SureFire KROMA and U2 Ultra LED Flashlights

The Kroma and U2 Ultra are both exceptionally well designed and constructed
LED flashlights made by SureFire. Overall their basic form, function, and technologies are the same. Both are small enough to carry in your computer bag, backpack, purse, or coat pocket. And while they are not really a tech-toy, they certainly qualify as a well crafted piece of equipment.

Both flashlights have an electronically controlled LED light source, not a traditional filament to burn out or break, that can last thousands of hours. The main body is similar, if not identical, on both flashlights. They are constructed
of aerospace-grade aluminum, painted with a black Mil-Spec Type III hard anodized
coating. There are two differences I can find; the LED heads (type of light) and how the
tailcap switch activates the LED’s.

The tailcap switch allows for one-handed operation with your thumb. All SureFire
flashlights are weatherproof and sealed with an O-ring. Both are equipped with a
heavy-duty clip. A well engineered feature of these flashlights is a
switch lockout which prevents accidental activation during transport or storage.

The ‘ring selector’ control mechanism on both flashlights is located between the head and main body.

SureFire Kroma Multi-Spectrum LED Flashlight

The SureFire Kroma Multi-Spectrum LED Flashlight has six settings, high and low in white, red, and blue. The bright white beam can be turned on in addition to either color at either brightness levels.

The Kroma tailcap switch can be pressed for momentary-on low beams, press further for momentary-on
high white beam and twist for constant-on low or high beams.

The pictures above are of both colors on the bright setting in lit and unlit conditions. Depending on the color and brightness level, a set of batteries can last between 1.5 and 80 hours of continuous use, see specifications below.

SPECIFICATIONS

Output/Runtimes:
White high: 50 lumens / 1.5 hrs
White low: 1.4 lumens / 20 hrs
Blue high: 3.4 lumens / 8 hrs
Blue low: .48 lumens / 80 hrs
Red high: 6.3 lumens / 8 hrs
Red low: .52 lumens / 80 hrs

Max Output:
Primary white: 50 lumens / Secondary red: 6.3 lumens / Secondary blue: 3.4 lumens

Runtime:
1.5 hours / 8 hours / 80 hours
Length: 5.70 inches
Weight: 5.10 ounces
Battery: Two 123A lithiums

SureFire U2 Ultra Variable Power LED Flashlight

The SureFire U2 Ultra Variable Power LED Flashlight has a 5-watt LED and six selectable levels of brightness, ranging from 2 to 100 lumens. The brightest setting is multiple times brighter than my large Maglite flashlight.

The U2 Ultra tailcap switch can be pressed for momentary-on and pressed further to click constant-on. A set of batteries can last up to 40 hrs of continuous use on the low brightness setting, see specifications below. I looked in both the manual and website but could not find how long a set of batteries will last on the brightest level. So, I bet it’s not very long.

SPECIFICATIONS

Max Output: 2 to 100 lumens
Runtime: 40+ hours at low setting
Length: 6.00 inches
Weight: 5.70 ounces
Battery: Two 123A lithiums

Various bezel fitters (red, blue, infrared, opaque, diffusion, and traffic wand) are available to expand the U2’s usability.

What might surprise some of you (this fact certainly amazed me…..) is the cost of these SureFire flashlights. At $279 for the U2 Ultra and $299 for the Kroma, they are the most expensive flashlights I have ever heard of. Last month I did a review of the BriteStrike Tactical Illumination Tool and
while it is a very nice flashlight, I have to say both SureFire flashlights are definitely a step-up in quality. I also went to visit my local Fry’s, Fred Meyer’s and Walmart stores to see what type of selection of LED flashlights were available. All of these retail stores had many (10+) LED flashlights varying in size from small to moderate and ranging in cost from $10 to $50. But none these appeared to have near the quality of materials and construction or durability of the Kroma and U2 Ultra.

All that being said, if you have the need for a small compact flashlight that has the ability to produce white, red, and blue (Kroma), selectable levels of brightness (U2 Ultra), or if money is no object; you should consider a SureFire flashlight.

 

Product Information

Price:
Manufacturer:SureFire
Retailer:SureFire
Pros:
  • High quality materials and construction
  • One-handed operation and shockproof
  • Extremely durable
  • Compact size
  • Lightweight
  • Weatherproof
Cons:
  • Expensive
  • Does not use a standard battery
Posted in: Gear

6 comments… add one

  • Uli December 6, 2007, 3:32 pm

    The prices are ridiculous!
    There’s better value on the market: No idea about the US availability – but the LED Lenser “Hokus Focus”, a focusable LED flashlight from the german manufacturer Zweibrüder sells for around 60 Euros, features a variable beam and a brightness of 83 lumens – and it runs on three stock AAA batteries. By far the best flashlight I ever had – and, working in pest control, I had a few.
    That’s what it looks like: http://www.zweibrueder.com/produkte/stabundtaschenlampen/fokussierbareledlenser/ledlenserhokusfokus.html

    1
  • Steve Yee January 6, 2008, 6:52 pm

    Uli,

    I disagree. Your particular example that you quote is actually made by a company called Coast Cutlery – which in turn gets it from a Chinese manufacturer which relabels the same products to people like Home Depot, Lowes, Winchester, Leatherman, and others.

    Also – basic electronics tell people that something that produces that level of light requires a goodly amount of current and voltage to produce. Three AAA batteries doesn’t give you a lot of current. A single AA battery can give 1.5 times the current of a single AAA.

    SureFire produces flashlights that are designed to work every time you push the tail cap button. Period. I challenge someone to find a police officer or soldier who would stake their life on using a Coast Cutlery LED flashlight.

    Also – the commentary by reviewer Dave Rees with regards to these flashlights not using a standard battery is somewhat disingenuous.

    The CR123A series batteries are VERY common. Used by cameras for over 20 years (that I remember personally), it provides a high density of power combined with a long stable shelf life and can handle large amounts of power draw. You can purchase them anywhere from Target to CVS to Radio Shack.

    With regards to the run time on the SureFire U2 on high – SureFire states in various marketing documentation that you will get at least 1 hour on high power. This has been tested and verified in various Flashlight review forums.

    And for the “Money is no object” comment. You can purchase a SureFire flashlight for as low as $38 USD. It’s as durable and as strong as the most expensive ones. You pay for the features you want – you want multi-LED colors or multi-levels, you pay for that feature.

    There are a lot of people who need multi-color or multi-level LED flashlights. Pilots, mechanics, and others utilize colors at various brightness levels to look at fluids, maps, and other things to help preserve night vision or do quick identification of items. Variable levels on both flashlights help preserve battery life and maximize their use, but you still have full power if needed.

    Disclaimer – Yes, I own SureFire flashlights, from the plebian G2 that you can purchase for $38 to the Kroma at a list price of $299. I would be more than happy to say that I trust my life to every single one of their lights that I own. They turn on and work every time I pull one out to use it. Who else (other than SureFire, Pelican, and Streamlight) can guarantee that level of durability and dependability? My oldest SureFires power up and still work as advertised – 18 years later.

    Regards,
    Steve

    2
  • hagbard January 26, 2008, 2:13 pm

    I must agree with Steve.

    My primary torch is a Surefire Aviator. It was one of the first to use the low power LED (red) and a Xenon lamp for full power. People are always amazed that a little torch like that can pump out 50 lumens. I have illuminated the underside of clouds more than once with a flashlight I could easily conceal in one hand.

    I willl shortly be buying this one:
    http://www.amazon.com/Surefire-G2-LED-Black-Lumens-Runtime/dp/B000YZ5QZA/ref=pdbbssr_4?ie=UTF8&s=sporting-goods&qid=1201374922&sr=8-4
    The basic LED G2 doesn’t have the variable output but screams out 80 lumens and lasts a long time.

    RE: 123a’s. The previous comment stands. The 123a battery has unbelievable shelf life which is vital when you’ve put the torch in your bag or night table. You always want to know that when you push the button it’s going to work, regardless if it’s been 10 months since you last pushed that button.

    There is plenty of room in the world for consumer flashlights, but if you want something you can rely on, you can’t beat a surefire.

    3
  • Jim O'Connor January 8, 2009, 4:41 pm

    Yes, gentlemen, Surefire makes a great product. I have, in the past, owned one. However, I have owned several Coast Lenser flashlights, the latest being the T-7 Tactical (170 lumens focusable, three brightness levels, under $100).
    The quality and robustness of their products are second to none! I have shown the T-7 to a number of law enforcement and emergency people and they have all been blown away by the brightness and distance of the beam this flashlight produces. I carry it everywhere, (along with my CCW) and would stake my life on it anytime. Don’t knock a product until you have tried it. Incidently, Coast guarantees these lights for life.

    4
  • Luminaris January 13, 2009, 2:36 pm

    SureFire does indeed make a great product, many of their lights have literally withstood explosions, but there is no large-scale manufacturing that can guarantee 100% flawlessness. There are many reported cases of U2 / Kroma / other SF lights switches failing, and at this price point, I’d be pretty disappointed. Not to mention they claim to use premium-bin emitters yet many have found Cree !!!-
    P3-!!! (3 bond-wire older XR-E bin) in some uf SF’s latest LED offerings. No worries though, SureFire’s customer service is excellent, and this perfectly compliments their lifetime guarantees. That being said, I have a few of the newest Led Lensers (P7 and two P14’s), and they are also pretty tough, and having put one of my P14’s through extremely hard usage, I can say that they are quite reliable as well. As Jim O’ Connor said, don’t knock it until you have tried it. The spot beam from the P7 easily blows away the max level on my U2, as well as the main max on the Kroma, and the P14’s spot beam is nearly two times the brightness of the P7’s. Some will complain about no regulation, blah blah blah, but with the P7 and the P14, using four 1.5v cells for 6 volts, coupled with using just one emitter gives this light a decent output-to-runtime curve that actually surpasses many lights that DO have semi-regulated circuits, so it gives this performance with no complex circuitry to fail. K.eep I.t S.imple, S.tupid. A great marriage of simplicity and performance in my opinion. It all depends on exactly what you want in a light!

    5
  • EsoxLucius September 15, 2011, 12:24 pm

    The SureFire B1R-BK Beast wades in at £3200 – that must be the world’s most expensive flashlight.

    6

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