Zebralight H600 Mk IV: Full Expert Review
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Whether you’re cycling, hiking, running, camping, or climbing, headlamps come in handy to offer hands-free illumination, ensuring to stay safe even in the darkest of nights. Over the years, there has been an impressive transformation in headlamp technology in terms of design, battery options, and maximum light output (lumens) to meet the dynamic users’ needs.

One headlight that has become a fan’s favorite in cycling, backpacking, caving, fastpacking, and running is the Zebralight H600 Mk IV. Zebra Light is taking the outdoor sports enthusiasts by storm with its H600 Mk IV headlamp, providing a blinding 1400 Lumens of light from its Cree XHP35 Neutral White LED.

The Zebralight combines long-lasting battery life, a solid waterproof build, and an impressive bright and wide bold beam. Despite its hefty price tag, the H600 Mk IV is among the best headlamps in the market currently. Here’s an in-depth review of this unique, high-performance headlamp.

Zebralight H600 Mk IV Overview

The Zebralight H600 Mk IV is a high-end headlamp providing an excellent combination of bright connoisseur’s lighting, fantastic battery life, and a durable solid build to last longer than the average headlamp. The Zebralight is powered by a 18650 rechargeable Li-ion battery (not included), providing a maximum illumination between 1400-1600 lumens from its state-of-the-art Cree XHP35 LED. It boasts a nominal CCT 4500K providing a warm, bold beam to reduce eye strain and provide precise color rendition.    

The H600 Mk IV has three primary levels, i.e., High, Medium, and Low plus comes with a strobe and beacon mode. Each of the three main brightness levels can be set to one of its two sub-levels. The second sub-level of each main level can be further programmed to different brightness levels. Shifting between the three main light levels is done on a basic operating system while configuring and setting the various brightness levels requires an advanced operating system integrated into the headlamp.

The Zebralight H600 Mk IV is IPX8 waterproof rated (2 meters, 30 min) and features a durable metal case. With such waterproof construction, the headlamp can survive the toughest of conditions. It can either be used as a headlight using a headband (included) or used as a handheld flashlight held at a 90º angle. The package comes with spare-O-rings, a pocket clip, and a headband with a silicone holder.

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Specifications

Weight

  • 1.4 oz (39 gram)
  • 3.0 oz (84.6 gram) with ZL635 battery
  • 4.4 oz (124.6 gram) with ZL635 battery and headband

Dimensions

  • Head Diameter: 0.95 inch (24.2 mm)
  • Length: 3.85 inches (97.8 mm)

Cree XHP35 Cool White LED

  • Nominal CCT: 5700K
  • CRI: 70+
  • Tint deviation: N/A

User Selectable Levels

3 main levels (High, Medium, and Low). Each main level can be programmed to one of its two sub-levels. The second sub-level of each main level can be further programmed to different brightness levels.

Operating Voltage Range

  • 2.7V – 6.0V

Battery

  • One 18650 size (up to 69 mm) 3.6-4.35V li-ion rechargeable. Batteries are not included in the package

Parasitic Drain

  • Negligible (much less than the self-discharging of a battery)

Beam Type

  • 80-degree spill
  • 12-degree hotspot

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Design

The Zebralight H600 Mk IV design features a precision-machined unibody casing constructed from premium grade aluminum bar stocks. On one end of the aluminum tube is the LED and a button to turn it on or adjust brightness, while the other end is screwed off to hold the battery.  The LED board is bonded by a proprietary heat sinking feature linked directly to the unibody aluminum casing.

The headlamp features a durable natural hard anodized finish (Type III Class I). Surrounding the aluminum tube is a black silicon holder attached to the Velcro headband to put around your head. The minimalist design is compact enough to fit into your backpack, plus it can be handheld or worn with the included strap to be used as a headlamp.     

The design is minimalist and doesn’t include a distance/light sensor, cables, or a USB port for programming the light via proprietary software or mobile app.  

Operation

The Zebralight H600 Mk IV features a smart user interface that offers fast and easy access to all brightness levels and beacon-strobes.

Brightness Levels

The headlight offers three primary light levels: High (H), Medium (M), and Low (L), and a beacon-strobe mode. Each of the three light levels can be programmed to one of its two sub-levels referred to as #1 and #2. For instance, in the High(H) dimming level, the two sub-levels can either be “H1” for High in Mode #1 or “H2” for High in Mode #2). Additionally, the second sub-level of each of the three primary levels can be further programmed to different brightness levels.

Shifting from Low to Medium, the High and vice versa is quite basic. A single short-click turn on the light turns it on High level and can also turn it off. Double short-click turns on the light to Medium while triple short-click turns on the light to the beacon-strobe mode. Pressing and holding the light adjustment knob for over 0.6 seconds turns on the light to Low level. Pressing and releasing the knob at respective levels can turn the light at the desired levels.

Turning the two-sublevels of the three main levels required more advanced programming. The headlamp automatically memorizes the sub-level selections through battery changes and after the light is turned off. The second sub-level (H2, M2, and L2) of each main level can be further programmed to different brightness levels by double-clicking the knob six times. Subsequent double-clicks will cycle the headlamp through different brightness levels. When the configurations are done, a short click turns off the light. The selections for the second sub-levels are memorized after the light is turned off and through battery changes.

Beacon-Strobe Modes

The beacon-strobe mode can be accessed when the light is off with three short-clicks. Once on beacon-strobe mode, double-clicking will take you through different types of beacons and strobes. Like the other modes, the beacon-strobe setting is memorized when the light is turned off and through battery changes.

The Zebralight H600 Mk IV also comes with three mode groups, i.e., G5, G6, and G7.

The G5 is the default mode, while G6 and G7 can be accessed with 6-click and 7-click, respectively, when the headlamp is off.

With three different light levels, a beacon-strobe mode, and three-mode groups, the Zebralight H600 Mk IV offers you an opportunity to choose the best brightness to meet your specific needs.   

Performance

The Zebralight H600 Mk IV performs exceptionally well in different use cases, whether caving, cycling, fastpacking, running, etc., thanks to its long bold beam with really even light distribution. The stunning performance makes the Zebralight ideal for illuminating across long distances ( up to 200 meters on H1 level) as well as lighting a wider area. The headlamp can shine a wide-bold beam longer than a football field for 3.1 hours on high-mode, i.e., maximum brightness.

The H600 Mk IV also performs incredibly well in close proximity lightning. On the Medium (M) level, 2nd Lighting Level, the headlamp produces a remarkable evenly lit and wide beam ideal for cycling, camping, and even hiking at night.  

Battery Life

The Zebralight H600 Mk IV uses the 18650 Lithium-Ion battery providing between 2.8 hours (H1) and 4 months (L2) of runtime. Note that batteries are not included in the package; therefore, you’ll need to purchase a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery and charger separately. A highly recommended battery is the Panasonic 18650 Li-Ion Rechargeable Battery and the Nitecore i2 Intellicharger-both available on Amazon. The Panasonic 18650 Li-Ion Battery (3200-3500 mAh) offers incredible brightness with long battery life. The reason they are being used by Tesla in their Model X and S electric cars.

The manufacturer, Zebra, also claims that the H600 Mk IV headlight has a “negligible parasitic drain” on the battery, meaning that the battery discharges at a higher rate than the rate used by the light. Therefore, it is possible to store the headlamp for years without the battery draining out.

Brightness Levels Timeline

As you may already know, the battery life is dependent on the different brightness levels, as summarized below.

High

  • H1 1400 lumens – 2.8 hrs. runtime
  • H2 875 lumens – 2.9 hrs. runtime / 502 lumens – 3.2 hrs. runtime / 264 lumens – 6.3 hrs. runtime

Medium

  • M1 127 lumens – 13.8 hrs. runtime
  • M2 56.4 lumens – 28 hrs. runtime / 22.9 lumens – 2.8 days runtime / 8.5 lumens – 7.3 days runtime

Low

  • L1 2.9 lumens – 18.5 days runtime
  • L2 0.92 lumens – 1.5 months runtime / 0.26 lumens – 3 months runtime / 0.07 lumens – 4 months

Zebralight has an in-built battery capacity indicator, which can be turned on by short clicking 4 times without pause. The main LED flashes between 1 to 4 times to indicate the estimated remaining capacity of the battery. Additionally, the light steps down automatically from High to Medium and from Medium to Low when battery capacity is low. This way, you can know when to shift brightness levels to conserve the battery or replace it altogether. 

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Tip to Preserve the Battery

Sometimes, due to the movements and turnings in your pack, headlamps tend to turn on, draining the battery even before you use it as intended. To prevent this, the Zebralight features a “tailcap lockout,” which allows you to physically disconnect the battery by unscrewing the battery cap part-way. Unscrewing the battery cap just a quarter turn breaks the circuit, ensuring your battery isn’t drained before you use the headlamp. Always do this when packing to lock-out the battery.

Weight

Compared to other headlamps in the same class, the Zebralight H600 Mk IV is a bit heavier. It weighs 4.4 oz (124.6g) with the battery inside. Nonetheless, standing by the light’s incredible performance, the additional weight is not really an issue. Besides, the light is remarkably comfortable when used attached to the headband to be used as a headlamp. It balances well and firmly holds on your head or helmet; therefore feels relaxed when cycling or running. Alternatively, you can easily detach it from the headband and use it as a flashlight. It’s compact yet exceptionally powerful plus fits in one hand-an an ideal handheld flashlight for your everyday lighting needs.

Ease of Use

Despite integrating some advanced features, the Zebralight makes basic operation simple and straightforward with some sense of automation. As mentioned earlier, the light features three main brightness levels selected by clicking the switch button. A single click turns it to High mode (brightest), a double click selects Medium level, while a triple-click selects Low level. There are also two sub-levels for each main level, i.e., Mode #1 and Mode #2. Shifting between Mode #1 and Mode #2, the dimmer settings for the three main brightness levels are achieved via double-clicking the electronic soft-touch switch.  

As you can see, the basic operations are relatively easy and simple. More advanced operations involve custom programming Mode #2, which offers a less bright and close proximity beam by default in all the three main modes. Better yet, the Zebralight can memorize the last custom programming after the light is turned off and through battery changes, further improving on the ease of use. You don’t have to start all over again, setting the light to your desired brightness level after switching it off or replacing the battery.

Replacing the battery in the field is straightforward and doesn’t need any extra tool. You only need to unscrew the cap, tilt the light to eject the current battery, pop in a new battery, screw in the top back, turn on the light( automatically turn on to the previous brightness settings you were before replacing the battery) and continue the excursion.

In essence, the Zebralight H600 Mk IV is user-friendly even though it has advanced features for custom programming. Therefore, it’s ideal for both novices and advanced users.

Suitable Uses

The Zebralight H600 Mk IV compact waterproof design, remarkable performance, comfy headband, and unmatched battery life attracts several use cases. It’s best used for backpacking, running, fastpacking, cycling, caving, and general lighting around the campsite or house. For cycling, in particular, you’ll need to attach it to the headband using the silicon mount. The headband is fairly beefy and stays on when tied to your head or helmet. You can also easily remove it from the headband and use it as a handheld flashlight for lighting up the night. The three main brightness levels coupled with the two sub-levels means that the Zebralight can be used in almost any situation that requires lighting.   

Durability

The Zebralight is super durable and can last for over ten years. It is constructed from premium grade aluminum bar stocks and a durable natural hard anodized finish (Type III Class I). The lens at the front and center are tough enough (tempered optical grade glass) and won’t easily break when you accidentally drop the headlamp during your outdoor executions. If you are looking for a durable headlight, the Zebralight is a great investment and will serve you for years.

Price and Availability  

The Zebralight H600 Mk IV comes with a hefty price tag of around $89 on Amazon. While they are available in major outdoor gear retailers, they are rarely in stock, thanks to high demand. Be sure to grab yours as soon as they are in stock. The price is relatively high compared to other models. But considering its extreme performance and incredible durability, the Zebralight will offer you value for money. Probably it will be the last headlamp you’ll have to buy for all your lighting needs.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The smart user interface allows for ease of use.
  • Durable and waterproof
  • Long battery life
  • It can be worn as a headlamp or held as a flashlight.
  • Remarkable performance with a bright and wide bold beam

Cons

  • Quite expensive
  • Doesn’t include the required Li-ion battery
  • A tad heavier than average
  • Heats up quickly

Verdict

The Zebralight H600w Mk IV is a stunning headlamp with an incredible performance. It delivers a captivating combination of performance, battery life, and durability. If you don’t mind the premium cost, the Zebralight won’t disappoint and will serve you for years to come.

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