4Sevens Quark Mini CR2 Review: RUNTIMES, PICS, and more!

selfbuilt

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Reviewer's Note: The Quark Mini lights were provided for review by 4Sevens.com. Please see their website for more info.

This is a mini-review of the new member of the Mini family, the Mini CR2 (please see my earlier Mini AA and Mini 123 review for a comparison to the earlier members of this class).

For a discussion of the possible tint options for the Mini line (i.e. Cool White, Neutral White, Warm White), please see my new Mini Tint Comparison Review.

Manufacturer's specifications, condensed from their 4sevens.com:
  • LED: CREE XP-G R5
  • Max Output: 180 OTF lumens,
  • Material: Type-III Hard-anodized Aircraft-grade Aluminum
  • Lens: Optical-grade glass lens with anti-reflective coating on both sides
  • Water resistance: IPX-8
  • Battery: 1xCR2 (3V max)
  • Seven Output Modes:
  • Low: 3 OTF lumens, 1.2 days
  • Medium: 40 OTF lumens, 4.8 hours
  • High: 180 OTF lumens, 40 mins
  • Special (hidden) modes:
  • Strobe: 1.4 hours
  • SOS: 4.3 hours
  • Beacon (Hi): 7.2 hours
  • Beacon (Lo): 36 hours
  • Dimensions:
  • Length: 2.0 inches
  • Diameter: 0.75 inches
  • Weight (w/o battery): 0.6 ounces;
  • MSRP: $39 for aluminum versions, $99 for Ti versions

Again, please see my earlier Mini AA and Mini 123 review for more background on this family of lights.

MiniCR2-4.jpg


4Sevens has simplified the packaging for all members of the Mini family (i.e. no more presentation case). Inside the cardboard box you will now find the light along with a 4Sevens CR2 battery, good quality wrist strap/lanyard, and manual.

UPDATE: I also understand that a new “green” packaging of much lower waste will be available soon (perhaps by the time you read this!). Check out the 4Sevens forums on CPFMP for more info.

MiniCR2-8.jpg

MiniCR2-9.jpg

MiniCR2-2.jpg

MiniCR2-1.jpg

From left to right: Panasonic CR2, 4Sevens Mini CR2, NiteCore EZCR2, 4sevens Mini 123, Nitecore EZ123.

As you can see, the Mini CR2 is quite tiny, in keeping with its battery source.

MiniCR2-5.jpg

MiniCR2-6.jpg


Build is very much in keeping with the other members of the Mini line – please see my earlier Mini AA and Mini 123 review for more info.

The Minis all have the advantage of generous knurling, which makes it easier to use the twist feature one-handed. No problem for the Mini CR2 – it is as easy to use as the other members of this family.

MiniCR2-7.jpg

MiniCR2-3.jpg


The Minis all feature one of the latest edition Cree emitters - the XP-G (R5 output bin, no tint bin specified). Reflector is not overly deep, but heavily textured.

I haven’t taken beamshots for the Mini CR2, but you’ll find the profile is similar to the Mini AA and Mini 123 shown in my earlier review.

The sample above is of the standard Cool White Mini CR2, but other tints are now available as limited runs. For a discussion of the possible tint options for the Mini line (i.e. Cool White, Neutral White, Warm White), please see my new Mini Tint Comparison Review.

User Interface

The Mini CR2 uses the same interface as the other members of the Mini line, as well as the AAA-class 4Sevens Preons. In their standard operating mode, they are very similar to other budget lights (e.g. ITP/Maratac), and use a Lo > Med > Hi mode sequence. Basic operation is controlled by twisting the head tight against the body to activate the light, loosen to turn off. Do a twist off-on in under 1 sec and the light advances to its next mode sequence. Wait more than two seconds before re-activating the light after turning off, and it returns to default Lo (i.e. no memory mode).

There is no strobe or SOS mode to worry about in the regular interface. :kiss: But like the Preons, they are “hidden” away if you want them. Normally, twisty-mode cycle selection continues indefinitely - keep doing off-on twists to run through all the sequences in order again. But if you run through the complete sequence twice in under two seconds (i.e. On Lo > Med > Hi > Lo > Med > Hi), you will access the additional hidden modes. These present themselves in sequence as Strobe > SOS > Hi Beacon > Lo Beacon.

Mini-Strobe.gif


Strobe was measured at 10Hz on all my samples. Beacon modes are 5 rapid flashes followed a single ~1.25 sec flash at 10 sec intervals, at either full power (Hi) or lower power (Lo).

Note that there is no memory for “special outputs” either – if you turn off the light for more than 2 seconds, you will be back at constant output Lo when next you re-illuminate. So no worries about getting stuck accidentally strobing yourself here. :thumbsup: Frankly, this is the sort of interface I like to see – “special modes” are well hidden, and not at all obtrusive.

Mini-PWM.gif


Like all multi-mode lights in this class, the Minis use pulse-width-modulation (PWM) for their Lo/Med modes. However, the PWM frequency is high enough at ~2.4 kHz that you will not notice it regular use, unless you really go looking for it. Again, this is the same frequency as the 4Sevens Preons (as well as the ITP A1/A2 series lights).

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:
MiniCR2-Summary.gif


On standard primary batteries, the Minis all strike a good balance between output and runtime (i.e. in keeping with their small size, they are not exactly maximally driven).

As you can see in the table above, output levels of the Mini CR2 are basically identical to the Mini 123 reviewed previously. Throw is reduced, likely due to the slightly smaller head (i.e. reflector is not as deep).

Although I don’t have any RCR2 batteries to test, my experience from the other members of this class tells me that 3.7V Li-ion will be a *lot* brighter on Hi :eek: Frankly, I don’t consider the levels I saw on the Mini 123 and Mini AA to be very safe for extended runs – the lights will heat up very quickly.

Output/Runtime Comparison:

I only have primary CR2 cells on hand, but thought it would be worth testing the Mini CR2 on the included 4Sevens CR2 and my only two other samples – the Panasonic and Titanium Innovations CR2s.

I have also compared it to my only other CR2-based light, the NiteCore EZCR2

MiniCR2-HiCR2.gif
.

First off, the Mini CR2 is a lot brighter on Max than the NiteCore EZCR2. It also runs for an equivalent length of time, although not in as regulated a fashion.

What I have found interesting is the performance of the batteries – both the included 4Sevens CR2 and the Titanium Innovations CR2 perform comparably in my testing, and both out-perform the USA-made Panasonic cell :eek:oo:. A similar pattern is seen in the NiteCore tests – the Panasonic again under-performs.

UPDATE: Med-Lo Runtime


MiniCR2-MedCR2.gif


Potential Issues

Body wall construction is fairly thin, in keeping with a budget build. Heat dissipation on Hi could be an issue for extended runs.

Given that the performance seems to match the Mini CR123A, this leads me to believe that the same issue on 1x3.7V Li-ion RCR2 would occur – i.e. max output is way too bright for such a small light. I recommend you do not run these lights on max on this battery source.

Preliminary Observations

The general comments from my Mini AA and Mini 123 reviews apply here – this is a nice little family of lights. Please see the main review for greater context. :)

For keychain carry, I think you will find that CR2-based lights fall into quite the sweet spot in terms of performance for size. Sure, CR123A-based lights will last longer – but it’s hard to beat the size of the Mini CR2.

The one additional take-home message here is that you can expect as good output/runtime performance on 4Sevens-branded CR2 primary cells as any other brand I’ve tested. :thumbsup:

This is also one instance where I would recommend the use of primary cells over rechargeables. Given the extremely high output of the Mini line on Max on 3.7V Li-ion cells (i.e. direct drive?), I do not recommend you run any light of this family on Max on rechargeables. Also, if you do plan to use RCR2, please note that these cells typically lack cut-off voltage protection circuits, so you will have to carefully monitor voltage/output to prevent over-dischage.

Frankly, given the excellent performance of the 4sevens CR2 cells, I think you are best off sticking with primary CR2s in this case.
 
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Xak

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Re: 4Sevens Quark Mini CR2 Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

It looks like it isn't regulated. I was thinking of getting one till I saw that graph!

Thanx for the review!
 

selfbuilt

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Re: 4Sevens Quark Mini CR2 Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more!

It looks like it isn't regulated. I was thinking of getting one till I saw that graph!
Well, it's as well regulated as the Mini 123 on Max. :shrug: For that matter, this Hi mode is as well regulated as any maximally-driven 1xCR123A light (it's only those lights with lower max outputs that can fully regulate - and then only briefly).

Frankly, I wouldn't let the semi-regulated pattern put you off. Although the lightbox reads the difference, you would not be able to see it by eye.

For all intents and purposes, the light would look perfectly stable and flat until at least 40 mins into the run. And at that point, you will simply notice gradual dimming (just as you would for any light falling out of regulation on primaries). This is actually a pretty good pattern. :)
 

guggep

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Hi Team, I am a brand new member to CPF and thought it only proper to make my first post a great big Thank You to selfbuilt for another fantastic review. I have been reading the forum for a couple of years now, and thought it time to finally join up. During that time I have probably read each of selfbuilts reviews twice. I can not express how valuable they are to those of us on limited budgets who need to make every purchase count.

Thanks Again
 

Xak

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Hmmm. I see. Damn, now I think I want one again. That way I can have a cool key-chain light and decide if I like the warm white tint. Perhaps then, get a turbo ww for camping.
 

GlobalPlayer

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Thanks for another great review,

I love this light an it's my edc light now.
It has a very good balance between spot and spill and is a little bit more on the floody side what is perfect for most situations as keychainlight

One point, whatever it means, I didn't do runtime comparisons:
I took some measurements with my cheap multimeter of 3 new CR2 primary cells:
CR2 4sevens: 3,31 V
CR2 Panasonic (made in Japan, bought in Germany): 3,21 V
CR2 Panasonic (Made in Japan, bought in China/DX): 3,07 V
 

cave dave

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Hey. any chance for a medium run or low run? On the MiNi AA the runtimes listed on the web and brochure were 18 hrs, but your test revealed it was more like 5.5hr. That kind of info is why your reviews are so valuable.

I believe 4Ssevens has lowered the published runtimes in some places in part because of your testing, but in the 4sevens literature I got early this week w/ the CR2 they are still claiming that 18rs for the AA model.

As far as Chinese made CR2's, my experience is they perform great when new, but have horrible shelf lifes and will be no good after a year or two. I won't buy them, but I hope for everybody's sake the 4sevens brand doesn't suffer this fate. Only time will tell. I wouldn't recommend stocking up more than a years worth.
 

4sevens

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Cave dave - the 18 hr rating was a typo. It needs to be fixed.

I find it shocking that you would make a negative recommendation based on a "hunch." I think you'd be surprised at the reputable brands our factory also makes batteries for. Unfortunately I not at liberty to disclose.

I personally take offense that you'd write off our batteries in one sweeping comment based on a hunch. We searched for extensively and spent quite a bit of resources interviewing and auditing factories before we chose our current manufacturer. We also tested our batteries extensively.
 

cave dave

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Cave dave - the 18 hr rating was a typo. It needs to be fixed.

I find it shocking that you would make a negative recommendation based on a "hunch." I think you'd be surprised at the reputable brands our factory also makes batteries for. Unfortunately I not at liberty to disclose.

I personally take offense that you'd write off our batteries in one sweeping comment based on a hunch. We searched for extensively and spent quite a bit of resources interviewing and auditing factories before we chose our current manufacturer. We also tested our batteries extensively.

Battery Station also spent a lot of money and did a lot of research and testing when they produced their overseas batteries, and they know a lot about Lithium batteries. Skip forward a few years and they now source them in the US for safety and reliability reasons. I really do hope your batteries are as good as your flashlights. I have a few of them and I will use them and test them, but won't stock up. It is just human nature to avoid things after they have been burned. I mean who is going out and buying new Toyotas? (produced mostly in the USA BTW)

Anyway the reason some Li batteries don't have as long a shelf life as they should has to do with getting chemistry that creates the passivisation layer just right. You can't really test for that except by letting them sit on a shelf for two years and see what happens.
 

MarNav1

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Just bought a CR2 and a 123 both Warm versions. I think they are great lights for a good price. My only complaint and it's pretty minor is the threads could be a smidge tighter but mine both turn very smoothly and operate well. I think they set the standard for this price range. Also I like the little bags a whole lot better than the boxes too. +10 4Sevens!
 

RSW

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As a newbie this was my 3rd flashlight. At first I was a bit disappointed with it especially after reading your earlier reviews.

It is thin walled and as a result I had a bit of head wobble (apparently this is common from what I have seen on other posts). A bit of teflon tape and I was good to go. I think the tape has also helped out with heat as well. My light doesn't get hot at all.

The more I have used it though, I have realized that I really like the light. The strobe/SOS are well hidden, as you said. In addition it is very bright and it is regulated enough for my use and until I read the review, I never would have known the difference. I was used to a clicky and this is a twisty. I have learned to appreciate the difference.

Bottom line, I would recommend it, give it as a gift and I have to thank you for the reviews. It helped influenced my decision to purchase it and I'm glad I did,
 

selfbuilt

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Hey. any chance for a medium run or low run?
Sure, at least for the Med mode. I'll do a run when I'm done with the current light I'm testing. :)

My only complaint and it's pretty minor is the threads could be a smidge tighter but mine both turn very smoothly and operate well.
It is thin walled and as a result I had a bit of head wobble (apparently this is common from what I have seen on other posts). A bit of teflon tape and I was good to go.
This point is an important one - the threads do have some play in them. I also find them to be a bit "gritty" feeling, as I pointed out in my earlier reviews. It's important for people realize this before buying.

I'm not particularly surprised by this, given the price point and the need for a fair amount of tolerance during manufacturing. More expensive lights with thicker walls (and thicker threads) can certainly be made with less wobble - but I don't think you can really avoid it in this size light. In any case, I don't find that it really interferes with operation.
 

Stereodude

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I think the tape has also helped out with heat as well. My light doesn't get hot at all.
Uh... That's exactly what you don't want. A hot light means the emitter is efficiently pushing it's heat into the flashlight body.
 

selfbuilt

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Uh... That's exactly what you don't want. A hot light means the emitter is efficiently pushing it's heat into the flashlight body.
Agreed - I would expect teflon tape to act as an insulator, preventing good thermal contact. You would probably be better off without it.
 

selfbuilt

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The Mini CR2 Med runtime is below, shown in comparison to the NiteCore EZCR2 (and with a output level marker for the Mini CR2 Lo level).

MiniCR2-MedCR2.gif


Note that I don't have any more 4sevens CR2 cells to test, so I had to use a Titanium Innovations CR2.

I don't plan to do a Lo mode test, as I would expect several days runtime at least.

:wave:
 

HarveyRich

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Your review is, as usual, just great and detailed. I am disappointed that you came to the conclusion that the MiNi Cr2 shouldn't be run or tested on RCR li-ion batteries. I use mine only in that configuration, not to save money, but to be environmentally friendly.

I find that it does give an amazing amount of light on high, as you suggested it would, and a very useful amount on medium. My recollection is that when I first received it, I tested the runtime on high and got about 25 mins, compared to the 40 mins 4 7s rates it on primaries and which you, approximately, also found. It was hot, but I don't think too hot to hold. I only use it on high for several minutes at a time anyway because the medium is so useful. If you get an opportunity I, for one, would appreciate a test of it with that type of battery and have it inserted with the above excellent review.

As a pocket edc this is perfect. Tiny, powerful, and decent runtimes for most tasks. I think I even got about 1 hr 40 mins on medium on RCR li-ions. The only small drawback is the lack of a protected RCR2 battery, so you need to monitor and recharge more frequently.
 

selfbuilt

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I am disappointed that you came to the conclusion that the MiNi Cr2 shouldn't be run or tested on RCR li-ion batteries. I use mine only in that configuration, not to save money, but to be environmentally friendly.
Well, my conclusion is not that it shouldn't be run on RCR2 - just that it shouldn't be run on Hi. :) And if you do run it on Med/Lo, be mindful of not running down your unprotected RCR2 cells. Should be safe enough as long as people keep that in mind.

As for not testing on RCR2, the simple answer is that I don't have any RCR2 cells. :sssh: Since this was only the second CR2-based light I've received, I haven't had a chance to pick any up. But if I get in any more new lights in, I may give AW's RCR2 a shot ... and go back and re-test the EZCR2 and Mini CR2.
 

Xak

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Got my Mini CR2 and couldn't be happier. Threads are smooth, light is sturdy, the WW tint is a bit pink, though. I expected it to be yellowish, but it has slight pick undertones much like cool white lights have blue or purple undertones, especially on low.

I'm happy with the tint, though. It's nice to have something different, and like the cool white lights with their slight tendancies to have a bit of blue in the spill, it is not distracting, hardly noticeable, and it really is a great tint.
 

dr. quad

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i'm pretty impressed with the cr2 mini! is there going to be any more battery comparisons? just wanted to see how a sf cr123 held up in the same application. from what i've seen in run time charts so far, it seems that surefires and 4sevens brand batteries are about the top... but i also know its dependent on the light itself.
 
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