Garmin Varia UT800

9.2
9.2 score
[Editors rating (9.2)] = (GearWeAre.com) score (9.2)/10

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Garmin Varia UT800 Review Facts

If you intend to cycle when it is dark, then it is a requirement to have a cycling light at the front and rear of your bike. It is dangerous to ride without one, and lighting improves both your vision of the trail ahead and your visibility to other vehicles, cyclists, or pedestrians.

Garmin has released the next generation of bike lights with the Varia UT 800. It is a smart headlight that is visible up to one mile away. This certainly stands up on its own as a high-intensity cycling light that projects up to 800 lumens for about an hour and a half. However, the innovative technology used to create this device really comes into play when it is connected with the Edge cycling computer, as this allows for maximum control of your lighting. Plus, if you are a fan of Garmin’s collection of top technology, there are hundreds of other compatible devices in the Garmin network that can be paired with the UT800.

Ride with confidence and shine brighter with the Garmin Varia UT800, a smart light that adjusts the intensity to suit your speed and conditions. Whether you are commuting home from work, cycling on the trail, or just looking for the light that will enable to keep up your rides during those long winter evenings, the UT800 is bright, smart and versatile. If you are looking for an innovative bike set up to light the way, the UT800 could be the right choice for you. Illuminate the path up ahead, and check out our extensive review for everything that you need to know about these next generation cycling lights.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Compact design
  • Great variety of beam options
  • Automatically adjusting intensity
  • Great battery life
  • Water-resistant (IPX7)
  • User-friendly
Cons
  • Buttons can be difficult to press
  • Some issues with mounting
  • Expensive
Brand

Brand

Garmin is world leaders in cycling technology, producing technology that aims to promote a healthy and active lifestyle. Whether it is the automotive industry aviation, marine, outdoor or sports, Garmin have created a navigation system to match your needs. Their cycling tech selection, in particular, includes a whole host of gadgets and devices that aim to improve your cycling performance.

While they are known for their commitment to providing the best of tech, Garmin devices are popular due to their excellent ease of use. These user-friendly devices can be mastered by just about anyone, even the most technologically adverse amongst us. For a number of years, they have dominated the cycling computer fields, with a range of devices that will track and analyze your ride; and now they have decided to extend their reach to lighting.
Key Features

Key Features

Lumens: 800
Weight: 225g
Dimensions: 96.6 mm x 33.5 mm x 29.7 mm
Water Rating: IP X7
Garmin Edge® Compatible
Universal front mount with Go Pro Connection
Quarter lock system
Use

Use

Penetratingly bright, the Garmin Varia UT800 features a low profile lightweight design, penetratingly bright light, and premium control. It is available in both a front and rear option, with the rear offering an effective safety measure when you are out on the road at night, Furthermore, in some environments, there is a need for side visibility, and the Varia has been designed to increase- with this by 270-degrees.
The Garmin Varia UT800 can work on its own, and it would still be one of our favorite cycling lights without the gadgets. There are five manual modes, including high, medium, low, night flash and day flash, and the auto adjust works independently. However, the lights really come into their own when they have been connected to the network.

The UT800 has been designed to be paired up with the Edge. When it is connected, the light will then automatically adjust its beam intensity as you cycle amongst changing light conditions, responding to your cycling speed as well as the environment around you. When you are traveling at high speeds, the lights will increase in intensity, and they will lower as you slow down. Many online reviews have also appreciated that even when connected to your cycling computer, you continue to have the ability also to maintain manual control. The Varia UT800 also has a water rating of IPX7, meaning that it should stand up against poor weather. Wherever you tend to ride the most, there is a UT800 to suit you, with both a trail and an urban version to choose from.

Whether you are commuting home from work in the dark or exploring the trails, the UT800 is the next generation of cycling lights. It is bright, innovative and exceptionally responsive, and it is certainly one of the most ingenious light setups on the market.
Power

Power

The Varia UT800 is a powerful cycling light, and Garmin has reported that on the 800-lumen setting, the light can be seen up to a mile away. The smart light will automatically adjust the intensity of the light in a bid to preserve battery life, and it has the power to light up even the darkest of paths. However, some have suggested that the spread of the light could be improved and that it would be a better light if it were as powerful as other models.

You can quickly charge your UT800, and the charge port is at the back of the light (USB mini), with a clickable cover to keep it protected. Plus, you can keep an eye on how much power you have remaining, as well as the current status of the UT800, using your Edge computer device.

It is reported that the UT800 front light has, on average, 2.5 hours usage, based on a 6-hour charge. Whereas, the rear light runs for around four hours. The majority of the reviews online state that this is fairly accurate. However, there have been several reports stating that the battery on the light is much less effective when you are connected to the network. Although this is fundamentally supposed to preserve battery energy, in fact, it was reported to have a dramatic impact on battery life; seriously affecting the light’s longevity per ride.
Connectivity

Connectivity

Integrate with Garmin devices to maximize performance and functionality. Your UT800 lights will respond automatically to the ambient light conditions around you and the speed that you are traveling. It is an intuitive unit, which will light the way as you navigate the trail up ahead.

The self- adjusting beam intensity is reported as being responsive by several online reviewers, particularly with regard to the way it works in darker light conditions. However, there have been several issues noted regarding the connectivity of the UT800 and its ability to keep up in some conditions. Some have suggested that the ‘light network’ drops on and out whilst you are cycling. Each of the different modes can be manually changed using the button on the side of the UT800. However, it has also been noted that it can be particularly difficult to over-ride the auto system, which can be annoying if the light is at full beam or flash when it is not required.
Overall, there have been quite a few comments online regarding the need for Garmin to update their software to improve connectivity and performance.
Ease of Use

Ease of Use

The Garmin Varia UT800 is relatively easy to set up on its own, but it can be a bit difficult to attach the mount. If you have chosen the urban option, you will have received an out-front mount, and if you have the trail UT800, it will be a helmet mount. The front mount should be screwed directly onto your handlebars, and you will receive everything that you need to do so in the box. The helmet mount is much easier, and you will just need to place your light in your chosen location and fasten the straps.

If you are utilizing the smart features of the Varia UT800, You will need to connect e your Garmin edge device, which is relatively quick and simple. Make sure that the Edge device and lights are within range of each other, and then turn on the computer. Go to settings, add sensor and search all, before hitting Varia key for a few seconds to enter the pairing mode. There is also an LED light on the UT800 which will let you know its current status. In some of the reviews, it was also highlighted, that this light gets particularly hot if it switched on when you are moving. This is due to the movement of your bicycle cooling down the unit, providing natural ventilation as you go. Whilst this may not be much of an issue for most people, if your light is still paired with your Edge device, be aware that the light may turn on when you turn your computer on.

While you are on your ride, you will easily be able to control the lights. Plus, you can switch between the light modes through the Edge head unit, and there are a variety of other accessories over at Garmin that are compatible. However, as previously mentioned, there may be some difficulty in attempting to override the automatic system. It has also been noted that the buttons on the light can be hard to press, particularly if you are wearing gloves.
Stability

Stability

The Garmin Varia UT800s are fixed onto the bike using a triple-decker Garmin Mount system. It has a spot to place your location on the top, which then connects to the medium level, which features a locking system and attaches to your bike, and the lights fit on underneath. One of the highlights of the UT800 has to be their use of the GoPro mounting interface. This can be used to connect a wide variety of different gadgets and could come in very handy in the future. The Quarter turn locking system means that you can easily attach and detach the light for charging.

The UT8000 features a strong aluminum design, and it is reported to be extremely durable. Although the vast majority of the reviews state this mount is ultra- stable with a solid connection, there have some who have suggested that the mount is not quite solid. A few online reviews have noted the entire system does feel a little loose, particularly when combined with an Edge computer. Although, there have been no reports of it coming off mid-transit. It has also been suggested that the mount limits the possible placement options.
Price

Price

Okay, so the Garmin Varia UT800 should probably be seen as more of an investment, and it a light that is aimed at serious cyclists rather than beginners. The front UT800 is priced at around $149. However, the most effective way of using the lights is when they are connected through an Edge computer; making this entire set up a pretty expensive choice. On the other hand, if you already have the Edge, the UT800 is a great accessory at a reasonable price!
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

Helping to ensure a safe cycling environment, even when you are out on your bike at night, the Varia UT800 is certainly an ambitious move from Garmin.

Although there have been some comments regarding the need for an Edge computer, it remains that the light itself is one of the best available. Featuring a sleek, compact design, it is exceptionally bright with powerful auto-adjustment capabilities, and it utilizes innovative smart technology to meet your lighting needs. Nevertheless, there are several negative reviews online, particularly regarding the lights connectivity and battery life when attached to the Garmin Edge. It is also fairly expensive, particularly when you compare it to other models that offer similar features.

Regardless of this, Garmin fans are fully aware of the high level of quality and support that they will receive with this purchase. Whether you are riding the roads or exploring the trail, shed some light on your ride and take on the journey with confidence. The Garmin Varia UT800 will illuminate even the darkest of paths.