Fenix TK30

Fenix TK30 tactical white laser flashlight review

Introduction:

Please don't compare this White Laser Fenix TK30 with the old TK30. I'm not sure why Fenix used the same model name for 2 different lights. The Fenix TK30 we are now talking about is the TK30 White Laser edition. A handheld flashlight with a Class 3B Laser emitter. This means it's not an LED flashlight but an LEP flashlight.

I'm pretty excited about this light and look forward to seeing how it performs.

Please keep in mind these are not these types of lasers you can see on laserpointforums.

What you'll get:

  • The Fenix TK30 flashlight
  • 21700 ARB-L21-5000U battery
  • Holster
  • Lanyard
  • Pocket clip (attached)
  • USB-C charge cable
  • 1 Spare O-ring
  • Some cards: warranty, manual
Brand / ModelFenix TK30
EmitterClass 3B Laser
Lumens500
Beam distance1200 m /3937 ft
Battery config.1*21700
MaterialAluminum
Modes2
Blinkies1=strobe
Reflector-
WaterproofIP68
Review dateApril 2020

Handling of the light

It feels like any other tactical flashlight. Which means it can fit in your pocket but produces a whitish beam for up to 1200 meters. This is incredible for this small of a light. It is a little on the bigger size compared to the traditional 18650 tactical lights. It's a bit longer and a bit wider. It uses a side switch to change modes and a rear button for power.

The tail switch is a forward clicky switch so you can use it for momentary on. (signaling, Morse coding).

Because of the electronic side switch, you can simply hold it with your thumb resting on, or close to, the side switch. Since it only has 2 modes you don't have to be afraid of entering a hidden mode, except for maybe the Strobe mode.

It comes with a lanyard, pocket clip, and a holster. Just make sure you'll double-check the lip of the holster. The lip is a little on the short side so the Velcro parts barely touch each other. Fenix is probably saving some money by producing 1 type of adjustable holsters that fit a couple of their flashlights. I can understand that. 1 part of the Velcro can be adjusted. You can re-attach the Velcro part so the lip is either longer or shorter. But for a 269 dollar flashlight, I would have hoped they put in some extra time and resources and make something dedicated and special.

The TK30 can't tail-stand.

Build Quality, knurling, threads, and anodization

Instead of the regular knurling, the TK30 uses reeding on the tailcap and body tube. Both in the opposite direction. The tailcap horizontal and the body tube has vertical lines.

The quality of the TK30 looks the same as the PD35 Tac, PD36R and TK22 v2 I have. Not better, not worse. So don't expect a jump in quality when paying big cash for this light.  Only the front looks a little different with a brushed stainless steel bezel. Threads and everything look great. Enough grease applied so the threads go nice and smooth.

Emitter, Lens, Bezel, and Reflector

Nope, the TK30 doesn't use an LED, but an LEP (Laser Excited Phosphor). (10mw according to the manufacturer?) You would probably think this means a pencil-shaped beam like the regular lasers you can buy, but no, it's not so bad. Although the beam is pretty narrow, it's nothing like a green, red or blue laser people talk about at laserpointerforums! Also, it's not really a White laser, but a blue laser.
This is what Fenix tells about it:

"The blue laser hits the unique fluorescent crystal material and stimulates the fluorescent crystal coating to form a broad spectrum white light. After multiple optical reflections inside the light source module and triple coated lens processing, a white laser beam similar to the LED spectrum is emitted. "

The lens has some sort of coating on it. It's dark, and makes it difficult to take a picture of the inside! Actually, it's close to impossible to take a picture of the inside. Especially with using a flash.

When it comes to the divergence of the beam (mrad), I am pretty new to Laser Technology so I can't really tell unless the manual tells it. Since the manual doesn't mention the divergence I can't tell you either.

Dimensions:

  • Length:  155mm (  6.1”) with the button sticking out a few more milimeters
  • Head diameter: 32.3  mm ( 1.27 ”)
  • Body diameter:  25.5 mm (  1”)

Weight

  • Empty: 141 g (  4.99oz)
  • With battery:  215 g (  7.59oz)
  1. Size compared to other Fenix flashlights:
    1. Fenix PD35 Tac, Fenix PD36R, Fenix TK22 v2.0 and Fenix TK30
  2. Size compared to other tactical flashlights
    1. Wuben E10 (18650), Fenix PD35 Tac (18650), Fenix PD36R (21700), Thrunite TN12 v4 (18650), Nitecore MH25GTS (18650), Olight Warrior X PRO (21700), Fenix TK22 v2.0 (21700), Fenix TK30 (21700) and Jetbeam TH20 (18650)
  3. Size compared to other flashlight throwers
    1. Astrolux FT03, Noctigon K1, Jetbeam M1X WP-RX , Fenix TK30, Speras K1, Lumintop BLF GT

Driver & User Interface:

The UI is very simple. It uses the rear switch for power and the side switch for mode-changing.

Modes:

  • Low, High +  Strobe

From OFF: rear switch for Power

From OFF: side switch

  • Single-click: switch between high and low
  • Double click: just switching
  • Triple-click: -
  • Press and hold: Strobe

Blinky modes menu:

  • There is only a strobe mode. You can access it by a long-press.

Low battery warning:

  • Yes, the side switch turns red when the battery is low. And flashes red when very low.

Lock-out mode:

  • Rear switch for a mechanical lock-out.

PWM:

  • Not sure if lasers can have PWM, but I couldn't notice any

Firmware / UI Conclusion:

The UI is very straight forward. Side switch for 2 main modes and tail switch for power.

Batteries and charging:

Fenix included an ARB-L21-5000U battery with the TK30 kit. This is a 21700 type USB-C rechargeable battery. This means 2 things: it's too long for 99% of the battery chargers on the market, and 2, you need to have an USB-C cable. Fortunately enough, they included the cable in the box.

It also has protection to prevent short circuits or overcharging / over-discharging.

The nipple on the positive side of the battery has a little hole. While, charging you can see a tiny red light inside the hole which turns blue when it's fully charged. Very simple to understand.

The charge speed I measured was 1.4A on a 2A USB charger. It's supposed to do more than that, but that probably depends on the charger in use. Fenix recommends a 1A charger or 5A at maximum. I have no more powerful USB-charger at the moment to test this.

18650 batteries won't fit without an adapter. They will rattle and not make contact.

Unprotected 21700 batteries also fit and work flawlessly.

Performance:

All of my readings were taken from a fully-charged Fenix ARB-L21-5000U.

Lumen measurements:

All output numbers are relative to my home-made Integrating Sphere. I now set it is now up with an Extech SDL400 Lux Meter for measurements. I included a Kenko PRO1D ND16 filter, so the meter doesn't get overloaded. I've done the base measurement with a Convoy S2+, tested at 137 lumens.

I used a Fluke 77III to measured amps at the tail-cap.

Fenix TK30ModeManufacturerMeasured
fenix 21700 batteryHigh 3.36A500493 Lm
Low 0.78A100132 Lm

It almost hit 500 lumens on High with my measurements and about 132 on Low. This is good and close to what the manufacturer claims. I measured the amperage at the start with a fully charged battery.

Runtime:

Runtime on high is about 3 hours till it drops to about 80 lumens.  At 3:26 it turned itself off.

Low mode starts off at 132 lumens and at 5:51 it turns off.

The runtime graph looks similar to that of the Fenix TK22 v2.0. The zigzag output isn't really noticeable by eye, but you can't really fool a data logger.

After both runtime tests, I measured the battery at 2.8V.

Throw measurement:

Measurements were taken outdoors with a professional Hagner E4-X Lux Meter. I took measurements at both 10m and 20 meters. 


Using the highest mode, I get:

  • Measured at 10m: 420,000 cd = 1296 m / 0.81 miles / 4252 ft of throw
  • Measured at 20m: 384,000 cd =  1239 m / 0.77 miles / 4066 ft

Those are very impressive numbers for such a small flashlight. Fenix claimed 363,866 cd, which is a 5% difference with my readings at a 20-meter distance. You can see that measuring at 10m and 20m can make quite a bit of difference.

Beamshots

For comparison, I used throwers, not tactical flashlights. The TK30 is like a long-range flashlight in tactical clothes.

For the following beam shots, I used a Canon EOS 5D mk2 with a 100mm lens.
Settings: F4, 0.5 seconds, ISO1600, 5000K.

The first tower is about 650 meters (0.4miles/3132 ft) away.

Compared against Astrolux FT03, Noctigon K1 and Speras T1

The following tower is about 450 meters (0.28miles/1476 ft) away.

Disclaimer: This flashlight was bought from my own money. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.

Overall conclusion

Pros:

  1. One of the best 'throwers' in this size
  2. Great new technology
  3. First Fenix LEP flashlight
  4. Plenty runtime

Cons

  1. Price
Marco

Author: Marco

Overall Rating: Excellent

I'm impressed with Fenix TK30's performance. Its throw capabilities are unreal for such a small flashlight. One of the downsides at the moment is the hefty price tag. But the quality, ease of use, and the accessories make the Fenix TK30 a great thrower. Right now I can't give it anything lower than 5 stars. Except for maybe the price tag. But all LEP flashlights are still pricey. 

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