Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: Varies from $55 - $90 | Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros: Amazing bright light, waterproof to 1meter, robust design, bright light, strong battery life
Cons: Heavier than alternatives, expensive
Best Uses: Situations where water resistance, bright light, and long-battery life, are valuable.
Manufacturer: Princeton Tec
The Princeton Tec Apex offers a robust design, water-proof to 1 meter, with a strong spot light, good flood light, and strong battery life. It is the four AA battery version of the Princeton Tec Apex Pro. It performs very similarly to the Apex Pro in brightness which is to say it is the best "powerful high-beam" headlamp we tested. The buttons and operation are also essentially the same as the Apex Pro. The difference between the two is the Apex is heavier, lasts much longer, is a little less expensive, and takes convenient-to-find AA batteries. The lithium ion Apex Pro batteries are much more expensive and, more importantly, much harder to find. If you are on a long trip, you need to stock up on lithium-ion batteries because you never know if any of your buddies will have them and few stores carry them.
The benefit to the Princeton Tec Apex Pro lithium-ion batteries is that the Apex Pro is much lighter and less bulky than the Apex. While the Apex is much bulkier than the Petzl Myo XP and the Black Diamond Icon, the Apex Pro is in the same weight class.
Overall, we like the powerful light so much of the Apex that we do prefer it over the Icon or Myo XP with the caveat that it is not quite as bomber and durable as either of those two. If you are on a strict budget, we would probably lean toward the Icon. If you care about weight, we would get the Apex Pro which is lighter and more compact. But if you don't mind a few extra ounces, the Apex is one of the best headlamps out there. In our field testing, we ran across a mountain biker at night who had an expensive lighting system that wasn't nearly as bright as the Apex. While the Apex is not one of the lighter headlamps, it does have ton of brightness relative to its size. The only down sides are the weight and fact that the buttons are not 100% intuitive to use. But those are just minor points. This headlamp excels where it counts: a bright light that last a long time.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Princeton Tec Apex is the pinnacle of waterproof LED headlamp design, boasting up to 130 lumens of output. With its 4 light levels, safety flash mode, and impact-resistant design, the Apex is an ideal headlamp for any hardcore adventure. The Apex combines a regulated Maxbright LED with 4 regulated Ultrabright LEDs, for constant brightness on all modes. Switching modes has never been easier – the dual switch system allows you to independently control the intense, smooth, long-range lighting from the Maxbright LED, and the wide-angle, close-range lighting from the 4 Ultrabright LEDs.
This headlamp appears to have been replaced by a rechargeable $149 version that we haven't tested.
It also looks like the apex pro price has been lowered to make it less expensive than the normal apex used to be.
— RJ Spurrier
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: December 7, 2012
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