Winter, Autumn, Spring and occasionally Summer. The hardcore runner will be out in all of it. But what about when the days are short or the light levels low? Let’s take a look at the Ledlenser NEO 6R Running Headtorch
Ledlenser NEO 6R Running Headtorch Review
When it comes to running lights, you are mainly looking at whether you are purchasing “see to” or “to be seen”. A lot of the time people will often pop to their nearest outdoor shop and pick up a hiking or trekking headtorch. But just as you’d not want to be using your commuter bike, for a TT race, headtorches can similarly come with function-specific designs.
The Ledlenser NEO 6R is designed to provide illumination for runners who’ll be venturing into low light conditions – think winter days, or running around dust, and for those who will likely be keeping to running paths, and relatively unremarkable terrain.
When I did my stint on Channels 4’s The Island With Bear Grylls, we used Petzl Tikka head torches. Mine still has tropical island sand in the lens! But given the duration and conditions in which I had been using the Tikka, I thought it would make a very good comparison with the Ledlenser NEO 6R. For one very specific reason:
Ledlenser is keen to highlight that “It isn’t how many lumens you have, but what you do with them which matters”
The Tikka has 200 lumens, compared to the NEO 6R’s 240, when you first turn them on the Tikka seems to have a much “stronger ” beam, ie you can see much the light bouncing back off trees further in the distance than the NEO 6R – HOWEVER the Ledlenser unit is far superior for running as you’ll see shortly
Ledlenser NEO 6R Running Headtorch Review – Design
Small point on the box which I do like, that that not only do you get the lumens displayed, which many of us understand is an indicator of brightness, but can’t really visualise. SO the inclusion of the distance the beam allows you to see is a nice touch.
Inside the box, we have got the NEO6 R itself (ready to wear on the head), micro USB charge cable, chest strap, and manuals
One very interesting thing inside the box is the warranty card – SEVEN years! Now that is quite the impressive warranty claim, especially as when you look at the unit, it’s certainly solidly built, but doesn’t appear to scream extra durable
On the front of the unit, the actual LED lens protrudes forwards in a little gem shape, with unit number on top before the pivot
On the left of the unit is the power switch, enabling you to toggle the brightness levels, flash mode, and then obviously switch off
On the back is a surprisingly comfortable foam backing, which I found sat nicely on the head without becoming sweaty or unpleasant on the forehead
On the right side of the unit is the power cable, the connects to the junction with a telephone style coil wire which is hard-wired into the battery
Speaking of which, the battery balances nicely at the rear of the head strap, and isn’t too bulky for a 1400mAh cell
When the unit is powered on there is also a small LED on the rear of the battery, I assume so that you can keep an eye on where the person in front is? (Not like the massive pool of light in front was a giveaway!)
The cell is charged with micro USB and the IPAx 7 water resistance rating comes from the rubber cap which encloses the back of the battery, also covering the USB port
Ledlenser NEO 6R Running Headtorch Review – Specifications
- Lumens: Max: 240, Min: 20
- Light Functions: Power, low power, blink
- Beam Distance: Max: 30m, Min: 10m
- Burn Time: Max: 40, Min: 6h
- IPX Rating: 7 – protection against temporary submersion
- Focus System: Advanced Focus System
- Additional Features: Rear light, transportation lock
- Battery: 1 x Polymer 3.7V
- Charge Time: 4h
- Weight: 95g
- In The Box: NEO6R head torch, 1 x battery set, USB cable, chest belt
Ledlenser NEO 6R Running Headtorch Review – Manual
YES, you really do need to look at the manual. Or perhaps get a degree in origami, I did not find it easy to get this strap sorted. Maybe (probably I’m a bit thick, I was never any good with surgical knots, hence why I did medicine not surgery, but still, this is my review findings!)
The Ledlenser NEO 6R manual can be found here
Ledlenser NEO 6R Running Headtorch Review – Using the Device
I’m a little bit torn. I’ve found the chest strap a little fiddly to get right so that for the first few runs the NEO 6R was bouncing around too much.
You need to get the strap tight enough that the unit doesn’t bounce around independently of yourself as you are running along.
But when I finally go it sorted I was happier with the chest mount. I say happier, as I’d have actually preferred a slightly higher price, with a little more anatomical design to the chest strap, or perhaps a separate chest strap you could tighten, with shoulder straps – I do fully recognise though that would increase weight, as it stands you really don’t know that you are wearing the ledlenser Neo6. This is partly due to the (flimsy) elasticated strap, configured in two adjustable loops. I’ll admit I got myself in a tangle several times, but how much of that was the strap, vs my lack of spatial awareness, I’ll leave to your judgement
One of the reasons I think a thicker/more anatomically specific strap would help is perhaps giving somewhere additional for the battery pack to strap to. The battery balances well when on your head, but on your chest, there is a small issue of where best to place it once you have unclipped from the headband.
Ok, so straps aside what about the beams? The Petzl Tikka beam is simply circular, you have got an LED blasting out directly forwards
Whereas the Ledlenser NEO 6R puts its, well lens to good use providing a focused crescent of light, which you can direct towards your feet for the crescent and the horizon the horizontal. Which to my mind provided a better use of the light as you can see here
Going for a run in low light conditions, by the side of the road at night, actually, I came to really like the Ledlenser NEO 6R – once I’d managed to get myself tangled into the straps such that I could go for a run.
The way that the actual LED part of the unit is able to rotate means that you can position things so that you have the beam exactly where you need it, whether that is a little further out to the front, or lower down at your feet.
The battery life is exactly as the company claimed, meaning that I’ve been having to recharge only about once a week with my current (lack) of winter running. That said, it’s an odd thing. I’m not a major fan of running in the dark, even along the roads, but something about having the light on my chest did get me that extra bit of reassurance, running along. Honestly, it was an odd realisation.
Ledlenser NEO 6R Running Headtorch Review – Conclusion
Great bit of kit. Excellent use of lens engineering to get the most out of a light beam. With a 7 year warranty, I think that the Ledlenser NEO 6R is actually worth the price difference over the similar targeted Petzl Tikka – although Ledlenser could do with improving the chest strap! TG 4/5