Cateye's Nano Shot Plus front light is the bigger, brighter sibling of the Nano Shot we reviewed, and liked, last year. Amazingly, it manages to kick out more than twice as many lumens for the same price the Nano Shot was then (it's around £60 now).
I could tell you that the Nano Shot Plus boasts 600 lumens, but I'd rather tell you about its beam pattern, and its performance in Real Life: it chucks out plenty of light. Go for the high setting on dark lanes, low where there's a bit of ambient light and hyperconstant (that's strobe to you and me) in traffic. Simples.
The beam pattern is cleverly designed to illuminate practically everything forward of the light. Mounted on the top of drop bars, this includes the drops, as evidenced by huge shadows of shifters to your right and left as you're riding along. Side visibility without being blinded: perfect.
The bracket is Cateye's universal mount, which is a bonus if, like me, you've got a few of those kicking around - it makes it really easy to swap Cateye lights around on your fleet of bikes. Having said that, I did find that at times the weight of the light would test the bracket's ability to stay put; though when it did start to droop, it's easy enough to give the thumbwheel an extra half turn.
Switching on and off, and cycling through lighting modes, is taken care of by a single button on the back of the unit. Push the button for 2 seconds and the light switches on in whichever high or low mode you last used. Push the button again and it cycles through high and low. A quick double-push switches it to hyperconstant (this is the low setting with flashing on high), another push and you're back in constant mode. Hold down for 2 seconds to switch off. With gloves on, the button can be a tad fiddly, but not overly so.
I found the stated battery performance to be pretty accurate. You get about 1.5 hrs on high, 4 hrs on low and 2 hrs on flashing. For me that puts this light into commuting territory - battery life isn't long enough to be useful on longer rides, or for anything but short off-road jaunts.
You get lots of feedback on how the battery is doing - the green button turns orange when it drops below 50%, and red when it needs charging, though I found that you've got a good half hour of light left (on low) to get you home.
Charging is done via a USB cable (which is included), either through your computer or USB battery charger plug (neither of which are included). The connection is standard mini-USB, so chances are you've got a few of those knocking around already. The light takes about 8hrs to charge, quicker through a wall plug.
At 179 grams on my scales, including bracket, this is a neat little package. Sure, longer battery life would be great, but that would probably make it heavier and bulkier, or less bright. Only you can decide whether plenty bright, plenty light, but not for that long is right for you.
Plenty bright, nicely light, commuter light that chucks out plenty of light for the money
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Make and model: Cateye Nano Shot Plus front light
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product 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?
The CatEye Nano Shot Plus emits 600 lumens of light and has 3 different modes: High, Low and Hyper Constant (flashing).
Hyper-Constant mode puts the light on the low setting while simultaneously flashing on high, so the cyclist can see the road while also being seen by motorists. This 'See and Be Seen' makes it ideal for urban city commuting.
The Nano Shot Plus also has an optional helmet mount. When set on high, it's a great trail riding light.
The body is a special lightweight composite that helps dissipate the heat to provide optimal performance.
Run times: High mode for 1.5hrs, Low mode for 4hrs, or Hyper-Constant mode for 2hrs. 160 g.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Dimension：96.4 X 58.6 X 35.6mm
Weight： 160 grams (light unit and battery)
Light source：High intensity white LED X2
Light output：600lm / 5000cd
High mode：approx 1.5hrs
Low mode：approx 4hrs
Hyper Constant mode：approx 2hrs
Battery：Li-Ion rechargeable battery (3.7V-2800mAh)
Recharge time： approx 8hrs (USB2.0 recharge), 80% full recharge in 5hrs.
Recharge/discharge number of times：about 300 times（until the rated capacity drops to 70%）
Other：Low battery indicator, lighting mode memory function
The light is well put together and has a reassuringly robust feel. It survived dropping from the bike while riding.
The light works really well, as advertised really. Though the light doesn't obviously throw light sideways, clever lens design means the beam goes through almost 180 degrees giving lots of side visibility. I'd love battery life to be longer, but then the light would have to be heavier... can't have everything.
Judging by how it survived falling off the bike with nary a scratch, I have high hopes.
179 grams really isn't very much for a light of this caliber.
Looking around online, the light can be had for around £80, excellent value!
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The light is perfect for daily commuting; hyperconstant mode for when you really want to be seen with the high mode perfect for those dark lines.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The useful beam pattern, and great feedback on how the battery is doing.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The bracket isn't really sturdy enough for this light, it started drooping on more than one occasion, no matter how tight I did it up (without resorting to pliers).
I wish battery life was a bit longer, though as it's on a par with similar offerings from other brands, I can't really complain!
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Looking for a light for your commute? This one comes recommended.
Age: 32 Height: 1.78m Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: All of them! My best bike is: Cervelo Dual
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, touring, club rides, fixed/singlespeed, Audax