The latest in our winter-long test schedule of the latest lights is an offering from Light and Motion – the Taz 800.
Initial impressions indicate a reassuringly solid unit with intuitive controls allowing easy access to five modes and a bright white beam of impressive purity.
As might be guessed from the moniker, its maximum output is 800 lumens: a beam Light and Motion claim can be sustained for two hours. We’ll report on the accuracy of this claim in the subsequent review.
Four other modes offer diminished output but increased run times. The 400-lumen medium mode is claimed to run for four hours. The low, pulse, and flash modes each turn out a claimed 200 lumens for eight, 12, and 24 hours respectively.
The Taz 800 is operated by two buttons on its upper surface. The clear oval button acts as an on-off switch, and a mode selector: press and release to change mode and press and hold to switch off.
It also doubles as a fuel gauge, illuminating green, amber, red, or flashing red during charging to indicate capacity. In use, it will flash red when less than 25 per cent of the battery life remains, and with increased frequency when just five per cent is left, before shutting down when this threshold is breached, to protect the battery.
The second button cycles through the settings (solid, flashing or off) of two, small amber side lights, located either side of and just behind the head light.
Holding both buttons will lock the unit, preventing accidental changes of setting, though how this might occur, we don’t know: a robust push is required to access each of the modes.
Pushing and holding the clear button will access the ‘race’ mode: one that offers only the high and medium settings.
Tipping our scales at just over 200 grams (within a gnat’s crotchet of Light and Motion’s claimed 216 grams), the Taz 800 is a solid unit, with a robust plastic lens protecting three LEDs. Weight is not a quality welcomed by cyclists, but there’s something reassuring in the heft of this unit, and a pleasing simplicity to its mount. It attaches to the bars with a rubberized belt that feeds through a plastic ‘buckle’ attached to its underside, making it a doddle to fit, and mercifully not requiring tools.
A mini-USB port, sunk deep into the body and protected from the elements by a plastic cap, is another feature tucked unobtrusively on the lower surface. The supplied charging lead has a corresponding mini-USB connector at one end, and a conventionally-sized USB connector at the other: a configuration familar to Garmin users. While the Taz is an all-in-one unit, with an integrated battery, we rather like the fact that charging takes place via a lead rather than a USB board concealed in the body: a design that can leave the light suspended from the side of the charging device (typically a PC or laptop computer).
Our one area of concern at this early stage lies in the claimed charging times. If you’re charging the Taz 800 from a computer (and we guess most people would do so), be prepared to wait 13 hours. Reduced times are offered from an i-Pad charger (four hours), or an i-Phone charger (eight hours).Only the i-Phone charger option seems reasonable. If you’re not an i-Phone owner, a 2A charging unit offering a four-hour recharge is available from Light and Motion, but sold seperately.
The Taz 800 costs £199.99, and is supplied with the mount and USB charging cable. Check back soon for a full review.