LED Lenser XE0 19R Headtorch | Review
The brightest head torch in the world, probably, the monstrous XE0 19R is plenty powerful, but there's more to lighting than sheer lumens...
'Huge amounts of power and Mad Professor modular versatility, but it's very heavy if you're not on a bike and the fiddly controls frustrated us. Clever, but ultimately excessive.'
Outdoors Magic: Huge amounts of power, modular system and optional mounts allow bike and helmet mounting, ample burn time, individual zoom and beam control, good water resistance, double as a USB power bank.
Outdoors Tragic: Very heavy, slightly plasticky and we broke one zoom control, expensive given the alternatives.
Outdoors Grabbit? It's easy to be blown away by the sheer brightness of the XE0 19R and it's modular versatility is impressive in a mad professor way, but while it makes a bright bike light, it's too heavy for running use unless you mount the battery remotely and the subtleties of the multi-functional control knob are baffling. We ended up seeing more as a bike-light than an all-rounder and the weight compromises it for more general use. Plus we broke it, which was disquieting. Overall we reckon there are better options unless you simply must have a high-powered bike light that you can also use on your head.
Twin zoomable and separately controlled LEDs / claimed 2000-lumen output / modular mounting system and attachments available / extension cord for remote battery mounting / USB charging port on battery for use with smartphones etc / IPX6 water resistance / low battery warning / rechargeable li Ion battery pack
Full Review Below
LED Lenser XE0 19R Headtorch | Performance
With its massive spec, huge light output and Alien-style sci-fi aesthetics, it's easy to get blown away by the XE0 19R. On paper it looks fantastic: a 2000-lumen output with 300m claimed beam range. Head-band mounting or a remote cord so you can carry the battery pack in a rucksack or pocket. Modular attachments to let you use the light on a bike. Or a helmet. Or probably mounted on a llama.
Plus twin zoomable LEDs that you can control individually with Boost, Low Power and Optisense settings. It's pretty much waterproof too, rated to IPX6 which means it'll withstand jets of water fired at it.
But, and yes, there is a BUT, for all the serious light levels, we found it had some serious flaws. For starters, although the head band arrangement is surprisingly comfortable, it's way too heavy for head-mounted running use and tiring for walking more than short distances.
The answer is to stick the 285g battery pack in a bum-bag or pack, but even then, you don't really need that level of lighting for running or walking.
On a bike - there's an optional bar mount and battery top-tube mount attachment, it's a decent high-powered bar light for off road use, but we've used lighter, more compact lights which put out as much power with reduced weight.
And then there's the control button. We found it baffling. The central switch can be used to control both LEDs simultaneously with a central push or you can use quartered peripheral presses to control individual LEDs and modes.
Fiddly with gloves on, we found it easiest to simply treat it as an on/off switch especially when head mounted with gloves on.
None of that detracts from the light's sheer brightness and one nice feature is the zoomable LEDs. Each side has a switch that propels the lens forward and narrows the beam to a focussed spot. Unfortunately we broke the lefthand one with minimal force, though to be fair, we found a mix of spot and beam worked well for all-round use anyway, so it was no great loss.
The mechanism feels worryingly fragile and plasticky though for a £275 light and the housing itself has a slightly brittle feel that doesn't augur well for hard impacts. Not ideal for a mountain bike light.
LED Lenser XE0 19R Headtorch | Verdict
On paper the XE0 19R sounded amazing and, if you're not used to high-powered bike lights, the sheer lumen count will blow you away. But while the light is a decent enough mountain bike bar light - it's too dazzling for road use - it's still heavy for what it is.
For running and walking use it has more power than you can actually use and the near 500g weight makes it a no-go for full head use. Instead you need to carry the bull battery pack elsewhere. Throw in plasticky build quality and a fiddly control switch with multiple confusing modes and we reckon there are better solutions for multi-use lighting.
For the price, you could buy a perfectly good 2000-lumen bike light AND a well-developed running or general outdoors headtorch. In short, we reckon the XE0 19R is too clever, too heavy and too fragile for its own good.