The Fenix E30R flashlight is the smallest flashlight I’ve ever used that takes a full-sized 18650 battery, and it’s also the most powerful. I love the compact size and the ultra-bright 1600 lumens that it puts out. Unless your flashlight is supposed to double as a weapon, flashlights ought to be as small as possible, and the E30R does this nicely.
This flashlight has five brightness levels, cycling through them with the touch of a button.
This flashlight also comes with a magnetic charging cord, which is very nice. It’s a USB plug on one side, and a magnet attaches it to the flashlight on the other side. I love this feature.
Unfortunately, the E30R is quite symmetrical; the head and tail feel almost identical in your hand. This means that every time I reach into my tool pouch for my flashlight, I can’t easily tell which end is which when I pull it out. They’re not identical, so I figure it out by feel, but it takes a second.
After determining which end is which by feel, the next step to turning it on is to push the power button. The magnetic charging port on the flashlight feels almost exactly like the power button, so it’s nearly impossible to tell the difference between the power button and the charging port. I didn’t think much of this until I tried using this flashing for a full day. This guessing game got old very quickly.
Not only that but to turn this flashlight on, you need to hold down the power button for a half-second. It doesn’t sound like much, but as a home inspector, I probably turn my flashlight on and off 50 – 100 times per inspection. The delay gets old very quickly, especially when coupled with the fact that I’m blindly pressing on the charging port half of the time.
My final complaint with this flashlight is that it forgets your last brightness setting every time you turn it off. To the best of my recollection, this is the only Fenix flashlight that I’ve ever owned that does this. I purchased a cheap knockoff flashlight many years ago that did this, and this shortcoming was so obnoxious that I ended up giving the flashlight away.
When the flashlight first turns on, it’s set to the lowest setting, which is much too low for whatever you’re probably going to do with it. So after going through all of the hassles of getting it turned on, you have to then increase the brightness every single time.
In short, this is a cute little powerhouse, but I can’t recommend it for everyday use. My recommendations for improvement are as follows:
1. Make it less symmetrical, so the head and tail are easily distinguishable by touch.
2. Make the power button easily distinguishable from the charging port by touch.
3. Make it turn on immediately with the push of a button. Putting a button on the tail cap would achieve this.
4. Make it remember the last brightness setting.
If those changes were made, this would be a fantastic flashlight. As it stands, I can’t recommend it.