Cycle Ambassador, Gary H., gives his thoughts on Fenix headlamps
I was looking for a headlight that could use an 18650 rechargeable battery. I found two. I thought the rest of you could benefit from a comparison review.
Packaging: Briefly, the HP25R comes packaged in a box. The HL55 is in one of those blister packs that you tear apart to open. I prefer the box, but unless you plan to store your light in the original box it makes no difference other than giving you a possible place to keep your spare o-ring or in case you had to return your light for a warranty issue.
The HL55 is about two and a half ounces lighter and weighs 115 grams as opposed to 183.5. It has a smaller head and the battery is contained inside the head as opposed to being mounted on the back of the headband with a connecting cable like the HP25R.
The HL55 is a straightforward headlight. It has four beam setting plus a turbo setting that gives a high of 420 lumens and a maximum at turbo setting of 900 lumens. A memory function returns to the last setting when you turn it on. The one button operation is very easy to understand and the instructions were not needed. It is also waterproof to 2 meters with the IPX8 standard. It came with no battery since I had plenty. You can get it with batteries and even a charger if you prefer.
The HP25R is two lights in one. (Well, three if you count the red led) There are three separate LEDs that give you a spotlight, a floodlight, and a red light to preserve night vision. They are controlled by two buttons on the top and while not as easy to operate as the HL55 they still take no time to master. Spot and flood each have four settings while the red light has “on” or “flash”. The flood and spot have a high setting of 350 lumens, and the spotlight has a 1000 lumen turbo setting. I believe there is a flashing setting for the flood too as I have turned it on by accident, but I don’t see it in the instructions. The light is water resistant to IPX6 standard, meaning you can get caught in a rainstorm without worry. It comes with an included 18650 battery. The battery can be charged inside the light without a separate charger, and a usb cable is provide as well.
Runtimes are a little confusing but I’ll tell you what I’ve gathered from the parameters on the boxes. The 55 will run at high (420) for about 3 hours and 45 minutes. The 25R will run at high (350 ) for 2.5 hours on flood and 4.5 hours on spot. The spot will run on turbo (1000) for 1.5 hours whereas on the 55 turbo is meant for brief periods and will return to the last setting after 30 seconds.
Which light would I keep if I only kept one? That’s a tough call. Both appear to be fantastic lights. For my needs the HL55 is probably enough. It’s lighter, brighter at high (but not turbo) and more waterproof. What it doesn’t do is tailor light for the specific circumstance. The HP25R is really a light that can do it all with the separate spot, flood, and red LEDs. That adds some weight however and the light is not rated for submersion. Runtimes are more than enough on both lights in my opinion. I’ve been a flashlight lover from back in the day where runtimes were either really short or lumens were really low. Both of these lights hit the mark on brightness and runtime. I hope this review has been helpful.