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Fenix E35 v3 review
Table of contents
|Brand/model||Fenix E35 V3|
|Beam intensity||14,400 cd|
|Review date||October 2020|
Fenix has almost become a household name in the Tactical Flashlight world. But even outside this category, they produce some really good flashlights. Highly popular models receive upgrades, and this is the same for the Fenix E35 flashlight. The one I’m reviewing here is the E35 V3.
The first generation E35 was produced back in 2012 with a total of 235 lumens, and has seen a few upgrades in the following years. One of the latest editions was the E35 Ultimate Edition in 2016, with an output of 1000 lumens. The 2020 version is surpassing both of these editions with a large increase in maximum output. It is now rated at 3000 lumens with the use of a Luminus SST70 LED. That’s a very impressive number for one of the major flashlight manufacturers.
The E35 v3 is shipped in normal packaging that you can find at any brick and mortar store. Within the package you can find the following:
- The Fenix E35 v3 flashlight
- 21700 USB-C rechargeable lithium-ion battery
- USB-C charging cord
- Pocket clip (attached)
- Spare o-rings
- Some papers: manual, brochure, warranty card
Handling of the light
The 21700 battery size flashlights are a welcome addition to the flashlight world. Although 18650 flashlight are still the norm, the body diameter of 21700s are much nicer IMHO. The extra width of the battery compartment /body makes it feel better in hand.
The side switch sits in a convenient location, so the thumb rests on the switch naturally. Some people might actually miss a tail switch, because the E35 v3 doesn’t have one. Instead, the light must be operated with just the side switch. It doesn’t feel very grippy, and a bit on the slippery side.
The pocket clip does help with the grip, and you can easily attach it to your pants or shirt. You can’t reverse the pocket clip, so the light is always pointing downwards. And if you don’t like using the pocket clip, you could always attach the lanyard.
Tailstanding is no problem either. You could add a diffuser and use it as a reading lamp or a bed side lamp.
Build Quality, Knurling, Threads, and anodization
The E35 v3 doesn’t have the traditional diamond shaped knurling, but something called reeding. That has become almost the norm for all new Fenix flashlights.
In terms of build quality, there is nothing to really complain about. Everything fits well without any rattling or moving parts. The anodization looks pretty good across the light, although it’s a little on the shiny side. I personally prefer a more matte finish.
Threads are lubed, as well as the single o-ring that is supposed to keep the water out. Other accessories look fine as well without any problems.
LED, LENS, BEZEL, AND REFLECTOR
Only after reading the manual I noticed it has an Luminus SST70 LED. That’s the first SST70 I personally own. And although the specifications don’t tell the actual bin or tint, it does say it is a cool white LED.
The lower output modes really have a greenish hue, that is quite well known for Luminus LEDs, and when you increase the output, the greenish hue gets less and less. It might still be there, but my eyes can’t really at a certain point. For outdoors, the tint isn’t really a problem, unless you need it to see perfect colors, but even then, warmer tints with higher CRI would also be no good.
The bezel has a copper color and can be turned. At first I thought I could unscrew it, but it just keeps spinning, and doesn’t come off. I don’t know how it’s connected to the head, but I assume there is an o-ring or other kind of ring keeping it in place. I tried to pry it off with a ruler but with no luck.
In the following pictures you can see that the LED is covered with a frosted kind of TIR optic. It’s not the camera!
- Length: 118 mm / 4.6 ”
- Head diameter: 26.5 mm / 1”
- Body diameter: 24.8 mm / 0.98”
- Empty: 68.2 g / 2.41 oz
- With battery: 141 g / 4.99 oz
EDC and Fenix flashlights
Some EDC flashlights and Fenix flashlights.
Image 1: Lumintop EDC05, Olight Warrior Mini, Fenix E35 v3, Fenix PD36R
Driver & User Interface:
The E35 v3 has 1 switch to control the flashlight.
- Eco, Low, Medium, High, Turbo
- Single-click: Battery status
- Double click: Lockout
- Triple-click: n/a
- Press and hold 0.5 sec: On
- Press and hold 2 sec: Strobe
- Single-click: Cycle through the menu from Low to High (and back to Eco again)
- Double click: n/a just cycle through the modes
- Triple-click: n/a just cycle through the modes
- Press and hold 0.5 sec: Turn OFF
- Press and hold 2 sec: Strobe
- Yes, it does use mode memory
Blinky modes menu:
- You can access Strobe from On and Off with a 2 second press and hold.
Low battery warning:
- The indicator LED will show the remaining Voltage
- Green: 85-100%
- Green flashing: 50-85%
- Red: 25-50%
- Red flashing: 1-25%
- A double click from the OFF position. Repeat to deactivate lockout mode
- Not visible by eye.
Firmware / UI Conclusion:
Press and hold for on, and clicking for moving through the modes. I like clicking rather than press-and-hold to run through the menu, but the lon press for on confuses me a bit, especially with strobe being so close when pressing to long.
Batteries & Charging
The included battery (type: ARB-L21-5000U) is a 21700 type battery with a capacity of 5000mAh. This is quite a bit more than any 18650, even with the highest capacity. The highest capacity 18650 is 3600, so 1400mAh more is a nice improvement. 21700 flashlights are becoming more and more popular, and the increased capacity is probably the reason.
The battery itself says: 5V 2A, but I couldn’t get mine passed 1.4A, so that is either my USB charger (which should be good for up to 3A with quick charge and 2A for normal charge. Charging a 5000mAh battery at 1.4A takes about 3.5 hours from empty to full. I actually just bought a Nitecore UMS2 for charging long 21700 protected batteries at a rate of up to 3A, but somehow I couldn’t get the Quick charge to work yet, so it charges at a maximum rate of 2A. While charging, a small LED indicator inside the positive terminal lights up.
Unfortunately, you can’t use flat tops since the driver has a physical reverse polarity protection. This means it can only work with button tops.
All output numbers are relative for my home-made Integrating Sphere. It is set up with an Extech SDL400 Lux Meter for measurements including a Kenko PRO1D ND-16 filter. The base measurement is done with a Convoy S2+ that has been tested at 255 lumens.
All of my readings were taken from a fully-charged Fenix 21700.
|Turbo||3000||2730 Lm||3096 Lm|
Looking at the numbers, Fenix is again very trustworthy. Only Turbo mode is not reaching 3000 lumens at 30 seconds, but it does hit 3000 lumens at the start.
The runtime test was done with the 50cm integrating sphere, including the Kenko Pro1D ND-16 filter and Extech SDL400 data logging Lux Meter. I ran tests on the 4 brightest settings, excluding Eco mode. Eco mode was supposed to run for more than 50 hours, which just took too long since I need the integrating sphere for many more runtime tests.
Here you can see the runtimes in the first 20 minutes.
From the runtime graph we can see that Turbo drops to about 1600 lumens in 2 minutes, and continues to drop to about 1000 lumens. The graph is relatively steady for 2 hours and then keeps dropping. Around the 3 hour mark, the output drops to about 50 lumens, and then continues to drop till long after 4 hours of runtime. I would rate the runtime between 2 hours and 10 minutes to 2 hours and 30 minutes for Turbo
High is relatively the same, but Medium has a very stable output for almost 6 hours.
Low lasts more than 18 hours at almost 160 lumens, which is quite impressive.
Measurements were taken both indoors and outdoors with a professional Hagner E4-X Lux Meter.
|Mode||Specifications||Candela measured||In meters||In yards|
|Eco||225 cd||300 cd||35||38|
|Low||625 cd||850 cd||58||64|
|Med||2025 cd||2525 cd||100||110|
|High||5625 cd||6500 cd||161||176,|
|Turbo (start)||14400 cd||16375 cd||256||280|
|Turbo (30s)||14400 cd||14250 cd||239||261|
For the following beamshots I used a Canon EOS 5D Mk2 and a 50mm lens. manual settings: ISO1600, 1/4sec , F4, 5000K
The shed is about 65 meters / 71 yards away.
Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to me for review at no cost, by Fenix. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.
- High output
- Includes a rechargeable battery with 5000mAh
- No PWM
- Build quality is really good
- Very new LED (SST70)
- A little slippery
- UI: Strobe is a little too easy to access, and double clicks is normally for Turbo, not for lockout.
- Would love to have direct access to Eco and Turbo
- Eco mode is not low enough
3.5 stars: ★★★⋆
As an EDC flashlight I would have liked a shortcut to moon and Turbo. That is important for me as an EDC light, but actually with most lights. Eco mode is also a little on the bright side at 50 lumens. A tactical flashlight without a really low output mode I can understand, but and EDC without a really low mode I don’t really understand. If you don’t mind that, the E35 v3 is still a very good performer, especially in terms of runtimes. I don’t want to be too harsh and give it 3 stars, but 3.5 stars is my honest opinion.