Fenix PD36R Pro Flashlight Review

Fenix PD36R Pro Flashlight Review

Fenix has released a Pro version of the rechargeable PD36R flashlight. It uses USB-C for charging, and has fantastic output, too! Read on!


Official Specs and Features

Here’s a link to the Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight product page.

Versions

Only one version of specifically the Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight is available, but of course, there are previous iterations of this light. There’s the PD36R as well as the PD36 TAC.

Price

The Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight is available at flashlightgo.com, and 


Short Review

I think every iteration of the PD36R I’ve handled has been individually impressive, and this Pro version is certainly no different. The output is really fantastic (>2800 lumens from one cell and one emitter) as well as a rounded-out package offering USB-C charging and an included cell, and dual switches! There’s a lot to like here!

Long Review

The Big Table

Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight
Emitter: Luminus SFT70
Price in USD at publication time: $119.95 at flashlightgo.com
Cell: 1×21700
Runtime Graphs
LVP? No
Switch Type: Both
Quiescent Current (mA):
On-Board Charging? Yes
Charge Port Type: USB-C
Charge Graph
Power off Charge Port No
Claimed Lumens (lm) 2800
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 2142 (76.5% of claim)^
Candela per Lumen 14.9
Claimed Throw (m) 380
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 883lux @ 6.058m = 32406cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 360.0 (94.7% of claim)^
Claimed CCT
Measured CCT Range (K) 6100-6600 Kelvin
Item provided for review by: flashlightgo.com
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 PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight what's included

  • Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight
  • Fenix 5000mAh 21700
  • Charge cable (USB to USB-C)
  • Spare o-ring
  • Nylon pouch
  • Lanyard
  • Manual etc

Package and Manual

Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight manual

Build Quality and Disassembly

Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight

Much like the Fenix PD36R which I already reviewed, (and in fact has been one of my most read reviews), the build quality of the Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight is very good.

The grip pattern hasn’t really changed from the previous iterations. In fact, a lot hasn’t changed. (That’s good.)

Only the tailcap is removable.  The threads here are square-cut, anodized, well-lubed, and quite long.

Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight tailcap showing spring

Unlike the previous tactical version, the positive connection is just a button (no spring.) 

Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight showing head contact

Size and Comps

Size: Length: 5.74” (145.8mm) Head: 1.04” (26.5mm) Body: 1.01” (25.7mm)
Weight: 5.96 oz. (169g) including battery

If the flashlight will headstand, I’ll show it here (usually the third photo).  If the flashlight will tailstand, I’ll also show that (usually in the fourth photo).

Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight in hand

Here’s the test light with the venerable Convoy S2+.  Mine’s a custom “baked” edition Nichia 219b triple.  A very nice 18650 light.

Also above is the light beside my custom engraved TorchLAB BOSS 35, an 18350 light.  I reviewed the aluminum version of that light in both 35 and 70 formats.

Retention and Carry

The Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight has a few carry options.  First I’ll mention the pocket clip, which comes attached from the factory.

Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight pocket clip

This is a friction-fit pocket clip and has nice spring.  It only connects on the tail end, so no bezel-up carry at all.

Clip hug!

Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight pocket clip hug

Next is the lanyard hole, which allows lanyard attachment on the pocket clip and also the through the tailcap.

Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight lanyard hole

Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight lanyard

Finally, there’s this nylon pouch.  The pouch is sufficient.  If you really need that bezel-up carry the pocket clip doesn’t provide, then throw this pouch on your belt – the Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight will go into the pouch in either orientation.

Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight holster

You won’t be able to use the light while it’s in the pouch, though.

Power and Runtime

Power for the Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight comes from a single lithium-ion cell.  Included with your purchase is the appropriately sized cell – a 21700. This is no change from the previous versions.

Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight with included 21700

The cell is installed in the normal direction – positive terminal toward the head.

Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight with included 21700 installed

Here are a number of runtime graphs.  There are big step-downs on Turbo, but the light does practically hit the specification (over 2800 lumens at startup, specifically). For a few seconds after activation, the indicating LED just below the charging port indicates an approximation of the current cell capacity, as follows:

Green: 100-85% charge
Green flashing: 85-50% charge
Red: 50-25% charge
Red flashing: 25-1% charge

This only works with the included Fenix ARB-L21 21700.

Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight runtime graph

Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight runtime graph

Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight runtime graph

Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight runtime graph

I believe the cell has protection, because after a number of these tests, the voltage read at 0V. I’m not sure if this is a “protection tripped” 0V or an actual discharge to 0V. I think it’s likely cell protection.

Charging

The PD36R Pro includes on-board charging, and impressively it’s via USB-C. The charge port cover works fairly well and stays put when it’s pressed down.

A USB to USB-C cable is included.

Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight charging cable

Charging from USB (A) to USB-C works just fine, and is quite fast, at well over 2.5A. This takes around 2h 15m. Quick!

Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight charging graph

C to C charging does work, but as you can see, the charging profile is a bit strange, and not at all ideal. It also takes much longer than A to C!

Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight charging graph

When charging, the indicating emitter (which is just body-side to the charging port) blinks red. When charging is complete, this LED turns green.

Note that in every test the cell was charged to exactly 4.23V. That’s a bit higher than usual, but shouldn’t be dangerous. The cell might not last quite as long, though.

Modes and Currents

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Measured Lumens
Turbo 2800 3h30m 2879 (0s)
2142 (30s)
High 1000 3h55m 962
Medium 350 8h15m 336
Low 150 19h 151
Eco 30 42h 28

Pulse Width Modulation

This isn’t actually PWM, it’s … that other thing I can never think what it’s called.

For reference, here’s a baseline shot, with all the room lights off and almost nothing hitting the sensor.  Also, here’s the light with the worst PWM I could find.  I’m adding multiple timescales, so it’ll be easier to compare to the test light.  Unfortunately, the PWM on this light is so bad that it doesn’t even work with my normal scale, with is 50 microseconds (50us).  10ms5ms2ms1ms0.5ms0.2ms.  In a display faster than 0.2ms or so, the on/off cycle is more than one screen, so it’d just (very incorrectly) look like a flat line.  I wrote more about this Ultrafire WF-602C flashlight and explained a little about PWM too.

User Interface and Operation

There are two switches on the PD36R Pro. The first is a mechanical tail clicky (or seems to be mechanical…) and is the bigger switch seen below. Next up is that smaller switch, which seems to be an e-switch.Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight tail switches

The main switch (Fenix calls this the “tactical switch”) is very proud.

Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight tail switches profile

It also has a very deep actuation.

Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight tail switches actuation

The other switch (Fenix calls this the “functional switch”) is smaller, oval, and has a much lower actuation point.

Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight tail switches actuation

This is a good dual-switch interface.

Here’s a UI table!

State Action Result
Off Click Tactical Switch On (Mode Memory)
Off Half-press Tactical Switch Momentary memorized mode^
On Click Tactical Switch Off
On Hold Functional Switch Strobe
Strobe Click Functional Switch Previous mode
On Click Functional Switch Mode advance (L>H direction)

^ Modes may be changed with SS while half-pressing TS.

LED and Beam

The emitter Fenix chose for this light is a Luminus SFT70.  The reflector is smooth and deep.

Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight emitter

What looks like a brown spot in the emitter above is actually just reflection from the reflector sort of shining back onto the emitter. (Or however it’s getting there… doesn’t matter – there’s not any issue with the emitter.)

The reflector is smooth.  This is a tube light (essentially) so the reflector isn’t too broad.  But it’s consistent with the PD36 style.

Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight reflector

Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight emitter on

Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight emitter on

Fenix PD36R Pro rechargeable flashlight emitter on

LED Color Report (CRI and CCT)

CCT ranges from around 6100K to around 6400K and the CRI is low at around 70.

Beamshots

These beamshots are always with the following settings:  f8, ISO100, 0.3s shutter, and manual 5000K exposure.

Tint vs BLF-348 (KillzoneFlashlights.com 219b version) (affiliate link)

I keep the test flashlight on the left, and the BLF-348 reference flashlight on the right.

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

Conclusion

What I like

  • Great user interface
  • Meets and exceeds specification (at least at startup)
  • Good complete package light
  • Utilizes USB-C for charging
  • Fast charges the 5000mAh 21700
  • Indicating LED for battery notifications near charging port

What I don’t like

  • Cell gets charged to 4.23V by A to C or C to C
  • No direct access to low
  • Can’t tailstand

Notes

  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.org.  Please visit there for the best experience!
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4 thoughts on “Fenix PD36R Pro Flashlight Review”

  1. I have the regular PD36R which was my first “proper” flashlight. Great light. Fenix shows the real runtime graphs or near-IRL I should say. Mine started flickering when trying turbo after some shelf life ’cause I don’t use it often. TBH, I wouldn’t mind the regular PD36R with a rear dual switch cap.

  2. PS. Proud switch is a problem but the light is a bit tall to be trusted for tailstanding. Also, the same nylon pouch that probably costs them 1 euro is tragic.

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