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Fenix HM60R review
Fenix HM60R specs
|Brand & Model||Fenix HM60R|
|LED||Luminux SST40 + Cree XP-G2|
|Max. output||1200 lumens|
|Max. beam distance||116 meters|
|Max. beam intensity||3400 cd|
|Battery config.||1x 18650|
|Review publication date||March 2023|
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 LR50R 12,000 lumen monstrosity and the 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’ve had the opportunity to review several different Fenix lights from their various lines, and I always come away impressed with their quality and attention to detail. Today marks something new for me though – this is the first time I’ve tested a Fenix headlamp. The HM60R model, at least on paper, is a great looking full-featured headlamp with built-in charging and multiple lighting modes.
The packaging for the Fenix HM60R is instantly recognizable as having come off the same line as the other Fenix models that I recently reviewed. They used the same design language, though new materials this time around: a showy black and orange carton constructed not of cardboard, but of shiny plastic. I think it’s great that Fenix is using consistent packaging as it helps drive brand recognition. Arranged in the tray was:
- Fenix HM60R
- Battery (pre-installed)
- Charging cable
- Spare o-ring
- Manual and other literature
Flashlight in use
There are a few different primary body designs for headlamps, with the two main ones being L-shaped (right angle) and T-shaped. L-shaped lights can be pretty nice since they do dual-duty as both a headlight as well as a handheld or utility light. But as a dedicated headlamp, many people don’t like the L-shaped as the light is offset to the side and can feel a bit unnatural, especially for up-close tasks. The HM60R is a T-shaped style with the emitters nearly centered in the body of the headlamp. This feels good as the light feels more balanced.
The Fenix HM60R comes with the headband pre-installed. And while you could potentially take it off, I see no reason to do so. I was able to, but it’s difficult. The strap itself is pretty nice. It’s the additional strap that goes over the head and helps with stability. The straps connect to a wide plastic bracket that keeps it from putting too much pressure on your forehead from the bracket. The strap has a few sections of rubberized grip on the inside which can help keep the strap from sliding around, particularly on hats and helmets. Overall, the Fenix HM60R is comfortable to wear.
A headlamp such as this Fenix is great for all kinds of things: working around the house/garage/yard, hiking in the evening, hunting/fishing, etc. If I’m going to be working on something with my hands up-close (eg, electric work when you’ve got the circuit breaker off), then I much prefer a T-shaped headlamp like the HM60R. And the multiple lighting modes make it a great fit for many situations. The primary (spotlight) LED is good for hiking, jogging, and other medium-distance activities. The “functional” (floody) white LED is great for up-close, hands-on tasks. The red LED is good for short-range things at night while trying to preserve your night vision like exploring your pack in the dark, reading a map, or navigating around your tent.
One of the headline features of the Fenix HM60R is its “stride frequency sensor”. It sounds great for someone that likes to run/jog with a headlamp. To be perfectly honest, I’m not that guy – if you see me running, you should probably run, too. There might be a bear chasing me. In essence, it sounds like the faster you run, the brighter the light will be. I’m not sure that I could sum it up any better than Fenix has, so I’ll leave you with their description:
There is frequency sensing on Med and High output levels in spotlight mode.
- The frequency of steps is set at 150 times/minute as the standard. From 150 times/minute to 220 times/minute, the brightness increases proportionally with the frequency of steps. When the frequency of steps reaches 220 times/minute, the brightness will increase to 150% of normal brightness; when the frequency of steps exceeds 220 times/minute, the brightness will remain at 150% of normal brightness.
- When the frequency of steps is lower than 150 times/minute, from 150 times/minute to 80 times/minute, the brightness decreases proportionally with the frequency of steps. When the frequency of steps reaches 80 times/minute, the brightness is reduced to 70% of the normal brightness; when the frequency of steps is lower than 80 times/minute, it will maintain 70% of the normal brightness. When the frequency is detected to decrease, the brightness starts to decrease gradually after 10 seconds of delay.
Build Quality and Warranty
Fenix mentions that the HM60R is constructed of quality PC (polycarbonate) and aluminum. Those details seem a little bit light for Fenix. They usually aren’t shy about saying that they use A6061-T6 aluminum and a premium type III hard anodizing. Fenix hasn’t said that about this headlamp, as far as I can tell, but I’m guessing that’s what we’re dealing with. The fit and finish look absolutely great, as I’ve come to expect from Fenix.
Being a headlamp, there’s no knurling to speak of. One end of the light has a cap and the other has a ring (covering a hidden USB-C port). Both of these ends are covered in reeding to help provide grip when twisting them. All of the machining is well done, and everything is smooth and clean.
- 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
There’s quite a bit going on up-front on the Fenix HM60R. There are two separate optic lenses: one for the primary (spotlight) LED, and another for the flood/neutral LED and red LEDs. The main lens is a mostly-clear TIR optic, but it has an interesting pattern at the top of it that helps direct more light down. It could see that being helpful as a runner or biker, as you would be less likely to blind your fellow athletes. The LED behind this optic is a Luminus SST40. This is a slightly-cool white, low-CRI variant (well, all SST40’s are low-CRI as far as I know).
The other optic has a small honeycomb area hides a Cree XP-G2 LED. Fenix just says it’s a neutral white LED, and they’re selling themselves way too short! It’s not just any NW LED, it’s a ~4500K 90-CRI with a nearly-perfect neutral tint. It’s very nice, and I think Fenix needs to make a bigger deal about that as I think it’s a good selling point.
There are also two tiny dots in the smaller optic, those sit in front of two red LEDs whose manufacturer isn’t specified.
Here are the Opple Light Master measurements for both white LEDs from 3 meters on their highest settings:
Luminus SST40 spotlight:
- CCT: 5525K
- CRI: 63.8 Ra
- DUV: +0.0106
Cree XP-G2 flood light:
- CCT: 4597K
- CRI: 90.4 Ra
- DUV: +0.0002
Dimensions and its competition
|Length||85 mm||3.3 in|
|Width||45 mm||1.8 in|
|Height||45 mm||1.8 in|
Dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter, and to the nearest tenth of an Inch.
|Weight in grams||Weight in oz|
|Without battery:||69 g||2.4 oz|
|With battery:||117 g||4.1 oz|
|With battery and headband:||157 g||5.5 oz|
Weight is rounded to the nearest gram, and to the nearest tenth of an Oz.
Flashlight size comparison with its competition:
Comparison with other good headlamps
Group 1: Fenix HM60R, Wuben H1
Group 2: Wurkkos HD15, Fenix HM60R, Sofirn HS40
Fenix HM60R UI: User Interface and Driver
- Low, Med, High, Turbo, “Functional Mode” Med, “Functional Mode” High, Red
Available blinky modes:
- Red SOS
- Press and hold 0.5s: spotlight mode
- Double click: functional mode (red)
- Press and hold 3.0s: lockout
- Press and hold 1.2s: switch between spotlight and functional mode
- 1 click: change mode/brightness
- Press and hold 0.5s: turn off
- The brightness level of spotlight mode is memorized
- The output of the functional mode is not memorized – it always starts in Red mode
- To Red: double click from Off
Low voltage warning:
- When battery voltage is low, the output shifts down
- The light blinks 3 times every 5 minutes as a reminder to recharge the battery
- There is a red SOS mode which is part of the normal rotation in the functional mode
- Hold 3s from Off to lockout
- Hold 3s to unlock the light
- PWM was not detected (using a photodiode and DMM set to Hz)
Additional/summary info on the UI:
- The Fenix e-switch UI isn’t my favorite, but at least it is consistent. I believe that all e-switch Fenix lights I’ve had used the same hold-for-on and hold-for-off type of UI. It’s not terrible, it’s just different. If you stick to Fenix lights, you can get used to it.
- The UI also lacks pretty much any shortcut (eg, to Turbo or low White), but at least there is a way to turn on the light in a way that you know you’re not going to get blinded: a double click from Off always takes you to Red mode
Fenix HM60R Charging and batteries
The Fenix HM60R arrived with a Fenix-branded 18650 battery pre-installed. It’s model ARB-L18-2600. As the model number would indicate, it’s a 2600 mAh battery. It’s a button-top, protected cell. Fenix includes a table on what kind of cells are compatible:
- Fenix ARB-L18 is recommended
- CR123A are useable
- LiFePO4 16340’s are useable
- Lithium-ion 18650’s are “caution”
- Lithium-ion 16340’s are banned
- LiFePO4 18650’s are banned
There is a hidden USB-C port on one end of the headlamp. Unscrew the end of the light with the switch button and a ring will twist out to reveal the charging port. In case you forget, a USB symbol and an arrow are etched into the ring. Fenix says to use a 5V/2A power supply with the included USB-C cable and that charging should complete in around 3 hours. In my testing, I observed a charge rate of 8.35 watts (1.63 amps at 5.12 volts) with a charge time of 1 hr 57 min. The ending voltage was 4.16V.
When the headlamp is turned off, you can single-click the switch to check the battery status. An indicator LED by the switch will display:
- Green light on: 100% – 85%
- Green light flashes: 85% – 50%
- Red light on: 50% – 25%
- Red light flashes: 25% – 1%
- Note: Fenix says this only works with the Fenix ARB-L18 battery
Lux was measured by a UNI-T UT383 BT at 5 meters. Lumens were measured in a homemade lumen tube using a VEML7700 sensor, calibrated with a calibration light provided by 1Lumen. The included Fenix-branded battery was used for testing
Lumen measurements (for each mode)
|Mode||Amps at start||Specs||@turn on||@30 sec||@10 minutes|
|Low||50 mA||30||26 lm||26 lm||–|
|Med||206 mA||130||107 lm||95 lm||74 lm|
|High||600 mA||350||332 lm||329 lm||185 lm|
|Turbo||3.2 A||1200||1278 lm||1253 lm||591 lm|
|Turbo at 3.6V||–||–||1018 lm||976 lm||–|
|“Functional Mode” Red||49 mA||5||4.3 lm||4.3 lm||–|
|“Functional Mode” Med||207 mA||70||59 lm||59 lm||–|
|“Functional Mode” High||1.4 A||350||347 lm||342 lm||323 lm|
- 14 µA
For the most part, the output tests line up very well with Fenix’s specs. I expect that, though – Fenix tends to provide good lumen claims.
Note: I’m not sure how accurate my measurement of red-light lumens are, but the above is what my lumen tube showed when measuring the red light.
Fenix HM60R battery life: Runtime graphs
|Mode||Specified runtime||Measured runtime ANSI||Time till shut off|
|High||8h||7h 47min||8h 11min|
|Turbo||2h||2h 52min||3h 15min|
|“Functional Mode” Red||100h||–||–|
|“Functional Mode” Med||24h||–||–|
|“Functional Mode” High||8h||7h 38m||8h 17min|
Just like the lumen output tests, the runtime figures line up well with Fenix’s numbers
About 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
Intensity for Turbo was measured at 5 meters after being turned on for 30 seconds. Since candela values for the other modes were relatively low, those were measured at 2 meters. A UNI-T UT383 BT lux meter was used.
|Low||78 cd||90||19 m||21 yd|
|Medium||330 cd||350||37 m||41 yd|
|High||913 cd||950||62 m||68 yd|
|Turbo||3,400 cd||4,125 cd||128 m||140 yd|
|“Functional Mode” Red||7 cd||–||–||–|
|“Functional Mode” Med||55 cd||60||15 m||17 yd|
|“Functional Mode” High||268 cd||300 cd||35 m||38 yd|
At this point, it should come as no surprise… the throw numbers match Fenix’s claims pretty well, too. Well, I did get a bit higher intensity measurement on Turbo, but everything else was spot-on.
About peak beam intensity: 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). The columns ‘Meters’ and ‘Yards’ use rounded numbers.
Camera settings and distance:
Beam shots of the building are taken at 30 m (33 yd) using a Pixel 7 set to ISO 800 with 1/10 second exposure time
Beamshots of the following flashlights compared:
- Fenix HM60R
- Sofirn HS40
- Wuben H1
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.
- Great build quality and head strap
- Nice output regulation
- Spot, flood, and red output modes
- High-CRI, neutral CCT flood light
- Hidden USB-C port
- So-so UI
- Lowest flood brightness could be lower
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: ★★★★⋆
Headlamps are my most-used lights. They’re so handy around the house / yard / woods. If you don’t have one (or ten), you owe it to yourself to get a nice headlamp. And I think the Fenix HM60R is perfect for a lot of people’s needs. There are a lot of output modes: spotlight, floodlight, and red. And the floodlight is a great neutral-tinted 90-CRI light that’s great for up-close tasks, while the long range stuff can be handled by the more-efficient SST40. My go-to headlamp for the past couple of years has been the Wuben H1. The Wuben has a lot of the same features (spot / flood / red), but alas it has micro-USB charging. The Fenix HM60R’s hidden USB-C port is a good upgrade.