Garmin brightens and shrinks auto-adjusting headlight

Varia UT800 works alone, but adjusts to speed, light conditions with an Edge computer

Garmin ramped up the brightness while reducing the size of its new Varia UT800 headlight. With a claimed 800 lumens, the new light pairs with Garmin's Edge computers for automatic adjustment in brightness to ambient light and rider speed.

The Varia UT800 can work on its own as a standard light, with five different modes offering an inverse relationship in brightness and battery life, ranging from 1.5 hours on full blast to multiple hours on lower settings.

The Varia UT800 Urban Edition comes with an out-front mount that can hold a Garmin Edge computer above and the light below. The Varia UT800 Trail Edition includes a helmet mount.Both are $149 (UK pricing not immediately available).

The Varia UT800 comes with either a universal out-front mount for your handlebars or a helmet mount for trail applications
The Varia UT800 comes with either a universal out-front mount for your handlebars or a helmet mount for trail applications

Garmin claims the light is visible up to a mile away when on the 800-lumen setting.

The light is an update to the HL500, which had, you guessed it, a 500-lumen max output. The new light is a smaller cylinder, compared to the original rectangular prism. 

The main point of differentiation is the interaction with a Garmin Edge GPS computer. When paired with a newer Edge computer, the Varia UT800 automatically adjusts its beam intensity based on speed and changing light conditions, Garmin claims.

The light can also be turned on and off with the paired Edge.

The Varia UT800 lasts 1.5 hours on full 800-lumen blast
The Varia UT800 lasts 1.5 hours on full 800-lumen blast

Ben Delaney

US Editor-in-Chief
Ben has been writing about bikes since 2000, covering everything from the Tour de France to Asian manufacturing to kids' bikes. The former editor-in-chief of VeloNews, he began racing in college while getting a journalism degree at the University of New Mexico. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two kids, Ben enjoys riding most every day.
  • Discipline: Road (paved or otherwise), cyclocross and sometimes mountain. His tri-curious phase seems to have passed, thankfully
  • Preferred Terrain: Quiet mountain roads leading to places unknown
  • Current Bikes: Scott Foil Team Issue, Specialized S-Works Tarmac, Priority Eight city bike... and a constant rotation of test bikes
  • Dream Bike: A BMC Teammachine SLR01 with disc brakes and clearance for 30mm tires (doesn't yet exist)
  • Beer of Choice: Saison Dupont
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

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