My husband and I have acquired a small collection of flashlights and use our favorite ones regularly. This one is mine. We primarily use them for walking our dogs in the dark. Because of the hot climate, we take our flashlights out almost year round. When the sun goes down in the summer it often stays hot for hours after sunset and since our pugs don’t do well in the heat, we often find ourselves out walking between 10 and 11 pm in the hottest months.
This becomes an issue especially when we’re wearing darker clothes. Clothes that are difficult to see at night tend to be the clothes we wear the most and those are basically black and at night, meaning that cars often have a hard time seeing us. Add to that the fact that we need a light source to pick up after our dogs and see any discarded cigarettes or trash our dogs might pick up and we need a good flashlight.
This flashlight is definitely a good one. We favor lithium powered LED flashlights with rechargeable batteries. Typically, the best ones use Cree LEDs and take either a 18650 rechargeable or two CR123A batteries.
The Fenix is no exception but stands out in other areas. Almost all our best flashlights are quite long and have a bulky thick head that doubles as a heat-sink to dissipate heat build-up inside the lens. When the two of us are walking our three dogs and carrying a bag of their mess, the larger flashlights can be quite cumbersome. Even with a lanyard around your wrist you want to be able to point the flashlight with one hand and walk one or two dogs at the same time.
The Fenix RC11 is pretty much a perfect size. The main barrel or body of the flashlight is quite short for this type of flashlight. It’s only about 4.5 inches long and less than an inch diameter. It’s scarcely thicker than the battery inside. It only unscrews to open in one place, just behind the head. Often flashlights separate at each end with a button on the back.
I think having the flashlight open in one place and having a single low profile multi-function button up front allowed the Fenix to be more compact. The only smaller flashlight we own was actually too small. It took a single AAA battery that barely lasted a single walk. The Fenix lasts several days with no sign of the charge running out.
The Fenix has a uniform thickness except for a slightly contoured band behind the lens that has a concave contoured grip on either side. It also has a low profile multi-function button set in the top and a brass colored magnetic charging plate slightly recessed underneath. The face is glass with a high lens polished to a mirror finish. It has a slight bezel integrated into the head that protects the glass when the flashlight is placed on end on a flat surface. The length of the body is mostly knurled with a pen type clip attached. The clip can be removed with significant force without breaking it if you would rather go without. The entire flashlight seems to be made of black anodized aluminum except for the last quarter inch at the back which seems to be a plastic cap used for fastening the included lanyard wrist strap.
Other accessories include:
Flat Micro USB cable charger. This is an interesting cable. Behind the Micro USB plug, there is a magnetic brass plate similar to the one on the body. When the cable is plugged into a power source the two plates hook up and are held together by the magnetic link and the flashlight battery is charged while inside the flashlight. On the reverse side to the plate is a green LED. Another cool thing is that there is a micro USB plug at the end which means you can simultaneously charge another electronic device like an Android phone or Tablet.
I really like this flashlight’s charging cable. It’s very convenient. You can plug it into any regular USB port including phone AC adapter, car accessory or USB plug. While the flashlight charges, the green LED blinks regularly. When it’s at full capacity, the green LED light is solid.
The flashlight comes with both types of batteries: two CR123A disposable batteries and the 18650 rechargeable lithium battery. The single use 2xRC123A batteries are a little brighter with shorter life and do overdrive the LED at maximum brightness. While the single large rechargeable 18650 is higher capacity and only slightly less bright.
A simple nylon belt pouch is included. It has a large loop that can fit a belt that’s up to 2 ¼ inches wide and a small loop for a carbineer or similar clip. It’s a fairly rugged pouch that closes with a flip down flap that fastens to the front with Velcro. There is enough opening at the bottom for dirt and moisture to escape.
The flashlight also comes with a thin wrist strap that can easily be fastened to the butt of the flashlight.
The flashlight is fantastic. It is a very good fit for both my husband’s large hands and my much smaller hands. It’s not particularly long or thick and fits snugly in your fist. It doesn’t feel heavy and awkwardly bulky; nor is it too small and fiddly. In other words, it’s just the right compact size for maximum convenience and, because of the single button and simple magnetic tethering for charging, it can be operated just as easily when wearing gloves.
The multi-function button provides several modes.
Long press turns it on or off.
Short presses when on cycle through the five illumination modes. The lowest being quite discreet to an amazingly bright turbo. (It’s a kind of overdrive mode).
From the off position an overly long press transitions to a flashing mode that switches between a fast flash to a super-fast strobe that can be quite disorienting.
One nice feature is that when turned off, the next time you switch it on it resumes at the same illumination setting as you left off.
The light cast from the flashlight has a strong hotspot in the center with smooth slight gradient falloff. The lowest setting is great for looking discreetly at close quarters as you would when you need to unlock a door without blinding yourself and losing your night vision.
The next two modes are ideal for walking at a decent pace with your dogs. The fourth mode is good for traveling at speed where you need to look further ahead. So for a jog or just spotting. I don’t really use turbo which is more for spotting distant objects out or combined with the flashing mode it could easily disorient someone if flashed in their face. You could also use it to signal over long distances in an emergency. I should note that the flashlight gets quite hot in turbo mode whereas the other modes leave it merely warm.
After almost a year of constant use, this is easily my favorite flashlight. Prior to this I was resigned to using a trusty old double AAA flashlight. My husband got to use all the fancy ones that were great but too large for me. The Fenix RC11 works great for both of us but is the perfect fit for me. I really like the charger too; it’s not fiddly and doesn’t require an AC outlet. You can charge from a computer USB, car USB outlet or one of the several portable power banks we have at home including a solar powered one that we can take on trips and charge through the day even in remote areas without electricity. I really can’t find anything wrong with this flashlight; it covers all bases and has all the accessories and both types of batteries included. You don’t need anything extra and it is ready to run straight out of the box.
Disclaimer: I received this flashlight in exchange for an honest and fair review. The opinions expressed are my own.
Product Name: Fenix RC11 1000 Lumens Cree XM-L2 U2 LED Flashlight
Product Description: Comes with 1x 18650 Rechargeable Battery, USB Charging Cable and 2x LumenTac CR123A Batteries