Black Diamond ICON 2012 - another long-awaited premiere, BD Icon series is the biggest competitor of MYO XP / RXP in the world and usually immediately after the release of the new Petzl there is a premiere of the new Black Diamond. BD has powerful technical background in Azoteq (Princeton Tec headlamps) so there are virtually no restrictions in this regard. This time for the premiere of the new headlamp we had to wait almost two years, let's see whether it was worth it...



Black Diamond Icon 2012 - box

Some marketing data.

  • 1 QuadPower LED spotlight, 2 SinglePower white LEDs and 2 SinglePower red LEDs emit 200 lumens (max setting)
  • Red night-vision mode has proximity and strobe settings and activates without cycling through the white mode
  • Rugged and balanced design used 4 AA batteries
  • Settings include full strength in proximity and distance modes, dimming, strobe, red night vision and lock mode
  • 3-level power meter shows remaining battery life for 3 seconds after switching on headlamp
  • Protected against water immersion down to 1 m (3.3 ft) for 30 minutes (IPX 7)
  • Weight : 220g with batteries( real 124,9g i 221,7g and with 4 batteries AA)

Price : $79.95.

Initial impressions.

Nice design, at first glance resembles Princeton Tec Apex, but with addition of the red light. Semi-metal housing is providing cooling to the led. Icon is powered from 4 AA cells instead of 3, which gives a much larger reserve of energy than in Myo XP. First time and... again this ^#@$@^@! user interface invented by a #^@^@!! from Black Diamond - means all modes under one button. Why it was not possible use the Apex design with 2 buttons? Why ?!!

Black Diamond Icon 2012 - head

Control button does not stick out above the housing, but it is a central point and is big enough that you can switch modes even when wearing gloves. Headlamp angle can be easily adjusted, but for some users adjustment range may be a bit too small.

Black Diamond Icon 2012 - head angle

Compared to the 90* adjustment range in PT there is not too much left in ICON. Band material is good quality, soft but strong enough to hold headlamp tightly on the head. I don't know why if the battery compartment is profiled into the curvature of the head the head part was left flat.

The battery compartment itself is a further development of the PT container, as if the idea is great, because it saves you a few components, there it is a small problem with the operation. The top cover needs to be pressed strongly before turning the lock, otherwise it will not go into the openings in the container and the battery pack will not be sealed.

The first reprimand for execution:

Black Diamond Icon 2012 - paint is peeling off

After a few turns, the paint starts to peel :(.

What you can find inside ?

Or what is squeaking inside ? While in most of the modes problem does not occur, than in maximum mode (spot) headlamp squeaks rather loudly - at least for me (coil in the driver is a noise generator :-p).

The main source of the light here is Cree XP-G, I was unable to identify the side LED’s. To get inside you need to remove the 4 outer screws on the back of the head - the screws are soft, so it is better to use a screwdriver that match the screw size well.

A moment of fun and we have a head content in hands:

Black Diamond Icon 2012 - leds, mcpcb, driver.

If somebody was expecting big heatsink well known from Princeton Tec Apex he will be disappointed – but this ideas is used in one brand new headlamp but it’s Petzl NAO ;). Aluminum frame around the housing is only to strengthen the housing or for better look. For the heat exchange with the environment is responsible ferrite core partially molded into the case and screwed with mcpcb.

Black Diamond Icon 2012 - heatsink, driver.

Power supply.

Regulated Drivers from Azoteq are usually very good, and this one should be so close to almost legendary driver from Apex (okay no squeaking in Apex - a very distant relationship :-p), that it should be simply perfect.

Measurements of the power usage at the input to the headlamp:

4xAA - 6,01V without load   4xAA NiMH - 4,88V without load
Mode V-in I-in P-in   V-in I-in P-in
XP-G - high 5,47V 492,4mA 2,693W   4,11V 241,0mA 0,991W
XP-G - low 5,93V 15,84mA 0,094W   4,79V 15,91mA 0,076W
Flood - high 5,82V 62,40mA 0,363W   4,67V 64,60mA 0,302W
Flood - low 5,91V 11,23mA 0,066W   4,80V 12,42mA 0,060W
Red - high 5,88V 34,71mA 0,204W   4,74V 36,83mA 0,175W
Red - low 5,90V 5,17mA 0,031W   4,82V 5,23mA 0,025W

As you can see, the new ICON handles NiMH batteries quite poorly immediately going into economy non-regulated mode. So if you are using NiMH’s you will not see those 200 lumens too often.

But if you have some skills and some spare Li-Ion's you can drive this headlamp pretty hard...

2x18650 Li-Ion- 8,01V without load
mode V-in I-in P-in
XP-G - high 7,93V 365,42mA 2,898W
XP-G - low 8,0V 16,44mA 0,132W
Flood - high 7,99V 74,56mA 0,596W
Flood - low 8,01V 10,09mA 0,081W
Red - high 8,01V 32,75mA 0,262W
Red - low 8,01V 5,99mA 0,048W

Yes, the new ICON 2012 was lying so close to Apex, that it is also capable of operating powered from 2 Li-Ion :).

How does it light ?

Should i compare it with 140 lumens RXP or 200 lumen PT Apex ? What a question, of course with Apex :].

Black Diamond ICON 2012 vs Princeton Tec Apex 2010 - spot, high.

Black Diamond ICON 2012 vs Princeton Tec Apex 2010 - spot, high, indoor
Black Diamond ICON 2012 vs Princeton Tec Apex 2010 - spot, high, outdoor

Apex has a better focus and range, Icon better illuminates the foreground. But for this we should have flood mode…

Black Diamond ICON 2012 vs Princeton Tec Apex 2010 - Flood vs 5mm

Apex flood have a bit more range than Icon's ;).

For chronicles only, comparison with old Myo RXP, as they compete for the same customers.

Black Diamond ICON 2012 vs Petzl Myo RXP 2008.

Black Diamond ICON 2012 vs Petzl Myo RXP 2008

140 lumens measured on the LED versus 200 lumens from the headlamp - you can see the difference :D


Modern, it has all the needed features, waterproof. And yet, it's just I do not like it - I expected the revised version of the Apex and not its Chinese clone. Cooling is so-so, work on rechargeable batteries so so, control - only for the fans of the brand + lack of mode memory when you set your own level of light. But as the example BD Storm, this control is not that much of a problem and this headlamp has gained many die-hard fans, so maybe I'm griping ;). 2 years for development did not help the new ICON beat Apex in terms of the amount of light or usability; as a result, on the U.S. market ICON does not have many chances in my opinion. For the European market, where the Princeton Tec is very poorly represented, BD may sell very well.