Flashlight – Fenix L0D (Ultralightweight Flashlight) – 1 x AAA

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Rating: ★★★★☆

A few years prior to purchasing the Fenix L0D, I carried a MagLite Solitaire.  I upgraded the Solitaire’s stock incandescent bulb with a SMJ LED drop in module.  I couldn’t believe how bright my Solitaire became.  I typically need to use a flashlight for work, so the upgraded Solitaire was a constant companion.  I haven’t paid any attention to how far LED flashlights have developed since then.

Fast forward to about 2007, I first discovered the Fenix line of flashlights.  Although Fenix is a company based in China, they made high-quality lights that should last you a lifetime.  The L0D was the first flashlight I bought from them, and even to this day, I am amazed by how much light comes out of this little thing.  All of the sudden, it made my upgraded Mag Solitaire, which I thought was amazingly bright, look like a toy light that comes with your cereal. 

The Fenix L0d uses the Cree 7090 XR-E (Q4 bin) LED.  It has 5 output modes, which is: 30 Lumens(3.5hrs) -> 11 Lumens(8.5hrs) -> 75 Lumens(1hrs) ->Strobe -> SOS.   The Fenix L0d has a simple User-interface (UI).  Twist the head tight and it’ll start at medium mode at around 30 lumens, which is more than enough light 90% of the time.  You turn the light off and back on quickly, it’ll switch to a low mode at around 11 lumens.  The low mode is useful if you want to navigate in the dark without disturbing other people.  Personally, I feel that even 11 lumens is too much light and would ruin your night-adapted vision.  You turn the light off and back on quickly, and you’ll go into high mode at around 75 lumens.  The high mode is nice to have in case of emergency, but 99% of the time, the low and medium mode will suffice.  Obviously, the high mode is not design to be run for an extended period of time.  Even after a few minutes, the light gets very hot.  You turn the light off and on again and you’ll go into strobe mode.  I personally found this mode to be rather useless and prefer not to have it.  Finally, you turn the light off and on again, it’ll go into SOS mode.

Pros:

  • Lightweight.
  • Runs on common AAA battery. 
  • Long runtime on low and medium mode, and has a really bright high mode. 
  • Can tailstand on flat surface to be used as a candle. 
  • Waterproof to IPX-8 standard. 
  • Lifetime warranty if purchased from 4sevens.com. 

Cons:

  • Does not include pocket clip.  The body is anti-roll designed, but it still rolls if you drop it or leave it on an uneven surface.  The pocket clip would serve as a better anti-rolling mechanism.  Although it doesn’t come with one, you could purchase a pocket clip seperately.
  • At the time of this review, the CREE Q4 led is already outdated.  The most current CREE led is the R2, which is more efficient and brighter.

Relative:

  • Although it runs on Akaline batteries, it is not efficient (see footnote [1]).  It is best when paired with rechargable Ni-Mh batteries (see footnote [2]). 
  • Ringy beam profile, which is common with CREE led. 
  • Although Fenix claims that they used Type III Hard Anodized (HA) finish, it doesn’t appear to be true Type-III HA.  It gets scratched rather easily.  it is not important if cosmetics is not of a concern. 
  • Strobe mode is rather useless

Rating: 4 out of 5

Availability: https://www.4sevens.com/product_info.php?cPath=22_56&products_id=191

Price:
$46.50

Fenix L0D Next to a MagLite Solitaire

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Runtime Chart of an Older Model Fenix L0D-CE – On High

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Runtime Chart of an Older Model Fenix L0D-CE – On Medium
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Runtime Chart of an Older Model Fenix L0D-CE – On Low
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Footnotes

[1] Akaline batteries are poor choice to be used in conjunction with high-current drawing electronic devices.  This is because Akaline batteries have high internal resistance, and thus instead of providing the power source necessary to run the electronic devices, the power gets lost in the form of heat energy. 

[2] Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-Mh) have lower internal resistance, making them ideal for high-current drawing electronic devices.  One caveat, however, is that Ni-Mh self-discharges quickly.  In other words, it is typical to expect a 25% reduction in power every month even if it’s not used.  You should expect the battery to be out of power within 3-4 months.  Over the past few years, battery manufacturers have come out with low self-discharged (LSD) batteries.  The companies claimed that the LSD batteries can maintain 80-85% of their charge even after one year.  I’ve tried a couple of brands, and the one that seems to be very good is Sanyo Eneloop (also recommended by many hobbyists)

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