Fenix E03R Review – The Flashlight You’ll Actually Have With You
Ambassador Alex G.
The E03R is a lot of light packed in a small package. The dimensions are 1.85” long (47mm) 0.94” wide, (24mm) and 0.47” high (12mm). With the internal battery included, it weighs only .78 ounces, or 22 grams. The USB C recharging port is conveniently place on the side, and it makes it very easy to keep topped off, even being possible to recharge while you’re driving. With the 200mah battery, you can keep it fully charged while driving to and from work on your commutes. I think Fenix has absolutely nailed the form factor on this, with it being barely noticeable on your keychain, but still being very usable In the hand. My favorite EDC flashlight right now is the LD30, and that’s a very compact light. But compared to that, this one gets dwarfed. And it is that small size that is imperative for the light to accomplish its duty of hanging on your keychain. If it was any bigger or heavier, you would be inclined to take the light off the keychain and leave it in the car, and a light that you don’t have with you, is a useless light. That brings me the first big reason I love this light, and it’s this: it’s the light you’ll always have with you.
Now I always have a light on my hip, and sometimes two, I put them right on my belt using a holster and I always have a good light at the ready. But I do realize that I am a little weird in that, and most people won’t have flashlights in their pocket or strapped to their belt all the time. But just about everyone will have their car keys on their person, or within arms reach. And with this light hanging with your keys, that means you will now have a flashlight at arms reach too. Now I like to keep my keys pretty clean and minimalistic, and you can see here that I only have about four keys, and two flash drives. That comes out to about 77 grams. My wife’s keychain has a couple more trinkets and it comes in at about 105 grams. So even with the added weight of 22 grams for the light, my keys still come in under the dry weight of my wife’s keys. The added weight is basically a non-issue and I would argue that anyone could find a place on their keys for this light.
Now that we’ve talked extensively about the philosophy of this light, let’s get to the good stuff. How does it perform in the dark? I can happily say the answer is very well, all things considered. The front of the light has two separate LEDs, one white and one red. The white LED is rated at 260 Lumens, and the red LED is 4 Lumens which is pretty good for a red LED. The power and mode button looks great and feels great too. When you hold it for half a second it enters eco mode at 5 Lumens. Then a single click progresses up to low at 30 Lumens, medium at 80 Lumens, and then high at the full 260. From the white-light mode, or even from off if you hold the button for just over a second it will switch to red light mode and you can cycle between solid or flashing at 4 Lumens.
Now this does bring to to my one and only issue with this flashlight. From off, the flashlight will always turn on to eco. There is no memory of brightness or color mode and it will start on the same setting every time, eco. Now my problem is not so much that Fenix made this decision for this form factor, because maybe they had a good reason for it. My problem is that this is very abnormal for any of their products and they did not disclose this in any of their marketing materials. Not even in the actual manual does it state this behavior. I know Fenix’s product line very well and just about all of them have memory circuits, so having no memory on this one was way out of left field for me. Now with that said, it’s not a deal breaker for me at all, it was just more of a disappointing surprise, but I know now and I’ve gotten over it.
If I haven’t convinced you of it’s benefit by now, this could be the the point that tips you over the edge. This retails from Fenix for $27, and I think that is a tremendous value. For what you’re getting, the build quality, the limited lifetime warranty, and the brightness and color options I don’t honestly know how they are selling it that cheap. This particular light is living on my wife’s keys and honestly I’m thinking about buying another one or two for the other keychains in the house. Like I said at the beginning, I really have no business being this giddy about such a dinky little light, but I just really really love it and it’s ticked all of the boxes for me. Small, easy to carry with you, cheap to buy, and bright enough to be very useful. So now that you’ve stuck it out to the end, don’t think about it anymore, just go over to Fenix and pick up one or two of these, I assure you, for $27 you won’t regret it.
*Note from Fenix:
The memory is considered an “added” feature. As an added feature, that means if a light does have memory, it is listed in all the literature because it’s a bonus feature. The “standard” is that it doesn’t have memory. Thus if a light does not have memory it will not be mentioned in the manual or on the product page. Similarly, the lock-out function is an “added” feature. If the light doesn’t have lockout it’s not mentioned, whereas those that do have lockout will mention it. We are adding this comment simply as an FYI for you when you are looking at products. If memory, or lockout, aren’t listed under the Operating Instructions on the product page, it isn’t a feature on that light.