Fenix PD32 2016 Review

Disclaimer: Light was provided for by FastTech for this review. No other compensation was provided.

Packaging & First Impressions

This is what the light will come with as shown below.

  • The threads and o-rings were mildly lubricated. Threads were rather smooth and clean (no gritty feeling).
  • Battery tube and clip are both not reversible. Hence, attachment of the light to a baseball cap for hands-free usage is not possible.
  • The clip has sufficient tension to ensure that the light will stay clipped to any material to prevent the light from falling out.
  • The tail switch requires more force than most normal forward clicky switches to activate and helps in preventing any unwanted activation of the light.
  • Anodizing of the light is uniform without any missing specs, as expected from Fenix.
  • Holster provided is of decent quality and should withstand day-to-day abuse without issue.
  • Battery compartment holds a KeepPower 18650 3400mAh battery with sufficient room for a slightly thicker battery width. 18650 3500mAh batteries should be able to fit without issue as well.

Front:

Back:

Sides:

Box Contents:

Quick Overview (Manufacturer Specifications)

  • LED: XP-L HI
  • Battery Format:  1 x 18650 or 2 x CR123a ONLY
  • Output & Runtime (with Fenix 18650 3.6V/3400mAh battery):
    • Eco (5 lumens / 260h)
    • Low (50 lumens / 37h)
    • Mid (150 lumens / 10h 25min)
    • High (400 lumens / 4h)
    • Turbo (900 lumens / 1h 55min)
  • Max Beam Distance: 240m
  • Beam intensity: 14,400cd
  • Waterproofness: IPX-8 Standard (2m up to 30min)
  • Impact Resistance: 1m
  • Dimension: 129.5mm (length) x 22.6mm (diameter)
  • Weight: 77g (excluding batteries)
  • Accessories Included:
    • 1*Holster
    • 1*Clip
    • 1*Lanyard
    • 2*Spare O-rings
    • 1*Spare Rubber Switch Boot
  • MSRP: ~$62

UI (User Interface)

UI for this light is perfect for Every Day Carry (EDC) as it is simple and straightforward to use.

Switching ON and OFF is done by the main switch at the tail of the light. It is a forward clicky switch which also enables half press for momentary activation where necessary.

Mode changing (Eco, Low, Mid, High and Turbo) can be done via the side switch. After the light is switched ON, a quick press on the side switch will cycle through the above mentioned modes.

To activate the Strobe and SOS mode, hold on the side switch (while the light is on) for at least 2 seconds would enable Strobe. A quick press on the side switch will enable SOS and any further quick press will cause the light to loop between Strobe and SOS. Hold on the side switch again for at least 2 seconds to bring the light back into the previous mode (non-Strobe/SOS).

Mode memory will remember almost instantaneously whichever non-blinky mode (Strobe and SOS are not memorized) the light is in.

Form Factor

For flashlights that are intended to use on a daily basis (EDC) and for possibly a long period of time, form factor is extremely important.

This light fits a medium sized hand easily. Switching between overhand and underhand holding method wasn’t an issue and its (lack thereof) weight certainly helped in it feeling rather well-balanced on hand.

It fitting in the holster snugly as well as being able to tail-stand perfectly (even with the lanyard attached) without the slightest wobble is very much desired.

Beam Style/Beamshots

For this light, the spill, corona and hotspot is somewhat predictable due to the fairly shallow Smooth Reflector. But due to the LED used, the beam is still sufficiently “throwy” for recognising items in the near to mid-range distance.

The beam has a rather distinct hotspot with some slight corona and a fairly wide usable (perfectly round) spill. It also help that the XP-L HI is perfectly centred in this sample. There are some slight rings in the beam when whitewall hunting but not visible in real world usage.

All of the beamshots taken below are done so with the following camera settings (1/3, F3.5, ISO100, Daylight WB). Some pictures have been adjusted slightly to depict as close as to what is seen in real life. The distance of the light from the door is 4.6m.

Control shot:

ECO (5 lumens):

LOW (50 lumens):

MID (150 lumens):

HIGH (400 lumens):

TURBO (900 lumens):

Mode (Output) Spacing

Mode spacing appears to be progressively brighter to the eye and the modes are well spaced enough to be able to know which mode one is currently in. With that in mind, TLR tend to view mode spacing as battery life indicators (amount of runtime left) rather than the specific output (lumens).

It would be nice if Fenix would incorporate a lower ECO mode to one that is at moonlight level (sub-lumen or 1 lumen) for those bedtime runs or during which having 5 lumens is way too bright for the night-adjusted eyes.

Tint & CRI

Fenix usually does not disclose the tint (color temperature) and/or the CRI (Color Rendering Index) for the LEDs used in their light. For this light, a guesstimate would be in the 6000K and 70CRI ballpark.

In any case, the tint is a pleasant cool white one without any purple, green or blue hues.

Waterproofness

The light was subjected to warm water submersion, followed by cold water submersion and left under room temperature running water tap whilst running on Turbo.

No signs of water intrusion in the head, switch or body was seen.

Lockout Capability

No electronic lockout but mechanical lockout is possible when needed, like during transportation in a bag.

A quarter turn (anti-clockwise) of the head or tail portion of the light will enable mechanical lockout.

Summary

To sum up, we believe that the most important part of any review is if given the chance to purchase the same light for our own EDC or to gift to our loved ones out from one’s pocket (wallet), would we still do it?
For this light, it is a resounding YES.

Fenix hit a home run for this light and while its success might have been dwarfed a little by the PD35 series (PD35, PD35 TAC and UC35) lights, the PD32 2016 model is the perfect underdog that is able to tailstand perfectly, has better mode spacing and have the latest LED (XP-L HI vs XM-L2) offering.

However, as mentioned earlier, we look forward to the day that Fenix incorporates a lower ECO mode into the PD32 for us moonlight lovers, like the Prometheus Lights Beta QRv2 we reviewed. Until then, there are other lights that we have just for the midnight toilet runs and such.

As with all gears, two is one and one is none.

Stay safe,
The Lite Review


Where to Buy Links

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It will NOT cost you anything and is a way to help support the website to keep pumping out reviews like this.

Fenix PD32 (2016 Edition)
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Fenix PD32 (2016 Edition) Gift Set
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2 Replies to “Fenix PD32 2016 Review”

  1. Hey, thanks for your review. I have been searching for this!

    1. Hi Grey, that’s great! Really happy to be able to help a fellow Consumer.

      Do let us know your thoughts about the light here, if you end up purchasing this light!

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