Fenix TK11 TAC

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Fenix TK11 TAC tactical FLASHLIGHT REVIEW: 1600 LUMENS (2020 model)

Table of contents

Specifications

Brand/modelFenix TK11 TAC
LEDLuminus SST40
Lumens1,600 lm
Beam intensity27,893 cd
Battery config.1*18650 / 2*CR123A
MaterialAluminum
Modes3
BlinkiesStrobe
ReflectorSmooth
WaterproofIP68
Review dateOctober 2020

INTRODUCTION:

Fenix is probably one of the most well known tactical flashlight makers in the industry. After reviewing several well known flashlight from their lineup, including the TK22, PD36R, PD35 Tac, I am excited to see what the TK11 has to offer. On paper, it’s looking pretty good, in terms of output, throw and runtime. I’ll test this to see if their claims are trustworthy. And since my trust in their specs, I’m actually pretty sure they are trustworthy.

Package quality.

The TK11 TAC comes in a carton box, with just a few accessories.

  • The TK11 TAC flashlight
  • 3500mAh 18650 battery with USB charge port
  • Pocket clip (already attached)
  • 2 spare o-rings
  • Holster
  • Some papers; warranty card, manual and mini brochure

Handling of the light

Fenix decided to go a different route with the TK11 TAC. Instead of using a classic push-switch, they incorporated a dial and push switch. The dial has 3 settings: Tactical, Off and Normal modes. There is no side switch, so handling it in a ‘tactical position’ is recommended.

The push switch also isn’t your regular kind of clicky switch and it needs some time to get used to. It doesn’t do that ‘click’ thing. It feels more like a piston or something. I don’t really know how I should explain the feeling. When you press the switch completely, there is no click sound, but you feel a little more resistance.

With the 3 settings on the dial, you can have instant access to High and Strobe. And that is done on purpose of course since it’s considered a tactical flashlight.

The pocket clip is attached and can be taken off, but it’s pretty tight. You can rotate it, but all sides of the flashlight are the same. With some flashlights, you’d want to have the clip in a certain position because of a side switch, but that’s not the case with the TK11. The pouch/holster you get with the TK11 has a large loop for your belt and a smaller loop to use for something like a chain or a hook. That’s the only other option you have besides putting it in your pocket because it doesn’t come with a lanyard. Nor is there a strong lanyard attachment point in case you wanted to add one yourself. The only attachment point is on the clip. And I’m not really sure you want to go that route.

With the protruding switch button, it’s impossible to tailstand.

Build Quality, Knurling, Threads, and anodization

Fenix has been producing flashlights for many years. The TK11 looks good in terms of build quality. Its body has reeding instead of knurling, and doesn’t feel very rough. It can even feel a little bit slippery. The threads near the tailcap are lubed as well as the o-ring. There is a single o-ring that keep water out. The tailcap is the only part you can unscrew. Neither the bezel, nor the head can be unscrewed. It’s probably all glued together.

The anodization is just like most Fenix flashlights a little bit on the shiny side. And I don’t particularly like the semi-shiny finish but this doesn’t mean it’s low quality, not at all.

All parts fit nicely, and the tailcap screw onto the body nice and smooth, just like you would expect.

LED, LENS, BEZEL, AND REFLECTOR

The front part of the flashlight is what most people care the most about. Output, beam shape, beam color, and of course runtime. The TK11 is using a Luminus SST40 LED for a claimed maximum output of 1600 lumens and sits deep in a smooth reflector. In front of the reflector is an ultra-clear glass lens with an anti-reflective coating. Although this doesn’t make a huge difference, it’s nice to have :–)

The glass lens is protected by a crenelated bezel without any real sharp edges and that’s how it should be, if you want to keep your pockets undamaged.

One con of having a smooth reflector and a clear glass lens is that it makes all its weaknesses more apparent. An orange peel reflector makes the beam more smooth with a less concentrated hotspot. The TK11 TAC has a clear hotspot and some sort of rings. It’s not that bad, but some white wall hunters do care about this 🙂 I think this is much worse if you use it for indoors, or close up work, but not outdoors. You can see a slightly green hue in the lowest output, but that’s no longer noticeable when you increase the output.

Flashlight Dimensions

  • Length: 140 mm / 5.5 ”
  • Head diameter:  34 mm / 1.34 ”
  • Body diameter: 23.4 mm / 0.92 ”

Weight: 

  • Empty: 160.3 g /  5.65 oz
  • With battery: 210 g / 7.41 oz

Tactical flashlights

Size compared to other great tactical flashlights.

Image 1 and 2: From left to right: Fenix PD35 Tac, Thrunite TN12 v4, Fenix TK11 TAC, Nitecore MH25GTS, Olight Warrior X PRO, Fenix TK22 v2.

And most of my Fenix collection:

Image 3: From left to right: Fenix E12 v2, Fenix E35 v3, Fenix PD35 Tac, Fenix TK11 TAC, Fenix PD36R, Fenix TK22 v2, Fenix TK30.

Driver & User Interface:

The TK11 TAC has a double-switch assembly. The dial is used to select the user interface with either the Tactical mode group or the Duty mode group. The Duty mode group works a little like your average user interface with 3 modes and a strobe feature.

Available modes:

  • Low, Medium, High
  • Strobe

From OFF in Tactical Mode:

  • Half-press: High momentary
  • Single-click: High continuous
  • Press and hold: Strobe

FROM OFF IN DUTY MODE:

  • Half-press: momentary on and changing modes
  • Single-click: continuous on
  • Press and hold: Strobe

From ON:

  • Half-press: Cycle through the modes from Low to High if you are in Duty mode. Or turn off if you are in Tactial mode.
  • Single-click: Off
  • Press and hold: Strobe

Mode memory:

  • Yes

Blinky modes menu:

  • Strobe. Always accessible with a press and hold.

Low battery warning:

  • Yes, if you look at the runtime graph you can see there are vertical lines, which means the light was shortly off. This is the low voltage warning.

Lock-out mode:

  • The dial has a lockout mode, but I would suggest just unscrewing the tailcap to be safe.

PWM:

  • Not visible by eye.

Batteries & Charging

Fenix included a 18650 battery with a capacity of 3500mAh. Its model number is ARB-L18-3500U and contains a Micro USB charge port on the side of the positive terminal of the battery. Unfortunately, they are not included by default, so you have to buy one separately.

Whilst charging, there is a red indicator LED visible at the positive terminal which turns blue when it finishes charging.

Instead of using a 18650 battery, you are also able to use 2*CR123A batteries. The max voltage is 6V, so you shouldn’t use rechargeable 16340 batteries.

Unprotected, flat tops (18650) fit without a problem.

Performance

Lumen measurements:

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 3500mAh 18650 battery .

Amps were measured with a Fluke 77III, at the tailcap.

.ModeAmp at startManufacturer’s specs@30 seconds@startup
Fenix TK11 tacLow5051.6851.68
fenix 18650Medium500538538
High3.95A1600 Lm1488 Lm1556 Lm

As you can see, these numbers are pretty close to what Fenix claims. I couldn’t get Amp reading for Low and Medium, because I think the driver is inside the switch and not inside the head. Its highest output couldn’t reach 1600 lumens in my case. Also, for people who love low outputs, the TK11 is not for you.

Runtime:

The runtime test was done with the 50cm integrating sphere, including the Kenko Pro1D ND-16 filter and Extech SDL400 data logging Lux Meter.

High starts out just below 1600 lumens and starts its fastest drop from 6 minutes and 30 seconds, until 10 minutes 35 seconds to stabilize around 580 lumens. Then it tries to increase output again, probably there is a temperature sensor inside. When the battery runs really low, it will still glow for 2 more hours. It then shuts off. I’m not sure if that is low voltage protection inside the flashlight or just the battery protection. If you look closely, you can see some vertical lines in the flattest line, which means it’s actually blinking.

Low was going to take more than 47 hours, and I still have many more reviews to do, so unfortunately I can’t test this. It will probably be a long straight line for 47 hours which makes this type of graph not very useful and pretty to look at.

Throw measurements

Measurements were taken both indoors and outdoors with a professional Hagner E4-X Lux Meter.

@ 20 metersMfg Measured CandelaMetersYards
High27,893 cd27,600 cd332 m363 yards
Med9,525 cd10,000 cd200 m219 yards
Low857 cd1,200 cd69 m76 yards
@ 5 metersMfgMeasured CandelaMetersYards
High27,893 cd29,625 cd344 m376 yards
Med9,525 cd9,925 cd199 m218 yards
Low857 cd975 cd62 m68 yards

Beamshots

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.

OVERALL CONCLUSION

PROS

  1. Interesting switch design
  2. High quality build
  3. No PWM
  4. Instant access to High and Strobe

Cons

  1. No real low mode
  2. SST40 LED has a slightly greenish hue in Low
5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Author: Marco

The Fenix TK11 TAC does what it needs to do. Being a tactical flashlight, you have instant access to High and Turbo. I don’t personally care, because this is a tactical flashlight, but some people will miss a real low mode. The dual switch design is nice and you don’t need to switch menus by X amount of clicks. Just turn the dial and you have either Tactical mode or Duty mode. Easy peasy.

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