Skilhunt ESKTE H150

The H150 is a compact headlamp flashlight with a floody beam with excellent colour rendition. It runs on a single included 14500 battery, or a regular AA battery.

  1. Introduction
  2. Manufacturer Specifications
  3. Package Details
  4. Build
  5. User Interface
  6. Circuit Measures
  7. Emitter Measures
  8. Beamshots
  9. Testing Results
  10. Runtimes
  11. Pros and Cons
  12. Overall Rating
  13. Preliminary Conclusions
  14. Acknowledgement

Introduction

I’m still catching up on my backlog of lights. This final version of the H150 was received from Skilhunt early last Fall.

Following on my review of the Skilhunt H300, Skilhunt released a more compact 1×14500 model under the new ESKTE brand name. This small headlamp is very similar, with a comparable user interface and magnetic charging dock. I don’t know if they plan to migrate to the ESKTE name going forward (I personally don’t find it rolls off the tongue very easily).

Like most Skilhunt lights, you can select your own emitter from a range of options. For the H150, you can select between the CREE XP-L2 Cool White 6500K, Nichia 519A Neutral White 4500K Hi CRI>90, or Nichia 519A Warm White 3000K Hi CRI >90.

I opted for my preferred tint, the Neutral White Nichia. As always, when it comes to headlamps especially, I recommend people consider high CRI options whenever possible. But the advantage here is that you can select the emitter option that best suits your needs.

Note that the original release of the H150 had a design issue that had a risk of shorting flat-top cells. That model was recalled, and all shipping H150s have a proper protection feature enabled.

Let’s see how the final shipping H150 does in my testing.

Manufacturer Specifications

Note: as always, these are simply what the manufacturer provides. Scroll down to see my actual runtimes.

FeatureSpecs
MakerSkilhunt
ModelH150
EmitterNicha 519A
Tint5000K (Hi CRI>90)
Max Output (Lumens)480
Min Output (Lumens)0.2
Max Runtime50 days
Max Beam Intensity (cd)2,250 cd
Max Beam Distance (m)95 m
Constant Levels7
FlashingStrobe, SOS, Beacon
Battery1x14500/AA
Weight (w/o battery)33 g
Weight (with battery)-
Length79.8 mm
Head Diameter21.4 mm
Body Diameter-
WaterproofIPX-8

Package Details





The light comes in a fairly standard shelf-presentation style box, with a description of the features and characteristics printed on it. Inside is a professional looking package, with the cover tab under the plastic tray holder.

Inside the box, I found:

  • Skilhunt H150 flashlight
  • Skilhunt BL-108 800mAh 14500 battery (optional)
  • Headband & mounting bracket
  • Wrist lanyard
  • Carrying pouch
  • Pocket clip
  • USB magnetic charging dock (MC-10)
  • 2 Spare O-rings
  • Manual

It’s a very nice package, consistent with other high quality lights in this class. The headband mounting bracket looks particularly good, as it can rotate in discrete steps (and has a one-inch mount opening, compatible with MOLLE setups). It’s good that they included the pocket clip for carry too (although it is the simple press-fit variety). This is a good set of extras.

Note however that the original headband mounting bracket/clip cracked and broke the first time I tried to remove the light. Skilhunt informs that they became aware of this situation late last year, and changed the material of the clip to make it stronger (they are sending me a replacement). You should not experience any issues on currently shipping samples.

Build


From left to right: Skilhunt 14500 (800mAh), Armytek 18650 (3500mAh), Armytek Crystal, Armytek Wizard C2 Pro Nichia, Acebeam E70 Mini, Armytek Wizard C2 Pro Max, Skilhunt H300, Skilhunt (ESKTE) H150.








Like its larger sibling the H300, The H150 is a very compact build, with lots of design elements to help with grip (although the concentric rings on the body and tailcap are not particularly sharp). The headband bracket holds the light reasonably well. I like the inclusion of the pocket clip, in case you want to carry it as an angle-light clipped to you, bezel-up. I would say the overall size is pretty compact for a 14500 headlamp – definitely on the smaller size of ones I’ve handled.

There is a raised rubberized switch cover over the electronic switch. Underneath are a pair of red and blue LEDs, to signal various states of the light/battery. Switch feel is good, with a standard traverse/tactile feedback for an electronic switch.

There is a magnetic charging dock on the top of the head of the light (similar to the charging cable in the H300, but specifically rated for this model). One nice thing about magnetic charging docks is that waterproofness is not a concern – the light looks quite splashable/dunkable (although note that I do not test for this in my reviews).

Tailstanding is very stable, thanks to the flat tailcap (there is a side cut-out to allow you to thread the basic wrist lanyard through, if you wanted to carry it that way). Tailcap threads are square-cut and anodized, with good feel. I always recommend you keep a light stored locked out when not in use. Thanks to the anodized tailcap threads, you can do this easily by a simple twist of the tailcap.

There is a magnet in the tailcap, so you attached the light stably to any metal surface. A useful feature in worklight/headlamp model.

There is a standard spring in the tailcap, and a small raised post in head, which holds the button-top cell firmly in place. If you worried about whether or not you have one of the early recalled release, you can check the circuit board in the head for a small “V2” (for the safe version) printed next to centre contact post. And by the way, I respect Skilhunt for the decision to recall all the early samples that had the potential risk of shorting flat-top cells.

Anodizing is a flat gray in matte finish, and looks to be very good quality on my sample with no damage or issues. Skilhunt reports it is type III (hard anodized), and I see no reason to doubt that.

Inside, my sample came with the optional Skilhunt-branded button-top 800mAh 14500 battery.

The proprietary magnetic USB charging dock also comes with blue and red LEDs, to signal charging status. The magnet has a reasonably strong pull (not as heavy as some), and locks into place easily. Note the H150 charger is labelled as the MC-10 (the H300/M300 comes with the MC-20)

And in case you wondering, with the battery installed it is about half the weight of the H300 (i.e., 55g instead of 106g).


My H150 came with the Nichia 519A Neutral White emitter, and features a heavily textured diffusing optic. This produces a nice and even flood light. Scroll down to my Emitter Measures section to see how my sample performs.

The bezel is like the switch retaining ring, allowing you access to the optic and emitter.

Note that despite the charging dock on the top of the head, you can still headstand stably.

User Interface

The H150 uses the latest version of the standard Skilhunt user interface (UI), just like the H300. It has a reasonably good number of modes and features. You get two Low modes, three Regular modes (two Med modes, one High mode), two Turbo modes, and three Strobe modes – organized into those four mode sets.

One comment to make up front – the mode level labels are different from most lights in that the lower number for a given level is actually the higher output (so, for example, T1 is brighter than T2). That means the constant output modes, in sequence, are: L2 < L1, M2 < M1 < H1, and T2 < T1.

The manual doesn’t describe the three strobe modes, but for sake of this review I will refer to them as S3 = Strobe, S2 = SOS, and S1 = Beacon.

Let me break down the full interface for you:

From OFF:

  • Press-and-hold: Turns On in memorized Low mode (L2 or L1).
  • Single-click: Turns On in memorized Regular mode (M2, M1, or H1).
  • Double-click: Turns On in memorized Turbo mode (T2 or T1).
  • Triple-click: Turns on in memorized strobe mode (S3, S2, or S1).
  • 4 clicks: Activates the electronic Lockout mode.
    • Press-and-hold for momentary Moonlight (i.e., lowest Low, L2)
    • While in lockout, the switch indicator light will flash red every second, but that can be toggled off/on with a double-click.

From ON:

  • Press-and-hold: Cycle to the next level within the current mode level set (constant output modes only, doesn’t work for Strobe).
  • Single-click: Turns Off.
  • Double-click: Jumps to the memorized Turbo level (from Regular modes only), or back to Regular modes if already in Turbo (note this doesn’t work from Low modes or Strobe modes)
  • Triple-click: Jumps to the memorized Strobe mode (from Regular or Turbo), or back to most recent Regular or Turbo if already in Strobe mode.

Strobe modes:

  • Triple-click: Turns On in memorized Strobe mode.
  • Double-click: Cycles through the Strobe modes in sequence:
    • S3 – Strobe
    • S2 – SOS
    • S1 – Beacon

Mode memory:

Yes, each mode set retains its own memory for the last level selected in that mode set.

Shortcuts:

  • To Low (L2 or L1): Press-and-hold from Off.
  • To Turbo (T2 or T1): Double-click from Off or when On in Regular mode.
  • To Strobe (S1, S2, or S3): Triple-click from Off or when On in Regular or Turbo mode.

Low voltage warning:

When the battery is running very low (<3.0V according to the manual), the switch indicator light will flash red, and the main emitter will flash every couple of seconds. the light will shut off at 2.7V according to the manual.

Lock-out mode: 

  • 4 clicks from Off: Activates the electronic Lockout mode.
  • Physical lockout is also possible by simply unscrewing the tailcap.

Battery indicator:

Yes. The LED under the switch indicates the battery status for the first ~5 secs after turning on:

  • Solid Blue: >80% Battery power remaining.
  • Flashing Blue: 50-80% Battery power remaining.
  • Solid Red: 20-50% Battery power remaining
  • Flashing Red: <20% Battery power remaining.

These are identical to the H300, and seem reasonable to me.

Reviewer Comments:

Like many of the recent lights I’ve reviewed, I find this UI to be very reasonable, and relatively versatile. Of course, you are never going to please everyone with any given UI (e.g., I would like to see double-click reliably jumping to Turbo, and have the Low modes as part of a regular sequence without having to go through Off first). But these are really minor quibbles, the light does reasonably well.

One small thing I would like is the ability to independently turn on the the blue switch indicator, to serve as an additional “moonlight mode”. This is something the Anduril-based lights allow, for example.

Allowing momentary L2 when in the electronic lockout is a nice touch. But as always, I recommend locking out the light at the tailcap when not in use.

Circuit Measures

No Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM):

Like the H150, there is no sign of PWM on any level – the circuit appears to be fully current-controlled. This is also no sign of high-frequency noise at any level. This is refreshing – although PWM is very rare nowadays, it is not uncommon to see some (visually-undetectable) circuit noise.

L2:
L2

L1:
L1

M2:
M2

M1:
M1

H1:
H1

T2:
T2

T1:
T1

Strobe Modes:

S3 -Strobe:


S3 Strobe alternates between 7 Hz and 10 Hz strobes (1 sec for 7Hz, 3 secs for 10 Hz).

S2 – SOS:
SOS

A fairly typical SOS mode.

Beacon:
Beacon

Beacon strobe is nice and slow 1 Hz signalling strobe.

Charging:

The magnetic charging dock switches from blue (when power is supplied) to solid red when connected and charging the H150. Switches back to solid blue when the charging is complete.

Like H300, the H150 use a constant charging rate regardless of the initial battery voltage. I find ~0.80A to be reasonable for a 14500 cell, and will charge it relatively rapidly.

The 14500 came out at 4.14V fully charged with the magnetic charger. That is lower than typical, but is good for the health of the cell.

Standby / Parasitic Drain:

Given the electronic switch, there is a standby drain when a battery is installed – but I measured this as a negligible 14 uA with the installed 14500. Given the rated 800 mAh capacity, that would translate in 6.5 years before you would drain the cell. For a NiMH AA, I measured the drain as 4 uA. For 2450 mAh Eneloop AA, would translate into a ridiculous 70 years before the cell would be drained.  Either way, these are miniscule and not a concern. But regardless, I always recommend you lockout the light when not in use – either by electronic lockout, or better yet physically by twisting the tailcap.

Emitter Measures

In this section, I directly measure key emitter characteristics in terms of colour temperature, tint, and colour rendition. Please see my Emitter Measures page to learn more about what these terms mean, and how I am measuring them. As tint in particular can shift across levels, I typically stick with the highest stably regulated level for all my reported measures.

As explained on that page, since I am using an inexpensive uncalibrated device, you can only make relative comparisons across my reviews (i.e., don’t take these numbers as absolutely accurate values, but as relatively consistent across lights in my testing).

H150 on T2:

The key measures above are the colour temperature of ~4135K, and a small negative tint shift (-0.0052 Duv) to slightly rose coloured. For CRI (Ra), I measured a combined score of 95 (Hi CRI).

These results are very consistent with other Neutral White 519A emitters, which are known to run slightly rose-tinted. This remains one of my favourite emitters and tints.

Beamshots

All outdoor beamshots are taken on my Canon PowerShot S5 IS at f/2.7, 0.5 secs exposure, ISO 400, daylight white balance. The bend in the road is approximately 40 meters (~45 yards) from the camera. Learn more about my outdoor beamshots here (scroll down for the floody light position used in this review).

Click on any thumbnail image below to open a full size image in a new window. You can then easily compare beams by switching between tabs.


Unfortunately, my modern outdoor camera settings are designed for brighter lights, so the shots above are a little dark. But as you can see, the H150 is not as bright on max initially as the other lights shown above. The beam pattern is equivalently floody. Scroll down to see some actual runtimes.

Testing Results

My summary tables are generally reported in a manner consistent with the ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. In addition to the links above, please see my output measures page for more background.

All my output numbers are based on my home-made lightbox setup. As explained on that methodology page, I have devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values to estimated lumens. Note that my lightbox calibration runs higher than most hobbyists today, but I’ve kept it to remain consistent with my earlier reviews (when the base calibration standard was first established). On average though, I find my lumen estimates are ~20% higher than most other modern reviewers.

My Peak Intensity/Beam Distance are directly measured with a NIST-certified Extech EA31 lightmeter.

H150 Testing Results

ModeSpec LumensEstimated Lumens @0secEstimated Lumens @30 secsBeam Intensity @0secBeam Intensity @30secsBeam Distance @30secsPWM/Strobe FreqNoise FreqCharging Current <3VCharging Current >3VParasitic DrainWeight w/o BatteryWeight with BatteryCCT (K)DuvCRI
L20.120.090.09---NoNo0.80 A0.80 A14 uA34 g53 g---
L11.51.91.9---NoNo0.80 A0.80 A14 uA34 g53 g---
M2131616---NoNo0.80 A0.80 A14 uA34 g53 g---
M1809292---NoNo0.80 A0.80 A14 uA34 g53 g---
H1250295290---NoNo0.80 A0.80 A14 uA34 g53 g4,135-0.005295
T2320400380---NoNo0.80 A0.80 A14 uA34 g53 g---
T14806406101,850 cd1,580 cd79 mNoNo0.80 A0.80 A14 uA34 g53 g---
S3------7-10 HzNo0.80 A0.80 A14 uA34 g53 g---
S2------SOSNo0.80 A0.80 A14 uA34 g53 g---
S1------1 HzNo0.80 A0.80 A14 uA34 g53 g---
L2 AA-0.080.08---NoNo--4.5 uA34 g64 g---
L1 AA-1.61.6---NoNo--4.5 uA34 g64 g---
M2 AA-6.96.9---NoNo--4.5 uA34 g64 g---
M1 AA-2626---NoNo--4.5 uA34 g64 g---
H1 AA-8080---NoNo--4.5 uA34 g64 g---
T2 AA-130130---NoNo--4.5 uA34 g64 g---
T1 AA-190190---NoNo--4.5 uA34 g64 g---
S3 AA------7-10 HzNo--4.5 uA34 g64 g---
S2 AA------SOSNo--4.5 uA34 g64 g---
S1 AA------1 HzNo--4.5 uA34 g64 g---

As with the H300, I am finding generally good concordance of published specs with what my lightbox reports on 14500 – although as usual, my lightbox reports somewhat higher output on the high through Turbo modes on my sample.

The one difference is that my NIST-calibrated luxmeter reports slightly lower max beam distance. I’m not at all concerned for a headlamp (i.e., I like a floody beam). I am impressed to see a very low “moonlight” low mode (L2) here, which clocked in around 0.09 lumens in my testing.

I don’t have official specs for AA, but my NiMH results above show noticeably lower output across levels (as you would expect for lower voltage sources).

To view and download full testing results for all modern lights in my testing, check out my Database page.

Runtimes

As always, my runtimes are done under a small cooling fan, for safety and consistency. To learn more about how to interpret runtime graphs, see my runtimes methodology page. Note that on average, my lightbox’s calibration seems to be ~20% higher than most modern reviewers.

To start, I’m showing below how the highest modes of the H150 compares to its larger 18650 sibling, the H300.

Obviously, the H300 is capable of much high initial and sustained output (and runtime). But the key observation for me on the H150 is that both T1 and T2 step down relatively quickly to the H1 levels. And of course, it’s great to see flat-stabilized regulation at all levels.

Here is a blow-up of the first few mins, to allow you to better compare.

Max-extended

Basically, compared to the high (H1) level, the T1 turbo gives you about twice the output for ~1-1.5 mins, while T2 gives you ~40% more output for 3 mins. Personally, I don’t really see the point of of the intermediate T2 turbo level. It seems like they applied the standard user interface from the M300/H300 lights to this smaller form factor, without really considering its functionality.

Here is how the H150 compares to some headlamps I’ve tested:

Headlamps

All headlamps are a trade-off between weight and output/runtime (plus heat). Personally, I find the H1 and M1 levels of the H150 very useful for most typical headlamp tasks. And the flat-regulated one hour and ~3.5 hours of runtime, respectively, lets you plan for your activity. There may be the occasional task when I want an 18650-powered headlamp, but for the most part, the half-weight 14500 model suits my needs.

As mentioned above, the H150 will also run on a standard AA battery. Here is what I found with an Eneloop 2450mAh NiMH. Note this NiMH AA cell is about 11g heavier than the stock 14500.

As shown in my output tables above, the output levels of the lower-voltage NiMH AA are lower than the 14500 on all modes, as you would expect. But overall output/runtime efficiency is pretty comparable (e.g., M1 on 14500 is pretty close in output and runtime to H1 on NiMH AA). The T1 and T2 modes step down to the H1 level as the battery depletes.

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
The light shows excellent current-controlled efficiency across all levels.User interface is fairly sophisticated, and reasonable for the class, but it does have some small quirks and limitations.
Circuit shows excellent regulation, with stable runtimes and generally reasonable step-down timing.There is not much differentiation in output or runtime between the two Turbo and single Hi levels.
Good range low-high output levels, with a true Moonlight mode.Magnetic charging dock performance is good but won't initiate a charge >4.0V resting.
Textured optic provides an extremely floody beam, with no real hotspot.
Standard AA batteries will also work in the light (with reduced output).
Very low standby drain.
Very light and compact build with good quality and decent feel.
Includes a bidirectional pocket clip, in addition to headband

Overall Rating

Preliminary Conclusions

The H150 is another great performer from Skilhunt. As with its larger sibling the 18650-based H300, it has a high quality feel, good design and some nice stylistic touches. Switch feel is good, and the user interface is very reasonable for the class. The charging dock worked well in my testing, consistent with others who use this magnetic design. The headband holds onto you head well, and I find this to be to a comfortable 1×14500/AA headlamp to wear and use.

In terms of circuit performance, it shows the same excellent output/runtime efficiency and regulation as the other Skilhunt lights. However, there is really not much to differentiate the T1/T2 levels relative to H1 level (at least on 14500). As always, it’s great to see the range of lower outputs, including the <1 lumen Moonlight mode here. And it is a great bonus that you can run standard AA batteries in this light – for reduced output, but with good spacing of levels.

The range of emitters offered is good, and I’m glad to have the Neutral White Nichia 519A option – one of my favourite headlamp emitters.

The overall build is comparable to the H300, so it actually makes it convenient if you have both models (i.e., save the H300 for when you need higher output or longer runtime, use the half-weight H150 for typical around-the-house maintenance). Beam patterns are fairly comparable too.

There is really not much else to critique here, it really is a great all-around compact headlamp/worklight. Another very strong option to consider, highly recommended.

Acknowledgement

The H150 was supplied by Skilhunt for review. As always, all opinions are my own and the light received the same rigourous and objective testing as all other lights that I have reviewed. At the time of review, this configuration of the light and battery retails for ~$50 USD (~$68 CDN).

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