Fenix HM65R Headlamp Review

An 18650 headlamp!  This could be a good category, mainly falling to whether the light is well balanced against it’s head straps.  This one is, and works great.  It has dual emitters and USB-C charging, which is a nice bonus.  It’s the Fenix HM65R – read on for more thoughts and testing!


Official Specs and Features

Here’s a link to the official product page.

Versions

There’s only one version of the HM65R.

Price

MSRP is listed at $120, but the street price looks to be around $94.95.


Short Review

I like this light.  It’s comfortable, and has good output from both emitters.  I like that they can be used concurrently or separately.  USB-C charging is nice.  I also like that the whole light device can be disconnected from the headband fairly easily.

Long Review

The Big Table

Fenix HM65R
Emitter: Cree XM-L2 U2 white, XP-G2 R5 neutral white LED
Price in USD at publication time: $94.95
Cell: 1×18650
Turbo Runtime High Runtime
LVP? Warning
Switch Type: E-Switch
Quiescent Current (A): 0.00001
On-Board Charging? Yes
Chargetime
Power off Charge Port with no Cell? Yes, one mode for each emitter, with or without cell.
Claimed Lumens (lm) 1400 (1000 from throw, 400 from flood)
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 974 (69.4% of claim)*
Claimed Throw (m) 163
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 280lux @ 4.307m = 5194cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 144.1 (88.4% of claim)*
All my Fenix reviews!

* Measurement disclaimer:  I am an amateur flashlight reviewer.  I don’t have $10,000 or even $1,000 worth of testing equipment.  I test output and such in PVC tubes!!  Please consider claims within 10% of what I measure to be perfectly reasonable (accurate, even).

What’s Included

  • Fenix HM65R Headlamp with strap (attached)
  • Fenix ARB-18-3500 18650
  • Spare o-ring
  • Charge cable (USB to USB-C)
  • Manual and paperwork

Package and Manual

This light has standard Fenix color on the package, but the package itself is plastic – unlike the other Fenix lights I’ve reviewed recently.

Also unlike the others, this little battery indicator must be broken off, it can’t just slide off.

The manual is good.  Plenty of pics, etc.

 

Build Quality and Disassembly

There won’t be much disassembly of this light, so this is more of a build quality and general commentary on using the light.

Generally build quality is very good.  I like the headband quite a bit.  More on the headband later, though.

Both of the tailcaps seen below have knurling for grip, but only one of them unscrews.  That’s not a problem except it’d be fine to have only one knurled, to differentiate them and make it easy to know which end to unscrew.  Another point on unscrewing the tailcap – it’s difficult, due to how close the headband etc is to the cap.  Hard to grip in there to unscrew it.

 

The end that does unscrew is very much labeled, though.

The plastic housing has a bit of a cover, which shields the switches when the light is in the fully pushed-back position.  This could be useful.  It only half-covers the switches, though.  They’re still accessible.

On the back of the body is the charge port.  There are no other features here, and no extra heatsinking.

The switches are labeled with flood and throw icons.

Below you can see how covered the switches are by the plastic Fenix logo.

And this is how far the light will rotate downward.

The tailcap threads are short, so don’t require a ton of twisting, but the plastic base for the headmount do get in the way.

Also to note in the photo below: it’s possible to remove the light from the strap.  But kind of specific:  Remove the tailcap, then that little o-ring.  Then the light will slide off the plastic collar.  The other end keeps the collar, and there’s a little part that slides off of the headmount.  Then the light can be used separate from the strap.  From the photo below, the light retains the plastic collar on the left, which includes a bit of a foot of sorts.  Unfortunately the light can’t be positioned with this in a way that it’ll stay at some certain angle- that part rotates freely when disconnected from the strap.

There’s a spring on the tailcap end.

The positive end has only a button.

The body is silk screened with (among other things) a logo indicating cell orientation.  The positive terminal of the cell goes into the light.

Size and Comps

Officially:

Length: 80.5mm
Width: 55mm
Height: 40mm

Weight: 97g excluding battery

This isn’t a big light, and it rides well on the headband.  Despite coming off the strap fairly well, I doubt it’s one that you’ll carry in your pocket, though.  It’s really very use-specific.  It’s a headlamp.

Retention and Carry

The main thing this light is, is a headlamp.  There’s a band around the head, and one over, which I don’t believe is removable.  The forehead strap has some grippy parts that keep it in place, and the over-the-head part is fairly adjustable.

I wore this light fairly extensively, and found it to be very comfortable.  The strap is soft and stretchy.  I did not run in it, and I wouldn’t be inclined to call it a running headlamp.

Power and Runtime

The HM65R is powered by a single 18650 cell, and one is included in the package.  It’s a 3500mAh button top 18650.

There’s really only one “short” runtime, and that’s the highest output of the throwy emitter.  It’s claimed as 2 hours, and that seems to be for only the throw.  I performed a runtime with both running on their highest mode.  Even then the output falls quite short of the 1000 lumen claim.  (The 1000 lumen claim is for just the throw emitter, I measured 974 total, using both emitters, which should be 1400 lumens total.)  Temperature faulted during this (and the other) run, but it was at a point when the temperature had already settled anyway.

When the voltage gets low while running the throw emitter (or both) the throw emitter switches off and the flood emitter switches to low.

This was a long runtime, and the light still never shut off.

The light does have a LVP warning.  Between the switches is a blue voltage indicator.  When the voltage hits 2.9, the warning begins.  The light does eventually shut off, but lower than I’d like (2.4ish V on bench power.)

The HM65R also has built-in charging.  This is via USB-C.

A cable is include – USB to USB-C.

The charge graph looks good – CC phase is over 1.2A consistently, so charging will be fairly quick for the 3500mAh cell.

Modes and Currents

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Measured Lumens Tailcap Amps
Turbo (Spotlight) 1000 4h 2.48
High (Spotlight) 400 22h 0.67
 Med (Spotlight) 130 42h 0.20
Low (Spotlight) 50 97h 0.10
High (Floodlight) 400 21h 0.90
Med (Floodlight) 130 50h 0.22
Low (Floodlight) 8 300h 0.04
Highest (Floodlight+Spotlight) 1400 3.44

PWM

No PWM is noticed on any mode.  First is the throw emitter.  (Low to Turbo)

And then the flood emitter.  The ripple seen on the higher two modes isn’t PWM, and can’t be seen by my eye.

For reference, here’s a baseline shot, with all the room lights off and almost nothing hitting the sensor.  And here’s the worst PWM light I have ever owned.  Also one of the very first lights I ordered directly from China!

User Interface and Operation

There are two switches on the HM65R.  They’re built into the top of the light, and share a rubber cover.  They have icons, which of course can’t be seen when wearing the light, and are indistinguishable by feel.  When the light is on your head, the rightmost button is throw, and leftmost is flood.  The emitter is directly below the corresponding switch.

These switches operate in the same way – it’s practically like having two lights on one headlamp.  So consider that for the table below.  It’s one table but essentially the same result for the emitter corresponding to that switch.

Here’s the UI table!

State Action Result
Off Hold On (Medium, unless the light was on very recently, then Mode memory)
On Hold Off
On Click Mode advance (LMH or LMHT)
Off Hold 5s On (Medium, or mode memory) then lockout (indicated by 4 blinks of flood)
Lockout Hold both 3s 4 blinks of flood, then low of flood
Off Click Battery indicator*

* Battery is indicated by the 4 blue LED between the switches:
4 on = 100%-81%
3 on = 80%-61%
2 on = 60%-41%
1 on = 40%-21%
1 flashing = 20%-0%

There are no strobes, beacons, etc.

LED and Beam

There are two emitters here.  The emitter in the bigger opening below is the throw emitter, and is a Cree XM-L2 U2.  The temperature isn’t mentioned, but it’s clearly cool (or cooler) white.

On the right below is the flood emitter, behind a dimpled TIR.  This is a Cree XP-G2 R5, and again no temperature is mentioned.  It’s much warmer than the throw, though.

These beamshots are always with the following settings:  f8, ISO100, 0.3s shutter, and manual 5000K exposure.  Firs the 4-mode throw emitter.

Then the 3 mode flood emitter.

And finally a mix of the two.

Tint vs BLF-348 (Killzone 219b version)

I compare everything to the Killzone 219b BLF-348, because it’s inexpensive and has the best tint!

Random Comparisons and Competitive Options….

Here’s a link to a relevantly filtered page on parametrek.com.  I use that site a lot!  The only other comparable light looks to be a JETBeam – the HR30.  That’s a light with just one emitter, though.  This Fenix is very compelling!

Conclusion

What I like

  • USB-C charging
  • Full package including cell
  • Comfortable as a headlamp

What I don’t like

  • Hard to unscrew tailcap
  • UI seems underdeveloped

Notes

  • This light was provided by Fenix for review. I was not paid to write this review.
  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.org.  Please visit there for the best experience!
  • Whether or not I have a coupon for this light, I do have a bunch of coupons!!  Have a look at my spreadsheet for BangGood and GearBest coupons. Please subscribe and get notifications when the sheet is edited!!

Author: zeroair

2 thoughts on “Fenix HM65R Headlamp Review

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *