Gemini 850 v. C and B Seen 1200 lumen.

Well now AD spotted a bit of a bargain in the Evan's sale. The Gemini 850 reduced from near £150 down to £76. At that price it would be rude not to. Apparently he was lucky and got the last two in stock, so they've been selling well - or perhaps they are crap and they only had two in? Whatever, they look well made and surprisingly small [as AD's wife keeps reminding him...]. I've yet to do a night run, so will update this with a fullish test and photos soon. But for now my observations are....
  • The Gemini seems better made than the C and B Seen unit, as it should for almost four times the price.
  • I suspect that the internals of the Gemini are the usual Magicshine bits..... Side by side the head unit of the Gemini seems to match exactly the size of the gubbins of the C and B.
  • Whilst the four cell battery of the Gemini looks solid, it's actually not that much more powerful than the cheaper alternative.
  • The Gemini looks to have better optics. The central spot falls off rapidly to a diffused halo, where the C and B just falls off a cliff.
At £76 I'm very, very happy with the light, especially as the battery connectors are exactly the same as my £45 C & B, and my ancient but workable Nuke Proof Reactor. Means I can buy a split cable and run both as handlebar units, or go mad and run all three for over 2,500 lumens. Can't see it being worth it though, as the optics on the C & B aren't that great and will just wash out the ancient buddy. May well send the Nuke off to Smudge for an upgrade.

But would I have been happy to pay near £150 for it? Nope, not at all. Indeed I'd probably be a bit hacked off it I'd had of done. It most certainly isn't worth four of the cheaper unit. Sure the charger is a very nice item, and the battery is a solid thing being encased in plastic. The light unit is very well made, so all in you can see where the money has gone. But at the end of the day it's my money and I'm happy at £40 'cause I'm cheap. Also the cables and modes of attachment are identical to its' £40 brother, which furthers my suspicion that perhaps the light internals are the same as well. The battery is no more powerful than one costing a fifth of the price. In a way it's like buying a new Ferrari and finding that every single component bar the body is a bloomin' ancient FIAT Punto underneath. I'm also not convinced that the unit will be any more weatherproof than the cheaper sibling. The head unit is sealed by a very thin and baggy 'o' ring, and the on/off button is identical. The mounting unit also looks identical, being held on by only one screw. Wonder if the Hope universal fits?

At £76 it's a tenacious draw between the two lights; I'd have the Gemini just for the charging unit. At £150? Then the C and B Seen easily wins at a quarter of the price. Sure the charger is crapy, but any good model shop will have a better one for £20 or so if you feel the need to change. Certainly if you've never been night riding before, or you're like me and a bit time constrained meaning you only get to go out perhaps once every three weeks', then the C and B 1200 is a no brainer - cheap and cheerful it may be, but it does the job and I believe they do a 2,400 lumen variant for £70 or so. With that kind of output the quality of the optics falls a bit behind.

As I've said though, I've yet to try it at night..... The optics may well shift things then. I've ordered in the wide angle lens from C and B to make it fair. I've also ordered in a 'Y' split cable - both items only cost me a tenner.