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Princeton Tec Byte

7 reviews
5-star:   0
4-star:   1
3-star:   3
2-star:   1
1-star:   2
0

Very easy to use. Takes two "AAA" batteries. Small…

Rating: rated 3.5 of 5 stars
Source: received it as a personal gift

Summary

Very easy to use. Takes two "AAA" batteries. Small enough to keep in a pocket or pack. Excellent hands-free light. Three light settings including red light, low and high beam.

Pros

  • Hands free
  • Headband is adjustable
  • Batteries are easy to change
  • Three light settings

Cons

  • Switch can be hard to push with gloves or mittens on.

The PTEC Byte is a very useful headlamp that makes hands free easy and simple. It handles cold temps down to around -10°F. That is the lowest nighttime temperature I have encountered using it.

The construction seems good and durable. I mainly use it at night walking home from the bus stop after work. I find it safer than using a regular flashlight. Other headlamps I have seen use smaller batteries such as the CR 2032 button batteries, which do not last as long as other ones.

The range is quite good, at 50 lumens also quite bright. All in all it's a good thing to keep with you walking or hiking.

3

There's a lot of bang for the buck, but be aware of…

Rating: rated 3 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new

Summary

There's a lot of bang for the buck, but be aware of problems.

Pros

  • Light
  • Bright
  • Comfortable
  • Reliable

Cons

  • Short battery life
  • Slightly awkward angle adjustment
  • Power button can be hard to find.

I picked up my Princeton-Tec Byte a while back, used it some, and gave it a hard test in the field this last weekend.

Overall I personally like it quite a lot. it's a great combination of cost/performance/features, but it has a couple downsides, which i'll cover over the course of the review.

I had to grade this one from a more complex standpoint than normal, because of both the positives and the negative.

First up: Weight. This little lamp is only a couple of ounces. while i've had lighter headlamps, this one is down there on the weight scale. it's light enough i fell asleep with it on and didn't have any complaints. the elastic strap is generous and comfortable as well, but could have a slightly firmer adjusting slide on it. score 4/5 for the Byte.

Second: Features: This little guy sports not just an easy to work-even-with-gloves-on switch, but three light modes and an angle adjust that you can do one-handed(though it's a touch stiff). cap this with an easy to remove headband and the ability to hang it from the strap of a trekking pole(nice if you're like me and use your trekking poles as tent poles). the easy to work switch is not exactly prominent however, and can be a pain to find sometimes. 4/5 for the Byte.

Cost: This is one of the best-priced headlamps I've seen in a long time that wasn't a chintzy strap-on flashlight. i paid 20 bucks cash, and you can snag them on sale for even cheaper.  5/5

Performance: this is a complicated point. the light itself is bright, clear, and focused well. even red-light mode is impressively bright. the light is also semi-smart, and will not enable a light mode that it doesn't have the power for. if battery voltage is too low it won't go to high-power white-light mode, and presumably won't go out of red-light( i don't have the patience to test this). 

However, the short battery life in storage is quite an issue. as it turns out, this is in fact a known issue for the maker, and they have no fix at this time. on my own lamp this measured .65mA discharge, which depending on your battery means your light will not turn on after 4-12 days in storage, if you leave the batteries in. i myself, out of habit, remove batteries from lights before storing them, but i freely admit it's not a standard practice.

Performance, mixed bag. in-field it's a gonzo little light, but the battery drain issue is serious. 2/5 for the Byte.

That gives the Byte a whopping 15/20 points. averaged to a star rating, it shows up at 3/5. good, but not amazing. could be better, but it's pretty darn good.

I myself will be quite happily enjoying it, and if you take care with the batteries, you would, too.

0

This is my second one as I had to return the first…

Rating: rated 3.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $3

Summary

This is my second one as I had to return the first one because only one of the three lights would work after a weekend backpacking trip.

Pros

  • Three functional light modes
  • Only 2 oz in weight
  • Comfortable headband

Cons

  • The first one I bought had problems
  • Appear to be a lot of issues from other reviewers so trust is moderate

I got this lamp at Sports Authority using a 20% off coupon and awards points so ended up paying something like $3 for it. I really hope this one works out because I really like this light. It is much lighter than my four battery Petzl and it puts out some pretty serious light.

I like the red light function for moving around in the tent so as not to mess with my night vision. Just be sure to close your eyes when you cycle through the white lights when turning it off. I also have been using it while doing work under my Rover.  

I agree with one of the other reviewers that (even though the on button is pretty big) it is sometimes hard to find and turn on especially while wearing gloves. Also, I find that to adjust the angle of the light, it takes two hands to accomplish (one to hold the base and the other to move it up or down). Maybe it'll loosen up some with more use.

0

They must have fixed the issues with these, but I…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $16

Summary

They must have fixed the issues with these, but I have had four and all have been great so far.

Pros

  • Light
  • AAA
  • Comes on low

Cons

  • Not very waterproof
  • Beam is more of a spot vs a flood.
  • LED tint is OK

I have given three of four of them as gifts to friends and all four are going strong. We had three of them backpacking last weekend and no issues. 

1

Piece of junk. I experienced the exact same problem…

Rating: rated 0.5 of 5 stars
Price Paid: $20

Piece of junk. I experienced the exact same problem as the previous reviewer.  The light simply gives up and begins the strange constant dim burn that cannot be turned off without taking the batteries out. 

Changing batteries helped but for less than an hour.  I have tried three different sets of batteries and the problem has returned each time. 

0

I wish it worked because it seems like a good light.

Rating: rated 2.5 of 5 stars
Price Paid: Free

I wish it worked because it seems like a good light.

0

The light has worked OK, but the batteries go dead…

Rating: rated 1.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $22

The light has worked OK, but the batteries go dead quickly when not in use.

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Princeton Tec Byte

currently retails for:
$14.98 - $19.95

where to buy:

Specs

Weight 2.25 oz / 64 g
Brightness 35 lumens
Burn time 146 hours
Power 2 AAA alkaline or lithium batteries