Cut or Carry: Fenix E30R Flashlight Review
While my sickness is generally limited to knives and watches, I do have a special place in my heart for flashlights. To be completely honest, I have not historically carried a daily flashlight – that is until my recent Nitecore TIP SE acquisition…but that’s a post for a future day. Regardless, I will occasionally pickup a new light when I see something that looks interesting. The Fenix E30R was such a light, and I was recently able to try it out.
I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Fenix. My grandfather and I shared a similar personality, and in his later years he was really into knives, watches, flashlights and generally anything remotely mechanical or interesting. When he passed away, I inherited some of his collection – and a Fenix P3D was easily my favorite among his lights. I absolutely adored that light, and was bummed to discover that it started pulsing/flickering about a year ago when my son dropped it. Anyway, I’ve always loved Fenix because of that light, and when I saw this E30R, I jumped on it.
When I first opened it up, I was immediately impressed by the quality. It feels really solid – not too heavy, but robust. Size on a light like this can really be a make or break thing, and I found this one to be near perfect. Unlike my JetBeam RRT01, it’s big enough so that your hand is naturally positioned to operate the switch. Additionally, for the price, the packaging is nicely done and the overall experience lends to a pretty good value proposition before even turning on the light.
The light has 5 modes plus a strobe effect and runs on a rechargeable 18650 battery. The modes range in steps from a “eco” mode of ~30 lumens all the way up to a mega 1600 lumen “turbo” mode. All in all, I found the steps themselves to be nicely done, though a bit unneeded. I think 3 would have been plenty, as I rarely find myself in a position that doesn’t either need a super-low , general use or super-bright output.
As I used the steps over a few weeks, the one frustration I continually had was that there was no memory. As in, if I was using step 3 – what I call the “general use” mode – when I turned the light on and off, I would need to step all the way back up to it starting in the “eco” mode. Really just an annoyance, but unfortunately those add up on this light.
An even greater annoyance to me was the pocket clip – it’s oriented the wrong way. You’ll see me describe this in the video, but it’s incredibly unintuitive to me. While I can appreciate what they’re trying to do – namely, giving you the option to use this as a headlamp or clip it to something external – it really does detract from the overall carry experience, and I fumbled around with this literally every time I tried to put this in my pocket. This is something that I was just slightly disappointed with at first, but grew really frustrated with over time.
Lastly, while I thought the magnetic charging port was cool, I determined over a few weeks that it was not ideal for me in a daily flashlight (or even household flashlight). If you lose that one specific cable, no charge for you! While this may not be an issue when the light is still manufactured and it’s fresh, new and cool in my mind…am I going to be able to remember where I put the cable in 5 years? I can barely remember what I had for breakfast, so I’m guessing not. That’s an added complication that I don’t need in my life.
Cut for me. Cool light, very capable, fantastic output and size. But there were too many things that just didn’t work for me in the long haul.