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The BioLite HeadLamp 750 is a powerful, USB-rechargable pro-level headlamp designed for trail running, adventure races, climbing, and scrambling around in the dark. Despite delivering a maximum burst of 750 lumens, it’s relatively light and surprisingly comfortable.
To get us a closer look, BioLite sent Man Makes Fire a review unit. After using and testing the new HeadLamp 750, this is what we learned:
BioLite HeadLamp 750 Review
It’s bright. As in, “Don’t look at your friends with it on because you’ll melt their faces.” OK, that’s an exaggeration, but you should know that you won’t want to be using the HeadLamp 750 around camp when running it at its typical 500-lumen brightness setting. A quick glance up at a campmate will hurt their eyes and annoy them to no end.
That said, you can always dim the HeadLamp 750 to friendlier lumen output levels.
So what’s going on with HeadLamp 750? Why is it so bright? When most good headlamps put out 350 lumens or so, is 750 lumens really necessary?
500 Lumens and a Burst Mode
First off, the HeadLamp 750 doesn’t run at 750 lumens constantly. Its highest setting puts out 500 lumens, and if you want to access the full 750 lumens, you push a burst mode button to give you 30 seconds of extra dazzling brightness.
This is actually a very good feature. Why? Things that deliver 750 lumens in small packages get hot. So if you want a small and lightweight headlamp on your head, you don’t want it running at 750 lumens all the time. Plus, the amount of battery it takes to deliver 750 lumens is not usually worth it over longer periods of time.
500 lumens offers a super-bright and useful level of light, even when navigating rugged terrain at speed. Even so, BioLite built-in a protective grate on the backside of the headlamp to help dissipate heat.
Let’s put this in perspective. To my eyes, a true 500 lumen output from the BioLite HeadLamp 750 is significantly more bright and usable than what I get out of high-quality 350 lumen headlamps from other manufacturers. Compared to BioLite’s own HeadLamp 330 — read our HeadLamp 330 review here — the 750 seems to my eyes to be about twice as powerful at 500 lumens than what you get out of the HeadLamp 330.
Obviously the math doesn’t bear this out — this is just how my eyes experience the differences in how woodland areas get lit at camp and on the trail. The perception for me is, I go from enough light to see things with the HeadLamp 330 . . . to a full scene that’s very well lit with the HeadLamp 750.
If you’re a trail runner or nighttime adventurer, the BioLite HeadLamp 750 would likely be a great headlamp for you. If you don’t want all that power all the time, you can dim the output and enjoy even longer battery life.
The key feature that makes the BioLite HeadLamp 750 particularly great is its Constant Mode. Most headlamps auto-regulate their light output to save on battery life. In practice, when you first put one on, it starts out bright but then automatically drops its intensity to lower lumen settings. If your eyes adjust to the dark, this is often fine . . . and it saves battery. But it also makes it hard to know what your headlamp is really doing and how much battery you really have left.
BioLite’s Constant Mode, on the other hand, gives you control over your lumen output. If you want 500 lumens of output, you’ll get 500 lumens of output. This gives you a steady level of brightness. To activate Constant Mode, press and hold the burst button for 5 seconds. I must say, I’m a big fan of Constant Mode.
With a regulated runtime, you’ll get longer battery life. On high at 500 lumens, Constant Mode will give you 2 hours of runtime, but when regulated, you would get 7 hours of runtime where the lumen output gradually declines over time.
In all cases, the BioLite HeadLamp 750 saves you a bit reserve battery life to give you 8 additional hours of runtime at 5 lumens of output for emergencies.
Run Forever Mode
One of the coolest features of the HeadLamp 750 is its pass-through charging “Run Forever” mode. The HeadLamp 750 ships with a 3-foot USB charging cable, which you can connect to an external battery pack. You could stow the battery pack in a pocket or backpack. To give you some idea of how long you could run the HeadLamp 750, the built-in battery is a 3,000 mAh li-ion battery. If you used a small lipstick-sized 3,350 mAh battery pack, for example, you could double your overall battery life in Run Forever mode. Similarly, a typical 10,000 mAh battery pack would give you about 4x the overall battery life.
The Run Forever mode seems most suitable for adventure runners, but it also gives everyday runners some peace of mind in case they forget to recharge the HeadLamp 750. Similarly, the HeadLamp 750 could make a good hunting headlamp for backcountry hunters who must navigate extremely rugged terrain with heavy loads in potentially bad weather.
BioLite’s headlamp claim to fame is its comfortable headband style. First introduced with the ultralight HeadLamp 200, then beefed up with the relatively lightweight HeadLamp 330, the BioLite headband is the most comfortable headlamp headband system I’ve ever tested.
Does it hold up with the much larger HeadLamp 750? Yes, yes it does. I had my doubts, but HeadLamp 750 is very comfortable. Personally, I’m not a trail runner, but I did test the headlamp for movement while running and jogging. On my head, it feels great and doesn’t bounce. It’s far more sturdy than I was expecting.
Rear Red Light
The BioLite HeadLamp 750 includes a rear red light for safety. It’s great for runners, of course, who want to lead the way . . . or run near traffic. The rear red light is dimmable and operates in solid or strobe modes.
How’s the Burst Mode Work Again?
The larger of two buttons on the back battery pack has a starburst image worked into the rubber. It also has a raised nub that you can feel with your fingertips. If you press the button, all the white lights will light up at full power for 30 seconds, giving you extra power to light your way or spot mountain lions looming in the dark.
As for lighting modes, the HeadLamp 750 has 8 total lighting modes. Most notably, you get a red flood light for night vision, a white spotlight for distance, and white flood light for up close work. You can combine the spot and the flood for great trail illumination — and dim the output to get the amount of power you need for most any task.
Weight: 5.3 oz (150 g) Battery: 3,000 mAh Li-ion USB Water Resistance: IPX4 (can use it in rain, but it’s not technically waterproof for submersion) Runtimes: 150 hours on Low, 7 hours on High, 8 hours of Reserve, 2 hours of constant mode on high, 4 hours of constant mode on medium
The Verdict: Outstanding Power and Usability
The BioLite HeadLamp 750extends the excellence already delivered through BioLite’s lighter and less powerful headlamps, the HeadLamp 200 and HeadLamp 330. The comfortable fit and build quality is just as good, while the 750 introduces new technical features for pro-level use. The Constant Mode lets you control the output while the Run Forever mode lets you use an extra battery pack to easily double or even quadruple your runtime. The quality of light is also excellent — the color temperature is a pleasing 5700, and the optical lens quality delivers clean beams without dead spots or uneven shine. If you’ve been looking for a user-friendly headlamp with a lot of power, definitely check out the BioLite HeadLamp 750. Backed by BioLite’s HolyFit Guarantee, you can try it out for 30 days. If you don’t like it, you can return it for a full refund. Hard not to appreciate that. Very highly recommended.