ARB Intensity Solis Driving Lights
The new ARB Intensity Solis driving lights offer unique features, are now widely available and are possibly an option that many of you may consider. So we bolted a pair on to test on our recent trip to the Kimberley.
ARB Intensity Solis Mounts
When reviewing gear, there are many options of where to focus the attention. But, ultimately, if you like remote travel as we do, it doesn’t matter how bright lights are if they fall off while travelling corrugations, which we see regularly.
So, for this reason, I’ll start with the mounts. Like the body of the lights, they are made of high-pressure die-cast aluminium. The base is broad and attaches with three stainless bolts.
The lights bolt in next, and the supplied tool easily accesses the bolts for adjusting or tightening (keep this one in your tool bag). It’s solid, and the lights are designed with a lower gravity centre to help.
Build Quality of the Lights Themselves
The light body is, as you would hope, solid. It’s built from high-pressure cast aluminium and has a pressure equalisation breather to allow the inside airspace to expand and contract in different temperature extremes. In addition, the body has an oversized heatsink to help with cooling.
The ARB Intensity Solis lights are also IP68 rated for dust and waterproofing and are submersible to 3 metres. They are also MIL810-STDG (military spec) certified for vibrations.
On paper, these lights tick all of the build quality boxes. In practice, they feel solid. On our recent trip, we covered ~8,000 kilometres, including lots of corrugations into Purnululu National Park, along the Gibb River Road and up to the Mitchell Plateau without issue.
These lights come with a three-year warranty, 50,000-hour lifespan, and ARB has an extensive global network to lean on should you have issues.
Spot & Flood
The ARB Intensity Solis is available in both a Spot and a Flood beam pattern. I chose one of each, and this is likely the best combination for overlanders/tourers travelling a mix of highways and off-road tracks.
While I’m not sure if there is much difference, as the lights are mounted close together, I chose to mount the Spot on the driver’s side of the LandCruiser to throw down the highway’s centre. I mounted the Flood on the passenger side to throw a bit extra lot on the side closer to the edge and hopefully spot roos and cattle a fraction earlier.
The ARB Intensity Solis Spot throws 1 lx (lux) to 1,032 metres with a 6-degree spread, while the Flood pushes 1lx to 729 metres with an 11-degree spread angle.
I’m always nervous on unfenced roads and don’t ever want to have a run-in with cattle. So the Flood, for me, is the most crucial light, and it felt like the ARB Intensity Solis Flood should buy me some vital time if I ever needed it.
Are They Bright Enough?
It wasn’t that many years ago that I was stoked with the performance of my IPF halogen lights. So yes, these lights are bright enough as, in fact, most lights these days are.
I think choosing lights now is more a question of quality. What brand LEDs do they feature? In this case, OSRAM. How strong are they? If I have an issue when I’m travelling, how easy will it be to get it rectified?
Is the Dimmable Feature Practical?
The ARB Intensity Solis lights are dimmable in five stages via a touchpad. The right button increases brightness, and the left decreases. The ARB logo is also a button to turn the lights off altogether. The dimming is staged 5%, 25%, 50%, 75% & 100% and is backlit accordingly.
In the short time between fitting these lights and heading off on my trip, several people expressed an interest in hearing if the dimming feature was helpful or a gimmick. As I hauled up to Broome to meet my wife Gen, who was flying up, I had plenty of early starts and late finishes to contemplate just that.
As you’d expect, on the wide-open road, I dialled the lights up to 100%, and that’s where they stayed. Interestingly though, there were two scenarios when dropping down to ~50% brightness helped. The first is the one that you likely thought of yourself, and that’s in built-up areas with lots of reflective signs. While I usually don’t get too bothered about this, it was nice to have the option to dial the brightness back in this areas.
The second scenario I only discovered on the road. Thinking about it, it’s perhaps the one downside of the incredibly powerful lights of today is that our eyes get used to the brightness. So in higher traffic areas where you regularly have to dim your high beam and driving lights, it can be challenging for our eyes to adjust. My 76 Series LandCruiser low beam lights are incredibly dim, so the difference is day and night and can be quite challenging.
In these conditions, I trialled dimming the lights to 25% and 50%. It gave me some extra light to spot wildlife and cattle, but it was much easier for my eyes to adjust back and forth.
So for the second scenario above alone, I think it’s a worthwhile feature of the ARB Intensity Solis, plus I can see there are other use cases where it helps; for instance in off-road convoys where you want some extra light but don’t want to blind those ahead.
The lights come with a hard-coated, optical grade, polycarbonate covers which can be removed for cleaning or replaced if they are ever damaged. Optional protective black covers and amber covers are also available.
I’ll let you be the judge of whether these are good looking lights. The ARB Intensity Solis lights come assembled with ‘ARB red’ side accents and points to ARB for supplying the parts and tool to bolt in black as an option. I like plain colours so opted to do this.
The ARB Intensity Solis driving lights are sturdy, perform well and are supported by a global network. If you are looking at new lights and want them to last, I recommend adding these to your shortlist.