Hey look! It’s a FOURSEVENS pen! It’s like deja vu all over again. Wait, this one’s a flashlight? Well there’s a novel idea.
Meat and Potatoes
This latest release by longstanding favorite manufacturer FOURSEVENS is definitely more along the lines of what I initially expected upon hearing that they were producing a pen. That’s neither here nor there however. What is here is an amazing new addition to the fabulous Preon series.
The Preon Penlight is exactly what you would envision a penlight to look like. One of the stealthiest flashlights I have yet carried, especially since I have been known to wield more than your average Bic when it comes to writing implements. I’ve actually been asked before whether someone could borrow it looking to jot a quick note. Simple and minimalistic in design, the penlight is unobtrusive in nearly any pocket.
Powered by 2 AAA cells and sporting a Gen 2 Cree XP-G, the Penlight loses its similarities with other competitors when it comes to function. This Preon has a simple 3-mode operation that tops out at a blistering 180 lumens. Gone are the blinkey modes that previous models contained despite how well hidden they were. I don’t remember having trouble accidentally accessing them, so I imagine the exclusion was caused by either a lack of enthusiasm about those features, or a desire to simplify the electronics. There is a tradeoff however, FOURSEVENS has dropped the previous PWM based power regulation in favor of the much nicer (and in my opinion vastly superior) constant current regulation. There is absolutely no flicker visible to this beam.
And what a beautiful beam it is too. Owner David Chow mentioned that they went through numerous iterations trying to get the tiny textured reflector just right. I think they did a spectacular job at it too. This beam is incredibly smooth and well balanced. It’s not a thrower by any means, you’d be very hard pressed to achieve that out of a reflector this minuscule but rather a beautiful floody spread. It’s ideal for the short range work that a penlight is designed for.
Fit and finish is simply beautiful. The anodizing on the Preon series has long been something of a point of pride for the FOURSEVENS team. This shining example is no exception. One of the most beautiful examples of standard colored anodizing I’ve yet seen, to be honest. Paired with the silver colored accents, the Preon Penlight is a very attractive piece. Of course they have also made sure to smooth any possible points of roughness so that what you have left is nothing short of excellent by way of manufacturing. My only question about mine is color. They supposedly are available in brown, orange, black, and blue. My review sample is clearly red. I don’t know if this makes it limited edition or simply a vision of future availability, but it looks darn good.
While there is much to love about this little light, there are points where improvement could occur as well. Most notably with the switch. Yes, my criticism of the original Preon 2 once again comes back to haunt this successor to the Preon name. The pen-button style clicky switch on the Preon Penlight, though stiffer than I remember the switch of the Preon 2, still suffers the same malady of accidental activation. My first, brand new, set of Alkaline primary cells was used in its entirety within a few weeks of light use. And if I had to guess I would say at least 50% of the runtime occurred inside my pocket. It became quite a regular occurrence to be told that my pocket was glowing, and on more than one occasion I was able to figure it out myself simply because of the dramatic and rapid increase in temperature (that’s a lot of power for such a small torch). I found myself resorting to carrying the light slightly loosened in order to lock it out. This caused its own set of problems though as I found the Penlight completely disassembled in my pocket a few times. It looks like once again the 2 cell AAA light is being relegated to shirt or coat pocket duty only. This is not one I can wear or carry in my pants pocket and be able to rely on it at all.
The FOURSEVENS Preon Penlight is an exceptional little tool. I enjoy using it immensely. I just don’t enjoy carrying it. Perfect for the briefcase, desk drawer, or shirt pocket however.
Provided for review by the kind folks at FOURSEVENS.