I owned an old VIOO CLIP light, and I broke it after several years of use during misuse, so I went and bought a new one. Since I never made a full review on the light, and the new one I got has some small updates, I thought to do a full review.
I bought the VIOO CLIP 300 from Decathlon. They cost around 10€ each, and if bought in packs of 2, around 17€.
The VIOO CLIP 300 is a small light, with a rechargeable integrated battery. The main purpose of this light is to work as signalling device, but I believe it can also function as a regular light.
It is available in several colours (pink, yellow, white, black, red), both in a single and double pack.
The light comes in a simple packaging, with a micro USB cable and a strap.
The VIOO CLIP 300:
This is the port cover for the micro USB port. It is made of hard plastic.
On the back there is a big clip.
Under the clip there is a small protrusion that helps the grip
The clip has a V design, and on the body there’s a protrusion that
a) helps the grip increasing the pressure on the cloth,
b) allows to mount the VIOO CLIP 300 reliably on the strap.
The strap can be mounted on the light only in one direction
There’s an invitation for the clip
Once the strap is in position, the space inside the clip is filled by a protrusion of the strap, making it quite hard to remove the strap from the light.
There are no visible switches, because the center of the anterior part is a switch that can be pushed, and has a circular milling to help the identification and the grip.
You can see the 2 LEDs: a white and a red one.
To turn the light on you need to press the center of the anterior part.
The light has 4 modes: constant white light, flashing white light, constant red light, flashing red light.
To cycle between the modes click once. To turn off you need to keep pressed the anterior part.
The light has memory mode and will turn on at the last used mode.
To recharge the light you need to connect it to a micro USB cable.
The small status LED will blink red, while charging
The small status LED will be solid green, when fully charged.
How small is the light? Very small. (the VIOO CLIP 300 packs a 160mAh battery)
*Beamshots *at 0.5 meters from the wall
Output and runtime
They advertise 20 lumens for the white light and 5 lumens for the red light, and 4.5 hours of runtime for both white and red constant output, 9 hours of flashing light.
I wasn’t able to measure the output of the white light with my setup.
Furthermore, my luxmeter measurements are reliable only when the light has a wavelength within the sensitivity range of my instrument. Mine should be good only above 2200K, so no chance on getting info on the red LED output.
I have always hated small bike lights. They are usually cheap, but they usually adopt 5mm led (less output, not great beam), are not regulated (which means they will never make a lot of light, and will be bright only in the first part of their operative light) and run on button cells (poor power capability, hard to find and usually more expansive than the whole light). I was more than happy to find the VIOO clip 300, since it has regulated output, 2 different color and 2 mode for each color, integrated battery (with good runtime) with a non proprietary port (micro USB). Also, for a everyday use on a city bike, it is easy to mount and unmount (both preventing the light from being stolen and facilitating the recharge).
I have used countless time the old light on my MTB seat post, set to red flashing mode. I always had it on, whenever I went, day or night time. Never had a problem. Dirt, sand, mud, water and everything else it withstood greatly:
- The light never stop working (I never found it off after turning it on)
- The silicone strap stays tight to the seat post smooth metal, and it does not move or notate, the same for the light mounted on the strap.
- The good feedback and easy interface of the light allowed me to turn it on and off without getting off the bike and without the need to watch the light (just find it with my fingers, keep it pushed for a bit more than a second and I know it is off, and just a single tap lets me know it is back on)
- The overall compact profile makes hard for grass, branches and other vegetables to get stuck around the light or its mount (not a big deal for a city bike, but helps if you are using a MTB).
- The clear plastic allows light to bounce around and came out of the light. This means two things: a) even if there is dirt or mud above the LED, light will came out and you will still be visible; b) The light is still visible even if seen by the side. Here are some Beamshots that show you how well this happens (the surface under the light is black and not very much reflective)
In these shots the light is oriented so that the LED that is working is further from the camera
It can be also seen in the lightbox with a lot of diffused light
Here’s why the last thing can work against you:
Recently I got another backlight so I tried to move it on the front part of the bike.
I used the silicone strap to secure it to the handlebar, and this worked fine. Unfortunately, the fact that the front part is made of clear diffusing plastic, worked against me since it projected vertical light that hit my eyes. This is not a real problem if I am riding by day and I wear sunglasses; but if it is dark, it is very annoying.
So I moved it downward, on the head tube. The head tube on my bike was too wide for the silicone strap, so I mounted the VIOO CLIP light to a very wide and thick cable tie, making it feed through the space under the clip (don’t try to make the clip go over it because that’s how I broke my old VIOO CLIP). After putting some anti slip spacer (a piece of bike tube) directly on the head tube, I secured the tie on it.
Now it works very as I intended, without hitting the rider in the eyes. The only downside to this solution is that the light can’t be removed from the electric tie, you have to cut the tie and un-feed through it from the clip.
When I go for a run by foot I prefer not to clip things to my shoes (since this light will shine right at my eyes) and I tent to wear reflective straps with lights on my arm (they make me visible from all sides).
I have carried the VIOO CIP 300 many times with me as a signal light. I have not used it beside signalling light because as a serious flashaholic it has several limitations: limited output, only one mode, tint too cool for my taste. However, it can function as a flood or working light if you can clip it on your clothes or somewhere around (the hole inside the clip can be used to tie It to a lanyard). Take a look at the Beamshots: the beam for both LEDs is very smooth and gives some visibility within 3-4 meters. Given its compactness, ease of use and recharge, I recommend it to everyone as a signal light.
The only downside I can find in this light is that it is lacks of “reserve” levels. The light is quite regulated and, as you can see from the plots, it shuts down rather quickly after a stepdown that it is impossible to see the naked eye, especially if you are using it as a back light. I would have preferred to have a bigger reduction in the brightness after the stepdown, so I can understand that the battery is running low, and I need to recharge it, but still provide some brightness. On the road even 1 lumen is better than 0 lumens.
To improve this light, I would point out that it lacks of reflective elements. IMHO the whole part around the 2 main LEDS should be reflective, because it allows light from other vehicles and streetlamps to bounce back and makes us visible. Why do you need reflective elements when you have 2 LEDs:
a) it further improve your visibility, which is the main purpose of a light like this,
b) when the battery is empty,
c) when you forget to turn the light on (it happened to me during the day),
d) in case of a malfunction.
I’d also welcome a bigger version of this light, featuring the same LEDs and output and with a battery with higher capacity (remember that the light packs a 160mAh battery).
*Thanks to: *AntoLed for the camera advices and the luxmeter.