Nextorch iStar Headlamp Review

Nextorch iStar Headlamp Review

The Nextorch iStar is a “natural light” headlamp, offering High CRI with spot, flood, and red emitters. It has USB-C charging, too! Read on!

Official Specs and Features

Here’s a link to the Nextorch iStar headlamp product page.


Looks like there is only one version of the Nextorch iStar headlamp.


The going price for this multi-purpose headlamp is $45. The Nextorch iStar headlamp is available on amazon right now at $49.95 (with a 10% coupon available.) (referral link).

Short Review

Overall I like the design of the iStar and even the emitter choices seem fine. I do not like the user interface at all though, and improvements could easily be made there. USB-C charging is a nice touch. The price also seems a bit high. 

Long Review

The Big Table

Nextorch iStar headlamp
Emitter: Sunlike (Flood)
Price in USD at publication time: $45.00
Cell: Internal
Runtime Graph
LVP? ?
Switch Type: E-Switch
Quiescent Current (mA): ?
On-Board Charging? Yes
Charge Port Type: USB-C
Charge Graph
Power off Charge Port All modes
Claimed Lumens (lm) 105
Measured Lumens (at 30s)
Candela per Lumen 0.6
Claimed Throw (m) 13
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 7lux @ 2.688m = 51cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 14.2 (109.2% of claim)^
Claimed CCT
Measured CCT Range (K) 3700 Kelvin
Item provided for review by: Nextorch
All my Nextorch reviews!


Nextorch iStar
Emitter: – (Spot)
Price in USD at publication time: $45.00
Cell: Internal
Turbo Runtime Graph
LVP? ?
Switch Type: E-Switch
Quiescent Current (mA): ?
On-Board Charging? Yes
Charge Port Type: USB-C
Charge Graph
Power off Charge Port All modes
Claimed Lumens (lm) 450
Measured Lumens (at 30s)
Candela per Lumen 4.7
Claimed Throw (m) 80
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 116lux @ 4.632m = 2489cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 99.8 (124.8% of claim)^
Claimed CCT
Measured CCT Range (K) 5400-5600 Kelvin
Item provided for review by: Nextorch
All my Nextorch 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

Nextorch iStar headlamp what's included

  • Nextorch iStar headlamp
  • Charging cable (USB to USB-C)
  • Manual

Package and Manual


Build Quality and Disassembly

Nextorch iStar headlamp

The whole build of the Nextorch iStar headlamp is plastic. No big deal there – that means it rides nice and light on the head.

Nextorch iStar headlamp in hand

It’s also fairly unusual in design. The front has a very floody, diffuse beam.

Nextorch iStar headlamp side view

But the front can be flipped up and expose a spotlight that turns on when the front is lifted.

flipped up

Size and Comps

67mm x 39mm x 32mm and 70g.

If the flashlight will headstand, I’ll show it here (usually the third photo).  If the flashlight will tailstand, I’ll also show that (usually in the fourth photo).

Nextorch iStar headlamp in hand

Nextorch iStar headlamp in hand

Here’s the test light with the venerable Convoy S2+.  Mine’s a custom “baked” edition Nichia 219b triple.  A very nice 18650 light.

Nextorch iStar headlamp beside standard flashlights

Also above is the light beside my custom engraved TorchLAB BOSS 35, an 18350 light.  I reviewed the aluminum version of that light in both 35 and 70 formats.

Retention and Carry

The Nextorch iStar can only be used as a headlamp. The band is fairly thin and attaches through the back as seen below.

Nextorch iStar headlamp headband

It’s removable, though, so you can consider the band replaceable.

Nextorch iStar headlamp headband with light in flipped mode

Nextorch iStar headlamp adjustable headband

There’s a fairly broad amount of adjustment possible in the headband. Also, note that little part above – there’s a little lip that is labeled “Battery Pack Key.” However, I don’t get the impression (or see a way) that the battery pack is replaceable.

Power and Runtime

Inside the Nextorch iStar headlamp is a built-in 1100mAh “Li-ion battery.” This battery is not accessible or replaceable (as far as I can tell, despite there being a key in the headband.)

Below are two runtimes. First is the spot emitter. I only labeled this “toward the highest” output because there are no discrete modes, and the ramping from low to high doesn’t blink or anything when it reaches the extreme. So it’s really hard to test specifics, and as such, this is only a relative output test. I can not explain that blip at the end, either.

Nextorch iStar headlamp runtime graph

Same story for the flood output – I am only calling this “relative” output and not “Lumens.” This time though, the reason is that the output is so diffuse and not from a flat front/specific spot that I can’t get an accurate reading. 

Nextorch iStar headlamp runtime graph

The light does not turn off when the voltage gets low, but the output does get very low.


A USB-C charging port is used for charging the Nextorch iStar headlamp.

The port has a sufficient press-in cover.

An appropriate cable is included: USB to USB-C.

Nextorch iStar headlamp charging cable

Both A to C and C to C charging works. The profile is about the same and both require around 1.5 hours.

Nextorch iStar headlamp charging graph

Nextorch iStar headlamp charging graph
When charging, the e-switch indicates in red. After charging is complete, the switch turns blue.

Modes and Currents

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Measured Lumens
Spotlight [Variable]
Floodlight High 105 2h45m
Floodlight Low 14 15h
Red Light High 14 15h
Red Light Flash 14 25h

Pulse Width Modulation

The mode order here (and below in the series photos) is two flood modes (high then low), then red, then four spot modes (sort of chosen at random, since there are no specific levels.) The same will hold true through the remaining series photos.

For reference, here’s a baseline shot, with all the room lights off and almost nothing hitting the sensor.  Also, here’s the light with the worst PWM I could find.  I’m adding multiple timescales, so it’ll be easier to compare to the test light.  Unfortunately, the PWM on this light is so bad that it doesn’t even work with my normal scale, with is 50 microseconds (50us).  10ms5ms2ms1ms0.5ms0.2ms.  In a display faster than 0.2ms or so, the on/off cycle is more than one screen, so it’d just (very incorrectly) look like a flat line.  I wrote more about this Ultrafire WF-602C flashlight and explained a little about PWM too.

User Interface and Operation

There’s one switch for controlling the iStar. It’s an e-switch and is on top of the light (when worn on the head properly).

Nextorch iStar headlamp e-switch

Control of the Nextorch iStar headlamp depends on if the front is “open” or “closed.” Above is what I’d call closed, and is the time that the switch controls the floodlight. When open (as seen below), the spotlight will be on (necessarily) and then the switch controls the levels (but not on/off).

Here’s a UI table!

State Action Result
Off Click Battery check^
Off Hold Flood light High
Flood light on Click Mode advance: Flood High, Flood Low, Red, Red flash
Flood light on Hold Off
Off Flip up front for spotlight Spotlight on (Mode memory)
Spotlight on Hold Continual ramping (up and down) of spotlight^^

^ Battery indicator blinks as follows:

Blue: 75-100%
Blue flashing: 50-75%
Red: 25-50%
Red flashing: 0-25%

^^ It’s not possible to release exactly where the extremes are. You need to just sort of feel for highest or lowest. In practice, though, just let it ramp til you have as much light as you need. So maybe this isn’t the worst problem.

LED and Beam

All Nextorch says about the iStar is that the flood light is a Sunlike high CRI emitter (or series of emitters, I guess.) They don’t cover the spotlight. It’s possible to open the spotlight about halfway before it comes on. But once it’s on, it must be fully closed to turn off. 

Nextorch iStar headlamp spotlight emitter

Nextorch iStar headlamp flood emitter

Nextorch iStar headlamp red emitter

Nextorch iStar headlamp flood emitter

Nextorch iStar headlamp switch indicator

Nextorch iStar headlamp red emitter

LED Color Report (CRI and CCT)

That floodlight is truly high CRI!! The rest is as you might expect. The spotlight has cool neutral to cool CCT and low CRI. But the CRI of that floodlight is astounding, at 99!! Nextorch claims an Rf of 97 – I measured 98, and an Rg of 101 – I measured 100. Both are “close enough.”


These beamshots are always with the following settings:  f8, ISO100, 0.3s shutter, and manual 5000K exposure.

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

I keep the test flashlight on the left, and the BLF-348 reference flashlight on the right.

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


What I like

  • Lightweight construction
  • USB-C charging works (and is quick)
  • Spotlight has a good cd/lm ration
  • Floodlight is very floody
  • (Very truly) High CRI floodlight
  • Red mode

What I don’t like

  • Ramping spotlight – I need modes!!
  • Battery is not replaceable
  • There’s no very low red mode


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