Stylish, lightweight and affordable, the Beta Headlamp from UCO is a simple, convenient way to cut through the darkness of night. This is my review:
The Beta is a 200 lumen, 1.8 ounce headlamp that’s powered by three AAA batteries. It has an adjustable headband that currently comes in three different designs, a slick real wood facade, and three different light intensity levels controlled by a sign button. The lense is also adjustable, allowing for a narrow or wide beam by twisting the front.
Using the headlamp is a simple as it can get. A single button toggles between low, medium and high brightness, with another click turning the headlamp back off. Adjusting the sizing of the band is just a matter of sliding the simple plastic adjuster left and right, and once in place it stays locked firmly in position. Adjusting the beam is also simple, with the ring around the lens easily rotating to narrow or widen the stream. Fumbling around in the dark for the headlamp I was always easily able to find the power button thanks the soft, rubbery texture, making it easy to power. Gloves haven’t been an issue either as the power button stands up from the body just enough to make it easy to depress and distinguish, while also never turning on inadvertently in my pack.
I’ve also been quite impressed with the weight of the headlamp itself,, although the final weight will depend on the type of batteries you choose (lithium batteries are the lightest I’m aware of). Coming in at 1.8 ounces without batteries, or about 2.3 ounces with traditional alkaline batteries. Pleasingly, a standard set of alkaline batteries will get you about 100 hours of burn time on low or 30 hours on the high setting. The lamp doesn’t seem to discharge over time when not in use either, although I’ve only been testing it for about 3 months now. It’s a bit of a bummer that a rechargeable version of the Beta isn’t available, but the low cost and efficiency of the lamp mostly makes up for that.
I’ve found it to be bright enough for all of my typical outings, easily lighting up a tent or doing a decent job of illuminating a dark trail deep in the woods. I generally keep the lamp at the low settings in camp but often require setting it to high for actual hiking in the dark.
As far as comfort goes, I’ve had no complaints. It sits comfortably against the forehead despite having no real padding aside from the band itself, mostly thanks to the wide, slightly curved platform it’s built around. It stays in place while hiking and mostly sits tight during a jog also, but I wouldn’t recommend it for full on running.
I really like the Uco Beta. It’s lightweight, powerful enough for backpacking and for use around the house. It has also held up great to light rain despite not actually being rated as waterproof. It’s a shame there is no rechargeable version, but given the cost, lovely aesthetics and price point, I really can’t hold that against it. I love the elegant simplicity of the design as a while and UCO’s willingness to step outside of the box with the visual design is really refreshing. As a whole, it’s a great headlamp and is easy to recommend.
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