BioLite have been steadily adding to their headlamp range since their inaugural Headlamp 200. The most recent arrival is the Headlamp 750. This is a truly ‘pro’ level headlamp aimed at ultra endurance athletes, winter and alpine climbers or anyone needing to train in the hours of darkness. As with the majority of headlamps at this level the Headlamp 750 comprises of a front light unit and a rear battery pack (that also includes red safety LEDs). BioLite’s specifications read as follows:
- Max output 750 lumens (this is a short burst feature)
- Dimmable red, white, strobe & burst mode
- Dimmable rear red visibility light with solid & strobe
- Front panel tilts downward with one hand
- LOW 150 hours(5lm),
- MEDIUM 8.5hrs (250lm)
- HIGH 7 hours(500lm),
- RESERVE 8 hours (5lm)
- 3000 mAh li-ion battery recharges via micro USB
- Weight 150g
Alongside these basic figures there are also some special features that the Headlamp 750 posses, namely ‘Constant Mode’ and ‘Run Forever’.
Constant Mode can be selected by pressing right battery pack button for 5 seconds, this being confirmed by a small blue LED with a ‘C’ next to it on the battery pack. Press the right battery pack button for 5 seconds again switches back to ‘Regulated’ output. Constant Mode gives you maximum lumens with no decrease over time in each Medium and High setting but this does reduce your runtime before you hit reserve to 4hrs in Medium and only 2hrs in reserve. This could be useful for instance if you have a couple of long technical pitches to complete and maximum light is vital. Regulated mode is akin to the performance of most headlamps whereby the lumens output will auto regulate to preserve battery power (decrease) over the allotted runtime, something we frequently don’t notice as our eyes have adjusted to the conditions. To be honest I didn’t use the Constant Mode as I preferred the security of longer runtimes when climbing but I could envisage scenarios where it could be useful especially if combined with the next feature ‘Run Forever’.
Run Forever mode was sadly nothing to do with boosting my fatigued legs! Rather it a system allowing pass through charging where you can attach a reserve battery pack such as those used to charge mobile phones and basically run the Headlamp 750 indefinitely – well as long as your collection of battery packs lasts! BioLite provide a ‘Run Forever’ cable together with a clothes clip. Add something like the Biolite Charge 20 PD for £34 and you get 6000mAh or the slimline Anker Powerbank for around £22 with 10000mAh of battery life to add to the Headlamp 750’s 3000mAh. Now I don’t know if that truly doubles/triples the runtime in reality but it certainly going to get you through the longest of winter nights at any Latitude below 60°! A potential added bonus is you can keep the power bank in a warm pocket reducing cold induced battery drain but I’ve not tested this.
With such a feature rich headlamp the downside is always going to be the user interface – which button do I press to get it to do what I want! To be fair I think BioLite have done a decent job but it pays to spend a little time reading the manual. All headlamp settings bar the 750lm burst are activated from the single front unit button. There is the facility to ‘lock’ the headlamp by depressing this for 8seconds and the lamp will flash to confirm lock/unlock. After that selecting the lighting mode you want is a matter of pressing the button 1X – 5X, 1X gives a red flood (useful reference point) and 4X gives a combo white flood/spot, which is what I used most often. Once set a single press turns the Headlamp 750 off and it ‘remembers’ your last setting. Holding the button down acts like a dimer switch increasing or decreasing brightness with the limits indicated by a rapid flash. I found the dimer feature handy to dial in the brightness to conditions when running or climbing. On the rear battery pack the right hand button access the 750lm ‘boost’ mode which gives you 30seconds of super brightness to spot those abseil anchors or pick out a distant stile in a stone wall. If the lamp is switched off this button also operates the battery level indicator. The left hand rear button operates the rear red LEDs 1X giving a strobe and 2X giving constant. These are great for night runs that may involve sections of dark country lanes – especially those last few km back to the pub/bar or accommodation!
Firstly this is an excellent headlamp particularly for the ‘power users’ in both senses of the word. The corollary of that is that it takes a little time to get familiar with and if you use it only occasionally you may get frustrated by the options on offer. If you are a runner who trains frequently in the dark or who enjoys Ultras where you are likely to be running a significant time in darkness this is a great choice. Likewise if you climb in winter and will be completing pitches in the dark and descending complex terrain the Headlamp 750 is a perfect match, although like so many headlamps the buttons are not truly winter glove friendly. The signature 3D Slimfit with integrated cable worked OK with helmet clips but did make it a little more awkward to mount but there again I have to take my gloves off to do this anyway – if you have a trick or technique to doing this with gloves on let me know!
On the subject of the 3D Slimfit I can’t see how you can easily replace this if/when the elastic perishes. This may be a moot point as most folk replace their headlamp before the elastic wears out but if you’re professional or heavy user who ‘eats’ headlamp elastics be aware. The distributers in the UK have had no issues with the 3D Slimfit headband and I can see no wear on my review sample after 12 months so this is a hypothetical criticism! For a headlamp of this power it has great comfort and is pretty much bounce free with no pressure points or ‘headachy’ sensation.
Biolite has a social and environmental mission to provide clean electricity and reduce fuel usage and smoke related health and environmental issues in Low Income Countries through their solar powered lighting and HomeStoves. So you can feel a little bit warm and fuzzy hopefully knowing that some of your hard earned cash will help fund technology to improve the quality of life for less fortunate folk.
- Feature rich but (relatively) easy to use
- Good beam pattern
- ‘Run Forever’ feature
- Comfortable especially when running
- Biolite’s social and environmental ethos
- Buttons not truly winter glove friendly (like pretty much all the headlamps out there!)
- At the upper end of the weight range at 150g
- Replaceability question of 3D Slimfit band
Disclaimer – CGR reviewers are never paid to provide a review and the website does not take advertising. We are a bunch of keen climbers and travellers that accept sample products and offer an honest and independent review of the item. The reviewer will often keep the sample after reviewing it for both hygiene reasons and more often they’re in no fit state to return!