User Review: Princeton Tec Apex
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $65
Excellent headlamp: Good bright light, great battery life, versatile battery choices, bomb proof, waterproof and tough.
- bright light
- built to last
- good battery life
- a bit heavy — not ultra light
- needs 4 AA batteries — heavy for long haul
I have been using my Princeton Tec Apex headlamp for about 4 years now. I originally got it for bike commuting, but now I use it for that as well as everything else. The only exception is summer backpacking — I have a much lighter one for that purpose.
I have taken the Apex on sub-zero night X-country ski tours, winter backpacking trips, and winter hikes. I also use it as a task light for most jobs around the house. Much easier than hauling lamps around.
It works very well with NIMH rechargeable batteries. I have a couple of sets of Powerex IMEDION 2400mAH batteries (highly recommended).
The operation is very simple — one push button switch for the 3 watt high beam, and one for the lower brightness task lights.
Run Time: Some quick math: 4 batteries, each 1.2 volts, with 2.4 Amp-Hr capacity gives a total energy capacity of 11.52 watt-hours. If the world was perfect, and everything was 100% efficient, then the 3-watt Luxeon high beam should last for 11.52/3 = 3.84 hours. Instead, I have measure about 1.75 hours run time with those batteries. So we are only working at about 45% of best case.
That is actually not too bad for consumer level stuff. The batteries never deliver 100% of their rated capacity, and the regulator circuits in the Apex use energy as well (it gets warm). Of course the 3-watt claim is a poor measuring stick. I don't care about the wattage of the LED, I care about lumens/watt of light output that I get!
All things considered, I recommend this headlamp. I am sure that Princeton Tec is working on a more efficient one, but you can't go wrong with this one.