The Guee Sol 300 Plus front light performs very well when out on the road, but with just a few drawbacks in its construction.
With this front light, Guee has applied a new battery-saving concept, with an ambient light sensor on the top of the unit that controls how brightly the light shines automatically. The idea is to ensure that the light shines at its full 300-lumen capacity when it's dark, and at intermediate settings as the ambient light dictates.
In practice, it's a nifty little feature (engaged by pressing and holding the power button until the blue LED indicator stays on) and does ensure you don't waste battery power when full beam isn't needed (on full, you'll get 2hrs 30mins of run time from the 1500mAh li-poly battery).
Of course, if you only commute in the dark then it automatically flicks over to the high setting anyway. This means battery life is only really preserved if you happen to commute or ride at the time of day when the light is changing.
Although it's hard to quantify because of the varying degrees of light you tend to encounter, the bottom line is I did find the sensor worked well, changing up and down, and sometimes completely off, as light conditions demanded.
The manual settings include a high and low beam, as well as a standard flash and strobe setting. The flash-type outputs are inaccessible on the sensor settings, but flicking over to manual is easy with a simple press of the power button. Hold again for a couple of seconds and it'll go back to auto mode – any longer and it'll switch off. It's fairly simple to use.
The blue auto indicator is supplemented by a small white LED that indicates low battery on the auto setting, and a yellow LED when in manual. One thing I did notice was that, when the battery does die, it dies abruptly. You don't get a faded 'last vestiges' of light – you go from full working order to nothing at all immediately.
This can be a problem when you're caught out on a night-time commute, and I can't believe it would take too much effort to have a failsafe low auto setting included for when the battery is at 10 per cent, to safely (and legally) get you home.
Another problem I encountered was on recharging – the USB socket is incredibly small, which in itself isn't an issue, but I found the connection between the cable and the light temperamental. Occasionally it would stop charging on its own (indicated by another LED indicator; this time a red one), then kick in again for no apparent reason. I always ended up with a full battery, but I'd still worry about the connection on my test unit.
The cable is also very short, which means that, depending on the USB port you've slotted it into, the light can end up hanging – which can only be stressing the internal port on both computer and light.
Also, the rubber seal that protects the charging port is similarly tiny, which makes it hard to pry open if you don't have long enough nails, and hard to refit again in order to keep out the elements.
It's a shame, because the light works well out on the road. It's small, the beam is sufficient for commuting purposes when you don’t have the benefit of street lighting, shining the way when you don’t want to blind oncoming traffic too. The bracket, too, which is tethered to the light via a bolt, fits to bars easily and securely via a rubber strap.
Value is reasonable too; at £47.49 it offers some nifty features and usability for the price, and if you can spot it for a discount somewhere then it's a good option. But would I choose it over rivals such as the cheaper Hecto Drive from Lezyne and Cateye's Volt 300? Probably not.
The Guee Sol 300 Plus is a great concept – one that I think works on the whole – but it could use a touch more refinement before I could recommend it.
A great concept that works, but this light needs a touch more refinement
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Guee Sol 300 Plus Front Light
Size tested: 300 lumens
Tell us what the light is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Guee says: "The biggest challenge facing many commuters is being seen. The SOL 300 Plus features a unique automatic mode that changes light output (from 50 to 300 lumens) depending on the amount of ambient present. This ingenious auto adjust feature also extends the run time on each charge."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
- Aluminum 6061 CNC Machined case,applied with Heat Free Technology
- Compact design,with 300 lumens output
- 180 wide beam visibility for better safety
- Tool free mounting bracket, ideal for use on and off the bike
- Auto ambient light detection
The light body is built well, but I found the charging connection slightly unreliable.
Once the light is attached to the clamp, it's easy to fit to and remove from the bike.
Very well on my rides and commutes, but you need to make sure the rubber seal at the charging point is securely fitted.
Battery life is fine, in a usable range. I can't quantify accurately the battery-saving auto feature, but I noticed it did seem to lengthen the life in general.
It's not a superlight unit at 85g plus the bracket, but it's not too bulky either.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Well – the sensor works well to moderate the light when needed.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Sensor feature, easy fitting to your handlebar.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
Abrupt shutdown at low battery, charging cable is too short, and charge point and cover is a little lightweight.
Did you enjoy using the light? Largely, yes.
Would you consider buying the light? No
Would you recommend the light to a friend? I can't, based on the flaws detailed in the review.
Use this box to explain your score
Iron out the flaws and this would get a 7, but as it stands it offers good performance but needs refining, so I'm giving it an above average 6.
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized Allez Sport My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding