Convoy H1 Review – Mediocre Headlamp, Great LED

Contents

The Boring Stuff

I purchased this light with my own money from Convoy’s official Aliexpress store. Here is the official product page. Below are the official specs.

What comes in the box?

H1 comes in an oddly nice box for Convoy. Most Convoy lights come in super thin & cheap white cardboard boxes with bubblewrap protecting the light. A few come in sturdy brown cardboard boxes with foam cutouts. H1 comes in a nicely finished and branded, sturdy, white, cardboard box with a lift-off lid and a nice foam insert inside. The headband will fit but it has to be squished, and sometimes it will push the box back open. I suspect this box was designed for a different light that doesn’t include a large headband. The following items are included in the box:

  • Convoy H1
  • Headband
  • Pocket clip

Design & Construction

H1’s design is simple and sound. There’s nothing groundbreaking about this design and nothing egregiously wrong with it either. I do have two nitpicks though, both having to do with the body tube. One, it’s unnecessarily thick, adding unnecessary weight. The other nitpick is with the placement of the clip, which I’ll discuss in the carry & ergonomics section.

Build quality is excellent for the price, as one would expect from Convoy. The anodizing is applied evenly and has a hint of chalkiness to it. The tail threads are anodized, lightly lubricated, and trapezoidal cut. Mechanical lockout works well from the tail. The head threads aren’t quite as nice, being finer and un-anodized. The tailcap has a nice, long, beefy spring, but no magnet. Update: there is now a magnet that you can purchase separately and glue onto the tailcap if you wish.

Size & Measurements

Wurkkos WK02 | Skilhunt H04 RC | Convoy H1 | Emisar D4v2 | Noctigon KR1

You can see above just how much chunkier H1 is compared H04 RC, despite being relatively similar designs. That contributes to H1 being significantly heavier than H04 RC as well.

MeasurementMeasured (mm)
Bezel Diameter20
Length105.1
Head Width25.1
Switch Diameter10
Switch Proudness1.2
MCPCB Size16
Body Tube Diameter (internal) 19.0
Body Tube Diameter (maximum)24.6
Body Tube Diameter (mode)24.6
Body Tube Length69.6
Ride Height (sticking out of pocket)26
Pocket Clip Space (for pants material)3.2
Pocket Clip Space (at mouth)4
Pocket Clip Width7.1
Pocket Clip Thickness1.0
Pocket Cip Slot Width2.6
Pocket Clip Slot Diameter23.0
Tailcap Diameter25.3
Tailcap Length16.1
Driver Diameter20.9

Weight (light only): 73g / 2.57oz
Weight with headband & Molicel M35A battery: 138g / 4.87oz

User Interface

The user interface is Convoy’s typical E-switch UI. Overall it’s usable, but there are a few things that bug me.

The actions are # of presses followed by a hold (H) or a release (C). So, “1C” is one click and release. “2H” is two clicks but you hold down the last one.

StateActionResult
Off1COn (mode memory, except moonlight)
Any (except momentary & lockout)2CTurbo (memorized)
Off1HMoonlight (not memorized)
Moonlight1HNo action
Any (except momentary & lockout)3CStrobe
Off4CMomentary mode
Momentary1HMomentary Turbo until button released
Momentary4COff
Off5CVoltage readout
Off6CToggle smooth/stepped ramp
Off10CLockout
Lockout10CUnlock to off
On (except momentary & lockout)1COff
Lockout1COne low blink
Lockout1HOne low blink per second until button released

What this UI nails:

  • the shortcuts to moonlight and turbo
  • the fact that moonlight isn’t memorized
  • the ability to switch between a smooth & stepped ramp
  • strobe is hidden behind a triple click
  • voltage readout

What this UI gets wrong:

  • Turbo should not be memorized nor included in the main mode cycle. There’s a dedicated shortcut for it.
  • There’s no way to get from directly from moonlight to low. You have to turn the light off or go to Turbo first. 1H from moonlight should go to low and start cycling up the modes.
  • In momentary mode there’s a noticeable delay between pressing the switch and the light turning on
  • 10 clicks seems excessive for electronic lockout. Fortunately, mechanical lockout works great.

I would be really nice if Convoy fixed these issues or adopted Anduril 2 on their e-switch lights instead. Either one of those would be a big improvement.

Modes, Brightness & Throw

Disclaimer: Lumen measurements were taken on a Texas Ace 3.5″ Lumen Tube. A candela measurement was taken with an Opple Light Master Pro on the highest brightness, and other candela figures were calculated relative to that. Runtime tests were performed with the Ceilingbounce app on my smartphone. All of these tests were performed with a fully charged Molicel M35A battery unless otherwise specified. I cannot measure moonlight directly, so moonlight readings are calculated based on the brightness relative to a brighter mode.

Level Lumens (@ Turn-On)Candela (@ Turn-On)Throw (meters)
Turbo53070053
High22229334
Medium8511221
Low575
Moonlight344

Mode Spacing: is pretty poor. There is a huge brightness jump from low to medium, and an imperceptibly low brightness jump from moonlight to low. Low should be something like 20 lumens, not 5. This affects the smooth brightness ramp too, which ramps way too fast at low levels and way too slow at high levels.

How does it compare to the official specs? The only official brightness spec listed is “500LM (maximum)” and H1 meets that spec. Throw is estimated on the product page at “20-50m” which is a little vague, but I find to be accurate. I measured ANSI throw at 53m, and the actual usable throw distance is probably in the 20-30m range.

Moonlight Comparison from left to right:
Skilhunt H04 RC | LH351D | 0.5lm
Fireflies E07 2021 | 219B SW45K | 0.01lm
Convoy M1 | XPL-HI 4000K & 5A driver | 0.9lm
Emisar D4V2 2-Channel | LH351D 5700K | 1.3lm
Convoy H1 | 219B SW30 | 3lm

I estimate moonlight at 3 lumens. That’s too bright to be called moonlight, and it’s visually identical to the 5 lumen “low” mode. With that said, this light is super floody so a 3 lumen “moonlight” mode is not as egregious here as it would be on a throwier light. The intensity is still quite low despite the higher brightness.

Runtime & Currents

Turbo: starts off at 530 lumens and stays around there for about 3 minutes before it starts stepping down. A little after the 4 minute mark the light settles at a nice 230 lumens. It stays there until just before the three hour mark when it drops to low. At that point, the switch LED starts blinking red to indicate a “low” battery. I put low in quotes because it keeps running for nine and a half hours before finally actually shutting off. The drop to low seems a little premature to me, but that’s better than it being too late.

Turbo Cooled: starts out just like uncooled Turbo, but doesn’t drop as fast nor as far, and it picks back up a bit as the battery drains. This test was run with a household oscillating fan blowing directly on the light.

High: A nice, flat, ~220lm for a little over three hours before low voltage stepdown

Medium: A nice, flat, 85 lumens for 10 hours before low voltage stepdown

LVP: There’s a low voltage warning (drops to low & switch LED blinks red) as well as low voltage shutoff.

Current: I’m not equipped to do extreme duration runtime tests or extremely high current measurements. I only measure the currents on low modes and I calculate the estimated runtime of those modes based on the capacity of the battery or batteries I’m using for testing.

LevelCurrent @ Tailcap (milliamps)Estimated Runtime
Low28.44.9 days
Moonlight16.558.4 days
Standby (parasitic drain)0.0312.7 years

Driver & Regulation

This appears to be a 3A linear driver. It can easily be removed via the retaining ring, but the wires were too short for me to be able to get any good photos of the other side. I didn’t see any 7135 chips so it may be using the same higher-current regulator chip that Convoy has been using in other lights recently.

Regulation: is decent. It’s basically just Turbo that’s affected by cell voltage, and even then it only starts to be affected when the cell is half drained already. All regulation measurements are taken at turn-on so they do not reflect any thermal or low voltage stepdowns that may occur. A value of 0 indicates low voltage shutoff immediately upon activation.

Thermal regulation: There is active and effective thermal regulation present. This is especially notable as much of Convoy’s current lineup claims to have thermal regulation but doesn’t actually.

PWM: No PWM is visible to my eye, nor is any audible. My phone camera can pick it up a little bit on High and Turbo. I did some testing on each mode with an Opple Light Master Pro and found PWM to be present on the highest 3 modes, but it’s fast enough not to be problematic.

Emitter & Beam

H1 is available with several emitter options, but the most noteworthy is a Nichia 219B. That’s what I chose, in 3500K. 219B is known for its excellent color rendering and rosy tint. This one definitely has great color rendering and it’s nice looking, but it’s not especially rosy to my eye.

I did some testing on each mode with an Opple Light Master Pro and got a color temperature of 3400K, an Ra (CRI) of 96. DUV/tint is dead neutral on all modes except for Turbo, which is decently rosy (-0.0022).

The emitter sits behind a beaded TIR optic. Initially upon this light’s release, some users realized this optic is much shallower than the reflector that H1 was initially designed for. The optic sat way above the emitter and produced a strange beam. This was brought to Simon’s attention and he subsequently started including a copper spacer underneath the MCPCB to raise the emitter up to the proper height for the optic.

The beam is quite floody, but not mule-like. It’s a little bit “lumpy” for lack of a better word, but it’s only noticeably when hunting white walls.

Convoy H1 219B SW35 | Skilhunt H04 RC LH351D 4000K

In the beamshots above, the trees where I’m aiming the hotspot are 175M away. In the beamshots below, the park bench where I’m aiming the hotspot is 42M away.

Convoy H1 219B SW35 | Skilhunt H04 RC LH351D 4000K

Outdoors the beam is fine. It’s a little bit floodier than I am used to with my H04 RC. That makes it easier to see more stuff up close in my periphery, but I did find H1 lacking in reach. If I wanted to see something more than a few meters away I had to pull a handheld light out of my pocket. That’s not something I have to do with H04 RC, which usually has enough reach on Turbo for whatever I want to see.

Switch

H1 has an electronic side switch covered by a transluscent rubber boot and held in by a retaining ring. The ring & boot can easily be removed with some snap ring pliers. The switch is placed correctly on the side of the head, so you can queeze the head of the light to turn it on/off while its mounted in the headband. There are red LED’s under the boot that will blink when the battery gets low. It’s easy to find, tactile, and very clicky. This is an excellent switch.

Carry & Ergonomics

There are two “carry” methods included with H1: a headband, and a pocket clip. Both are serviceably, but neither are great.

The headband works, but it’s a little too basic and feels cheap. The elastic is thin and doesn’t have any silicone grip added on the inside. The silicone light mount is floppy and a little bit too small for the light. That makes it difficult to insert or remove the light or even adjust the angle while it’s in the band. Often I found the head was coming unscrewed when I was trying to adjust the angle up or down.

I tried H1 in a Skilhunt HB3, my favorite headband. Unfortunately, H1 is just too thick to fit well, and the headband clip really grabs onto the milled grooves running the length of H1’s battery tube.

The pocket clip really doesn’t carry very deep, leaving over an inch of the head sticking up out of the pocket. With that said, it does mean you can put the clip on the front of the light and clip it inside a pocket to leave the head sticking out and illuminating things for you. I wish there were another clip slot near the tail that carried deeper as an alternate option. The clip slot on the tailcap cause the clip to stick out way past the tail, which is no good.

Here’s how it looks in-hand, should you decide to use it handheld. I wish Convoy had included a magnet in the tailcap, or even just a space for one. That would have added substantially to the utility of this light. Update: there is now a magnet that you can purchase separately and glue onto the tailcap if you wish.

Batteries & Charging

H1 can accept one 18650 battery. The listing I purchased does not include one, but Convoy will probably have another listing up soon that does include a battery. I tried both an unprotected flat top Molicel M35A, and a protected button top Kaidomain KB3200mah. Both fit fine with no issues. It would be cool if Convoy released an alternate, shorter, 18350 tube for this light for users who want to cut down on its weight.

No charging solution is included. But, Convoy does make the very similar H2 which has a USB-C charging port on it and an optionally included battery. More info on that in the next section.

Competition

Here are some lights in the same class and how they compare.

Fireflies PL47g2 2021: This is really in a different class with a 21700 battery, enthusiast firmware, aux LED’s, and four emitters, and higher price tag, but it’s the only other headlamp I can find that’s available with 219B’s. I reviewed it here.

Sofirn SP40: more readily available (Amazon), a little brighter but worse tint & CRI, battery & Micro-USB recharging included, magnetic tailcap and 18350 tube included, a bit more expensive

Convoy H2: Nearly identical to the H1 shown here, but with a USB-C charging port and a throwier reflector instead of a TIR optic, and this particular listing includes a battery too.

This section is not comprehensive. If I didn’t include a particular light here, it doesn’t mean it’s bad or doesn’t deserve to be here. I simply cannot list every possible competitor.

Conclusion

H1 is one of two headlamps currently available with the beloved Nichia 219B emitter option. That and the low price tag are the two most compelling features of this light. Outside of those aspects, it’s not particularly interesting. It’s relatively heavy with a cheap headband, a clunky UI, no magnet built in, and you have to get a battery and charger separately.

If you’re like me and you just want to try a 219B in a headlamp for a low price, this is a great light for that. If you’re looking for a good general purpose headlamp though, I think you’re better off spending a little more money and getting something a little more well rounded like Skilhunt H04 RC.

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