Black Diamond Sprinter Review
Cons: Expensive, no spotlight feature, short battery life
Manufacturer: Black Diamond
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Black Diamond Sprinter
$79.95 at REI
|$89 List||$37.46 at Backcountry|
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|$19.54 at Amazon|
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|Pros||Lightweight, rechargeable, bright for such a diffuse beam, waterproof to 1m||Bright wide beam, good battery life, durable design, rechargeable||Excellent trail finding and close proximity beam, waterproof, above average battery life||Excellent spot light capability, wide evenly lit flood beam, above average in most ways||Super easy to use, inexpensive, solid performance, compact, and reliable|
|Cons||Expensive, no spotlight feature, short battery life||Expensive, 18650 Li-ion battery is not included, heavier than average||More expensive, heavier than average, claimed battery life is very misleading||Below average battery life, claimed battery life is wildly misleading, single button hard to use, lame waterproofing||Good but not great spot beam for trail finding, slightly below average flood beam optics|
|Bottom Line||Our top pick for runners||An impressive, powerful light in a small package that won't disappoint if you can get past the price||A durable light that will last for years with a bright high-quality beam, slightly higher in cost and weight||A quality, durable, and bright light that hits the sweet spot for most people's needs, despite dubious marketing claims||For $20, the Tikkina offers impressive performance at a great price, that will meet most people's needs|
|Rating Categories||Black Diamond Sprinter||Zebralight H600w Mk IV||Black Diamond Storm||Black Diamond Spot||Petzl Tikkina|
|Trail Finding (35%)|
|Close Proximity (20%)|
|Battery Life (15%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Black Diamond Sprinter||Zebralight H600w Mk IV||Black Diamond Storm||Black Diamond Spot||Petzl Tikkina|
|Measured Beam Distance||46 m||121 m||91 m||94 m||62 m|
|Claimed Distance||50 m||Not specified||85 m||80 m||55 m|
|Measured High Mode Run-time (ANSI)||3.2 hrs||3.1 hrs||5 hrs||2.9 hrs||3.5 hrs|
|Claimed High Mode Run-time||4 hrs||2.9 hrs||40 hrs||30 hrs||60 hrs|
|Measured Low Mode Run-time||168 hrs||232 hrs||42 hrs||9.7 hrs||223 hrs|
|Claimed Low Mode Run-time||42 hrs||203 hrs||120 hrs||175 hrs||220 hrs|
|Measured Weight||3.8 oz, 107 g||4.5 oz, 127 g||4 oz, 112 g||3.1 oz, 89 g||2.9 oz, 83 g|
|Battery Type||Rechargeable lithium polymer||18650 rechargeable Li-ion||4 AAA||3 AAA||3 AAA|
|Water Resistance||IPX4 splash proof||IPX8 waterproof to 2 meters, 30 minutes||IP67 waterproof to one meter and dustproof||Splash proof (dubious IPX8 claim)||IPX4 splash proof|
|Manuf Claimed Lumens||200 lumens||1400 lumens||350 lumens||300 lumens||150 lumens|
|Red Light||no||no||yes, red/green/blue night-vision modes||yes||no|
|On Switch Lock||no||yes (tailcap lockout)||yes||yes||no|
Our Analysis and Test Results
This is perhaps the most purpose-built lamp on the market. Its feature-set and design are targeted at a very narrow niche. While other lamps serve similarly narrow fields, the Sprinter is unabashedly targeted. It is almost like someone at Black Diamond wanted this product for him or herself and set out to make it. Nighttime runners win.
While the Sprinter is far from the brightest light in our test, scoring just 3 of 10, the immaculate lensing and bounce-free headband make for a package that actually finds the kinds of trails used for running quite readily.
We measured the beam distance at 46m, which is more than enough for running most terrain, and certainly enough for running on roads, where the Sprinter is most at home. The wide even beam of the Sprinter doesn't shine as far as the Editors' Choice-winning BD Spot as you can see in the beam comparison photos below, but its shines plenty far for trail running, and its unique design is far superior for running than the Spot.
Also, feel free to play with our beam comparison tool. At that link, you can compare distance, spot, flood, and battery life charts for any two of the lights we tested. As you narrow down your choices, this tool is perhaps one of the most useful things you can use. We can write all we want, but the visual feedback in that tool is invaluable.
If you use this light for its intended purpose of urban running, you will have little need for close proximity performance. However, should you need to use it for more mundane tasks, rest assured that the gently focused beam and even lighting optics will serve you well. With a score of 6 out of 10, the Sprinter is above average, even though it is optimized for running.
The Sprinter provides 3.2 hours of battery life in high mode, which is more than enough for most night time runners, except those doing 24 hour ultra-distance running.
The Sprinter, at 3.8 ounces or 107 grams, is about middle of the pack in terms of weight. But, the balanced design, placing the battery pack in the back, and the light in the front, makes that weight seem light and comfortable on the head. While this design makes it a bit more bulky in a drawer, it keeps the mass from bouncing around as much when in use. Additionally, the light can be equipped with an optional top strap, which we liked, that further stabilizes the light in bouncy running.
Ease of Use
The Sprinter comes from Black Diamond all charged up and ready to go and is one of the easiest to use headlamps. Basic operation is simple, using a nice tactile button which can be easily used even with gloves on. Advanced features like dimming are intuitive (press and hold the button). The rear light turns on and off with the main switch, or can be controlled with its own button to switch between three modes or turn it off. Recharging is easy using a standard micro USB cord.
Enumerating the applications of this light is easy. It is best used for early morning and evening street running or walking. It is absolutely purpose built for exactly these situations.
This lamp is not inexpensive, nor is it versatile. If you need and can appreciate a light like this for running, you'll know it. If you are on the fence, consider a more versatile, general purpose light. The Petzl Tikkina has far better battery life than the Sprinter and sends a beam 16 meters further down the trail for a price that is 75% lower — but the Tikkina is no match for the Spinter's running performance.
The Sprinter won our Top Pick Award for Runners.
This headlamp is optimized for use running or walking after dark on trails or in an urban environment. It is rechargeable, simplifying daily use in an earth-friendly manner, and offers a front light and a rear-facing flashing red light.
The Black Diamond Sprinter offers a great combination of features for the urban runner or walker. It's light, relatively bright (for such a diffuse beam), waterproof, and rechargeable.
— RJ Spurrier
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