Noctigon KR4 review: EDC Flashlight
Noctigon, whilst this name may not directly ring a bell for everyone, it is a very famous brand, known for its high-quality lights with multiple stock options available, such as emitter choice and anodizing colors.
It all started with the Meteor which was well known for its high output and small form factor and many flashlights have followed ever since.
The Noctigon KR4 Quinta is Hank’s (the owner of intl-outdoor) newest flashlight, and as stated before, it’s available in multiple colors and currently with 5 emitter choices. It is even possible to opt for a trit in the tail switch, available in 10 colors! This light has many features and it does make the competition look pale. (or should i say they’re still in the stone age?)
While this may not be the cheapest light, it just has it all.
What you’ll get:
The package is very complete. On the outside, there’s a sticker with the Noctigon brand and a nice personal touch from Hank with handwritten details about the emitter choice, color, and tint.
Everything comes well protected with sturdy firm white foam.
Note that the Stainless steel bezel and the 18350 tube are optional, these have to be bought separately.
- Noctigon KR4 Quinta light
- 2 Spare o-rings
- 1 spare clip holder O-ring
- Flashlight clip
- Lanyard ring for flashlight
Noctigon KR4 specifications
|Brand / Model||Noctigon KR4 Quinta|
|Beam intensity||not stated|
|Review date||May 2020|
Handling of the light
Hold and feel of this light, the light has an elegant sleek hourglass design and provides enough grip.
It may look like the surface is smooth, but it isn’t, minor ribs are machined into the surface so it does not slip easily out of your hands.
It is only a bit larger than the famous Emisar D4. However, the physical size difference may be small, it feels like the difference is more than expected. The weight difference may also play a role in it since it is not as lightweight as the D4.
The flashlight is equipped with an electronic switch in the tail. Usually, tail switches are mechanical. In order to use an e-switch at the tailcap, Noctigon used an inner tube to send the operating signal to the driver. The actual high current is fed through the driver to the leds. The current will return to the negative end through the flashlight body. The light itself is very pocketable, since it is barely larger than an Emisar D4. However, it is wider than a Convoy S2+ due to its quad-LED optics.
The pocket clip is big enough for a thick leather belt, personally, I think it’s actually too large, the picture shows how much room is left on a leather belt. It makes the light very bulky, a smaller and more elegant clip would have been welcome.
The tail has flat surfaces on the sides, which is very useful and acts as an anti-roll feature. Also, the sleek design of the E-switch makes it possible for this light to tailstand. Since it is a bit wider than most common 18650 lights it stands perfectly stable.
Operation of the E-switch is very easy, the travel and touch of the switch are very good. I didn’t experience any accidental activation, the only thing might be the multiple clicks which is needed for setting the desired mode. My wife tested it and had to practice a bit with it since it requires the correct interval time. (for instance to get in the AUX LED color setting). To use a lanyard, the clip has to be removed. The clip is being held into position by a small rubber O- ring on top of it. When the rubber O-ring is removed the clip can be taken off and can be exchanged for the lanyard ring.
This ring is equipped with a small protrusion with an opening for the lanyard, which I immediately exchanged since it looks way better and it isn’t that bulky as the protruding clip.
Build Quality, knurling, threads, and anodization
There is no real traditional knurling, Hank calls it discrete knurling, they’re just small lines to improve a grippy surface and prevent slipping, it has to be said, it works very well!
The KR4 is made out of aircraft aluminum (which is hard to check, since all suppliers state they are using aircraft aluminum) but the quality of the light is unparalleled.
The anodization is top-notch, I am quite precise (my colleagues call me finicky) and I couldn’t find any flaws in this light, it is exceptionally well made. Threads are beautiful cut and are square-shaped, so they will last a lifetime and are durable, also they were lubed very well.
There isn’t really much more to say, the Noctigon quality is just very good.
LEDs, Lens, Bezel, and Reflector
The KR4 comes with carclo 10622 optics (http://www.carclo-optics.com/optic-10622) which has a 10MM QUAD OPTIC SPOT CIRCULAR FLANGE. It is a common optic, it is also used in other lights such as the Emisar D4 and the Astrolux Meote FM1.
However, the emitters define the beam, for instance, the same optics with different LEDs will give a different beam and of course a different tint.
Since the KR4 is available with multiple LEDs it is difficult to give an exact idea of each characteristics. The XPL-HI will have a different beam shape/type than the SST emitters.
My particular model is the XPl-HI 3A which is rated 5000K, this one gives a floody beam, without any artifacts or corona color differences, it is a pure white flood with enough throw due to the factory dedomed XPL emitters. And they perform very well! One of the most fun factors of this light is that it features AUX LEDs
For those unfamiliar, these are additional LEDs just for fun and only for aesthetical use. They consume very little current, at roughly 50 µA with the aux leds turned on Low and about 390 µA with aux leds on High.
So you don’t need to worry about these currents, since the typical self-discharge rate of a Lithium-Ion cell is more than that.
The fun part is that you can choose almost every color, the intensity, blinking modes, rainbow modes, or other fun and party modes.
- Head diameter: 28.8 mm / 1.13″
- Body diameter: 24 mm / 0.94″
- Length 98mm / 3.8″(18650 tube)
- Length 68mm / 2.68 ” (length 18350)
- Empty: 93g ( 3.2 oz)
- With battery: 140g ( 4.9 oz)
EDC flashlight comparison
Image 2+3: Noctigon KR4 vs Emisar D4.
We haven’t reviewed the Emisar D4, but we have done the Emisar D4v2.
Driver & User Interface:
The Noctigon KR4 uses the Anduril firmware, built by Toykeeper. It’s the most sophisticated firmware available for flashlights, at the time of writing.
Keep in mind that the AUX LEDs are off by default, when set, they will be always on, depending on the set mode.
- Single-click: ON
- Double click: Max ceiling ramp
- Triple-click: battery check
Enter Special/Fun modes from OFF:
- 2 clicks + hold: Strobe modes
- 4 clicks: Lock Out mode (momentary on: dim)
- 5 clicks: momentary mode (Bright) ( you can only deactivate by disconnecting electrical contact between the batteries and the driver by unscrewing the body from the head or unscrewing the tail.
- 6 clicks: Muggle mode
- Single-click: Off
- Double click: Turbo
- 3 clicks: change ramping mode. Instead of a smooth increase, it has 6 little steps between Low and Max.
- 4 clicks: change to ramping configuration mode
- Press and hold: brightness ramps up.. release and press and hold again to ramp down.
SPECIAL AND FUN MODES:
Read the full manual on how to access and customize these modes. Also, see the firmware picture.
- Blinky Utility mode: (From OFF: click, click, click+hold)
- Battery check
- Sunset Mode
- Beacon mode
- Temperature check
- Strobe / Mood modes:
- Bike flasher
- Party strobe
- Tactical Strobe
- Lightning mode
- Lockout mode (can’t use the light) (activate by 4 clicks from off)
- Momentary mode (signaling/morse coding)
- Muggle mode: (for less experienced users)
- Configuration mode
- Ramp config mode
- From OFF: 4 clicks. To deactivate click another 4 times.
- A mechanical lockout is still possible by twisting the head or the tail to disconnect electrical connection. Twisting the head is actually more easy than the tail.
Note that when doing a mechanical lockout, the inner tube will still have contact due to the double spring. holding the switch with mechanical lockout will result in a fast intermittent ramp up until a small flash.
This is intentional, and an alternative reset to factory defaults.
Firmware / UI Conclusion:
- The UI is sophisticated and there are lots of options. It fits this light rather well, it just gives it the extra punch, especially the AUX LED’s are fun!
- I Could not find any PWM on this light, which makes sense since it uses a constant current driver.
Batteries and charging:
This light will generate a lot of light, the downside of that is that it will also consume a lot of current on the Higher mode.
To achieve this, this light will perform best with a decent high drain unprotected cell. Protected cells will prevent or even trip at high currents, and therefore will not fully utilize the performance of this light.
Note that flat top batteries are advised, button top might fit since it uses beryllium springs on both ends, but as said, flat tops are advised.
There is no additional charging system on this light, so you will need to take the battery out of the light to charge it by using an external charger.
Note that an additional charger and Samsung cells are optional in Hanks store using the drop down menu while purchasing your KR4.
Lux readings are done with a UNI-T UT 383 S lux meter, temperature readings are recorded with an infrared Noncontact thermometer, type Benetech GM-320. Current readings are done with a UNI-T 210E Digital Clamp Meter
- Low/moonlight 0.094 A (94 mA)
- max Ramp 4.99 A
- Turbo 10.3 A ! (that’s Over 40W from one single cell!)
The runtime is done on a max ceiling ramp, which gives about 2290 Lm at startup on a fresh and charged Samsung 30Q cell. The output decreases quite fast, and it does get hot. Not to mention the Turbo feature, where it gives a ton of Lumens, but it immediately gets burning hot, and temperature control will step in.
The output gets regulated at about 53 DegC which seems to be a good thing, its very efficient for at least 2h
Another short test is performed on Turbo, where it gets hot instantly, very cool that it’s possible to use, but it will eventually stepdown more than in regulated current mode (max ceiling ramp).
The results should be taken with a grain of salt, since i am using an integrating Lumen tube which is not officially calibrated, so take into account a deviation of +- 10%
- Low: 1 Lm
- Max ceiling ramp: 2290 Lm
- Turbo: 5000 Lm
- 401 Lux @ 5m (approx 10025 Cd)
- 904 Lux @ 5m (approx 22600 Cd)
Disclaimer: This flashlight was bought with my own money. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.
- Elegant design + output
- Lots of options
- Efficient driver and complete package
- Aux LED’s fun
- UI has many options
- Pocket clip is too bulky
- UI might be difficult for less experienced users
Rating: 5 stars ★★★★★
It has all the ingredients a good light should have and even more, it makes the competition look pale since there aren’t many lights as complete as this one.
It has a regulated current that goes up to 5A and a FET for turbo, make it very efficient for lower currents, but with the FET for Turbo, it gives a ton of light!
The quality is exquisite, the firmware might be somewhat difficult, but that’s a matter of the learning curve. it’s physically easy to operate, The AUX LED’s are FUN and beautiful at the same time.
And then there is the service of Hank, and all the factory options, such as the tritium bar in the tail switch, optional anodizing colors, Stainless steel bezel, 18350 tube, optional floody optics, available cells and charger, everything is there! If only that clip could be a bit smaller 😉