Fenix E35 Review (1x 18650 or 2x CR123)

subwoofer

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Moving away from the typical design for a single 18650 / 2x CR123 light, Fenix have come up with a nice compact, usable and simple everyday light, the E35.

The E35’s sleek design makes me rethink EDCing an 18650 powered light (for me a single AA or CR123 would be the biggest light I would EDC).

03-E35-.jpg




Initial Impressions:

The E35 arrives in the newer style Fenix blister packaging, which matches the E35’s no-nonsense approach.

Quality feels just as good as any Fenix light, so maintaining their great standards, and it seems just like a slightly overgrown single AA light.

No tail switch, instead having a side switch, initially makes you think this might be a simply twisty like many of the smaller EDC lights, but apart from giving a quick lockout, this is not a twisty.

iQit6lGY4Y1YW.gif




What is in the box:

The outer packaging is Fenix’s newer blister style packaging. I could not get into this gracefully and I’m afraid the packaging looked like a child had unwrapped an exciting Christmas present after I had finished!

01-E35boxed-.jpg


The E35 comes with lanyard, spare o-ring, and instructions (unfortunately no holster).

02-E35boxcontents-.jpg


The E35

04-E35side-.jpg




Taking a closer look and looking inside:

Looking into the compact head at the XP-E LED

05-E35LED-.jpg


The reflector looks somewhat ringy, but this is not at all noticeable in use.

06-E35LED2-.jpg


Just like most small EDC lights, the head unscrews (rather than the tail) to insert the battery. The positive contact (shown here) and negative contact are both springs.

07-E35positive-.jpg


The threads are again Fenix Quality, anodised trapezoid, almost square cut and are flawless.

08-E35threads-.jpg


The tail has no switch and easily tail-stands unless you fit the lanyard which makes it unstable.

09-E35tail-.jpg


The one and only control, the electronic switch side button.

10-E35button-.jpg




Modes and User Interface:

In keeping with its simple design, the E35 has a no frills interface.

To switch on, hold the button for 2s. The light will come on in the last mode used. To change modes press the button to cycle through High, Med, Low back to High etc.

To switch off, hold the button down for 2s.

Alternatively to switch off and lock out the E35, unscrew the head a quarter turn. However if you do this, tightening the head does not turn the light on, you still need to hold the button for 2s.



Batteries and output:

The E35 runs on any type of 18650 (I’ve tried protected, unprotected cells to cover the largest range of sizes) thanks to the two springs working with longer, shorter, flat top and button top.

It also runs on 2 x CR123 primaries, though the performance is not as good as on 18650. The E35 is shown here with 2 xCR123 for scale.

13-E35size-.jpg


To measure actual output, I built an integrating sphere. See here for more detail. The sensor registers visible light only (so Infra-Red and Ultra-Violet will not be measured).

Please note, all quoted lumen figures are from a DIY integrating sphere, and according to ANSI standards. Although every effort is made to give as accurate a result as possible, they should be taken as an estimate only. The results can be used to compare outputs in this review and others I have published.

For the runtime tests though I am running the E35 on Fenix’s own 18650, the ARB-L2 which was charged using the Fenix charger the ARE-C1.


Fenix E35 output mode using ARB-L2I.S. measured ANSI output LumensPWM frequency (Hz)
High
2530
Medium610
Low80

Parasitic drain is a good 54uA meaning the ARB-L2 would take 5.5 years to run down due to parasitic drain. This is relatively negligible.

All output modes are free of any sign of PWM.

As with may Fenix lights, the highest output mode will step down to the second highest, and with the E35 this is after 32 minutes. For this runtime trace I reset the highest output each time it stepped down as you can see by the regularly spaced drops in maximum output (the first one caught me slightly by surprise, as after the first 30minutes I stepped away from the test rig for a few minutes thinking there would be no step down).

During the first hour the output is well regulated until the battery struggles to supply the power needed and the output starts to drop. Unlike many other Fenix lights though, the high mode did not then step down to the medium, instead it simply gave out as much light as it could. There was no sudden loss of light, it just got dimmer and dimmer.

FenixE35runtimehigh18650.jpg




In The Lab

NEW for Winter 2012 ANSI standards include maximum beam range. This is the distance at which the intensity of light from an emitter falls to 0.25lux (roughly the same as the lux from a full moon). This standard refers only to the peak beam range (a one dimensional quantity), so I am expanding on this and applying the same methodology across the entire width of the beam. From this data it is possible to plot a two-dimensional ‘beam range profile’ diagram which represents the shape of the illuminated area.

In order to accurately capture this information a test rig was constructed which allows a lux meter to be positioned 1m from the lens and a series of readings to be taken at various angles out from the centre line of the beam. As the rig defines a quadrant of a circle with a radius of 1m, all the readings are taken 1m from the lens, so measuring the true spherical light intensity. The rig was designed to minimise its influence on the readings with baffles added to shield the lux meter from possible reflections off the support members.

The distance of 1m was chosen as at this distance 1lux = 1 candela and the maximum beam range is then calculated as the SQRT(Candela/0.25) for each angle of emission.

In this plot, the calculated ANSI beam ranges are plotted as if viewed from above (for some lights there may also be a side view produced) using a CAD package to give the precise 'shape' of the beam.



Starting with the 5m range grid, the E35 has a narrow beam with decent throw.

FenixE35Range5m.jpg


Then zooming out to the 50m range grid showing the extent of the beam’s range. The smooth even hotspot pushes out to nearly 200m.

FenixE35Range50m.jpg




The beam

The indoor beam shot shows the dim spill and very well defined round hotspot.

11-E35beamindoors-.jpg


The spill does not provide much noticeable illumination at any distance, instead the hotspot does have reasonable reach.

12-E35beamoutdoors-.jpg




What it is really like to use…

The E35 has pushed my limits for EDC size up from single AA to this single 18650 light (just). Thanks to the simple layout, the E35 gives you good performance in a very compact package.

For EDCing I prefer to have a holster for the light so it is a little disappointing the E35 doesn’t come with one.

The side switch is very comfortable and natural to use. I found that having to wait the 2s to switch on and off was a little irritating. The delay is designed to prevent accidental operation, but it would be nice if Fenix could add a function that allows the user to set the button to immediate operation or delayed operation (as can be done in some lights such as Lupine’s flashlights).

The quality electronics keeps the parasitic drain to a minimum so that on 18650 it is negligible and on CR123 only a slight concern if setting this aside for long term backup purposes, but a quick quarter turn to lock out the power makes it safe to store.

Everyone has different limits for what they would EDC, and for me the E35 has expanded this limit. The beam is bright enough to ceiling bounce at close range where the hotspot might be too narrow, and the hotspot has a reasonable reach for the overall size of the E35.


Test sample provided by Rob of MyFenix (UK) for review.
 
Last edited:

MichaelW

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Is Fenix serious? 2.5 mode light.
Dump the xp-e for the xp-g2, fix the modes: 300,75,15,3
Call it a day.
 

tam17

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Thanks for review, subwoofer! E35 looks like a simple, no-nonsense light, just as it should be. On and off delay should be shorter IMO, and XP-E is a bit outdated in the efficiency department.

Cheers
 

tam17

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Jun 9, 2011
Messages
737
For the way I use a light, Fenix generally has the worst-designed UIs going. I didn't think they could possibly come up with something worse until now :)

IDK what's wrong with this. Is it the side switch? Not tactically correct UI?

2d170r9.jpg


Cheers
 

Dubois

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What are the actual dimensions? You show it behind a couple of CR123A cells, but it would be nice to see it alongside some other lights. SC600, perhaps?
 

subwoofer

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What are the actual dimensions? You show it behind a couple of CR123A cells, but it would be nice to see it alongside some other lights. SC600, perhaps?

As I don't have the E35 on me right now, nor the instruction leaflet, thanks to Uncle Google and Fenix's website I can easily find that it is 24mm diameter and 116.5mm long.

The reason I don't tend to fill space in my reviews by simply repeating all the manufacturer's specifications is thanks to the easy and instant availability of the information on the internet. Instead I focus on my examination of the review subject and my testing and user experience with it. The cells are standard size so should give relative scale.
 

Verndog

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As much as I like my Fenix lights, this E35 baffles me. With a high of 225 lumens the runtime should be considerably higher then 2hr 48min for a 2600mah 18650 IMO. As a comparison, the Nitecore EC25 I just ordered will run 4hr. 15 min. with a 2600mah at 285 lumens. I do like the simplicity and design of my E25 and this I'd consider this with better runtimes.
 

subwoofer

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As much as I like my Fenix lights, this E35 baffles me. With a high of 225 lumens the runtime should be considerably higher then 2hr 48min for a 2600mah 18650 IMO. As a comparison, the Nitecore EC25 I just ordered will run 4hr. 15 min. with a 2600mah at 285 lumens. I do like the simplicity and design of my E25 and this I'd consider this with better runtimes.

Fenix do quote 225lm for 2hr 48min for the E35, but Fenix tend to under quote performance. As my runtime graph shows, the E35 on ASNI runtime standard (the time for the output to drop to 10% of the ANSI Output), would be quoted at 251lm for 3hr 20min.

Obviously it does not maintain 250lm for the entire time, but this is most likely how Nitecore have quoted their runtime. The time it takes to reach 10% also depends on the type of regulation, so if you automatically step down the output then this could be extended enormously. If I had not kept resetting the high level output on the E35 test, it would have stepped down in output after 33mins and then run much longer before reaching the 10% figure.

I'd be interested to see an equivalent runtime for the EC25 on the 285 setting and see just what the output graph is like.
 

artis

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As with may Fenix lights, the highest output mode will step down to the second highest, and with the E35 this is after 32 minutes. For this runtime trace I reset the highest output each time it stepped down as you can see by the regularly spaced drops in maximum output (the first one caught me slightly by surprise, as after the first 30minutes I stepped away from the test rig for a few minutes thinking there would be no step down).

During the first hour the output is well regulated until the battery struggles to supply the power needed and the output starts to drop. Unlike many other Fenix lights though, the high mode did not then step down to the medium, instead it simply gave out as much light as it could. There was no sudden loss of light, it just got dimmer and dimmer.

FenixE35runtimehigh18650.jpg

Hi, thanks for awesome review.

Just wondering about this step down.
I got confirmation from Fenix that E35 is not stepping down. It has only high mode, no turbo:

> This is Linda from Fenix in China.
>
> E35 won't drop modes atomically, the runtime of E35 is tested by Fenix ARB-L2 battery, which has 2600 mA. The higher battery capacity is, the longer runtime will be.


What's happening with Fenix recently, they are like crazy with this timed step down on all new lights even on this small E35.
Does it got warm at all on high ?

Man, Fenix should put user manuals on their website, what a confusion.

I'm looking for flounder light, and wanted stack three E35, but changing modes on water every half an hour is not okay.
 

subwoofer

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Hi, thanks for awesome review.

Just wondering about this step down.
I got confirmation from Fenix that E35 is not stepping down. It has only high mode, no turbo:

> This is Linda from Fenix in China.
>
> E35 won't drop modes atomically, the runtime of E35 is tested by Fenix ARB-L2 battery, which has 2600 mA. The higher battery capacity is, the longer runtime will be.


What's happening with Fenix recently, they are like crazy with this timed step down on all new lights even on this small E35.
Does it got warm at all on high ?

Man, Fenix should put user manuals on their website, what a confusion.

I'm looking for flounder light, and wanted stack three E35, but changing modes on water every half an hour is not okay.

The E35 has no Turbo, but High steps down to Medium as stated in the review and shown by the runtime graph (at least for the review sample I have).
 

artis

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The E35 has no Turbo, but High steps down to Medium as stated in the review and shown by the runtime graph (at least for the review sample I have).

Confirmed with Fenix, it suppose to step down after 30min. Can you please check user manual, is it there ?

Does light got hot during test?
 

Joe Talmadge

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IDK what's wrong with this. Is it the side switch? Not tactically correct UI?

Okay, I keep staring at the OP to see if I'm crazy. The original post said you had to hold down the switch for 2s, not .5s, and that's a big difference. The idea of sitting there for two seconds every time I wanted to use the light seems crazy, especially considering there are probably times I flash the light for less than 2s! .5s obviously isn't nearly as bad, but like subwoofer, I'd still find myself irritated... unlike him, I'd probably be irritated to the point of getting rid of the light quickly. Again, I'm careful to say "for the way I use a light", and this feature wouldn't work for me for the same reason that click-click-click-click (i.e., the on/off switch also changes modes each time you touch it) interfaces don't work for me -- I tend to flash the light a lot, I expect it to come on immediately, and the next time I flash it, to come on in the same mode again, regardless of how quickly I hit the button. That part may not apply to you, the way *you*use a light ... though I think lots of people will find that .5s waiting time a pain.
 

coldstar

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Feb 19, 2013
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Thanks for the review.
But refers to the look, I think the light itself is good, but the packing doesn't match. The packing looks too bland...
 

martinaee

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Okay, I keep staring at the OP to see if I'm crazy. The original post said you had to hold down the switch for 2s, not .5s, and that's a big difference. The idea of sitting there for two seconds every time I wanted to use the light seems crazy, especially considering there are probably times I flash the light for less than 2s! .5s obviously isn't nearly as bad, but like subwoofer, I'd still find myself irritated... unlike him, I'd probably be irritated to the point of getting rid of the light quickly. Again, I'm careful to say "for the way I use a light", and this feature wouldn't work for me for the same reason that click-click-click-click (i.e., the on/off switch also changes modes each time you touch it) interfaces don't work for me -- I tend to flash the light a lot, I expect it to come on immediately, and the next time I flash it, to come on in the same mode again, regardless of how quickly I hit the button. That part may not apply to you, the way *you*use a light ... though I think lots of people will find that .5s waiting time a pain.

I've been using my E50 for a month or more now with this single side switch interface and .5 seconds isn't a problem at all once you get used to it.

Fenix's E series lights are often proclaimed to be the "budget" Fenix line here on CPF, but more and more I see that line to be the most practical and in Fenix's own terms "everyday" usable lights they have. They all generally seem to have easy interfaces and no bs feature sets with build quality that is more or less equivalent to the rest of their products. Of course they aren't super thick like the TK series but then again neither are the LD, PD series etc.
 

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