Klarus HC3 Headlamp Review

In for review today is a Klarus headlamp – the HC3.  It’s a small COB style light, with red secondaries and micro-USB charging.  Read on for some testing and thoughts!


Official Specs and Features

Here’s a link to the official product page.

Versions

There’s just one version.

Price

These go for the reasonable price of $13.95.


Short Review

It’s an interesting light.  This is probably not one I’d have considered before having it for review, but as far as lights like this with secondaries go, it’s good enough.  Charging works great, output is great for reading and small tasks you’d face camping and the like, and the red is a nice bonus feature.

Long Review

The Big Table

Klarus HC3
Emitter: COB (4500K)
Price in USD at publication time: $13.95
Cell: Internal
Turbo Runtime High Runtime
LVP? ?
Switch Type: E-Switch
Quiescent Current (A): ?
On-Board Charging? Yes
Charge Port Type: micro-USB
Chargetime
Power off Charge Port with no Cell?
Claimed Lumens (lm) 100
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 100 (100% of claim)*
Candela per Lumen 0.8
Claimed Throw (m) 15
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 13lux @ 2.816m = 103cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 20.3 (135.3% of claim)*
All my Klarus reviews!
  • Measurement disclaimer:  I am an amateur flashlight reviewer.  I don’t have $10,000 or even $1,000 worth of testing equipment.  I test output and such in PVC tubes!!  Please consider claims within 10% of what I measure to be perfectly reasonable (accurate, even).

What’s Included

  • Klarus HC3 Headlamp
  • Klarus headband
  • Charge cable (USB to micro-USB)
  • Zippered carry pouch
  • Manual

Package and Manual

Unfortunately Klarus puts a big ol sticker on the back of the soft cover carry pouch.

Build Quality and Disassembly

The HC3 is a plastic body headlamp.  The headband attachment is plastic too.  It’s a very unusual design, but generally the build quality is good.

The hinge mechanism for the headband attachment is a metal pin.

There are no obvious points of entry into the light.  I believe the light is either press fit together (less likely), or there are some screws under the two switches – the switches are under a big appx 1″ x 1″ sticker.  Here’s that sticker/area:

Size and Comps

Officially 62mm x 50.5mm x 23mm, and 37g.

Retention and Carry

It’s a headlamp, so of course the main means of carry will be the headband.  The headband is nice and small (less than 1″ in band thickness), and fits into the headlamp with some difficulty.

When attached to the headband, the full articulation of the hinge is still possible.

Note that when being used as a headlamp, and pointed forward, the light sticks out a bit awkwardly:

This is probably satisfactory for hiking, but I doubt you’d want to do any heavy running like this.

Also possible with this connector is to use it as a clip.  It’ll fit on the brim of a cap easily, and securely, and I’m inclined to say that’s a much better application for this light than the headdband.

Power and Runtime

The light runs on a claimed 500mAh internal battery, almost certainly a LiPO pouch.

Here are a couple of runtimes – high and medium.

The light does shut off at the end of the runtime.  There are four battery indicators near the switches, too.  They do not indicate anything for runtime (only for charging (!!))

Charging happens via a USB port on the side of the light:

A cable is included – USB to micro-USB.

Charging happens at around 0.5A, which is great, and requires about an hour and a half to completion.

The four indicating LEDs on top of the light (top being “switch side”) indicate charge level while charging, as follows:

4 solid blue: 100% charged
3 solid blue, one flashing: 50-75% charged
2 solid blue, one flashing: 25-50% charged
1 solid blue, one flashing: 5-25% charged
1 flashing: <5% charged

Modes and Currents

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Measured Lumens Tailcap Amps
High (white) 100 4h
Medium (white) 45 5h
Low (white) 6 27h
Red 4 18h

PWM

Low and Medium have fairly slow PWM – you’ll likely notice it on Low.

Red does not use PWM.

For reference, here’s a baseline shot, with all the room lights off and almost nothing hitting the sensor.  And here’s the worst PWM light I have ever owned.  Also one of the very first lights I ordered directly from China!

User Interface and Operation

There are two switches on the HC3.  The power switch (power logo, at right) is the power and mode switch.  The other switch (at left, wireless symbol) only turns on/off the wireless sensor feature.  Note that there’s an wireless indicator (in the photo below, it’s “above” the wireless switch).

Here’s a UI table!

State Action Result
Off Click Power Switch (PS) Medium
On Click PS (immediately after “on”) Mode advance (MHLR then red blink)
On Click PS (after light has been on for few seconds) Off
Off Click Wireless Switch (WS) No action
On Click WS Iterate Wireless Activation
Wireless On Non-contact wave Iterate off and on (mode memory)

LED and Beam

The main (white) emitter is a white COB (chip on board).  It’s all flood.  Alllllll flood.  The red is actually on this COB as well (the red is not the side little circles!)  That little circle on the left and right are wireless sensors.  They work independently (if one is covered, the other still works.)

These beamshots are always with the following settings:  f8, ISO100, 0.3s shutter, and manual 5000K exposure.  Yes it’s true that these beamshots show practically nothing BUT that’s the nature of standard settings and consistency.

Tint vs BLF-348 (KillzoneFlashlights.com 219b version) (affiliate link)

Test light is on the left!  And these photos are shown in normal mode order:  MHL, then red below.

I compare everything to the KillzoneFlashlights.com 219b BLF-348, because it’s inexpensive and has the best tint!

Conclusion

What I like

  • Low cost
  • Good for reading
  • Wireless feature is neat

What I don’t like

  • On a cap, the hinge is in the wrong end of the light – hinging the light down puts it right in the field of view.

Notes

  • This light was provided by Klarus for review. I was not paid to write this review.
  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.org.  Please visit there for the best experience!
  • For flashlight related patches, stickers, and gear, head over to PhotonPhreaks, another site where I write!
  • Use my amazon.com referral link if you’re willing to help support making more reviews like this one!

Author: zeroair

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