With a maximum output of 280 lumens and a weight of 126g the Tauri's healine specs look very impressive and with a street price around £45 - £50 it falls squarely in the middle of the price range.
What the manufacturers say:
Extremely powerful, rechargeable headlamp with an impressive 280-lumen performance and waterproof housing. Ideal for alpine use and fast-moving endurance sports.
1 High Power LED with 4 brightness levels for focused distance lighting and strobe mode
Battery: Rechargeable lithium polymer battery 1800 mAh
Charging time: 3 hours via micro USB (USB cable supplied)
Battery indicator shows remaining battery power
Adjustable diffuser to change from focused to wide beam
Adjustable light head angle
Optional, third headband over middle of head to further improve stability
Protected against the effects of immersion in water up to 1 meter for 30 minutes (IPX7)
Edelrid Tauri On test:
The Edelrid Tauri is a mid range headtorch, falling between the simple, AAA powered, models taht are wideley available and the computer programmable, lithium polymer models at the top end of runner's headtorches. With an 1800ah battery the Tauri charges in 3 hours and can last between 4.5 hours and 100 hours depending on the setting chosen.
Technically there are 4 brightness settings, plus an SOS strobe mode, but in practice there are 3 usable sttings of 12, 95 and 200 lumens with a very limited 280 lumens boost. The headline 280 lumens setting automatically reduces to 200 lumens after a minute of use.
- Spot - 280 lumens / 120 metres / 1 minute
- High - 200 lumens / 80 metres / 4.5 hours
- Medium - 95 lumens / 40 metres / 8 hours
- Eco - 12 lumens / 10 metres / 100 hours
- SOS - untimed
The fit and balance of the headtorch is superb and at just 126g the weight is minimal enough to be unnoticable in use. Operation is from a single button on the left hand side of the unit, with mode change achieved by seperate, distinct, presses rather than a press and hold style and the beam can be switched between focused and wide with a drop down diffuser. Charging is by USB on the right hand side of the head unit with 3 leds on the battery unit showing charge level.
In testing we ran the Tauri continuously at each brightness setting, recharging from flat each time then repeated the tests after leaving the unit charged but unused for 5 days. Over a series of tests we found the maximum constant setting of 200 lumens averaged 4 hours 18 minutes from a fresh charge and 4 hours 9 minutes after being left standing for 5 days. At 95 lumens the figures came out as 7 hours 56 minutes immediately after charging and 7 hours 43 minutes after being left standing. At the minimal setting the Tauri maintained a 10ft beam for 88 hours and 86 hours respectively. Charging was simple, just a matter of connecting to a USB outlet with the included cable, and a full 3 lights on the battery unit showed the charging progress.
Although charging was simple users need to be aware that the Tauri doesn't appear to have an automatic cut off, but leaving it connected for up to 6 hours didn't appear to have any adverse effects.
In use we found the swtich, on the left side of the headset, a little difficult to use at times. Sitting almost flush with the housing it takes some practice to get used to its positioning and method of use. The light starts at maximum output on first push of the button but press again too quickly and you'll switch to strobe mode, press too slowly and you'll switch it off completely. With a gap of a couple of seconds you can switch through the settings to choose your desired levels, but it does take practice and isn't as intuitive as some headtorches. By having the button mounted on the left the natural impulse is to use the right hand, with your arm diagonally across your face, for right handed people.
While the 1 minute automatic cut-out on the 280 lumens means that in effect you're buying a 200 lumens torch with a boost mode, rather than a 280 lumens headtorch, in practice it works. The one minute limit allows you enough time at this setting to power a beam out to over 120m before resetting to what's still a very bright 200 lumens beam. In average use, however, 95 lumens setting is more than adequate for night walking and running and powering up the 280 lumens boost means first going to "off" as the sequence cycle doesn't loop.
The pull down diffuser works best at the lower two settings, with the diffused Eco setting of 12 lumens ideal in a tent loft and the Medium setting, diffused, proving the best combination for night walking. Whether 4 fixed settings is a better option than a "hold and dim" variable beam is debatable, but what it does give the user is a degree of certainty. In high end headtorches, with high end prices, the user can set pre-set the battery duration but at the price point of the Tauri variable power beams tend to be a matter of guesswork when it comes to duration. With the Tauri you know what the duration is for each setting with a reasonable degree of certainty.
The head cradle has an optional (provided) central band which helps keep the unit securely in place and in practice it's comfortable enough that you could end up wasting time unpacking ricksacks searching for a headtorch you've forgotten you've got on - we did!
Although the on/off/mode switch could be a little more prominent and intuitive and the battery charge could use an automatic shut-off at the price point the Tauri is good value for money. The battery life from the lithium polymer is reliable and the pre-set modes of 12, 95, 200 and 280 lumens are well spaced out for practical use. At 126g, including battery, it's light enough to interest ultra runners and with IPX7 rating it's protected against temporary immersion in water so has no issues with typical British rain. Yes you can pick up a headtorch for £20, and at the other extreme you can pay out over £100 for a computer controlled unit, but in the Edelrid Tauri you get a good balance of settings, weight, outright power and durability. As USB chargers become ever more available, with many people carrying back-up power banks for use with phones, the lithium polymer battery is becoming standard for mid to high end units and using average settings of alternating between 95 and 200 lumens it's not difficult to get a weekend's use from a single charge.