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August 2019 Issue
Home / Gear reviews / Headlamps

Princeton Tec Snap



Our Rating:

At a glance
Modular design, magnetic lamp, easy on/off and dimming.
Minuses: Comfort, weight.

200 lumens / 36m / 99g

Features: The Snap’s lighting features are the most basic of any headlamp: a large, glove-friendly on/off button also dims and brightens the single white light which has a range of up to 36m and a run time of 40hr on high, but the light gradually dims as the battery wains. But where the Snap mixes things up is in its modular design where the magnetic lamp unit can be switched between three separate housings depending on the end use: as a headlamp, handlebar-mounted bike light or a lantern mount with carabiner clip.

Comfort: On-the-go adjustments of the headband are not easy – I found it simpler to take the lamp off to tighten or loosen it. Despite being a bulky lamp, it didn’t jiggle around too much.

In use: A magnet on the lamp ‘snaps’ it securely into each housing and it can be pulled out easily. The lamp can also be used without one of the housings and attached to any metallic item using the magnet. In this way, it can be used as a work light or for ambient room lighting. The lantern mount is perfect for use inside a tent.

I used the headlamp housing most often, but also tested the handlebar mount on a couple of night rides. This is held in place with a rubber loop that is easily flicked off when it’s time to pack it away.

The lamp provides a floodlight with a wide beam that offers a decent range. The dimmer is instantly responsive and because the button is so large, it’s easy to find – essential when moving quickly on a bike. Because the light doesn’t have a brightness memory, each time it is switched on it needs to be adjusted to the required brightness, but because there’s only one light mode it is less annoying on this model than some other headlamps.

Value: For a headlamp, it’s getting expensive, but for a headlamp-bike light-lantern, it’s starting to look like a bargain.

Verdict: A multi-functional lamp that can work in the tent, on the trail, on your bike and in your garage. But being a generalist makes it less comfortable and not quite as good as a dedicated headlamp for tramping.