Just In - Exposure Verso Headtorch
New in for review is the Exposure Verso headtorch, an unusual and versatile British-made design from bike lighting specialist Exposure Lights that's quite unlike anything else out there and not in a bad way.
Exposure has been making cycling lights for years now specialising in super-bright, all-in-one, LED units that can take advantage of supplementary back-up batteries for increased burn time and, in recent years, programmable options that allow you to change brightness and burn-time settings on the fly.
The Verso takes all these advantages and translates it into headtorch form. The light comes in a classy zip-together storage case and includes the light head itself, a headband complete with snap-on mounting bracket, in our case one of Exposure's EXPSC17 support cells, a top strap and a mains charger.
The light head itself is tiny but perfectly formed. It weighs just 41g - 69g with headband and attachment - and comes complete with an internal CR123 rechargeable Lithium Ion battery, which you can swap on the move if needed. There's a gold-plated charging point with a substantial rubber cap and a great big, easily located switch on the left of the unit.
There's a single, high-powered Cree XPG LED with a claimed maximum output of 250 lumens in a nice medium sort of spread. And here's where it gets clever. The Verso comes in mode 1 giving three levels - the switch changes colour with each one - and burn times of one, three and nine hours respectively for high, medium and low.
If you want more burn time at the expense of ultimate light output, you can choose a different programme. Just hold the switch down and release after a number of flashes and you can have a two, six and 12-hour option. Or if you just want high and low settings, choose one of the two-mode variants.
It sounds complicated, but in reality, it's dead simple to use and has the advantage over, say, Petzl's OS, that you can use it on the move without access to a computer.
But what it you want more burn time? Enter the 1700mA support cell (51g), a snazzy, carbon-clad battery that clips neatly onto the rear of the headband and increases burn time by three times. That gives you three, nine and 27 hours in the highest mode or six, 18 and a whopping 54 hours in low. And of course, you could carry an additional support cell if you chose.
Speaking of which, higher-capacity support cells are also available and with a longer cable, you could stash one in a pocket for better cold conditions output and even greater extended burn time.
One caveat. Unlike Exposure's bike lights, the Verso's internal battery can't be charged with USB and we're not sure on the support cell. That may sound like a small thing, but if you're expeditioning with no access to a mains charger, if could be a real sticking point.
For reference, low mode is really a pottering about camp sort of setting, high is, we reckon, good for general trail running while the second setting will suit most active walking use. And of course you can switch easily between the settings as you or even re-programme the torch.
Traffic Light Fuel Gauge
The main function button also works as a fuel gauge with a traffic light-type green, orange and red plus red flashing indication as the battery runs down. A nice idea that works well with bike lights, but isn't quite so handy with a head torch as you can't see the switch, so you're reliant on your mates to notice.
The Verso feels comfortable on as well, note that the headband is Velcro-fastened and adjustable, making it very easy to put on and adjust - we'll be checking snow compatability carefully though - it's comfortable enough and the light pivots smoothly on the clip-in mount without slippage when running. Neat.
We've been using Exposure's bike lights for years now and they're superbly built, all-weather capable and backed up with great customer service and we don't see why the Verso shouldn't be the same.
Not Cheap, But Unique
At £120 for the basic light-unit and strap, the Verso isn't cheap and, to be honest, we'd go for the £145 Verso plus support cell pack tested here unless you're prepared to accept either relatively short burn time for running say and/or don't mind juggling CR123 battery packs on the go.
The plus side is a mix of bombproof metal build quality, weather resistance and superb lighting versatility that makes it pretty much unique. We love the programmability, easy to use switch and modes, impressive light output and the ability to supplement the built-in battery with a support cell.
And of course, it's British designed and made, produced to work in our godforsaken wet, winter climate.
We'll report back with a full review in the few weeks.
Full details at www.use1.com/exposure-lights/adventure-lights/verso.