Fenix E05

Following up on my Every Day Carry for Kids, I decided upon a flashlight for them.

The Fenix E05.

As you can see, the flashlight is very small, not much larger than the AAA battery that powers it.

But let’s back up. It’s important to understand that there are hundreds of models of flashlights on the market. So why pick one over the other? Well for me, right now it’s about context applicability. What’s going to be the best and right flashlight for the need and situation? In this case, the need is for an EDC flashlight that my kids can use. If you go back to my original post on the topic, some considerations include being small, being inexpensive, but also being useful. Looking at all the flashlights out there, the E05 fit MY desired needs the best.

So again you can see, it’s small. It’s intended as a keychain flashlight and certainly fits that bill.

It’s relatively inexpensive. It cost me $20, but since I received some Amazon gift cards for Christmas, it didn’t cost me anything. 🙂  Still, $20 is reasonable in my book for what I’m getting. Sure you can buy really small cheap LED lights for even less money, but I haven’t seen the performance be on par with this. And performance is kinda what matters most.

So on the performance front, some simple stats:

  • 27 max lumens
  • About a 3 hour runtime (I’ve read you can get up to 5 with lithium batteries)
  • Claims a 24 meter throw distance
  • Waterproof and impact resistant, tho of course within reason.

27 lumens out of such a tiny package. Wow! Take a look:

Not the best picture, but hopefully representative. The big feature of this particular light is the lens. It works to cast more of a floodlight than a spotlight. That certainly held true. While of course there’s a more intense beam in the middle, even that is fairly wide. Then beyond that a great deal of light is cast. It really lights up an area. You can see a LOT. That hallway is 7 yards from where I stood to the end wall. I even threw the light around some longer portions of the house and while the beam didn’t make it seem like daylight, it was sure enough to see what’s going on, both in terms of the reach of the light and the spread.

In tight quarters, I didn’t find the light to be difficult to read with either. No intense beam reflecting back into my eyes. Of course, if you hold the light really close to the page, sure it hurts your eyes, but whereas some other lights with more focused beams I can’t even hold the paper away from my eyes and avoid the reflection, here you can easily find a comfortable distance. Another bonus of the construction is the flat base, so you can stand the light upright like a candle to light up a room. There is only the 1 light setting (simple on or off), and it’s activated by twisting the lens/head of the light.

So this performance is the big reason I chose this light over others. For example, I had thought about the Fenix E01. I didn’t think the performance was as good, not bright enough, not wide enough. The battery life of the E01 is far superior, but that’s the trade-off. I figured that my kids could easily change a AAA battery if needed, and even with only “3 hours” of runtime, that should be more than ample for anything they’d need the light for. I think the LD15 would be better in a lot of respects, but it’s also a $40 light. SureFire doesn’t really have any lights that fit this form factor. Streamlight has the MicroStream, but it didn’t quite work for me (from what I could read online).

Maybe I’ve just spoiled my kids on good flashlights, or maybe I just want them to be able to have useful light. A little dinky squeeze light on a keychain that barely casts enough light to find the key hole? What’s the point? I want to be sure my kids can SEE something — especially danger (be it a person, or just that hole in the ground they wouldn’t want to trip on) — well in advance. That means both distance and width of beam, as well as brightness, to see as much as possible. There are always tradeoffs, but I think the Fenix E05 balances things out pretty well.