You would have thought that there wasn’t any way that you could change the design of a head torch. But the guys over at Nite Ize have added a ‘Touch-Activated Interface’ to their STS (Swipe To Shine) headlamp.
Touch Activated Interface basically means they have taken the button off the head torch and replaced it with a pad that responds to the swipe of your finger.Now I know what you are thinking here – my touch screen phone doesn’t usually do what I tell it to, so what hope is there from a torch?!
Nite Ize claim that it is simple to use, but I found that it takes a bit of getting used to. When I first started using the torch I found it quite temperamental. I’d swipe my finger across the top, and nothing would happen. Swipe again, nothing. Then with the next swipe, just as I tilted the torch towards my face, it would turn on and blind me. Then when it was on, it would take 3, 4, 5 swipes to turn it off.
It seems to have got better with use, although there are times when I’m furiously swiping the torch and nothing happens so not necessarily as simple as Nite Ize would like. I’ve not found that using gloves has made it any more difficult to turn on and off, so you won’t get frostbite if you want to use your torch. Then of course you can only use the swipe pad if your swiping finger and the pad are dry. So you’ll need to dry things off to change anything if you are out in the rain.
The STS Headlamp has both a red and white bulb, and each colour bulb has 5 modes (one of these modes is when the torch is locked in the off mode though). The only problem is working out how to get to each different setting. I had to read the instructions to find out how to use this torch properly. I’m not a great fan of simple things that require you to read instructions to use them properly.
Similar to other torches, you get a high and medium power beam, and flashing lights in both red and white. Nite Ize have also added the ability for you to set how bright the lights are with the ‘variable dim’ mode. However, as soon as you turn the torch off, it will forget which mode you were in and you’ll have to set it up all over again.
Nite Ize have put a bit of thought into the torch though. In a dating app style, you swipe right for your red light, and left for your white light. This means you don’t have to wreck your night vision before you get to the red light. Not all torches do this, so it is a real plus for the STS Headlamp in my eyes (though I wouldn’t recommend shining the torch in your eyes, it hurts).
At it’s brightest the torch is 142 lumens, which according to Google is a bit dimmer than a 25 watt incandescent light bulb. It has a distance of about 84 meters, but I’ve not found an easy way of verifying that so we’ll just have to take Nite Ize’s word for it. It runs off 3 AAA batteries, which are really easy to replace and will last for about 4 hours 40 minutes on the brightest setting.
I think torches should be kept as simple as possible, and this tries to do a bit too much for me. I’m not convinced by the Touch Activated Interface, but I do like being able to instantly access the red light. The STS Headlamp is a solid torch, which will light up all your night time activities.