Review: Black Diamond Icon Headlamp

The long-life, super-bright headlamp that’s feature-packed and head-friendly

Black Diamond

This just in from the go-big-or-go-home-in-the-dark school of lighting: Black Diamond’s new and improved Icon headlamp.   Sporting 200 lumens of good news on your forehead, it's like a bright shiny unicorn, only black.

The four AA batteries (included) insert quickly, and with them the Icon tips the scales at a modest 8.1 ounces. It feels even lighter on your head thanks to perfect weight distribution, with none of that annoying sliding-off-your-head feeling. The helmet-compatible adjustable straps and coiled power cord resize quickly, and the battery pack is surprisingly comfortable against bare skin thanks to a vented rubberized pad. The lamp housing adjusts vertically and is sticky enough to stay true while walking.

The big, sausage-finger-friendly button on top is smarter than your average honor student: Push once and you get the monster QuadPower LED, throwing 700 lumens out to about 100 meters and good for 75 hours. Push off and on again for the two SinglePower LEDs, 4 lumens for 14 meters for 175 hours. If that doesn’t get you through your epic, you’re probably calling for rescue, so triple-tap to get the SinglePower LEDs to strobe. Need to go tactical? Hold for 3 seconds to get to the night-vision-saving red LEDs.  And you can strobe, too.  Wanna go custom? Hold the button down to dim either white mode.

But wait, that’s not all. Hold the button down 6 seconds to lock the lamp to prevent premature discharge.  That’s still not all.  A small green-orange-red color lamp on the bottom front tells you how much battery life is left.  Brilliant light, brilliant design. Did we mention it’s able to withstand immersion for 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter?  For all this, you could expect to pay well north of $100, but no, our friends at BD are giving it away for around $80.  We never used the old Icon so we can’t comment on any differences, and frankly we don’t care.  Biking, climbing, whatever, if you’re in the market for a superbright, feature-laden, well-priced headlamp, you’re looking for the Icon.

Hits: Tons of features for a great price, and an awesomely bright light with a good run time.
Misses: No rechargeable option.
MSRP: $79.95
Website
Buy It ($63.96 at GearX.com)

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