Let’s try something a little different. It still falls under the category of portable lighting, but I’d say it’s significantly less portable than most I’ve reviewed. It’s time to branch out into camping lanterns.
Meat and Potatoes
Dorcy is a company I’ve always seen in the background as somewhat of a flashlight mainstay, but rarely on the cutting edge. This little almost unnamed lantern has made me begin to question that assumption.
I’ve used a number of different types of camping lanterns over the years. I still remember using my parents old Coleman twin mantle lantern as a child. That was a standard combustion lantern that ran on hand-pressurized white gas. I remember having to quickly pump it up as the light would start to dim when the pressure ran low. I personally graduated to a very similar propane powered model after I got married and began my own expeditions. The fragility of the burned silk mantles was always a point of frustration. Too much jarring and it was shot, requiring a time consuming search for replacements that were not likely to be found until after returning home.
From there, I moved onward to a few different configurations of fluorescent tube lanterns. These were definitely adequate. They were bright and smooth light, though much less “warm” than the combustion models. I never have truly liked fluorescent tubes though. The mercury necessary for their construction has always been a point of concern. They have always felt like a temporary waypoint on the way to the inevitable destination of LEDs.
I actually own one or two early LED models of camp lantern as well, though they are the type that simply uses a small army of 5mm super-cool white LEDs to try and coax forth enough light to be useful. This Dorcy 4D Twin Globe model is the first I’ve seen to truly try something new.
White LEDs all seem to have a very similar basic structure. There is an underlying deep blue to near ultraviolet diode that is the true core of the LED. This is coated with a layer of phosphorescent material that glows white. Dorcy has shaken this up a little, making use of the ample space available in the larger device. Each “globe” of the 4D lantern actually only contains a blue LED while the entire interior of the globe is coated in the phosphorescent material. Dorcy refers to this as “Advanced Remote Phosphor LED Technology”. What this results in is a smooth spread of light that is totally diffuse since it actually emanates from the entire surface of the LED Globes, rather than directly from one single small source. They haven’t branched out yet into the emerging field of warm white LEDs, but this is a new and unique take on traditional lighting.
The 4D has simple 3 mode operation. Two levels of white light are available, along with a low level single amber LED for use as a nightlight. The two labels of white are not spaced terribly far apart, but it is noticeable, and I suspect it has a drastic impact on runtime. On high though, 400 lumens of pure flood make short work dispelling the shadows. Speaking of runtime, that is one area where the loss of portability comes in handy. 4 D cells provide ample power for hours of light.
The 4D doesn’t come with too hefty of a price tag, so accomplishing the task it is designed to do is really all I can ask of it. There is one area though that I would like to see improved upon. I am not, nor have I ever been a fan of all-plastic construction. I would far prefer companies to design durable products, built for the long haul. Plastic to me feels like planned obsolescence.
A mainstay company producing a product that feels a bit cutting edge. This was a surprising find, to be sure. It is bright, smooth light. It could be warmer light, for sure, but other than that, this is a solid product.
Provided for review by the kind folks at Dorcy.
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