View Full Version : Princeton Apex Headlamp review.

Woods Walker
2006-11-30, 23:27
I just had to get one of those new higher end Headlamps. Not that my Princeton Aurora is bad but curiosity drove me to purchase a newer regulated model. Here is a description from the company’s web site.


“The Apex is the pinnacle of waterproof LED headlamp design, boasting up to 60 lumens of output. With its four light levels, safety flash mode, and impact-resistant design, the Apex is an ideal headlamp for any hardcore adventure. The Apex combines a regulated three-watt Maxbright LED with four regulated Ultrabright LEDs, for Constant Brightness on all modes. Switching modes has never been easier —the dual switch system allows you to independently control the intense, smooth, long-range lighting from the Maxbright LED, and the wide-angle, close-range lighting from the four Ultrabright LEDs. Proprietary heat sink technology allows the LEDs to burn brighter and longer. The Apex is compatible with alkaline, lithium, and rechargeable batteries.”

The Headlamp boasts a heat sink to prevent heat from the 3-watt Maxbright LED causing any damage. It will reduce the output until the temp drops. I have not seen any issues with heat and if the Lumen output dropped I never noticed. I like the tinny LED that reports how much juice remaining in the batteries.

Here is the headlamp.


It takes 4 AA batteries in a power pack and has proven waterproof in the field so far. The company says it is waterproof down to one meter. This is fine as I am waterproof only up to my nose. There is an O ring in the battery pack that can fall out when opened so keep an eye on it.


I know that posting photos of light output is like a High definition advertisement being played on a black and white TV but here goes.

These are the 4 Ultrabright side LEDs. They can be set in 3 modes. High, Low and Blink.


These are the 4 Ultrabrights in the field illuminating a tree at maybe 10 feet.


This is the 3-watt Maxbright center LED. It has a High and Low setting.


This is the 3-watt LED illuminating a tree at maybe 20 feet.


My overall impression of the 3-watt output was fairly good in the context of a headlight. The rated output is 60 lumens on high but my Surefire or Inova T3 has greater output. But the Apex is very impressive and very near to a Surefire. The beam is more of a spot light and goes out far. Enough light spillover occurs to illuminate the whole area. Not Surefire Good but darn fine with a longer run time too. Check the company link for the Stats. The 4AA seem to run much longer than the lighter 3AAA. The little gas light takes the guess work out of battery life.

The down sides.

This is not an Ultralight headlamp. With batteries it weighted 9.8 oz on my scale. I guess this weight could be mitigated by the fact you really don’t need a separate more powerful light for spotlighting etc in addition to the headlamp. However 9.8 oz loaded is still 9.8 oz that was felt some on my head but nothing that was unbearable. I have fallen asleep wearing my Aurora. The Apex is not comfortable enough to pull that off. My Aurora with 3 AAA and 3 extra is 4.2 oz. However the light regulated light output of the Apex is so much greater for an extra 5 oz.

2006-12-01, 00:00
Thanks for the post, Princeton makes good stuff, I love the little Scout. It must be more difficult to get a tight pencil beam with an LED, I have a Surefire LED head and it isn't as bright as the bulb, and not as focused. The nature of the light from the LED's seems different than that from an incandescent. I use little reflective tacks stuck into trees to locate my deerstands in the dark. The LED headlamp makes these tacks glow much farther away than an incandescent light, even though the lamp isn't as bright.

2006-12-01, 02:16
Were you looking for that much spot intensity?

2006-12-01, 18:14
I have a Black Diamond Moonlight I really like. So does that one seem to burn reasonably long?

Hog On Ice
2006-12-01, 19:50
main reason I upgraded from the Aurora (unregulated) to the Quad (regulated) was to get the compatibility with lithium batteries for use in the cold - I had damaged the Aurora trying to use the lithium batteries. Along the way I also tried the Eos but was not real happy with the tight focused light.

2006-12-01, 21:47
main reason I upgraded from the Aurora (unregulated) to the Quad (regulated) was to get the compatibility with lithium batteries for use in the cold - I had damaged the Aurora trying to use the lithium batteries. Along the way I also tried the Eos but was not real happy with the tight focused light.

Excuse my stupidity but fill me in on the lithium battery statement. Are they better in the cold?

2006-12-01, 22:48
Lithium batteries only lose something like 20% of the rated output at 0 F. Alkalines lose way over half power. Also, the lithiums last about twice as long. They are also a lot lighter than alkalines. Their only drawback is they are more expensive. The lithium battery's strongest selling point is it's shelf life- ten years or more. If you put a pair in your pack for spares, unlike alkalines, they might actually work when you need them. When I'm hunting I run duracell alkalines in my GPS and keep the lithiums in my pack for spares. Lithiums are now available in AAA, AA, and 9V.

Woods Walker
2006-12-01, 23:24
Lithium batteries are much better in the cold. The Apex can use both. They also run much longer.


The 3-watt spot light is super super bright. Almost Surefire or T3 bright so the spill over lights up everything. I use the 4 side LEDs on low for camp life. That setting is right up there with the Aurora on high. I use the spot light when it is getting dark and I need to kayak back into camp or to see what is crawling in the woods about 100 feet away. It is hard to show what a light looks like with a photo. The 4 side LEDs on high lights up my whole camp area.

2006-12-02, 10:07
Didn't realize that about the cold or the life.

I read once they were lighter so I got a Surfire G2. However the lightness was counterbalanced by the fact the G2 only burns about an hour on a set of batteries, so I switched back to a LED headlamp using AAA's.

So ar you saying they now make lithiums that will fit in a normal battery device? and that in those devices they will beat normal batteries? If so I'll need to try some

2006-12-02, 10:20
I use lithium in everything in my pack, for hunting and hiking. During the hunt, we use two way radios alot, and I can go a week long hunt without changing, where my buddies are changing at about a day and a half.

Think about it, who cares about the price......, lighter, last way longer, better shelf life.

The only problem out here is, methamphetamine drug chefs utilize the lithium batteries as a component for drug making. This makes finding a bulk eight pack of lithium batterries difficult, since they are buying or stealing them off the shelf before I get there....:hmpf:

2006-12-02, 11:35
I can think of another good reason to have a powerful light if you move around in rough terrain at night (hunting, rescue). Terrain that has actual cliffs you can fall off of and get killed. A powerful light you can use to make sure you aren't headed for trouble. Hollowdweller, the surefire is worth having if you do a lot of traipsing around in rough country at night. If you need more run time get the LED head from surefire. My little Princeton Scout is all I need 99% of the time, but sometimes you need a real light.

2006-12-02, 16:04
I usually bring it just not as my main light now.

Yeah it's great for finding cairns or indistinct trails at night and especially spotting firewood if you make camp after dark.

2006-12-02, 16:24
For my "special" lighting needs, IE: recovering downed game, I carry a Princeton Tec Surge: http://www.princetontec.com/products/index.php?id=32&type=&use=2

7.5watts of power, and 115 lumens of light. This light runs hot, you could definitely dry out damp tinder with this light, probably start a fire with it... 5hr burn time.

You light weight guys are going to hate this light at 328grams. I justify it in my hunting survival backpack, because it carries 8 lithium aa batteries, and if I go down, and need extra batteries for whatever reason, there they are...

This light is rediculously bright. Plus it is a scuba diving light, waterproof to 100 meters, which comes in real handy considering how much crappy rain we get out here during my hunting seasons....

My headlamp is a Blackdiamond Gemini, dual led/xenon headlamp.

john pickett
2006-12-03, 18:59
A cautionary note if you want to try lithium L-91 (AA) or L-93 (AAA) cells in a light designed for alkalines. Some Li cells start at 1.6 volts (new) rather than the 1.5 volts common to alkaline cells. It is possible to fry an LED if it can't stand up to the current.
Check your light's product info. If the manufacturer specifies Only alkaline, you may be out a light by using li cells.:argh:
John Pickett

2006-12-05, 16:18
You guys know any place with the lithium batteries cheaper than here?