A few years ago I received a Petzl Nao (1st Edition) as a gift and immediately fell in love. I used this lamp on my first ultra distance run in Hawaii and for every early morning run over the last 2+ years. The torch out preformed my expectations and still to this day is functioning well. Over the use the battery has taken a hit and the longevity has suffered some. Before I ran my most recent run (Read about the disaster that unfolded here), I decided that it was in best interest to purchase a new torch with more battery life. Over the years Petzl has released two updated versions of the torch, which incorporated new features, improved battery performance and higher light output. I decided to go with the most recent version of the Nao and have been putting it through the test since.
The Short Story-
Just like when I received the Petzl Nao (1st edition) it quickly replaced my previous torch. The 3rd edition looks nearly identical to the previous model with the exception of a few color differences and a few added features. Starting on the head of the torch you see a small Bluetooth symbol next to a small blue light. This signifies that the device is connected to your mobile phone app. Wait, what? Leave it to Petzl to once again be pushing the boundaries of what is expected in a headlamp, but now you can operate the torch via your phone's app. The app has the ability to alter the light profiles on the fly, which turns out to be much easier then my previous model (where you had to toggle the switch after pre-determining your profiles when connected to a computer). The app provides real time battery life with estimated burn times remaining. There is also a neat feature that allows you to type a phrase out and then it is translated by the lamp to morse code. The last feature that is interesting is the ability to remotely operate the lamp from the lamp (provided the BT connection is still there). This is amazing for adjusting light during long exposures, without having to handle the lamp. Ok, so what? The lamp is connected, but does it work?
Just like the original version the lamp preforms as expected. The light sensor is highly responsive to the adjusting ambient light. The battery performance is on par with the specs claimed, keeping in mind that the reactive lighting has a huge effect on the battery life. The light beam pattern and distance are similar to the previous models, but the newest Nao has a max output of 700 lumens. Much more then you will ever need, unless you sense you are being followed in the dark (which you are, I promise). As a nod to some of us that attempt to share the road with motorist, Petzl included a rear facing red light that can be set to constant or flashing. The light is strong enough to alert traffic behind you that you are there, but not wasteful of precious battery. As a whole the torch functions very similarly to the previous models.
If you find yourself running at night on the trails you need quality lighting. There are plenty of options available out there, but few that provide the amount of features and ease of use that the Petzl Nao provides. The app connection allows for easier use and adjustment then previous models, but remains easy to understand. The high light output and combined battery performance are worth the higher price point. I highly recommend the Petzl Nao for most outdoor applications and feel that Petzl has done a great job raising the bar in the torch department. Visit the Petzl website to checkout their lineup of torches or other outdoor and professional equipment.
*This product was purchased for testing.