NOTE: There was an error calculating the total score. This is because of a formatting error that happened when I converted this post from Word to the blog. The correct score is reflected below.
The Preon was 4sevens first AAA light. It came in three different packages: the Preon 1 (a single AAA light), the Preon 2 (a 2x AAA pen light), and a package with both body tubes, a clicky and twisty tail cap, and one Preon head. Here is the product page. Here is Nutnfancy's review. Here is a Preon 1 review. Here is a Preon 2 review.
Here is my Preon in its light&saber combination:
I got this light from 4sevens after I received the Ti version. My Ti version came to me scratched under the pocket clip. I returned it and David Chow & Co. did a great job getting me a replacement. I like the Ti version a lot, but it seems to be something of a scratch magnet. Paired with a Dragonfly, you have a TON of utility in a very light and small package.
The light is very nice. Just the right size to slip into a pocket in either configuration. The fact they give both a clicky and twisty solves one of the fundamental dilemmas flashaholics face. The clip is a "washer" type clip in that it fits over one end of the light and is held in place by two different parts screwing together. I really like this design, as it is plenty secure, but still easy to remove. The head flares out a bit from the tail making for a nice cigar grip. I love the tacky hard anodizing.
Fit and Finish: 1
I dropped my Preon into the deep end of my pool (10 feet) and it did develop some internal moisture in the head. A day or two on a window ledge in summer, dried it right up, but still that should not have happened. It has not happened to any of my other lights--Surefire, Fenix, or custom.
Whatever is in this magic "rubberized" hard anodizing, I love it. The flared body tube is also very nice.
With a slender shape and well designed pocket clip, this guy, in either configuration, just disappears. It also weighs next to nothing. The clicky, however, has come on accidentally during pocket carry. That is a problem.
In the single cell configuration, this a great EDC light. With two cells it can hit 180 lumens and that makes it a very, very capable light. The low is also very nice, not enough to disrupt night vision. The beam is a little purple in my Preon, but nothing too bad.
Again, very nice. The XPG R2 can extract a ton of light out of the batteries.
Beam Type: 2
This is a mostly flood type light, but in an EDC light that is fine. It has a tight hotspot so it can do a little throw, but not much. At about 30 feet it is maxed out, but as EDC light this is fine.
Beam Quality: 2
No real artifacts or rings make this beam very nice. It is slightly egg shaped but nothing enough to make the light less useful. In the world of keychain lights this thing has an almost unsurpassed quality of beam.
THIS is how to do UI. A clicky or twisty hits a low, medium, high then after two quick cycles it goes to special modes. I could skip the special modes altogether, but they are hidden enough to not be a problem. It does go back to low after non-use, so it is not quite as good as the McGizmo UI. Still, in production lights, this the UI to beat in my opinion.
Hands Free: 1
The thin body tube makes tailstanding difficult. In reality it only works in a Preon 1 with the twisty tailcap on. A shrouded or indented clicky would be very nice in that it would both aid in tailstanding and prevent accidental activation. The rubberized HA makes it more teeth friendly than many lights.
Total Score: 17/20
A home run of a production light. Remember I made the scale sort of like a bell curve, lots of stuff in the middle and very few things out on the end. As such, a 17 is really good score, probably as good as you could expect from a non-custom light.
The Preon Package is the way to go over the individual Preon 1 and 2 packages. This much flexibility in such a cheap package is very rare in the flashlight world. These are extras that truly matter, unlike spare o-rings and yet another crappy lanyard. Don't forget the CPF8 discount code. Finally, this light is so cheap, so flexible, and so good that it is the standard by which other EDC lights are judged. If you are spending more on a light, it needs to be significantly better than this light, as you get SO MUCH for your money.