The Smartest Headlamp You Didn’t Know You Needed
The MH11 is a new generation headlamp leading the way in technology; straight out of the box, this headlamp stands out from the rest with its ‘boost’ mode that boasts a whopping 1000 lumens of light over 320m putting it right up with the very best when it comes to brightness and range. But even more impressive is the new Bluetooth capability partnered with the ‘Ledlenser Connect’ app which allows you to either directly control your headlamp or fully customise the settings to your needs and preferences and even set up different profiles you can change between.
Detachable and Tiltable
The headlamp itself detaches from the headband with a simple quick clip system; this means you can use it as a handpiece or wash the band separately which is a nice touch given how manky those bands can get after some decent use. The quick clip system looked a little basic, and I didn’t think much of it at first, but once the lamp is clipped in, it’s amazingly smooth to adjust the tilt and seems to hold its position surprising well.
The ‘Advanced Focus System’ for changing between broad floodlight and focused long-distance beam seemed much like others in the past but was also very smooth and held its position well.
Ledlenser Connect App
Once I’d downloaded the free Ledlenser Connect app from the app store, it became apparent just how much tech they’ve squeezed into this headlamp. The app is easy to navigate and allows total control of the headlamp enabling you to customise or change the power setting, strobe effects including international SOS rescue mode and offers a choice of green, blue, and red lights; it also has a new timer/alarm clock function that allows you to choose when the light comes on or off in a given 24hr time period as well as to what settings it turns on to when it does, and my new favourite, the Optisense (see below). For me, these features take the headlamp from being a cool customisable light, up to the next level of usable headlamp
Like a lot of people, I like to see everything, so unless I’m trying to conserve the battery for whatever reason, I like to have my light on full power. The Optisense lets you have the lamp on full power when in the open but automatically adjusts the brightness according to the reflecting surrounding light. So, if you’re unpacking the truck, dressing a deer or setting up decoys, the headlamp constantly self-adjusts to a comfortable brightness where you can see clearly but not blind yourself from the light reflections; then as you move into more open space, it returns to full power. The only possible downside I can see to this setting would be the battery life; with the light intensity constantly changing, you don’t have a guide as to how long it’ll last – although the headlamp does have an energy status/charge light that changes colours to warn you, and there’s a full 0-100% battery life indicator on the app. As an indication, I used Optisense for all of Opening Weekend – approx. 6 hours runtime – and it was still on 61% on the Monday after, which is very efficient given the estimated runtimes for each power mode.
For those people who don’t always have their phone with them or prefer not to rely on it for control of the headlamp, setting up profiles is another great addition. You need to connect to the app initially to do this, but from there, you can fully customize what each click of the main button does – you wouldn’t need the app again if you’re that way inclined. There’s also a complete list/manual of sequences to change all the settings via the main ‘on’ button, but I’d highly recommend customizing a profile to your preferences – it’ll remember!
When on boost mode, we tested the range of the beam, and while there was light at around 320m like Ledlenser claim, a more realistic length for ‘usable light’ rather than maximum reach would be closer to 200m.
I’d have to say, overall the MH11 far exceeded my expectations not only on performance but also usability and practicality. The only two real downsides I could find (if you can call them that) would be if you don’t want to use the app, then the push button sequences to change settings can get confusing; however, I didn’t spend the time trying to learn them as I use the app and profiles. The other downside would be the price – with an RRP of $349.99 from tightlines.co.nz, it’s one of the more expensive Ledlensers on the market; however, when you compare the technology in the MH11 to anything else on offer, it packs a big bang for your buck.
Boost – 1000 lumens out to 320m
High – 750 lumens out to 300m and
Mid – 300 lumens out to 200m and
Low – 10 lumens out to 30m and
RRP – $349.99