We received a sample of the Fenix PD36R tactical flashlight without initially giving it too much thought. When it was suggested to us to evaluate it, the PD36R did not seem at a cursory glance to be all that different from the plethora of similar styled LED flashlights on the market.
But, different it is, and in a very good way. Taking the time to check out the specs on the Fenix web page , quite interesting features and figures can be found. First off, this tough, relatively light and compact flashlight can output up to 1600 Lumen, is powered by an included 5000 mAh Li-Ion rechargeable battery that can be fast charged using a USB-C cable, has a two button control user interface that allows to cycle between six different light emission modes (including strobe), is weather resistant and sports a two way body clip.
Let’s take a detailed look at the Fenix PD36R flashlight
The body is CNC machine-built out of a durable aluminum alloy, is Type III hard anodized for protection, weighs 245 gand is IP68 rated (submergible to 2 m depth for 30 minutes). It is very compact, being 136 mm long and 25.4 mm in diameter with the head measuring 26.4 mm. It feels perfectly sized in the hand and is hefty without being heavy in the pocket. Attention to detail is obvious, with no defects in the machining at all and with a perfect finish.
The Fenix PD36R is powered by a 21700 Li-Ion 5000 mAh high-capacity rechargeable battery. The 21700 has been developed by Panasonic and Tesla to be the highest energy density with lower cost of all Li-Ion commercial batteries. The 21700 cell offers double the capacity and power of standard batteries, allowing a surprising amount of runtime at unprecedented lumen brightness levels.
The built-in USB-C port is protected by a rubber plug and is fast charge compatible, with a full charge taking place in 4 hours and 10 minutes of charge translates to 5 hours runtime at 30 lm level.
The tailcap switch allows momentary and on-off operation, while the copper plated button on the head, featuring a battery level status led, is used to cycle between the various operating modes; from 1600, to 800, 350, 150 and 30 lumen, and with a press and hold of a half second it goes into 1600 lm Strobe mode. The flashlight remembers the last used mode and will turn on with that mode active.
The emitter used is a Luminus SST40W, a device that is white rated at 6500 K, very similar to natural daylight, although the color rendering index from the spec is quite standard at just 70 CRI.
The battery can be easily replaced unscrewing the head of the flashlight off, and a replacement O-Ring and tailcap rubber is also included. Up to 115 hours of operation at 30 Lumen levels are possible, while in Turbo mode runtime is 2 hours and 50 minutes; however, the brightness level of 1600 lm is actually available only for the first few minutes, and then it rapidly falls off to about 800 lm. The beam is claimed to reach a throw of 283 m at the highest power output.
All this is rather impressive, only five years ago flashlights capable of reaching 1500 lm were outrageously expensive – not to mention large – and had miserable runtimes. The two way body clip allows the PD36R to be carried and mounted anywhere, including MOLLE systems; additionally, a nylon holster and a lanyard are also included.
Fenix PD36R flashlight: wrap-up
Our experience of use is very positive. The Fenix PD36R tactical flashlight is tough, powerful, easy to control and very reliable. The USB-C fast charging port and the technology of the 21700 cell are a definitive plus, in our opinion. The light pattern is even, with a hot spot in the center that gives excellent concentrated throw and good side awareness. The shape of the tailcap and the size of the rubber on/off button do not allow the PD36R to tailstand, but it’s really a minor gripe. The features make this flashlight the perfect partner for everyday carry, and we surprised ourselves more than once checking our PC backpack for the PD36R in the morning before going to work.
Last but not least, the price. At the time of this review, the Fenix PD36R tactical flashlight retails for 99.95 USD in the US at the Fenix Store webshop, while in the EU, MRSP is more or less around 100 euro, depending on the country and VA. Fenix Store also offers international shipping.
For more information and purchase of the Fenix PD36R tactical flashlight, visit the Fenix Store Webshop