Small package, huge battery life, and a ridiculous amount of lumens make up for very counterintuitive controls
Excellent runtime on Low to High
Lightweight for what you get
Built-in rear light is ideal for runners/cyclists
Pass-thru battery is great for super long adventures/events
Tricky button situation
750 lumens is only possible for short bursts
Biolite, available at rei.com
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Whether you’re running in the early morning hours or after work as it starts to get dark earlier, or you’re heading out into some offseason adventures like hiking or backpacking, you need a good headlamp to keep you safe. Not all headlamps are created equally, though—many work well for hiking, but not so well for running. Though BioLite is relatively new to the headlamp game, they’ve been a favorite, due to the fact that all of their models work well for running—thanks to their low-profile design and slick headband. Their latest model, which is featured in our 2020 Holiday Gift Guide, the Biolite Headlamp 750 blows their previous offerings out of the water with 500 lumens on max (2 hours of runtime) and 750 lumens in a 30-second burst. Read on for more.
Biolite Headlamp 750 Review: The Basics
The first thing you need to know about the 750 is that the “750 lumens” claim is a little bit misleading as it only does this for 30-second bursts, not for extended runtimes. We’ll get into that a little bit more below, but for the other brightnesses, there is excellent runtime depending on run mode: 2-7 hours at high (500 lumens), 4-8.5 hours on medium (250 lumens), and 150 hours on low (5 lumens). It’s also IPX4 water resistant which means you can do just about anything except swim with it. In terms of lighting modes, it has a front light that does a red flood, a white spot, a shite flood, a spot-plus-flood, a white strobe, and the aforementioned 750-lumen, 30-second burst; the rear LED does a red strobe and a red flood. Broken up into two pieces, the lamp itself on the front, and the rechargeable battery/red light in the rear, the units are connected via a very smooth strap/light holder combo, with most of the weight in the rear. A single button in the front controls the front light, and two buttons in the back control the rear light and the 30-second burst, respectively.
Biolite Headlamp 750 Review: The Good
The big hits on this lamp were definitely the fit and the light weight. For this level of illumination (the 500-700-lumen range), you’re almost always looking at a separate battery pack, and 150 grams for a modular battery system is pretty decent. This helps with the fit, as you don’t need an over-the-head strap to keep this headlamp in place, which allows for more options when it comes to headwear and throwing it on quickly in the dark. The light patterns also work well for runners—the flood/rear red strobe is good for lit street areas so others can see you, and the spot-plus-flood is good for fast trails. Even the 30-second burst is a good option for those “oh #$@ what was that?” moments.
Biolite Headlamp 750 Review: The Ok
While the specs are great on this light, we really struggled with the buttons and user interface. Most lights do a hold for on, hold for off situation, with modes in between, but the 750 uses a held button to dim the lamp (which is great), and rather than a predictable cycle through modes, it has a memory feature that recalls the last mode turned on after you turn it off (with a single click). Furthermore, you need to turn off the light, then quickly double-tap the button to get back into a situation where you can cycle through the modes. Confused? Yeah, we were too, and it took a while to get the hang of this lamp without blinding other people around you.
Biolite Headlamp 750 Review: The Conclusions
There is a lot to love about this headlamp, and really only one thing that gets in its way. The learning curve on the buttons/modes is pretty steep, but once you get the hang of it, it’s (mostly) fine. And yet the big things, like fit, brightness, proper modes, and battery life all make the 750 a home run for runners (or hikers/backpackers). Spend some time with it before you take it out on the road/trail, and you’ll be good to go.