August 1, 2013

Product Review: Princeton Tech Vizz

I've been looking for a good headlamp recently, one with a bit more power than those you find at Menards. 100 Lumens minimum with at least a 48 hour run time, even on the brightest setting. Connor, Ryan, Nora and I stopped in at REI a few nights ago to do just that. I didn't spend too much time mulling over my decision, since the store was closing within 15 minutes of us arriving there. Petzel lamps were there, as were others, but I settled upon the Princeton Tech Vizz headlamp. It had the right price point at $49.99USD, the correct brightness of 150 Lumens, and 110 to 150 hours of run-time, or burn-time as their site refers.

Princeton Tech Vizz (copied without permission)
The lamp is controlled by a single button on the top of the housing. A single click turns the pair of red LEDs on. A double-click turns on the narrow, bright beam. A long-press of the button turns on the dimmable pair of white LEDs. Three quick clicks from off will lock the lamp in off-mode to prevent battery drain.
I've now had two occasions to run with the lamp, as I execute my late night #runstreak strategy of crossing the midnight hour to qualify two days in one run. The lamp is exceptionally bright and easy to operate. The one thing I noticed right away is that the lamp tended to bounce as I ran, which I was quite surprised about at first. However, after short examination, the reason was quite obvious. Three triple A batteries in the housing makes it a bit front-heavy. Although the hinge to the mounting bracket seems to take the bouncing without moving (something that may change with age), the whole unit moves up and down on my head while running. To combat this, I tightened the strap. Finding a happy medium between comfort and smooth operation was a challenge.
Now I understood why some runners seem to prefer lamps that use a third strap over the top of your head and house the battery pack at the back. Lighting the trail is a much smoother experience by isolating the bouncing away from the actual lamp. Going from my Rayovac Sportsman, which has this type of strapping and battery housing strategy, to the PTECH VIZZ is a distracting, albeit much brighter experience.
For me, the PTECH VIZZ gets a 3.5 out of 5 Stars. The bouncing is pretty distracting to me, but everything else is spot on.