Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: Varies from $53 - $55 | Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros: Good floodlight, robust design, good battery life.
Cons: Heavier than alternatives, no spotlight capability, low beam performance for weight.
Best Uses: Situations where a bright, even floodlight is valuable.
The Princeton Tec Corona offers eight LEDs that present a strong floodlight with a bright even light. It has respectable scores for trail finding in close proximity. That said, it does not compete well against most lights that are either much lighter, much more powerful or both. For example, the Coast HL7 is almost half the weight and yet scores much higher on all beam performance metrics. The Black Diamond Icon comes in a similar package and weight and yet scores much higher in almost every rating metric.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Corona regulated-LED headlamp floods your entire field of vision with an even distribution of light. Designed to reduce eye fatigue, the Corona's wide beam eliminates the need for your eyes to adjust quickly from very bright to dark areas, as they do with standard, narrow beam lights. Excellent peripheral lighting simulates normal daylight conditions and allows you to take advantage of your entire field of vision without moving your head.
The Corona has good trail finding capabilities, but headlamps that are about the same cost and weight (or even lighter and less expensive) perform much better. For example, the Black Diamond Spot is much lighter, less expensive, and still scored and 8 of 10 for trail finding to the Corona's 7 of 10. As you can see below in the comparison with the Icon, the Icon, which is about the same weight and size, has a much more powerful beam
Again, the score here of 7 of 10 was good but just not all that great. As you can see below in the comparison against the Icon which scored 9 of 10, the Icon casts a much more even beam over a wider area.
This score was average: 5 of 10. In high beam mode, the Corona lasted 8.3 hours on the ANSI scale (learn more about ANSI in the full Headlamp Review ). This was about the same as the Icon. But as you can see in this battery life vs. beam distance graph, the Icon's beam shined 10-30 meters farther during that time.
The claimed low mode run time is low for such a heavy headlamp that is not all that bright. The Icon claims to go for 175 hours in low mode and the Spot lasts for 200 hours.
We were surprised by the low brightness score with eight LED lights. In a fairly heavy package with big AA batteries, we thought it would do better. It shined only 51 meters in our max distance test compared to the Icon's 80 meters and the Coast's 128 meters.
On our brightness meter: we measured only 41 lux compared to the Icon's 99 or the Coast's 258.
This is one of the heavier models tested. Only the icon and a few others were heavier. The heavy weight would be more forgivable if this light put out more lumens.
Ease of Use
Again, the scores were not that exceptional for your ease-of-use or gloved use.
At $55, this is in a premium priced product. Many higher scoring headlamps, including the two Editors' Choice winners, cost far less.
While this is a solid headlamp with good trail finding and close proximity scores, it's too heavy and expensive for the performance it delivers. Check out the Black Diamond Icon if you want a long lasting powerful beam, the Coast HL7 if you want a powerful beam at a great price and the Black Diamond Spot if you want a combination of battery life, beam power and low weight.
— RJ Spurrier and Chris McNamara
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: January 13, 2014
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