Fenix UC35 V2.0 Review (with Moonlight Mode)

Preface

As its name suggests, the Fenix UC35 V2.0 is the 2nd iteration/version of the rather popular Fenix UC35 2014 model.

There are several improvements over the model it replaces and a rather useful “hack” that we accidentally stumbled across.

Packaging & First Impressions

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

  • The threads and o-rings were very lightly lubricated. Threads were rather smooth and clean (almost no gritty feeling).
  • The battery tube and provided clip are not reversible.
  • 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 mechanical and side electronic switch require fairly light presses to activate.
  • Anodizing of the light is uniform without any missing specs, as expected of Fenix.
  • The provided lanyard is able to support the full weight of the light and should hold up to the test of time.
  • Holster provided is of decent quality and should withstand day-to-day abuse without issue.
  • Battery compartment holds the provided Fenix non-proprietary 18650 3500mAh battery with more than sufficient room for a thicker battery width.

Note: Before using the flashlight for first time, remove the black insulation sheet from the battery’s terminal first (unscrew tailcap first).

Front:

Back:

Sides:

Box Contents:

Insulation Sheet Removal:

Quick Overview (Manufacturer Specifications)

  • Body Material: Black HAIII Aluminium
  • LED: XP-L HI V3 Bin
  • Battery Format:  1 x 18650 or 2 x CR123A ONLY
  • Output & Runtime (with Fenix ARB-L18-3500 18650 3500mAh battery):
    • Moonlight (1 lumen / 800h)
    • Low (50 lumens / 28h 10min)
    • Mid (150 lumens / 10h 40min)
    • High (350 lumens / 4h 10min)
    • Turbo (1000 lumens / 2h 15min) – there is a temperature-based output step down
    • Strobe (1000 lumens)
  • Max Beam Distance: 266m
  • Beam intensity: 17,700cd
  • Waterproofness: IP68 Standard (2m)
  • Impact Resistance: 1m
  • Dimension: 140mm (length) x 25.4mm (head diameter) x 23.5mm (body diameter)
  • Weight: 89g (excluding batteries)
  • Accessories Included:
    • 1*Fenix ARB-L18-3500 18650 3500mAh battery
    • 1*Micro-USB Cable
    • 1*Holster
    • 1*Lanyard
    • 1*Clip
    • 1*O-ring
  • MSRP: ~$90

UI (User Interface)

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

Switching ON and OFF is done by the TAIL mechanical switch on the light, so momentary activation is possible.
As such, there is 2 switches on this flashlight – the TAIL mechanical & the SIDE electronic one.

From OFF:

  • 1/2 Press [TAIL] – Light will switch to MOMENTARY ON on last brightness level used (last mode memory).
  • 1 Click [TAIL] – Light will switch ON to last brightness level used (last mode memory).
  • When light is first switched ON, Battery Capacity Indicator (Switch LED will flash one of the following colors)
    • Constant Green LED – Saturated (Almost Full to Fully Charged).
    • Flashing Green LED – Sufficient.
    • Constant Red LED – Poor.
    • Flashing Red LED – Critical (Time to Recharge Battery or Replace Battery).
    • Note: There is no battery capacity indicator when 2 x CR123A batteries are used.

From ON:

  • 1 Click [TAIL] – Light will switch OFF.
  • 1 Press [SIDE] – Mode change with every press (light cycles through MOONLIGHT, LOW, MID, HIGH, TURBO -> MOONLIGHT, LOW, MID, HIGH, TURBO).
  • HOLD [SIDE] (~0.5 sec)  – Direct access to STROBE; 1 Press to go back to last brightness level used.

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 feels extremely well balanced and compact in a medium sized hand (not head/tail-heavy). Switching between overhand and underhand holding method is easy with its form factor. The knurling on the light enables the light to be sufficiently “grippy”, even with wet hands/gloves.

It is not able to tail-stand with the protruding tail switch. However, as we mentioned earlier, we accidentally stumbled across a “hack” to allow it to tail-stand. It seems the tail cap for the Fenix PD32 2016 model we reviewed previously, is cross-compatible with this flashlight – hence, giving this flashlight the ability to tail-stand. Swapping tail caps would inadvertently cause the waterproof rating to drop from IP68 to IPX8 but it seems like a fair trade, if tail-standing is a priority for your usage.

Charging Process

With the provided Micro-USB Cable, the battery was charging at ~1.54A, despite the manufacturer’s specified 2A charging rate. However, the charging rate is faster than most of the competitors’ charging rates and is almost comparable to using a USB-C charging port instead.

The light cannot be operated on any modes when charging.

The Solid RED indicator depicts charging in progress and Solid GREEN indicator depicts charging has completed.

Beam Style/Beamshots

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

The above beam profile is a rough interpretation of what is seen when white wall hunting. The beam has a distinct hotspot with some slight corona and a fairly usable (circular) spill. It also helps that the XP-L HI LED is perfectly centred in this sample. There are some rings in the beam when white wall hunting but not visible in real world usage.

All of the beamshots taken below are done so with the following camera settings (MOONLIGHT: 2sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB, LOW: 1/2sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB, MID: 1/3sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB, HIGH: 1/4sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K WB & TURBO: 1/5sec, F3.5, ISO100, 5000K 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:

MOONLIGHT (1 lumen):

LOW (50 lumens):

MID (150 lumens):

HIGH (350 lumens):

TURBO (1000 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).

The MOONLIGHT mode of 1 lumen is what most would call a moonlight mode, and is perfect for night-adjusted eyes and midnight snack runs. It seems Fenix has finally agreed to add a moonlight mode into more of their flashlights, after hearing much feedback from their fans/users.

Tint & CRI

Fenix did 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 6500K and 70CRI ballpark.

There are tint shifts throughout the beam profile. The hotspot is cool white whilst the corona possess a slight yellow tint; and the spill having a slight purple tint. This is however, not as noticeable in real life.

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, body, switch or charging port 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 tailcap or a quarter turn (clockwise) of the head will enable mechanical LOCKOUT.

Quick Comparison to Previous Generation

DescriptionFenix UC35 V2.0Fenix UC35 2014
Moonlight ModeYes, 1 LumenNo
Turbo Mode1000 Lumens960 Lumens
Battery Capacity IndicatorYesNo
Waterproof RatingIP68IPX8
Included 18650 Battery Capacity3500mAh3200mAh
LED UsedXP-L HI (V3 Bin)XM-L2 (U2 Bin)
Dimension (Length)140mm150mm
Weight (Excluding Battery)89g 88g
Side Switch MaterialStainless SteelSilicone
Charging MethodPlug in Micro-USB Plug in Micro-USB & 1 Click (Tail Switch)

Scale Comparison (Ruler)

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 definite YES if the slight tint shift is not an issue for your usage.

The IP68 rating, Micro-USB charging capability, included high capacity 18650, MOONLIGHT mode and battery capacity indicator are all plus points for this flashlight. The inability to tail-stand might seem like a major disadvantage to some but the tailcap swap “hack” with the Fenix PD32 2016 model would enable tail-standing.

That said, this is a great full flashlight package (flashlight + battery + Micro-USB cable) gift option for family, friends and loved ones.

Here is a bonus size comparison picture next to some of the other 18650 flashlights that we recently reviewed.
From Left to Right – Nitecore MT21C, Fenix UC35 V2.0, Oveready BOSS 70 & Klarus XT2CR.

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

Stay safe,
The Lite Review


Disclaimer: Light was provided for by Fenix (manufacturer) for this review. No other compensation was provided.


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Fenix UC35 V2.0

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