4Sevens Redefines the Budget EDC Flashlight

by October 20, 2010 10/20/10

The market is saturated with flashlight brands, each trying to carve out their own niche or specialty. 4Sevens is relatively new to the marketplace, showing up only three years ago.

It’s easy to get lost in marketing speak, but 4Sevens’ slogan, Redefining the Flashlightâ„¢, is so far an accurate description of many of their products. I bought my first 4Sevens flashlight, their Quark 1232 Turbo ($75 retail), back in April of this year. Since then, I’ve purchased three different 4Sevens models.

Recently, 4Sevens introduced a remarkable new light, the Quark MiNi AA2 ($43 retail).

Features

What makes this flashlight so unique? How about the fact that this is a 1 ounce device that emits 180 OTF lumens from a pair of AA batteries using a CREE XP-G R5 LED!

The Quark MiNi AA2 is constructed with an optical-grade glass lens with an anti-reflective coating on both sides, surrounded by a type-III hard-anodized aircraft-grade aluminum body. It comes with a lanyard, spare O-ring, two Duracell AA batteries, and the instruction manual. The flashlight has enough knurling to offer a decent grip, regardless of whether the hand is naked or gloved.

Pocket Carry

MiNi PreonI purchased the Quark MiNi AA2 to replace my Preon 2 ($65 retail). The Preon 2 served me well, but the Quark MiNi AA2 solves one critical design flaw. I carry my light clipped on my tactical pants pocket, and the push button atop the Preon 2 was too often bumped. I always knew when this happened because my leg would start to get warm — the Preon’s 160 lumens generated a moderate amount of heat at the tip of the light! I’ve just finished carrying the Quark MiNi AA2 for two weeks during a field exercise, and the light didn’t have a single accidental discharge — a vast improvement over the Preon 2.

The Quark MiNi AA2 has a deep-carry pocket clip, which has just the right tension for a shirt or pants pocket.

Dimensions

The Quark MiNi AA2 is a tad bit fatter in diameter than the Preon 2: 0.7 inches versus 0.55 inches. It’s also slightly shorter, at 5 inches, and weighs in at 1 ounce.

Modes

The flashlight offers the user seven different light output modes:

  • Low (3 lumens)
  • Medium (36 lumens)
  • High (180 lumens)
  • Strobe
  • S.O.S
  • Beacon (Hi)
  • Beacon (Lo)

MiNi PackageRotating the flashlight through the output modes is very straightforward. Approximately a quarter twist of the head to the right turns on the light. (The head actually feels tight, as it in won’t rotate right any further.) Then quickly twist it a quarter twist back to the left (turning the light off momentarily), followed by immediately twist the head back a quarter twist to the right. You’ve now entered the next mode.

The engineers have thought the sequence of the seven modes through, starting with the lowest light output level first, getting brighter with each step. This is useful if you’ve already established your night vision and just need to reference a map with the perfectly fitted 3 lumens low output mode. Likewise, if you’re looking for the small BNC adapter for an antenna that you dropped into the tall grass, the bright mode’s 180 lumens lights the area up brilliantly. To reset the mode counter and restart at the beginning of the cycle, leave the flashlight turned off for about 2 seconds.

Waterproof

The Quark MiNi AA2 has an IPX-8 waterproof rating, meaning it can operate flawlessly completely submerged in “water under conditions which are identified by the manufacturer.”

I don’t anticipate ever using a pocket flashlight as a dive light, and while I can attest that the light worked great during a recent downpour on the east coast (sadly better than my shell, which apparently unbeknownst to me was cut while crawling around an armored Humvee), I wouldn’t go around shoving the light deep under water.

Battery Life

The specifications state that the flashlight will run 1.7 hours in the high output mode. My test run 1 hour and 51 minutes on a new pair of Duracell AA batteries — just slightly longer than the advertised 1.7 hours. I wasn’t motivated enough to verify that the low mode lasts 3.4 days!

Notes

If you’re in the market for an EDC pocket flashlight, the Quark MiNi AA2 delivers significant value for $43 and is worthy of making your short list. If you intend on carrying the light in your pocket, this is a far superior choice to the 4Sevens Preon 2.


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Simpson
Simpson

I had the preon 2 for a few months and it kept slipping out of my pocket till finally i lost it! $50 down the drain. I carried it cliped inside my front pocket but the clip was too weak and it would slip right out. Do not buy a preon 2, you will lose it.

JoeCribs
JoeCribs

I agree! Fenix a thing of past. They used to be at the forefront years ago. 4Sevens is the new leader. In fact, I heard that 4Sevens was a huge part of Fenix's success in their early years. 4Seven's quality and the led's they use is way ahead of the curve. They really are redefining flashlights.

Reddog245
Reddog245

I've been carrying the Streamlight PT2AA for a while, and found it to be very solid in the same price range. While giving up some light (120 Lumens), it's still bright enough to light up the neighbor's house very well, and includes circuitry that keeps the light level steady throughout the battery life. It only has 3 modes, (high, strobe, and low), but I've only used 2 of those on a regular basis, so am not sure how useful the rest would be to me. However, the PT2AA does retain the one hand operation of a push button tail cap, and the button is recessed below the "tactical" parts of the end, so I've never had an AD, even when swimming in a pouch with other gear. To me, one handed operation and transition between modes is important because my other hand usually has something in it, and I don't want to have to take the light off the subject to change modes from bright to strobe. How do you all with the 4Sevens work through that? Can this light be manipulated with one hand without a lot of digital gymnastics? The extra light would be nice, but I need the tactical aspects first.

JoeMerchant24
JoeMerchant24

Am I reading this right? If the light is shut off for a few seconds, it starts the mode cycle over again?

So, if I pull the light from a pocket, it will default activate at 3 lumens unless I do the twist turn cycle twice?

If that's correct, I am not interested.

JoeMerchant24
JoeMerchant24

Am I reading this right? If the light is shut off for a few seconds, it starts the mode cycle over again? So, if I pull the light from a pocket, it will default activate at 3 lumens unless I do the twist turn cycle twice? If that's correct, I am not interested.

willwork4fire
willwork4fire

Don't bother with the Fenix light. I have both Fenix and 4Sevens lights. The quality of the 4Sevens is better especially the the throw from the reflectors.

Eric S.
Eric S.

Sweet, I needed a new "pocket" light. I wish they made the color filters for the Quark MiNi AA2 though.

retro
retro

anyone compare the quality of 4sevens to fenix flashlights?

i'm torn between the fenix ld20 (205 lumen version) and the quark aa r5. both are comparable in price and great buys for the money, just wondering if anyone out there could sway me one way or the other.

either way, great write-up. i may have found myself a new car light.

retro
retro

anyone compare the quality of 4sevens to fenix flashlights? i'm torn between the fenix ld20 (205 lumen version) and the quark aa r5. both are comparable in price and great buys for the money, just wondering if anyone out there could sway me one way or the other. either way, great write-up. i may have found myself a new car light.

Bullets
Bullets

I have carried 4Sevens lights for the past few years. As a Law Enforcement Officer I have used these lights operationally on multiple occassions and have never been disappointed. I have a 2 battery Quark 123 Tactical mounted in a Viking Tactics Light Mount on my M4 and it outperforms ever other light I have seen. I always keep the single battery Quark in my pocket and have never been let down by it. After getting a pair of Test and Evaluation copies of the light, squadmates dug into their own pockets and bought $2500 worth of lights. 4Sevens does offer a Law Enforcement discount. As for durability, I lost my Quark in a Snow Bank at West Point. It sat in the snow on the range, then was plowed to the edge and sat in a snow bank for two months. It was returned to me after the snow melted. It worked perfectly. I recommend these lights to everyone who need quality illumination.

andrew
andrew

Just a quick note to the Canadian readers, 4sevens has a .ca site, (I found out the hard way) 4sevens.ca

Southpawtact
Southpawtact

I have a 4Sevens Quark 123 Tactical and I love it. It is up to par with some of my lights which cost 2-3 times as much as it! I'd recommend a 4Sevens product to anyone.

Mike
Mike

I have nearly every flavor of flashlight 4sevens makes. I've got the neutral led lights, the new keychain preon and most of the 123 lights. My EDC is a titanium CR2. It came with 2 CR2 batteries and they ship me batteries on a schedule (you can choose different schedules). It is amazingly tiny and SUPER bright. I love how you can mix and match parts to get a unique light. I have a tactical quark123 - it fits perfectly in the fenix headband. I use it as a reading light for my kindle when I'm on the road. Yes I'm a bit of a fanboy but they are really great guys and they have an absolutely amazing products. Great customer service too. My wife has a mini 123 in her purse, it's shiny and at night getting hit in the face with a super bright light is a great deterrent.

Decisively Ambivalent
Decisively Ambivalent

EDC a PT2L myself. I've had one occasion to use the strobe on what I thought was going to be a potential bad guy. He walked up on my coming out of a local restaurant starting to ask me for something, I told him I had nothing for him, he kept coming. I hit him with the strobe before he could close on me and got moving fast. He was probably harmless, but hey I didn't have to find out, and more importantly I didn't force myself into a situation where I had to draw down on the guy. It's a great tool, in 123's or AA's.

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