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CATEYE - VOLT 800 - ROAD.CC - 4.5 OUT OF 5 - 8 NOVEMBER 2018

08/11/2018

ROAD.CC

4.5 OUT OF 5

Cateye is still onto a winner with the Volt 800 – so much so that it's done almost nothing to the product since my review of it in 2015. The two changes it has made, however, make it just as impressive as it was three years ago.

Pros: Still class-leading performance
Cons: Not much

The Volt 800 is almost precisely the same unit it was three years ago. To remind you if you don't want to reread that review, the Volt 800 impresses with a compact single LED barrel profile, 800 lumens of potential output on static, a wide beam profile, with a selection of three useful flashing/strobe settings when being seen is more important than seeing where you're going.

Build quality is also still up there with the best, incorporating the same screw-in replaceable battery design (but integrated USB connector for charging), as well as the same light unit and interface, plus easy-fit, semi-permanent bracket for the handlebar, and optional others for the fork and helmet.

Back then it got 9/10, and despite the £99.99 price tag and slightly chunky 135g weight, it was probably the best light of its type to be tested at road.cc at that time.

In 2018, there have been two changes: the battery unit has been boosted in capacity to 3400mAh from 3100mAh, and the price has dropped by a tenner.

Any price cut is welcome, as always, and thanks to the excellence of the original design, £89.99 still buys you a whole lotta light. There's a gain of a single gram on the scales – inconsequential – and the battery itself adds in the region of 5-10 extra minutes to overall burn times when on the static modes.

What it does notably claim to do is double the time on the strobe-only setting – up from 50 hours to a claimed 100 – and reduce empty-to-full charge times from 11 hours to 9. In reality, charge times are practically the same, perhaps reflecting the slight increase in capacity married to a more efficient internal architecture.

It's hard to make direct comparisons because the Volt 800 I already had from the last test has been well used, so the battery in that unit is aged and naturally not quite as efficient as it used to be.

It raises an interesting point, though – the battery units have the same design, which means if you already own a Volt 800, you could just opt to buy a new battery to refresh your existing unit, for £39.99. Of course, to do that you want to make sure that the existing light unit and LED is in good condition to make the most of it, but it's worth considering instead of replacing your whole light.

That said, should you not already own one, the slightly updated Cateye Volt 800 remains among the very best single-barrel lights around, although even at a tenner cheaper it's not exactly bargain priced, with others – such as the Lezyne Lite Drive 800XL, Kryptonite F800 and Giant Recon 900 – that can now meet the same power output for less money.

Verdict
Others are snapping at its heels, but the Volt 800 is still pretty much king of the single-barrel hill.