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 Giant Recon HL 350 is a brilliant front commuter light, delivering a decent level of brightness, good run times and fast USB charging in a compact lightweight package.
Part of a range that runs from 100 lumens (Recon HL 100) to a massive 1800 lumens (Recon HL 1800), this 350 lumen model sits squarely in the commuter light sector.
It has three steady modes and two flashing ones, is USB rechargeable, is IPX7 waterproof and mounts to the bar with a straightforward strap. Side windows spill light for visibility at junctions.
This is an incredibly easy light to fit. The simplicity makes it perfect for commuting – leaving lights on when you stop is often not an option. Despite this it's a sturdy attachment too, and a good size for cluttered bars.
The full-power beam is sufficient for me to see even on dark roads, but it really comes into its own in towns and suburbs. The beam is nicely average – neither narrow nor wide – giving good visibility to a decent distance. The flashing modes are ideal for daylight, too.
One thing I appreciate is that it doesn't turn on in high beam (a personal bugbear as it ruins your night vision), but instead comes on in the lowest steady mode. Clicking the button cycles through modes in the familiar way.
Run time is convenient for commuting, plus the claimed 1.7 hours on full power was, at least during my test, reliably more like two hours. The lowest steady mode (100 lumens) does more like six hours. Flashing modes take it up to about 12 hours.
It only takes about 2.5 hours to charge from dead, which again is ideal for office commutes. The light automatically lowers its power mode when starting to run out of juice too, to maximise remaining run time.
At £34.99, the Giant Recon HL 350 is on par with quite a few other similarly bright lights, such as the Vel 300 Lumen Front Light at £30 and the Cateye AMPP 400 Front Light at £29.99. It's significantly lighter than the Cateye, but a similar weight and size to the Vel.
With its fast charging and decent battery life, low weight and compact design, it's hard to find fault. The sturdy build and strong water resistance (it can actually be submerged) mean it should last well too. I certainly didn't have any issues in the rain.
The HL 350 is a supremely well-designed, user-friendly commuter light that ticks all the boxes – and is good value for money too.
A well-designed, easy to use and effective light with a good balance of run times, output and charge time
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Giant Recon HL350
Size tested: 350 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?
Giant says: "The Recon HL350 has the lightest weight of the Recon series, boasts day/night flash modes with superior run time and is IPX7 waterproof rated, making it perfect for commuting."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
350 lumens maximum output
ANSI certified lumens and run time
Heat-dissipating advanced-plastic casing ensures functionality even at high temperature
Power status indicator alerts remaining run-time before powering off
Li-Ion polymer battery (1400mAh)
Manufacturer's stated run times - High 1.7hrs (350LM), Middle 3hrs (200LM), Low 5.5hrs (100LM), Day Flash 11hrs (100LM > 50LM), Night Flash 12hrs (50LM)
Well made, slim and lightweight.
Uncomplicated and intuitive.
Supremely easy to fit and stays put, but easy to adjust too.
Rated to IPX7, which is good.
On its highest setting it lasts longer than the claimed 1.7 hours, and was consistently more like 2hrs. On its lowest steady mode it usually ran for up to 6hrs (over a claimed 5.5hrs). Charges from flat in under 2.5hrs.
Easy to fit and use with a good beam, brightness and run time. Spot on for a commuter light.
Very light and compact.
Very good value for money with a solid yet lightweight build and reliable performance.
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very capable for city riding and the odd bit of unlit road.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Inexpensive, easy to attach and remove, light and compact, good run and charge times.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
At this price, the Giant Recon HL350 is on a par with quite a few other similarly bright lights, such as the Vel 300 Lumen Front Light at £30 and the Cateye AMPP 400 Front Light at £29.99. It's significantly lighter than the Cateye but of a similar weight and size as the Vel.
Did you enjoy using the light? Very much
Would you consider buying the light? Absolutely
Would you recommend the light to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
This is a very easy to use light with an excellent combination of run times, power, charging time and usability in a light yet sturdy package. The price is attractive too. It's extremely good.
About the tester
I usually ride: Liv Invite My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite
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, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.