Wuben H5

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Wuben H5 Review: Multifunctional headlamp

Wuben H5 specifications

Brand/modelWuben H5
LEDN/A
Lumens400 lm
Beam intensity1,338 cd
Battery config.1*14500 / AA
MaterialAluminum
Modes4
BlinkiesStrobe, SOS
ReflectorTIR optics
WaterproofIP68
Review dateJanuary 2022

Introduction:

Wuben was established in 1981 and has been producing flashlights for decades. I’ve owned several Wuben flashlights over the past few years (E05, E6, TO50R, etc) and have been really impressed with their overall quality. What I’ve come to expect in Wuben flashlights: wonderful presentation, amazing build quality, great regulated buck/boost drivers, and lumens that actually meet or exceed the stock specifications. 

I’ve also had the pleasure of reviewing the Wuben H1, an excellent T-shaped 18650-powered headlamp with both red and high-CRI white aux LEDs. It’s another great Wubenlight.  So of course I jumped at the opportunity to review Wuben’s brand-new Wuben H5 model: a multi-purpose 14500-based light.

Package quality.

I’ve never been disappointed by Wuben’s packaging. My very first Wuben was the I331 Iron Man, a very uniquely designed light. But its packaging… so nice. It had an awesome magnetic-closure box that I still remember years later. And most recently, the Wuben lights I’ve received have had very nice presentation boxes with a clear plastic outer casing with an eye-grabbing inner package that showcases the light inside. The Wuben H5 package follows this recent trend. Inside that package I found:

  • Wuben H5
  • Battery (14500)
  • Charging cable
  • Spare o-rings
  • Lanyard
  • Headstrap
  • Manual

Flashlight in use

While the “H5” naming seems to classify the light as a headlamp, it’s evident that Wuben sees it as so much more than that. In fact, the product’s title on their website doesn’t even mention the word “headlamp”. Rather, it calls the H5 a “multifunctional clip flashlight”. I think they’re right in doing this – there are just so many ways to use the H5 that calling it just a “headlamp” would be an insult.

When the Wuben H5 arrived, it was attached to its clip which can be done by unscrewing the tailcap and sliding the ring of the clip off and back on. The multifunctional clip was not initially affixed to the strap, but that’s very quick and easy to do with a single springy locking clip. When you’ve got the H5 loaded into the clip, it can be rotated 360° along two axes – allowing you to point it virtually anywhere. This clip not only allows you to attach the light to the headstrap, but you can also easily clip it onto a pocket. Or you can use the magnets that are embedded in the back of the clip to attach it to a ferrous surface. So many options!

The headstrap itself is a fairly simple design – a single strap that goes around the head and has one adjusting bracket. This particular design might not work well for a heavier light, but as compact, as the H5 is, it should work for most situations short of jogging.

When you remove the Wuben H5 from its multifunction clip, it still has one more trick up its sleeve: a magnetic tailcap. That’s right – if the magnetic multifunction clip wasn’t enough, the tailcap of the H5 itself is also magnetic. The tailcap is also flat enough to easily tailstand even if you don’t have a ferrous surface to attach the magnet to. And if you lay the H5 on its back with the optic pointing up in the air, there is a very flat surface that keeps the light shining directly up.

There is a single e-switch to control the Wuben H5. It is situated on the end of the head. It’s fairly large and easy enough to activate. The switch cover also houses indicator LEDs that are used for battery level readout.

Build Quality, and Warranty

I don’t see where Wuben mentions what anodizing process was used. Regardless, the coating seems robust, even, and satin-finished. I’d bet that it’s probably Hard Anodized Type III. There’s no knurling to be found, but there is enough machining on the tailcap to make it easy to remove and reinstall. The threads under that tailcap are square-cut and smooth. There are a few thick fins on the head that should help with heat dissipation. The unibody design (the head and body tube are one solid piece of aluminum) also helps spread out the heat.

Wuben has a pretty nice warranty policy:

  • Free replacement within 15 days
  • Free repair within 1 year
  • For registered customers, free repair within 5 years
  • After 5 years, Wuben offers paid repair services
  • Wuben warranties included batteries for 1 year

LED, Lens, Bezel, Beam, and Reflector

Wuben doesn’t mention what LED sits beneath the TIR optic. I can’t tell through the optic what it is, nor can I seem to unscrew the bezel – it is likely glued. In the middle of that bezel is a generously-sized (for a 14500 light) optic. There is no glass to protect the optic, so it may eventually acquire some scratches if you’re rough on your lights. The optic itself is an interesting design, the likes of which I’ve never really seen. It appears to be a combo spot + flood TIR. There’s a small smooth center section which creates a visible hotspot. Surrounding that is a snake-skin textured ring that generates an extremely wide 175° beam.

Measurements from my Opple Light Master Pro:

  • CCT: 6525 (cool white)
  • CRI: 73.2 (about average)
  • DUV: 0.0010 (almost perfectly neutral)

Dimensions and size comparison

  • Length: 72 mm / 3.43 inches
  • Head diameter:  23.8 mm / 1.18 inches
  • Body diameter:  20 mm / 0.79 inches

Weight: 

  • Without cells, no strap: 44 grams / 1.55 oz. 
  • With cells, no strap: 66 grams / 2.33 oz.
  • With cells and strap/clip: 102 grams / 3.60 oz.

Headlamp comparison

Small-ish headlamps, left to right: Wuben H1, Wuben H5, ThruNite TH20

14500/AA lights, left to right: Sofirn SP10 V3/Pro, Wuben H5, Lumintop Tool AA 2.0

The Wuben H5 is quite compact. It’s my smallest headlamp / utility light. And while it’s certainly wider, the H5 is considerably shorter than any 14500/AA light that I have.

Driver & User Interface:

Compared to some UI’s that we see these days, the Wuben H5 is very simple to operate.

Available modes: Moon, Low, Medium, High

From OFF:

  • Press and Hold:  moon
  • Single click: last used mode
  • Double click: SOS 

From ON:

  • Press and Hold: cycle modes
  • 1 click: turn off
  • Double click: SOS

Mode memory:

  • Yes, will memorize any mode besides SOS

Shortcuts:

  • To Moon: hold from Off
  • To Turbo: none
  • To SOS: double click from anywhere

Low voltage warning:

  • LEDs under the switch cover indicate the remaining battery capacity:
    • Solid blue: 90% or higher
    • Flashing blue: between 40% and 90%
    • Solid red: between 15% and 40%
    • Flashing red: less than 15%

Strobe/blinkies

  • SOS, access via a double click

Lock-out mode: 

  • No electronic lockout, but a slight turn of the tailcap provides physical lockout

PWM

  • No PWM, constant-current

Additional info on the UI: 

  • A shortcut to High would be nice, but otherwise I find this UI to be very easy and functional

Batteries & Charging

The Wuben H5 comes with a Wuben-branded USB-C rechargeable 14500 lithium-ion battery with a model number of ABF920R. It is spec’ed at 920 mAh for 3.4 Wh. The battery has a button top with a ring around the positive terminal that houses indicator LEDs. When the battery is charging, the ring is lit solid red. Upon completion, the LED switches to solid green. I observed a 0.5 amp charge rate with a charge cycle completing in 2 hours and 34 minutes.

It looks like most 14500 batteries should fit, even flat-top cells as there is a brass button for the contact on the driver that sticks up. Of course, NiMH and alkaline AA batteries fit and work just fine. Like I always mention on lights that can take alkaline batteries – they work in a pinch (emergencies) but I wouldn’t normally rely on them. Alkaline batteries have limited capacity in high power devices like a bright flashlight, and they have a tendency to leak and ruin lights if left in them for extended periods of time.

Also, don’t forget to check out our recommended batteries in this list: Best flashlight batteries

Performance

For current measurements, an ANENG AN8008 multimeter and UNI-T UT210E clamp meter were used. Lux was measured by a UNI-T UT383 BT at 5 meters. Lumens were measured in a homemade lumen tube using a TSL2591 sensor, calibrated with a Maukka calibration light. Testing was performed with (1) the included Wuben lithium-ion battery, (2) a genuine Eneloop AA (1900 mAh), and an AC Delco Alkaline AA.

Lumen measurements (for each mode)

ModeAmps at startSpecsLumens @turn onLumens @30 secLumens @10 minutes
Moon, li-ion6 mA10.9
Low, li-ion119 mA5044
Med, li-ion357 mA150129128128
High, li-ion910 mA400 > 250325320321
Moon, NiMH18 mA10.9
Low, NiMH392 mA5044
Med, NiMH1.2 A150133131131
High, NiMH1.8 A250210206205
Moon, alkaline15 mA0.9
Low, alkaline340 mA44
Med, alkaline1.3 A131129129
High, alkaline1.9 A210210129

Parasitic drain:

  • Lithium-ion: 64 µA
  • NiMH: 203 µA
  • Alkaline: 177 µA

Runtime graph

I ran High and Medium runtime tests for lithium-ion, NiMH, and alkaline.  A few general observations:

  • As expected, lithium-ion performed the best (in both brightness and runtime)
  • NiMH fared quite well albeit at a lower output in High
  • Alkaline… as is usual, suffered badly because of the high amp draw
  • Lumens in High mode seem to be 15-20% lower than Wuben’s specs.  Either the light isn’t performing quite to their estimate, or perhaps they measured output without the TIR in place (while great for beam forming, TIRs do frequently have quite a bit of light loss).
  • My NiMH runtimes are shorter than Wuben specs, but I used a “normal” 1900 mAh Eneloop instead of the Eneloop Pro (2450 mAh) that they used in their testing.

High, lithium-ion: started out at 325 lumens and held steady around 321 lumens. It hit a timed step-down at 10 minutes, dropping to 239 lumens. It dropped again at 45 minutes down to 129 lumens. At 1 hour and 33 minutes it began slowly ramping down. The H5 crossed the 10% threshold at 1 hour and 53 minutes. The test stopped at 2 hours and 41 minutes when the light fell below 3 lumens before eventually turning off. The max temperature was 52°C.

High, NiMH: started out at 210 lumens and held steady around 206 lumens. At 45 minutes it dropped down to 129 lumens. It dropped again at 55 minutes to 44 lumens. The light shut off at 1 hour and 20 minutes. The max temperature was 56°C.

High, alkaline: started out at 210 lumens and dropped down to 129 lumens at 2 minutes. At 32 minutes it dropped again, down to 44 lumens. The light shut off at 1 hour and 35 minutes. The max temperature was 48°C.

Med, lithium-ion: started out at 129 lumens and held steady until dropping down to 44 lumens at 1 hour and 30 minutes  At 4 hours and 36 minutes it began ramping down. It dropped under 3 lumens at the 5 hours and 49 minutes mark.

Med, NiMH: started out at 133 lumens and held steady until dropping down to 44 lumens at 1 hour and 30 minutes. At 1 hour and 47 minutes, it dropped hard and fast, turning off at 1 hour and 54 minutes.

Med, alkaline: started out at 131 lumens and began dropping down to 44 lumens at 26 minutes. It began dropping hard and fast at 1 hour and 26 minutes, shutting off at 1 hour and 34 minutes.

Throw numbers: 

Throw was measured at 5 meters.

ModeSpecsCandela measuredMetersYards
Low225 cd3033
Medium575 cd4852
High1,338 cd1,450 cd7683

Beamshots

Beam shots of the building are taken at 15 m (16 yd) using a Pixel 6 set to ISO 200 with 1/10 second exposure time

Beam shots of the playset are taken at 30 m (33 yd) using a Pixel 6 set to ISO 200 with 1/2 second exposure time. The trees in the background are around 65 m away.

  • Wuben H5
  • Wuben H1
  • ThruNite TH20
  • Nitecore HC60 V2

Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to me for review at no cost by Wuben. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.

Final Verdict

Pros

  1. Very compact
  2. Tons of usage configurations
  3. USB-C charging battery
  4. Well regulated output
  5. Mixed flood + throw optic
  6. Multi-chemistry (batteries)

Cons

  1. Misses lumen spec
  2. Cool white LED (personal preference)

Explanation on star ratings:

1: Avoid: my phone flashlight would be a better choice – 2: Poor: significant defect or issues; almost unusable – 3: Average: some defects or issues; but still usable 4: Good: recommended (minor issues) – 5: Great: highly recommended

Reviewer Gabriel
Author: Gabriel

5 stars: ★★★★★

The Wuben H5 is a sweet little “multifunctional clip flashlight”. Just calling it a headlamp would be an insult. The H5 can be used with the headband, in the clip on your shirt pocket, with the clip’s magnet attached to a surface, or with the tailcap magnet attached to something. There’s just so many ways to position the Wuben H5 exactly where you need light. Sure, I’d appreciate a warmer LED offering. But it’s so easy to use, a convenient size and takes lithium-ion cells in addition to AA batteries. High marks for the Wuben H5!

Wuben H5 discount code:

Use our unique discount code to get 20% off: 1lumen20

1lumen selects and reviews products personally. We may earn affiliate commissions through our links, which help support our testing.