UPDATE: Well, I'm an idiot sometimes. I misread
my own numbers and falsely stated that the ArgoHP is
not brighter than the original Argo. WRONG! It IS brighter.
My OOPS! Corrections to the review have been made.
The Streamlight Argo HP (High Performance) is the next
generation of the Argo headlamp from Streamlight. This
version uses a Luxeon Star side emitting LED for light
and contains a digital regulation circuit which provides
2 separate levels of brightness as well constant output
from the LED for a considerable amount of time. Instead
of 3 AAA alkaline cells, the Argo HP runs on two 123A
lithium cells for better performance in cold weather
and lighter weight. When compared to the original Argo,
the "High Performance" part of this headlamp
comes into play in two areas; both longevity and output!.
The body of the Argo is a tough black polymer with
a rubberized ring surrounding the bezel for impact protection.
The bezel is on top and the battery compartment rests
below. The body of the light is attached to a forehead
plate which is held on the head by a fully adjustable
3-point strap system of fabric elastic bands. The back
of the forehead plate has a recessed foam pad for comfort.
The light body is attached to the forehead plate by
a ratcheting hinge to the forehead plate which allows
you to direct the light where you need it. Included
in the package is a fully adjustable two-point rubber
hard-hat band as well. Straps are easily removed from
the plate as a result of gaps molded into the attachment
points. Unlike the original Argo, there is no battery
level indicator on the unit.
The bezel contains a shatterproof polycarbonate lens,
a partially textured silvered plastic reflector and
the circuitry to drive the Luxeon Star LED. The light
is set to a permanent focus and provides a wide spot
of light. Since the LED and circuitry is practically
impervious to impact and the bulb should never fail,
there should never be a need to open up the bezel. Inside
is the very compact circuit and LED.
Light output was in the form of a smooth wide spot
with some minor artifacts. Running the light on high
will go through two 123A batteries in about an 4.75
hours while low power will give you light for about
20 hours (advertised). Digital regulation circuitry
helps maintain constant or near constant brightness
throughout the battery life.
Runtime hrs. (advertised)
throw readings are in Lux
at one meter. The numbers in parenthesis are for comparison
in the Comparison
Beam at one meter at target center and at target edge
to show spillbeam.
Runtime Plot: Well, Streamlight was right on the money
this time! They claim 4.75 hours on high and I read
about 5 hours before the headlamp drops out of regulation.
Nice flat regulated plateau, too. Nearly constant brightness
during the first 5 hours of use on high.
completed with included "Duracell" batteries.
More information on runtime plots is available HERE.
The switch is a simple rubber covered click switch
which rests on top of the light. First click turns the
light on low, second click gives you high. Dimming appears
to be accomplished by current regulation instead of
the more common "pulse width modulation".
The result is that you will not see the sometimes annoying
strobing of the LED which results from PWM regulation.
The only thing you'll see is nice smooth output.
The light is sealed at the battery compartment and
the bezel with well-lubricated O-rings. The light should
be considered "dunkable", but is not rated
for intentional submersion in water. If it does get
wet inside, disassemble as much as possible without
tools and let it dry out.
Ergonomics: The Argo HP is a little front heavy, but
not excessively so. This is typical of headlamps with
the batteries in the front instead of in a rear compartment.
Of course the advantage is that there are no cables
running around your head that can get caught on branches
The two 123A lithium batteries are dropped directly
into the battery compartment under the bezel of the
light. Simply unscrew the labeled cap on one end and
place the cells in positive first.
Included with the headlamp in addition to the three
point elastic headband is a two point rubber strap for
attaching the headlamp to a hard-hat.
What I Liked: Water resistant, Variable output,
Tough/impact resistant, Good output, Regulated, Easy
battery change, Lightweight, Comfortable
What I Didn't Like: Nothing worth mentioning.
Other Things I Noticed: Slight artifacts in
the beam but nothing serious. Pila rechargeable cells
will fit in this headlamp and it will run with them.
See this chart
for more info. Output will not match using primary cells,
but it is still very good.
Conclusions: A great little headlamp. Output
is pretty good on "high", and more than adequate
for most tasks on "low". Switch it to "high"
if you really need it, or leave it on "low"
if you need to conserve batteries. Somehow Streamlight
managed to get both more output and more battery life
out of this critter compared to the original Argo. Overall
I like it and I think it's battery conservation ability
and output selections will more closely match the needs
of individuals who utilize headlamps for most common
tasks compared to the short battery life of the original