Coast HL7 Review
Cons: Average battery life, heavier and bulkier than most
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Coast HL7 has been around since 2012, and has had a few upgrades in performance since its original introduction. The design remains largely unchanged, even though it is today brighter than the version we first tested. Unfortunately, competing headlamps have changed a lot in that time, and so while the HL7 remains a very good product, we no longer recommend it over competing lights, in particular, the Black Diamond Storm and Spot offer better performance today, at either about the same price, or even lower cost.
The HL7 offers an excellent trail finding beam in its spot mode, shining 112 meters, and with very good optics. The beam is a bit hot in the center, not as even and wide as top competitors like the BD Storm.
The HL7 also offers very good flood lighting, which is easy and intuitive to get to by rotating the front lens to zoom in or out. Lighting is wide and fairly even, above average.
We find the Coast to be easy to use, and intuitive. With a single button to turn it on in the front, a zoom dial on the lens, and a lever on the rear battery pack to change brightness. Each function is obvious, and simple.
The Coast is a bit heavy at 4.5 oz or 127g, and the two part package, with the battery in the back and light element in the front is somewhat bulky.
Battery life is OK, but only about average, with 3.1 hours run-time in high mode, and 23 hours in our low mode test (using a similar brightness level to competing lights best mode for close proximity use).
The Coast is a quality product, that offers compelling performance. It ranks in the top 5 in our review on overall performance, which is impressive in a field of more than 20 top headlamps. And, typically found at a reasonable street price around $35 online. Our issue with the Coast today is not so much with it, but simply that competing lights, selling for about the same price, offer a better value. The BD Storm outperforms the HL7 in every category except ease of use, and sells for about the same street price. The BD Spot bests the HL7 overall, yet can typically be found at a lower street price online.
— RJ Spurrier