Flashlight Reviews

Arc Flashlight Arc4 1w Luxeon Star Flashlight Review

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Arc announced this flashlight in March 2003. For the curious, here's a link to the reference thread on CPF. Originally it has been announced as Arc LS4, but now it's marketed as Arc4. Well, the name doesn't really matter to me, but if apparently does for matter for Arc Flashlight :) Later on there was whole discussion what to call upcoming 5 watter fmom Arc. Anyway, that's besides the topic. As usual a small delay occurred(compared to knife industry) and eventually Arc4 has been released in winter 2004.
    Considering how complicated the flashlight is, or to be precise, how complicated it has become, there were several real long threads on CPF discussing all potential features, modes, etc. I'll talk about that a bit later. In short Arc4 is an evolution of Arc LS line. Major features are increased brightness, increased runtime, in other words the whole thing is more effcieient. Also, user selectable brightness levels, whole 16 of them... Half a dozen operating modes, or may be more. As of today (01/2004) there is no other flashlight with such sophisticated software controll. Although, it has simple operating modes, and if you are not all into sophistication flashlights Arc4 can be used just like any other simple light ;)
    And finally, to be strict, the light I got is Arc4+, where the plus stands for premium. Premium lights from Arc traditionally featured hand picked LEDs, for better brightness and beam quality, no tint etc. With Luxeon LED QC variations you do need that to be sure you're getting what you wanted. For now, only premium models are available for purchase, for March 2004 regular Arc4 should start shipping.
    For more information regarding Arc4 check: Arc Flashlight FAQ, and Arc Flashlight Forum on CPF.


 - If you are familiar with previous generation of Arc LS lights you'll notice the change body design change. it's not a cylinder anymore ending with a tail-switch. On the other hand I've never had older Arc LS. So, I am not sure if the bezel has the same diameter, probably it doesn't. Just the mini handle, which is housing the battery is narrower. Overall, Arc4 should be smaller than its predecessor. Dimensions are as following - OAL 3.2", Bezel diameter ~1quot;, handle or battery housing diameter 0.9" The removable clip obviously makes the whole thing a tad wider. In fact the light comes with the clip separately. You'll have to install it yourself, which means screwing the clip with 2 screws(included) ;)
    QC-wise I don't have much complaints regarding my Arc4+. Execution and workmanship are fine. Parts are nicely machined, well matched. Anodization is even, no blems, bubbles or cracks. All ok there. What is upsetting is the fact that there's a lot of dust between the lens protector cover and the lens itself. For the flashlight that costs 180$ it is not acceptable, may be I wouldn't pay attention to that if it was 5 dollar cheapo, but come on, 180$ flashlight, called Premium after all, and someone at Arc didn't want to wipe the lens before applying that protector to it :( It is not cosmetics at all, it is flashlight performance issue at some point, and after all limited runs which is selling for higher price does require extra attention. Wiping that lens clean of dust would've taken a second or two, what's the problem. Few days later I've removed the lens cover/protector. Of course now I am risking scratching the lens, but considering that I do not carry my Arc4+ in my pocket and all of my other flashlights have no lens cover whatsoever I think that's not gonna be a big problem, and there is no dust there now :)
    Overall it's a neat small flashlight. Definite EDC and workhorse. I've seen the demos showing Arc4 in operation and based on those videos(can be found on CPF Arc Forum) I was expecting it to be larger. Apparently my palms are bigger than the demonstrator's. It's not as fancy as TnC products, though more expensive. However functionality is a lot more complicated. If you like the size and you need all those various working modes then perhaps you should go for it ;) I'm planning to use mine as EDC for a while to see how it'll work out.


 - Arc4+ produces very nice, white beam. After all LED was hand picked for premium flashlight ;) For EDC, utility flashlight light it produces plenty of light. More then enough to orientate in dark room or a backyard. If you are interested in numbers then in primary mode which I assume is the highest brightness setting it produced 750 Lux from 1 meter. For 1W flashlight that's a pretty good result. Though I think it still should have a burst mode or something like that. After all 750 Lux isn't all too much, considering that SLGI pumps out almost 1700 Lux from 1 meter and Lambda Illuminator HD Pro produces 902 Lux from the same 1 meter distance using 2 AA cells. As of the beam, there is a well defined hot spot and significant sidespill. Which work fine together. No dark rings or spots whatsoever. Apparently the reflector is well designed too. IMHO for EDC it's a very good flashlight. Obviously the price tag doesn't make it available to everyone, but the standard version will be 150$, which is cheaper than premium, though still in the expensive league. Later Iv'e checked on CPF forums, and looks like 750 Lux from 1 meter is prety good result for Arc4+. I've seen other reports stating 600 Lux from 1 meter. As usual Luxeon LED lottery thingy... 150 Lux is 25% difference in brightness. The way human eye works it's not very visible, but still significant, at least numerically.

UCL Upgrade

 - Since Arc 4+ already comes with the reflector, one major problem typical for LED flashlights(that woule be optics) is solved. You don't have to bother with custom reflectors and mods to replace optics. The only thing i could improve was UCL. Ultra Clear Lens, which gives you 8% more light than standard polycarbonate, pyrex or whatever else. May be more. Longbow Micra for example showed improvement more than 8% Light output went from 590 Lux from 1 meter to 680 Lux. Anyway, I bought UCL from Flashlight Lens, reliable source for various UCLs. Output improvement was less significant compared to Micra, but still it was there. Stock Arc 4+ with lens cover removed was producing 750 Lux from 1 meter, with UCL it produced 800 Lux. Exactly 50 Lux improvement. Not detectable by eye, but numerically quite good, and more inline with advertised UCL 6-8% gain.


 - Well, I can't describe all of the operating modes of Arc4 flashlight. Simply because I don't know all of them :) Besides, that isn't the goal of this mini review. The simplest way to describe basic principles are: Push the button fast (i.e. less than 0.5 second) and the light will turn on, same push, or click as the manual refers to it, and the light is off. The above turns the light in last used mode. Once the light is on you can double-click the button to switch between primary and secondary modes. Makes sense, to have that right ;)? One mode produces bright beam, another low, but conserves the battery. Triple-click switches the light to the lowest beam mode(level 16), still somewhat useful though, comparable to keychain lights. Though Photon III in max mode is brighter. And one more important aspect of basic operation is that if you push the button and keep it pressed then the flashlight operates in momentary mode, i.e. it'll be on as long as you keep the button pressed, and will turn off as soon as you release the button. And finally, while the light is on, regardless of the leve, you can press the button and it'll go into full boost mode. Which is I believe level 1, but accordign to other sources it is slightly brighter than level 1.
    As for the rest, even Arc4 mini manual doesn't cover all operating modes and levels and menus and options available in Arc4. You'll have to check out Arc Flashlight FAQ which has a few links to the full manual, online trainers, yes trainers. Java or Javascript webpages that will teach you how and how many times to click that power button on your Arc4 to get things right ;)

Regarding Arc Flashlights Dealer Policy

 - Not that it wasn't done before, but amongst flashlight companies Arc was the first to imlpement this draconian policy disallowing any internet dealers, except themselves of course and allowing only brick and mortair stores. Chris Reeve Knives does similar thing, disallowing internet sales for the prices lower than theirs, but they haven't got this far.
    Here's the reference thread on CPF. As you can see Arc pursues very noble goals wuch as communicate with customers and Protect customers from higher costs or reduced value. No more, no less. Protect customers from those nasty internet dealers who rise price! Even though it was the other way all the time, which is internet dealerd sold stuff for a lot cheaper than any brick and mortar store, and Arc Flashlight website itself. Now that those internet dealers are out of picture obviously Arc Flashlight will drop prices significantly. Just sit back and wait. Theretically this can be done, practically I donno what will happen. Anyway, I do not intend to support company with such questoinable dealer policies until I see things happening as promised. No more Arc flashlights for me. Sad, they're the good lights, but not like this.

Sadly, in 2004 ArcFlashlight ceased operations. For more info visit the links above.

Arc 4+ & Arc LS 3W TWAK Arc 4+ & Arc LS 3W TWAK Arc 4+ 1W Arc 4+ 1W
Arc 4+ 1W Arc 4+ 1W Arc 4+ 1W Arc 4+ 1W
Arc 4+ 1W Arc 4+ 1W Arc 4+ 1W Arc 4+ 1W
Longbow Micra Longbow Micra Longbow Micra Longbow Micra
TnC Key-Lux, Arc 4p, Longbow Micra, VIP TnC Key-Lux, Arc 4p, Longbow Micra, VIP TnC Key-Lux, Arc 4p, Longbow Micra, VIP TnC Key-Lux, Arc 4p, Longbow Micra, VIP
Arc 4p, Longbow Micra, Arc AAA UV Arc 4p, Longbow Micra, Arc AAA UV Arc 4+ 1W Arc 4+ 1W

Last updated - 05/06/19