Bookman Volume Light: Quick Review – by Guitar Ted
Note: Bookman sent over the Volume light, (as well as some previously reviewed products) for test and review to Guitar Ted Productions at no charge. I am not being paid, nor bribed for this review, and I always strive to give my honest thoughts and opinions throughout.
Well, now that I’ve used this light several times I have some impressions to share. All the technical data and specs are found in Part 1 of this review HERE. Click that before you fire off any questions about run times, batteries, etc. This post will mainly deal with how this light is to use and any high or low points I have found in its design and function.
Many of you will be looking for some light beam shots, and I actually have some okay ones to share here. It is difficult to find places in the vicinty of Waterloo that are not really light-polluted at night, but a “tree-tunnel” over one of our cycling paths did prove to be pretty good for what I needed to show here. Especially so since the foilage is still mostly on the branches. So, from “low” to “high”, here are four of the five levels of light that the Bookman Volume light has on tap.(The lowest setting is basically a flashlight level) I’m going to show these from dimmest to brightest and the level will be numerically indicated from low to high (2,3,4, and 5)
In these images I see why my preference was to run only the two brightest settings. I also noted that there is barely any difference between “3” and “4”, but to my eyes “4” was significantly easier to ride with. While it is nearly impossible for you, the reader, to see, I did place an object at 25 paces away which I cannot see at level “3” but I can discern it at “4”, so there is that. But be that as it may, level “5”, the 800 Lumen level, is what I would want for faster riding. The next level “4” is 400 Lumens, so that is a significant drop in “punch” level, but this is something I found to be a curiosity with the Volume light.
The Volume doesn’t have that “throw” that some lights do, and that’s going to adversely affect my comfort levels on fast downhill gravel sections. Think something at 25+ miles per hour here. There just is not enough bright light far enough ahead of you to make corrections, or brake, to avoid bad lines, potholes, etc. The front “fill” light is tremendous here. The width of the beam pattern is excellent as well. The color is okay with my eyes. it’s just that this light doesn’t punch a beam way down the road as I would need it to for faster descending or just plain very fast riding on technical roads.
The good news? I can find a helmet mounted torch that will have a long-throw spot beam for that higher speed stuff and that would be a great compliment to this more washed out beam pattern of the Bookman light.
Run times are something to consider as well. The Volume is rated at 3 hours on the highest setting. That’s actually pretty impressive. Consider that my late twenty-teens era Lezyne 1100i runs for 1.5 hours on the “high” setting. You might be thinking, “Hey Ted! isn’t that Lezyne supposed to be 1100 Lumens on “high”?” You would be correct. But there are “lumens” and then there are Lumens. How these companies measure their light output is not regulated and varies from one tester to another. See my comparison of “high” on the Lezyne to the half power setting on the Volume. Not much difference, eh?
Of course, it could come down to the old battery, or different optics. But it is clear that the Volume is a better light. Better than the Lezyne anyway. Plus, when you factor in that brilliant knob design that the Volume has, which eliminates guesswork and tabbing through a “menu” to get where you want to be in terms of light level, this light begins to look like a much better design.
There were a couple of things that bugged me about the Volume light though. One was the On-Off power button. It is oh-so “Apple-like” sleek and it works, but try to find that little depression in the dark with gloves on. Yeah….. Frustrating. Maybe there should be a little ring of LED light there or a raised button. I vote for the raised button myself.
Then there is the mount’s band attachment. It is clever, but that one bolt attachment is fiddly and hard to get to. Fahgeddaboudit if you are in the dark and need to tighten it up. I know…..tighten it up enough before you leave. I get it, but a tool-less attachment might be nicer.
I had one curious hiccup with the Volume where I had turned it off and was running the Lezyne light as a comparison. When I went to turn on the Volume light, after I found that durned button, it would not turn on. It would show me the battery status, but that was it. I tried it a few blocks down the trail later and hey! On it came. What?
I couldn’t replicate the issue, yet….. But I’m watching for this and I will report back if that becomes an issue again.
At The Finish: There may be a long-term update on this light, so stay tuned for that if I can squeeze that in yet this year. Otherwise I think the Bookman Volume Light at the 800 Lumen level is a fine commuter light with a great “washy” beam that will light up the roads well. On gravel it is fine at cruising speeds on flatter terrain. I would like a more powerful, longer throw beam choice for high-speed downhill riding at night, or at least a focused, long throw beam choice on the 800.
That said, I love the “volume knob” concept. Finally, a light I don’t have to tab through a menu button to get to the light setting I want. A simple twist and you are there. Add in the Garmin based mount and this light has a lot going for it. I can get on with the beam pattern, although it does not have a very focused beam, so if you are one that likes/needs that sort of beam, this light may not be for you.
I think Bookman have themselves a great platform here for a future development of a better Volume Light. One that might address that fiddly power-on/off button, and maybe one that would have an option for a truly “high beam”, long throw light that would give me confidence at high speeds. Maybe the 1500 model would be better at this?
In the end, I am a bit conflicted looking at the Volume light from a gravel rider’s perspective. It is a fantastic commuter light, and I would have no issues at all with it in that setting. But I would be a bit reticent to rely on this for my only light on a gravel ride here. I’d need a punchy helmet mounted light to compliment the Volume. If that seems okay to you, and if you can make that power button work, I would recommend this light. My hope is that Bookman doesn’t stop here. The concept is great and I think it has a lot more potential.