This is a comparison between two 1xAAA flashlight that is small enough to go in a jean pocket for EDC. I owned both of these flashlights, I got the FOURSEVENS Preon 1 at first and then lost it during a trip. Now I own the Thrunite Ti3, and I’m much happier with the Ti3.
Here are photos of the two flashlight beside the same knife (Spyderco Cat) and ring. The Preon 1 is slightly longer (0.2″).
Forewarning, I’m not a flashlight geek who deals intimately with lumens, candela, flux, throw…I care about ease of operation, construction, and having a solid low and high setting for brightness.
What I look for in an EDC flashlight?
- I wanted the flashlight to fit into the little pocket that is usually above the right-side pocket on a pair of jeans (i.e., watch pocket). This narrows it down to mostly 1xAAA flashlights.
- Brightness setting (low and high)
- Low setting has to be ‘non-blinding’ when my eyes are already accustomed to being in the dark (~10-15 lumens)
- High setting should be bright enough so I can use it to look under the hood of my car at night (~80-100 lumens)
- Construction ease of operation
- Solid housing (doesn’t just break if you drop it)
- Strong clip
- Easy to operate with one hand
The FOURSEVENS Preon 1 – $32 on Amazon
The Preon1 was a highly regarded EDC flashlight. A simple google search and reading a few forum threads on EDC flashlight that is NOT tactical (e.g., Surefire 6P) keep leading me back to the Preon1. A red one went on sale on Dvor for $22, I bite the bullet and got it.
The size was perfect, it fits in my pocket very well.
Settings (low & high) are good. I wasn’t going to use “strobe” or “SOS” in an EDC AAA flashlight, but its cool that they were able to pack these setting in this little light.
Construction, I was disappointed for several reasons. It doesn’t break easily, but it has a few problems.
- The housing is slick and smooth, which is pretty, but also quite slippery. The Preon 1 uses a twisting motion to activate the light. It is not the easiest when there are even just a tiny bit sweaty. Some people will mod their Preon 1 to use a clicky cap instead of a twist-type mechanism. I just added grip tape (see picture above) to make it easier to twist.
- The original clip would easily bend and open up, thus failing to clip onto the pants or whatever I’m trying to secure it to. I bought an aftermarket titanium clip, which cost $20. It doesn’t bend, but it doubled in the price of the flashlight 😦
- Also, the titanium clip is also less “springy” than most clips, so if I’m trying to clip the light to thinner fabric, it will shift around.
- Lastly, the paint was easily scratched up. I put it next to my pocket knife a few times when I was wearing a pair of pants without a separate small pocket. Completely scratched up the paint. It didn’t decrease the functionality of the light, but, cosmetic is part of the sales-pitch for the Preon 1 (smooth & slick!), bummer…
In sum, the Preon 1 satisfied me in terms of size and brightness (in low and high). However, I was not happy with some of its design/features. I had to pay $20 extra to make it more reliable for everyday use.
In any case, I lost my Preon 1 during a trip. I was slightly upset because I invested extra $ and time to make this work for me. But, on the bright side, it gave me an excuse to try another flashlight 🙂
Thrunite Ti3 – $20 on Amazon
After losing my Preon 1 somewhere, I went on a search for a replacement with better clip and serrations/checkering on the body for easier twisting-motion.
The Thrunite Ti3 fit those descriptions. It runs on 1 AAA battery, has a solid low and high mode (and a firefly mode of 0.4 lumen, which I almost never use). It is solidly constructed and has serrations/checkering on the housing, and a decent clip that doesn’t bend out of shape easily. All of these, plus being about $10 less than the Preon 1.
The serrations on the housing really helped with the twisting motion. It is much easier to handle than the Preon 1. I’ve been using the original pocket clip that comes with the Ti3, and it has never dropped out of my pocket once. There is a little keyring-hole if people want to carry it on their key ring instead.
Bonus, the Ti3 came packaged in an aluminum tin which I have converted into an EDC tin of sort.
Why I like the Ti3 much better?
The Preon 1 has a large following for a reason. The light itself was always reliable. It looked less “tactical” than most other EDC light, which fits in an office setting more. Because of the huge following, the Preon 1 has a lot of aftermarket mods and parts available. This is not something you can find for most flashlights. However, if the flashlight itself can cost $32, a pocket clip mod is $20, which I think is essential if clipping it in a pocket is the method of carry. That makes the Preon 1 a $52 flashlight. A lot of people find the twisting motion hard to use on the Preon 1, so they replace it with a clicky cap for $9. Now this is a $60 light…you get my point.
Thrunite Ti3 came out of the box with no major flaws that I could find. $20, done.
For me, at least for an EDC AAA flashlight, I’m skipping the Preon 1 even if I’d have to find a replacement for my Ti3 at some point. This by no means take away from other good quality flashlights from FOURSEVENS (e.g., Quark series), but the Preon is just not for me.
There are plenty of other flashlights in this 1xAAA category from reputable manufactures (e.g., Fenix, Olight, Sunwayman), and if I lose the Ti3, I might venture on to them eventually 🙂
Why do I even carry a flashlight?
A typical everyday carry (EDC) can often include a small flashlight. For a long time I went without a separate flashlight in my EDC, relying on my cellphone as a flashlight. I realize in the dark, I don’t want to fiddle with a phone, nor was it convenient if I’m in tight quarters (such as looking for things under the car seat) to use my cellphone light. It drains my cellphone battery if I have to use it for a slightly longer period of time, and most of all, it is usually TOO BRIGHT. A small EDC flashlight allows me to look for something in the dark without blinding anyone along the way. It can be easily operated with a twist/click of my finger, and instantly, there is light 🙂
(The exact people who asks to borrow my flashlight are also the ones who ask my why I carry one. I don’t know, maybe so that I can lend it to you because you’re not willing to slip one into your pocket?)