Fenix E28R v2

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Fenix E28R v2 review

Fenix E28R v2 specs

Brand & ModelFenix E28R v2
Flashlight categoryEDC flashlight
LEDLuminus SST-40 6500K 
Max. output1700 lumens
Max. beam distance273 meters
Max. beam intensity18,588 cd
Battery config.1*18650, 2*CR123A
Onboard chargingUSB-C
Main modes5
BlinkiesStrobe
WaterproofIP68
Review publication dateFebruary 2024

Review intro:

Fenix is a longstanding flashlight company marketing to outdoors enthusiasts (among others) with extensive lines of EDC, outdoor, tactical, and work lights, lanterns, bike lights, and headlights. As part of their E-Series line of everyday or EDC lights, the E28R had been a popular choice, so they gave it physical and performance upgrades and re-released it as the E28R v2.0. Let’s see what this new version is like!

What’s in the package

Fenix lights come in a shelf-worthy package, which is good because they’re one of the few flashlight brands you can find in physical stores! The box is black with orange highlights and is covered with images of the light and specifications. Very useful. Inside, there’s a molded plastic tray which holds the light itself on top and the accessories underneath. It’s all one piece, so when you pull it out, the accessories don’t spill everywhere. Overall, high quality packaging.

The contents of the box include:

  • Fenix E28R v2.0 with Fenix ARB-L18-3400 18650 lithium-ion battery inside and clip installed
  • Lanyard
  • USB-A to USB-C charging cable
  • Instruction manual
  • Warranty card
  • Advertisement for the Fenix HM70R

Flashlight in use, Build Quality, and Warranty

As far as the upgrades mentioned before, it looks like v2.0 of the E28R has a larger reflector and more output (1500 to 1700 lumens and 200m to 273m throw), a magnet in the tail, dual way clip, the eco level is lowered from 30 to 5 lumens, and a breathing indicator light in the button. These are all good things! Fenix advertises the E28R v 2.0 as an EDC light, and I think these upgrades help it fit that role pretty well. 

This is an 18650-sized light, which is a good midpoint for EDC; not so large that it’s unwieldy, but large enough that it has a battery with a good capacity. The included 3400mAh battery has a good three times the amount of capacity than smaller batteries like 18350 or 14500 have. I found it ok for pocket carry. The clip is deep carry, which is always welcome, and bi-directional, so you can clip it to the brim of your hat. It’s a bit heavy, but did not significantly unbalance my hat.

The aluminum body is covered in plenty of thin knurling that is plenty grippy. There’s also knurling on the tail cap which would ordinarily help with grip while unscrewing it, but the tail appears to be glued down. There’s a magnet on the end of the tail cap which holds fairly well. It’s not the strongest I’ve seen, but it does the job. The tail cap also has a ring around the outside, broken into four sections, the larger two having lanyard holes in them. They’re even with the magnetic end, making for easy tail standing. The black anodizing across the whole light is very hard; I’ve moved the clip around and it has not scratched it.

On the other end, the head is rather smooth. There’s a raised band just below the middle, where the charging port and button lie, opposite of each other. The e-switch button is copper colored and matches the bezel, as is the standard Fenix color scheme. It’s rather flat which makes it difficult to locate by touch alone. There is a squared raised area around it, but it can still be hard to find, especially with gloves on. Since this is the only side that unscrews, it’s worth noting that the threads are anodized, so you can unscrew it a quarter turn for mechanical lockout.

One thing that might help with that is what Fenix calls “Pulse Mode.” 3 clicks from off will turn the button light on. Subsequent single clicks will cycle through red, green, breathing red, and breathing green modes. The only trouble is that once you use the light, the “pulse mode” is deactivated. It would’ve been better if it stayed active after turning the light off because that’s when you need to be able to find it again.

Fenix offers a limited lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects in their lights. What that means is that if the issue is within 15 days, the light will be replaced for free; if it’s within 5 years, they will repair it for free; and if it’s beyond 5 years, they will repair it for the price of the parts. However, if you buy the light from certain retailers, you will have to return it to that retailer instead of working with Fenix on warranty issues. Refer to their warranty section for full details.

LED, Lens, Bezel, Beam, and Reflector

Fenix markets their lights more towards outdoor enthusiasts rather than flashlight enthusiasts, and while there may be some overlap there, their lights are tuned more for quantity of light rather than quality.

Case in point, Fenix often employs the Luminus SST-40 emitter in 6500K, which is not on top of many flashlight enthusiasts’ lists due to its decidedly greenish nature. Even on turbo, my Opple still measured positive DUV, which in the ~6000K range does put it in the green range. It’s only barely above the blackbody line, so it’s not too green; in fact, I’d say it’s one of the nicer SST-40s I’ve seen.

The other thing about the SST-40 6500K is that it has low CRI, so your reds and similar colors won’t be as vibrant. If color accuracy isn’t of concern, then the additional power which comes with high CCT, low CRI emitters can be useful. Personally, I’d still prefer a different emitter.

Along with the SST-40, Fenix gave the E28R v2.0 a fairly deep, smooth reflector. This helps increase throw and provides a more distinct hotspot. The spill is also distinctly circular and has some tint shift, but is mostly only noticeable close up on white surfaces. 

Spectral measurements: 

I used an Opple Light Master Pro to measure the flashlight at one meter. 

Mode:CCT:CRI Ra:duv
Turbo6222K67.90.0037

Dimensions and its competition

Dimensions: 

Fenix E28R v2.0MillimetersInches
Length121 mm4.7 in
Head diameter27 mm1.1 in
Body diameter22 mm0.9 in

Dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter and the nearest tenth of an Inch.

Weight

Fenix E28R v2.0Weight in gramsWeight in oz
Without battery:79 g2.8 oz
With battery129 g4.5 oz

Weight is rounded to the nearest gram and tenth of an Oz.

Flashlight size comparison with its competition:

Group 1: ThruNite TN12 Pro, Fenix E28R v2.0, Skilhunt M200 v3

Group 2: Emisar D4V2, Fenix E28R v2.0, Convoy S2+

Fenix E28R v2 UI: User Interface and Driver

Available modes: 

  • Eco, Low, Medium, High, Turbo

Available blinky modes:

  • Strobe
  • I’m not sure if it counts as a blinky mode, but Fenix advertises a “warning light” pulse mode, which is just the switch light breathing

From OFF:

  • Press and hold 0.5 seconds: On to memorized level
  • Press and hold 1.2 seconds: Strobe
  • Double click: Lockout
  • 3 fast clicks: “Pulse mode” 

From ON:

  • Press and hold 0.5 seconds: Off
  • Press and hold 1.2 seconds: Strobe after off
  • 1 click: Cycle through modes
    • (Will exit strobe to memorized level)

From Pulse Mode:

  • 1 click: Cycle through red, green, red breathing, green breathing
  • Press and hold: Off

Mode memory:

  • The last used brightness level will be memorized except for turbo. If turbo is the last used level, it will memorize high instead.

Shortcuts:

  • To Low: N/A
  • To Turbo: N/A
  • To Strobe: Hold 1.2 seconds from on or off

Low voltage warning/protection:

  • The switch will flash red when the battery is low and the light will drop to eco mode under 3V, however beyond that, the light will not turn off; it relies on the battery’s protection circuit to prevent over discharge.

Strobe/blinkies

  • There is only one strobe and it’s accessed through holding the button for 1.2 seconds. 

Lock-out mode: 

  • Double-clicking from off will enter lockout mode. If you click the button while in lockout, the emitter will flash twice. Double-clicking again will exit lockout to eco.

PWM

  • There is no visible PWM.

Additional/summary info on the UI: 

  • Hold for on/off is the opposite of most flashlights and will be confusing if you’re not used to it.
  • Plus, the difference between 0.5s hold for on and 1.2s hold for strobe is very small…

Fenix E28R v2 Charging and batteries

Fenix includes their 3400mAh 18650 battery model ARB-L18-3400 with the E28R v2.0, which despite having built in protection circuitry, is still only 70mm long. You can use other button top 18650s in the E28R v2.0, but the driver has reverse polarity protection posts on it which prevent a flat top battery from making contact. Alternatively, the Fenix E28R v2.0 can be used with a pair of CR123As, but two 16340s or 18350s will provide too much power and should not be used (the light is rated for 3.0-6.4V).

The Fenix E28R v2.0 has onboard USB-C charging and comes with a USB-A to USB-C cable for just that task. USB-C to USB-C also works, if you have that type of charger. While it’s plugged in, you can use eco and low, and even if there’s no battery, you can still use eco. Charging takes about 3 hours, as advertised, though that depends on how powerful your charger is. It seems to charge at or around 1A, which is a very acceptable rate.

One other thing I noticed was that the rubber flap protecting the USB-C port doesn’t just cover it, but it actually has a plug which goes into the port for additional water protection! That’s a nice touch I’ve not seen other manufacturers do.

A 250 mA capacity test on my Vapcell S4+ returned 3327mAh. Not exactly the stated value, but close enough to count.

Charge typeFitsNo fitCharge time
Flashlight with onboard USB-C186502*CR123AFlat top (doesn’t make contact) 2*16340, 2*18350 (voltage too high)3h

Performance test

Lumen measurements

How Lumens are Measured: Understanding ANSI FL1 Standards How Lumens are Measured: Understanding ANSI FL1 Standards: The ANSI FL1 standards specify that output in lumens should be measured 30 seconds after turning on, as this is the standardized time for measuring brightness according to the industry standard. This is why we focus on this part in our measurements. The ANSI FL1 standards require an ambient temperature of 22 ± 3°C. We record the ambient the ambient temperature to identify potential reasons for any observed discrepancies.

To obtain these numbers, I used a very rudimentary integrated shoebox and ceilingbounce on my Samsung Galaxy S10. Measurements have been calibrated using a standardized calibration light provided by 1Lumen.

Medium and turbo don’t hit their specified numbers, but the other levels do. Even so, I do like the fact that it’s able to sustain turbo for as long as it does (see the runtime graphs, too)! Often turbo is over within 30 seconds at most, but the output on the E28R v2.0 doesn’t start to significantly step down for 3 minutes!

ModeSpecified0 sec.30 sec.10 min.
Eco5 lm5 lm5 lm5 lm
Low50 lm57 lm56 lm56 lm
Med150 lm144 lm144 lm143 lm
High600 lm601 lm598 lm591 lm
Turbo1700 lm1551 lm1501 lm547 lm
Turbo at 3.6V1025 lm1023 lm692 lm

Ambient temperature during testing:

  • 68°F/20°C 

Parasitic drain:

  • Due to the way the light is constructed, having to remove the head to insert the battery, it’s not possible for me to measure amperage.

Fenix E28R v2 Battery Life: Runtime graphs

How Runtimes are Measured: Understanding ANSI FL1 Standards About ANSI FL1 runtime 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.

I’m pleased to report that the E28R v2.0 exceeds its advertised runtimes! Even once it passes that level, it continues for hours before dipping down below one lumen! 

As you can see from the graphs, the E28R v2.0 has solid, even regulation, keeping the output steady for most of the runtime and dropping down in a controlled manner. It’s nice to know what you’re going to get when you turn the light on.

ModeSpecifiedRuntime (ANSI FL1)Time to sub lumenApproximate time till shut off
Eco260h
Low36h 50min
Med17h 15min17h 39min19h 16min22h 17min
High2h 50min3h 37min7h 16min12h 24min
Turbo2h 10min2h 34min7h 44min10h 45min

Peak beam intensity and beam distance measurements

About Peak beam intensity: Understanding ANSI FL1 Standards About peak beam intensity 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). This means that the intensity has decreased so much, it becomes difficult to see darker objects, or objects that don’t reflect light. The columns ‘Meters’ and ‘Yards’ use rounded numbers.

The numbers for candela were obtained with a UNI-T UT383S luxmeter at 5 and 15 meters, then averaged. 

Fenix’s numbers come in pretty close to my measurements, though it falls off a bit at the top end, which corresponds with the lower lumen output on turbo as well. Still a respectable amount of throw. 

ModeSpecifiedCandela measured MetersYards
Eco57 cd65 cd16 m17 yd
Low512 cd552 cd47 m51 yd
Medium1618 cd1445 cd76 m83 yd
High6717 cd6874 cd166 m182 yd
Turbo18,588 cd16,850 cd260 m284 yd

Ambient temperature:

  • 68°F/20°C

Beamshots

These were taken with a Samsung Galaxy S22+ using pro mode and the following settings: 

  • WB 5000K
  • ISO 200
  • Speed 0.5 sec

Distance to the other end of the playing field is 100 meters.

The E28R v2.0 illuminates a large area! That large hotspot goes pretty far downrange, and the spill is still pretty useful close up.

Beamshots of the following flashlights compared:

  • Fenix E28R v2.0
  • ThruNite TN12 Pro
  • Skilhunt M200 v3

Please note that the following beamshots are mainly intended to showcase the beam pattern and beam quality, rather than overall performance. These images are typically taken directly after activation, and in different seasons or weather conditions, and therefore do not fully represent its overall performance. For accurate performance metrics, such as output, beam distance, and runtimes, you need to look at the performance section of this review.

Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to us for review at no cost by Fenix Lighting US. We have not been paid to review, nor have we been holding back on problems or defects.

Final Verdict

Pros

  1. Regulated output
  2. Exceed runtimes
  3. USB-C charging and included battery
  4. Fenix brand name trust

Cons

  1. Hold for on/off, if you’re not used to it
  2. 0.7 second difference between turning it on and strobing yourself
  3. Flat button can be hard to locate
  4. Doesn’t quite hit advertised turbo

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

Reviewer Rob
Author: Rob

4.5 stars: ★★★★⋆

While our star rating provides a reliable indicator, we encourage you to read the full review to make an informed decision based on your own needs and preferences.

Fenix is a familiar brand to many outdoors enthusiasts, and with good reason: They produce a good light. The E28R v2.0 is no exception. A bi-directional clip and good magnet offer many carry and mounting options, regulation keeps it running at an even pace, including a longer turbo duration, and a smooth reflector offers a considerable amount of throw. 

If you’re not used to holding the button to turn a light on or off, this may be a point of frustration, as you will (like me) strobe yourself (and coworkers) multiple times before you get used to the UI. Additionally, the SST-40 is an inexpensive, powerful option, but at the cost of having a somewhat green tint which is ok for many, but doesn’t endear itself to enthusiasts.

If that doesn’t dissuade you, and they really shouldn’t since it’s mostly personal preference, then the Fenix E28R v2.0 is a light to consider for your everyday and outdoor activities. I recommend it with a 4.5 star rating.

Buy your Fenix E28R v2 with a discount

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1lumen selects and reviews products personally. We may earn affiliate commissions through our links, which help support our testing.