Light and Motion Urban 350 Review
Cons: Not an especially bright or long beam, short battery life
Manufacturer: Light and Motion
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
There are many fantastic lights to choose from, and each one offers unique benefits over the other. The Urban 350 is not nearly as bright as the Light and Motion Urban 800 nor is it as inexpensive as the Cateye HL-EL135, so it lies in a kind of no man's land with great quality and design and middle of the road performance. However, for its power and price range it throws a notably bright and even beam, which does an excellent job illuminating the road in front of you. For this reason give this light our Best Buy Award.
Brightness is generally considered to be the most important consideration when purchasing a bike light in regards to safety, thus, we weighted this category the heaviest, filling out 40% of our overall metric scoring system. The Light and Motion Urban 350 was exactly middle of the dusty trail in this category with a score of 5 out of 10.
We measured the maximum beam distance of the Urban 350 to be almost 110-meters, or about 360-feet, which was just 10-meters shy of the Metro 400 and about 15-meters short of the Cygolite Metro 550.
These photos below show how the Light and Motion Urban 350, on the left, compares to both the Metro 400, upper right, and the Metro 550, on the lower right, in terms of beam distance.
One unique feature to all of the Light and Motion models we tested is the amber sidelights. These are designed to make you more visible from a side view. While some of our testers found great comfort in this feature, others found it rather distracting. Although most accidents occur due to low visibility head on, it is debatable whether the amber side lights actually add to your overall safety while riding at night.
For both your visibility to others, as well as your ability to see ahead of you, ideally the best beam pattern is one that allows you to see far ahead of you as well as being wide and even. The Urban 350's biggest strength is its wide, even beam pattern. It beat out the Cyrgolite Metro models here, with a score of 8 out of 10.
We love the evenly lit, wide beam pattern, especially while riding on city streets. Even though it throws its beam slightly less distance than the Cyrgolite models, we think that in practice the wide beam of the 360 allows you to see more clearly as you ride. The smooth 360-degree swivel is also a nice addition for reading street signs or numbers on houses. However, the Urban 350 did not quite compare to the higher powered Light and Motion Taz 1500 model, which has a much broader and brighter beam.
Here you can see the beam pattern comparison between the Light and Motion Urban 350, on the left, with the Taz 1500 powerhouse.
The Light and Motion Urban 350 uses a USB rechargeable battery, that fell short to the Cyrgolite Metro models by only a quarter of an hour. We measured 1.5 hours of battery life on high mode; the Urban 350's results here falls on the lower end of the spectrum of all of the lights tested, but are comparable to the Light and Motion Urban 800, as well as the NiteRider Lumina 550 and Knog Blinder Arc 1.7.
Although the battery life is similar to the higher scoring Lumina 550, you can see in our battery life versus beam distance chart the variation in consistency between loss of power and loss of distance. While the Urban 350 stays pretty constant until just before losing power, the Lumina 550 tapers off around the 1.3 hour mark and distance wavering before it shuts down.
The Light and Motion models are some of the easiest lights we tested to install and move to other handlebars. The Urban 350's rubber strap acts like a belt around your handlebar, because it is made of of stretchy rubber, it is easy to secure the mount rather tightly while still maintaining the ability for small adjustments while riding. However, because it is so easy to stretch the rubber, it is also easy for you to get the band tight enough that it may require two hands to remove the light and mounting system.
We also love the low weight and feel this light can easily be thrown into bags or jacket pockets; however, it is slightly on the large side to slip into girl jeans. Like we said above, the 360-degree smooth swivel is a great bonus, as well as the power button being raised and easy to locate while riding. The amber side lights also add a small amount of illumination for finding the button while riding dark streets.
We found this light to be a great all-purpose bike light. With a wide, even beam pattern, it easily illuminates streets as well as short, evening trail rides. The addition of the smooth 360-degree swivel is a great feature for the sometimes necessary awkward, slanting handlebar attachment, as well as easily reading addresses and street signs without moving the handlebar.
Light and Motion claims a waterproof rating of IP67, meaning that they've tested it to be fully waterproof in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes. So, the next time you go scuba diving, you might leave this light at home, but if you need to ride home in a down pour, then you can count on this light to stay true.
This light is a great contender for our Best Buy Award, competing with the Cygolite Metro 400 and the CatEye Volt 300, with all three lights falling close to the $60 price point. However, the Metro 400 scored slightly higher across the board, and, for the price, the CatEye Volt out scored both of these lights in brightness.
We gave the Best Buy award to the Light and Motion Urban 350 after examining the comparison between beam quality with the CatEye Volt; the Urban 350 took the prize for a wider, more evenly lit beam.
As well as during our field testing, we felt that the Urban 350 better lit objects in our peripheral vision as well as in the distance to that of the CatEye Volt. Check out more of our beam testing results, here.
This is a great light, with a quality beam, and comes with some unique features, such as the smooth swivel and amber side lights. If these features are important to you, then this is a light to consider.
Other Versions and Accessories
Light and Motion comes with a full range of models within the Urban family. The Urban 350 comes in an array of colors, such as the Shock Top, Obsidian Stout, and Blue Moon (which we tested here), all for just $60. You can also purchase a helmet mount for an additional $10.We tested the Light and Motion Urban 800 in Fast Charge, which also comes in Burning River for $130. Unlike the Urban 350, the Urban 800 models include a helmet compatible mount.
— Gentrye Houghton