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on December 24, 2005
I find it hard to adjust most lights while wearing knit mittens. This light requires a simple button press.

I keep this in the trunk of my car. I use NiMH for economic reasons; for emergency backup, lithium (shelf life and extremely low leakage); for long outages, I keep a 36 pack of alkaline (inexpensive)

Positives (this headlamp)

Takes NiMH, Lithium and alkaline batteries.

Regulated light output.

When regulation stops, still produces weak light instead of no light.

Very bright spot and flood due to heat sinks.

Textured, dual switches, spot and flood, no need to cycle through spot to reach flood.

Good spot for distance work.

Decent spot for very bright close work (black floor tiles on dark gray cutting surface).

Spot not adjustable (less moving parts, spot to flood using knit mittens).

Good flood for close work.

Blink mode for working in traffic.

Battery meter/ 24 hour "Find Me" LED.

Dust and rain proof.

2500 mAh NiMH AA batteries widely available.

Lithium AA have long shelf life and low leakage.

Buckle doubles as battery pack, unlocking tool.

twelve hour from last press, auto shut off.

Negatives (this headlamp)

Heat sinks hard to scrub, avoid goo that does not just wash off.

Low flood too bright for reading white notepads.

Battery pack gasket prone to falling out first few battery changes.

Battery pack lock can be difficult to reinsert. When the lock is unlocked, it can disengage from the lock guard, allowing 360 degree rotation. This requires the user to notice the problem and correct the lock's position.

Positives (4AA LED headlamp)

Inexpensive alkaline AA batteries available worldwide at many merchants.

Decent run time on all modes.

Negatives (4AA LED headlamp)

Heavier compared to AAA headlamps.

Wire connecting lamp to batteries can snag on branches.

4AA LED headlamps have emission spectrum; close together light sources; light sources close to the eyes; which produce the worse shadows for depth perception.

Normal user Positives

Cannot turn on all five LEDs at once.

Turns on in highest light level currently supported by battery power. Activation in low mode means batteries are low.
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on April 2, 2007
You may wonder why this headlamp is priced so high. First, the head lamp is built of high quality. The lamp, the belts, and the battery box all give you a solid feeling. This is in contrast with the headlamps that are more than half cheaper. Second, it has features that are often omitted in the cheaper ones. It has a regulated circuit that provides constant light (will say more about this later). It has a battery meter that displays battery capacity in 3 colors. It uses something called collimator that makes light into parallel rays. It accepts rechargeable batteries besides the more common alkaline ones. It has a heatsink attached to dissipate heat. In my opinion, these features are worth the money.

I use the head lamp for bridge fishing. The wide beam is bright enough to light up areas around me. I can easily spot things within 10 meters of range. This is usually how far I spread out the fishing rods and other things. When use it up close, I have no trouble tying knots, removing hooks from fish, and things that need close examination. The feature I like most is the focused beam. It shoots about 15 feet down the bridge on to a spot that's about 5 feet wide. Even at the low power mode, I can easily check out what fish is hooked or see where the current is flowing. These were impossible with two other headlamps that I owned.

Remember that nothing is perfect. If you are expecting long battery time, you might be disappointed. Unfortunately, one reviewer is correct. The regulated, constant light only lasts 1 hour for high-power narrow beam, 9 hours for low-power narrow beam, 8.5 hours for high-power wide beam (flood light), and 14 hours for low-power wide beam. After that, the light is not constant any more. It goes down as the batteries go down. They claim, for example, low flood light lasts 150 hours. But it ends at the point where there is only 0.25 lux at 2 meters and o.25 lux is equivalent to a full moon on a clear night. How long does the light remain useful after it is out of regulation is unknown. These numbers are on alkaline batteries. If you use NiMH or lithium batteries, you get more hours. On lithium batteries, the burn times are now 4.5, 12, 14, 50 hours respectively. They don't provide data on NiMH batteries, which I use. This seems never a problem for me. I usually use the narrow beam in low mode for minutes and the wide beam also in low for hours. These two modes are bright enough for my purposes and they last long enough to cover one fishing trip (i.e. one night).
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on February 23, 2011
I have purchased 4 of these. Overall the performance is excellent. I find them totally satisfactory operationally. However the headlamp is somewhat fragile. Two of my 4 lie in my "to be repaired" pile with broken tilt hinges. If you bang the lamp head very hard the tiny #2 screw plastic hinge parts will break and it is then useless. As far a I know no repair is possible and no parts are available. The tilt function is essential and a proper repair would be required for them to be usable. I would hesitate to depend on this lamp for cave exploring or other critical use as lots overhead rocks would be a problem. That said I am shopping for another as a spare as I am down to 2 functional units
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on February 20, 2007
I use my apex for extreme caving environments in the caribbean.

I am very happy with it. The ergonomics of the switches is good, can be operated with muddy hands without dirtying up the lens. The fact that it is waterproof is a big plus too The tilt ability of the light makes it great for adjusting angles while my helmet is off, can be used to read at night in camp.

The spot is superior to other more expensive headlamps.

Only drawback for me are the tabs that attach it to the elastic strap. The first one I got dropped when opening it new, and one of the tabs broke. I just tie-wrapped it to my helmet, and it held tight.

My helmet took a fall of over 250ft onto rocks, and though the battery compartment smashed up, I ran the wires to a power source, and the leds still worked!! Extremely tough.

I heartily recommend it.
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on August 22, 2010
I use this 4xAA headlamp every day working with animals at night, for working in unlit spaces, and indeed frequently don't need to turn on any outdoor lights at night if the Princeton Tec Apex headlamp is conveniently available.

Started many years ago with Petzl headlamps, the best Petzl for my use being a modified Zoom Zora 4xAA (out of production, AA replaced with NiMH and 5v bulb instead of 6v bulb). The final Petzl was an MYO, which seemed to be designed to mount too close to the head. This close mounting results in excessive light spill onto glasses, goggles, or protective eyewear-- the spill made the Petzl nearly unusable from reflected glare. At this point I decided to try the Princeton Tec Apex (eventually relegating the MYO to the glove box as an emergency backup if I forgot my Princeton Tec).

The Princeton Tec is a superior replacement for my purposes. The lamp portion has two stage flood, plus an extremely powerful high throw beam-- perhaps 3/4 of a Fenix LD20 on maximum. If darkness falls before the work is done, the high powered beam can be used as an ersatz headlight to drive the tractor back. More typically the flood LEDs on lower power are used for general work. The headlamp tilts forward and back, permitting up close tasks such as reading when tilted forward, or for distance tasks when tilted back. The main claim to fame though is the high throw 3W LED beam, when you need the high throw beam, typically you really really need it.

The good: Very durable; works on multiple types of AA cell (I use NiMH Eneloops); very long battery lifespan with my typical use, excellent combination of light sources (flood to high throw); is mounted far enough out from the forehead to avoid spill glare off of glasses/goggles/eye protection gear; good construction; lamp tilts for multiple uses; well balanced headband mounting; water resistant to 1M (in other words, I don't need to worry the light will fail in the rain or snow, or corrode after getting wet); responsive technical support.

The bad: hard to operation with heavy gloves, the rubber membrane switches have a small active area; a better grade of engineering plastic could have been used for the pivot on the lamp portion (I cracked the pivot supports dropping the lamp on a concrete floor (forgot the headlamp was there when I took of my hat, and the headlight went down lamp first on the floor), but to their credit Princeton Tec was very helpful in the repair action needed... I would otherwise have replaced the entire assembly since there is no viable competition in my opinion for this headlight and it was my fault the headlamp hit the floor).

For occasional or emergency use, a cheap headlamp might be suitable, but if your work or pleasure depends on a sound reliable headlamp, the Princeton Tec is an excellent candidate.
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on March 11, 2010
I too taught by reading the charts that this light is good for up to 72 hours,
but they dont tell you directly that the light will stay at high power for only
around 1 hour before going down to second level...but it seems that all
headlamp charts are this way....
I have bought a dozen one...good one...bad ones..
This Apec i would consider pretty good. Im using it for night skiing and i have
used the same batteries 10 times already at 4 hours each trip. So thats around
40 hours, and the batteries are still bright at the second level. The brightest
level at this point will start flashing after 1 minute telling me that i have
less than 20 minutes of high brightness left.
Anyway, i find it acceptable and the high point of this light is that its better
than the cheap makes cause it almost give you 180 degrees of light... You see
ahead and you see on the sides.
I do recommend this unit.
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on March 16, 2010
This light is just about as good as I've been able to find, and I really like the option of having both a spotlight and a floodlight in a single headlamp. The ergonomics are also very good, and despite being heavier than some of the alternatives I've found this headlamp very comfortable even for extended use. However, I use the flood LEDs more than the spot, and run up against the problem apparently found in all 5mm LEDs: ugly bluish light. The spot has very nice light but is too narrow for most purposes. The floods give good area illumination, but I'd rather them a bit brighter and the bad color rendition is just highlighted by contrast with the much better light from the spot. I lost my Apex a few months ago and very nearly bought another one, but was dissuaded by the bad color of the flood LEDs. That said, I'm perhaps overly picky about such things and in all other respects this is an excellent headlamp.
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on March 23, 2011
As an electrician I use this lamp on a daily basis. From underneath a home, in a attic, or repairing a generator at night in the snow. Always lots of light thrown down exactly where I need it with an extremely easy to adjust lamp even with gloves on. This main lamp on this unit is very bright, not Surefire e2d bright but much brighter than my Petzl lamp or my AA mag LED. Once the headband is correctly adjusted it stays put and is comfortable to wear for hours on end. I use this headlamp for any of my outdoor or any this is going to suck type of jobs with my petzl unit being used for the easier jobs.

This thing blows thru batteries on high output, however par for the course for how much light you get
Weight: It's no Petzl in size, this would not be my first headlamp of choice if weight was an issue such as back packing
Fragile: This is my 3rd apex headlamp, if you are any sort of rough on your equipment you will eventually break this unit.

Great light output with different light outputs selections
Price: $60 at this time of writing is a great bang for your buck
AA Batteries: Easy to get everywhere.
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on January 3, 2012
This is a great light, I use it a lot and am always happy to have it on my head. But it is about to fall apart. It is held together with little screws and almost every one of the places where screws are inserted is cracked.

This review is amended because Princetontec recognizes the fragility and will repair it under warranty, no questions asked. I increased it a star.

And now a year on, the light is often on my forehead and shows no signs of the previous problem.

Excellent light.
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on November 12, 2011
I purchased my Princeton Tec Apex headlamp about 4 years ago. It is a very high performance light and the LED light has never had any problems. However the plastic body of the light broke on mine after about 3 years of use. I then used duct tape to "fix" it so I could still use it. Recently my duct tape fix came apart. The light is still very powerful and has a lot of features but be careful not to brake the plastic housing of the light.
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