Suprabeam V4pro Rechargeable Headtorch | Review
High-powered Danish Suprabeam V4pro has loads of good points, but we found light mode selection tricky and switch placement frustrating.
'Made in Denmark, the Suprabeam V4 Pro is beautifully made with an excellent bright, well-designed beam, but switch positioning makes it easy to switch on or off inadvertently. '
Outdoors Magic: Beautifully made, excellent light output and beam pattern, comfortable on the head, stepless dimming, removable Lithium Polymer battery, easy to use while wearing gloves. Red rear warning light. Battery reserve light is genius.
Outdoors Tragic: Placement of switch makes it easy to click while adjusting light angle, wiring connection vulnerable, red light activation not intuitive.
Outdoors Grabbit? There's lots of good stuff about the Suprabeam, the 'mixed' beam gives loads of light with a good, useable pattern, it's generally nicely made with a robust feel and it's comfortable in use. That said, the positioning of the main switch means it can be triggered too easily in error and we had issues with the durability of the wiring between battery and head unit. There's also no way of locking out the switch for transport and battery life from the neat, removable, lithium polymer cell is relatively short when used at the 400-lumen 'high' setting. In essence there's a lot of good stuff here, but also some annoying flaws.
Mixed beam spot with 800-lumen boost, 400-lumen high and stepless dimming options / rear red safety light / grey anodised aluminium housing / head band to fit 50-70cm circumference / Li-ion Polymer (10.4 Wh / 3.7 V) battery / BOOST: 800 lm / Dimmer: 12-400 lm output / Splash Waterproof IPx4
Full Review Below
Suprabeam V4pro Rechargeable Headtorch | Performance
There's plenty to like about the Danish Suprabeam V4Pro. For a start it has a sturdy, 'ready for business', vibe to it with a purposeful, grey anodised light-head that adjusts with a solid, purposeful feel.
There's technology too, a compact, removable Lithium Polymer battery pack gives more bang per gramme than the more commonly-used Lithium Ion alternative and the spec on paper is impressive.
The single LED, for example, has what Suprabeam calls a 'mixed beam' with a central 10˚ spot for penetration with a wider 30˚ halo for more flood and improved balance and peripheral vision - vital when running as overly focussed beams seem to impact on balance on the move. Ideally you want a wide, floody beam for running.
The Suprabeam delivers nicely on that front as well as being comfortable and stable on the head. It has a choice of outputs controlled by a single switch on the underside of the head. A single longish 0.8-second press turns it on at the same brightness you last used. A further 0.8-second press gives you the impressively bright boost mode.
Or, if you simply keep holding the button down, when you switch on, you go into stepless dimming mode, with a choice of anything from 400 lumens to 12 - choose the minimum and you have a theoretical 100 hours of low level light.
It's not, in all honesty, the most intuitive system ever, but with use you do get the hang of it eventually. Also switchable is the rear flashing safety light, which is operated again by the main switch using a 3.6-second hold. It would be a lot easier to have a simple switch on the battery compartment.
One really nice touch is the automatic battery reserve. Once you reach the last 10% of battery capacity, the light fades down to between 10 and 15% of maximum output giving you between 30 and 60 minutes to get home albeit with reduced lighting. If you've ever been caught short on battery power, you'll appreciate just how handy this can be.
All of which is impressively clever. Less popular with testers was the positioning of the switch on the underside of the light head. It made it incredibly easy to accidentally trigger the switch when changing beam angle.
Heart of Darkness
And to make things worse, when you do that, even momentarily, the light just switches off pitching you into total darkness. Not good. It's the only headlight we've ever used with an underside switch and we can't help thinking that it's simply wrong. A longer press switch off would at least stop the instant darkness experience.
Our other, long-term issue is also related to the switch. We managed to break the connector plug on the battery box wire because to avoid the light switching on in transit, you have to disconnect the battery and it's simply not robust enough for repeated connections. A way of locking out the switch would make this far less of an issue.
Suprabeam V4pro Rechargeable Headtorch | Verdict
There's loads to like about the Suprabeam, it's neatly made, puts out lashings of very useable light and scores bonus points for that inspired battery reserve feature. It's comfortable on the head and there's an optional extension lead for remote battery carriage in cold conditions too.
Where it doesn't quite hit the mark though is first with an interface that's slightly non-intuitive with too many button push combos to easily remember. And secondly with the positioning of its underside switch that's far too easy to hit by mistake and, when you do, simply plunges you into darkness.
We also reckon the battery cable connectors are a little fragile for repeated connection and disconnection, something encouraged by the lack of a lock-out to prevent accidental turning on in you pack.
Work your way round those flaws - or simply get used to them - and it's a cracking light for short to medium, fast-moving missions, but all our testers were thrown by the switch positioning and found the various lighting modes hard to get used to.