Saturday, December 25, 2010

Difference Between R5 and S2 LED Emitter

The LED emitter is clearly seen on this Maelstrom MMS.
As many of you may know, the flashlight company FOURSEVENS, has recently undergone a fairly significant change to their flashlight lineup. While most of the flashlights have the same name, their LED emitters have changed from the XP-G R5 LED to the XP-G S2 emitter.

What the heck does that mean?

Well, I'm hear to help you understand. Let's start with the basics. If you haven't already, please read our post on "How Does a LED Work?" It should give you a fairly brief explanation of the basics behind LED technology and how it is different from incandescent bulbs.

This Quark AA² Tactical is only
now available in the S2 version.
What has changed with the S2 version is the LED emitter. You know, that little thing in the flashlight that makes it so bright. The emitter is what changes electrical energy into visible light. According to FOURSEVENS, the XP-G S2 emitter is about 7% brighter than the R5 emitter, which sounds great.

To make matters a bit more confusing, though, FOURSEVENS also decided to change their flashlight rating system. Previously, FOURSEVENS used manufacturer-based ratings for their flashlights. Since manufacturers often inflate their ratings and don't account for things such as internal reflection within the flashlight head, manufacturer-based ratings are often lower than the actual output values seen by the flashlight. In fact, they are often 30% lower.

FOURSEVENS decided to switch over to ANSI (American National Standards Institute) ratings, which are industry standard ratings, for their S2 LED's. Their new flashlights were tested and the relevant brightnesses and runtimes were listed. Since these ANSI ratings are the actual ratings of the flashlights, they seem to be lower than the older ratings. However, these new S2 LED's are still brighter than the R5 LED's, despite the lower rating.

Comparison between the R5 (left) and the S2 (right) LED's
I actually did a side-by-side comparison between the two LED's and did not notice an increase in brightness between the R5 and the S2 LED. In fact, it seems like the S2 may even be dimmer than the R5. You can clearly see that the S2 LED has a more yellow hue than the R5, which may be why the S2 seems slightly dimmer.

So, what's my personal opinion about the whole thing? Well, since I am not able tell that the S2 is actually brighter, I would make use of the lower price and buy an R5 while I still could. The R5 emitter actually seems better than the S2 from what I can tell, if not solely for the reason that the light looks more white, which is what I prefer.

Oh, and by the way, I hope that all of you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


  1. thanks a lot for the information! ive been wondering the difference. i got a quark aa2 xp-g s2 and it has a green tint i cant stand it. i want to buy the r5 but they dont have it on there site.

  2. Thanks for ur review.I found it very helpful.just a question: do U find the R5 have a more blue tint? I am a Doctor and trying to decide which one would have a more natural white light . Jamaica