

Manker’s opted for a Cree XP-L HD in the E03H.  They also have the Nichia 219C option.  The reflector is orange peel and shallow, making a beam with a good hotspot, but with a spill, and a smooth transition.

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Not only that, the light has a built in diffuser attachment.  It’s removable, but can and will stay on the light “permanently” if desired.  Just slide this diffuser over the emitter for a very diffuse beam.

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Not only that, but there are two color diffusers, too!  There’s a red and a green.  There’s no good way to carry these – no pouch or anything like that.  Also they’re not all that easy to swap out.  To swap, just pry one off, and click another in place.

Tint vs BLF-348

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Beamshots, Runtime, and Lux Measurements

Manker E03H
Emitter Cree XP-L HD
Emitter Notes
Cell AA
Glamour Shots Beamshots [0.3″, f/8, ISO 100, 5000k]
Runtime Chargetime N/A
LVP? Yes
Claimed Lumens (lm) 350
Lux (Measured) 80 lux @ 3.227 m
Candela (Calculated) in cd 833.1
Throw (Calculated) (m) 57.7
Throw (Claimed) (m) 58

 

Random Comparisons and Competitive Options….

There are a few similar lights, but if one limits the search to Nichia 219C, all the other choices fall away.  I think this is a fantastic offering, too, with a great UI.  Other good offerings (without Nichia) would be some by Armytek, which certainly have a more accessible button.

Conclusion

What I like

  • Nichia availability
  • Size
  • Stronk magnet
  • Great clip
  • I really love the UI!
  • The color diffusers are a nice touch
  • Engineer mode on Moonlight

What I don’t like

  • No Li-Ion support
  • Small small button
  • Diffusers are hard to keep up with

Up Next

I have a few chargers to work on, and at least one of those will likely turn up this week.  Possibly another couple of lights too?

Notes

  • This light was provided by FastTech for review. I was not paid to write this review.
  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.wordpress.com.  Please visit there for the best experience!
  • Whether or not I have a coupon for this light, I do have a bunch of coupons!!  Have a look at my spreadsheet for those coupons. It’s possible to subscribe and get notifications when the sheet is edited!!

Author: zeroair

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