Joby Gorilla SwitchBack Review (video)
- Multiple light options, including red LEDs for night vision
- Converts from headlamp to lantern in minutes
- 2 AA batteries = 72 hours
- A bit cheap feeling, especially the lantern portion
- No padding on battery compartment
Joby’s Gorilla Switchback isn’t exactly what anyone would call a must have product. Sure, it boasts utilitarian value, but unless you’re a camper who is tight on backspace and is into novel gadgets, you’re probably gonna pass on this one.
As with all of Joby’s flashlight products before the Switchback, it too uses Joby’s bendy legs and universal tripod mount, which is included in the box for those looking to add this tripod to their line of camera accessories.
The Switchback takes two AA batteries (included in the box) and literally straps around your head. The portion that holds the batteries, which sits at the back of the skull, is devoid of padding. So I can only imagine that it could become a bit uncomfortable after long term use, although after 15 minutes of wearing it I didn’t find the case to be such.
The front portion of the device, the headlamp, contains three different LED lights: a 130-lumen Bright CREE LED spotlight, 2 white led flood lights and 2 red LED flood lights – the last are intended to provide light without impairing night vision. Controls on the battery pack allow you to cycle through the different light choices as well as vary the intensity of the main lamp.
What makes this device unique is the included lantern portion, which effectively acts like a lamp shade. You simply stuff the head lamp and all its contents into the plastic casing, snap the base into place – it took me a few minutes to get it to all fit – and attach the tripod legs. Then with a slight tug you expand the casing to the reveal the translucent portion of the casing (the lamp shade) and walla, soft light spills out over a wide area.
My first attempt at installing the lantern took me about 5 minutes, since it took a few tries to get all the wires neatly in place and the base locked in. I also managed to rip the top portion of the lantern from the base since it didn’t smoothly slide open – no breakage, though.
Joby says you’ll get 72 hours of use from two AA batteries, though that time will probably vary since you can increase the brightness of the main lamp. The design, while a bit cheap, is light weight, water resistant (IPX4) and does provide enough light for the two campers sharing a tent and is plenty bright for night time exploration. It just doesn’t exude the same confidence and build quality as the Joby Blade.
You can buy the Joby Gorilla Switchback at Amazon for $59.95.