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Inova STS Headlamp

Inova STS Headlamp Description

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Inova STS Headlamp Reviews

Read reviews for the Inova STS Headlamp by Nite Ize as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!

Summary: The Inova STS is...

Summary: The Inova STS is a feature-rich, uber-bright headlamp that takes a decent stab at innovating the classical on/off switch. With the popularity of gesture-driven devices, it follows that a company would produce a swipe/touch activated interface in a headlamp. For the most part, I found this interface to be intuitive and reliable, though I definitely encountered some trying times when the humidity set in. For use in damp situations, such as in caves or on the water, I might recommend this as a pass. Otherwise, the Inova STS is a well-designed, durable, incredibly adjustable and bright headlamp that would be useful in a variety of applications.

Very bright high beam at 142 lumens
Duel white and red LED light, both with high, medium, variable and strobe modes
Variable dim allows for precise setting of intensity down to 3 lumens
Lockout setting for storage in a pack
Waterproof, compact, durable, reasonably lightweight design
Intuitive swipe/press-and-hold interface easily (usually!) cycles through all the functions
Priced very affordably given large feature set
Uses 3 AAA batteries (easy to find replacements or use rechargeable's)

Headband is large (upside is that it adjusts to fit all the way around my torso!)
Swipe function can sometimes be erratic, especially in the humidity.
If not used regularly, it might be hard to recall how to enable some functions (lockout).
No low-battery indicator

In case you're wondering, the 'STS' is short for "Swipe To Shine"
Limited lifetime warranty, 3-year warranty on LED bulbs and switch.
Waterproof (IPX7) to 1 meter
Total Weight (3 AAA alkaline batteries & headband/mount): 3.4 oz. / 96 g.
Total Weight (3 lightweight AAA energizer ultimate lithium batteries & headband/mount): 3 oz. / 84 g.
Weight w/out headband/mount: 2.3 oz. / 64 g.
Stripped weight (no batteries or headband/mount): 1 oz. / 30 g.
Headband/mount weight: 1.1 oz. / 32 g.
Dimensions: roughly 2 x 2.5 inches
Headband width: 1 inch
Brightness and Burn Time (reported):

red and white modes all follow the same pattern by swiping in the direction of the corresponding arrow. Combination swipes must be within 2 seconds of one another. After a 3 second delay, 1 swipe in either direction will turn the lamp off.
1 swipe: high
2 swipes: medium
3 swipes: flashing
Variable dim mode: 1 swipe followed by a press-and-hold with one finger will enter this mode, allowing for customized intensity down to 3 lumens. The light will dim to this level, blink once, and then begin to increase again. Releasing the finger at any time during this cycle will set the intensity.

Construction and durability: The Inova STS scores high points in this category due to its sleek, impact-resistant polycarbonate body. I appreciate the 'cleanliness' of the design in that there are no sharp edges, appendages, or buttons, all of which can cause failure points where water-resistance and use/abuse is concerned.

The wire cam latch that secures the casing is THE BEST design I have seen yet in a headlamp, giving high confidence in the waterproof rating. In this, the company actually seems to have taken notes from underwater camera housing design. I did run the headlamp under a water stream and found no problems with leakage. This is really too bad because the durable construction of the rest of the lamp make it ideal for wet applications. I guess I can envision various activities that involve only intermittent periods of wetness, allowing for the beam to be set and then left alone for the duration. Perhaps if one just carries a dry cloth along to wipe down the surface, this isn’t too big of a deal. Obviously it's not meant to function underwater as a dive light.

Opening the casing and replacing batteries is very easy, even in the field. There are other headlamp designs that I have really struggled to get open and yet easily failed to keep water out. Again, the Inova STS's cam latch provides an excellent interface by which to secure and unsecure the case. The tab feels study, yet is reasonably easy to lift and undo, even with bare fingers. The design leaves no uncertainty as to whether it's closed properly or not. Bravo in in all of this.

As to the lifespan of the swipe pad, well, this is anyone's guess given that it's such new technology. Late-adopters may have cause for a wait-and-see approach; though the company does warrant this for a period of 3 years. I think given the affordable price-point and rich feature set, it's worth the risk.

Room for Improvement (in-a-perfect-world):

  1. Offer a range of headband sizes, or better yet, imitate Petzl's design in having a retractable cord.
  2. Have a setting in which the variable dim can be recalled, in other words, I'd like to be able to set the intensity, turn the lamp off, and turn it back on at the same intensity.
  3. Include a low-battery indicator.
  4. Make the swipe function more resilient to humid conditions. I believe with more field testing and feedback from users, most of these bugs can be worked out…we've already seen huge improvements in similar touch-activated devices. This will greatly improve the range of activities and conditions that the headlamp can be used for.
All in all, it's a very decent first attempt!
Aside from the humidity issues, the Inova STS is a solid and incredibly useful headlamp. I think with some refinement, the swipe feature will prove its place amongst the better headlamps.

Inova STS Headlamp