Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Review - 4Sevens Quark MiNi AA²

Understanding that a flashlight is an important piece of every day carry (EDC) gear, today I wanted to shed some light on one of my favorites. (See what I did there?) I wanted to go over a relatively inexpensive, but very bright light from 4Sevens. It is the newest release in the Quark MiNi line of lights; a products line know for its compact brightness.
4Sevens Quark MiNi AA² is an excellent EDC flashlight.
The flashlight that I will be reviewing is the Quark MiNi AA². After using this light, the first thing that I thought about was how great of an EDC flashlight it would be. This light has a maximum brightness of 180 lumens, all out of two AA batteries.

The Quark MiNi AA²'s slender size and integrated, but removable, pocket clip allows for the light to be easily carried. It is slim enough, at 0.69" thick, to put into a pouch or pack, without taking up much room at all. The length is 5.1" which is long enough to comfortably hold in the hand, but not too long to be cumbersome.

The light is made out out lightweight aluminum, with ample knurling, helping provide a solid grip. It weighs only 1 oz without batteries. With two alkaline AA batteries, it weighs 2.7 oz. With lithium batteries, however, it would weigh even less since lithium batteries are generally lighter than alkaline batteries.

So how does the Quark MiNi AA² achieve a brightness of 180 lumens?

For those who do not know much about flashlights, 180 lumens is really bright. Your average flashlight of this size/weight will output about 40 lumens or so. The secret to the Quark MiNi AA²'s brightness lies in it's emitter. The Quark MiNi AA² uses a CREE XP-G R5 LED emitter. This is a single LED (Light Emitting Diode) which utilizes the latest LED technology to produce a shockingly bright beam of light. This light can also vary in intensity, allowing the Quark MiNi AA² to have many brightness levels. We'll delve into that shortly, after I go over this next part.

Protecting the LED emitter is an aluminum head with an optical-grade glass lens. The flashlight head rotates, allowing you to turn the flashlight on and to change the output modes.

The textured reflector gives you great up-close lighting.
Behind the LED is a textured reflector. It is textured to give you a soft beam, a beam that evenly illuminates the area in front of you. This is perfect for illuminating close objects since there are no bright spots, only even illumination. What the textured reflector does however, is limit the distances that you can shine the light. Because the beam spread is wider, I would consider this a medium-range flashlight, excellent for distances up to 50 yards or so. Further out, however, you might have a hard time clearly seeing what you are trying to light up.

Getting back to the brightness levels and output modes (told you we'd get to them shortly), Quark MiNi AA² has seven output modes. The modes, along with their brightnesses and runtimes are listed below:
- Low (3.0 lumens, 3.4 days)
- Medium (36 lumens, 8.8 hours)
- High (180 lumens, 1.7 hours)
- Strobe (3.3 hours)
- Beacon (High) (17 hours)
- Beacon (Low) (88 hours)
- S.O.S. (10 hours)

How to operate:
The Quark MiNi AA² operates identically to the other Quark MiNi flashlights. If you are familiar with the way that they operate, then you already know how to use the Quark MiNi AA².

The pocket clip makes the Quark MiNi AA² simple to carry.
To turn the Quark MiNi AA² on, just tighten the head. To turn it off, loosen the head. Turning it on will put you in Low mode. If Low mode is all you care about, then stop reading right now.

Just kidding, of course you want to use the other modes. To get the other modes turn the light off and on quickly. This will put you in Medium mode. Doing that again will put you in High mode.

To get to Strobe, Beacon (High), Beacon (Low) and S.O.S. modes, which are consider "Special" modes, you have to cycle through the Low, Medium and High twice within 3 seconds.

This is the sequence of modes to get you a better picture of how it all works:
Low » Medium » High » Low » Medium » High » Strobe » S.O.S. » Beacon (High) » Beacon (Low)

The Quark MiNi AA² includes batteries, spare o-rings and a lanyard.
The variety of output modes really makes the Quark MiNi AA² a very useful flashlight. For close-in situations, where you would want to conserve battery life, Low mode is excellent. For situations that require more light, High mode works great.

For those in the market for a quality, but inexpensive EDC flashlight, the Quark MiNi AA² is definitely one to consider. It's advantages are that it uses AA batteries, which are easy to find and purchase. It is small, although there are smaller and brighter flashlights out there (Quark MiNi 123), but the larger size can be an advantage, giving you more of the flashlight to hold in your hand. The pocket clip is also a great advantage, especially for those used to carrying a pocket knife.

So, yeah, I recommend it. I actually highly recommend it. I'm sorry if it sounds weird that I'm constantly recommending things, but I do not like to review things that I don't like. It makes writing much harder. If you see me writing about a knife, flashlight, tool, etc. it's probably because I like it. If not, I'll be sure to make that clear in the post.

Give the Quark MiNi AA² a second look if you've glanced over it before. If you haven't, then give it a first look and be impressed by what this light has to offer.

No comments:

Post a Comment