Published on August 21, 2016
NEO Head Lamp
The NEO Head Lamp from LED Lenser combines sleek style with the kind of illumination you might usually associate with heavier, more expensive head torches.
Shine a light
It’s not all about pure intensity of light when it comes to choosing a lead torch, but if it were the NEO would still impress with a pretty dazzling 90lumen output on max. Illumination is good for around 10metres, more than adequate for most running situations, and LED Lenser promise around 100hours of use from one set of AAA batteries – on test that figure looked about right although there was some drop off in brightness beyond 80hours, pretty much what we would expect. Using the NEO on maximum setting will, of course, reduce the battery life considerably.
There are four light modes on the NEO all controlled via a single top-mounted button and scrolled through via multiple taps. The brightest mode, via a single tap, can quickly be switched out for brightest mode plus rear flashing red LED (for reversing?) and then on to the slightly dimmer option (plus rear LED), which preserves battery life. Another tap of the button and it’s on to flashing front and rear lights – a good emergency option to have at your disposal.
Weight on the run
Long gone are the pre-LED days of massively cumbersome head torches, but even by today’s more featherweight standards the NEO impressed us at a mere 54g – taking batteries in to consideration the total weight remains sub-90g. Okay so it’s not the crazy-light-weight of something like the Petzl eLite Zip but we felt it was considerably more rugged (more on which below.)
Comfort was excellent too – the elasticated band is thinner than some head torches (a bonus we thought) and the battery pack sits comfortably at the back of the head. Housing the batteries at the rear makes so much sense RunningMonkey can’t understand why all head torches don’t adopt the design; not only does the approach help spread the weight it also prevents the LED unit from bouncing on the run. Result: better comfort, more stable beam.
Tough on trails
Running with a head torch doesn’t always involve running with a head torch on and the ability to withstand the rigours of being stuffed in and out of a race pack are an important consideration. We found the NEO a tough cookie, perfectly up to the job either on or off the head. It’s advertised as ‘splash resistant’ and whilst it’s obviously not up to swimming tasks (what head torch is?) there’s no reason why the NEO won’t stand up to pretty torrential weather.
For the fashion conscious the NEO is available in baby blue or green, orange, pink and yellow neon options. Always good to find a piece of running kit that combines aesthetics with functionality and the NEO certainly does just that. As a real bonus the NEO is something of a bargain – with an RRP of £24.95 it can often be found substantially reduced online, at the time of writing it’s yours for just £19.99 at thetorchshop.co.uk
For a full list of retailers see ledlenser.co.uk