Black Diamond Spot Headlamp Review

7.3
7.3 score
[Editors rating (7.3)] = (GearWeAre.com) score (7.3)/10

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Editor rating: 7.3 / 10
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Black Diamond Spot Headlamp Review Review Facts

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.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

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

Cons

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

Features

Features

As a lighting device, this emits a lot of light and that is one of the best features of it. Thanks to its QuadPower LED and DoublePower LED lights; it can emit a peak of 300 lumens. Not only that, but both the close and mid-range capabilities of this headlamp are awe-inspiring. This makes it quite practical for several different types of lighting situations (and ideal for hiking and such).

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

Ease of Use

Look, Black Diamond attempted to make their Spot easy to use with some key design implementations. Two of which include the Brightness Memory and PowerTap technologies (more on those in a minute). The main problem stems from the fact that they thought a single-button system would suffice for as many features and functions that they built into their device.

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.
Comfort

Comfort

This is one of the bright spots for the Black Diamond Spot, but it is also not perfect, either. Most buyers and users have agreed that this headlamp is comfortable to wear and wear for several hours at a time. This can be attributed to the lightweight core and the high-quality nature of the band itself.

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.
Waterproofness

Waterproofness

This section is a prime example of why you can’t simply believe the claims that a manufacturer tells you. It is awful, yes, but there is typically more than meets the eye in these cases, and here it is just plain inexcusable. The Black Diamond Spot has been “tested” to be waterproof to IPX8 standards. This is one of the highest levels of waterproofness, by the way.

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.
Weight

Weight

With that little rant out of the way, let’s move onto an area where the Black Diamond Spot is quite remarkable. Sure, there are lighter headlamps out there, but when you look at the power of this device, it makes it all the more impressive that it only weighs a minuscule 89 grams.

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.
Size

Size

Back-to-back sections of nothing but good things to say, very few of you are going to have any issues with the sizing of the Black Diamond Spot. Part of the reason why is it is sold in one size and one size only. Now, this can often be problematic as there is no room for error. However, with the sheer number of users who have expressed their opinions, there have been little to no complaints geared toward the fit of this headlamp.

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).
Power Source

Power Source

Alright, so here we go again. Look, there is no doubt that the company is reputable and one of the finest in the business when it comes to climbing gear. Still, this is the second instance with the Black Diamond Spot, where they greatly exaggerate what is right.

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.
Durability

Durability

Even though the Black Diamond Spot is not precisely the most rugged headlamp on the market, its build quality is going to suffice for several of you. It deserves mentioning, however, that some users have had issues with cracking of the housing. If it gets dropped too many times, you may experience this issue. A couple of drops should not lead to such damage, though it does depend on outside factors (where it lands, the height of the fall, etc.).

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.
Colors

Colors

Typically, a device of this nature would not be judged by its color selection. While nothing said here is going to trump this headlamp from a performance standpoint, somewhat of a bonus is the fact that the Black Diamond Spot is offered in a few different colors. The central LED unit remains the same primary color, but there are various options available for the band.

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).
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

In a way, it is somewhat tough to judge this lighting device. If Black Diamond had only accurately and truthfully advertised and marketed it, they probably would not have received so much flak for their shortcomings. Yes, the battery life and waterproofness are disappointments, but they would not have been harped on as much if accurate claims were made.

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.