Review – Ultrafire UF-H1 – aka the zebra light rip off

I got this light recently
(here).
I’ve been looking at zebra lights a lot,
but the price put me off. I saw a zebra
light knock-off
on deal extreme which got me interested
again, since it was the first knock off I’d seen. Looking into it
further, it had a number of features that put me off – three mode
operation via half presses and spot beam. It did get me looking for
other knock offs, which is how I came to know about the Ultrafire
UF-H1. The Ultrafire looked spot on – simple mode operation (click
on/off, click and hold on to cycle through brightness), floodish
beam, works with rechargeable CR123’s and comes with a headband for headlight style operation. In addition, it has a magnet in the base
and a permanently attached pocket clip, all for around AU$40
delivered. It is worth noting that the majority of the UF-H1’s I
saw on ebay used a Q3 emitter, whereas this one uses a Q5. The Q5
is a higher grade, the difference being basically that it is
brighter for the same current draw.

On arrival and testing, I was very impressed. The beam has a good flood, with the primary hotspot quite large and smooth and just a small amount of spill. Mode operation is really good to use. Click to switch
off/on to full brightness. Click and hold (no half press) and
brightness will cycle down to minimum then back up to full until
you release the button. Click off then back on and you’re back at
full brightness. With about a half turn of the tailcap, you can
lock out the light, while still maintaining a decent o-ring seal to
keep it waterproof. Very nice – allows you to avoid any accidental
activations or parasitic drains on the battery while in storage.
With such a wide beam, it would probably work really well as a headlamp
replacement when clipped to your pocket or belt, however the pocket clip isn’t very secure so i would not trust leaving it clipped. The magnet base is really handy – with such a
wide base aim is not critical, so plonk it on something metal and
aim it in the general direction and you can have a really nice
handsfree light that can be located out of the way. Runtime seems
fairly good. With these
rechargeable CR123’s (3.6V “880” mAh, probably actually around
600mAh) I got around 90 minutes runtime on high output. With some batteries i’m only getting around 20 minutes, but this probably has more to do with the battery quality. The
body of the light does heat up a bit, but it is actually fairly
good (much better than this
P4 based flashlight, which is a very effective handwarmer and only
gets around 55 minutes runtime with the same battery).

Overall i found it to be pretty handy. The short runtime with dud batteries is a bit of a pain. There seems to a version which runs on 18650 cells, which i would like to try, since i’ve found 18650’s much more reliable in addition to their much higher capacity.

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