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Hands-on Gear Review
Yalumi Spark Pro 120 Review
Cons: No locking switch
Bottom line: Inexpensive with a powerful beam, this model's drawback is that it doesn't feature a locking mechanism.
The Yalumi Spark Pro 120 is an inexpensive headlamp, especially considering its brightness. For $35 you get a light that is brighter than every other light that costs less than $30. The primary downside to this headlamp is that the on/off switch doesn't lock. We have grown accustomed to switches that lock off for battery savings in the pack. However, it wasn't that long ago that all headlamps had this same problem. We dealt then, and can deal now. If you can get ahold of a Yalumi and can keep the batteries intact while in transit, you are apt to be pretty stoked.
RELATED REVIEW: The Hunt for the Best Headlamps
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
While Yalumi isn't exactly a household name, this product is an excellent addition to the market.
The Yalumi, scoring 6 of 10, lands exactly in the middle of our tested products for trail finding. It certainly bests our Top Pick for Ultralight, the Petzl E+LITE. All of our other award winners scored better than the Spark Pro 120 for Trail Finding. You can see in the beam comparisons below that the Editors' Choice Black Diamond ReVolt has a clearer and stronger beam.
While the Editors' Choice winner clearly bests the Yalumi in trail finding and beam strength, their relative performance in close proximity is much closer. We scored them both at 7 of 10 and compare their visible beams below.
Our other Editors' Choice winner, the Coast HL7's achilles heel is its battery life. In this category, in which we first tested all lights in their brightest mode, the Yalumi initially bests the Coast. In this raw data you can see how the two perform. In addition to the raw high beam run time data, we considered brightness in the eventual scoring of each device's battery life score. Brighter headlamps with lower beam modes, because much of the time they will be run at a lower percentage than how we tested them, received bumped up scores. In this way, while the Yalumi is pretty bright, the Coast is brighter. Our rubric bumped the Coast slightly ahead of the Yalumi in overall battery score. And our first hand-experience with the two lights supports this assertion. All else equal, in normal camping and hiking usage, the Coast battery will last longer than the Yalumi. Finally, the Yalumi battery life suffers as compared to others because the on/off switch is vulnerable to inadvertent activation. It doesn't matter how efficient the bulb and batteries are if your light is on when it isn't supposed to be.
Only two compact lights in our test (compact lights have no separate battery pack and weigh less than 120 grams or so) were brighter than the Yalumi. Both of these lights, the Black Diamond Storm and the Petzl Tikka RXP have their own performance issues. If you are looking for a compact headlamp that throws a big beam, the Yalumi is good and very low cost, but has a vulnerable switch. The Storm locks off, but has poor close proximity performance and a fiddly battery compartment. The RXP features reactive lighting technology that can be finicky and is the most expensive compact light we tested.
As noted above, the Yalumi provides an amazing balance of weight to beam distance. Perhaps no other light in our test has as high of a ratio of light strength to weight.
Ease of Use
The switch on the Spark Pro is easy to operate and simple, while the batteries are easy to change. We can't ask for anything more.
This is a good product for routine backpacking and camping use, provided you can store it in a way that protects against inadvertent activation. In the days before locking on/off switches, we all removed or reversed a battery or two. Perhaps this is a solution for those who might otherwise dig the Spark.
Again, we rated the brightness of the Yalumi a 7 of 10. In ranking the brightness of all of our tested headlamps, one must go all the way down to a brightness score of 4 with the Petzl Tikka Plus to find a less expensive lamp. The Yalumi is by far the least expensive bright light we reviewed.
This is a bright light, with some issues. The primary problem is the lack of a locking switch. If you treat it like we used to treat basically all headlamps, removing or reversing a battery while in a pack, the Yalumi is a contender for a bright, efficient, and inexpensive light.
— Jediah Porter and RJ Spurrier
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