And yet, there is something special about the BioLite HeadLamp 330 — and, it turns out, something special about the new HeadLamp 200. The design is definitely worth a closer look.
What’s special, of course, is the outstanding fit and comfort. Both the HeadLamp 200 and 330 feature low-front profile designs that are curved to fit the natural curve of your forehead. The low-profile design ensures that the light doesn’t let gravity and leverage make it feel heavy and want to bounce as you run or walk over rough terrain. Plus, the light housing is fused to a moisture-wicking headband, which feels great on your skin.
While the HeadLamp 200 uses a more traditional lightweight headlamp design that places all components on your forehead, the HeadLamp 330 puts the battery on the band behind your head while leaving an ultralight light on your forehead. A wire built into the headband connects the two.
Heavier headlamp systems have done this for years, but the BioLite HeadLamp 330 sought to deliver a truly lightweight option that was also insanely comfortable. The company succeeded.
How It Feels
At first, the battery in the back seems awkward. Years of using more traditional all-in-one headlamps makes you want to grab the battery and position it on your forehead. It takes a few sessions with the BioLite HeadLamp 330 to reroute this habit, but once you do, the 330 is as easy to use as any other headlamp in the dark.
Better yet, it just feels good on your head. Snug without being tight. As for adjustability, BioLite uses a simple sliding buckle system that lets you easily adjust the tension of the band on the fly. Grab the buckles on each side, one with each hand, and slide forward to tighten. Pull back to loosen. It works fantastically well.
Power and Battery Life
The HeadLamp 330 has a maximum output of 330 lumens, which is a solid midrange maximum output. The issue with delivering more lumens is that the more lumens you shine out, the more energy you burn. That’s why the HeadLamp 330 burn time can last 40 hours on low but drops down to 3.5 hours on high.
For the 2.43 oz total weight of the HeadLamp 330, the burn time is solid. No complaints here.
While battery life and lumens can give you a sort of baseline understanding of how good and efficient a headlamp might be, the actual optical quality of the LED lights and lenses is often more important.
The HeadLamp 330 uses a 230-lumen spot light as well as a 100-lumen flood light. Both lights have very good optical quality. What do I mean by that? The beams are consistent and clean. Cheap lights will have dark spots in the beam pattern and/or an uneven cast.
If you’re running on a trail at night, you want a clean beam, and the HeadLamp 330 delivers a great beam.
What’s nice about the HeadLamp 330 is that you can use it with the 16-meter flood light only, use it with the 75-meter spotlight only, or run both beams at once to give you up-close flood light illumination with a longer-distance beam.
If I’m just hanging out at camp, I save power and use the flood light only, but if I’m on a trail in the dark — or worse, off trail in the dark — I like both beams.
If you need to conserve battery, you can choose just one beam pattern and dim it to the minimum amount of light for whatever you’re doing.
The HeadLamp 330 also comes with a red light flood light, which is handy for conserving your night vision and not disturbing animals in the dark (which also makes it a usable headlamp for hunting). It also has a white strobe light, which can conserve battery and/or alert someone to your location.
For storage, the HeadLamp 330 has a lock mode — just hold the power button down for 8 seconds and the HeadLamp 330 will lock, which means that a simple power button push won’t turn it on. This feature is handy if you’re going to stow a headlamp in your backpack — you don’t want it to jostle around and turn on inside of your pack, draining its battery.
When you turn on or turn off the HeadLamp 330, the rechargeable battery pack has four indicator lights to tell you how much of a charge you have. Nice.
You can recharge the HeadLamp 330 with an included Micro-USB charging cable.
HeadLamp 330 vs HeadLamp 200?
If you’re interested in the BioLite HeadLamp 330, you might also be interested in the company’s new HeadLamp 200. With a 200-lumen output, the HeadLamp 200 is less powerful, but it also features a very clean and usable beam pattern. The most important difference, however, is the form factor. The HeadLamp 200 features the same great headband style, but the lamp and battery are a single low-profile unit. For more detail, check out our HeadLamp 200 review or check out our BioLite HeadLamp 200 vs 330 post.
The BioLite HeadLamp 330 is astoundingly comfortable. While I’ve never really considered other headlamps to be particularly uncomfortable, the comfort of the HeadLamp 330 is noticeably better than most everything else. If you dislike the weight of other headlamps on your forehead, the BioLite HeadLamp 330 is for you. The overall beam quality is clean and usable — very good in fact. If you’re looking for a low-profile no-bounce headlamp, you can’t go wrong with the BioLite HeadLamp 330. Highly recommended.