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Review: Fenix E35

The Fenix E35 Ultimate Edition is an updated version from 2016. Here we will discuss the 2016 version.The 2016 version E35 is a super compact flashlight with an impressive 1,000 Max Lumens and with 160 meters maximum beam shot. With a weight of 72 grams and measuring 2.2 cm in length and 2.4 cm in diameter, it is very handy and fits in any trouser or jacket pocket. The relationship between the diameter of the lamp and the beam width is important in determining the quality of the beam shot. The small reflector produces a long range beam shot that only a few flashlights can match.

Fenix E35- Best 18650 flashlight

 

The Fenix E35 has five brightness levels plus a strobe mode and an SOS mode. The light modes have the following lumen counts with maximum burn time: 1000 lumens / 1.8 hours, 450 lumens / 4 hours, 150 lumens / 11.8 hours, 50 lumens / 42.5 hours, and 8 lumens / 150 hours. These specifications are the same as for the NiteCore flashlights according to the ANSI / NEMA FL-1 standard. This standard, developed by the American National Standards Institute and the National Electrical Manufacturer’s Association ANSI/NEMA), ensures that the technical data of the lamp indicated on the packaging matches the actual performance of the flashlight. The performance criteria that are measured are lumen, beam distance, light intensity (in candela), and illumination duration.  In our test we confirmed these performances. Both the 1000 lumens function and the beam range of 160 meters seemed very useful to us. The brightness of 1000 lumens was particularly impressive: so bright as to probably dazzle a person in traffic. With the Fenix flashlight, the brightness of the light cone is digitally controlled. This ensures a very uniform and constant brightness in the light cone. The E35 has a narrow spot and is more of a throw flashlight. The light color is cool white without color differences.

The Fenix E35 is very high quality. A Cree XP E-LED with a lifespan of 50,000 hours was installed in an SMO reflector. The glass lens is specially hardened and extremely clear, with anti-reflective coating. The housing is made of aircraft aluminum. The surface is anodized and error-free, and the reflector is smooth. The lamp is a waterproof gem, IPX-8 standard (meaning it can be submerged in water deeper than 3 feet).

The Fenix E35 is easy to operate. There is one endcap switch, and two side switches. While one button on the side is responsible for the light levels, the other one serves to click through the special modes. A key lock prevents accidental activation. In addition, the last brightness setting used is retained in the memory, so that the flashlight will automatically revert to that setting the next time it is used. This might be useful in a situation where you don’t want the light to automatically start in the brightest mode- for instance, camping in a tent where you don’t want to awaken others.

The Fenix E35 is powered by a 18650 lithium-ion battery or 2 x CR123A batteries. We tested both possibilities, and we did not notice a brightness difference. In order to prevent overheating, after 5 minutes of steady use in the highest mode, there is an automatic step down to the second highest level.

 PROS

+ Very intuitive and easy operation

+ Good price-performance ratio (at 1000 lumens)

+ Mini-Thrower: strong light range in relation to the price

– CONS

– Turbo mode steps down after 5 minutes to avoid overheating

– Follow-up costs: 18650 battery (+ charger)

 

Conclusion

The Fenix E35 is a powerful mini-thrower which has a very good relationship between diameter and beam distance. Usually with a narrow housing diameter, one does not initially expect a long beam range.  But the Fenix E35 does well in this regard. We recommend Fenix E35 for those who are looking for a small but super bright flashlight. The price-performance ratio is, in our opinion, very good. You can enjoy a very good price with XX USD in terms of build quality, luminous quality, and manageability.

 

Review: ThruNite TN12

The TN12 is produced from the Chinese manufacturer ThruNite- who has the absolute top values in the mid-price segment. The prices are unbeatable. But do the technical data correspond to the actual in-hand performance? What about the quality and workmanship of the light?

ThruNite TN12 - best 18650 flashlight

The ThruNite TN12 has five different light levels: Turbo, with 1100 lumens (95min), High. with 435 lumens (4.2 hours), Medium, with 175 lumens (11.8 hours), Low. with 18 lumens (5.5 days), and Firefly, 0.4 lumens (74 days – 1585 hours).  The 0.4 lumens setting can be used when only low levels of light are needed- for example when camping with others in a tent so that not everyone is awakened.. For the evening walk with the dog, the 175 lumens setting is perfect. The 1100 lumens are brighter than a car headlight. All in all, the brightness and widths of the beams appear to be true. Throw and flood are balanced, so the lamp is a typical all-rounder. However, We would have preferred more than the maximum range of 218 meters. In addition to the 5 light levels, there is also a strobe mode with 1100 lumens (3.8 hours), which makes the lamp useful in tactical situations- for example, to dazzle and disorient attackers. During our test, we tried to look into the 1100 lumen strobe mode from close range. After only a few milliseconds, we were so blinded that at first we saw total blackness. Our eyes then had to recover and re-adjust for a few seconds. In the case of an attack, these few seconds could be crucial.

Furthermore, the ThruNite TN12 is regulated, so even with a weaker battery it will not reduce in luminosity. The operation is simple, but it takes some practice to be internalized: The lamp is turned on and off by clicking the end cap switch. Switching between modes is done by pressing the front button. A longer press of the front button activates the strobe mode. Press again briefly to exit that mode. With dimensions of 143mm length and 25.4mm diameter, the light is compact and fits well in the hand.

In our opinion, the quality of the ThruNite TN12 cannot match that of, for example, Fenix (which also comes from China). The workmanship is not bad, but not as high quality as the Fenix competition. According to the description, a shock resistance of up to a 1-meter drop is specified. Some users on the Internet have done the drop test from a 1-meter height (sometimes less), and sustained some damage to the inner contacts as a result. So it would appear that this flashlight will not live up to the 1-meter shock resistance test.  But externally, the TN12 appears to be well-made: The housing is made of robust aircraft aluminum, and the glass lens is specially hardened, very clear and extremely scratch-resistant. The front button is made of aluminum and designed to more easily use the flashlight while wearing a glove. Furthermore, the lamp is waterproof according to the IPX-8 standard.

The lamp can be operated (by default) with one 18650, or two CR123 batteries. Recommended is a protected 18650 battery. Although two CR123 batteries provide a higher voltage, they do not provide as much amperage at the higher levels. Since the required power is also very high, even for a 18650 battery, we would recommend buying a high quality, and above all, protected battery.

The extensive delivery package of the ThruNite TN12 includes a holster and lanyard (cord/ribbon), as well as a clip, without which the lamp is not roll-proof.

+PROS

+ Unbeatable value for the money

+ 1100 lumens and 218 meters of beam distance

+ Strong strobe mode

+ Memory function

+ Easy operation

+ Delivery

– CONS

– Processing is not so high quality

– Follow-up costs: protected battery (+ charger)

 

Conclusion

The ThruNite TN12 has an unbeatable price of only XX USD according to the most recent data. Those who do not mind the not so high-quality workmanship should access the ThruNite TN12. It should be noted, however, that the flashlight should still be used with protected batteries (purchased separately), in order to access the maximum power of which the lamp is capable. In general. the Thrunite TN12 in the 2016 version is a very strong flashlight, which can be used particularly well as a tactical flashlight thanks to the powerful strobe mode. If the strobe mode is important, the ThruNite TN12 should preferred over the Fenix PD35 (the next light we will examine) due to the easier accessibility of this mode.

 

Review: THE FENIX PD 35

The Fenix LED PD35 is in the same price range as the ThruNite TN12 (around XXUSD level). What makes the Fenix lamp better or worse than TN12? At first glance, the technical data of the Fenix’s 1000 lumens and a beam range of 200 meters is very comparable to the ThruNite TN12, maybe even not quite as good. Although Fenix is also produced in China, quality is a very important feature at Fenix. The Fenix PD series has been in production for a number of years and has undergone regular development.

FENIX PD 35-best 18650 flashlight

Just like the ThruNite TN12, the LED PD35 offers a total of 5 light levels and a strobe mode: 8 lumens with 140 hours burn time, 60 lumens with 29.3 hours, 200 lumens with 8.5 hours, 500 lumens with 3 hours, and 1,000 lumens with 1.1 hours. The strobe mode flashes at a maximum of 1,000 lumens. Otherwise, the operation of the Fenix PD35 is somewhat more complex than the other lights in the test. With the PD35, different operating modes are possible: tactical operation and outdoor operation. The outdoor mode is operated by a side button. The Tactical Mode turns the side switch off and operates the turbo, strobe, momentary, and low modes from the rear switch. The Outdoor Mode allows for standard flashlight operation, and it is the default setting, using the side switch. It can be converted into tactical operation via a long press on the side switch. The tactical operation is then carried out by lightly pressing the end cap. The outdoor operation can then be retrieved by another long press of the side switch. Sounds complicated- and, in the beginning, it can be. Over time, however, the operation becomes simple and intuitive. The test we did of the Fenix PD 35 strobe mode worked just as well as the ThruNite TN12’s strobe mode, making this lamp also useful as a tactical flashlight. However, we found it to be a bit awkward to reach the strobe mode because if you are in outdoor operation you have to click through the different modes to get to the strobe. Also, to switch from outdoor operation to tactical, you have to hold the side switch for a few seconds. Both of these methods of mode change are not optimal when they have to be done quickly. In this, the TN12 has the advantage. The brightness and widths tested realistically true to us. The Fenix PD35 is an all-rounder that is thrower more than a flooder. The light is concentrated into a relatively strong focused beam and therefore achieves a good beam range of 200 meters. However, the lamp also provides a sufficient flood in the dark.

The Fenix PD35 has moved to a very high-quality level. It has a Cree XP-L (V5) LED and a hard-anodized housing surface. The glass lens is hardened, is extra clear, and has an anti-reflection coating and metal reflector. The special coating of the reflector allows improved light transmission. It is waterproof to IPX-8 standard and shockproof from 2 meters height.

 

PROS

+ Reliable and robust quality, high-quality workmanship

+ 1000 lumens and 200 meters of beam distance

+ Strong strobe mode

+ Delivery

CONS

– The accessibility of the strobe mode is less than ideal

– Operating concept takes time to learn

– Follow-up costs: protected battery (+ charger)

Conclusion

The Fenix PD35 convinces us of quality in all aspects. Although the ThruNite is a little better in terms of lumens and beam range,  the Fenix is generally higher quality. Basically, it has only a few small weak points: It is a little difficult to reach the strobe mode, and the operation is, initially at least, a little more complex. So, the TN12, or the Fenix PD35? Which one is better?, Well, we can’t decide! Both lamps have their advantages and disadvantages, which everyone has to weigh for themselves. All in all, both lamps are very good models, which is why they made it into our top 5.

 

Review: KLARUS XT11S

Klarus XT11S is an updated version of the XT11 and XT12, and thus another model of the XT series. As a tactical flashlight, it produces 1100 lumens with a beam range of 330 meters and has a very comprehensive, yet intuitive, operation. Despite the considerable range of 330 m, the lamp also has very good illumination in the close range, so that it is also ideally suited for the classic outdoor area and everyday life. We rated Klarus XT11 S the best in our test due to the combination of beam range, brightness, and technical data. The light beam is incredibly strong, which is also very nice to see in our beam shots.

KLARUS XT11S - best 18650 flashlight

The Klarus XT11S has 4 different lighting levels, as well as a strobe and an SOS mode. The technical data for the modes are as follows:

Name Lumen Time
Turbo 1110 2 h
High 400 4 h
Medium 100 18 h
Low 10 260 h
Strobe 1100 4 h
SOS 100 54 h

 

The operation is divided into 3 selectable modes: Tactical Mode, Hunting Mode, and Ultimate Tactical Mode. It can seem complicated to understand all the different modes and capabilities of this light, but the different modes can be disabled temporarily, making use of this light much simpler. For example, restrict the default modes and disable the other settings. The Klarus XT11 S has 3 switches, two at the end of the lamp and a side switch. The side switch can also be deactivated if necessary. An explanation of all three modes would go beyond the scope of this review, so let’s confine ourselves to the standard modes – First, the tactical mode. The lamp is switched on and off via the end cap switch, with which turbo mode (1100 lumen) is also possible. If the end cap switch is held for more than 2 seconds, the turbo mode lights up immediately and constantly. By means of the side switch it is possible to change between the lighting levels and to turn on the strobe- by pressing the switch for a longer time. The side switch in the off state is also directly responsible for the strobe mode. If this is pressed, strobe is obtained as a momentary light; if the switch is pressed for longer than 2 seconds, the strobe mode is activated constantly. It should be emphasized that this means that the necessary modes can be activated very quickly for all situations in which one must react quickly. The strobe mode is also extremely strong with its 1100 lumens, making it ideal for self-defense.

If you are interested in the operation in detail and in all three modes, you can watch the following video on Youtube with a corresponding explanation of the Klarus XT11S:

As for the quality and workmanship of the lamp, we have no complaints. The light source uses a high-quality Cree XP-L HI V3 LED. The battery compartment has double springs that help minimize slippage. The glass lens is coated, and a “Smooth Reflector” was installed. These are characterized by a very smooth, mirrored surface and are often used in Throwers. The lamp is also IPX-8 certified.

In addition: a lanyard, a holster, a clip, a 2600mAh 18650 battery, and a USB charging cable were included with the Klarus XT11S. It has a battery level indicator feature which is integrated in the side switch. The display is: 70% -100% green, 30% -70% orange, 10% -30% red, and below 10% the red signal flashes. Furthermore, the lamp has a temperature control that prevents the lamp from overheating. All in all, the total package is outstanding. No other model offers this scope.

The supplied battery can be charged via a micro USB charging port, which is located under a rubber cover. In particular, the type of connection is very practical: the micro-USB port can also be used with a normal smartphone charging cable. Good to know: Any protected 18650 battery can be charged in the lamp.

 

+ PROS

+ 1100 lumens and 330 m beamshot range

+ Integrated charging function via USB

+ Battery level indicator with different levels

+Extensive delivery package

+ Follow-up costs are saved by the supplied battery

+ Very good battery/battery life

+ Memory function

+ Strong strobe mode

– CONS

– High price, but also much is offered

– Successor has been released in 2017 (xt11 GT), the price is the same (if not just reduced)

Conclusion

The Klarus XT11S is all about success! We have no criticism, apart from the high price in our opinion. But since the price also includes a battery and an integrated charger, it is necessary to see the price in relation to other lamps, where rechargeable batteries and charger are still sold separately, thereby increasing follow-up costs. Due to the flashlight’s power and area of coverage, batteries can be expensive- for example, CR123 batteries (a battery costs about 9 EUR) come to mind. When we take these factors into consideration, the overall price of the KlarusXT11S doesn’t seem so high.

In a direct comparison of the Klarus XT11 S, the ThruNite TN12, and the Fenix PD35, there is a noticeable price difference. But if you anticipate having to buy separately a good battery plus charger, then the price difference is likely to be only 10-20 euros. In addition, the Klarus convinces us of quality all along the line: For the operating concept of the Klarus is simply ingenious: everyone can find the right setting for themselves. If it were not for the successor from 2017, the GT, then the XT 11S would be our test winner. However, we included it in on our review, as it does have its advantages over the XT11GT – especially the longer battery life – and also because the price is reduced from time to time at Amazon (we’ve seen it for as low as $ 75).

 

Review: Klarus XT11GT

Review:

The Klarus XT11GT is the further updated version of the Klarus XT11 S. It came into German trade at the end of 2016 / beginning of 2017. At first glance, both models are almost exactly the same (see left picture – left: XT11G and right: XT11S). Only a small difference in size, four millimeters, to be exact, can be seen. Technically, however, a lot has happened. We will explain this in detail below. We begin this discussion by reviewing the similarities between the XT11S and the XT11GT.

Klarus XT11GT - best 18650 flashlight

They are:

  • The scope of package delivery is still as extensive as before
  • high-quality materials/components and workmanship
  • The operating concept is the same and therefore still very simple and intuitive
  • 4 levels plus strobe and SOS modes
  • Integrated battery level indicator for colors on the side button
  • Charge the supplied battery via USB port
  • Waterproof to IPX 8 standard
  • Strong stroboscopic mode that can be accessed directly by the rear toggle switch

 

The two torches are obviously quite similar. So what are the technical changes to the XT11S? First, we observe the approximate doubling of the number of lumens. Instead of 1100 lumens, it is now producing an outstanding 2000 lumens, as it uses the more powerful CREE xhp35 HD E4 LED. This higher powered LED and battery bundle significantly increases light intensity, We are especially struck by the even more powerful “inner” light beam. The scattered light has also become stronger, so that the illumination of the environment has also improved. According to our observations as well as the official information, the beam shot range for the XT11GT is 14 meters less than the XT11S, which is still a very good throw. As the luminous properties are always quite difficult to describe, here are the beamshot pictures for our direct comparison of both flashlights in the forest.

Like the XT11 S, the Klarus XT11 GT has four different lighting levels, as well as a strobe and an SOS mode, which can flash in different frequencies.

Here are the XG11GT run times at the different power levels:

Name Lumen Time
Turbo 2000 50 min
High 400 3,5 h
Medium 100 12 h
Low 10 170 h
Strobe 2000 1,7 h
SOS 100 36 h

 

There is a relatively large difference in duration between the two torches, which our observations confirmed. For example, While the XT11S lasts 2 hours in the highest mode at 1100 lumens, the XT11GT only lasts 50 minutes. In the second highest mode, both with 400 lumens, the XT11S stood up for 4.0 hours, the XT11GT “only” 3.5 hours. At 400 lumens, 3.5 hours is not a bad value, but no better than the average burn time in the other flashlights we tested. Less burn time compared to the XT11S, then, should be considered the cost of the higher light intensity.

Another difference between the two is that Klarus provides a more powerful 3100 mAh 18650 battery instead of the 2600mAh battery. This extra power is needed to power the new CREE xhp35 HD E4 LED.

Otherwise, we found no major differences between these two flashlights.

 

Conclusions:

In a direct comparison, Is the purchase of the successor model worthwhile?

As always, this depends on the intended use of the flashlight. For longer camping trips it can be more convenient not to have to charge the flashlight so often. Then the XT11 S would be our direct winner. But for shorter trips, especially when a brighter lamp is needed (like going for a walk at night), the Klarus XT11 G is our favorite. Both flashlights are, in our view, the top models in our comparison. The decision is ultimately a matter of preference. Of consideration to us was the fact that, for our purposes, we are unlikely to have to use a flashlight in turbo mode for as long as 50 minutes, so this run time at 400 lumens is more than adequate.

+ PROS

+ 2000 lumens and 316 m beam distance

+ Integrated charging function via USB

+ Battery level indicator with different levels

+ Extensive delivery package

+ Follow-up costs are saved by the supplied battery

+ Memory function

+ Strong strobe mode

– CONS

-Lower battery life compared to XT11 S

– Higher price (but also a more powerful flashlight)

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