E03R: Always at Hand
Ambassador John K.
The Fenix E03R is a very small, durable, and bright keychain light that everybody should own.
As a rule, I normally carry a larger flashlight, such as the PD36R or LD30, which can be used at longer distances or as a defensive tool. Nonetheless, finding the storage space in my pocket isn’t always feasible, especially if I have to “dress up” for business or “dress down” for the swimming pool. When I’m without a larger torch in these instances, it is comforting to have a capable light on me as often as I have my car keys… which is pretty much constantly.
Thanks to the E03R, I always have a utility light in my possession. Over the past few months, it has done everything from light my way through dark rooms to illuminating my workspace as I repaired the awkward interior of a clothes washer.
It is well worth noting that it wasn’t so long ago that a 200 lumen light the size of a PD36R was considered top-of-the-line. Here, we have a 260 lumen light that is significantly smaller than a matchbox. Heck, it’s smaller than my car key! AND it’s durable— the Achilles Heal of most other keychain lights. This is a remarkable feat, and Fenix deserves to be commended for it.
If I could make a recommendation for the “V2.0” that will eventually be developed, I’d really, really (did I mention REALLY?) like the built-in LED power indicator light to be left in a constant-on mode. I say this because the on/off button is so perfectly flush mounted with the body, it is very difficult to find in the dark. And, well, it’s a light… that will almost always be turned on in the dark.
See the problem?
If the power indicator light were in constant-on mode, it would totally solve this problem. Not to mention, it would also help me find my keys when searching for them on my cluttered desk in low light. Yes, I know that having it constant-on would reduce the battery life, but I’m guessing by not much. Like, I’d have to recharge it once a month instead of every other month? Not an issue.
Finally, if it’s going to be a multi-function light, I’d also like it to have a memory function that would revert to my last setting. I pretty much always use the 260 lumen option, and my having to scroll through from lowest to highest for every use is kind of annoying. And the secondary red light…? Meh. Frankly, If I had my druthers, I’d just build it with a single-mode button, set the lumens at somewhere between 200-260, and call it good.
For the cost, the E03R keychain light is a no brainer, and I have no problem recommending it as-is. That said, it’s just a keychain light, and with all of its fancy extra functions I feel like the E03R is trying to be a Goliath when it should be satisfied as a David. To me, the real improvement over this light would actually be a downgraded version—single mode, 250ish lumens, a constant-on power indicator light (that’s tactilely recessed, perhaps), and ditch the red light.
Should you get the E03R as is? For sure. Am I hoping for my recommended future version? Absolutely!