Cateye Nano Shot

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Manufacturer Description

Nano size, massive output. The Nano Shot HL-EL620RC is a compact, super light-weight USB rechargeable headlight.

Features

  • Dimensions – 5.0 cm wide x 8.6 cm deep x 3.2 cm tall (2 in x 3.4 in x 1.3 in)
  • High intensity white LED X1
  • 2000cd light output (250 lumens)
  • Run Times
    • High more – 1.5 hours
    • Low mode – 3 hours
    • Flashing mode – 12 hours
  • Li-ion rechargeable battery (3.7V-1110mAh)
  • Approx 3.5 hours recharge time with USB2.0
  • Included charging cable
  • Low battery & charging indicator
  • Lighting mode memory function
  • Included flex bracket
  • Measured weight – 96 g (3.4 oz)
  • Retail – $99

YMMV Review

Cateye was founded in 1954 in Osaka, Japan. They continue to be headquartered in Japan and make a range of high-quality  cycling lights, computers, fitness machines, and road-safety equipment.  I had my first experience with Cateye in the 90s. I needed a light to commute by bike and purchase one of their handlebar mounted lights. It was big, bulky, and not very powerful by today’s standards but did the trick back then. I think it is still in my bike part bin in my garage and still works. Over the years, I have also had a couple of their bike computers and have had good success with those as well. This fall I contacted Cateye to do a review of one of their new lights. We decided on the Nano Shot, a much smaller and powerful light than my original.

Side View

Testing

I tested the Nano Shot, mainly on my commute. I have a 16 mile each way commute that is in the dark on the way home. When testing this light, I also was testing others, so I could make some comparisons.

Design ★★★½☆

Appearance (10%) ★★★½☆

Construction (50%) ★★★½☆

Features (15%) ★★★☆☆

Sustainability (10%) ★★★☆☆

Weight (15%) ★★★☆☆

The Cateye Nano Shot is a single LED light. The unit is small and feels solid. The unit has a rectangular construction, slightly smaller than a deck of cards. Visually, it is a sharp looking as any other light I have used. The LED bulb is a high intensity white bulb that is housed under protective glass.  The battery is a lithium ion rechargeable battery that can be charged via USB 2.0. Charging the battery takes less than 3 ½ hours from zero to full. In the back, the light has a single push bottom for on and off. There are three different settings on the light: high, low, and flashing. The Nano Shot has a memory function that will remember the last setting you were running when you turn the light back on.

Back Button

On the underside of the light, there is a water-tight  port for plugging the unit into the charging cable. This cable is supplied with the purchase of the light. There is also the clip attachment on the underside of the light. This interfaces with the adjustable mounting bracket that is included. This bracket has a flexible and adjustable bracket that can work with a variety of sizes. The bracket also allows the light to be able to turn slightly from side to side. The bracket can be taken on and off quickly, just do not lose the twisting knob; it is easy to drop when taking the bracket off.

While I am not going to be able to get detailed on the different materials used in the Nano Shot. I do know that Cateye has an extensive environmental policy. This policy is pretty comprehensive so if you are interested in reading it, just go to the Cateye website. The part of the light that I was most excited about is the rechargeable battery. Cateye guarantees it up to 300 charges before performance begins to suffer. This is pretty impressive.

On the Bike

Performance ★★★½☆

Adjustability (15%) ★★★☆☆

Brightness (40%) ★★★★☆

Durability (15%) ★★★½☆

Water Resistance (10%) ★★★½☆

Battery Life (20%) ★★☆☆☆

When you first look at the Cateye Nano Shot you may wonder how a single LED light in such a small unit can be very powerful. According to Cateye, the light has an output of 250 lumens. That is quite powerful for such a small light. The light can shine with a beam pattern that reaches out to about 30 feet. The beam pattern is also impressively wide, with almost a 180 degree pattern. On my commutes I spend most of my ride in sections where there is zero additional light, and I have found the Nano Shot sufficient to be my only light. I think it would be enough for some nighttime trail riding if it was paired with a helmet light or a separately mounted Nano Shot on your helmet.

Beam Pattern Up Close

As I mentioned above the Nano Shot feels solid. The unit is well-made and has not shown any issues for durability with me thus far. While it does not rain much here in Central Oregon, the little rain that I have used it during was of no worries. The light feels like it will last as long as the rechargeable battery will let it. The separate bracket does seem solid but definitely could have a shorter lifespan than the light itself. I know they are sold separately from Cateye if needed. The only drawback to the Nano Shot is the battery life. The Nano Shot has a 1 ½ hour lifespan on high, three hours on low, and 12 hours on flashing mode. I tried to use the low mode whenever possible to preserve power on my commute home, which often could last up to one hour and 20 minutes. Throw in a mechanical or flat and I may have to push the battery life a little farther. I know that Cateye had to make some sacrifices to keep the unit as small as they did, and it appears that battery life was the sacrifice. Apart from this, the light has been impressive; it just makes you think ahead, aka – don’t forget to charge it.

From the Front

Overall ★★★★☆

Overall, I have been very happy with the Cateye Nano Shot. The light has a an impressive amount of power in such a small package. I love the fact that it is rechargeable, and I do not have to purchase batteries. That in itself makes it a great value over the lifespan of light. I have seen that Cateye may be making a bracket that can mount this light to a helmet. If that was to come out you could create a system with 500 lumens of output at a relatively low cost. This would be quite enough for some nighttime trail riding. As is, I think one light is about right for some road riding. If you are looking for a light to see this is a great option, I would definitely recommend it. If you just need a light to be seen, this may be overkill as the flasher is on high mode but people will see you. The Cateye Nano Shot retails for $99 but just think of all the batteries you will save. As always, your mileage may vary.

Pros [field name=iFrame]

  • Bright
  • Good beam width
  • Small and lightweight
  • Bracket can fit a variety of handlebars easily
  • Rechargeable

Cons

  • Shorter run times
  • High initial investment as compared to similar powered battery lights that are generally much bigger

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About the Author

I am an avid runner, cyclist, swimmer, hiker, climber, skier and many other activities that would make this list too long. I started Your Mileage May Vary Reviews in Early 2011 to combine two of my passions: sports and gear.

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