Most helpful positive review
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
The new standard!
on August 15, 2012
I don't do reviews (since Amazon jiggered the review ranking system),but every so often I make an exception. This is a product that is both an exception to my "no review" policy and exceptional in execution.
This one does it all. It is a smart headlamp that is equally at home on your head or helmet. It senses what you are doing and adjusts the light to meet the demand. If you are on a trail after dark, the long distance beam is on. Stop to check the map & GPS and the lamp dims to the level needed for that close-up work. Petzl has created "reactive lighting" and has done it very well, indeed.
The headlamp has a rechargeable battery (N.B. it comes with the battery disconnected - you have to open the battery case and plug in the battery before you charge it for the first time). The battery charges from the ubiquitous USB connector (a male connector is part of the battery case). Your battery life can be very short - less than 2 hrs - if your use requires constant highest light output (way brighter than any other headlamp I've ever used, including a Carbide Lamp!), or it may exceed 50 hours of continuous use in the average camping/hiking situation. A slick feature is the ability to replace the rechargeable battery with two AAA cells (at a loss of some brightness and automatic functions) if your rechargeable battery is discharged. Given the ubiquitious USB adaptor for automobiles and backpacking solar panels, switching to standard AAA cells won't be a common choice - but it is nice to have an alternative when necessary!
It gets even better! Petzl has created a program to tweak the headlamp! A free download for Mac & Windows machines, the Petzl application allows you to name your headlamp and the battery, as well as to store up to four (4) "profiles" for your headlamp. The standard is Petzl's "Multi-activites" profile. You can choose to include three other profiles (including ones that you create!). Petzl provides the standard as well as: "around-the-house", "bivouac", "Mountaineering", "Orienteering Race", "Trekking / Hiking", and "Caving/Spelunking".
The only activity I don't believe this headlamp is appropriate for is open-water / white-water rafting & kayaking. It is not "submerged" waterproof though it handled a brief afternoon mountain downpour without harm.
It's fairly pricey until you factor in the cost of disposable batteries. If you use your headlamp often and frequently have to adjust the light level (as I always do when tying on a new fly) your battery costs will offset the price in six months, or less.