Successor to the famed H03, the H04 line is all-around better.
Manufacturer page: https://www.skilhunt.com/product-detail/h04-rc-led-headlamp/
Skilhunt’s H04 line is very smilar in appearance to their H03 line, but it’s definitely a step up. The H04 line has high CRI variants of the lights, and there’s a user-configurable UI as well. Those were my two biggest problems with the H03 line, and I’m excited to have a light that I don’t feel the need to modify.
The H04 RC comes in a retail-ready package with a window in the front and information on the light on the back. The box has an irregular pattern of lines on it that makes it look and feel premium.
The box has a sticker that says “H04 RC” on it. This covers up the original text, that just says “H04”. Yay, recycling!
The box contains:
- A Skilhunt H04 RC
- A headband
- A headband mount
- A clip
- A charging cable
- A lanyard
- Two spare o-rings
- A rubber disk
- A manual
The H04 RC is a right angle 18650 light with an electronic side switch and a magnetic tailcap. It’s identical in size to Skilhunt’s H03.
It’s a very lightweight headlamp, considering its features. The light itself weighs 48g, just a couple grams more than an unprotected 18650 cell.
The tailcap is small and thin. It contains a small disk magnet, which is held in by the spring. This can be swapped out for the rubber ring included with the light if you don’t want to use the magnet. The end of the tailcap is flat, with a shallow ring machined into it.
The threads are small, shallow, and square cut. They come pre-lubricated.
The body tube is thin compared to many other 18650 lights, which is part of the reason the H04 RC is so light. It’s unidirectional, and thread locked onto the head. There are rings machined into it, and six flats machined into those. This is more unique than standard diamond knurling, but still allows for a good enough grip to remove the tailcap. There’s a clip groove on the head end of the tube.
There’s a sticker indicating correct cell polarity on the inside of the body tube.
The head has a bare, honeycombed TIR optic under a screwed-down steel bezel. This leaves the optic vulnerable to scratches, but due to the textured optic, they won’t show up in the beam.
The button is located on the side of the head. Its a raised rubber button with a red indicating light under it (not pictured). It’s very easy to find. It’s proud enough that the light can turn on if you have it in your pocket and you bump into something, but I think it’s a good design for a headlamp, which is the H04 RC’s primary function (in my opinion).
The charge contact is on the top of the light. It consists of a large gold plated ring surrounding a smaller gold plated contact. You can read a voltage across these contacts, but they can’t ignite steel wool.
The back of the head has a few very deep heat fins. These are positioned directly behind the MCPCB. Great thermal properties on this one.
Skilhunt’s logo is etched below the optic, and the model and website are etched on the side of the head opposite the switch.
Overall, the build quality is great. As far as the feel of it goes, it’s somewhere between Sofirn and Fenix. I don’t have any complaints about the build of this light.
Clip, Lanyard, and Headstrap
The H04 RC comes with a deep carry style clip-on clip that attaches to the head end of the body tube. The clip leaves about a cm of the light poking out, which is great because you can see it clearly if you bump into something and accidentally turn it on. For EDC, I’ve found that the best position for the clip is rotated around near the button.
There’s a lanyard hole in the tailcap. It’s large enough that the included lanyard can be threaded through without additional tools. The lanyard itself is very standard; a loop of spongey cord with a slidey button on it.
The headband is where it gets exciting. The H03 came with a very standard two strap headband. The part that held the headlamp was one piece of silicone. It was secure, but getting the light in and out of it was a pain. Skilhunt has improved upon that with the H04. The H04’s headband mount is a big rubber-lined plastic clip. It’s excellent. It’s better than the H03’s headband in almost every way. The plastic is stiff and grips the light well, and the rubber keeps it in the position that you want it in.
The mount has a slot in the back of it that allows you to leave the clip on the light while it’s in the mount! This is mostly just for convenience, but also makes it much more difficult for the light to rotate accidentally. This is a feature I’ve only seen in ArmyTek’s headlamp mounts, but I hope to see it more often in the future.
The elastic has a retroreflective pattern silkscreened onto the outside and a grippy rubbery strip on the inside. As a guy with long hair, this really helps it stay on my head. I’m a big fan.
There’s some room for improvement, though. It would’ve been nice if Skilhunt had added a foam pad on the back of the mount, because the hard plastic does get uncomfortable after a while. Also a little tutorial on how to assemble the headband might be a nice touch.
The magnet isn’t super strong. It’s strong enough to attach the light horizontally to some things, but it has to have pretty good contact for that. It’s not as strong as the magnets Olight uses, and if my sources are correct, not nearly as strong as the magnets ArmyTek uses.
The Skilhunt H04 RC is capable of taking a few different battery types. The manual says it can use an 18650 cell (protected or unprotected) or 2xCR123A. The manual also says it can handle up to 8.4V, so it could take 2×18350 or 2×16340, but I don’t think it would be able to fit two protected cells, so those options should probably be avoided. I don’t have the cells to test those latter two options, but I hooked the driver up to my power supply and I can confirm that it can indeed handle those voltages.
The H04 RC has integrated magnetic charging via a proprietary cable. This cable snaps onto the head of the flashlight and charges the light if it’s being used with a single li-ion cell. The charge indicator light is on the charging cable itself. It shows red while charging and blue when charging is finished.
The light charges at about 0.9A, which is a good current for an 18650 cell. One thing I noticed with the H04 RC is that the light (or at least the one I had) won’t make any attempt to charge if the cell is above 4V.
In addition to that, the H04 has a voltage indicator function. Upon turning the light on, the indicating switch will flash between 1 and 4 times depending on the level of charge of the cell. I measured the following:
Once the cell dips below 3V, the main LED dims three times, and the indicator LED blinks thrice every two seconds. The H04 RC, like Skilhunt’s other lights, has integrated LVP. This kicks in when the cell dips below 2.8V. That’s a good, safe cutoff voltage.
Modes and UI
The H04 RC has two UI groups, the standard Skilhunt UI and the customizable UI. It’s the exact same as the M200 that I reviewed recently, so I’m gonna be lazy and pretty much just paste that section here.
The standard Skilhunt UI is described better in a flowchart than it is over text, so here’s the flowchart Skilhunt made.
You’ll notice that you have to press and hold the switch to turn the light off with this UI. This isn’t as bad as pressing and holding to turn the light on, but it’s still not great. I have an H03 mounted on my bike helmet and this is my biggest gripe with it. Luckily, we have another option with this generation of Skilhunt lights.
The configuration mode isn’t explained super well by this chart. When in the configuration mode, the light rotates through the seven modes that you can choose from. Single clicking when a level comes up toggles that level, either adding it or removing it from the rotation. At each output level, the switch lights up red to indicate whether that mode is currently selected. Turbo cannot be toggled on and off.
I really like this system. The ability to select which modes I want is excellent, and the UI in this mode is very standard for an e-switch light. Only minor difference is that you need to release after getting to the lowest mode before it rotates through the modes.
The H04 has a lockout mode that’s accessible from either UI by pressing and holding for 1.5 seconds from off. It has a blinking switch function to help locate the light. This can be toggled on and off while in lockout mode by double clicking. Pressing and holding in lockout mode turns on the moonlight mode momentarily, and pressing and holding for 1.5s exits lockout mode.
Beam and Tint
(Note: The next section is pretty subjective. I’ve become snobby over the past five years, and beams can vary from light to light because not all LEDs are exactly the same.)
The version of the Skilhunt H04 RC that I have uses a neutral white, high CRI Samsung LH351D. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s about 4500K. Being an LH351D, it is a bit green, but not noticeably so unless you’re pointing the light at a white wall. The other emitter options use XM-L2s, which will (if I had to guess) make a slightly wider beam with a slightly worse tint.
The TIR optic has a honeycomb texture on the front, which smooths the beam out. It’s a big soft hotspot with minimal flood. Great beam for a headlamp.
Here’s the beam compared to a 4000K 219C in an H03.
And here’s the beam by itself. Not a whole lot going on. That honeycomb really smooths it out.
MCPCB: 16mm (I think. Someone’s borrowing my calipers.)
The bezel comes off easily with a T5 torx bit, and the head can be removed with the application of a little torque. There’s not that much thread locker. There’s a lot going on in that head, but the MCPCB can be removed through the driver hole. It has a standard XP footprint. I don’t know what you’d want to replace the LH351D with, as it’s already a pretty good emitter. Maybe an LH351D in a better bin?
A driver swap may be possible, but keeping the charging functions would be tricky.
I’ll probably just bake the body tube so it matches my H03.
- Good build quality
- Integrated charging
- Super light
- High CRI
- Customizable UI
- Great beam
- Headband could use some cushion
- Magnet is a bit weak
Thanks for reading my review! If you have any questions, put them in the Reddit thread here: https://old.reddit.com/r/flashlight/comments/iqgr55/review_skilhunt_h04_rc_an_excellent_midrange/?