Just arrived, super bright, rechargeable, running-orientated headtorch from Swedish nav and light specialists Silva.
Just landed is Silva's new for autumn 2012 Runner headlamp, a neat, light and bright rechargeable headtorch aimed primarily at runners complete with a rechargeable battery pack.
The Runner's an unusual looking thing. There's a lightweight head-unit that together with the elasticated headband weighs in at a light-ish 64 grammes and features two LEDs stacked vertically on top of each other. And then there's the 121 gramme reachargeable lithium ion battery pack.
The latter has a neat, Velcro-secured wrap-around pouch and can either be mounted on the headband for convenience, or with an extension cord and cable guides - both supplied - sit on a belt, or pack strap or inside the lid of your pack or, in cold conditions, in a handy pocket.
With a total weight of 188g in conventional headtorch mode, we were expecting the Runner to feel a tad heavy with the battery in head-mounted mode, but suprisingly, it's actually pretty stable and comfortable with the wrap-around strap giving decent padding to the battery and we'd happily use it for running in this mode.
Click the easy to use button once to switch on and you have three modes: a full power version which, at first acquaintace, we'd say is pretty damn bright with both LEDs on, a less bright dual-LED mode and finally, a single LED variation. Claimed burn times range from 2.5 hours with the full-on mode up to 10 hours used solely on the lowest setting.
It's not just about outright power though. Silva's Intelligent Lighting technology means that one LED is a spot for distant vision, that 90-metre beam, while the other is a flood for peripheral light. That makes huge sense for running on rough terrain where having an even pool of illumination makes it far easier to place feet precisely and, oddly, to stay balanced.
First impressions are that the Runner delivers a pool of light rather than just a piercing beam, which is just what you want. It's not that it's not bright or has limited range, just that you're not getting an all or nothing spot beam at the expense of wider vision. How effective it is in use, we'll let you know.
Generally build quality seems good. The connectors for the various leads are reassuringly snug and stuff like the slide on cable guides which direct the longer wire and keep it flapping around are nicely made. The one thing that does concern us a little is the level of sealing on the battery pack in particular. Dismember the pouch and it seems like it's just a simple two-cell lithium ion construct with little further water protection. In really wet conditions, it might make sense to add an extra poly bag for added protection.
Otherwise things look good. The switch is easy to use. Rechargeable batteries mean less ongoing expense and added lightness and our intitial impressions are that this thing is as bright as hell on a barbecue special day...
It looks dialled for one-off runs, how it fares for general use remains to be seen. Two and half hours is the burn time on max and a respectable run for most users, but obviously, the more you use lower settings, the longer the battery will last, so we'll be paying as much attention to the medium and low level effectiveness as the full monty beam.
At £160 it's a serious buy, but you're getting serious amounts of light as a result.
More information at silva.se/products/sport/runner.