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Thread: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

  1. #1

    Sssh Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    Reviewer's Note: This is a "Mini-Review" of the new Fenix E20. I don't have time right now for a detailed photo comparison, but have included throw, output, runtime, and beamshot comparisons to some of the other 2AA lights available. Fenix E20 was purchased from fenix-store.com



    The E20 is Fenix's latest "budget" offering in the 2AA space. Up until now, Fenix "E" series lights denoted the entry-level 1AAA line of lights. These lights were single-stage only, and typically used less-expensive emitters and had lower build quality in keeping with their budget price. That is not to say they were cheaply made - in fact, the E series lights represent excellent value in their price range, IMO. The 2AA E20 carries that tradition on to the 2AA line with a simple single-stage light - but with a few nice features such as a focusable beam and forward clicky.



    As you can see, the E20 length is within the range of available 2AA lights (from left to right: Fenix L2D, E20, JetBeam Jet-I PRO EX V2, and MiniMag LED). Note that unlike the others shown above, the E20 cannot tailstand (thanks to the forward clicky).

    I haven't done detailed body shots, but construction of the E20 is relatively simple compared to the higher end lights. The knurling is more aggressive on the E20, which helps with "gripability" (if that's a word). Although still well made with good hand feel, overall build quality is not as high as the premium L2D/L2T line. It's hard to describe the difference, but the L2D just has a higher quality feel to me.

    All Fenix 2AA lights come with anodized tailcap threads, so tailcap lock-out is possible. Also, the E20 (like the recent L2Ds) offers reverse polarity protection in case you accidentally put the batteries in wrong.

    The obvious build difference between the lights is that the single-stage E20 has a wider head with a deeper and wider reflector. It also has a focusable beam feature similar to the infamous MiniMag.



    From left to right: MiniMag LED, Fenix E20, L2D

    As you can see, the E20 comes with a relatively deep smooth reflector. Although not quite as deep as the MiniMag LED, the reflector is well designed to give you a nice tight hotspot, as you can see below (pics taken ~0.5 m from a white wall, the L2D is on turbo).





    As you see in the pics, the E20 (when focussed for maximum throw) gives a good medium-sized hotspot with sharply defined edges, and a relatively dim (but still very usable) spillbeam. In contrast, the OP reflector of the L2D gives you a much smoother transition from hotspot to spill.

    So how well does the focusing feature work on the E20? Quite well actually - here are some pics are various levels of focus (taken at ~1 m):





    User interface (UI) is quite simple - press the tailcap for on/off, and adjust the head for focus. Tailcap switch is a forward clicky, so you can lightly press for momentary on, and press further for it to lock-on (i.e. click on). You can unscrew the head a fair amount (with corresponding large center beam "donut" effect) before it falls off. Just off from maximally tight is pretty much the best throw, at least on my sample.

    Testing Method: All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, a la Quickbeam's flashlightreviews.com method. You can directly compare all my relative output values from different reviews - i.e. an output value of "10" in one graph is the same as "10" in another. All runtimes are done under a cooling fan, except for the extended run Lo/Min modes which are done without cooling.

    Throw values are the square-root of lux measurements taken at 1 meter from the lens, using a light meter.

    Throw/Output Summary Chart:



    As you can see, the E20 has less overall output than the L2D on Turbo (it's actually pretty close to the L2D on Hi). Surprisingly, it doesn't have that much additional throw, even when maximally focussed. When handling the two, the E20 certainly looks like it would throw further - but I realize now that this is largely an optical illusion brought upon by its more defined hotspot (and dimmer spillbeam).

    Output/Runtime Comparison:



    As you can see, overall output of the single-stage E20 is actually pretty close to the Hi mode of the L2D, with expected excellent runtime.

    I've thrown in runtimes for the older MiniMag LED (luxeon emitter), so you can see how the E20 compares. Basically, you get nearly three times the output for ~40% reduction in runtime.

    Just for kicks, I thought I'd also show you the original incandescdent MiniMag most of us grew up on. Here, you can see roughly six times the output for a ~45% reduction in runtime.

    UPDATE 8/20/08: Here are the runtimes on Duracell alkaline, with the L2T V2 (RB080) added into the mix:



    As you can see, the relative performance of the E20 is quite good, with excellent regulation. But this is also true of the L2D-Q5, which is similarly very well regulated at its Hi setting. The L2T V2 RB080 doesn't stay as fully regulated for as long, but I'm not sure if that's because of the Rebel emitter or the fact that it is running at a higher drive current/output level than the other lights.

    Preliminary Observations

    The E20 certainly does a good job in besting the venerable MiniMag in the output department while providing a good focusing feature and forward clicky to boot. Regulation and runtime are excellent as always, and Fenix lights don't have the rapid drop-to-zero output the MiniMag LED 2AA suffered from on all cells. E20 Build quality is certainly acceptable for general use, even if doesn't seem quite as high as the L2D.

    So, that all sounds pretty good - makes this an easy recommendation for a "budget" quality light with a good mix of features, right?

    Well, yes and no. While all the above is true, I think its easy for us to forget just how bright LED lights have become. Frankly, I find this single-stage light way too bright for regular tasks around the house at night. I certainly wouldn't even consider it for up-close tasks like poking around inside a computer, looking under cupboards, etc - all tasks the original MiniMag became legendary for. Without a low mode, I'm afraid this light is relegated to mainly outdoor use. Simply put, it's more a replacement for 2- or 3-cell Mag than the MiniMag!

    Of course, YMMV, but I think most users would be better served by the slightly more expensive two-stage L2T series (which also comes with a forward clicky but no focusing feature). Personally, I can count on one hand the number of times I defocussed by old MiniMag back in the day. I think availability of a low mode (with corresponding increase in runtime) is worth far more in a general purpose light. And if you can afford it, the L2D is an incredibly versatile light at a great price. Although I haven't reviewed the current L2T Q2, you can see the earlier L2T RB080 and L2D Q2 in my Fenix 2AA comparison review - that should give you a pretty good idea what to expect.

    Of course, if you are looking for a very bright "economical" single-stage 2AA light with a focussing feature and decent build quality, then the Fenix E20 is for you. It could make a great basic bike light, for example. The defocusing also means you can make it into a somewhat "floody" beam (although still with relatively narrow spill). But with so many options available (both from Fenix and all the other makers), just make sure you think carefully about how you plan to use the light first. As always, it's a question of the right tool for the right job.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 01-12-2009 at 12:43 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    Another impressive "mini" review, Selfbuilt.

    And interesting thought about the usefulness of a variable beam.
    (I am probably in the same boat about the number of times it is actually used)

    Makes me wonder about my pre-ordered and paid for UA2


  3. #3

    Default Re: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    Good review. I am very happy with my E20. I dont see myself using the focusability much but I really do love the light because I have seen very few other lights, especially ones that use AA's, that have such a nice floody beam. It is only slightly brighter thn my p4 rc-n3, but over short distances, 20-30 feet or so, it feels so much brighter. I rarely need to see things far away, so this is ideal for me. I wanted to stay away from p7's or multi q5 lights because most of those lights use rare batteries. I was thinking about a modded mag, but to do it right, costsmuch more money, is much larger, and often dont fit the light absolutely properly, have bad heat sinking or other problems. Basically, I just want to recommend this light to anyone who may be looking for a budget floodlight, which to me, seems to be quite rare right now.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic Sharpy_swe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    Sweet review!

    I've got more flashlights than I need, but still wants more...and then a few more

  5. #5
    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    Ah, so the "focus" feature is just an adjustable head/reflector a la some of the JetBeams. Can the head/reflector be removed completely like the Jets, so you can "Mule"/bare emitter use the light?

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    Default Re: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    Moving this to the Review section...
    Resistance is futile...

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* TONY M's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    Nice review SB!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    Quote Originally Posted by sol-leks View Post
    Basically, I just want to recommend this light to anyone who may be looking for a budget floodlight, which to me, seems to be quite rare right now.
    That's a good point - I debated whether or not to call this a "flood" light in my review, and decided not to because the overall beam width is a bit narrow for that. But you can certainly defocus it sufficiently to produce a "floodier" beam pattern. And that may indeed be one of its strong points for many - thanks for pointing it out.

    Quote Originally Posted by StarHalo View Post
    Ah, so the "focus" feature is just an adjustable head/reflector a la some of the JetBeams. Can the head/reflector be removed completely like the Jets, so you can "Mule"/bare emitter use the light?
    Yes, the head/reflector comes right off and you can run the bare emitter (like the original Jet-II IBS). But just like the Jet-II, the protruding clicky means you can't tailstand.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    After the discussion in the main LED forum thread, I thought I would compare alkaline performance of the 2AA lights:



    As you can see, the relative performance of the E20 is quite good, with excellent regulation. But this is also true of the L2D-Q5, which is similarly very well regulated at its Hi setting.

    It's true the L2T V2 RB080 doesn't stay as fully regulated for as long, but I'm not sure if that's because of the Rebel emitter or the fact that it is running at a higher drive current/output level than the other lights.

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  10. #10
    Flashaholic* TONY M's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    Just over an hour of pan flat regulation on duracells, not too bad.

    I'm very impressed with the L2D's regulation on high mode with alkalines! Is you're L2D Q5 the "new" one with polarity protection? (If that were to make any difference).
    Its just going by memory I have seen L2D graphs that show runtime to be worse than yours when running on alkalines.

    Both Fenixes are good on alkalines which is great!

    Thanks.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    Quote Originally Posted by TONY M View Post
    I'm very impressed with the L2D's regulation on high mode with alkalines! Is you're L2D Q5 the "new" one with polarity protection? (If that were to make any difference). Its just going by memory I have seen L2D graphs that show runtime to be worse than yours when running on alkalines.
    Actually, my results are quite consistent with what Chevro originally reported when the L2D first came out (if you take into account emitter differences - mine is a Q5 and the original was a P4 - plus there's always Vf variability, etc.). He found a curvilinear pattern for the L2D on Turbo similar to my L2T results, and rock-solid regulation of the L2D on Hi (and Med and Lo) modes on alkaline. The take home message is that the L2D is well regulated on alkalines - just not on Turbo mode.

    FYI, my L2D is the original design with Q5 - I don't know if the new reverse-polarity protected versions have any different runtime.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 08-20-2008 at 02:31 PM.
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    Great review Selfbuilt.

    Is this the best single stage forward clickie light on the market? I'm currently using the Coleman 2AA from Walmart, but I'm looking for something better. The light can't use AAA cells, but anything else is ok.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    Quote Originally Posted by adirondackdestroyer View Post
    Is this the best single stage forward clickie light on the market? I'm currently using the Coleman 2AA from Walmart, but I'm looking for something better. The light can't use AAA cells, but anything else is ok.
    That's hard for me to say, since I don't have many modern single-stage 2AA lights (most everything now is multi-stage). The E20 certainly seems to outperform anything else I've seen, but some of the single-stage Romissen lights on the discount sites are quite good for the price. If you didn't need the focusing feature of the Fenix, you might want to look at some of those to save a few bucks. And for a few dollars more, I'm a big fan of the 2-stage L2T V2 for general use.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    So... is it recommended for me? A 13 years old guy which wants to go out at night... through the forest...

    I need it for like max. 50-75 metres, is it good for it? My budget is low (at the time) and I could buy one for max. 35€=43,58$. And... are eneloop batteries recommended? Or only some duracell batteries?

    I'd like to get some help because when I was younger I just bought some Phillips flashlights which were good for me, but I wrecked them... xD I played with 'em -.- This were my last ones...

    I think the size is good.

    Kindly regards,
    Marco

  15. #15

    Default Re: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    Quote Originally Posted by Desperad0s View Post
    So... is it recommended for me? A 13 years old guy which wants to go out at night... through the forest...


    Personally, I typically recommend the Fenix L2T v2 for a little more $, since it has a good low mode (but is maximally focused at all time). I think a low mode is far more useful than the focusing feature for most. But a good flashlight is not a subsitute for safe practices ... I wouldn't recommend walking through a forest alone at night.
    Last edited by selfbuilt; 11-21-2008 at 07:10 AM.
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    Personally, I typically recommend the Fenix L2T v2 for a little more $, since it has a good low mode (but is maximally focused at all time). I think a low mode is far more useful than the focusing feature for most. But a good flashlight is not a subsitute for safe practices ... I wouldn't recommend walking through a forest alone at night.

    Thank you!
    Hmm... I'm thinking now, too, to get a L2T...
    But the price, I get a E20 for 30€ (37,7865$) and a L2T 2.0 for 50€ (62,9774$). That's a big thing for me, a little guy. But I think every home needs a flashlight, it's a good tool and also good for fun :P so it might be OK, but I'd have to wait a bit longer. with d Kidding...
    And I'm thinking, too, how powerful is a LED? I will check some L2T reviews and compare those 2. Maybe I'll find a shop here, where I can see the differences... I also don't trust a LED light... I have experiences for LEDs, which weren't powerful enough, not powerful enough to reach a target in front of me like 3m :S

    One thing are the batteries, too. Which can I use longer, I don't want to buy new batteries twice a week or more. Maybe I could use accus (sorry if you don't know what are accus, a rechargable battery)?

    Regards!

  17. #17

    Default Re: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    The L2T is $11.50 more than the E20. That isn't that much of a difference if the low mode is really important to you.
    I'm a little bit confused by your second paragraph. Are you asking if these lights can light up an object at 3 meters? You must have never seen a high power LED, because these things can light up an object at 50 meters easily! They are much brighter than any comparable Incandescent flashlight let alone any LED light that uses 5mm LEDS.
    The L2T and the E20 both have great regulation. I would recommend using rechargeable NIMH cells in both lights though. With NIMH cells regulation and runtime will be much better, and it will cost you nothing to run the light after you purchased the cells.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desperad0s View Post
    Hmm... I'm thinking now, too, to get a L2T...
    But the price, I get a E20 for 30€ (37,7865$) and a L2T 2.0 for 50€ (62,9774$). That's a big thing for me, a little guy. But I think every home needs a flashlight, it's a good tool and also good for fun :P so it might be OK, but I'd have to wait a bit longer. with d Kidding...

    And I'm thinking, too, how powerful is a LED? I will check some L2T reviews and compare those 2. Maybe I'll find a shop here, where I can see the differences... I also don't trust a LED light... I have experiences for LEDs, which weren't powerful enough, not powerful enough to reach a target in front of me like 3m :S

    One thing are the batteries, too. Which can I use longer, I don't want to buy new batteries twice a week or more. Maybe I could use accus (sorry if you don't know what are accus, a rechargable battery)?

    Regards!

  18. #18

    Default Re: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    Yeah, sorry, I hope you understood what I mean... I'm from europe

    Thanks for the explanation!!!
    10x!
    I will now decide which one I choose, E20 or L2T :P
    Both good^^

    10x

    (and yes, I haven't seen any high-power LED... so this would be my first, too :P... but I'm young, I will live long (I hope) O.o)

  19. #19

    Default Re: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    Just wondering...Can you make some focus shots of MinimagLED?

  20. #20

    Default Re: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    any chance of outdoor beam shots, I would love to see how these all throw, especially with some of the optics and reflectors those lights have

  21. #21

    Default Re: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    Quote Originally Posted by dd61999 View Post
    any chance of outdoor beam shots, I would love to see how these all throw, especially with some of the optics and reflectors those lights have
    This would make my decision really much easier :P

    Like one from 5 metres, one from 15, 30, 50 and one from 80 or less if you want... your decision... I just hope to get some

  22. #22

    Default Re: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    I would definitely recommend low self-discharge (LSD) NiMH batteries - i.e. Sanyo Eneloop, Duracell pre-charged, etc. However, if you need to use regular alkalines, Fenix is generally a good choice.

    To see additional runtimes of various 2AA lights (including L2T Rebel and L2D Cree), check out my recent NiteCore D20 review.

    Sorry, no plans for additional beamshots right now. But the summary table in the this review and the D20 should help you compare overall output and throw levels.
    Full list of all my reviews: flashlightreviews.ca. Latest hobby: whiskyanalysis.com. Latest flashlight review: Thrunite TN42.
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  23. #23
    *Flashaholic* Burgess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    Hello Desperad0s --


    Welcome to CandlePowerForums !




    Regardless of which flashlight you select,

    using rechargeable, Low-Self-Discharge (LSD)

    NiMH cells would be a Great choice for it.


    Recommend Sanyo Eneloops, or the Duracell equivalents --

    (make sure those Duracells have a White Top, and package sez: "Made in Japan")



    Please let us know which flashlight you select.


    Bet you will be AMAZED at how BRIGHT an LED light is ! ! !


    __


    Good Luck in your quest for the perfect flashlight.

    _

  24. #24

    Default Re: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    Thank y'all...!

    And now here's my final question of L2T vs E20:
    They reach 100m? Which reaches more metres?

  25. #25

    Default Re: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    Hi all,i´m new in the forum.

    I have a question.

    In the E20 runtime chart on eneloops the output abruptly comes to 10 "overall light output" at 2 hours and 32 minutes. Does this mean that when it gets to that point it keeps running at 10 light output until shut-off?
    Im new in the flashlight world so i am a little confused.


    I bought the E20 and it´s an awsome light compared to the incan minimag and other crappy incan lights i used.The LED world of flashlights is like heaven to me compared to what i was used to.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    Quote Originally Posted by lovefenix View Post
    Does this mean that when it gets to that point it keeps running at 10 light output until shut-off?
    It will continue to dimm slowly until it reaches zero. But don't do it with rechargeble cells or you will discharge them too deeply.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    Quote Originally Posted by lovefenix View Post
    In the E20 runtime chart on eneloops the output abruptly comes to 10 "overall light output" at 2 hours and 32 minutes. Does this mean that when it gets to that point it keeps running at 10 light output until shut-off?
    As jirik_cz said, it will continue to run for longer before slowly dropping to zero output - but it is damaging to NiMH to run them until they are drained. Especially so for low-self-discharge cells like Eneloops (completely draining them increases their self-discharge rate, eventually turning them into more like traditional NiMH).

    This is why I stop the runs on Eneloops on all my tests before it reaches that point (i.e. I typically manually stop the run ~10% max output).

    If I run a cell to zero output (as I do on Li-ion with protection circuits), you will see the graph actually drop to zero. You can see that on my reviews of lights that take Li-ions.
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  28. #28

    Default Re: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    Ok,i get it.So ,When do i know when to recharge the batteries before it reaches a very low voltage like 0,9V per cell?

    When the light output reaches the bottom of the L.Won´t that be considered overdischarging and will hurt them?

  29. #29

    Default Re: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    Quote Originally Posted by lovefenix View Post
    Ok,i get it.So ,When do i know when to recharge the batteries before it reaches a very low voltage like 0,9V per cell?

    When the light output reaches the bottom of the L.Won´t that be considered overdischarging and will hurt them?
    That sounds about right. To stop the cells before they drop below ~1V is a good idea, which would likely be somewhere shortly before the bottom part of the "L" on most lights (hard to know exactly, since I can't test the voltage under load very easily).

    Basically, it's good to just periodically recharge the cells from time to time, before low output is reached (it doesn't hurt them). When the light begins to dim noticeably, that should be signal to definitely recharge now.
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  30. #30
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    Default Re: Fenix E20 Mini-Review: OUTPUT, RUNTIME and BEAM Comparisons

    I just received my E20 today and was quite eager to test out the beam pattern. I knew there will be donut hole when de-focusing the beam, but when I tighten the head for a tight beam, it still have a small black spot in the dead center of the hotspot (10-15 ft from wall). Is that normal for the Fenix E20?

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