Top positive review
Like the Good Book says, "a lamp until my feet and a light until my path."
Reviewed in the United States on July 30, 2018
I'm running the Ragnar Relay in a couple weeks, and needed a headlamp for the nighttime portion of my run. Well, I mean, I had a headlamp, and it has 5 modes: bright, brighter, brightest, flashy, and off. But the strap has never quite fit--the part that goes over the top of my head was too short, so it has the effect of pulling the whole lamp assembly off my head, unless I hook the part that goes around my head under my ears, which makes me look stupid. Plus, practicing running with it in the dark, it could light up the retroreflective signs along the way, but it wasn't really doing anything for me in the way of, oh, I don't know, actually illuminating the path where I'm about to put my feet?
So I started researching headlamps, and there were a few that made it to various publications' Top Five lists. Nitecore was not actually among them. But I kept seeing the name pop up in the "you might also consider" sections of various online merchants. Then I read an article about how some author was ditching his (competitor) headlamp for a Nitecore NU25. So I started looking at that model. But then I thought, "I should see what other models Nitecore makes, and whether another model might actually meet my needs better." Which ultimately led me to the NU20. The NU20 is a few bucks less than the NU25, and the biggest difference, as far as I could tell, was that the NU20 doesn't include a red light mode. I don't figure I need that.
So what makes me give this product 5 stars? Well, first of all, there's the brightness. Oh man! I ran in the dark with this baby on its medium setting, and it was way brighter than my old headlamp on its highest setting. Next, there's the weight factor: there almost isn't any! The strap weighs slightly more than the light unit itself, and when it's on your head, because it's so light, it stays wherever you put it. Weightier light units without the strap that goes over the top of your head can bounce around as you run. This one just sits tight, pointing wherever you turn your head. Finally, there's the convenience factor: if it runs low on power, you plug the USB cable in, and juice it up. No carrying a bunch of extra batteries around with ya.
It's not without its flaws. One thing that bugs me about it is that it's so bright that it REALLY illuminates objects that venture into its light cone. If you're running at night, there are likely going to be gnats and moths flitting about. When I waved my pasty hand in front of my face to fan them out of my breath-intake region, my hand lit up like an airport runway, reflecting nearly blinding light into my irises. It's nice to have a bright light illuminating your way, but it's not so nice to be blinded by it accidentally!
Additionally, there are other light modes beyond "bright, brighter, brightest, off." There's an SOS feature (why??) that you can activate by long-pressing the on-off switch. There appear to be other features too, but the manual is printed in such small print that it's hard for a guy with presbyopia to figure out what they are and how to activate them.
This isn't the most fully-featured headlamp, but it does what I need it to, and it does it well, without a lot of fanfare, or a huge price tag.