Fenix TK75 [3xXM-L U2, 4x18650] Review

candle lamp

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Jun 16, 2010
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South Korea
The TK75 is high-output, 3xXM-L U2, 4x18650 flashlight from Fenix.

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The production version sent to me came in the nice plastic case. Included inside is the light, user manual, warranty card, two extra o-rings, lanyard.
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Manufacturer Specifications from user manual :

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Notice : The above mentioned parameters (lab-tested by Fenix using ARB-L2 18650 rechargeable Li-ion batteries) are approximate and may vary between flashlights, batteries, and environments.

• Uses Cree XM-L (U2) LED with lifespan of 50,000 hours
• Uses foure 18650 rechargeable Li-ion batteries
• 185mm (Length) x 52.5mm (Diameter) x 87.5mm (Head)
• 510-gram weight (excluding batteries)
• Digitally regulated output - maintains constant brightness
• Low-voltage warning function to alert users to replace the batteries
• Reverse polarity protection guards against improper battery installation
• Over-heat protection to avoid high-temperature of the surface
• Dual button switch system in the front for quick switching
• Made of durable aircraft-grade aluminum
• Premium Type III hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish
• Toughened ultra-clear glass lens with anti-reflective coating
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The hard (type III) anodizing is a matt black, with no chips or damage on my sample. There are identification labels on the head only. The lettering is clear and white gainst the background. The manufacturer, model name, and serial number are at the bottom of the head. The hot warning mark is just below the bezel ring.
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The light has mainly 3 parts (i.e. head, battery tube, and tailcap). There is a battery carrier in the tube.
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The light has a stainless steel scalloped bezel ring and a waterproof o-ring between the bezel ring and reflector. There are three thin and three thick cooling fins on the head. The head base of the light has a positive contact point to contact with the positive contact of the battery carrier. The wide negative contact rim surrounds the central positive contact.
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The light uses AR coating lens, and the purple hue is reflected on it.
The TK75 has a large head and uses three cool white XM-L U2 emitters, each emitter is perfectly centered in their own deep and smooth reflector well. There are few very small bubbles around reflectors, but do not affect the beam quality in the real world. The wells overlap slightly, but each reflector is somewhat deep overall, so I would expect peripheral artifacts in the spill and the good throw of beam.
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The TK75 uses electronic switches in the head to control on-off and mode switching. These are conveniently located right below the cooling fins on the head. The right switch controls on-off, and the left controls mode selection and output levels within each mode.
The switching travel is average like this kind of switch with average resistance, and provides audible click when engaged.
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The light uses a plastic battery carrier that holds 4x18650 cells which are arranged in 2S2P. It looks much sturdier and well-made than earlier models. The positive & negative contact point on the carrier are all springs.
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The positive contact plate is significantly raised, and the negative contact spring has good elasticity. So all types (i.e., true flat-tops, wide and small button-tops) of 18650's work fine. Longer cells may be somewhat tight, but all my protected high capacity (2600~3100mAh) cells fit. The battery carrier isn't reversible because it has positive and negative connection terminals on the one side only (i.e., the current is carried through the battery carrier). You should be careful to insert the 18650's into the battery carrier in the correct polarity.
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The positive contact point is very nicely fillet curved, so doesn't seem it may catch on the wrapper on the flat cells when removing them. There is haunched part outside the positive contact point will help to remove the batteries from the carrier.
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You can see the fully loaded battery carrier with unprotected & protected cells. I don't have any issue to insert my shortest & longest 18650 cells into the carrier. But note that the cells with longer & wider diameter will have little difficulty when inserting into or removing from the battery carrier. It introduces no rattle even when I shake the light laterally when it's fully loaded with 18650's unprotected in my sample. Note that only 4x18650 li-ion cells can be used in the light (i.e., it doesn't support multiple CR123A or RCR123A).
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Screw threads at the head & tail side are trapezoidal & square cut, and seems good quality. Both male & female threads on the head, battery tube, and tailcap are fully anodized, but it doesn't really matter since the current is carried though the battery carrier only. However lock-out is still possible if you unscrew the tailcap or head two full turns or more when not in use. They are smooth with no cross-threading or squeaking on my sample.
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The battery tube continues the cylindrical shape. The overall checkered pattern of the handle has many segments which also have a large number of tiny concentric ring ridges running along. This pattern gives a very good grip. Tube walls are as thick as most of the multi 18650 high-output lights I have reviewed.
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There are four couples of holes at the rear end of the tailcap for lanyard attachment.
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You can attach the lanyard came with the light as shown above. The light can tailstand with the lanyard attached stably.
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From left to right, VicLite 18650 protected, Blackshadow Terminator, Niteye EYE40, Fenix TK75, Xtar S1.
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The head size & body weight excluding battery of TK75 & S1 are as follows :
TK75 - 87.9mm / 506g, S1 - 83.4mm / 877g
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The gripability is good. The build feels solid, and I find handling & balance of the light is good. Overall build quality is very high.
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Measured Dimensions & Weight

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User Interface

There are two modes (i.e., general mode & flashing mode).
On-off is controlled by the right switch and output mode switching is controlled by the left switch on the head.
Cick the right switch to turn the light on-off. Click the left switch to advance through the output states.

1) General mode
The general (or constant) output mode is the default setting when you turn the light on. Press the left switch to cycle through Low –> Med. –> High –> Turbo output, in a repeating cycle. The light has output level memory, and remembers the last output level used when you turn the light off and back on, even after a battery change.

2) Flashing mode
The “hidden” Strobe, SOS are accessed by clicking and holding the side button switch for one second and three seconds respectively. A single press on the side switch will return to the memorized output level in general mode. The flashing mode has no memory.
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Standby Current Drain

Due to the electronic side switches, the light has a small current when the battier carrier is loaded with cells and in contact to the head. I measured this current as 54.2μA with 4xVicLite 18650 (2600mAh) cells. Since the cells are arranged in 2S2P for 4x18650 cells, that would translate into around 10 years before the cells would be fully drained. If you want to break this current, store the light locked-out by loosening the head or tailcap or remove the carrier from the battery tube when not in use.
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PWM

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The light shows no sign of PWM at any output levels. I do think the light is actually current-controlled as claimed. I notice there is neither buzzing sound nor tint-shift at all output levels with the naked eye on my sample.
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Runtime

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Runtime performance is very good and flat regulation is evident on Turbo I tested. I could see the light dropped down to a very low output, instead of completely shutting off when the battery protection circuit was reached. The above runtime labelled as "Turbo-Accu." is an accumulated runtime for Turbo output. Regulation is maintained very nicely through Turbo mode on 4x18650 batteries.
The TK75 steps down on Turbo to High after around 20 mins runtime. This is a timed drop-down considering the battery depletion, not a thermal sensor feature to avoid overheating the light. As with the other Fenix lights, the regulation pattern and runtime efficiency of the current controlled circuit seems excellent.

The runtime accumulated Turbo output last on VicLite 18650 (2600mAh) is appr. 39 mins in my test. While it's appr. 67 mins on NLTEK18650 (3000mAh).
The runtime for 10% output of accumulated Turbo on VicLite & NLTEK are appr. 146 mins & 84 mins in my test.

* Note that the original cell of the NLTEK is LGABD11865 (3000mAh), and its maximum charging voltage is 4.35v for full capacity. But charged it 4.2v for runtime test, so the capacity is about 2700mAh reduced with about 300mAh.

There are three distinct step-downs (i.e., Turbo to High, High to Med., Med. to Low) at the stage of battery depletion. I could see there was times flashing or blinking to indicate low voltage on low output level.

[New 13.01.09]
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I've added runtime for non-accumulated Turbo output on NLTEK 18650 (3000mAh). The runtime for 10% output of non-accumulated Turbo on VicLite & NLTEK are appr. 196 mins & 198 mins respectively. The difference of the entire runtime between two 18650's is almost imperceptible, while the High output duration on NLTEK is longer than VicLite by 10 mins. [New 13.01.09]
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[New 13.01.08]
Relative Output Comparison

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[New 13.01.08]
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Beamshot

1. White door beamshot

- ISO100, F/10.0, 1/200sec, Auto white balance

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- ISO100, F/10.0, 1/400sec, Auto white balance

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- ISO100, F/10.0, 1/640sec, Auto white balance

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- ISO100, F/10.0, 1/1000sec, Auto white balance

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2. Indoor beamshot (about 7m from the target)

- ISO100, F/2.8, 1/8sec, Auto white balance


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- Control Shot
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- TK75 (XM-L U2)
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- S1 (XM-L U2)
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3. 55m Outdoor Beamshot

- ISO100, F/2.8, 1sec, Auto white balance


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- Control Shot
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- TK75 (XM-L U2)
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- S1 (XM-L U2)
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4. 60~65m Outdoor Beamshot

- ISO100, F/2.8, 1sec, Auto white balance


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- Control Shot
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- TK75 (XM-L U2)
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- S1 (XM-L U2)
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5. 140m Outdoor Beamshot
- ISO100, F/2.8, 1sec, Auto white balance

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- Control Shot
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- TK75 (XM-L U2)
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- S1 (XM-L U2)
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6. 150m Outdoor Beamshot

- ISO100, F/2.8, 1sec, Auto white balance

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- Control Shot
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- TK75 (XM-L U2)
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- S1 (XM-L U2)
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[New 13.02.14] Beamshot for TK75 & K40

7. 55m Outdoor Beamshot

- ISO100, F/2.8, 1sec, Auto white balance

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-Control Shot
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-K40
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- TK75
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8. 60~65m Outdoor Beamshot

- ISO100, F/2.8, 1sec, Auto white balance

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- Control Shot
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- K40
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- TK75
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9. 140m Outdoor Beamshot
- ISO100, F/2.8, 1sec, Auto white balance

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- Control Shot
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- K40
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- TK75
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10. 150m Outdoor Beamshot

- ISO100, F/2.8, 1sec, Auto white balance

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- Control Shot
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- K40
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- TK75
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[New 13.02.14]
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  • TK75 supplied by Fenix for review. Thanks!
 
Last edited:

kolbasz

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 3, 2012
Messages
74
Location
Szombathely, Hungary
Your neighbours must be happy. You make daylight in the night!:)

Thanks for the review candle lamp!
I'm buying one next week. I'm so excited.
It's a very good flashlight, i'm only worried about the led's greenish tint and the position.
Hope mine will be perfect.

I'm wondering how long can be a maximum runtime on the 4NLTEK with only 20 min. turbo mode?
I'm just asking because i'm going to use mine with samsung 2800mAh.
 
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eusty

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 31, 2012
Messages
75
Location
UK
Thanks for the comparison to the S1 as these are the two lights I'm looking at. The indoor show with the plants is especially useful, as although the TK75 has a brighter hotspot it also has more flood :)


Still leaning to the TK.....
 

RCTPAVUK

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 28, 2012
Messages
139
Location
Montreal
So, they DO have quality made flashlights...
To bad i saw the line : "TK75 supplied by Fenix for review."
Others though have some pits on the reflector and non-centered leds... Take mine... SN f4udar00726
 

selfbuilt

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Joined
May 27, 2006
Messages
6,936
Location
Canada
Nice review candle lamp. Very clear, good write-up and pics. :thumbsup:

Impressive to see that they could get such good throw for 3x emitters in such a (relatively) small head. Looks like a much better carrier than the earlier lights too.

Cheers!
 

candle lamp

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 16, 2010
Messages
1,572
Location
South Korea
Thanks all of you including kj2 & gopajti!

Thanks for the comparison to the S1 as these are the two lights I'm looking at. The indoor show with the plants is especially useful, as although the TK75 has a brighter hotspot it also has more flood :)
Exactly! TK75 has a brighter hotspot & floodier spill at close range. At long range, it's definitely thrower.

So, they DO have quality made flashlights...
To bad i saw the line : "TK75 supplied by Fenix for review."
Others though have some pits on the reflector and non-centered leds... Take mine... SN f4udar00726
That's too bad. Although my sample has a some tiny bubbles on the reflector, it doesn't affect the beam quality. But if non-centered emitters have bad effects on the beam profile or quality, I would like to advise you to contact your dealer ASAP.

Nice review candle lamp. Very clear, good write-up and pics. :thumbsup:

Impressive to see that they could get such good throw for 3x emitters in such a (relatively) small head. Looks like a much better carrier than the earlier lights too.

Cheers!
Thanks Eric! In fact, at first glance I thought TK75 can't be such a good thrower, due to relatively shallow reflectors, my prediction was not on target.
Moreover, it has a bright hotspot & wide spill at close range (~15 meters).

Your neighbours must be happy. You make daylight in the night!:)

Thanks for the review candle lamp!
I'm buying one next week. I'm so excited.
It's a very good flashlight, i'm only worried about the led's greenish tint and the position.
Hope mine will be perfect.

I'm wondering how long can be a maximum runtime on the 4NLTEK with only 20 min. turbo mode?
I'm just asking because i'm going to use mine with samsung 2800mAh.
My sample shows very slight greenish tint on hotspot at a short distance (~1m).

The TK75 steps down on Turbo to High after 20 mins runtime. This is a timed drop-down. If you want to run more than 20 mins on turbo output level, just click the left switch. Then the turbo will be maintained until the battery is depleted. So turbo output level's runtime depend on the battery capacity & usage count. My 4xNLTEK were charged by 4.19~4.2V for runtime test and their capacity were appr. 2700mAh with that voltage.
I think Samsung 2800mAh will have good performance as well.

looks like the tk75 blows away the s1
Yes, TK75's hotspot is brighter.


P.S. : Relative output comparison updated!

Relative Output Comparison

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Last edited:

blah9

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 10, 2011
Messages
2,055
Thank you for the review; well done! I only have 2600 mAh batteries, so maybe sometime I'll have to get some higher-capacity ones down the road for my TK75.
 

Patriot

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Joined
Feb 13, 2007
Messages
11,211
Location
Arizona
An awesome and thorough review candle lamp! I was fortunate to get one on the day they started shipping and it's been difficult to explain just how we'll this thing throws for a triple. You've captured it perfectly in your beamshots though. Thanks for the great review and all of your hard work. :)
 

BLUE LED

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Apr 15, 2008
Messages
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Location
UK
looks like the tk75 blows away the s1

I too expected that the Xtar S1 would be a slightly better thrower than the Fenix TK75 and that the TK75 would be higher output.

My TK75 blows away my Xtar S1 in both Lux and Lumens and feels more comfortable. I really do like the more lighter and compact size of the TK75.

Fenix TK75 103k Lux
Xtar S1 Production, 66k Lux

I would like to see a similar lock-out system to the Olight SR series. I find the lock-out on the TK75 to be a little clumsy, as it takes too many turns to lock this light out properly.
 

candle lamp

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Joined
Jun 16, 2010
Messages
1,572
Location
South Korea
Thanks and glad you're enjoying the review.

Thank you for the review; well done! I only have 2600 mAh batteries, so maybe sometime I'll have to get some higher-capacity ones down the road for my TK75.
I think it's good idea. Please refer to HKJ's excellent 18650 tests for your reference.

An awesome and thorough review candle lamp! I was fortunate to get one on the day they started shipping and it's been difficult to explain just how we'll this thing throws for a triple. You've captured it perfectly in your beamshots though. Thanks for the great review and all of your hard work. :)
It's my pleasure. Patriot! :)

Thank You very much for the review. I will be buying the TK75 now because of this review.
Hope you like it. And :welcome: Gauntlet3D!
 

candle lamp

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Joined
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Messages
1,572
Location
South Korea
Shooting the beam over the other's flat, would the residents complaint about it:thinking:
Fortunately not. :sweat: I usually shine the beam while they are deeply asleep. Or they will notify the maintenance office, or they do secretly enjoy my beamshot. :D


P.S. : Runtime graph for non-accumulated Turbo on NLTEK 18650 updated!

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I've added runtime for non-accumulated Turbo output on NLTEK 18650 (3000mAh). The runtime for 10% output of non-accumulated Turbo on VicLite & NLTEK are appr. 196 mins & 198 mins respectively. The difference of the entire runtime between two 18650's is almost imperceptible, while the High output duration on NLTEK is longer than VicLite by 10 mins.
 

snakyjake

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Joined
Nov 28, 2007
Messages
668
Location
WA, USA
I'm disappointed by two things:

A) I wanted more flood/spill.
B) I don't like the UI. I was hoping the buttons meant up/down. I'm looking for lights that get me to my mode quickly, intuitively, and go in the direction I want to go. For example, if I'm on medium and want to go to low, I don't want to go through high to get there; I'd want to go in reverse.

For this many batteries, these kind of lights should have a built in charger for both recharge and maintenance charging.

Jake
 

g.p.

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Joined
Jan 3, 2009
Messages
387
B) I don't like the UI. I was hoping the buttons meant up/down. I'm looking for lights that get me to my mode quickly, intuitively, and go in the direction I want to go. For example, if I'm on medium and want to go to low, I don't want to go through high to get there; I'd want to go in reverse.
I was using my TK45 last night and thinking the same thing. It's amazing that other companies (Zebralight, and others I'm sure) have come up with a better UI with only one switch. Fenix should be able to do much better with two switches. There's no reason to have to keep cycling through all of the modes to get what you want.
 
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