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Princeton Tec Sync Review

A well made light at an attractive price, but lacks the that similarly priced performance competitors offer
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Price:  $30 List | $15.97 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Inexpensive, easy to use, excellent close proximity optics
Cons:  Short beam throw, cannot be operated one-handed
Manufacturer:   Princeton Tec
By RJ Spurrier ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 28, 2018
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55
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#16 of 27
  • Trail Finding - 35% 3
  • Close Proximity - 20% 8
  • Battery Life - 15% 6
  • Weight - 15% 6
  • Ease of Use - 15% 7

Our Verdict

With a red light, spot mode, floodlight, and good battery life, the Princeton Tec Sync is a full featured light that is high quality, selling for $30 list. The Sync offers strong close proximity performance, with a nicely wide and evenly lit beam. But, higher performing products such as the Black Diamond Astro and Best Buy winning Petzl Tikkina offer better value for 33% lower price.

New 200 Lumen Sync Announced — Summer 2018
Princeton Tec is rolling out a new version of the Sync that offers significantly better performance with 200 lumen power which could make it much more competitive.


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
Princeton Tec Sync
Awards  Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award  
Price $15.97 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$89.00 at Amazon$34.99 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$39.95 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$43.12 at Amazon
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Pros Inexpensive, easy to use, excellent close proximity opticsBright wide beam, good battery life, durable design, rechargeableExcellent trail finding and close proximity beam, waterproof, above average battery lifeExcellent spot light capability, wide evenly lit flood beam, above average in most waysExcellent brightness and beam control, often available online at discount
Cons Short beam throw, cannot be operated one-handedExpensive, 18650 Li-ion battery is not included, heavier than averageMore expensive, heavier than average, claimed battery life is very misleadingBelow average battery life, claimed battery life is wildly misleading, single button hard to use, lame waterproofingAverage battery life, heavier and bulkier than most
Bottom Line A well made light at an attractive price, but lacks the that similarly priced performance competitors offerAn impressive, powerful light in a small package that won't disappoint if you can get past the priceA durable light that will last for years with a bright high-quality beam, slightly higher in cost and weightA quality, durable, and bright light that hits the sweet spot for most people's needs, despite dubious marketing claimsPreviously one of our favorites, but hasn't kept pace with competitor's innovations
Rating Categories Princeton Tec Sync Zebralight H600w Mk IV Black Diamond Storm Black Diamond Spot Coast HL7
Trail Finding (35%)
10
0
3
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Close Proximity (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
Battery Life (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
4
10
0
5
Weight (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
4
10
0
5
10
0
6
10
0
4
Ease Of Use (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
8
Specs Princeton Tec Sync Zebralight H600w... Black Diamond Storm Black Diamond Spot Coast HL7
Measured Beam Distance 31 m 121 m 91 m 94 m 112 m
Claimed Distance 38 m Not specified 85 m 80 m 119 m
Measured High Mode Run-time (ANSI) 20.5 hrs 3.1 hrs 5 hrs 2.9 hrs 3.1 hrs
Claimed High Mode Run-time 97 hrs 2.9 hrs 40 hrs 30 hrs 1.5 hrs
Measured Low Mode Run-time 74 hrs 232 hrs 42 hrs 9.7 hrs 25 hrs
Claimed Low Mode Run-time 113 hrs 203 hrs 120 hrs 175 hrs 70 hrs
Measured Weight 3 oz, 86 g 4.5 oz, 127 g 4 oz, 112 g 3.1 oz, 89 g 4.5 oz, 127 g
Battery Type 3 AAA 18650 rechargeable Li-ion 4 AAA 3 AAA 3 AAA
Water Resistance no data found IPX8 waterproof to 2 meters, 30 minutes IP67 waterproof to one meter and dustproof Splash proof (dubious IPX8 claim) water resistant
Manuf Claimed Lumens 150 lumens 1400 lumens 350 lumens 300 lumens 285 lumens
Beam Type flood/spot flood flood/spot flood/spot flood/spot
Red Light yes no yes, red/green/blue night-vision modes yes no
On Switch Lock yes yes (tailcap lockout) yes yes no

Our Analysis and Test Results

Princeton Tec makes a plethora of lighting products. Distinguishing between them can be difficult. The Sync seems to hit a sweet spot in their line-up, with long battery life and multiple modes available at a very reasonable price and with perfectly acceptable weight and bulk.

Performance Comparison



Trail Finding


While the bulb is far from the brightest in our test, throwing a beam just 31m, the lenses on the Sync make the most of it and send an even, usable beam that entire distance.


Beam Distance Photos
Beam photo of Princeton Tec Sync
Beam photo of Petzl Tikkina

Princeton Tec Sync
Petzl Tikkina

Close Proximity


Every tester appreciated the smooth, even light of the close-up functions on the Sync. The only negative comment we have is that the high-profile housing sticks out into the upper periphery of the users' view.


Battery Life


Lasting 20.5 hours in our ANSI High Mode Run time test, and 74 hours in our low mode test, the Sync offers better than average battery life performance.



Weight


At 86g, the Sync is a lightweight product, a bit better than average.


Ease of Use


Of the models with multiple modes, the Sync is the most obvious to use. With 5 light types and levels, the rotating switch leaves the user with clear instruction on how to choose the next level. This system is indeed much clearer than the one-button, multiple-press method that other products use. However, this rotating switch is basically impossible to use with one hand. Changing modes requires one hand to stabilize and another to turn the switch.


Conclusion


This is a good headlamp for occasional camping use. If don't you need to see long distances, and want a light that won't require frequent battery changes, this could be a good choice. Overall, while it doesn't offer nearly as many modes, we feel the Petzl Tikkina is a far better value in this size range.


RJ Spurrier