This article was originally posted on Thefirearmblog.com
I confess that after almost 9 years of using, obsessing over, and writing reviews of “high-end” flashlights I’ve become somewhat jaded. Gone are the days when Surefire and Streamlight dominated the flashlight market. Now we have boutique manufacturers making titanium, brass, copper and exotic metal beauties…we have an onslaught of original and copycat designs from Asian manufacturers…and it seems that regardless of the lumen level of the day, someone always comes out with another ‘flamethrower’ boasting of lumen levels rivaling the output of the sun (just kidding.)
Fenix is not a new kid on the block. Arguably Fenix is one of the original Asian light companies, and rather than trotting out the “flashlight de jour” based on another generic Chinese design, Fenix comes up with their own (mostly) original designs. So when Fenix offered an open opportunity to be a global reviewer of their TK35 2018 Ultimate Edition, my interest was piqued and I applied to be a reviewer. I was fortunate enough to be chosen and a “Global Review” sample came my way from the factory.
The light arrived in Fenix now-familiar orange and gray box. Included with the light is a nylon holster, micro-USB charging cable, and the owner’s manual. Fenix also supplied 2 of their ARB-L18-3500mAh 18650 cells.
The light has a design that is familiar to most Fenix devotees…a flat body couple to a round head via a smooth thread.
Inside the flat body is a battery carrier that holds the 2 18650 cells side-by-side. Also on the carrier is a micro-USB receptacle that allows the user to utilize the carrier as a charger. I tried the charger once and it did fine, although I prefer to use one of my better (faster) chargers.
View of the 4 die XHP70 emitter and orange peel reflector (the odd reflection at 5 o’clock is from the light I was using to illuminate the photo)
The operation is via 2 switches on the tail of the light. The “mode” switch is multi-functional – you rotate from “lockout”, to “Outdoor”, to “Tactical”. You also depress this button to cycle through the modes when in outdoor, or activate strobe or beacon in tactical or outdoor mode. The other button, a more traditional click switch, provides either momentary on/off or lock on.
• Max 3200 lumens
• Cree XHP70 LED with Orange Peel Reflector
• Innovative multi-mode switching structure
• Micro-USB rechargeable battery holder
• Boot-up battery level indication
• Momentary on Strobe
The light has levels plus strobe and SOS. Output for each level (in outdoor mode):
Turbo – 3200 and 2000 lumens
High – 1000 lumens
Medium – 350 lumens
Low – 100 lumens
Eco – 20 lumens
Strobe – 3200 lumens
SOS – 100 lumens
The following is a video walkthrough of the features. As indicated in the video, I have really come to appreciate this interface. Easy to learn, intuitive and useful.
I measured the output of the light on the highest setting with the 2 freshly charged Fenix cells and my sphere indicated 3056 lumens at turn on. Not quite as high as Fenix’ claim, but most manufacturers quote LED lumen and I measure out the front. Regardless, very impressive. Most forget in this never-ending quest for output, that the human eye needs approximately TWICE the output to easily notice the difference.
On “turbo” you can see the difference.
The following photos are “beam shots” taken at night. I used my Canon EOS 40D with a Sigma 18-50mm 1:2.84.5 lens. The shutter is locked at 1/4 second…ISO at 1600 equivalent…color temp set manually to 5000k (except for the daylight shot). The first shot is the daylight shot of the storage building that is my ‘target.’ It was a slightly overcast day.
First up is the venerable old Surefire G2 Nitrolon. This is an old-style incandescent that puts out around 60 lumens.
Fenix on eco:
Turbo 1 (Tactical):
This thing is insane on the highest level. Yes, there are MANY lights out there claiming 3000+ lumens output, and I’m not stating that this one is better than all the competitors. It’s just that, for my eyes, the beam quality, tint, and output of this light are VERY useful for one who might need a handheld searchlight. In addition, the ease of switching from any level to the 2000 lumen output by simply moving the mode switch guarantees quick, bright light without a lot of fiddling.
Run times range from 152 hours on eco to 1 hour and 30 minutes on the highest level. I did not test the run times, but based on the level of discharge after some of my real-world use, it seems reasonable to expect 2 quality 3500mAh batteries to run close to that amount of time.
Verdict? This is an awesome light. I favor lights that I can pocket carry, but this is a great light to have in your stable if you need a powerful searchlight/tactical light.
The light is currently available for $129. You can show TFB some love by checking it out on Brownells!