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Cateye AMPP 400 Front Light

8
£29.99

VERDICT:

8
10
Great value with useful modes, a good beam and excellent battery life
Great value
Versatile mount
Excellent battery life
Micro-USB rather than USB-C charging
Weight: 
120g

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Cateye AMPP400 punches above its weight with a range of useful modes, an excellent mounting system and good battery life – especially on flashing mode.

The Cateye AMPP400 is a keenly priced, plastic-bodied light that impresses in terms of brightness and battery life. The combined button/battery indicator is easy to click on and off, the 2200 mAh battery gives good run times, and the modes are genuinely useful.

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The plastic-bodied construction feels pleasantly solid in the hand. The front lens is also plastic, and slightly wraps around the edges for additional side vision. I'm not convinced it would survive a drop onto tarmac without breaking, but thankfully the mount is solid and doesn't budge once tightened.

The on/off button (which doubles as the battery level indicator) is rubberised but only needs a shallow click, so should last – I've had squidgier buttons split after a few months use.

2020 Cateye AMPP 400 Front Light - side.jpg

The button glows white during use, changing to red when the battery drops to approximately 25% full, and the two-second on/off press means accidental changes are unlikely. If you're in a hurry for the maximum output, a double-click puts it straight into 400 lumen mode. I had no issues using it with winter gloves.

The memory function remembers your last-used mode, too, which is a nice touch.

The AMPP400 uses Cateye's familiar FlexTight mounting, which is a worm-geared flexible strap with a thumb wheel. It can mount a variety of handlebars, including ovalised aero ones, as the strap is flexible enough to curve around them.

2020 Cateye AMPP 400 Front Light - mount.jpg

The light then slides onto the mount and clicks into place. It's a nifty design that can quickly be swapped to different bikes without using tools, and I had no issues with it slipping.

It's also possible to mount it upside down on the bars, as there's enough room for cables to easily pass in front. I preferred to mount it this way, for use as a really good secondary light, although the button/battery level indicator is then trickier to access.

If I could make an improvement to the AMP400, it would be to move the button to the rear of the light, so you could easily access it no matter how it's mounted.

Waterproofing

The AMPP400 is IPX4 rated, meaning it can take being splashed with water from any direction. I tested it on several rainy rides, and had no issues. It seems like it should shrug off a heavy downpour, but stay clear of rivers!

For such an inexpensive light, the AMPP400 is really impressive. It projects a bright, round beam that's enough for a steady 18 mph on pitch-black lanes, while the pulsing Daytime Hyperconstant – which flashes without ever going dark – is ideal for traffic. There's also a pure flashing mode which lasts a whopping 60 hours.

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The OptiCube lens sends plenty of light to the sides for visibility at junctions and the like, and as a bonus, also helps me see my Wahoo screen in the dark!

2020 Cateye AMPP 400 Front Light - USB port.jpg

The battery is non-replaceable, but Cateye claims it should see 300 full charges and discharges before it drops to 70% of its original capacity. Charging time from pancake-flat is just over four hours. It's a little disappointing to see a micro-USB connection when small devices and phones are moving to USB-C, though a short cable is included.

At 120 grams it's a decent weight for a 400 lumen light, though the optional strap for helmet mounting is a little unappealing – the AMPP400 is rather heavy for helmet use.

Value

The AMPP400 is priced well. The Moon Meteor is close at 450 lumens and has a good variety of modes, for instance, though at full whack it's a bit short on run time. It's £24.99. The Blackburn DayBlazer 400 matches the AMPP400 for lumen output, but burns out even faster than the Meteor at less than an hour, and is £32.99.

Overall

The AMP400 is a great value light with some very useful modes, very good battery life and flexible mounting options. A rear battery indicator and a USB-C charging port would improve future versions, but for now – and for £30 – it's still a great choice.

Verdict

Great value with useful modes, a good beam and excellent battery life

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Cateye AMPP 400 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?

Cateye says "Safety first, the AMPP400 comes with maximum side visibility, securely held in place with our adjustable FlexTight™ bracket"

The Cateye AMPP 400 front light is a keenly priced, plastic-bodied light that punches above its weight is terms of brightness and battery life.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?

Rechargeable headlight (400 lumen)

Wide beam with OptiCube lens technology

Side visibility

Low battery indicator (The On-Off button illuminates in red with less than 20% battery remaining)

USB rechargeable (Micro-USB cable included)

Mode memory function

Four light modes (High / Low / Daytime pulse flashing (What Cateye calls "Daytime HyperConstant") / Flashing)

Quoted run times from Cateye:

High mode 400 lumens: 2hrs

Low mode 200 lumens: 4hrs

Daytime HyperConstant mode 400/200 lumens: 6hrs

Flashing mode 200 lumens: 60hrs

Turns on High mode with double-click of power button

FlexTight bracket

Rate the light for quality of construction:
 
7/10

It's plastic bodied, but feels pleasantly solid.

Rate the light for design and ease of use. How simple was the light to use?
 
9/10

Very simple.

Rate the light for the design and usability of the clamping system/s
 
9/10

The worm-geared flexible strap fits most bars (even aero) and can quickly be attached/removed without tools. It's also possible to mount it upside down, as it leaves enough room for cables to easily pass in front.

Rate the light for waterproofing. How did it stand up to the elements?
 
7/10

The IPX 4 rating means it can take being splashed with water from any direction. I tested it on several rainy rides, and had no issues.

Rate the light for battery life. How long did it last? How long did it take to recharge?
 
8/10

I managed three night rides of three hours each, using a mix of modes, before the AMPP 400 showed the red light to recharge. On the absolute max (400 lumen) mode it shuts off after two hours. However, it can keep going in flashing mode after this for another three hours.

As a 'be seen' light in the 200 lumen flashing mode, the AMPP 400 lasts a whopping 60 hours, which is superb.

Recharging time was approximately 4 hours.

Rate the light for performance:
 
8/10

For such a relatively inexpensive light, it's really good.

Rate the light for durability:
 
8/10

The battery is non-replaceable; Cateye claims it should see 300 full charge cycles before it drops to 70% of original capacity.

Rate the light for weight:
 
8/10

120 grams is fine.

Rate the light for value:
 
5/10

Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Really well – it's a 'see by' light at moderate speed, a 'be seen' light at any speed, and the battery life in flashing mode is excellent.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the light

Bright, cheap, good burn times, the 'reserve' tank function.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light

It's micro-USB instead of the newer USB-C connection.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The AMPP400 is priced well. The Moon Meteor is close at 450 lumens and has a good variety of modes, for instance, though at full whack it's a bit short on run time. It's £24.99. The Blackburn DayBlazer 400 matches the AMPP400 for lumen output, but burns out even faster than the Meteor at less than an hour, and is £32.99.

Did you enjoy using the light? Yes

Would you consider buying the light? Yes

Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

This is a great value light, with some very useful modes and flexible mounting options. The battery life is good too, especially on flashing mode – there's little not to like.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 41  Height: 181  Weight: 92 Kilos

I usually ride: GT Grade  My best bike is: Boardman ASR 8.9

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb, Zwifting

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