Friday, October 18, 2013

47s Atom A0 Ti Review

When 47s started making lights they produced a whole line of Ti versions of the Quark flashlights.  They were a limited run, but that phrase has lost a lot of its meaning the in gear world.  I like a lot of people thought they'd be around forever.  But the reality was that when they were gone they were gone (except for a super small secret run that went out when the new site debuted).  Recently a set of all four Ti lights sold on eBay for significantly more than they sold for originally.  I think the set sold for around $250 and the eBay auction ended with a bid for more than $500.  When 47s says "limited edition" thus far they have meant it.  The Atom is so labeled, consider yourself warned.

When they contacted me and asked if I'd review a limited edition version of the P0, the Atom, in all Ti I said sure.  I am a Ti whore.  You know that by now.  But the P0 was probably the last light I expected to get the Ti treatment.  This was, after all, aimed at the absolute mainstream market--a simple light, small enough to ride on any keychain, with a common battery.  This was an unusual move for them, but the P0 had very solid bones, so why not?

There are really only two differences between this and the P0.  First is the Ti.  Second is the emitter upgrade that boosts the high to 30 lumens.  It may not sound like a lot, but 5 lumens makes a big difference at the bottom of the scale.  Remember lumens increases are perceived logarithmically. The light is slightly better for these reasons, but maybe not in the ways you'd think.      

Here is the product page. The Atom costs $39.00. Here is the written review of the Preon 0 the unblinged version of this light.  It was a very capable 16/20.  There are no written reviews of this light that I could find.  Here is a link to Blade HQ, where you can find the Atom, and all proceeds benefit the site when you purchase things through this link:

Blade HQ

Here is my review sample:

P1000800

Twitter Review Summary: Highly practical, plus a bit of bling.

Design: 2

The overall design of the Atom is the same as the P0 and that is not a bad thing.  This is a very simple, minimalist design.  It has virtually no frills and no flourishes, something that I think people that prioritize appearance will value and something that will make the light palatable to non-flashaholics.  The inclusion of the magnet is a great idea, but more on that later.

It is hard to state just how small this light is.  Its half the length of the Peak Eiger and just a half inch or so larger than the 1xAAA light that powers the Atom.  Here it is up against the size reference, a normal Zippo.

P1000802

The performance ratios are about average for 1xAAA lights.  The lumens:weight is 39.74 (30/.76 ounces).  The total lumens output (found on the high of 30 for 120 minutes) is 3600.  This light really racks up the numbers because of the overall speck of a package here.    

Fit and Finish: 2

Like the P0 before it, the Atom is nicely made and finished.  The beadblasting on the Ti is either done a little more aggressively or it is simply the nature of the material, but either way it is definitely nicer.  The lens is nice too and the emitter is centered.  I have no complaints here.

Grip: 1

The original P0 was a tiny light and the finish did not give it much grip, but like I mentioned above, as it is now, the Atom is quite grippy.  Its the difference between the slick handle of the Benchmade Emissary (aluminum) versus the gritty matte finish of the Sebenza (titanium).  Again I don't know if it is the blasting itself or the material that makes the difference, but the difference is real.  This no longer a slippery booger.  Its still very small, just not impossibly slick.

Carry: 2

If you can't carry this light around its because your at a nudist camp and aren't that creative or aware of the drug trade's favorite method of carry.  Actually, this light like the Mk II Aeon, is in my mind, the perfect size.  It is not SO small that it can be lost in the pocket or missed as the laundry goes to the machine, but it is not too big that it clogs your pocket.  It follows the Goldilocks principle and it is just about the perfect carry size.  

Output: 1

The recently reviewed Beta-QR has shown that the market, even for mainstream lights, has upped the ante on lumens output.  I am not a lumens whore by any means, but I think 30 lumens is JUST under the minimum amount you'd need for a viable EDC light.  As a keychain light the 30 lumens is fine, but it is just not what it used to be.   

Runtime: 2

120 hours of useful light is incredible.  Its probably as good as the low on the Mk. II (though the Mk. II is a little better in the lumens count).  That is fundamentally impressive company.  The high of 30 lumens lasts for 2 hours and that is pretty good too. 

Beam Type: 1

Look, there is no reflector.  That's the trick that makes the Atom and the P0 as small as they are.  Here is a look down the barrel:

P1000803
It is simply too floody for me.  I don't like mules (lights without reflectors).  Its okay here, in the keychain light role, but it has absolutely no throw making this a very limited use EDC light.  Fine but not as good as I would like.

Beam Quality: 1

47s lights have been known for their disco colored emitters and the Atom is no different.  There is a distinctive hue here and it is detracts from the light overall.  It has been that way for a while and though it seems like 47s is doing well, its probably time to upgrade the emitters used across the board and not just save them for special runs.  

UI: 2

I am not thrilled with the twisty anymore, but in this application--a keychain light it is actually decent.  It is very durable and easy to use.  I'd prefer a QTC UI, but given the size of the light virtually nothing else would work.  

Hands Free: 2

The light tailstands well.  It doesn't roll thanks the lanyard split ring.  But the most awesome thing about the Atom and the P0 is this:

P1000806

Ladies and gentleman, I think we have reached the point, based on this light and the S10 Baton, that magnetic tails should be standard on lights.  They are incredibly helpful, making this light a very good task light around the workshop. 

Overall Score: 16 out of 20

This is an excellent keychain light, but a little too underpowered and too floody for EDC.  If you need a light for a keychain and don't want to spend more than $50, this is the best choice.  If you are giving a light away as a gift this is might be the best choice out there.  It is a very good light.  

Wait, you might say, how is this light better but received the same score?  Well, the output is no longer above par, so it lost a point there, but gained a point in grip.  This is a grippier version of the P0 with more output so it is a better light.  I'll update the P0 score when I get a chance.  

3 comments:

  1. I agree with every assertion in this review. I have used my Atom for about a month every day and it is so tiny I had to put a small carabiner on it to remind me its there. Don't get it if you need more than pure flood. No throw at all. Not so great at the door fumbing for keys as you can't turn it on one handed. Also Ti threads grind, even after putting on some silicon grease. When you turn it off the head glows green for a while. I am exchanging it for a Preon P1 with an added clicky switch mod.

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  2. Have the earlier version of this light. Circuit board where positive end of battery makes contact is totally exposed. No protective coating whatsoever. Battery gases completely destroyed the circuit board. A simple coating of epoxy could have prevented such total destruction.
    Did not bother to replace it. Too floody. Not enough attention to detail in construction.
    Looked good on paper. Thought it was a must have. Disappointed for use for EDC. Kept it by bed for nightlight. Liked magnet but soon found it too floody for even an occasional night light.
    Can't imagine this company would revisit this light in Titanium.
    Not a fan of this company and it's lack of innovation and direction.
    Not to say it is over for them but disappointed.

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  3. I have the stainless steel version of this light and it doesn't get a lot of use.

    The size, look and feel are great, and I didn't realise how awesome having a magnet in the tail could be until I got this light.

    The reasons I don't normal carry it are:

    1) It's difficult to operate. One handed operation is impossible on mine, and even two handed operation is not easy. The body is very slippery and the head is very stiff to turn. It's well lubed and I've tried it without the o ring and it doesn't help much - the problem seems to stem from somewhere else. I have 10+ AAA twisty flashlights and this one is by far the worst in this respect. It's usually easier to walk around in the dark than to turn this light on.

    2) I don't have a lot of use for such a weak flood beam. Navigating a dark house is easier with a regular keychain flashlight (even a button light) and the output on high is significantly lower than my mobile phone. The only thing low mode has come in handy for was checking ticket stubs in a movie theatre.

    3) The DQG Tiny AAA exists. The DQG is a little more expensive, the same size, and better in almost every way. Way more output, way easier to operate (no issues using it one handed), more useful beam (for me), tailstands just as easily and also has a strong magnet in the tail. The only thing I like more about the A0 is I think it looks a bit nicer on a set of keys.

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