Black Diamond Spot Headlamp Review
Have you ever bought a device that simply was unable to live up to its hype due to false advertising claims? It is something that is never fun. However, the sad reality is certain manufacturers will exaggerate their products for improved sales. This will oftentimes drive away certain buyers but it happens all the same. Unfortunately, the same is true when it comes to the Black Diamond Spot.
Now, the LED headlamp itself performs extremely well and it is very comfortable to wear (thanks to its lightweight core and adjustable band). However, Black Diamond markets it as being way more capable than it actually is in a few regards.
A ton of users have lauded the design of the Black Diamond Spot but you can’t help but have mixed feelings about the inaccurate claims set forth by Black Diamond. Only you will know, ultimately, if you have any interest in trying it out for yourself because, as just noted, it is a pretty good design overall. It is just a shame that Black Diamond couldn’t have just told the truth.
Read our detailed and objective review of this product by the world-famous brand Black Diamond and decide whether to choose the product or not based on facts.
Sports great vision for close-range needs
The optics is really good
Designed with PowerTap Technology
The band does not come loose
Extremely lightweight design
There are several different lighting modes
Plenty of color options are available
Too easily can be turned on in your pocket
Not an intuitive system
The plate on the band can be somewhat uncomfortable
The claims of waterproofness are false
The battery life is not good
Some users have had durability issues
Several buyers, though, have noted that the main lamp can emit a yellow spot in the middle of it. This can be quite distracting and irritating a lot of the time. The light is still emitted brightly, so it is not as if this affects the distance you will be able to see in front of you, though.
There are also quite a few different lighting modes at your disposal. From night vision to strobe to dimming modes, there is a lot for you to mess around and play with. There is also a lock mode which will prevent the lamp from being powered (ideal if you want it not accidentally to turn on).
Ease of Use
Indeed, you need to control the bulk of everything with just one button. In theory, a one-button interface would seem more straightforward to use but not in this case. The only way to get accustomed to how you need to program this sucker is to get used to the complex button sequences. If they had to do it over again, perhaps Black Diamond would have mapped other functions to one or two extra buttons.
Now, as for the two technologies, as mentioned earlier, they work excellent. The PowerTap Technology allows you to alter the strength of the beam quickly, and the Brightness Memory feature will remember the last brightness setting the headlamp was on before it was powered off. Yet, these two features can’t save this section overall.
With inferior bands, you will notice them begin to feel itchy after too long, but that does not seem to be an issue with the Spot. Black Diamond took the time to create a well-designed band, and it does the show.
Now, the only slightly uncomfortable aspect of this headlamp is the plate that is located behind the main lamp itself. While not unbearable at first, after several miles, you may start to notice on your forehead. Still, with a device of this nature, it is pretty darn comfortable.
What this means is the Spot can handle complete submersion in the water down to 1.1 meters for up to 30 minutes, right? That would be the case if it were waterproof to IPX8 standards. Sadly, a plethora of users and reviewers have noted that this thing can barely even handle splashes of rain. Due to the lack of overall sealing, if the Spot does get submerged into the water, you should dry it off entirely as quickly as possible.
There is simply no excuse for Black Diamond to claim that this device was tested to withstand such levels of water. It is pathetic, honestly, and a complete slap in the face to anyone who is looking for a fully waterproof LED headlamp.
To better assess the practical nature of this weight, that works out to just 3.1 ounces or 0.2 pounds. No matter how you slice it, this is a lightweight device that will not feel like a nuisance while strapped to your forehead. This lightweight nature is also ideal in situations where you need to carry this for hiking and backpacking adventures.
After all, it is also not going to take a lot of weight in your pack. There is nothing to complain about here.
Also, the band is straightforward to adjust. Much like a wristwatch, you can also loosen and tighten it while it is on your forehead, making things a lot easier for you. Additionally, when you get it secured, it is also not prone to coming loose over time. Let’s say that you should not stress too much about this section (even though it may not fit every single head in the world perfectly).
For the record, their device needs to be powered with three AAA batteries. That is not the issue, and some users will even overlook the pedestrian battery life of three hours on high (give or take as the quality of the batteries you use will make somewhat of a difference). The problem is Black Diamond advertises its Spot with a battery life of 30 hours on high.
Yeah, you read that correctly and where on earth Black Diamond pulled that rating out no one will ever know. Based on tests of former users and companies, you would never get anywhere close to that lifespan on high. When used in its lowest power mode, you can significantly enhance the battery life, but that is beside the point.
Given this is not going to come loose on your forehead, the only real way you would drop it is if you mishandle it. Either way, the longevity issues more so stem from the lack of sealing. If exposed to more torrential rain or even submersion, you risk damaging the interior componentry. Granted, you are careful with it; you should not have to worry about this too much.
Ironically, though, the different options that are available (aluminum, black, dark olive, octane, and denim) are only really noticeable on the interior side of the band. In other words, the part that is colored is the portion of the headlamp that will not be seen once it is strapped to your forehead. Still, the exterior of the band does have different colored dots (so you will be able to notice somewhat of a difference).
Outside of that, there are some other legitimate issues on display. For example, the one-button operation system is not intuitive at all, and some users have had longevity concerns. It sounds like the Black Diamond Spot is just a dud, right? Not at all, as for the price, it is still an outstanding value overall.
There are many reasons why it is so popular, including its above-average performance, incredible lightweight nature, secure and easy-to-adjust band, and a plethora of different lighting modes. Can all of this save the shortcomings of the design and Black Diamond’s inexcusable claims? Only you will be able to answer that question but, if nothing else, there is no way that you will not get at least some good use out of this LED headlamp.