Preon P1 MKIII

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My order information states, Being Processed. :( I placed my order about 15 minutes after the drop...... Last name starts with a W. I bet Jason is shipping alphabetically. All my life Iv'e been toward the back of the line. #sucks2b/a/w. :laughing:

~ Chance
 

Random Dan

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I did a quick comparison with my current AAA edc, the Lumintop Tool 219b.

Preon is not quite as bright on high and a little more greenish, medium is about the same, and Preon has lower low which I like.
Preon has forward clicky and better UI than the Tool's goofy M-L-H, but my preference would still be for L-M-H+burst with no memory.
Due to EN plating, Preon has no lockout.
Preon has much better pocket clip, but lacks dedicated lanyard attachment.

Overall I think the Preon is a better light, but it had better be at over twice the price of the Tool. I'm still not sure if it's worth the price difference.
 

archer6817j

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Aug 9, 2010
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Mountain View, CA
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I did a quick comparison with my current AAA edc, the Lumintop Tool 219b.

Preon is not quite as bright on high and a little more greenish, medium is about the same, and Preon has lower low which I like.
Preon has forward clicky and better UI than the Tool's goofy M-L-H, but my preference would still be for L-M-H+burst with no memory.
Due to EN plating, Preon has no lockout.
Preon has much better pocket clip, but lacks dedicated lanyard attachment.

Overall I think the Preon is a better light, but it had better be at over twice the price of the Tool. I'm still not sure if it's worth the price difference.

Actually the Preon does lock out if you loosen the head. :) Regarding brightness, are you comparing the Preon on high mode or burst?
 

Random Dan

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Actually the Preon does lock out if you loosen the head. :) Regarding brightness, are you comparing the Preon on high mode or burst?
Interesting. I hadn't loosened it quite enough when I first tested. The comparison was done with Preon burst vs Tool high. The difference is very small. I could only notice with them side by side.
 

Cerealand

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Oct 30, 2011
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These new prototypes were manufactured in China. Mines are arriving tomorrow.
 

SaturnNyne

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Well… hello, all. I've been out of the game for a while. This is the first time I've signed in here in nearly six years. Some of you might remember me as the keeper of the HDS Clicky serial number registry, until dealing with that got overwhelming and I ran away… some of you probably figured I was dead!

I received my satin black P1 yesterday, and... it's a really nice light. I don't expect anyone to want to read all this, but if anyone's curious enough to pick through my outpouring of thoughts and reactions, here's my ramble after one evening with it, along with a few phone photos from when I opened it. Not really a review, just everything that passed through my thoughts at this early stage. I'll also compare against a few other lights to maybe give some point of reference.
One request: Please don't be that guy who quotes this entire thing in a reply! I been away a while, but I see you out there! :D




It arrived with no packaging, just in a ziploc, which brings back pleasant memories of how HDS lights always arrived. An artistically designed little cardboard box like the Beta would have been welcome, but I understand these are just prototypes, so I wasn't surprised. I'm definitely glad it didn't arrive in that junky plastic packaging 4Sevens used to use, but that wouldn't be in keeping with Jason's outlook anyway.

No glow
The Preon does not have the Beta's little ring of glow material around the emitter, for anyone wondering. Mentioning that just because it's something I was curious about. That would have been a cool touch, but no big deal, especially since that glow ring is so subtle that some of you might be saying "what glow ring?"





PVD coating
The satin black PVD finish is interesting, attractive, and pleasant to the touch. It's smoother than HA3 typically is, glossier than the black Beta, but not as shiny as a black Mag (which is what I got the feeling the tuxedo black looked like). The smooth midsection of the light actually feels a lot like glass; about like a phone screen with a little less friction. Not slippery, just very smooth and a little silky feeling compared to HA3. Tbh, I'm tired of black ano lights, and likely would have gone for the shiny EN if a nickel allergy didn't make that a non-option, but I'm actually really glad I got this satin black finish: it feels good in the hand and looks understated and kinda classy. It appears to be a dust magnet though. I know nothing about PVD and how it'll wear, but I'm liking this finish better than boring old black ano, so thumbs up to Jason for giving us something a little different. If it's functionally superior too, more the better.

Clip
The clip is excellent. It protrudes from the light a little farther than I'd expect, but it doesn't feel bulky. Actually, it doesn't feel like much of anything, I tend to not really notice it in use, which is a big plus. Especially since it appears to not be removable? Not that I'd want to. It's well designed, nicely finished, and feels remarkably comfortable in the hand in spite of how prominent it is. The shape of it helps the light to rest securely in various grips, and the curvature of it feels modeled on the shape of a finger when placed along the length of it. It makes for a secure place to rest the thumb in an underhand grip. It clips and unclips very smoothly and easily, but feels secure enough.

This is probably in the top two nicest flashlight clips I've used, with the other being the Arc4 clip (showing my age). Maybe it's the Clicky clip debacle of ten years ago still fresh in my memory, but it kind of blows my mind to encounter a flashlight with a well designed clip! Things have probably improved a lot in the years since I stopped buying lights regularly, and I've never tried a McGizmo (I know he mastered the clip long ago), but it used to be one of those funny quirks of the industry: how can knife companies have so many good clip options while flashlight makers seem to struggle just to understand that the clip should be more than an afterthought? But Jason's interest in clip design is evident here.

UI
I really like the interface. This was what mainly got me interested in this light and considering purchasing it. Years ago, nbp's love letter to the McGizmo Haiku made me realize the practicality and elegance of a three level light switched by off-time. Previously I wouldn't have considered it, simply because the almost unusably cumbersome on-time switchers left such a terrible impression. Since then I've wanted a light that operates similarly to the Haiku, and this Preon is close enough that I had to give it a try. I'm glad I did, I'm finding it very convenient and easy to adjust to. The timing on it seems well thought out too: use it at a normal pace, neither rushing nor waiting an unnaturally long time between presses, and it'll run through the regular levels. Hit it twice at a slightly rushed pace and it goes to burst. The interface gives easy and intuitive access to four levels, while staying out of the way and not calling attention to itself, not forcing you to stop and think about getting the rhythm correct.

Most of my multi-level experience is with the various generations of HDS lights, so that technique is second nature to me. I appreciate that the P1's burst is reached through a quick click-press much the same as I'm used to from the Clicky, and the rest of the interface is so simple that it feels immediately comfortable despite the difference from my most prominent point of reference. More recently, for the last eight months, I've been carrying a ZebraLight SC5c as my main (big) light, which has mostly retired my collection of 7+ year old HDS lights. I've got the SC5 set up with my own non-standard interface that works better for my uses, and I'm pretty familiar with it after using it daily for most of a year, and using Zebras with similar interfaces for the better part of a decade. Still, the ZL interface is one that I'd call good and well designed, and pretty easy to use, but not truly intuitive even after it's fully familiar. I don't have to think too much about it, but I still have to think a little about the rhythm of presses to get to where I'm going, and it's not uncommon for me to use it without thinking, press a little too quickly, and get a three click strobe when I intended to turn on the main level then switch to its alternate output. Or release the hold to low too early and jump to a higher level. Point is, I have no problem with that interface, but it'll never become totally natural to me in the way the HDS is. But the Preon interface accomplishes much of the same basic functionality, while feeling comfortable and natural from day one. A decade and a half into this hobby, I'm impressed by a light that offers this much versatility while operating so elegantly.

The mode memory was a bit of a divisive topic here. I personally think the implementation here is good, and the light would feel less refined and less practical without it, for most users. I'm not sure lack of memory would have been a deal killer here, but it might have been. I'm mostly going to set this to a level and turn it on and off at that level for a while; I'm glad I can do just that, and don't have to constantly cycle up to medium or high every time I want more than a single lumen. But I also like that once I do switch, it drops me back to low without having to cycle through high. I have no complaints here, this is well thought out. No interface will be everyone's ideal, but I think this one is solid and works better than most I've tried.

A tangent on burst: Ten years ago I was a flagbearer in the argument in favor of including a burst in the Clicky, and it was in response to a discussion I led that Henry agreed to reconsider it. It wasn't a new feature, but it had become uncommon at that point, and the Clicky now seems (from my perspective) like an early step toward making it common again. Now, timed burst modes have become common, ZebraLights have them, this Preon has it, and I do feel a little like time and the market have vindicated my position back then. :) I'm very happy to see the Alpha's burst inherited by the Preon, in part for the little extra kick of output when desired, but mostly for how much it improves the UI to always have such quick access to full power. Just like my standard Clicky setup, this Preon, from off, gives me immediate access either to my last used level or to full crank with a tap and hold. Slick.

LED / tint
This is my first experience with this new generation of the emitter, so I've been comparing a little to get a feel for it. Up to you what someone else's description of various individual emitters is worth, but certainly take it with a grain of salt. This only applies to my particular emitters (though the three Nichias I've received from Prometheus have all been beyond satisfactory to me), but the tint on my 219C is very good. Comparing for color richness, rendering of various colors individually, neutrality/undesirable colorations, and rendering of depth (my eyes have a problem with this that relates to light quality and spectrum coverage, so it's a top consideration for me), it's not quite as good as the 219B in my Beta, but based on impressions I've read of the emitters in the past, I kinda didn't expect it to be. But honestly, I'm surprised that it's as close as it is: it's definitely very comparable, it doesn't look at all deficient when not being directly compared, it's close enough that it could be a matter of sample variation more than the different LED types, and in this case I'm comparing it against the best tint I've ever seen in 12 years of tint snobbery and about seven years of mostly standardizing on high CRI lights. Most people would call them insignificantly different aside from temperature variation (this B is a little warmer than this C). It's a much nicer tint than the 219A in my Eiger. From memory, I think it's very close to the excellent 219B in my first Beta, which I've sent off with a friend. In other words, this 219C gives me nothing at all to complain about, tint's excellent, efficiency is significantly improved, and wow, Nichia.


This was illuminated with the Preon, but it's just a phone shot, no manual WB or anything. Not much to learn about the tint from this, but maybe it gives some small idea of how it looks in use.

Output
I'm pleased with the outputs. I haven't done any careful comparing against a calibrated HDS, but 15 and 60 appear to match those levels on the Beta, which I believe to be rated accurately. Just eyeballing it, I'd guess the burst is indeed around 100lm, meaning you can see the difference and it'll give you a little better view at a distance, but it's a small difference—just a little extra over regular high, as indicated. It's most certainly the brightest 1AAA light I've ever seen (I'm new to the idea of AAA lights being bright, I know this isn't unusual these days), not counting the crazy but brief bursts from a Peak Eiger head on a lithium ion.

The low level I'd call perfect. I enjoy really low lows, but it still needs to be practical and useful on a light that's not fully programmable and adjustable. This low is right on for me: as low as it can be without becoming too limited in its uses, and as bright as it can be while still being truly dim, unobtrusive, and easy on dark adapted eyes. I'm picky about output levels, and I wouldn't adjust this low one bit. That said, how bright is it? It's quoted at around 1lm, and that's basically about right; compared to the lows set on my SC5c, it's between the ~3lm and third of a lumen settings. I wanted to word that vaguely so as not to scare anyone who might worry that it's too dim. If you want more precise, I did compare the low against an HDS, and I was pleased to find it's actually a little less than one lumen. I'd call it probably closer to 0.6lm if that matters, but mostly I'd call it perfect. The levels on the P1 are set very close to where they'd probably end up if I programmed it myself. To me, both the Beta and this Preon feel like lights designed by someone who understands usage and wants to make the most practical and useful light, rather than prioritizing specs, gimmicks, or novelty. My experience with Jason's AAA lights over the last six months has given me a lot of respect for him in this regard.

Beam
The beam pattern is nice for close range general purpose use. Wide, floody, smooth. Probably what you want and expect from a AAA light. It's very similar to the Beta, but even a little smoother in its transition. The Beta has a distinct enough spot that using it as a reading light close up can still feel like you have to move the spot along rather continuously. It's a great beam pattern, but less optimal for this. The P1 spot is large enough and smooth enough in its transition that I find I'm able to read by it with minimal movement. In a small light that will often be used close up and for reading, that's a pleasant quality. On a white wall there's a little more of a ring than on the Beta, but not to a bothersome degree or to an extent that it'd be noticeable in use. Overall, an excellent beam for a small light, and if you like the Beta beam you'll probably like this about the same.

PWM
I did a quick PWM check, and, as far as I can tell, what Jason said is true: the PWM is invisible, on all levels. I waved it rapidly in front of my face and saw no dots. I took phone photos using it for illumination and got no stripes. I pointed it into the phone's camera and saw no lines. I could not detect the slightest trace of PWM, so nice job on this!

A concern:
I've read that past Preons were known for switch issues. This new model has an improved switch, and I mostly like it. It's firm enough to not activate accidentally, and it requires a push slightly into the tail surround to latch on. It's also firm enough that playing around with the levels and experimenting with the UI for a while, or holding momentary for an extended period, can leave me with a slightly sore thumb for a moment. No problem in regular use, but it occurs to me that someone with arthritis/severe carpal might find it difficult to both grip this small light and push the firm button far enough to latch. Just a heads up.
My bigger concern is that I'm not totally convinced on the quality of the switch. I'm finding that if I clutch the light in my fingers and drop the joint of my thumb straight down on the switch, it seems to work properly. If I bend my thumb to actuate it with the fingertip, which is my inclination, I apply a little lateral pressure that seems to make for a dodgier connection within the switch. This sometimes causes unintended level changes, flickers when clicking it off, and a clicking sound like the end of the spring is momentarily catching on something. Sometimes it'll start to make that spring-click when I slightly depress the button, but pushing the button all the way to the end of its travel seems to knock things back into line and quiets it again, based on my limited observation after only half a day of use. If I press down for momentary and then rock my finger gently side to side, the light will cycle through levels. I have not encountered any real issues with its actual functioning yet though; no sticking, no accidental activation, just occasional quirkiness. This makes me worry a little about the quality of the switch internals, and I'd prefer it to be less fussy, but I'm not too bothered by it so long as it keeps working properly when I push straight down. However, I'm a little gunshy on this: I'm a pretty gentle flashlight user, but I've broken I think five HDS Clicky switches and one (junky) SureFire clicky tailcap, so suspicion is my default with clickies. Hoping this one doesn't let me down, as everything else about the light has been very positive so far.

In conclusion…
So overall, I'm very pleased and impressed by this first 4Sevens offering from Prometheus. I've never had enough interest in the old 4/7s designs to try one, but this new Preon is a darned sight more refined and better designed than the Fenixes I've tried over the years, and it really does feel like a close but slightly less special relative of the Beta, but wearing a very nice coating. Lately I've been carrying my Nichia Eiger on one side (absolutely reliable and predictable backup), a Beta on the other, and the much bulkier SC5c in my back pocket for when I need lower lows, higher highs, or the convenience of a clicky interface. With this new Preon, I'm looking forward to moving the Zebra to a more special-use role and instead relying only on tiny AAA Nichia lights as my immediately accessible regular carry lights.




There, first post in more than half a decade. I'm making up for lost time. :)
Nice seeing some familiar faces still around.
 
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wacbzz

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Nov 1, 2006
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I received mine this morning and my initial impression is that it appears to be a very solid light. The machining on the light is excellent (as can be seen in the photos posted in the reviews above) and I instantly like the clicky switch MUCH better than the switch that came on the original Foursevens Preons. Most importantly, for me, there is no high pitched whining on my new light in either level like is very evident on my Preon 2. The light has a bit of heft with the battery. I find this nice as sometimes, the Lumintop disappears in my pocket because it IS so light.

Speaking of the battery, the included GP ReCyko has the number "850" listed on it. I'm guessing that to be the mAh of the battery. The four pack of AAA that I ordered from DS (btw, thanks Jason and Co for the bump ;)) list "800" on the battery. Slightly different wrappers, but hopefully, this battery will perform better than the oldish eneloops that I have.

Overall, I'm glad I got in on this...:thumbsup:

Edit: Clearly, my age must be getting to me...I'm trying to figure out this whole "burst" thing. My light is exactly how it came from Jason - Medium and High + Burst. When I double click the light from off, it comes on (which is supposed to be "burst" right?) and there is no 30 second stepdown or even a gradual stepdown that is visual. I've recorded this with my camera and there is no visible ramping down at all, when in fact, it should be noticeable. It would be a small ramping down, but it nonetheless would be visible.

Am I just not getting the light into said "burst" mode? Or, is the light programmed to come on in burst from the factory and then the supposed ramping down of 40% of the visible light?
 
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SNES

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Jun 19, 2017
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Just came in the mail! Really prefer this one to the previous model. The PWM on the previous Gen bothered me, and the tint wasn't very good. This version solves any issues I had with the old one. No tail standing, but to be honest, the previous version wasn't very good at tail standing anyways. It's a AAA with a tail clicky, that shape is never going to be the most stable. The trade off here (avoiding accidental activation) is worth it in my opinion. The satin nickel finish looks great and I hope we see more of it.

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InvisibleFrodo

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Joined
Sep 16, 2014
Messages
963
Is there any chance that this new clicky tailcap is backward compatible with the old generations of preons? And if it is, does Prometheus Lights/FourSevens have plans to sell it separately?

If it isn't, Jason, any chance of you making tailcaps that ARE compatible and use the new clicky? I bet a lot of people might want to upgrade.

I know my illumination supply Nichia 219 Preons with Prometheus' titanium pocket clips would be happy with a new switch...
 
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lumenati

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Sep 9, 2009
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Bloomington, Indiana
I got the Preon 1, Mk III, in polished nickel. I love it... its plating, its Nichia 219C, its forward clicky and its UI. I wanted to order the Tuxedo Black but waited until I could assess if a second purchase was necessary. It didn't take long to decide and I'm glad it was still available. It is on its way. They will replace my original P1, in titanium (with added clicky) that has been my EDC for six years. I will miss the 370 lumens. I could carry both. My son says, 2 is 1.
 
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vadimax

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Dec 28, 2015
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Vilnius, Lithuania
BTW, clear battery tube is a wise decision. My Zebralight SC5c has already destroyed one pocket with its super strong clip...
 
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