Fenix LR35R review: rechargeable flashlight
The Fenix LR35R looks a lot like the Fenix TK35 but it’s not really a ‘Tactical flashlight’. There is only 1 side switch and no rear-switch. This makes it less useful for ’emergency’ situations for first responders or security in that regard. Its design is almost 1 decade old, but still making good sales I suppose. Otherwise, they would have dropped the design a long time ago.
But still, a portable 10,000-lumen flashlight from Fenix is something interesting. I went and bought one to test and see what this is all about. And even before I finish the review I expect the performance the same as they claim. But we’ll see if my trust in Fenix’s claims is justified.
What you’ll get:
Honestly, I am a little disappointed with the packaging at this price point. Almost $200 and this kind of packaging is a bit… underwhelming. I can’t imagine anybody opening this box without tearing it.
- The flashlight: Fenix LR35R
- Extra O-ring
- USB-C cable
- 21700 batteries *2
- Warranty card
Fenix LR35 rechargeable flashlight specifications
|Brand / Model||Fenix LR35R|
|Beam intensity||63200 cd|
|Review date||August 2020|
Handling of the light
The Fenix LR35R has a dual battery configuration with 2*21700 in parallel, next to each other. This makes it a flat and still wide flashlight body that greatly helps with grip. It fits my hands really nicely. And that is probably 1 of the reasons why Fenix still produces this type of flashlight. Even after almost a decade since they first announced this type.
The side switch is conveniently located on the top of the head when it sits in your hand. I don’t honestly know why they moved from the tactical style to this type of flashlight, but I can understand that a 1-handed operation is something users would have recommended.
On 1 of the flat sides of the body is the pocket clip attached, and I’m curious if people think this is a good move. The opening of the clip is pretty close to the head, which is sticking out quite a bit. I tried to attach it to a thick belt, but that is difficult at this angle. Narrower belts are okay and of course, pockets are no problem at all. I hope you can see what I mean in the pictures.
Still, there is 1 thing they could have improved: When you hold the flashlight with the switch on top, the clip is on your right side. So if you just want to attach the clip, and you’re right-handed, you have to turn the flashlight 180 degrees in order to clip it onto your belt/pocket.
If you insert the whole flashlight in your pocket, then the clip is positioned rightly. So, depending on the way you carry it (right hand vs left hand) and how you use the pocket clip, it may be a small (or even big) annoyance for some.
Fenix added a nice lanyard to the package that I appreciate. And if you’re not into pocket clips or lanyards, you can also use the included holster. A nice quality holster with velcro tape at the top.
Build Quality, knurling, threads, and anodization
Anybody who own Fenix flashlights knows of their quality. The LR35R is a well-machined flashlight without any annoying sharp edges. This is 1 of the benefits of having a long-selling flashlight in your lineup. The design can be improved incrementally and still have a flashlight that stays popular. Every few years they add a new feature or LED and soon it can be put onto the market.
Even though the quality of the machining and threads are very high, I don’t particularly like the shiny finish on Fenix flashlights. I rather like a matte finish to give it a bit of a more exclusive look.
One thing I like about the threads is the ‘lock’ system at the end. This is something I haven’t seen other flashlight manufacturers do. This really helps with lining up all the parts of the flashlight. Take a look at the images to see how aligned the switch is with the body. I like that a lot.
LEDs, Lens, Bezel, and Reflector
Fenix uses 6* Luminus SST40 LEDs to power the LR35R. These LEDs are able to push way beyond 1000 lumens per LED. Of course, you need quite a bit of Amps as well as enough heatsinking to reach 2000+ lumens from a single LED, but it’s possible. Here is a test that shows what an SST40 is capable of.
None of the main flashlight manufacturers really show the bin or tint the LEDs are. So I don’t have anything to say about it. The beam itself is a little on the greenish side. And although this may not be ideal, in most cases ‘seeing something’ is more important that ‘seeing the right color’ or something.
All Leds are sitting behind a shallow smooth reflector, that is protected by a glass lens with Anti Reflective coating. And that lens is again protected by a stainless steel bezel. Not a shine one, but a matte one. So I give them the credits for doing that.
The beam has a distinct hotspot, which is pretty large, but even with 6 LEDs it’s very round. There are no strange artifacts in the beam that you sometimes see with Multi-LED flashlights. All LEDs are positioned in a flower-like fashion, with 1 LED in the middle and 5 LEDs around that 1 LED. This probably helps to keep the beam ’roundish’. At least on a wall about 3 meters/ 10 feet away.
- Length: 140.4 mm ( 5.517 “)
- Head diameter: 29.03 mm ( 1.93″)
- Body diameter narrow: 24.68mm ( .972 “)
- Body diameter narrow: 46.46mm ( 1.83 “)
- Empty: 238 g ( 8.4 oz)
- With batteries: 381.6 g ( 13.46oz)
High Power Flashlights
Size compared to other very bright flashlights:
Driver & User Interface:
Fenix’s user interface for the LR35R is not my personal favorite. I know this is different for every person.
- Eco, Low, Medium, High, Turbo
- Single-click: battery status (the light doesn’t turn on)
- Press and hold -0.5 seconds: On (to last used mode)
- Double click: Lock-out mode
- Triple-click: this does nothing except for locking out as well..
- Single-click: cycle through modes from Eco to Turbo and back to Eco again
- Double click: nothing, it just skips 1 mode
- Triple-click: nothing, it just skips 2 modes
- Press and hold 0.5 sec: Turns Off
- Press and hold 3 seconds: Strobe
- No, there are no real shortcuts to Eco or Turbo.
- Yes, and at possibly 10,000 lumens, that is quite a problem when your eyes just adjusted to the darkness. A shortcut to Eco mode would have been a ‘nice feature’ or better said: necessary.
Blinky modes menu:
- Strobe, which is only accessible by holding the switch for 3 seconds from any mode.
- When the flashlight is turned off, you can check the battery status by a single-click. The charge status can be seen as follows:
- Green light on: 85-100%
- Green light blinking 50-85%
- Red light on: 25-50%
- Red light flashing: 1-25%
Low battery warning:
- The switch has a tiny LED built behind it. When the battery is running low, the light with start blinking. This doesn’t mean that the flashlight will run out of power anytime soon, but it’s probably better to recharge at this point since they are at low voltage. I would not recommend pulling all the juice from the batteries unless you need to.
- Double click from OFF
- Not noticeable by eye. This is what matters.
Firmware / UI Conclusion:
Unfortunately, I’m not very positive about the User Interface. There is no way to know in what mode you turned the light off, because the mode memory will kick in once you turn it off. It doesn’t have a shortcut to Low, nor Turbo so you basically have to ‘guess’ in what mode you turned it off. And on top of that, even Eco mode is not very low. Again, this is a personal opinion, but a Eco of 50 lumens (according to the manual) is not Eco at all, and a Low of 450 lumens doesn’t sound very ‘low’ either.
Batteries and charging:
Fenix includes 2 4000mAh 21700 batteries with the flashlight. Their product code is Fenix ARB-L21-4000P. And I guess the P stands for protection. The protected kicks in at 2.5 Volts.
During the runtime tests, each time the flashlight turned off, the batteries were at 2.5V.
The built-in charging system charges rapidly. At roughly 2.55A it recharges the 2 batteries is a couple of hours. Probably around 4, since I forgot to really check them every time I charged them. 2.55Amps was the max I could measure with a 3A USB power adapter. 2 batteries at 4000mAh equal 8000 mAh, with quick math: 8000 / 2550 = 3.14 hours to charge the 2 batteries. And even though the flashlight pulls about 2.55A, I’m not sure that the batteries also receive that much current.
The ARB-L21-4000P batteries are protected and have a button top. Unprotected, flat tops don’t work. The contact board on the positive side is built with reverse-polarity protection. This means that the positive contacts are recessed. This is the reason why you can’t use flat 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 batteries
No Amps are measured because that’s a little difficult with this type of flashlight. There is no tailcap.
Lumens measured at 30 seconds, prior to the runtime tests.
|Fenix LR35||Eco||50||48 Lm|
|Turbo||10000||8615 Lm||10240 Lm|
As you can see, Turbo is dropping rapidly from roughly 10240 lumens at startup to 8615 after 30 seconds. This is not exactly timed but roughly this number since the output drops so quickly. When you compare the runtime test, you can see that Turbo and High have about the same output after the largest output drop, but I used the above Lumen measurements (which were done by counting, and not with a timer) to calculate runtimes. I have been using Lumens at startup up till recently, but wanted to do it this way since it’s according to the ANSI standards. Unfortunately enough that comes at a cost of precision, especially with these high power flashlights! They drop in output just too quickly to really within the first 30 seconds.
The runtime test was done with the 50cm integrating sphere, including the Kenko Pro1D ND-16 filter and Extech SDL400 data logging Lux Meter.
You can see that all modes have a long horizontal line. This is at an output between 44 and 48 lumens. At this time, the Battery indicator is blinking red, which means a battery voltage between 1-25%. You get about 7 hours of runtime at 44-48 lumens when the output dropped.
I ran the batteries dry in Turbo and in High. Both times the batteries were measuring 2.5 Volts. I don’t want to hurt my batteries unnecessarily so Med and Low are cut off before they were emptied so much.
I didn’t test Eco mode since I need to use the Integrating Sphere for other tests and the runtime graph will look extremely boring.
The zigzag output is very common for Fenix Flashlights. I think all my Fenix flashlights have this zigzag output. Even the manual shows this.
High and Turbo range between 1500 and 2200 lumens. Not bad, but still not extremely interesting.
Measurements were taken outdoors at 20 meters.
Using Turbo mode, I get:
- Outdoors (20m): 52,000cd = 456 meters / 499 yards throw
That’s quite a bit lower than the advertised 63200 cd. I was measuring long distance flashlights, so I used a 20 meters distance. That should cause this much of a difference I would suppose. In terms of throw, it’s underperforming.
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 bought from my own money. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.
- Fits really nice in the hand
- Accessories, holster, lanyard, batteries
- Built-in charging system (can be helpful for newbies)
- The UI and no real low, no shortcut to Turbo or Low
Rating: 4 stars ★★★★
3 stars would be too low, but 5 stars too high. 4 stars… hmmm maybe. I think it’s a great flashlight for what it has to offer, but there are definitely some cons. One of the first thing you’ll notice is the packaging. Mine arrived in a non-optimal condition. The UI isn’t my favorite with mode memory. This could be fine as long as you have shortcuts to Turbo and Low, but the LR35R doesn’t. Also, Eco mode is just too high (50 lumens) and Low mode is even 450 lumens. Runtime is pretty decent with 2*21700 batteries. When the batteries are low you’ll get about 7 more hours to replace them, before the Low Voltage Protection kicks in. With all these little ‘nuisances’ I can’t give it 5 stars, especially not for the price, but 3 stars is still a bit harsh.. Maybe 3.5 stars?
Fenix LR35R for sale
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