Just In - Silva Ninox II Headtorch
New in for review is Silva's Ninox II headtorch, an 83g all-rounder that on weight at least, competes directly with the Petzl TIKKA PLUS2 and the Princeton Tec Remix as an all-round outdoors headtorch.
Like the TIKKA and the Remix the Ninox II is a single unit torch with the batteries at in the lighthead and like the other two torches it's powered by three AAA alkaline cells. In fact the mono-arm, cylindrical design is very similar to the Remix.
Where the Silva scores points though is on overall brightness - it kicks out a total of 140 claimed lumens, thats 40 more than the Remix and a whopping twice the output of the TIKKA PLUS2. Not only that, it uses Silva's Intelligent Light system, with one bright main spot beam backed up with a lower-powered flood to give a more even light distribution, something we've found excellent for off-road running use with Silva's brighter torches.
And first impressions are that the Ninox II is impressively bright for a small, self-contained headtorch on full whack. A second press of the button gives a lower power setting for round camp use - battery life claims are 30 hours and 90 hours respectively. There's a low level red-light option too which comes on with a long press either with the torch off or from the normal beam setting. Finally, once you switch off, there's a simple, post-mortem, batterylevel indicator light.
Happy When It Rains
The other plus of the Ninox II is that unlike most headtorches which are simply weather resistant, the Silva is properly waterproof with a rating of IPX7 - we chucked it un a wash baisin and it just kept on trucking regardless, A good call in UK conditions and if you want to use it, say, for paddling or rafting.
It's not all sunshine though. The battery-loading scenario is a proper faff. You use the buckle to remove a screw-off plate - it's not attached, so emminently droppable - then insert the three AAAs. the trouble is, two go one way, the third another, but there's no readable indication on the torch of what goes where and it too us around ten goes using the 'quick start' manual to load things up correctly and get the torch working.
On a dark, cold night, it would be a nightmare process. Add in tiny alignment marks on lid and body and the ability to fit the lid 180˚ out and you have a nightmare waiting to happen if you need to change batteries in the field.
Neat And Effective
That's a real shame, because otherwise the Ninox II seems like a really neat, effective little torch. Sure, it would be better if it were regulated for constant light output, but the combination of lightness, decent output, Silva's excellent Intelligent Light spread and that waterproofing, should make it a great all-round torch for anything from camping through to moderate running and climbing use.
It's just a shame that the battery compartment lid logistics make it a real faff in one important department. Full review to follow. Suggested retail price is £50, again roughly on a par with the competition.