Fenix LD02 (XP-E2, 1x AAA, clicky) keychain review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, and more

selfbuilt

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The LD02 is one of several Fenix AAA keychain lights currently available. It is distinctive for its TIR optic and clicky switch tailcap (the latter is a rarity on commercial keychain lights). Let's see how it compares to the competition in this class.

Manufacturer Reported Specifications:
(note: as always, these are simply what the manufacturer/dealer provides – scroll down to see my actual testing results).

  • LED: Cree XP-E2 LED
  • Output/Runtime: Hi 100 lumens / 45min (NiMH), 30min (alkaline) – Mid 25 lumens / 4hr 15min (NiMH/alkaline) – Lo 8 lumens / 14hr 30min (NiMH), 15hr (alkaline)
  • Beam Distance: 45m
  • Beam Intensity: 505cd
  • Uses one AAA battery
  • 76mm(Length)*15mm(Diameter)
  • 16g weight (excluding battery)
  • Digitally regulated output - maintains constant brightness
  • Made of durable aircraft-grade aluminum
  • Premium type 3 hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish
  • Impact resistant: 1m
  • Waterproof: IPX-8, underwater 2m
  • Package Contents: 1 x Flashlight, 1 x AAA Battery, extra o-ring, warranty card, manual
  • MSRP: ~$32 (discounts available, see flashlightreviews.ca)
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Fenix packaging has been fairly standard for a few years now, with accurate details and ANSI FL-1 specs printed on the outside. Inside, you get the light and standard extras – AAA alkaline battery, extra o-rings, pocket clip (attached), manual, and product inserts.

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From left to right: Panasonic Eneloop Pro NiMH AAA; Fenix LD02, E99Ti; Olight i3S (2014); Lumintop Tool AAA; Thrunite Ti3, L3 Illumination L08.

All dimensions directly measured, and given with no batteries installed (and without keychain ring, where removable):

Fenix LD02 (with clip): Weight: 16.5g, Length: 76.9mm, Width (bezel): 14.4mm
Fenix E99Ti: Weight: 18.7g, Length: 66.1mm, Width (bezel): 14.1mm

Foursevens Preon P0: Weight 13.0g (with keychain clip), Length 55.0mm, Width 12.6mm (bezel)
Foursevens Preon P1: Weight 15.3g (with keychain clip), Length 75.6mm, Width 14.0mm (bezel)
Klarus Mi X6: Weight 16.2g, Length 72.9mm (battery installed), Width 12.8mm
L3 Illumination L08: Weight: 22.4g, Length: 77.8mm, Width (bezel): 17.0mm
Lumintop Tool AAA: Weight: 15.3g, Length 82.6mm, Width 14.4mm (bezel)
Lumintop Worm Aluminum: Weight: 14.3g, Length 72.0mm (battery installed, off), Width 14.1mm (bezel)
Olight i3 (2013/14): Weight 12.3g, Length: 69.3mm, Width (bezel): 14.0mm
Thrunite Ti3: Weight: 11.5g, Length: 69.9mm, Width (bezel): 13.6mm
Titanium Innovations Illuminati Aluminum: Weight 13.9g (with keychain clip), Length 68.8mm, Width 14.0mm (bezel)

Even with the tailcap clicky, the LD02 is in the same range as most multi-mode AAA keychain lights.

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Anodizing is the typical Fenix matte black, with no chips or blemishes on my sample. White lettering is clear and sharp. There is a good amount of knurling, of reasonable aggressiveness. With the pocket clip in place, the light will not roll.

Screw threads are standard triangular cut, and fine (as on most AAA keychain lights). Threads are anodized, allowing you to lock out the light – or use it as a twisy-style light, if you prefer.

There is a physical reverse polarity feature in the head, so only standard button-top AAA cells can be used.

Clip holds on fairly securely, and holds the light well.

There is a small cut-out on the tail for a split ring attachment point. Tailstanding is not possible due to the protruding reverse-clicky tailswitch. See UI section below for more info.

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Unlike most keychain lights, the LD02 uses a small optic for focusing. The LD02 uses the latest XP-E2 emitter. Please see my detailed beamshots later in this review.

User Interface

Turn the light on/off by the reverse clicky switch (i.e., click and release to turn on/off). You can advance through modes by a partial soft-press of the switch (or rapid off/on). Alternatively, you can loosen-tighten the head to move through modes when switched on at the tailcap.

Mode sequence is: Med > Lo > Hi, in repeating sequence. The light always defaults to Med if it is off for more than a second or two. There is no mode memory.

There are no strobe modes.

Video:

For information on the light, including the build and user interface, please see my video overview:



For all my videos, I recommend you have annotations turned on. I commonly update the commentary with additional information or clarifications before publicly releasing the video.

As an aside, if you want to get an instant notification for every new review that I post, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel. The vids go public at the same time as the reviews here on CPF. :whistle:

No PWM

There is no sign of pulse width modulation (PWM) at any output level on LD02 - the light appears to be fully current-controlled and flicker-free. :)

Beamshots:

For white-wall beamshots below, all lights are on Max output on an Eneloop NiMH AAA. Lights are about ~0.75 meter from a white wall (with the camera ~1.25 meters back from the wall). Automatic white balance on the camera, to minimize tint differences.

LD02-Beam%20001.jpg
i3-2014-Beam001.jpg

Ti3-Beam2.jpg
L08-XPG2-Beam001.jpg


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i3-2014-Beam002.jpg

Ti3-Beam3.jpg
L08-XPG2-Beam002.jpg


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i3-2014-Beam003.jpg

Ti3-Beam4.jpg
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The optic on the LD02 doesn't produce a greatly different beam from a reflector in these small sized lights. The hotspot is perhaps slightly less sharply defined, with a more gradual transition in intensity to the periphery.

Testing Method:

All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, as described on my flashlightreviews.ca website. 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 any extended run Lo/Min modes (i.e. >12 hours) which are done without cooling.

I have devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values (ROV) to estimated Lumens. See my How to convert Selfbuilt's Lightbox values to Lumens thread for more info.

My summary tables are reported in a manner consistent with the ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. Please see http://www.flashlightreviews.ca/FL1.htm for a discussion, and a description of all the terms used in these tables. Effective July 2012, I have updated all my Peak Intensity/Beam Distance measures with a NIST-certified Extech EA31 lightmeter (orange highlights).

LD02-FL1-Summary.gif


Max output is pretty standard for the class, although the low mode seems higher than most other multi-level lights. As an aside, the Fenix E99Ti appears to have a largely identical circuit and beam pattern, although my sample has a lower Lo mode.

To explore output levels further on the LD02, here is an estimated lumen table on all modes:

LD02-Lumens.gif


Clearly, NiMH is required to access the maximum output possible. Let's check out the runtimes for more info.

Runtimes

For all my AA/AAA reviews, I've started including Panasonic Eneloop Pro NiMH cells. For AAA, these are basically the same as the second generation Sanyo Eneloop "XX-powered" Pro cells, now manufactured under the Panasonic name. They have a typical capacity of 950mAh (900mAh min), which is higher than the original Sanyo AAA Eneloops (typical 800mAh). For the time being, I will show both types of cells in my reviews.

LD02-HiEne.gif

LD02-MedEne.gif


LD02-HiEnePro.gif

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The LD02 steps down from Hi to Med after 3 mins runtime. As such, the Hi and Med runtimes above don't look very different.

The light shows good regulation on its Med level, and is remarkably efficient for this class of flashlight. :eek:oo:

Potential Issues

The LD02 steps down from Hi to Med after 3 mins continuous runtime. However, you can always switch through modes to return to Hi.

Lo mode (min output) is higher than most light in this class.

There is no memory mode, and the LD02 always starts on Med.

The LD02 cannot tailstand, due to the projecting reverse clicky switch.

Pocket clip (clip-on style) is not reversible, so only bezel down carry is possible

10440 Li-ion is not supported.

Preliminary Observations

The LD02 is a strong addition to the 1xAAA keychain class. It is always particularly nice to see a tailcap clicky in this size (a relative rarity). And thanks to the simple interface and anodized threads, you can always use it as a simple twisty. :wave:

The circuit performance of the LD02 is simply outstanding. The light is fully flat-regulated at all levels, with excellent efficiency. Fenix always shows the best current-controlled circuits out there – and the LD02 is particularly impressive for the AAA class. :thumbsup:

Build-wise, I like the reasonable knurling (although some on the head would help when running it as a twisty). It is a thoughtful design with the clicky switch. I know some would like a "forward clicky" style, but that just isn't feasible in this small form factor (i.e., none of the competitors offer it either).

Beam pattern is not that different from most of the reflectored lights in this class, with a broad hotspot. I guess with the small size, no type of focusing is going to have too much of an impact.

Are there any drawbacks? Well tailstanding is out, and it is a fairly basic (and non-reversible) snap-on pocket clip. User interface is similarly limited (Med - Lo - Hi), and the light automatically steps down from Hi after 3 mins (although you can easily re-engage). But these are minor quibbles in my book: performance is excellent here, and the feature set is very good for the class. Still, I do wish it had a much lower low - that's something I really like on a keychain light. Price is quite reasonable for what you are getting, especially with available discounts (see my flashlightreviews.ca site for a discount code).

I expect this light will do very well in the 1xAAA marketplace. :wave:

----

Fenix LD02 supplied by Gearbest.com for review.
 
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1DaveN

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Thanks for an excellent, perfectly timed review. I was just wishing for a review of the LD02 after reading Str9stroke's equally excellent review of the Surefire Titan AAA.

Not that it matters, but I think I prefer the Fenix. I've never had a Surefire, but I like the LD02's knurling and pocket clip, and it's half the price.
 

Ryp

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Thanks for the review!

I noticed your reviews are always posted before your video is uploaded. Is it because you have the link before subscribers can see it (while it's processing) and post it here?
 

mwmccormick

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Jul 22, 2011
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In the side by side pic, it states that the other PB light is a Titanium Innovations Illumnati. What is the actual model of that light? I have a CA1 and its by far my favorite AAA light due to the excellent medium mode. It's in my pocket as much as a knife or coins.
Anyway, I cannot find that version anywhere, even checking your review and the retailer for it. Could you elaborate?

EDIT: Nevermind, I see it is not an Illuminati. It still intrigues me.......
 
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selfbuilt

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I noticed your reviews are always posted before your video is uploaded. Is it because you have the link before subscribers can see it (while it's processing) and post it here?
Yes. :)

It's mainly because I am lazy. The video includes a link to this thread, and I only have the address once the review is published. But I can control when the video goes public, and so just paste the link in there at the same as I make it public, to save going back and editing.

Not that it matters, but I think I prefer the Fenix. I've never had a Surefire, but I like the LD02's knurling and pocket clip, and it's half the price.
Haven't see the Surefire, but I do like the knurling on the LD02, and its compact size.

EDIT: Nevermind, I see it is not an Illuminati. It still intrigues me.......
Ooops, sorry about that. It is the Lumintop Tool AAA. I just corrected the legend. I included to show how much longer most clicky-based AAA lights are.
 

gkbain

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Thanks for the review. My Fenix E01 needs company. This one might just do it.
 

blah9

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Thank you for the review! I always thought I'd like this better than my LD01, but the tailstanding feature is very nice at times. Hmm...
 

Phlogiston

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Thanks for the review, Selfbuilt :) I actually have several LD02s already, but I do like to have your expert-level graphs and stats for future reference.

The LD02's a nice light, I carry one as my belt EDC. I actually find the mode levels just right for me, because I have no night sight to speak of. I can't go much lower than the LD02's 8-lumen low, so it doesn't bother me when Fenix omit the firefly / moonlight / low-low modes. I would prefer an L-M-H mode sequence instead of the M-L-H one, though (more thoughts on that subject here).

I'm not entirely convinced that the supplied pocket clip will stay on, and it's not reversible, because it fits into a recess near the tail to stop it sliding lengthwise on the body. That makes it bezel-down carry only.

However, I have discovered that an LD01 clip - available as a spare part, no less - will fit for bezel-up carry, so that's what I do. Be warned, though: you do have to ram it on, and it will do nasty things to the anodising on the light. I wouldn't count on getting the clip off again, either, but that's what I want, so I don't care. It now makes a very nice impromptu headlamp when clipped to the brim of my baseball cap.

Side note: the LD01 clip will fit on an E05 as well, with the same provisos.

By the way, if your LD02 switch ever breaks - it doesn't look to be user replaceable - you can apparently resurrect it as a twisty. Swede74 has discovered that the LD02 head will work on the E05 body (link). Unfortunately, it doesn't work the other way; I would long since have legoed some clicky switch E05 2014s if it did :)

Random thought: I wonder if an LD02 head would work on an E01 body too?
 

guitarhero

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The threading on the E01 head is male, while female on the LD02 (and nearly all other lights). Shame, because a clicky E01 sounds very interesting.
but the E05 head is female thread if i remember correctly. Could you not fit an E05s head on a LD02s body?
guitarhero
 

Chay

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but the E05 head is female thread if i remember correctly. Could you not fit an E05s head on a LD02s body?
guitarhero

I just tried it, it doesn't work but the head from the LD02 will work on the body of the E05 (2014).
 

selfbuilt

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I'm not entirely convinced that the supplied pocket clip will stay on, and it's not reversible, because it fits into a recess near the tail to stop it sliding lengthwise on the body. That makes it bezel-down carry only.
However, I have discovered that an LD01 clip - available as a spare part, no less - will fit for bezel-up carry, so that's what I do. Be warned, though: you do have to ram it on, and it will do nasty things to the anodising on the light.
Thanks for the tip. I had mentioned in the review that the stock LD02 clip was not reversible, but realize now that it may not have been prominent enough. I have added that point again to the potential issues section (since I think a reversible clip is a good idea of a small light).
 

KarstGhost

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Nov 24, 2009
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I ordered this light thanks to selfbuilt's great review.

I love it :) so nice to have a clicky on a light this small.
 

wacbzz

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I love it :) so nice to have a clicky on a light this small.

This.

And I almost think this bonus part of the light is being overlooked by many. There is no "break in" period like most (if not all) AAA twisty lights and you never, ever have to use two hands to operate it. With the output on NiMH batteries, this light is more adequate for it's intended use. Yeah, it doesn't have a .0000000000001 lumen low output, but then if that's the strike against it, Fenix has a homerun in the AAA light category. It's almost like complaining that the AAA pocket/keychain light doesn't have 200 or more lumens. Some folks need to get a grip on the intended use of the light...

Great review (as always) of the light Selfbuilt! :thumbsup:
 

GordoJones88

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Hey man, you stuck the Fenix E99Ti in there without me almost noticing.

I'm a little surprised both the E99Ti and the LD02 XPE2 hit 140 lumens. Nice.
 

selfbuilt

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Hey man, you stuck the Fenix E99Ti in there without me almost noticing.
I'm a little surprised both the E99Ti and the LD02 XPE2 hit 140 lumens. Nice.
Yeah, they seem to be basically the same head internals (i.e., emitter, circuit and optic), just with different bodies. Not sure why the variation on the Lo mode, though.
 

Berneck1

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Feb 14, 2012
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I think I may pick this light up and put it into my rotation. I have often wished Eagletac would make a D25A-clicky into an AAA light. I prefer rear clicky lights to twisty lights. This may be what I've been looking for. I kind of wish the switch was a little more recessed, but it may not pose and issue. I'll have to see.


Sent from my iPad using Candlepowerforums
 

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