Black Diamond Astro Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Lightweight, small size, excellent flood beam, great price
Cons: Too weak a beam for trail finding or distance viewing
Manufacturer: Black Diamond
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Black Diamond Astro
|Price||$14.96 at Backcountry|
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|$19.95 at REI|
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$9.98 at Amazon
|$25 List||$24.95 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Lightweight, small size, excellent flood beam, great price||Super easy to use, inexpensive, solid performance, compact, and reliable||Attractive price, good flood lighting, easy to use||Light, small, relatively inexpensive, good battery life||Thoughtfully designed for use by young kids, child-proof battery area, not too bright, fun color option|
|Cons||Too weak a beam for trail finding or distance viewing||Good but not great spot beam for trail finding, slightly below average flood beam optics||Below average spot beam, below average quality||Below average lighting||Not a great light for grown-ups or even older kids, poor battery life|
|Bottom Line||Offers great close proximity lighting at a budget price||For $20, the Tikkina offers impressive performance at a great price, that will meet most people's needs||Good enough performance, at a good price, but the Tikkina is a better long-term value||A good quality & lightweight product, but wedged in between the ultralight e+LITE, and the better Tikkina||A reasonably priced light that is our Top Pick for Kids|
|Rating Categories||Black Diamond Astro||Petzl Tikkina||Energizer Vision HD||Black Diamond Ion||Black Diamond Wiz|
|Trail Finding (35%)|
|Close Proximity (20%)|
|Battery Life (15%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Black Diamond Astro||Petzl Tikkina||Energizer Vision HD||Black Diamond Ion||Black Diamond Wiz|
|Measured Beam Distance||38 m||62 m||45 m||44 m||7 m|
|Claimed Distance||35 m||55 m||40 m||38 m||20 m|
|Measured High Mode Run-time (ANSI)||4.8 hrs||3.5 hrs||8.7 hrs||7.4 hrs||3.3 hrs|
|Claimed High Mode Run-time||20 hrs||60 hrs||8 hrs||6 hrs||5 hrs|
|Measured Low Mode Run-time||95 hrs||223 hrs||74 hrs||115 hrs||3.3 hrs|
|Claimed Low Mode Run-time||80 hrs||220 hrs||8 hrs||180 hrs||120 hrs|
|Measured Weight||3 oz, 86 g||2.9 oz, 83 g||3.1 oz, 89 g||1.9 oz, 53 g||2.3 oz, 65 g|
|Battery Type||3 AAA||3 AAA||3 AAA||2 AAA||2 AAA|
|Water Resistance||IPX4 splash proof||IPX4 splash proof||water resistant||IPX8 waterproof beyond one meter||IPX4 splash proof|
|Manuf Claimed Lumens||150 lumens||150 lumens||180 lumens||100 lumens||30 lumens|
|Beam Type||flood, dimmable||flood||flood/spot||flood/spot||flood|
|Red Light||no||no||no||yes||kids multi-color|
|On Switch Lock||yes||no||no||no||no, 2 hr auto-shutoff|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Astro is a high-quality headlamp that is reasonably priced, compact and simple-to-use, yet offers performance for close proximity work that is better than you might expect.
This is not the best trail finding headlamp - it just doesn't have that much umph — and only gets a 3 of 10 score. This is the main advantage of the Best Buy winning Petzl Tikkina (5 of 10 score) as demonstrated by the side-by-side photos below.
However, the Tikkina works OK at distance, certainly passable, where the Astro is not a headlamp we recommended for serious nighttime hikes or any situation where a long-distance beam thow is required.
Close proximity is the Astro's strongest feature. Not only did it score well with an 7 of 10, it scored better than some headlamps that cost 3 times as much. It casts a nicely diffused, wide, evenly lit beam.
The battery life is above average, scoring 6 of 10. It lasted 4.8 hours in high mode, which is only OK for a beam with under-par brightness like the Astro. But, low-mode output lasted 95 hours, an impressive amount (although far outdistanced by the Tikkina's >200 hours).
The Astro uses (3) AAA batteries, which are easy to replace.
At 3 ounces the Astro is light and small, typical of the lower cost lights. It is not nearly as lightweight as the Petzl e+LITE (1 ounce, 27 grams) but it also costs less, is easier to use, and offers better overall performance.
Ease of Use
The Astro is quite easy to use for basic functionality with a single button that has a nice tactile feedback. It has a nice feature of remembering its last brightness setting, so if you turn it off, it turns back on at the previous level of brightness. It also offers the ability to lock the on switch, which is neat, but we found it a bit tricky to access without referring to the manual since a long button press operates both the dimming feature and the on-switch lock.
The Astro's large single button is easy to use with gloves on.
This could be the ideal headlamp for you for around home and camp. It casts a soft, even light which not only makes it easy to find things, you won't be blinding your fellow campers. If your main use will be close-proximity, the Astro is an excellent choice that will serve you well. It is not the headlamp you want for following a difficult and confusing trail at night or going cross-country.
The Astron is an excellent value at $20 list, and often available for less online. It was a contender for our Best Buy award. But, the Petzl Tikkina beat it out as our Best Buy winner because at the same price it offers a stronger beam, that shines nearly twice as far, and much better battery life.
While this is not quite the Best Buy winner, we recommend the Astro without hesitation for those who are primarily looking for excellent close proximity flood lighting at a reasonable price. It is just so compact, easy-to-use, and exceptional at close proximity applications.
— RJ Spurrier
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