by Matt Shin
One of the most popular headlamps on the market for some time has been the Princeton Tec Sync LED Headlamp. There are plenty of sources praising the Sync’s versatility and simplicity, which also comes wearing an inexpensive price tag. I have seen multiple people using the Sync in both field training as well as on the trails. The Sync’s array of features is appealing enough that even Backpacker Magazine couldn’t resist branding it with their Editors’ Choice designation back in 2015. For this review, we will be focusing on some of the subtleties of the Princeton Tec Sync rather than laying out all of the specifications you may already be acquainted with from our previous Sync reviews.
Before getting too far into the review, it is important to note that there are actually two different Princeton Tec Sync models. The model used in this review provides a max output of 150 lumens while the older model provides 90 lumens. Aside from max light output, these headlamps are nearly identical.
One of the most convenient features on the Sync is the power dial. The power dial was implemented over a traditional on/off button and offers easier manipulation, especially while wearing gloves. When the dial is placed in the “OFF” position, the user can turn the dial up (clockwise) for a red light or down (counter-clockwise) for four different white light variations. Each successive notch on the power dial will increase the overall light output. This is convenient because it minimizes the chances of accidentally turning on a white light and disrupting your natural night vision.
However, one gripe I do have about the Princeton Tec Sync is that it is not waterproof. The Sync’s water-resistance rating is at IPX4. This means the Sync’s water resistance is minimal, and while is able to withstand small splashes of water or light rain, it isn’t recommended for prolonged use on a rainy day (though some have better luck than others). Fear not though, Princeton Tec does offer great alternatives that do implement waterproof capabilities such as the Princeton Tec Eos and Princeton Tec Quad Tactical MPLS (though the drawback is the max light output). The key is figuring out what is most important to you in a headlamp.
If you prefer a short and sweet summary:
- Great price for features
- Offers both spot and flood light settings
- Red light easy to utilize
- Made in the USA
- Not waterproof
- Bulkier than other headlamps
Everyone should own a headlamp. Regardless of whether or not you have a job or pastime that requires one, a headlamp benefits every individual. Even if you happen to be the type of person who never leaves his home, there may come an inconvenient or dire situation where a hands-free light becomes a vital tool. At the time of writing this review, the Princeton Tec Sync LED Headlamp is available on Amazon Prime for $24.15, a price that fits every budget. The Princeton Tec Sync isn’t the best headlamp on the market, but it offers one of the best combination of features for its price tag, which is why it remains a popular option.
Do you have any experience with the Princeton Tec Sync? Use a different Princeton Tec or another headlamp? Let us know what you think!
Author – Matt Shin is a former U.S. Army infantryman having served as a radio telephone operator, automatic rifleman, and fire team leader. Matt now resides in California where he is back in school studying sociology. In his newfound spare time he enjoys exploring the outdoors, camping, backpacking, shooting, and sports.