Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Review - FOURSEVENS Quark Turbo Series

The Quark Turbo series of flashlights make
long-range lights small and affordable.
While I haven't gotten around to reviewing them yet, FOURSEVENS Quark flashlights are a staple product for the FOURSEVENS company. The Quark series is know for its compact brightness and durability. One of the features of the Quark series is it's "orange-peel" textured reflector, which gives a soft beam pattern, great for illuminating a larger area at medium ranges.

What if you want to illuminate something far away? Well, FOURSEVENS solved that issue by introducing the Quark Turbo series of flashlights. The Quark Turbo series shares much with the Quark Tactical series of lights, the main difference being that the reflector in the Turbo is smooth, keeping the light beam focused at greater distances. The Quark Turbo is for those who want a flashlight that will illuminate far objects, as well as close ones.

The Quark Turbo comes in two version, the Quark Turbo QB2L - Gen2 (formerly the Quark 123² Turbo)  and the Quark Turbo QB2A - Gen2 (formerly the Quark AA² Turbo). They both use two CR123 or two AA batteries, respectively. The Quark Turbo QB2L is shorter, a little brighter and has a slightly longer battery life, while the Quark Turbo QB2A uses a more commonly accessible battery.

The Quark Turbo models of flashlights have similar output modes. Below, I will list the output modes for the lights, along with their brightnesses and runtimes.

Quark 123² Turbo:
Moonlight (0.2 lumens, 30 days)
Low (4 lumens, 5 days)
Medium (22 lumens, 20 hours)
High (85 lumens, 4.5 hours)
Max (276 lumens, 1.8 hours)
Strobe (276 lumens, 3 hours)
Beacon (276 lumens, 23 hours)

Quark AA² Turbo:
Moonlight (0.2 lumens, 30 days)
Low (4 lumens, 5 days)
Medium (22 lumens, 24 hours)
High (85 lumens, 5 hours)
Max (247 lumens, 1.3 hours)
Strobe (247 lumens, 2.5 hours)
Beacon (247 lumens, 18 hours)

The Quark Turbo is turned off an on by a tailcap switch. The switch can be depressed fully or lightly tapped for a "momentary on" feature. This is very useful in case you need to quickly turn the light on.

The smooth reflector on the Turbo lets the beam shine further.
The way to get to the output modes is identical between the two lights. The Quark Turbo can memorize any two modes of output, from its eight total modes, to be instantly available. These two memorized modes are accessed by either tightening or loosening the head (for example, tight can be Max, and loose can be Low).

Programming Modes:

To have the Quark Turbo memorize a different mode, turn it on and loosen the head by a half-turn. Then, tighten the head at least four times rapidly (twisting it tight, then loose, then tight, etc., four times). After the fourth time, leave the head tight or loose depending which position you want to program.

After three seconds, the light will flash, signaling it is ready to be programmed. Cycle through the eight available modes by clicking the tailcap off and on. The mode sequence is as follows:

Moonlight » Low » Medium » High » Max » S.O.S. » Strobe » Beacon

Once you find your desired mode, leave that mode on for ten seconds and the light will flash again, confirming that the mode has been memorized. To cancel programming before it flashes, turn the flashlight off for three seconds.

So, it's easy to see that the Quark Turbo series has a lot of modes and is pretty bright, definitely bright enough for most flashlight uses. What about the dimensions? Yeah, well I figured that I would get the brightness modes out of the way first before getting to the dimensions and externals of the Turbo series.

The size for both flashlights is good, not too big and not too small. The Quark Turbo QB2L is 4.9" long, with a head diameter of 1.2" and a body diameter of 0.9". The Quark Turbo QB2A is 6.2" long, with identical head and body diameters. As you can see in the image, both Turbo lights taper down, having a thicker head and a narrower body.

The tailcap switch on the Turbo allows for "momentary on".
The lights are also reasonably lightweight, with the Quark Turbo QB2L weighing 3.9 oz and the Quark Turbo QB2A weighing 5.4 oz, both weights being with batteries inserted.

The flashlights are constructed of aircraft-grade aluminum and type III hard anodized in black. This anodizing is durable and scratch resistant. The CREE XP-G2 LED that the lights use is protected with an impact-resistant lens. This lens has an anti-reflective coating on the inside to maximize light transmission. The flashlight heads have what seem to be heat-sinks to prevent overheating, which I think looks pretty cool.

The flashlight bodies offer ample knurling and feature a removable pocket clip. The clip is also reversible, giving many carry options. At the tailcap end of the light, there is also a hole for attaching a lanyard. Did I mention that the Quark Turbo lights are waterproof to 10 meters? Well, they are, as if you didn't have enough of a reason to like them.

In the end, both version of the Quark Turbo would make excellent long-range flashlights. The fact that two versions which use different batteries are offered is also great, in case getting CR123 batteries is difficult for you. Don't hesitate getting either light if you are in the market for a relatively inexpensive thrower (long-shining flashlight).

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