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!