Initial Review: Owleye Lights

I recently received a package from Owleye, a light company based in Taiwan who specializes in solar powered technology. I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of them, but some of their products show some real promise. I’ll be testing them extensively over the next few months, but I wanted to show you what they offer, and some initial reactions.

Check them out after the jump…

EDITOR’S NOTE: Several of our testers received these lights, too, so when the full review comes, you’ll see comments from different folks in different parts of the country. Tyler’s been running the original solar-charged lights – the big one on the right – for about a year and it works great and holds a charge forever. Literally.

1991-901-3 & 1992-902-3 (shown at top)
These are their 3 LED, solar-charged only lights. The front offers 6 hours on steady with a full charge (which takes 6 hours in the sun) and the rear puts out 3 hours on steady with a full charge (6 hours in the sun). For an added selling point, the front’s bulbs are made by Nichia.
MSRP: $45 front, $37 rear.

All the lights use a li-ion poly battery with a claimed 1,000 charge cycles. They estimate that the batteries will last beyond 3 years and save you at least 30 AAA batteries.

(I found this odd, but they lack product names; they are referred to by number only…)

(Editor’s Note: They’ll be named shortly, probably by the Taiwan Bicycle Show)

1881-5 & 1882-5
At 32 grams each, these are probably destined to be the most popular lights in the lineup, although they are the only non-solar lights. Both offer 5 LEDs, with the front’s also being made by Nichia. 5 hours of use on high with a full charge.
MSRP: $40 front, $37 rear.


1996-906
While the previous lights may be the popular choice, this is easily the most impressive with its whopping 200+ lumen output. Rechargeable via both USB  and solar panel. This light also features a cut-off beam to protect driver’s eyes, and puts up impressive numbers with a 3 hour burn on high at full charge.
MSRP: $115


1993-1 & 1994-1
In my opinion, the biggest drawback to the little single LED lights is the use of expensive watch batteries. Those CR2032 are 3 for $10 at The Shack, and that’s silly for a $15 light. These little guys solve that issue with a tiny solar panel. They’ll cost only minimally more, but never need a battery and they’ll flash for 8 hours after 8 hours in the sun.
MSRP: $20 front, $20 rear.

Comments

Spencer - 01/09/11 - 6:20pm

These guys comp’d Gary Fisher what looks like a 1993 model at Eurobike–it failed a few weeks later. Super oops. Quite a few folks follow The Fish on Twitter and read this. Maybe you all will have better luck. http://plixi.com/p/62174936

waikikiguy - 01/13/11 - 9:43pm

I have the little (1881-5 & 1882-5) usb rechargeable ones; got them off of amazon. They work great here in the islands (where it can be… damp). Very bright, good battery life, easy to charge. They are on my commuter and my roadie. If I get hit by a car (again) the drivers only claim can be that my lights were so bright that they were blinded and hit me. P.S. love the owleye ad on the owleye review page…

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