Review – Fenix PD35 TAC Flashlight – Is it bright enough?
Fenix PD35 Tactical Edition
I reviewed the Fenix PD32 a while back and was impressed with the high-intensity, long-lasting, ultra-durable light. I recently had the opportunity to test its big brother: the PD35 TAC — tactical edition. In a nutshell, it’s a little bit bright (1,000 vs 900 lumen), a little bit longer (137 vs 129.5 mm), with a tactical thrown in.
The Fenix PD35 TAC is very similar to the PD32. It’s small, handheld, high-intensity flashlight. It boasts five brightness levels (8, 60, 200, 500, and 1,00 lumen) as well as a strobe and hidden SOS function by pressing and holding the side switch. The light is powered by two 3v CR123A lithium batteries or one high-capacity, rechargeable 18650 Li-ion battery. The light can switch between a “tactical mode” verses and “outdoor mode” by holding the side button for three seconds. The tactical mode only uses the 1,000 lumen setting and only switches between full and strobe modes. In outdoor mode, you get the full-range of brightness settings. The SOS and strobe features can also be selected with a slight hold of the side switch.
The full 1,000 lumens, or “Turbo” mode only lasts for just over one hour. The 8-lumen “eco” mode will last only 140 hours. Like its predecessor, it is impact-resistent and waterproof to IPX-8 standard. The light also includes a low voltage warning and a protection to prevent overheating. The flashlight is programmed to switch to a lower brightness level if it detects a low voltage. The flashlight will also blink three times every five minutes to remind you to replace the battery.
The light comes with a few accessories, including a lanyard, holster, body clip, spare O-rings, and a spare rubber switch boot.
Overall Impressions and Updates
I’ve really enjoyed the Fenix family of lights for their durability and brightness. My favorite is still the military-style flex head MC11 that I always take with me. I think it’s the easily-interchanged AA battery that makes it field reparable, and the flexible head that makes it the most useful. The PD35 TAC boosts up the brightness level by several degrees by comparison and I found that for my typical usage, I’m just not that tactical. I mostly used the lowest / Eco brightness levels and only bumped up to Turbo on rare occasions. I think I still have bad memories of Basic Training when the Drill Instructor blinded me with his flashlight during midnight fire drills. Not pleasant. The light is so bright that it just destroys my night vision, so I use it rarely.
With my previous experience with the PD32, I didn’t even install the lanyard and I never used the case. The clip is useful to keep the light secured in my pocket, but even that only got light use.
The tactical and outdoor modes didn’t make much sense to my usage. I liked that I could easily switch between modes with a button press. If I wanted to stay in Turbo mode, I just needed to keep it set to that when I turned off the light. For most of my testing I kept the light in outdoor mode.
Honestly, the PD35 TAC wasn’t as much of an upgrade from the PD32 that I was hoping. While the lumen settings all went up, the runtime went down across the board. It’s bright, but the different is subtle enough to me that I really couldn’t tell a difference besides what I can read on the box label.
- Manufacturer: Fenix Light Limited, made in China
- MSRP: US$99.00 (batteries not included)
- Cree XP-L (V5) LED with a lifespan of 50,000 hours
- Uses two 3V CR123A batteries (Lithium) or one 18650 rechargeable battery (Li-ion)
- Digitally regulated output – maintains constant brightness
- Reverse polarity protection, to protect from improper battery installation
- Over heat protection to avoid high-temperature of the surface
- Anti-roll, slip-resistant body design
- Tactical tail switch with momentary-on function
- Side switch on the head
- Made of durable aircraft-grade aluminum
- Premium Type III hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish
- Toughened ultra-clear glass lens with anti-reflective coating
- Weight: 3 oz (89 g) (excluding batteries and battery holder)
- IPX-8, underwater 2m rating
- Length: 5.4 in (137 mm)
- Holster, body clip, lanyard, spare O-ring, spare rubber switch boot included
Disclosure of material connection: The author (Derek Hansen) was provided with a free sample from the manufacturer for testing and evaluation purposes. The comments in this post (written & spoken) are of my own opinion, which I formed after personally handling the gear.