Review – 4Sevens Preon 2 LED Flashlight

This is the first of two reviews of long, thin, stylus-style flashlights. Tomorrow I’ll review the Streamlight Stylus Pro.

4Sevens Preon 2 Flashlight4Sevens Preon 2 Specs

  • 160 out-the-front lumens maximum
  • Runtimes: Low: 23 hours @ 2.2 OTF Lumens, Medium: 6 hours @ 22 OTF Lumens,  High: 0.8 hours @ 160 OTF Lumens
  • CREE XP-G R5 LED
  • Runs on 2 AAA batteries, included
  • Waterproof to IPX8 standard
  • Aluminum body
  • “Optical grade” glass lens
  • Price paid on Amazon: $43
  • Manufacturer page

The fit is snug and waterproof and the machining is well done. Spare o-rings are included in the box and the screw threads come from the factory with a healthy dollop of waterproof lubricant.

Carry

I had never carried a 2 x AAA stylus-type flashlight before. I normally carry a AA or CR123A flashlight in my front pocket. I wanted to try this style of light so I could carry it clipped in my back pocket. More impressions on back pocket carry after tomorrow’s review of the Streamlight Stylus Pro.

A couple of downsides of back pocket carry with the Preon are that the clip is a bit loose, so the light sometimes fell into my pocket, or fell out when I sat down or took off my pants at night. Removing the clip and bending it inwards helps some, but the clip just isn’t as stiff as it needs to be.

The switch is also a little too easy to activate if it presses against your hip. My wife noticed the light would sometimes switch on and off as I walked, so ninjas should beware of buttflashing their enemies. But seriously, you may wind up draining your batteries and not realizing it. I carry spares batteries no matter what flashlight I’m carrying, but with the Preon 2 it’s essential.

Some people buy a Preon 1, which has a recessed tailcap switch, and screw its switch into the Preon 2 body. You get the foolproof Preon 1 switch with the dual AAA battery capacity of the Preon 2. That works for diehards if m0ney is no object.

The all-black model I bought looked cool, but was showing small scratches within a few weeks under the clip and would be nearly impossible to find in the dark. If I had it to over again I’d get the silver-tipped model. or something else that’s more visible, like blue or red.

Interface

Click the switch once for low. Click twice more for medium and twice more again for high. The shortcut is to click once for low and then half-press for medium and half-press again for high. 4Sevens got the sensitivity for the half-press just right. It isn’t so soft that it changes brightness when you barely tough the switch and it isn’t so hard that you wind up with a full click.

Sometimes my light would inexplicably act up and no amount of clicking would get it to act right. The solution was usually to give it a 10 count and start over, which is frustrating on a fifty dollar light. None of the Amazon reviews mentioned this problem, so it was probably just my sample.

Like most lights these days you get strobe and SOS/beacon mode. I guess those features could save my life at some point and they’re definitely attractive in a hiking light, but I’d use them once in a blue moon if ever, so I prefer them to be out of the way. The Preon’s interface designers had the same philosophy. To access the strobe and beacon you cycle through low/medium/high three times and then strobe and beacon come next. They’re there if you need them, but they won’t get in your way in daily use.

Tomorrow: a review of the Streamlight Stylus Pro and a comparison of the two lights.

2 Responses to Review – 4Sevens Preon 2 LED Flashlight

  1. Dork says:

    I went by a sign/display shop that also made reflective signs and bought a small sheet of leftover self-adhesive reflective material in white; they have it in roll form from 12″ to 48″ wide (I think) and I got a piece of 12″ wide by about 20″ long for $3 (it’s also made in narrow rolls, down to 1/2″, but sign shops don’t use it that narrow). The commercial reflective sheeting is more reflective than the hardware store stuff. These shops usually have scraps in other colors as well, from yellow to orange, blue, green, red., etc. but white is the most reflective. Incidentally, you can also get black reflective material – looks black in daylight but reflects a dim white at night.

    I put a pair of 2″ wide reflective “rings” on my wall-mounted D-cell Maglites (garage, kitchen and hall closet – you’ll have to leave a gap in one ring for the button switch) plus the one in the car and the fire extinguishers, and added two to the AA Maglite I always carry in a belt holster.

    Reflective sheeting reflects back along the axis of incoming light, so if there’s any light from behind you the rings will help you find the flashlights and/or extinguishers. Several times I’ve set a black Maglite down and would have had to hunt for it without the reflective rings.

    I also put some pieces on the rearward facing flat edge of my car doors and the top edge of tailgates – open the doors slightly, or drop the tailgate and you have a white reflective strip to alert drivers you’re stopped.

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