I’m one of four people (in the USA) chosen to test and review the latest product from Fenix – the TK25RB flashlight. In return for my thoughts on their latest product, Fenix has allowed me to keep the reviewed item for my own use.
I applied to test/review the TK25RB for several reasons. Among them was a desire to review a flashlight from a layman’s point of view. I find the technical reviews to be extremely informative, but sometimes a bit overwhelming for those who aren’t necessarily addicted to flashlights and aren’t into learning all the technical details of a flashlight.
In the not too distant past I did a lot of hunting, including hunting at night. In those days I was constrained to using flashlights (that required a heavy battery—typically the size of a lawn-mower battery) that didn’t last long, weren’t very bright, and didn’t work very well. We would sometimes fashion a shoulder strap to help ease the burden when walking several miles per night, but even with a strap those flashlights were cumbersome and awkward. Carrying an extra battery was usually outside of the budget, and always a major hassle–it wasn’t uncommon to run out of power long before we wanted to end the hunt; at which point we either had to trek back to the truck (for the spare battery) or we had to call it a night and end the hunt prematurely.
With my prior hunting experiences as a guide, I set about testing the TK25RB as I would if given the opportunity to fully test a product before making a purchase decision. I didn’t purposefully abuse the item, but I wasn’t careful with it either and ended up using the light in a much rougher manner than I ever would if I had purchased the product.
I’ll get to the review in just a bit, but first wanted to explain the night shots (seen later in the review). The shots were exposed manually (in raw) with daylight temperature. I made no effort to be creative, or to make the shots appealing: I simply chose a composure that highlights the beam as best as I could and took the shot. I did use a tripod (long shutter speeds) but also used a model (to hold the TK25RB) who had to battle biting insects as well as the longish shutter times (some shots show a bit of blur). The fireflies were out as well, so the blips of light (seen in some shots) are fireflies doing their thing. I did not edit (in any manner) the photo’s shown – I simply converted them into a JPEG and chose the shots I’ve used.
Included in the package is the TK25RB, a spare O-ring, a clip, a lanyard, and a holster. Also included is a small pamphlet (instruction manual) and a registration card. The battery is not included.
Upon handling the TK25RB for the first time, I immediately noticed that the build quality was on par with other Fenix flashlights I own – excellent. The finish is nice; not too smooth and not too rough and the light has an overall feeling of substance that I look for in a tool. The end cap screws on/off easily and shows no sign of grit in the threads. The end-cap switches are just about perfect in my opinion – not too tough to engage, but not so easy that any movement engages them either. I did have a bit of difficulty attaching the lanyard to the end cap, but that is properly chalked up to aging eyes and fingers that sometimes have a mind of their own.
The TK25RB feels great in my hand (large hands) and the operation feels intuitive with the two end switches having enough separation to be easily “clicked” one-handed (using my thumb to click the switches). There are multiple “modes” with the TK25RB – offering the user a wide variety of options for different needs: all attainable with a few clicks and/or a twist of the flashlight’s head.
At the base of the head (just prior to the body) there are two letters roughly one inch apart – a C (for color) and a W (for White). The head can be twisted, in either direction, to change from the color option to the white option (and vice-versa). I found this to work extremely well and the operation to be very smooth, almost fluid. There is a definite ‘stop’ in the motion; letting the user know that one choice, or the other, has been made.
With the head turned to the color option, pressing the mode button (smaller of the two tail switches) will temporarily turn the red light on at its high level. The same result can be had by halfway pressing the on/off button (larger, round, button on tail). Fully pressing the on/off switch will turn on/off the flashlight (with no need to hold the either button down). In color mode, the flashlight always turns on to the high level in red. A click of the mode button brings the red light to its low setting, and another click of the mode button changes the color to blue (there is only one setting for the blue light).
When the head is turned to the White option, pressing (and holding) the mode button brings up the strobe function. Halfway pressing the power button will bring up the temporary beam of light (the flashlight remembers your last setting and turns on at that setting). A full press turns the light on, and subsequent presses on the mode button change the power levels. There are four levels, going from a low of 15 lumens (and an incredible 115 hours of run time) to a turbo setting of 1,000 lumens (with a run time of 2 hours).
In my time testing the TK25RB I found the red lights to be very useful. High is quite bright but didn’t seem to bother any of the animals I found out at night. Deer didn’t seem to notice the light at all and Raccoon seemed more curious than anything. Unfortunately I didn’t stumble across a Coyote (or Fox) so I can’t say how those animals responded to the light. At low level, red seems perfect for doing up-close tasks without altering your night vision or making it obvious that you’re out scouting.
The blue light isn’t rated nearly as high (power wise) as the red light, but seemed incredibly bright to my eyes. I don’t think I could see far away objects near as well with the blue, but it sure did light up the closer objects. Deer didn’t seem to like the blue light so well; most of them left once I turned it on. I didn’t try the blue light on Raccoon – mostly because I kind of forgot all about trying it when I found coons.
I wanted to try the blue light out while night fishing, but didn’t get the opportunity. My understanding is that blue light doesn’t bother fish, but I can’t say for certain. I do know that blue light is helpful for blood tracking, but didn’t test that out because I didn’t feel like cutting myself and I had no viable options for obtaining blood to try the blue light out.
I’d guess that on high, the red light can eye-shine deer out to about 125 yards (possibly more). I could clearly identify deer (with the red light) out to 75 yards (maybe a bit further). I say both situations could be a bit further because of the tall cover/brush that I must deal with; less cover should result in better results. I didn’t clearly identify any Raccoon that were further than 40 yards (or so) away.
I found the lowest level of white light to be my most used setting. It works very well for those tasks up close, but shines far enough to be useful when walking. The higher settings reach out a lot further, with the turbo setting being a real beast. It is bright. I mean really bright. If you haven’t used a flashlight that can produce that kind of light, you will be shocked when you first experience it.
I didn’t have any situations where the white light (turbo) lit up an animal’s eyes that wouldn’t light up with the red light (high). When it came to lighting up things like trees, the difference was clear and rather substantial. The TK25RB could easily light up areas that were a good 150 – 200 yards away (in turbo mode).
In all three colors (white, red, blue) the beam tends to be a nice mix of flood/spot: giving the user good visibility nearby and decent distance visibility too.
I used a Fenix 18650 battery, 2600 mAh, that I already had for all my testing. I didn’t test run times to empty, or the time it takes to recharge the battery. I did use the flashlight a lot, and I did not recharge the battery. I am completely confident that one fully charged battery would easily last throughout a night’s hunt – and beyond. Best of all: it’s easy to pack a spare 18650 battery (it fits in your jean’s pocket with room to spare).
Waterproof to 2 meters
I decided to test this claim for my own satisfaction. That is something I would never consider doing if I had purchased the flashlight, but I figured I wouldn’t be out anything if it failed, so I tested the claim.
I first tossed the flashlight into a mud puddle. It wasn’t deep – only an inch or so – but I figured that it would represent a likely event for a hunter out in foul weather. I left the light in the puddle, while on, for 10 minutes. It never missed a beat.
That got me to thinking that I needed to try something a bit tougher, so I filled a two-gallon bucket and tossed the TK25RB in (while on). I left it in the bucket for another 10 minutes. Again, no problems.
Now I realize that neither test is the same as losing a flashlight in deeper water, or even running water, but my guess is that most hunters are more apt to face rain and mud puddles – and the TK25RB proved, to me anyway, that it can handle those scenarios with ease.
What I Liked about the TK25RB:
- I love the twisty head; it works wonderfully and it is simple.
- I love the size of the TK25RB – not quite small enough to fit comfortably in my jean pockets, but it will easily fit in larger pockets.
- I like the operation – I found it to be instinctive and simple.
- I love the quality of the flashlight – it’s really well built and I believe it will last most people a lifetime of use.
- I really like the red lights – they’re more useful than I would’ve thought. I use the white light (on low) more often, but red (low) is probably my second most used mode.
- I really like the turbo mode – lots of bright (really bright) light whenever I want to chase the night away.
- I like it that the strobe function is hidden and I don’t have to click through it to get to another mode.
- I like the holster – it’s well made and easy to use in a variety of situations.
What I’d change about the TK25RB:
- Strobe mode – I’d get rid of it completely. I think it is a waste of time/effort and a useless function.
- Blue light – I think I’d like to see a low mode for the blue light too.
- Other colors – perhaps green or IR, instead of blue? I’m not sure about that, but it might be a nice option for some.
Put simply: I love the TK25RB flashlight. I think it is a great choice for its target audience – hunters – but it is such a handy flashlight that it would make a great choice for just about anybody who needs a flashlight. It works as it should and it is built to last: it’s small enough to be easy to carry, but large enough to get the job done, with room to spare, and it easily fits inside a glove box, or a tool box (even a “junk” drawer).
I wasn’t gentle with my use of the light; I dropped it (sometimes by mistake) and tossed it about, I put it in muddy water and dunked it in a bucket of water. I used it in hot weather and cooler weather, and I even left it in my refrigerator for a few hours and then used it (no problems). It never once failed to work as it should.
I will happily recommend the TK25RB flashlight to friends and family – and anybody else who needs a flashlight.