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Fenix E18R V2.0review: EDC flashlight test
Fenix E18R V2.0 specifications
|Brand & Model||Fenix E18R V2.0|
|Beam intensity||5,397 cd|
|Battery config.||1*16340 / 1*CR123A|
|Review publication date||Aug 2022|
Fenix makes a huge array of lights. In fact, they have an actual PDF catalog on their website (I imagine it’s probably also distributed in paper form as well) that is 48 pages long and chock-full of products ranging from tiny EDC lights all the way up to a couple really big boys that I’ve been fortunate enough to check out: the Fenix LR50R 12,000 lumen monstrosity and the Fenix HT30R 1500m throw LEP. If you need a light, chances are that Fenix will have a nice offering to fill that need.
By and large, I really like Fenix – my first “real” flashlight was a Fenix (the 187 lumen E25 model, if you’re curious). From my experience, Fenix lights are really well designed, they use quality materials and finishes, have great constant-current drivers, and publish truthful ANSI specs. I’m also a sucker for small EDC lights – they’re just so handy and portable. The best flashlight is the one you have with you! So while the LR50R and HT30R were massively fun to review, the new Fenix E18R V2.0 is much more practical from an EDC perspective. Did Fenix put as much attention to detail into this little 16340 light as they did with those larger and pricier models? Let’s find out!
The packaging for the Fenix E18R V2.0 is instantly recognizable as having come off the same line as the HT30R I just reviewed. They used the exact same design language and materials: a showy black and orange carton with a heavy duty plastic tray inside. Arranged in the tray was:
- Fenix E18R V2.0
- Charging cable
- Spare o-ring
- Pocket clip (pre-installed)
- Manual and other literature
Flashlight in use
Let’s cut to the chase – the Fenix E18R V2.0 feels tiny. I mean, that’s fitting. It is a 16340-based light. But it surprises me sometimes when I expect a light to be small because of the battery size and things don’t turn out that way (like the Rovyvon S3 or Wuben X-0). While I don’t currently own one, the E18R V2.0 reminds me very much of the Olight Baton 3, and they happen to be very similar in terms of size and output. The E18R V2.0 is small enough that it disappears in your hands and pocket, it’s easy to carry without worrying about the bulk of some lights.
There is a single switch button located on the side of the head. The switch is very flat and sits just proud of a little raised area on the head. This raised area can help you locate the button when you’re not looking at it. The button could be prone to accidental activation in your pocket, which is probably why Fenix made the lockout mode so accessible (a double click) and then went and silkscreened the lockout instructions right below the switch. Yup – there are lock and unlock symbols along with the text “Double click” right there on the head. You’ll never forget how to lock the light.
There’s a two-way pocket clip that comes with the flashlight. This allows you to easily clip it to your pocket or your hat. It’s not quite deep carry, but it’s not too bad. The included lanyard feels pretty cheap. I personally never use lanyards, so that doesn’t bother me. What I do make use of, however, is the magnetic tailcap. Those are very handy around the house and in the garage. It does look like the magnet could be removed if that’s not your cup of tea. The tailcap is very flat and it can tailstand easily.
Being a small EDC light, this is great for short-run activities like finding your way to the car, looking for that item you dropped on the floor, or perhaps short walks around the neighborhood. The battery size of course limits the runtime of the E18R V2.0 so I wouldn’t make this my sole light on a nighttime hike or something like that.
Build Quality, and Warranty
Fenix used A6061-T6 aluminum in the construction of the E18R V2.0, then coated it in premium type III hard anodizing. The fit and finish look absolutely great, as I’ve come to expect from Fenix.
There’s no knurling to speak of. There are tiny grooves machined into the battery tube but they don’t provide much grip. Likewise, there are some light grooves in the tailcap that assist slightly when removing and installing the tailcap.
- 15 days from date of purchase: replacement from Fenix for manufacturing defects
- 5 year from date of purchase: free repairs
- Lifetime maintenance, with customer covering the cost of parts
- Extra 6 month warranty period for products registered on Fenix’s website
LED, Lens, Bezel, Beam, and Reflector
The Fenix E18R V2.0 uses a Luminus SST40 cool whie LED. It sits in the center of what appears to be a very shallow TIR lens, with the SST40 being readily visible through the top. I don’t think there is any glass on top of the TIR, in case that is a concern for you. The lens is held in place by a copper-colored smooth bezel that matches the color of the button. I’m not entirely sure what metal the bezel is made of, but I think stainless steel would be a fair guess.
Because of the TIR lens, the beam has a very defined hotspot with a faint spill. The hotspot is a bit on the green side of things with the spill being bluish. I got the following measurements of the center of the beam with my Opple Light Master at 1 meter with the Fenix being on Turbo:
- CCT: 5491K
- CRI: 63.0 Ra
- DUV: +0.0113
Dimensions and size comparison
Flashlight size comparison with its competition
Group 1 (16340 lights): Fenix E18R V2.0, Rovyvon S3, Fenix PD25R
Driver & User Interface:
The UI that Fenix uses on their single-switch E-series lights isn’t my personal favorite, but at least I think it’s pretty consistent. In short, it’s a short-hold for On and Off. I think that’s because it should be more difficult to accidentally activate in your pocket that way. That makes sense, but I think that accidentally holding the button down for a moment in your pocket is also a likely scenario, so I’m not sure it really helps that much. Making the electronic lockout easy to activate was a good move though.
Available modes: Moonlight, Low, Medium, High, Turbo
Available blinky modes: Strobe
- Press and Hold 0.5 sec: turn on (last used mode)
- Press and Hold 1.2 sec: Strobe
- Double click: lockout
- Press and Hold 0.5 sec: turn off
- Press and Hold 1.2 sec: Strobe
- 1 click: change brightness
- Yes, it has mode memory
- Turbo and Strobe will not be memorized
- When turning the light off in Turbo mode, it will revert to High mode
- To Strobe: hold the switch 1.2 sec from either On or Off
Low voltage warning:
- When the battery voltage gets low, output will step down until it reaches Moonlight (at which point the indicator LED will start flashing red)
- There is a battery indicator LED in the middle of the switch that activates for 3 seconds when you turn the light on:
- Green solid: 100-85%
- Green flashing: 85-50%
- Red solid: 50-25%
- Red flashing: 25-1%
- There is a Strobe mode that can be access with a long hold (1.2 seconds) from either On or Off
- Yes, double click from Off to activate electronic lockout. Double click again to exit.
- There is no PWM
Additional info on the UI:
- Like I said in the intro to the UI section, the Fenix e-switch UI isn’t my favorite, but if you’re used to the UI from other Fenix lights (like my trusty E25), you’ll feel right at home.
Fenix E18R v2 Battery & Charging
The Fenix E18R V2.0 arrived with a 16340 battery pre-installed, isolated by disc. The battery is a Fenix model ARB-L16-700P which is a 700 mAh cell with a protection circuit. The provided battery is of course the recommended model, but Fenix says that other batteries in their ARB-L16 series are compatible and that CR123A cells are also usable – but of course, do not use the charging feature with these non-rechargeable batteries. I tried a Vapcell T6 battery that I had on hand and it worked just fine.
The flashlight has USB-C charging built-in and comes with a USB-A to USB-C cable. Fenix says it should take around 1 hour and 20 minutes to fully charge a depleted 700 mAh battery. I pulled the cord in through my USB meter and saw a 0.73 amp charge rate (3.8 watts). The charge cycle took right at 1 hour and 20 minutes to complete with the final battery voltage being 4.15 volts.
Lux was measured by a UNI-T UT383 BT at 5 meters. Lumens were measured in a homemade lumen tube using a TSL2591 sensor, calibrated with a Maukka calibration light. The temperature was monitored with a MLX90614 IR temperature sensor. The included Fenix battery was used for testing.
|Mode||Amps at start||Specs||@turn on||@30 sec||@10 minutes|
|Moonlight||7||1 lm||1.4 lm||1.4 lm|
|Low||48||30 lm||30 lm||30 lm||29 lm|
|Medium||253||150 lm||147 lm||146 lm||143 lm|
|High||670||350 lm||337 lm||330 lm||323 lm|
|Turbo||3.4||1200 lm||1256 lm||1101 lm||378 lm|
|Turbo at 3.6V||–||–||943 lm||848 lm||389 lm|
- 13 µA
Fenix E18R v2 Battery Life: Runtime graphs
|Mode||Specified runtime||Measured runtime (ANSI)||Time till end of test|
|Low||15 hr||13 hr 20 min||13 hr 22 min+|
|Medium||2 hr 30 min||2 hr 38 min||2 hr 52 min+|
|High||1 hr 20 min||1 hr 23 min||1 hr 40 min+|
|Turbo||30 min||45 min||1 hr 7 min+|
The E18R V2.0 continued to run for a while, my tests stopped when the light level got below 3 lumens for 3+ minutes.
ANSI FL1 standards: The runtime is measured until the light drops to 10% of its initial output (30 seconds after turning on). This does not mean that the flashlight is not usable anymore. The last column shows how long the light actually works till it shuts off. If there is a + symbol, it means that the test was stopped at that particular point, but the light was actually still running. This happens on certain occasions, with certain drivers, firmware, or batteries.
Peak beam intensity and beam distance measurements
Measured at 5 meters after 30 seconds with my UNI-T UT383 BT
Extra info: Peak beam distance according to ANSI FL1 standards: The calculated value of distance in meters at which the flashlight produces a light intensity of 0.25 lux. (0.25 lux is about the brightness of a full moon shining on an object).
Beam shots of the building are taken at 15 m (16 yd) using a Pixel 6 set to ISO 200 with 1/10 second exposure time.
Beamshots compared to the following EDC flashlights:
Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to me for review at no cost by Fenix Lighting US. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.
- Great build quality
- High output (for its size)
- Nice moonlight mode
- Excellent regulation
- USB-C charging
- Magnetic tailcap
- Unique UI (but common for Fenix)
- “Meh” CCT and tint (personal preference)
Explanation on star ratings:
1: Avoid: a match would be a better choice – 2: Poor: significant defect or issues; almost unusable – 3: Average: some defects or issues; but still usable 4: Good: recommended (minor issues) – 5: Great: highly recommended
4.5 stars: ★★★★⋆
If you’re looking for a compact EDC light, the Fenix E18R V2.0 presents a great combination of small size yet high output. It has the typical (excellent!) Fenix build quality, and is also very convenient to use with its USB-C charging and magnetic tailcap. Depending on how you see things, you’ll either really like the UI and the LED choice, or that would turn you away. If you’re ok with those attributes, the Fenix E18R V2.0 is a solid EDC choice.