Affordable smart light performs well for price point
The Xeccon Mars 30a Rear Light is a well-priced smart light. It produces enough light to be seen and the braking function seems to work well, though the mounting system could be more stable.
We‘ve seen the number of smart lights on the market increase considerably in the past 12 months, although most have been in the upper reaches of the price range.
Xeccon have bid to change that with the Mars 30a, which with an RRP of less than £20 offers smart lights at a more affordable price – so how do they fare?
First, and most crucially, the output. The Mars 30a, as its name suggests, emits a maximum of 30 lumens. It’s certainly not the brightest I’ve ever used, but it’s OK. You also get a choice of five settings (high and low solid beams, fast and slow flash and brake light only, which only comes on when you slow down).
The clever part is that it pumps out more lumens when you slow down, though it is more obvious when you are not using the high solid beam mode. There’s also a short delay on the light, which means it doesn’t signal when you are likely to be braking the hardest.
Depending which lighting sequence you choose, the battery life is claimed to be anywhere between three and 13 hours, and that seemed broadly accurate on review.
Personally, I mainly had it the slow flash setting and found I was charging it every 11 hours or so – or eight to nine days on a 40-minute commute. Charging, incidentally, is done through a micro USB port, covered by a rubber bung, and it charged from a laptop in around four hours.
With all that in mind, it compares well to others in the affordable price bracket.
However, one of my biggest bugbears with the light is the clamp – I found it overly-complicated and it didn’t hold the light particularly stable. We’re not talking falling from the seat post, but it’s connected to the bracket with a hinge, which seemed to lack the required stiffness to hold it in place over the course of a ride.
I would find that by the end of a ride, the light was more or less just illuminating the underside of my saddle – not ideal.
Nevertheless, the RRP of £19.99 is fairly representative of what you get – with any slight flaws compensated for by the smart capabilities.
Overall, the Xeccon Mars 30a Rear Light performed at a decent standard for a light that costs less than £20. There are areas for improvement, such as the bracket system and the reaction time for the brake light, but given the price, these can be easily forgiven.
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