See.Sense started on Kickstarter all the way back in 2013, quickly reaching and exceeding their funding goal. They released the worlds first ‘smart light’ to much acclaim in 2014, and have been improving on the concept ever since. The second version solved some issues added a few new features, Jump forward to 2016 and we have the new ICON – combining 3 years of development into what’s essentially the neatest, brightest light set yet. Let’s take a look and then get into the See.Sense ICON review below:
- Intelligent sensing – monitors the environment, changing flash patterns and brightness to keep you more visible. See.Sense is the ONLY bike light in the world that can react by flashing brighter and faster at roundabouts, road-junctions, approaching car headlights at night, travelling into shade and tunnels.
- Daylight Visible – With two CREE LED’s, ICON+ produces 190 lumens in the rear, bright enough to be seen in broad daylight.
- Dual purpose optics – choose to ‘see’ or to ‘be seen’. ICON has twin LED’s, one with a focused beam, and one with a dispersed beam.
- Side Illumination at over 180 degrees. ICON uses a Fresnel lens to disperse the beam so other riders are not dazzled.
- Superb runtime at over 15 Hours
- Recharge via USB
- Lightweight and compact at under 64 grams (including mount)
- Auto on/off – turns on as soon as bike moves & turns off after 3 minutes of inactivity
- Smartphone Integration – take control with an optional app to easily check battery level, change from flashing to constant, control multiple ICON’s at once & customise brightness & runtime settings. The free iOS & Android App uses Bluetooth Smart connectivity to easily pair the lights with your smartphone.
- Crash alert – if you have a crash, ICON can auto notify your nominated contact of your GPS location. Coming in December, 2015 via a firmware update.
- Early Theft Deterrent Alarm – instantly notifies you if your bike is moved while you are not with it. Ideal for club cyclists while on a coffee stop.
- Future Proof – As new features are developed, download Firmware Over-the-Air (FOTA) updates and application updates via your smartphone.
- Make your city safer – voluntarily contribute data captured by ICON on road surface and accident hot spot areas to help your city make cycling safer.
The See.Sense ICON is an intelligent and connected cycle light which features two super bright CREE LED’s – the lights are available in two versions, The ICON and the ICON+, these both have the same innovative sensors and bluetooth connectivity but the + versions bumps up the power. The ICON+ puts out a huge retina burning 250 lumens for the rear and 420 lumens on the front. The cheaper ICON is slightly less powerful at 190 lumens, but still destroys every other rear light out there. There’s a different lens for each LED, giving you a focussed beam and also a dispersed beam which is great for side illumination.
The mounting system is great, using industrial strength silicone bands which provide a secure fit but still really easy to remove. They also provide a spare just incase you lose or snap one, but they’re pretty strong so you shouldn’t have any issues.
The unique feature about the ICON lights are the clever onboard sensors, automatically adjusting the light’s brightness and flashing pattern based on surroundings and activity. From what we can work out, there is a light sensor for detecting approaching car headlights (at night only) and an accelerometer that detects changes in speed, such as when you’re slowing down and approaching a junction or roundabout. Both of these result in the light increasing it’s brightness and changing the light pattern to attract attention.
Run time is an impressive 15 hours – a feat achieved by the intelligent management of the LEDs through the sensors. Charging is via a USB port on the rear of the unit and takes 5 hours to charge from empty. They’re also weather sealed to IP67 rating so should be completely fine in torrential rain (just remember to take them off if you’re using a pressure washer).
The ICON is also Bluetooth equipped, which means you can control both lights from within the phone app, giving you complete control over the brightness and flashing pattern but also giving you theft and crash detection. The idea being that if you’re jumping into the cafe for an espresso and someone tampers with your bike, your phone will receive a notification from the light and alert you with a notification. Being Bluetooth, it does have some range limitations but works well. The crash detection function, when enabled, automatically texts an emergency contact along with your GPS location should you have an accident.
See.Sense have some pretty big plans for the ICON – utilising the onboard sensors and smartphone connectivity to actively map the road surface, detecting things like potholes and other road damage and submitting to the relevant agency for repair. The company is currently working with Queen’s University Belfast to bring real-time analysis to this sensor data, so the potential is massive. Learn more here.
There is also a proposed ‘peloton mode’ which detects other ICON users around you and dims rear lights, unless your the wheel sucker at the back. It’s great that these lights are future-proofed, allowing over-the-air firmware updates means any improvements and new features can simply be downloaded instantly.
They’re available in a set or just the rear light, The ICON+ is £149.99 (£79.99 rear) or £119.99 (£64.99 rear) for the ICON. To get the most benefit from the features and bluetooth app connectivity though, it might be worth investing in the set.
Check out our unboxing and quick feature overview video below:
You can get some very decent bright lights these days, but none as clever or bright as the ICON. These aren’t budget lights, they pack in some pretty nifty technology which hasn’t really been seen before. With a plethora of innovative features and future updates possible, the premium price may just be worth it.