4GREER WS1 1xAAA (XR-E Q4 WC) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS and more!

selfbuilt

Flashaholic
Joined
May 27, 2006
Messages
7,001
Location
Canada
Warning: pic heavy, as usual. :whistle:

WS1013.jpg


Specifications:
  • CREE 7090 XR-E Q4 WC LED
  • Supports one AAA or 10440 Li-ion battery
  • Step down current driver.
  • High efficiency with dual mode DC-DC regulator (PWM / PFM)
  • Working voltage is 0.7V to 4.2V.
  • Output: 100 Lumen@350mA
  • Runtime: 3 hours
  • Aircraft grade aluminum T7075 black hard anodized Type-III
  • Water proof to 5m, approximately 15 Feet.
  • Toughened ultra clear glass lens with AR coating.
  • Twist switch
  • Length 7.85cm x Diameter 1.65cm / 3" x approximately 11/16"
  • 25-gram weight, / 0.88 ounces, excluding battery
  • Spare parts: Two O-rings
  • Estimated MSRP ~$39
The WS1 is the first flashlight from the Canadian manufacturer 4GREER. The specs of this light may look a little out of date, but that's because it has actually been around since Dec 2008. I've only just become aware of the company.

4GREER makes flashlights and related products aimed at law enforcement, military, medical, etc. I have recently reviewed their brand of protected 18650 batteries. Note that the WS1 is a single-stage only 1xAAA light.

Interesting logo – apparently, it is a stylized version of a snow owl from northern Canada. ;)

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The light comes in distinctive packaging – clearly designed for shelf placement in actual bricks-and-mortar stores. The plastic container has a magnetic closing clasp with cut-out foam for the light. Included with the light is a Panasonic alkaline battery, removable bi-directional clip, extra o-rings and small split-ring. Specifications, instructions for use and warranty information are printed on the cardboard sleeve.

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From left to right: Duracell alkaline AAA, ITP H01, Tiablo E3A, 4GREER WS1, 4Sevens ReVo, Preon 1, Titanium Innovations LuminaTi, Lumapower Avenger GX, Eagletac PN20α, LiteFlux LF2XT, Maratac AAA.

4GREER WS1: Weight: 25.2g , Length 79.3mm x Width 16.2mm (bezel)
4Sevens Preon 1: Weight 15.3g (with keychain clip), Length 75.6mm x Width 14.0mm (bezel)
4Sevens Preon ReVo:: Weight: 11.3g , Length 72.7mm (battery installed) x Width 12.9mm
ITP EOS A3 Upgraded: Weight: 11.6g (no clip), Length: 69.7 x Width 14.1mm (bezel)
ITP H01: Weight: 22.7g, Length 53.7mm x Width 37.2 (max body) or 15.4mm (bezel)
EagleTac PN20α: Weight 22.9g (with pocket clip), Length 80.1mm x Width 16.0mm (bezel), 18.6mm (max, around base)
LiteFlux LF2XT: Weight: 21.2g (with pocket clip). Length 81.2mm x Width 14.9mm (bezel widest portion)
Lumapower Avenger GX: Weight: 22.9g (with Clicky switch), 22.0g (with twisty switch), Length 93.8mm (with clicky switch) or 86.7mm (with twisty switch) x Width 15.2mm (bezel widest portion)
Maratac 1xAAA: Weight: 10.9g , Length: 67.5mm x Width: 14.1mm (bezel)
Tiablo E3A: Weight: 18.3g, Length 87.5mm x Width 14.8mm (bezel)
Titanium Innovations IlluminaTi: Weight 23.5g (with keychain clip), Length 68.8mm x Width 14.0mm (bezel)
VersaTi: Weight: 23.2g (no clip), Length: 67.1mm, Width: 14.6mm

The WS1 is more robust than most lights of this class, in keeping with its intended market. The walls of the light are particularly thick.

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Screw threads are anodized, in keeping with the mechanism of action (i.e. twist tight to turn on). Light can tailstand.

Lettering is fairly clear, but in a less noticeable gray-white finish. Despite the large logo, this keeps the labelling fairly under-stated. No chips or flaws on the black type III (hard anodized) finish on my sample.

While there is no real knurling on the body, there is a lot of ridge detail to help with grip. The bi-directional clip furthers helps with grip, and serves as an anti-roll device. Light can be operated single-handed.

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As you can see, the light uses the older XR-E emitter (Q4 output bin), in a fairly deep OP reflector.

And now for the requisite white wall hunting ;). All lights are on Hi on either Sanyo Eneloop AAA or AW unprotected 10440, about ~0.5 meter from a white wall.

Sorry for the quality of the white wall beamshots – I've recently moved, and haven't had a chance to set up a proper beamshot closet yet. What you are looking at below is recently primed drywall.

Eneloop:

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AAA007.jpg

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AW 10440:

Note: For the 10440 shots below, the camera is set to automatic white balance, to try and even out the tint differences. Rest assured, the cool-white emitter lights don't look that blue in real life!

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In keeping with the deep and narrow reflector, the 4GREER WS1 has a narrow spillbeam. Transition from spot to spill is fairly smooth, but the standard Cree XR-E rings are clearly visible. 4GREER guarantees the WC tint (i.e. premium white, cool-white)

User Interface

Tighten the head all the way to turn on. Loosen to turn off. :kiss:

No PWM or Strobe

The WS1 is a single-stage light, so no PWM or strobe.

Testing Method: All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, a la Quickbeam's flashlightreviews.com method. 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 the extended run Lo/Min modes (i.e. >12 hours) which are done without cooling.

Throw values are the square-root of lux measurements taken at 1 meter from the lens, using a light meter.

Throw/Output Summary Chart:

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Output/Runtime Comparison:

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Potential Issues

Light is single-stage only.

Light uses the older XR-E Q4 emitter.

While 10440 is officially supported, there does not seem to be an over-discharge protection (ODP) feature. If using unprotected cells, you must be careful to recharge frequently and not allow the cells to run down.

Preliminary Observations

The WS1 is a solid little 1xAAA light. Although I'm not a fan of single-stage lights generally, I can see how this was designed for a specific target audience (i.e. a backup light for LEOs, service professionals, etc.).

The WS1 has a very substantial feel to it (especially thick-walled), and should stand up to a lot abuse. And after all, not much can go wrong with a single-stage only twisty light. :thumbsup:

That being said, I can't help but wonder they didn't make it a little thicker and deeper, for use with the much higher capacity 1xAA cells. I suppose that would take it out of the size range for keychain/pocket carry. :shrug:

I like the removable bi-directional clip – although short, it seems to work well for bezel-down carry off a shirt-pocket, or bezel-up for a ballcap brim, etc.

Output and performance is good for a single-stage light with a Q4 emitter. Apparently, 4GREER doesn't have plans to replace the emitter with the newer XP-E/Gs, as they find the XR-E Q4 WC gives good enough performance and throw, with guaranteed tint. They obviously prize reliability over innovation – and correspondingly offer a lifetime warranty for individuals who purchase the light (10 years for government/corporate users).

Although we tend to focus on advancing technology with the latest and greatest emitters, I can see the point of this light. Build quality is high, and I'm curious to see what else they come out with.

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WS1 was supplied by Kit-Tronics.com on behalf of 4GREER.
 

selfbuilt

Flashaholic
Joined
May 27, 2006
Messages
7,001
Location
Canada
Just a follow-up point ...

While thinking about the long-term reliability issues for some lights (e.g. see recent comments in my Lumapower MVP thread), there may be a place for lights that don't change in feature set very quickly.

In this case, 4GREER also informs me that as the target market is government and law enforcement, it can actually take up to two years from some governments to approve for tender. That's a long time to keep feature sets stable ... :sssh:
 
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