Neutral White 4Sevens Quark AA Comparison Review

UnknownVT

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First a disclosure: I am currently infatuated/enamored with Neutral White tinted LEDs - because I feel they give just the right compromise for a flashlight - which for me the main purpose is for seeing well in the dark.

That over with I wish to acknowledge 4Sevens' generosity for these Quarks that I have to look at.

Size -
QuarkAANwSz.jpg

not much to see here - there is almost no visual external difference between the Neutral White version and the regular cool white Quark AA. I have the marvelous finger loop on the Neutral white and the clip still attached to the cool white - so that I can recognize them more easily without having to turn them on....:eek:

Heads -
QuarkAANwHd.jpg

again hard to see much visual difference - but as discussed elsewhere the Neutral white seem to show more brown in the reflector.

Head to head - well OK this Neutral White head is actually the one that was on the Quark AA2 which I reviewed in
Neutral White (Warm Tinted) - Quark AA2 Neutral White Comparison Review
all I did was to put the head on a single AA body - and voila! I have a Quark AA Neutral White......
similarly I could have put it on a single CR123 body and end up with a Quark 123 NW - such is the versatility of the Quark range - which follows the "Lego" trend set by Fenix in their L/PxD and L/PDx series.

vs. 4Sevens Quark AA Cool White both Max NiMH
QuarkAAnW_CW.jpg
QuarkAAnW_CW2U.jpg

visually and in the beamshots these seem about the same brightness -
but the different tints makes the comparison difficult -

So I removed the colors by desaturation -
QuarkAAnW_CWdeSat.jpg
QuarkAAnW_CW2UdeSat.jpg

the levels are still "similar" with perhaps the cool white being brighter - which it should since it is an R2 as opposed to the Neutral white which is a Q3......

vs. NiteCore EZ AA-W (Warm tint) (NiteCore uses mostly Q3 5B) Max NiMH
QuarkAAnW_EZaaW.jpg
QuarkAAnW_EZaaW2U.jpg

the EZaaW seems brighter - it is spec'd brighter - the small overall beam also concentrates the light more - so it seems brighter still.

Lower levels -

vs. 4Sevens Quark AA Cool White both Min (Level 1 Moon mode) NiMH
QuarkAAnWl1_CW.jpg
QuarkAAnWl1_CW2U.jpg


vs. 4Sevens Quark AA Cool White both Low (Level 2) NiMH -
QuarkAAnWl2_CW.jpg
QuarkAAnWl2_CW2U.jpg


vs. NiteCore EZ AA-W (Warm tint) Low (Quark level chosen to "match" EZaaW) NiMH -
QuarkAAnWl3_EZaaWlo.jpg
QuarkAAnWl3_EZaaWlo2U.jpg

here's a good case in point - the NiteCore is rated about 10 lumens on Low - whereas the Quark AA is supposed to be about 18 lumens on its level 3 "Medium" - so why do these look so close?
Is the EZaaW over-achieiving (not so desirable on a low level) or the Quark not keep up with specs? - can't say for certain - BUT it is more likely merely because the Quark's beam is so much wider - so it spreads its light out more than the EZaaW - hence why these kind of look the same level - the Quark probably has about twice the area, accounting for the apparent similar visual brightness......

INDEX to follow up parts -

Comparison with 2x CR123A version the Quark 123-2 to check the circuit regulation, by seeing if lower levels are similar - Post #3

Standardized stairway beamshot - Post #4

Standardized stairway beamshot using 3.7V rechargeable Li-Ion 14500 - Post #7
 
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recDNA

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Thanks for a great review!

I hope I don't get chewed out (AGAIN) for being off topic but although I don't like warm light outdoors I LOVE the warm light for use in the bathroom when I need to examine a cut or a mole or even whiskers. A red mark on skin doesn't show up well with a cool light. Of course you need a fairly low output too.
 

UnknownVT

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In case anyone was wondering what that Quark 123-2 Neutral White was doing in the size comparison pic -

well actually I wanted to see how well the Quarks' regulated circuitry coped using a head that ran on 2x CR123A (6Volts) vs. almost the opposite end of the scale with 1x AA (1.2V NiMH)

Note: in these beamshots the Quark 123-2 NW is on the left, with the AA NW on the right -

vs. 4Sevens Quark 123-2 Neutral both on Max -
Quark123-2Nw_QkAANw.jpg
Quark123-2Nw_QkAANw2U.jpg

it's pretty obvious that the Quark 123-2 is brighter - not surprisingly since it is driven by 2x CR123A (at 6V) vs. the 1x AA which is all of 1.2V.
But notice the difference in tints - the AA version seems to be more yellow(/green?) this kind of stands to reason since the LED is at lower brightness so it is being driven by a lower current.

But more important how do the Quarks compare on their lowest modes
- are the circuits regulated well enough to make them the same levels?

vs. 4Sevens Quark 123-2 Neutral both on Minimum - level 1 - Moonlight mode -
Quark123-2Nw_QkAANwMin.jpg
Quark123-2Nw_QkAANwMin2U.jpg


vs. 4Sevens Quark 123-2 Neutral both on level 2 - Low -
Quark123-2Nw_QkAANwLow.jpg
Quark123-2Nw_QkAANwLow2U.jpg

both these sets are pretty comparable - so the regulation both from 2x CR123A and almost the opposite end of the scale from 1 AA (NiMH) are coping equally well.......
so I would hazard that these are well designed regulated circuits......
 
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fareast

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First a disclosure: I am currently infatuated/enamored with Neutral White tinted LEDs - because I feel they give just the right compromise for a flashlight - which for me the main purpose is for seeing well in the dark.

After getting my first Q3-5A I feel exactly the same way. I am not sure I would even want a different tint anymore. My last three torches are with these tints and I have 3 more coming with the 5A's.

For a while I did like the white tints (including the tint lottery) but nothing beats the fuzzy warmth these warm tinted LED's give!

I think it's great to see 4Sevens and Nitecore picking up on this trend soo early (and not just this trend!!!) for us!:thumbsup: Why oh why did they offer the NEX Q3-5A only in Japan :thinking:?!
 

UnknownVT

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I wanted to see how well the Quarks' regulated circuitry coped using a head that ran on 2x CR123A (6Volts) vs. almost the opposite end of the scale with 1x AA (1.2V NiMH)

My main problem here is that I am comparing with two different circuits one that is a single AA (or AA2 or single CR123) vs. one that is for 2x CR123A.

However I am (if nothing else) persistent -
I actually managed that in my original -
4Sevens Quark AA Comparison Review
Post #121 (link)
where I was able to compare Quark AA using 3.7V rechargeable Li-Ion 14500 directly with one that was NiMH driven (please see Post #121 - link).

However for this Neutral White I did something slightly different -
I directly compared the Quark Neutral White on 3.7V rechargeable Li-Ion 14500 with the Quark 123-2 - again on Max and the two lowest levels - (please check back at Post #3 to see when I compared the Quark AA Neutral White on NiMH with the Quark 123-2 Neutral white for comparison with this set)

Quark AA Neutral white on 3.7V rechargeable Li-Ion 14500 vs. 4Sevens Quark 123-2 Neutral white - both on Max -
QuarkAAnwLi_123-2.jpg
QuarkAAnwLi_123-2U2.jpg

pretty comparable - perhaps the 123-2 is just a bit brighter?
But this means on Li-Ion 14500 the Quark AA is way up there....

So how well regulated is the Quark AA on Li-Ion 14500?
Does it lose the lowest levels and just become high?

Quark AA Neutral White on Li-Ion 14500 vs. 4Sevens Quark 123-2 Neutral white both on Min Level 1 Moon mode -
QuarkAAnwLi_123-2Min.jpg
QuarkAAnwLi_123-2Min2U.jpg

close enough to say the Quark AA Neutral white is still regulated when on 3.7V Li-Ion 14500.

Double check on next lowest level -

Quark AA Neutral White on Li-Ion 14500 vs. 4Sevens Quark 123-2 Neutral white both on level 2 Low -
QuarkAAnwLi_123-2Lo.jpg
QuarkAAnwLi_123-2Lo2U.jpg

again close enough to know that the Quark AA neutral white is being regulated.

Again one can compare these with the respective sets in Post #3 (link) above when I compared the Quark AA NW on NiMH against the Quark 123-2 NW.......

Notice also the tint shift on the lower levels when compared to the maximum level.....

This may be an important detail in design philosophy for some -

I found out there is a reason why the Quark AA on regular single AA battery (alkaline or NiMH) seems to be lower than other rival single AA lights.

This is because the Quark AA, AA2 and 123 (same head) uses a Buck/Boost circuit - so intrinsically it is not as efficient as a pure boost circuit.

Why Buck? because the Quark AA, AA2 and 123 are rated a true 0.9-4.2V - this means they were designed to handle a single 3.7V rechargeable Li-Ion battery (eg: 14500 or RCR123) by bucking the voltage down to the true safe Vf -

This may not seem much -
since don't other lights all seem to handle 3.7V rechargeable Li-Ion?
well, kinda yes, more by "luck" than "design" -
most boost circuits are by-passed when the battery Vin exceeds the rated Vout (set for the Vf of the LED) of the circuit - and basically becomes direct-drive by the 3.7V rechargeable Li-Ion.

A good example are the very well designed Fenix L/PxD and L/PDx series - when used with 3.7V rechargeable Li-Ion batteries - all their lower levels are basically High until the Li-Ion battery drops its voltage below the Vf and the lights once again become regulated - as one can see this did not happen with the Quarks - the lower levels are still (regulated) lower levels.

We "get away" with this most of the time - because the Li-Ion voltage drops under load somewhat and the slight over-voltage does not do immediate harm to the LED emitter.

But in the long term the LED is gradually damaged and the overall life is shortened - most of us on CPF probably don't care too much even if the life-span of the LED is halved as 50,000 hours halved is still 25,000 hours - still pretty long and a CPF'er probably will have moved on to other lights by then.

Ah! but not so fast -
most would use Li-Ion because we want the extra brightness (kinda like at no extra cost) - so will tend to use the light on max brightness - which is exactly when the most damage will occur - and in the long term there still might not be sudden death - but the characteristic of the LED changes - I have a Fenix L1D-Q5 - so it is not that old - and I did not use it on Max all the time - but it has turned quite an obvious shade of Blue - enough that I had to stop using it as a comparison and get another L1D-Q5 for that purpose - so, as far as I am concerned it was damaged beyond repair.......
 

UnknownVT

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Standardized Stairway beamshots with 3.7V rechargeable Li-Ion 14500 -

StairQuarkAAnwLi.jpg
StairQuarkAAli.jpg

StairQuarkAA2W.jpg
StairQuark123-2nW.jpg
 
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Sharpy_swe

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Dec 7, 2006
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I finally got my Quark AA² Neutral today, what a nice flashlight. But I can't try it in the dark for at least some hours :(

But how should the Beacon mode function? I'm not sure if its working as intended.
 

Snow

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I just ordered a neutral tint 1xAA model last night. I agree with your feelings regarding the use of LEDs outdoors and the superior performance of neutral tints. I have been enjoying my neutral tint EZAA so I'm excited to try out the Quark line as well. Thanks for the beamshots!
 

PLI

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Jul 2, 2009
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I've got the AA "neutral tint" version of quark and
I find it really awesome.
It's simply the best AA flashligth I've ever seen :D

All the features awaited for a flashlight are included:

1) a really moonlight mode
2) the absolutely essential pocket clip
3) a simple user interface
4) the finish is very well
5) high quality lanyard, a fine nylon holster,are also included
6) and so on...


I really love this flashlight :thumbsup:
 

Swedpat

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Jan 5, 2008
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I love my new Quark neutrals: a 123 and AA2.
Perfect beam profile and the tint is very comfortable and feels natural compared to cool tints. I find the brightness modes to be very useful, and the steps between them are very well selected.
The better knurling is an improvement compared to Fenix though I would desire a slightly more aggressive knurling and that the body (of AA2) wouldn't be thinner in the midpart. The button are a bit to stiff. The lights had been more estethical with crenelated bezels, and an antirolling design had been valuable. Otherwise they are great lights! They definitively have replaced my Fenix LD20/PD20 lights. :twothumbs

Regards, Patric
 
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