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
There’s only one version of the HM65R.
MSRP is listed at $120, but the street price looks to be around $94.95.
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.
The Big Table
|Emitter:||Cree XM-L2 U2 white, XP-G2 R5 neutral white LED|
|Price in USD at publication time:||$94.95|
|Turbo Runtime||High Runtime|
|Quiescent Current (A):||0.00001|
|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).
- 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
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|
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!
|Off||Hold||On (Medium, unless the light was on very recently, then Mode memory)|
|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|
* 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!
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
- This light was provided by Fenix for review. I was not paid to write this review.
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