Thursday, October 27, 2011

FOURSEVENS XM-L Series

The popular Maelstrom is revamped with the CREE XM-L LED.
FOURSEVENS is constantly improving their lineup, making them one of the most exciting flashlight manufacturers in the industry. With their new series of XM-L flashlights, there is a lot to be excited about. Start making your Christmas shopping lists now, because there's just so many neat new flashlights out!

Even the tiny Mini ML-X
(formerly the MiNiX 123) has a XM-L LED.
What is the XM-L?

So, if you love the quality, controls and ergonomics of your Maelstrom, Quark Tactical or MiNi, but want something new, try out of the the XM-L versions and see what you've been missing!

The XM-L is one of the newest LED Emitters from CREE (a leading LED manufacturer). They have longer runtimes and brighter outputs than previous generations of LED's. FOURSEVENS, in trying to lead the flashlight bandwagon, has revamped their most popular models to include the new XM-L LED.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Review - FOURSEVENS Maelstrom MMU

FOURSEVENS, as you know by now, has a reputation for making a variety of different useful lights. These lights range from the tiny and portable Preon P1, to the powerful Maelstrom series of lights. Today, we'll be looking at FOURSEVENS' most powerful flashlight offering, the Maelstrom MMU (formerly the Maelstrom S12).

Behold the powerhouse that is the Maelstrom MMU.
The Maelstrom MMU really is a handful. Weighing in at 9 oz with its proprietary 26650 battery, the flashlight does have some heft to it. However, it fills the hand well, having a body diameter of 1.3" with ample knurling on all sides. While this wouldn't be a great daily carry light, it would go well in the glove box of a car or somewhere else where it can be accessed readily.

What makes this flashlight really shine (pun intended) is the output. The Maelstrom MMU outputs a screaming 800 lumens on high mode or 120 lumens on low mode. Only having two modes, the light is easy to use for anyone, not requiring any difficult programming modes or sequences of clicks to switch modes. To switch between modes, simply turn the flashlight off and on within 1 second. The flashlight is controlled with a tailcap that can be tightened to turn the light on or pressed to give "momentary on".

The Maelstrom MMU has a smooth reflector for shining far.
The Maelstrom MMU isn't powered by your ordinary batteries either. It uses a rechargeable 26650 Lithium cell, which gives the light exceptional runtimes. On high mode, the light runs for 1.5 hours and on low for a stunning 13 hours. It's really funny because the "low" mode on the MMU is higher than most flashlight's high mode. The fact that the 26650 battery is rechargeable is also a great thing since you don't have to feel bad for using the light. When you get the MMU, you can use it to your heart's content, blinding friends and relatives with no regrets of having to replace expensive batteries.

The Maelstrom MMU, being FOURSEVENS' most powerful flashlight, is large and powerful. It would be a great light for someone who would really need to illuminate a large area, or who needs a light that will works for hours without running out of juice. Heck, even if you don't "need" the light, having a hand-held light capable of outputting 800 lumens is just cool.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

FOURSEVENS New Preon P2s!

FOURSEVENS is starting to go back to their CREE XP-G R5 versions of their flashlights due to a shortage in the S2 LED's. I actually prefer this since the S2's have a slightly yellow tint to them, which I don't particularly like. Click HERE to see the difference between the S2 and the R5 LED.

Some of the lights that are being transitioned back to the R5 LED are the popular Preon P2 series of lights. These are probably the best pen lights on the market today and a review can be found HERE.

All the current colors for the FOURSEVENS Preon P2.
Along with the LED transition, FOURSEVENS is transitioning their Titanium versions of the Preon P2 to a Satin Titanium version. This satin finish is similar to their Mini ML (formerly the MiNi 123) in Satin Titanium and looks really slick. I didn't like how the polished titanium shows fingerprints readily. The Satin Titanium takes care of this problem. While it doesn't look as flashy as the polished version, it has a nice gray color and still looks good.

I know this is a quick review, but just in case you guys didn't know, the Satin Titanium Preon P2's are a thumbs up in my book. If you are a collector of flashlights, then you probably wouldn't regret picking one up.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Review - FOURSEVENS Quark Turbo QB2L-X

The FOURSEVENS Quark Turbo QB2L-X
puts out a whopping 540 lumens (Gen2)!
2011 has been a very busy year for FOURSEVENS. They have released many new lights and are planning on releasing even more. One of their most exciting newly released flashlights has been the Quark Turbo QB2L-X (formerly the Quark 123² Turbo "X").

Now many of use may already know the Quark Turbo series of flashlights from previous reviews. You can find our review of the Quark Turbo flashlight HERE. You may even own a Quark Turbo yourself. The Turbo line of lights is known for their throw. They have deep, smooth reflectors, great for shining far away.

What makes the Quark Turbo QB2L-X so different?


Well, from first glance, you can see that the Turbo QB2L-X looks different than the other Turbo models. It has a much larger head than the other Turbo lights. This is to fit the larger and brighter CREE XM-L2 LED emitter. Due to this new LED technology, the Quark Turbo QB2L-X is able to output 540 lumens on high mode.

Programming Modes:
The smooth, deep reflector allows this light to shine far.
Like all Turbo flashlights, the Quark Turbo QB2L-X has 8 different lighting modes. The modes are controlled by twisting the head to either a tight position or a loose position. The light is turned on by a clicky tailcap. It also has a "momentary on" feature, which means that the light can be turned on by just lightly depressing the tailcap. Of course, you can also click the switch fully to keep it on.

To have the Quark Turbo QB2L-X 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

The Quark Turbo QB2L-X comes with the usual FOURSEVENS gear.
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.

To give you some more information, here are the different modes, along with their brightnesses and runtimes. This Quark has been updated by FOURSEVENS to the new Gen2 CREE XP-G2 LED.

Moonlight (0.3 lumens, 20 days)
Low (8 lumens, 2.6 days)
Medium (60 lumens, 13 hours)
High (260 lumens, 3 hours)
Max (540 lumens, 1 hours 30 minutes)
Strobe (540 lumens, 3 hours)
Beacon (540 lumens, 23 hours)
S.O.S. (0-540 lumens, 15 hours)

Dimensionally, the Quark Turbo QB2L-X is about the same length as the Quark Turbo QB2L, 5.2". The diameter of the head is 1.5" while the diameter of the body is 0.87". I must admit that it does look a little mis-matched, but for those that want a super-bright, far shining flashlight, that's the price you'll have to pay.

The weight is reasonable, 5.9 oz with 2 CR123A batteries and 4.7 oz without. Not too bad. The light comes with the usual FOURSEVENS gear: Removeable Pocket Clip, Carry Pouch, Lanyard, Split Keyring, Hand Grip Accessory, Spare O-rings and 2 CR123A Batteries.

Conclusion:

So, what do I think about the FOURSEVENS  Quark Turbo QB2L-X ?

Well, if you definitely need a 540 lumen thrower, then it's one of the smallest and least expensive flashlights on the market. Personally, the head makes it a little to large for an everyday carry (EDC) flashlight. For some people, though, it may be excellent. It's a great light to have in a bag in case of an emergency where size constraints aren't as important.

Still, I would say that it's a very unique light worth checking out, especially if you're a flashlight enthusiast.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Review - Quark Regular Series

The Quark Pro QPA uses a single AA battery.
A staple set of flashlights in the FOURSEVENS product line, the Quark Pro series (formerly the Quark Regular series) is more than enough flashlight for the majority of lighting tasks that you may come across. Being very similar to the Quark Tactical series, the Quark Pro series differs by the way the flashlight is programmed. The Quark Pro series also does not have a "momentary on" feature, but that is easily remedied, if you wish to have this feature, by purchasing an aftermarket tailcap.

The Quark Pro series spans a number of different flashlights, mainly varying by what kind and how many batteries it can contain. The series consist of 4 flashlights that use either one or two AA or CR123A batteries. Every once in a while, FOURSEVENS undergoes a change to their flashlights by upgrading the LED emitter, but the form and function of the lights remains the same.

The series shares many qualities between all of the lights. They all are constructed out of T-6061 aircraft grade aluminum that is Type III Hard Anodized in black. They have adequate knurling, which provides a good grip in the hand. They are all 0.87" in diameter but vary in length due to the amount of batteries that they contain.

Listed below are the specifics for each light in terms of size, weight, output and runtimes. These flashlights have been updated by FOURSEVENS to the new Gen2 CREE XP-G2 LED.

Quark Pro QPL (formerly the Quark 123):
Weight with Batteries 2.0 oz
Weight without Batteries 1.4 oz
Length 3.2 in
Head Diameter 0.87 in
Body Diameter 0.80 in
Bulb/Emmiter Cree XP-G2 LED
Operating Voltage Range 0.9V - 4.2V
Battery CR123A
Battery Amount 1
Max/Min Output 246 lumens/0.2 lumens
Max/Min Runtime 360 hours (Moonlight)/1 hour (Max)

Quark Pro QP2L (formerly the Quark 123²):
Weight with Batteries 2.8 oz
Weight without Batteries 1.6 oz
Length 4.4 in
Head Diameter 0.87 in
Body Diameter 0.80 in
Bulb/Emmiter Cree XP-G2 LED
Operating Voltage Range 3.0V - 9.0V
Battery CR123A
Battery Amount 2
Max/Min Output 276 lumens/0.2 lumens
Max/Min Runtime 720 hours (Moonlight)/2 hours (Max)

Quark Pro QPA (formerly the Quark AA):
Weight with Batteries 2.5 oz
Weight without Batteries 1.6 oz
Length 3.8 in
Head Diameter 0.87 in
Body Diameter 0.80 in
Bulb/Emmiter Cree XP-G2 LED
Operating Voltage Range 0.9V - 4.2V
Battery AA
Battery Amount 1
Max/Min Output 131 lumens/0.2 lumens
Max/Min Runtime 240 hours (Moonlight)/1 hour (Max)

Quark Pro QP2A (formerly the Quark AA²):
Weight with Batteries 3.8 oz
Weight without Batteries 2.1 oz
Length 5.8 in
Head Diameter 0.87 in
Body Diameter 0.80 in
Bulb/Emmiter Cree XP-G2 LED
Operating Voltage Range 0.9V - 4.2V
Battery AA
Battery Amount 2
Max/Min Output 246 lumens/0.2 lumens
Max/Min Runtime 720 hours (Moonlight)/1 hour (Max)

As you can see, the Quarks are very bright. All of them, except for the Quark Pro QPA, are similar in brightness. The Quark Pro QPA is less bright, because it only uses a single AA battery, which only offers 1.5V. This makes the LED not shine as bright.

Protecting the LED of every Quark is an impact-resistant glass lens. There is a sapphire coating on the outside and anti-reflective coating on the inside to keep efficiency and durability high. The reflector of each Quark has an orange peel texture, which gives a very nice and even beam pattern. This flashlight is a flooder, which means that it is great for up-close to medium-range lighting.

Operation

All Quark flashlights, even the Quark AA²,
come with many included accessories.
The light is turned on with a tailcap clicky switch. The tailcap is flat, which allows it to be stood on end, called "candle mode". This is great for illuminating a room, since the light bounces off of the ceiling, evenly illuminating the area.

The two most commonly used modes are Max and Moonlight, the highest and lowest modes. To access Max, you simply tighten the bezel. To access Moonlight, you just loosen the bezel a half-turn. That's it.

You can also cycle through the other modes just as easily. Lightly depress the button momentarily (you don't need to "click" it off) and the output will switch to the next mode. The mode sequence is determined by whether the bezel is tightened or loosened:

Loosened Bezel: Moonlight » Low » Medium » High » SOS » Beacon

Tightened Bezel: Max » Strobe

Once the flashlight has been turned off for at least three seconds, it will revert to the first level of output in the sequence, either Moonlight or Max.

Carrying the Quark

The Quark can be carried in many ways. The smaller Quarks, which use single batteries, are small enough for be carried in a pocket. The Quarks also come with an included carry pouch, which can be attached to a belt, allowing the light to be easily carried.

The pocket clip on the Quark Pro QPL is non-removable.
My favorite method of carrying the Quark is with the included pocket clip. All of the models have a removable pocket clip, except for the Quark Pro QPL. The pocket clip of the Quark Pro QPL is non-removable, but there are two versions, one with the clip and one without. The pocket clip is made of steel and holds the flashlight securely, but still allows the light to be removed easily for use.

The last thing that I wanted to mention is also one of the coolest. All of the flashlights in the Quark series are waterproof to 10 meters for 30 minutes, as rated by FOURSEVENS. I have personally tested this on a number of FOURSEVENS flashlights and have found the lights to be waterproof to at least 15 feet (it's the deepest that I have gone with them). It is safe to assume that the rating given by FOURSEVENS is legitimate.

Conclusion

The FOURSEVENS Quark series is a great series of lights. Whether for EDC (everyday carry) or for work, they are compact, bright and durable. They have a variety of lighting modes that make the flashlights very useful, not to mention, they come at a great price point. If you're looking for a everyday use flashlight, look no further than the Quark Regular series.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Do I Want a Waterproof Flashlight?

Waterproofness of a flashlight is an attribute that is often overlooked. Why would a flashlight have to be waterproof, you ask? Well, why not?

Even the FOURSEVENS Preon P1 is waterproof!
Whether or not a flashlight should be waterproof really depends upon a number of factors, the greatest being what the flashlight will be used for. If you're an electrician, needing a light for work, chances are you don't need a waterproof flashlight. However, if you're using the flashlight as a daily carry light, you never know what situations you may come across, and having a waterproof flashlight may be worth looking into.

You should also ask yourself whether a waterproof flashlight is more expensive than a non-waterproof light. From my experience, a quality waterproof light doesn't have to be any more expensive than a non-waterproof one. I'll tell you about one of favorite brands in a little bit.

One of the greatest and most practical advantages to a waterproof flashlight doesn't have anything to do with water. Waterproof flashlights are generally more durable and higher quality than non-waterproof ones. They are designed to keep a tight seal, in order to keep what's outside of the flashlight out, and to keep what's inside, in. This means that the parts need to have a tight fit together. There need to be seals on all openings. This not only keeps water out, but also dust. With a waterproof flashlight, you do not have to worry about dust getting in to the bezel area, dirtying up the lens or anything like that. You have a perfectly sealed light.

The Quark Turbo QB2L can
withstand being immersed for at least
3 hours according to my testing.
A flashlight company that I admire, as many of you guys can already guess, is FOURSEVENS. They are known for their waterproof flashlights, since all of their lights are waterproof to varying depths. When I first heard of this, I was very impressed, but slightly skeptical.

I decided to take their claims to the test by taking a Quark Turbo QB2L (formerly the Quark 123² Turbo) and going swimming with it. I was going to the pool with some friends and I figured, why not? I kept the light in the pocket of my swim trunks and acted as if it weren't there. I dove, went down water slides, relaxed in the hot tub; I even went down to a depth of 15 feet with the light. Just as FOURSEVENS states, the flashlight worked perfectly. I turned it off and on underwater, even twisting the head to change the settings, with no water leakage into the body.

Playing with it in the pool really showed me how useful a waterproof flashlight would be in case you ever needed to illuminate something underwater. Granted that this would be an unusually rare occurrence, having a waterproof flashlight would allow you to see underwater, if you ever needed to find something or rescue someone.

Since there are flashlight companies out there, such as FOURSEVENS, that sell inexpensive, bright and waterproof flashlights, why not choose a flashlight that has that capability, if not only for the reason of being able to show off how cool your light is while at the pool.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

What Are FOURSEVENS Warm White LEDS?

You guys that have been following FOURSEVENS for any length of time know that they have a series of lights that they call "Warm White". I was intrigued by this and I figure that the best way to see what it's all about is to try it for yourself.

Figuring from the last post, while we're still on the topic of LED's, I thought that you guys would appreciate reading about what these mysterious "Warm White" LED's were all about, so I'm writing about them today.

The Quark Tactical QT2A - Warm White comes in a
plastic re-sealable bag, for ease of storage.
I was able to test the Quark Tactical QT2A (formerly the Quark AA² Tactical) with the warm white LED and was really impressed by it. Now, I have some experience with Quarks already, but this was my first time testing out the Quark with the warm white LED. The technical name of this special LED emitter is the CREE XP-G Q5 LED. What separates this LED from others on the market is the color temperature of this light.

For those not familiar with color temperatures, it's basically a standardized way of measuring the wavelengths output by a light bulb. It is measured in degrees Kelvin. As a baseline for you to better understand color temperature, I wanted to give you some examples. 5500-6000K corresponds to daylight, which is basically white light. 6500K+ gives you a more blue light. 3000K is equal to a more orange color, while 1000K gives you a more red color.

The color temperature of the CREE XP-G Q5 LED is about 3100K, which is has a yellow/orange hue. It is very similar to a standard incandescent light bulbs that all of you are used to. It is surprising to see an LED flashlight emit at this wavelength, since most of the LED lights that I have seen output a very white, or even a blue color.

Why would you want a warm-colored flashlight?

Comparing the Neutral White S2 LED to the Warm White Q5 LED.
Well, for one the warm color is very easy on the eyes. It gives you a higher contrast when used outdoors, making details easier to see. While a white LED would make things seem gray or washed out, the warm white color can actually help you see better.

Now, back to the Quark Tactical QT2A. In the future I plan on reviewing the flashlight more fully. It's a good-sized flashlight that uses two AA batteries. The weight with the batteries is 3.9 oz, it is 5.9" long and 0.87" in diameter. It has excellent knurling and a pocket clip for easy carry.

One of the hits that the Quark Tactical QT2A (Warm White) takes when compared to the regular the Quark Tactical QT2A (R5 LED) is that it only outputs 145 lumens, where the R5 version of the same flashlight outputs 206 lumens. I'm guessing that due to the color output, the efficiency has taken a small hit.


Despite this difference in brightness, which is present in all of the FOURSEVENS flashlight that have the Q5 (Warm White) LED, many people still find the warm white versions very interesting. The reason is that, finally, there are LED flashlights out there with the benefits of a warm white color, while also utilizing the efficiency and durability of an LED. Great job FOURSEVENS!