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Gear Review: Fenix HP15 vs Fenix HP25

21 Dec

Changing gears from my typical flashlight reviews, I’m going to compare two of the newest headlamps from Fenix – The HP 15 and the HP 25. Just a brief introduction to the two – the HP25  is equipped with two separate lights, a 180 lumen spotlight and a 180 lumen flood light;  and advertises a combined lumen output of 360 – this light will set you back about $70. The HP15, the successor to the HP11 and HP10, yields a single light that sports 500 lumens and comes with a diffuser that is similar to the HP11’s. Both of the lights have the typical Fenix headstrap, but the ’15 comes with an extra couple feet of cord between the light and battery pack that you can use to keep the battery pack off the head strap if you so desire – a nice little feature, especially when out in cold weather when having the battery pack in a pocket can mean some extra runtime.

Before breaking these lights down, let me get to something I love about each of them: The HP11 has been my workhorse for a couple of years now – that light is a work of art except for its one Achilles Heel: the hinge which the light pivots on, which is absolutely essential for adjusting the light to aim in the trees, on the ground, adjust for a hat, etc. breaks ridiculously easily after a couple of months in the field, leaving you to try to fix it with rubberbands and toilette paper (can you tell I’ve been there?) This is one of the reason’s I’d recommend getting these lights from a vendor with good customer service. This problem, it seems, is remedied in both of these lights: the hinge is similar to the one found on the HP10, which still works flawlessly for me after many a year of service. But let’s get to the specifics of the two lights.

Overall Brightness:

 HP15 – 9.5/10

 HP25 – 7/10

I’d hate to go in for the kill so quickly, but this is the area where the HP15 shines (pun intended) and the HP25 gets pummeled. The HP15 is just about as bright as a car’s headlight, piercing through the deepest night with ease. Another nice feature is the fact that there are five instead of three brightness levels, giving a little bit more opportunity for battery conservation if it’s needed, while still being ready to punch it up to turbo power. The HP15 get’s a shellacking here. Not that it’s not bright: it’s just no where near what one expects from a Fenix headlight – functionally it’s only 180 lumens, not 360. Not because one can’t have both bulbs on at the same time: you can, but who on Earth needs both a flood and spotlight at the same time? Realistically most of us are only going to use one at a time, leaving us with half the lumens.

 

Width of beam

HP15 –9.5/10

HP25 – 10/10

The obvious advantage of having twin light heads on one headlamp is that even without the brightness, each light will (hopefully) be good at their job. The HP25 is nice for a leisurely walk with its floodlight, so it gets positive points there. The HP15 has a similar diffuser to the HP11, which I love in both cases; but the HP15’s diffuser seems a little flimsier to me: thinner plastic and it’s not spring loaded; but it still does the trick, and does a good job at it

Throw

HP15 – 9/10

HP25 – 8/10

The HP15 does every bit as good at getting light out there as most hand torches do (at less cost); the lack of overall lumens in the ’25, however, translate to less throw. I gave it an extra half point for making the best of its luminous limits by having a narrow beam, but still the HP15 wins out again

Water/Light Penetration

HP15 – 8/10

HP25 – 7/10

Even CREE LED’s have trouble keeping up with the classic halogens in terms of water penetration, but the HP25 stayed close to the HP15 despite having about a third the effective lumens because of the tightness of the spotlight beam – it does make a difference

Battery

HP15 – 9/10

HP25- 9/10

            Both of these lights suffer from running through batteries if you ask of them the best they can put out. It’s not really a problem with the light, but more a problem with the user to remind oneself that you don’t need to do maximum warp on the lights at all times – but it’s kind of hard to remember when you know you can buy more AA’s at nearly every corner store on Earth.

Size

HP15 8/10

HP25 7/10

They both admittedly look a little awkward and flat to me, but still a good size all around.

 

Price

HP15 – 9/10

HP25 – 9/10

They’re both going for around the same price, and I’m honestly still impressed for the quality lighting you can get for such an inexpensive price.

Dependability

HP15 – 9/10

HP25 – 9/10

I haven’t had a problem with either yet, but will continue to carry out my punishing herping exploits and report back if problems arise.

Ruggedness

HP15 – 8.5/10

HP25 – 8.5/10

Despite being overwhelmingly plastic, I’ve been impressed at how both have held up: especially given that I bang my head a lot.

Other

HP15 8/10

HP25 7/20

Ok, I’ll admit it: the ’25 is kind of ugly.

OVERALL SCORE –

HP15 – 87.5/100

HP25 – 81/100

The HP15 is really a work of beauty, and has replaced the HP11 as my primary light. On the other hand, the HP25 suffers from having the two bulbs and, in a phrase, being a jack of all trades and master of none. This actually might work for some field ventures such as camping or stargazing where raw brightness isn’t really the issue, but for the majority of stuff, I’d go with the ’15.

 

JDH

My Buddy Josh Young sporting the Fenix HP25

As for me and mine, we go with the HP15.

 

 

Edit: The HP15 has gone through a couple revisions since the model I used. The overall lumen output has gone up (900 lumens burst with a 400 lumen high), but one unfortunate development is the HP15 no longer comes with a diffuser – that honestly was my favorite part of the headlamp. I can only give my stamp of approval to the older 500 lumen edition until/unless I get a newer HP15 to test it out.

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6 Comments

Posted by on 21/12/2013 in Equipment Reviews, Uncategorized

 

6 responses to “Gear Review: Fenix HP15 vs Fenix HP25

  1. delite74

    28/03/2014 at 12:54 pm

    Hi Josh,
    Many thanks for your review. it’s accurate and focused my attention on practical details i had not seen. Very helpfull to choose the right model. Good job, thanks 😉

     
  2. tony dyke

    01/12/2014 at 2:46 pm

    Thanks buddie.
    Like you i have had an hp 11 for the last two years and wanted to upgrade.The hp15 it is then.

     
  3. Angelsix

    28/03/2016 at 3:59 pm

    Wonderful review. Thanks! (One small typo, under “Overall brightness” you say “”The HP15 get’s a shellacking here.” In context, I’m pretty sure you meant to refer to the HP 25 getting the shellacking..

     
  4. Josh

    28/03/2016 at 7:55 pm

    Thanks for Catching that Angelsix. Also, it seems like the HP15 no longer comes with a diffuser due to some patent issues Fenix had. Not as crazy about the light with the diffuser, but still a good lamp overall.

     
    • Angelsix

      29/03/2016 at 3:02 pm

      The lack of a diffuser would be a problem for me, too. I am thinking the HP25 might be perfect for Burning Man … both lights on would give me a broader view of my surroundings with the spotlight showing what’s coming in the distance. Looks like the HP25 is being discontinued, so I have to decide quickly.

       
  5. Josh

    29/03/2016 at 3:11 pm

    Yes, but there looks like a much better version, the HP25R that should be out soon: http://www.fenix-store.com/content/FenixCatalog2016B.pdf

     

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