Full-flood, wide angle beam, 4 individual color dies(dice?), 8 modes, 32 possible different outputs. 4Sevens has created an incredibly unique light with their Quark RGB model. I am not certain there is anything out there that can genuinely be considered to be a competitor.
Meat and Potatoes
The shallow reflector of the Quark RGB can hardly be assisting to focus the light at all, merely serving to redirect the odd stray photon back to a roughly forward emission since its beam more closely resembles that which has come to be known in the flashlight community as a mule head. A completely unfocused, hot-spot free, pure flood beam intended for short range illumination and a wide field of view. The 150 lumen top end of this light at first had me curious as to where they had pulled such a number until I forcibly reminded myself about how a lumen is about total quantity of light rather than brightness. The profile of such a beam alters how the light is perceived by spreading the brightness over a larger area.
The smooth wide spread of light coming from the Quark RGB is actually incredibly useful for nocturnal navigation and short range work even on lower settings. The lack of any form of hotspot removes the tunnel-vision induced by most flashlight beams giving back much more peripheral vision than you normally expect to have at night. The resultant lack of head-knocks or bad footfalls is readily apparent. Utilizing it to light up under the desk or inside the computer casing works quite well also since it will reveal the entire area rather than just the single spot where you are directing it, making the task of finding that lost case screw that much easier.
The Quark RGB’s true glory however comes from the fact that it is, as far as I am aware, the first mass produced torch to use Cree’s multi-colored MC-E diode. This fact quadruples the existing 8 modes (5 brightness and 3 “blinkeys”) giving redundancy in each of the 3 single color (red, green, and blue) modes as well. Want a super low red-only moonlight mode as the ultimate night-adapted vision preserver to help you navigate that barbed wire fence on your way to the deer stand or read that star chart in astronomy class? Got it. Want to leave a green beacon flashing at the end of your dock to guide you back from a nocturnal catfishing expedition? It’s got you covered. Want to easily switch back to turbo full white light in a hurry to check if that noise was a raccoon or a bear? No problem, this light remembers a different setting for the white light from what is being used in the colors. This is quite possibly the most versatile light I have run across yet.
With all of that versatility comes the unfortunate side effect of complexity. Yes this light can be set to give you virtually any output in any color you might want, but it comes at a price. There are simply too many parallel options on this light to quickly find your way to the mode you are looking for. With 8 modes in each option, and without a guaranteed brightness level when you first activate the light, it requires starting over from the lowest output and takes a concentrated effort to count which mode you are currently in to make sure you wind up where you want to be. Also, since the 3 additional colors are alternated by entering the secondary, “bezel-loosened” mode, I constantly find myself cycling through colors to get back to the one I was really wanting. I believe that this light would benefit from something a bit different in the UI. There should be some way to pre-program both the output levels and specific color selected and “lock” it in to avoid such frequent shuffling through so many options.
The Quark RGB’s use of only one die at a time from a multi-die LED means that the lit die will inherently be drastically off center in the reflector. This naturally produces the side effect of having a lopsided beam pattern as well. The decision to use such a shallow floodlight reflector was no doubt to help mitigate the effects of this, and the lack of a defined hotspot does reduce its appearance. The fact remains however that there is some slight migration to one side within the beam and several unilateral artifacts in each of the 4 spectrums. Unfortunately without the use of a highly complex (and therefor expensive and likely to fail) cam system re-centering the LED each time the die is changed, I don’t see a way to avoid these slight issues. In reality, these differences will not affect real-world use much in the least, but they will be readily apparent to the urban white wall hunter.
The Quark RGB is, for lack of a better description, the most versatile, specialized light I have ever used. That dichotomy makes it incredibly unique and very well loved. The bonus is how darn useful the thing is at the same time!
Provided for the duration of the review by 4Sevens.com