Warning: pic heavy, as usual.
The Atom AL is a new 1xCR123A/RCR light from Foursevens, with the same design features and characteristics as the all-stainless steel Preon P0.
I'm not sure why it is called the Atom "AL" exactly, but this is simply the first of the Atom line – a number of additional lights in this family have recently been announced by Foursevens.
Let's see how the Atom AL measures up ...
Manufacturer Reported Specifications:
(note: as always, these are simply what the manufacturer provides – scroll down to see my actual testing results).
- LED Emitter CREE XP-G2
- 2 Output Modes
- Integrated Magnet
- Water Resistant (IPX-8)
- Voltage range 1.0V-4.2V
- Brightness Levels Low: 6 lumens, 40 hrs / High: 110 lumens, 3.5 hrs
- Body Material Stainless Steel
- Bezel Material Stainless Steel
- Lens Material Plastic optic lens
- Length: 1.84 inches / Diameter: 0.77 inches / Weight: 1.03 oz
- Included Accessories Lanyard, Split-ring, CR123A battery
- MSRP: ~$40
Foursevens packaging has been updated, and the Atom AL comes in their new trademark clear plastic display case. Along with the light, you get a Foursevens CR123A battery, extra o-rings, a good quality wrist lanyard with split ring, and manual. There is also an overview of specs on the bottom and back of the packaging.
From left to right: CR123A; Foursevens Atom AL, Preon P0, Mini 123; Nitecore EZ 123, EC1; Olight S10 (2013), D25C.
All dimensions directly measured, and given with no batteries installed:
Foursevens Atom AL: Weight: 29.2g, Length: 47.0mm, Width (bezel): 19.5mm
ArmyTek C1 XP-G: Weight: 42.6g, Length: 79.8mm , With (bezel): 23.1mm
Foursevens QTLC: Weight 36.4g, Length 84.1mm, Width (bezel) 22.1mm
Lumintop ED11: Weight: 44.1g, Length: 83.7, Width (bezel): 21.8mm
Nitecore EC1: Weight 43.0g, Length: 68.6mm, Width (bezel): 26.1mm
Olight S10: Weight 41.1g, Length: 70.6mm, Width (bezel): 23.0mm
Sunwayman C10R: Weight: 57.3g, Length: 76.2mm (no lanyard plug), 82.3mm (with plug), Width (bezel): 25.6mm, Width (head at widest part): 28.6mm
Eagletac D25C Clicky: Weight: 30g, Length: 76.0mm, Width (bezel): 20.0mm
Jetbeam PC10: Weight: 50.5g, Length: 93.6mm, Width (bezel): 22.6mm
As you can see, the Atom AL is the smallest 1xCR123A light I've tested to date. It is the first CR123A light that I could actually see dangling from a keychain.
Build is very similar to the Preon P0 that I have reviewed previously – only adapted to fit a single CR123A. Stainless construction feels reasonably sturdy. As before, the light doesn't have knurling, but the brushed finish over most of the light helps with grip.
Screw threads are fairly fine, but larger than the P0. There is a fair bit of play on my sample (i.e., the head can rattle against the body, unless fully tight).
Light works by tightening the head against the body. There is no spring in the tailcap – the light relies instead on a small raised post. There is a plastic disc around the positive contact button in the head.
Like the P0, the Atom AL has a built-in split-ring attachment point on the tail of the light, which allows both tailstanding and hanging straight. There is an integrated magnet on the tail, which is strong enough to hold the light horizontally off any metal surface. In fact, it is so strong that it holds the battery inside the light – you have to carefully grab the exposed end and pull to dislodge an inserted battery.
Like with the P0, the "reflector" is actually conical-shaped piece of GITD plastic. It is not really designed to collect the light and focus it – it seems to be used mainly for its glow-in-the-dark properties. You can therefore expect a full flood beam, with little defined hotspot. Scroll down for my beamshots.
The Atom AL interface is very straightforward - tighten the head until it comes on in Lo. Tighten further for Hi. Turn the light off by loosening the head.
Note that this is different from the earlier Preon P0, which used loosen-tighten twists of the head to cycle modes. The Atom series is more intuitive for how most people would expect a two-stage light to work.
There are no blinking modes.
For information on the light, including the build and user interface, please see my video overview:
Video was recorded in 720p, but YouTube typically defaults to 360p. Once the video is running, you can click on the configuration settings icon and select the higher 480p to 720p options. You can also run full-screen.
As with all my videos, I recommend you have annotations turned on. I commonly update the commentary with additional information or clarifications before publicly releasing the video. In this case, I have anotated the video to point out the light is stainless steel construction (i.e., I erroneously said aluminum in the voice-over).
As always, there is no sign of PWM at any output level – the Atom AL is current controlled.
Similarly, there is no strobe mode of any sort.
For white-wall beamshots below, all lights are on Max output on a primary CR123A battery. Lights are about ~0.75 meter from a white wall (with the camera ~1.25 meters back from the wall). Automatic white balance on the camera, to minimize tint differences.
Ok, so my standard white wall test bed really doesn't show you much. Part of the issue is the lower output of the Atom AL (i.e., only 110 reported lumens on Hi). But the main reason you can't see anything is the camera's limited field – the Atom AL puts out a much wider (and more even) spillbeam than any of the other lights shown above. It really looks like a giant spot beam in real life.
Unfortunately, you can really compare the beam profile using these standard distances. I recommend you check out my video overview for a discussion.
All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, as described on my flashlightreviews.ca website. You can directly compare all my relative output values from different reviews - i.e. an output value of "10" in one graph is the same as "10" in another. All runtimes are done under a cooling fan, except for any extended run Lo/Min modes (i.e. >12 hours) which are done without cooling.
I have devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values (ROV) to estimated Lumens. See my How to convert Selfbuilt's Lightbox values to Lumens thread for more info.
Throw/Output Summary Chart:
My summary tables are reported in a manner consistent with the ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. Please see http://www.flashlightreviews.ca/FL1.htm for a discussion, and a description of all the terms used in these tables. Effective July 2012, I have updated all my Peak Intensity/Beam Distance measures with a NIST-certified Extech EA31 lightmeter (orange highlights).
Max output in my testing is a little higher than the Foursevens specs (which is common), although the extremely wide floodbeam makes the light a little hard to compare to those with traditional beam profiles (i.e., the consistency of my measurement method may be a little off).
Output on 1xRCR is indistinguishable from 1xCR123A on Hi, with just a small increase in output on Lo.
Performance is as you would expect for a current-controlled Foursevens light at these levels (i.e., comparable efficiency to the Foursevens QTLC XP-G2). The light shows full regulation on both CR123A and RCR Li-ion sources.
Small head-twist lights with raised negative contact posts always have the potential to be battery crushers. Although this is less likely with CR123A than AAA, I recommend you periodically check your batteries to ensure they are not getting dented.
The light is very small, and may be hard to use one-handed for those with larger hands (especially if it gets wet and slippery).
There is a fair bit of play on the threads (i.e., head can feel a little wobbly, when not fully tightened).
The pull of magnet is so strong that you can't get the old battery out by gravity. You need to grab part of the exposed portion of the battery and pull firmly. Be careful not to damage any part of the battery during removal.
The Atom AL is a remarkably tiny CR123A light. In fact, this is probably the first 1xCR123A/RCR light that I could actually see using on a keychain.
The stainless steel construction works well with the small size – the light feels solid, and the look and feel is good. Given the extremely small size for a CR123A light, it may be a bit hard to operate single-handed for those with large hands. Screw threads are ok, but there is more play on my sample than I would like (of course, that is always going to be an issue on really small lights).
Like the P0, a keychain split-ring can freely rotate, allowing both tailstanding and a straight hang. The integrated tailcap magnet is very strong, and can easily hold the light firmly against appropriate metal surfaces. Of course, it will also attract other iron-based metal items in the local vicinity. And as mentioned above, it can make it tricky to get the used battery out.
The beam is very distinctive on these small Foursevens lights with the plastic GITD surround (it is not an actual reflector, because it doesn't really shape the light beam). Just like the P0, the Atom AL has one of the floodiest beams I've come across. There is however a fairly sharp demarcation along its outside spillbeam edge, due to the bezel (i.e., the beam doesn't just gradually fade away like most lights). Those who want true "flood" should find what they want here.
The GITD surround provides a fair amount of glow after the light has been on awhile. I find it also introduces a slightly greenish tinge to the edge of the spillbeam.
The mode spacing is reasonably good. There is no actual "Moonlight" level, but thanks to the wide flood beam, you should find the Lo mode comfortable enough for low light use. The flip side of having a wide spillbeam means that the Hi mode may not seem as bright as the 110 rated lumens suggests.
Runtimes certainly seem reasonable for the output levels, as with all Foursevens lights.
The Atom AL extends the Preon P0 build into the CR123A/RCR realm, with a simplified interface. With the extended family of Atom lights coming soon, you should have a good range of true little flood lights in all battery classes.
Atom AL was supplied by Foursevens for review.