It may be only the size of your thumb, but the plucky Infini Mini Lava Front Light is plenty bright enough to make sure you are seen, even in bright daylight.
After visiting the Infini website I didn't really want to like this light. 'Classy, young, trendy, fashionable, these are all characteristics of the Infini Brand,' it burbled. Well, that's me ruled out then. There was worse: 'Infini focuses on glamour where others stress performance, style where others affirm convenience.' Erm – right. And, by the way, your Mini Lava looks like it came out of a Christmas cracker – all shiny plastic and angular. Looking through its wide selection of front lights, a motley collection of entirely unrelated products, it was hard to see a unifying mind behind the designs. So I was extra-sceptical as this wee specimen went to test – and pleased to find out it works well!
It's all perfectly simple: press the button on the top to switch it on; then press to scroll through the modes – full power, half power, flashing, pulsing and off. That's nice and intuitive and doesn't involve taking your eyes off the road while you fiddle with complicated programming.
The mount is one of those twist-fit brackets doing the rounds at the moment. It's pretty basic, but strong enough and easy to transfer between bikes. Generally, I left it on my best road bike where the 20g total weight (light and bracket) has to be acceptable to the weeniest of weenies.
The light itself is a single LED. Infini doesn't mention any lumens but there must be some, because on full power this was easily visible in bright sunlight from 100 metres; even on flashing mode, which is half-power, it couldn't be missed. In the dark, I was happy to use this as an auxiliary front light in traffic, although on unlit lanes and cycle paths it wasn't really quite enough to see my way by. The chunky lens offers reasonable side visibility and a nice touch is the extension of the black casing over the top of the lens, so it doesn't shine up into your eyes.
Charging is as simple as the operation: pull off the rubber boot and plug straight into a USB port. Make sure you put it in the right way up. The light comes on as it charges and goes out when the battery is full – in no more than an hour. From that I got 1hr 20mins on full power, and 42hrs on flashing. This wasn't quite the 48 claimed, but plenty for a week's commute.
I was deliberately unkind to the light, too, 'forgetting' to take it off the bike when I washed it and leaving it out in the rain all day. So far, the water has stayed out, though the on/off button looks a bit vulnerable on the top where it's exposed to falling raindrops. In truth, though, at £16 it's not the end of the world if it only lasts the season, and I've spent more on lights that didn't last that long.
Its USP – the tiny size – is probably only a drawback for amnesiacs like me, as I kept forgetting where I'd put it. The rubber cover for the USB plug is also easy to mislay, and that could kill it, so take good care of it.
A useful little light that punches above its weight – just don't forget where you left it...
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Infini Mini-Lava rechargeable USB front light
Size tested: n/a
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?
Says Infini: "Mini Lava is the newest addition to best-selling Lava series of lights. It continues with many of the same great features and qualities of the Lava series but does so in a much smaller size with an integrated USB plug for charging. Mini Lava attaches to bars, helmets, hats or to your person to provide light for nighttime runs, walks or rides."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
Single Super bright 50 lumen LED front light
Run times - 1.5hrs high, 6hrs, low, 9hrs pulse and 48hrs flash
Lithium-ion polymer rechargeable battery with integral USB male tab
Super Bright, Boost, constant and flashing modes
Push button switch operation is easy to operate, even with winter gloves
Supplied with handlebar bracket mounts
It's a plasticky looking affair but seems robust enough.
This couldn't be simpler: two steady modes, one flashing and one pulsating settings. Press to turn on and switch between the modes and turn off.
Very simple to fit; the light mounts with a twist fit that held it securely. It's very basic though.
Better than expected so far, even though the switch is on the top and therefore vulnerable to rainfall. The USB cover is a good chunk of rubber that so far has kept the water out – it'd be easy to lose it, though.
Infiniti reckons from 1.5 hours on full beam to 48 hours on flashing. I didn't get quite that – 42 hours – but that's not bad.
It's easy to charge, plugging directly into a USB socket. Don't lose that rubber cover, though.
For such a tiny light it delivers a decent performance. You won't want to rely on this for navigating home on dark lanes, but for visibility it's pretty good, even in bright daylight.
Well, at this price I won't be expecting miracles, but it's lasted a month which is more than I've got out of some lights. So let's say "above average"!
...assuming that weight is more important to you than overall performance.
Well, it looks like it fell out of a Christmas cracker to be honest, but with the back-up of a reputable brand, £15 is pretty good value.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Surprisingly bright "gets-you-seen" light for its size. Ideal for sticking in a pocket or handbag or just leaving on the bike for when you need it. I wouldn't choose it as my main source of lighting, though.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Size, ease of use and versatility. Excellent battery life.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
Easy to mislay! The same applies to the USB cover.
Did you enjoy using the light? Yes
Would you consider buying the light? Yes
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes, and a great stocking-filler!
Use this box to explain your score
As a safety light, or one to keep about you for emergencies, it delivers a surprisingly good performance. But I wouldn't rely on it as my foremost source of front illumination.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale CAAD10 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking