Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Review - 4Sevens Preon ReVo

FOURSEVENS recently released a few new flashlights: the Quark Mini M2A - Gen2 (formerly the 4Sevens Quark Mini AA²) and the Preon ReVo. Both flashlights are interesting in their design and function. I promise you guys that I will get to reviewing both, but today I'll be reviewing the Preon ReVo.

The Preon ReVo by FOURSEVENS is a great EDC Keychain Light.
The Preon ReVo is the newest flashlight in FOURSEVENS' Preon line, which is known for its brightness despite its small size and light weight. The ReVo is no exception. It weighs in at only 0.4 oz without a battery and with a AAA battery, it weighs 0.8 oz. This light is a featherweight, with the battery weighing as much as the light itself!

The size of the ReVo is as impressive as the weight. The light is 2.8" long and 0.5" thick. The body is made out of aircraft-grade aluminum with a durable Type III hard anodization, giving the light a black color. At the end of the body is a hole which is perfect for attaching a keyring (included), allowing you to use the ReVo as a keychain light.

The ReVo's lens is made out optical grade glass, protecting a CREE XP-E R2 LED. This high-powered LED emits a maximum of 82 lumens for 0.9 hours, all out of a single AAA battery. To conserve battery life, the light even steps down 20% from 82 to 66 lumens (a barely noticeable decrease) when on for an extended period of time.

The reflector on the ReVo is textured, giving a nice, soft beam pattern. It shines adequately far, making it good for short to medium ranges (0-100 feet). The flashlight has a knurled body to aid in gripping the light. The knurling is slightly too smooth for my liking. However, it is functional and should be adequate for most situations. I mean, come on, how much can you ask of a light this small?

What makes this flashlight so unique?

According to FOURSEVENS, the Preon ReVo is the world’s first mass-produced, “smart” multi-level and current-regulated, single-AAA flashlight. I'll explain what this means by going into the different lighting modes that the ReVo has to offer.

The ReVo uses a CREE XP-E R2 LED emitter with a textured reflector.
The ReVo has six different lighting modes. These consist of three regular modes (Low, Medium, and High) and three special modes (Strobe, S.O.S. and Beacon). The way that you get to the modes is quite simple. When you turn the flashlight on, by twisting the head tight, you start off in Low mode. If you turn the light off and on quickly, by slightly loosening and tightening the head, you get to Medium mode. If you do that again, you get to High mode.

Alright, now how do you get to the special modes?

Getting to the special modes is just as easy. To get to the special modes, you have to cycle through the regular modes twice within 2 seconds. So twisting and untwisting the head, you cycle through: Low, Medium, High, Low, Medium, High. After cycling through the regular modes twice, you then get to Strobe, S.O.S. and then Beacon. Cycling through the special modes is just like cycling through the regular modes.

I will explain the special modes for those who are unaware. Strobe is a mode in which the light flashes rapidly. It would be good for confusing someone you are shining the beam at, or just for fun. S.O.S. mode is a timed flash that whose flashes mean S.O.S.

Below is a list of the modes, along with their brightnesses and run times, according to 4Sevens:
Low (1.5 lumens, 2.8 days)
Medium (19.8 lumens, 5.7 hours)
High (82 lumens, 0.9 hours)
Strobe (2.5 hours)
Beacon (48 hours)
S.O.S. (2 hours)

The tailcap on the ReVo makes it great for attaching to your keys.
There is another feature on the ReVo not found in other flashlights. This flashlight is current-regulated, which gives it much longer runtimes than other Preon flashlights. For example, the runtime for a Preon P1 on low mode mode is 23 hours, while outputting 1.8 lumens. That's a respectable runtime. However, the Preon ReVo has a runtime of 2.8 days, while outputting 1.5 hours. That's slightly less brightness for a drastic different in runtime. According to FOURSEVENS, "If you use the ReVO 30 minutes a day, one tiny AAA battery will last you 4.5 months!"

So, the flashlight's modes and runtimes are impressive, what about its usefulness?

The Preon ReVo is small and light, as mentioned earlier. This makes it very useful as an every day carry (EDC) flashlight. It is small enough to be put on your keys or thrown in a pocket and forgotten about. Whenever you come across a situation that requires light, you'll always have a flashlight with you. That's one of the amazing things about tiny lights like this. In the past, the only flashlights like this were cheap and would output only a couple lumens of light. Nowadays, the flashlights that are small enough to throw on a keychain rival some of the larger lights on the market. It's a great time to be a flashaholic (flashlight enthusiast).

This newest product from FOURSEVENS is definitely a hit. I haven't seen a flashlight from FOURSEVENS that I haven't liked, but this one definitely ranks higher than most due to its small size, brightness and unrivaled battery life. If you don't have a flashlight on your keys yet, take a look at the Preon ReVo.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Always Have Spare Batteries

Today will be a short, but important post. It's of a lesson that I've learned on a couple of occasions. I'm sure that you have read the title, so you know exactly what I'm about to write next, "Always Have Spare Batteries."

It seems obvious, of course it's obvious, but it's something that can often be overlooked. "But I just replaced my batteries last week," you might say to yourself, or, "I won't have to use my flashlight for that long, the batteries will last."

On two recent occasions, when I needed my flashlight, the batteries have run out and I was stuck without a light. That's not a very good situation when you're in a dark place. In my situation, I thought, "If I bring two flashlights, what are the chances of the batteries dying on both within a similar time?"

Murphy attacked me and both flashlights went out, on two separate occasions. What are the odds? As if I couldn't have learned from my first mistake. *facepalm*

Spare CR123 Batteries are good to have if your flashlight uses them.
So, moral of the story, if you are going to be carrying a flashlight, have some spare batteries nearby. They do not have to be on your person, but have some spare CR123 batteries for your FOURSEVENS Quark Tactical QT2L (formerly 4Sevens Quark 123² Tactical) or some spare AAA's for your FOURSEVENS Preon P0.

Those are just some lessons learned. I'm just glad that those situations where I needed the flashlights weren't extreme emergencies.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Look At Some Less Expensive Lighting Options

Many of you, when you think of flashlights, probably think that you have to spend at least $30 to purchase a decent/useful flashlight. $30 may even be cutting it close. If you are a flashaholic (someone who really likes flashlights), then you have a general idea of how much a good light should cost.

With all of the technical comparisons of light output, lighting modes, runtime, durability, etc., one can easily get lost and forget about why they have a flashlight in the first place: In order to help you see in the dark.

Whether it costs $1 or $100, if it helps you with the task at hand, it's a success. I guess one way of measuring the success of a flashlight purchase would be to see how much money is left in your wallet.

In this post, I want to look at a very inexpensive lighting option that may be overlooked by some as being too cheap or simple.

We all know about keychain LED flashlights, right? Well, these little guys can be had for a very inexpensive price and are small enough to put just about anywhere. You can attach them to your keys, to zipper pulls; practically anything with a loop can have one attached. At their price, it's not a bad idea to have a few just in case you're stuck without light.

The Keychain LED Flashlight is small enough to be put anywhere.
I've had situations where a simple keychain flashlight would have saved me a lot of time. Let me explain.

I was outside with some friends throwing a ball around at night when it fell in a bush. "No worries, I'll get it," I thought to myself. Well, the bush was out of range of any streetlights around, so it wasn't that easy. I should also add that it was pretty cold outside.

Being unprepared, I didn't have a flashlight with me, so, as anybody would, I took out my cell phone and used it as a light source. Long story short, it took me about 15 minutes to find something that should have taken 30 seconds with a keychain flashlight.

How bright is it?

I do not have a lumen output to give you, but, from my non-scientific tests in a pitch black room, the keychain LED flashlight that I tested helped me see all large objects across the full length of the room, which was about 50 feet away. It was definitely bright enough to maneuver around comfortably. If I had a longer distance to test, the light easily would have shined further. I would guess that it would work to illuminate to distances of about 75-100 feet and probably more, which is really amazing for something so small and cheap. For close-in work, this light is definitely bright enough to do what needs to be done. Heck, it beats nothing at all.

Now, a keychain led light is not as bright as some flashlights, by any means, but it may be just enough to help you out when you don't have any other options. Think of it as insurance. Buy one, or seven, and throw one onto your keys for those moments when you do not have a flashlight and absolutely need to see at night. It will probably end up saving you a lot of headaches.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Every Day Carry Flashlight Thoughts

I just thought I'd put a post up about the idea of every day carry (EDC) flashlights. I've often seen people carrying pocket knives, multi-tools, and even firearms as part of their EDC gear. Personally, I don't think that I've ever seen anybody carry a flashlight as part of their EDC gear. I have heard of people who carry them through internet communities, but I haven't seen random people pull a flashlight out of their pocket when a situation called for it. I think that this stems either from an idea of not seeing a flashlight as a necessary tool, not finding a flashlight of acceptable brightness, or not finding a flashlight that is easily carried.

Great EDC light; Review coming soon!
These people, however, are living in the past. Nowadays, the advancements in flashlight and LED technologies have been so drastic that you actually can have a small and powerful light, with a decent runtime that doesn't cost a fortune. Some examples that you can find are flashlights that I've previously reviewed such as the FOURSEVENS Maelstrom MMS, the FOURSEVENS Preon P1 and the FOURSEVENS Preon P2. These are just a few, among many many others, that can be found on the market today.

Nowadays, if you plan on being prepared for an even broader spectrum of unexpected situations, whether emergency or not, a flashlight should definitely be part of your EDC tool kit.

Just to stir up your imagination, here are some possibilities of situation that would be greatly aided through the use of a simple flashlight, ranging from the simple task to the extreme emergency. See if you can think of any other situations. By the way, most people would just use their cell phones as a light source for the less extreme examples; I know because I'm guilty of that too.

- Attaching an A/V cable to the back of your television
- Lighting up a keyhole to more easily put your keys in your front door
- Finding your keys after dropping them in a dark movie theater
- Looking under the hood of your car at night
- Investigating a suspicious noise that you heard while taking out the trash
- Shining a light in your friends eye to check for pupil dilation after he hit his
   head (no dilation = concussion)
- Temporarily blinding an attacker while walking home at night
- Searching a car wreck at night for survivors after witnessing a severe traffic

Like I said, these are just a few situations where having a flashlight would be beneficial, some being more serious than others. As you can see, not all of these situations were even at night. Even in the day, a flashlight can be beneficial and even life-saving.

I hope that I have at least got you thinking a little bit about the idea of carrying a flashlight with you everywhere. Throwing a small flashlight in your pocket when you get dressed in the morning is definitely something that you should consider. With the size, brightness and even price of lights nowadays, there is little reason not to.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Devil - Movie Thoughts

While I haven't seen it, I recently watched a trailer for the new film "The Devil" out in theaters and I couldn't help but think how different the film would be if the characters, at least one of the characters, had one simple tool. Can you guys guess what it is? I'll give you a hint... it's in the Blog title.

Yup, that's right, a flashlight. I'm actually surprised that one of the characters, a security guard, doesn't have a flashlight on his person.

Even the humble FOURSEVENS Quark Mini MA
can take on the Devil.
From what I understand, the movie is about 5 people who get on an elevator. While they're going up, the elevator gets stuck and weird things start to happen. The power goes out on the elevator, leaving everything pitch black, and then people start getting hurt, some of them even dying. Judging by the name of the film, one of the characters is the Devil or some other monster and attacks the people while the lights are out.

Just think how silly the movie would be if one of the characters had a Quark Pro QPL (formerly the Quark 123), or even a simple little Quark Mini MA (formerly the Quark Mini AA). There would be no movie, at least it wouldn't be as suspenseful.

Imagine this: The lights go out in the elevator and the security guard busts out his Maelstrom MMS (formerly the Maelstrom G5) on Max mode, illuminating the whole place with 420 lumens of light. The elevator is now brighter than it was with the lights on. The people quickly tackle the "Devil" and in 15 minutes, the movie is over.

It's the same thing that would happen if one of the victims in a slasher movie had a 12 gauge.

So, the moral of the story is, always carry a flashlight with you. You never know when you'll have to scare away the Devil.