By Shaan Khan
In the largest font, founded in the marketing material for Anecity’s LED Headlamp, are the proudly touted words of ‘All perspectives Induction headlamp’—the key selling point of the product according to Anecity.
Undoubtedly this key selling point is a critical feature most consumers will seek out since nothing shouts practical than the ability to adjust lighting for different scenarios. Most torches simply offer one static use of light that can’t be used universally.
However, there is more to head torches that consumers seek, that includes the following:
- Battery Efficiency – People who work in dark zones for long periods or constantly take out torches daily need long battery life and quick charging speeds to keep up with their ‘always-on-the-go’ lifestyles.
- Durability – Torches are often used outdoors and for physical activity. The ability to be water & dust resistant while taking many bumps & scrapes yet remaining fully intact and offering a long lifespan will stop consumers from hopping between competitors for torches.
- Controls – With a torch offering various modes, there is the fear of complex controls. So an intuitive method easy to access while wearing the head torch will allow users to easily focus on the main task at hand instead of tinkering and wasting time.
- Comfort – The risk with any equipment you strap to your body is the hindrance in comfortability. For headgear, there needs to be a sweet spot between being lightweight and barely noticeable while being a product stuffed with useful features. By no means can the product slip off your head where you must constantly readjust its positioning.
- Power – While offering different options of light is useful; competitors are battling between the amount of power their lights provide, to have the ability to better illuminate areas than others or have light travel at a further distance than any other torches—the essential purpose arguably for any torch is to provide the best visibility possible.
Packaging & Headband
It’s important to note the professional standard of packaging of the product, housed in a box with clear visual illustrations throughout. From the exterior packaging to the print contents inside, the instructions of use are clearly outlined on both. Including the safety warning of not turning the light on while you’re directly staring at it—stating the medical ramifications that could result in doing so.
Right off the bat, I was impressed with the flexibility of the entire band that’s made up of the silicon housing for the lights and the reflective strap on the back that can be adjusted to your head shape. It proved easy to roll up in a ball and throw in my pocket.
LEDs & Lighting
Most impressive was the COB LED light, that’s baked into the front of the headband and stretched as far as most people’s eyes. Providing a wide-angle view of light without ever being a protrudingly sharp nuisance like others on the market that easily get caught and stuck on what it touches—making them more prone to damage.
For the XPE LED light, it’s a rounded spotlight that protrudes from the headband’s side, where the button controls are also positioned due to the depth and heft of the light’s housing. It’s a convenient spot to reach, identify and press while wearing the headband.
This part of the headband was durable, and the area of thickness is akin to an Apple AirPods case, where you can wrap the band around then store it away somewhere compact. Still not as bulky as most other products that offer similar features but have an arachnid aesthetic to them with all the different lights bundled together and sticking out of the headband just so they can try to achieve a wide-angled view of light.
Adjustments & Controls
Trying the head torch on took getting used to adjusting the buckled straps, which is sadly the nature of this traditional design. I would much prefer a different design for adjustment, but it does securely lock the head torch in place, more so than Velcro, and only requires adjusting once if you are the sole user of the product.
I was impressed with the weightlessness and could easily identify the buttons. I didn’t immediately recognise what was happening when I would press the two separate buttons. It took a few attempts in different environmental settings to figure out the button to switch modes, also identifying the different light modes and the on/off button.
This comes with the territory of a non-smart device that doesn’t allow you to connect with an app on your phone to run you through live prompts to set up the device and signal the current mode you are in. The same can be said about the battery indicator at the side of the head torch. If the battery indicator was available on a phone app, it wouldn’t require you to take the headband off to check the battery level constantly.
Although such grievances can be overlooked when factoring in the price point and competition for the market today. I could definitely see an app being useful for this type of device in the future if priced reasonably. Finally, it was time to put this product to the test.
The first use-case scenario for the head torch was accidentally discovered, when I unboxed the torch at my desk and unintentionally switched the head torch on that shined the light at my desk. What I found was how dirty my desk actually was, which has dire implications for my health, such as the impact dust can deal upon the lungs. With the power of the head torch, I could now easily identify the build-up of dust, oils or grime to signal when it’s appropriate to clean up, as well as aid me in cleaning up thoroughly.
Next up, I took a trip to my unlit garage at night, where my family & I keep a lot of storage. Prior to owning the headlamp, I would simply use my smartphone’s torch as many would. The issue with a smartphone torch while rumbling and transferring storage in the dark was the limitation of only using one hand, with the other hand holding my phone. The headlamp was a dealbreaker for this reason because I was tired of frustratingly having to find ways to prop my phone in places to use both hands to lift items.
Comparing my smartphone torch with the headlamp once again, was the noticeable difference in environmental illumination. In fact, my phone could only ever be used as a spotlight, while the COB LED light on the headlamp brightened up the entirety of the garage, as if a light bulb was switched on and dangling from a ceiling.
The COB light in High Flood Light mode was more than just an ordinary light. Every part of the garage was glowing with details, the same as it had done with my desk. No shadows were about to hide any items from me, and I could clearly see if any leaks or mould was occurring within the space.
The Practicality of the XPE LED
Dark spots, or in other words, tight spaces with lots of depth where illuminated light struggles to travel through, were ideal for the XPE LED.
When rummaging through these dark zones for storage, I noticed that the COB light was best used at a distance due to its wide range of glow that can blind you if focused within compact spaces like dark spots.
So I used the XPE LED that functioned as a spotlight of focus that travelled through the depths of the dark spots and allowed me to target specific areas without blowing up the area of unconcentrated light like the COB LED would.
At this point, I could understand how to use the two separate LEDs and could identify both of their separate practicalities, confirming that the extra light wasn’t just a gimmick to say, ‘wow, extra light means more functionality!’
The absence of light in winter has meant reducing my timeslot window for a nature walk to 4:30 pm at the latest. The primary reason is the lack of comfort in safety I have when going for a stroll in a pitch-black forest.
I feel like phone torches only made matters worse when shining them in a dark forest. They make you feel like you’re playing a role in an upcoming Blair Witch horror movie since those spotlight torches only target such a small area, when the forest is crowded with trees and clutter at every angle.
I want to have visibility all around me because, as the saying goes, ‘be careful with what lurks in the forest’. The COB LED on the headlamp did just that. I set off on my walk as the sunlight still beaconed above me. Once the sun had set and the darkness swept over, the COB LED was able to illuminate my surrounding with a bright radius of 20 metres all around, with light gradually fizzling out beyond this point.
It was enough range to provide me with peace of mind as I finished my woodland walk. If you’re a nature lover or want to capture a wildlife documentary, I would advise you to use this headlamp at night for a closer look at the insects and critters that come out to play in the dark.
The other benefit of using a camera to film is the fact you don’t have to use your hands to hold a torch and a camera at the same time, just another reason why this headlamp is such a practical utility for working in the dark, whether you’re a cameraman, woodcutter, fixing railway lines or even a runner.
Another test that came in handy in the forest was the SOS light, which a friend of mine could identify from 40 metres away through the thick rummage of the woods.
I decided to head back home through a mostly unlit park, where the highest visibility wasn’t necessary and could distract people passing by me. So I decided to reduce the brightness by opting for the Low Flood Light mode on the COB LED, including the Low Spot Light on the XPE LED—so within a single day I managed to find a use for each lighting & LED mode.
The Result of Long-Term Use
After three hours of using the headlamp on its first day while switching between various modes, I was still left with enough battery juice to cover my second day of three hours of use. So if you do plan on spending a whole night using the headlamp on high brightness mode, then the headtorch wouldn’t last without the need of charging, which takes 2.5 hours to fully charge from 0% battery.
I would much prefer a greater battery life. The only silver lining that lessens my complaint is the USB Type-C charging capability that is plug detachable, meaning I could easily charge my headband on the move while in use. To achieve portable charging, I would hook the USB C cable between the headtorch and my portable battery charger that fits in my pocket. Although, make sure you use a sturdy cable. Still, this overall is a flawed limitation that lessons the reliance on the sole product of the headtorch.
Speaking of sturdy, the headtorch itself withstood the rain without becoming damaged and did well at resisting stains, which were easy to rinse off. I, too, had no issue with the device overheating, and over time, I could barely notice when I had the headtorch on my head, so there weren’t any concerns with comfortability.
This device ticks many of the boxes consumers are looking for, with room for improvement. One key suggestion would be to have full control over the level of brightness the device outputs, since even the low brightness modes can be too much light in some instances, like being near people in a conversation where you still need some light while it’s dark.
All in all, I won’t be the only one using this device, since all my family members in the household have found a use for the headlamp, whether it’s tending to the garden or clearing ice from the car windows, it’s been a pleasant tool for us all!