Pros: Fantastically bright, versatile and compact every-day-carry torch/flashlight that’s built to last. Eco mode of 3 lumen great for low-level task lighting and can provide an insane 430 hours (almost 18 days) of continuous light on a single battery. Battery charge level indicator is a handy addition. Rechargeable 18650 batteries work well. Also accepts CR123a Lithium batteries.
Cons: While it still uses 18650 rechargeable Lithium Ion cells, the way Fenix has implemented polarity protection on the PD35 V2.0 means that this version requires button-top cells. The flat-top 18650s I’d been using in my other lights won’t work. As with the earlier model, the PD35 V2.0 Still won’t tail-stand.
Price: GB£69.95 (c. €76.00 at time of writing) from UK based distributor MyFenix.
Rating: Highly Recommended
The Fenix PD35 V2.0 is more a sensible evolution of the classic PD35 than a radical redesign. That’s a good thing: the age old mantra of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” holds here. The PD35 got so much right. This newer version sports a beefy 1,000 Lumen Cree XP-L HI V3 LED upgrade, which delivers outstanding performance from a very compact and pocketable light. Like it’s predecessor the PD35 V2.0 is also beautifully crafted to exacting standards.
Everything about the Fenix PD35 V2.0 feels premium. Then you switch it on and it dazzles… literally and metaphorically! It’s not a cheap light by any stretch, but with versatility, performance and portability like this there’s a good chance it will be the only torch you’ll ever need.
Fenix PD35 V2.0 Full Review
Back in early 2014 Cork based LED lighting supplier LED Powerhouse sent me a torch by Chinese manufacturer Fenix Lighting to review on the site. At the time I had a couple of Maglites on the go: a ubiquitous two-AA unit for when I needed something pocketable, and a huge 4D Cell monster for when I needed lots of light.
I wasn’t sure another torch was really necessary. But from the moment I turned the PD35 on, those Maglites were relegated to the “might come in handy” drawer, where they remain. The original 850 lumen PD35 was an incredible little light that did pretty much everything I could ask of it and more. I’ve carried it daily and it’s served me well in countless situations over more than five years.
The Fenix PD35 V2.0: a classic, refined
When UK Fenix distributor MyFenix sent in the PD35 V2.0 for review, I was keen to see how Fenix had improved what was already a remarkable torch. There’s always a real danger with an upgrade like this that designers strive so much to be different that they lose what made the original product so great. The result can be an upgrade that’s more of a downgrade.
Thankfully, not here. Fenix resisted the urge to radically shake things up with the PD35. The result is a finely honed product that gracefully improves on every aspect of the functionality while retaining everything that was so good about the original.
Build Quality, Finish and Ergonomics
Machined from high-strength 6061 aluminum, the body of the Fenix PD35 V2.0 has a premium type HAIII hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish applied. It feels great in the hand, and the textured finish provides plenty of grip.
At the business end, the light featured a toughened ultra-clear glass lens with an anti-reflective coating to enhance light delivery.
The torch features a dual-switch interface, with a rubber-booted tactical-style tail switch to turn the light on and off (with a partial push for instant on/off) and a metal side switch to toggle through five available lighting modes: Eco, Low, Medium, High and Turbo, with a long-press of the mode switch to activate and de-activate the strobe feature.
The side switch also incorporates a very welcome battery level indicator. For a brief period when you switch the light on an LED in the side switch will glow for 3 seconds to indicate battery health as follows:
- Continuous Green: Plenty of juice
- Flashing Green: Enought to keep going
- Continuous Red: Running low, have a replacement handy
- Flashing Red: About to give up, replace the battery
The PD35 V2.0 is ready for anything the Irish weather can throw at it too. The body is o-ring sealed and rated as fully waterproof to IP68 standard — which means it will happily cope with immersion in up to 2m of water. I didn’t try it at 2m, but it works away happily dipped in a garden pond or held under a running tap.
As with its predecessor(s) the PD35 V2.0 is powered by either 2xCR123A Lithuim batteries, or by rechargeable Lithium Ion 18650 cells. You’ll want to use rechargeables if you’re planning on using this torch a lot (and if you’re spending this much on a torch you probably plan to), as especially at higher output settings it will eat its way through CR123A cells.
One initial disappointment here was the fact that the way Fenix has implemented polarity protection in the PD35 V2.0 means that, unlike earlier versions, it now requires button-top 18650 batteries to make contact with the positive terminal. It simply won’t work with the flat-top 18650 cells I’ve been using with the original PD35.
I’m not sure why they’ve done it this way. The original PD35 (and other 18650 lights I’ve used) had built in polarity protection, but had a spring at both the positive and negative contact points. That meant it would work away with pretty much any 18650 battery you put into it.
If this is your first 18650 light and you’re buying new batteries anyway, that’s no big deal, just make sure you order button tops. If you already have a supply of flat-top 18650 cells then it’s worth bearing in mind they won’t work with the PD35 V2.0 (at least not without some kind of workaround).
The PD35 V2.0 takes the already superb performance of the original model up a notch thanks to the new 1000 Lumen Cree XP-L HI V3. At the brightest setting it has a documented “throw” of an impressive 250 metres, and sports a respectable run-time of 2hr 50min.
Small lights with high output can get hot, but the PD35 V2.0 has a built-in safety feature that dynamically monitors the operating temperature of the light and will step down the output in Turbo mode if it exceeds 65°C. Once the temperature reduces it will automatically step the light output back up to its former level.
The five operating modes of the PD35 V2.0 cover pretty much every use case you can think of, from finding your car keys in a darkened footwell, to searching a field for a missing puppy, or picking out bats wheeling above a lake.
- Mode lumens / run-time / throw
- Eco 3 lumens / 430h / 13m
- Low 50 lumens / 29h 30m / 60m
- Medium 150 lumens / 12h 25m / 103m
- High 350 lumens / 5h 10m / 157m
- Turbo 1,000 lumens / 2h 50m / 250m
The strobe mode, activated with a long-press of the side switch, also operates at the full 1,000 lumen output level.
The most noteable difference in output levels is the drop in Eco mode from 10 lumens on the original PD35 to 3 lumens on the PD35 V2.0. 10 lumens was actually too bright in some situations, and 3 lumens seems just about perfect when you want a bit of extra light without ruining your night vision (or waking your partner at night), so this is a welcome addition.
Run-times are improved dramatically across all output levels.
Turbo Mode runtime has increased from 1h 15m at 850 lumens for the original PD35 to an impressive 2h 50m at 1,000 lumens for the PD35 V2.0. In the new 3 lumen Eco mode, the PD35 V2.0 can deliver continuous light for up to 18 days on a single battery: that’s insane!
The PD35 V2.0 exhibits a similar beam pattern to the earlier model, with an intense spot at the centre of the beam, surrounded by a generous flood that illuminates the surrounding area. It works very well, and not having to worry about a focus mechanism means that you can see more, all the time, and of course the lack of moving parts in the head makes a non-focussing light like this one more robust.
The PD35 is supplied with a handy belt holster, a metal pocket clip, a lanyard, 2 spare o-rings and a spare rubber cap for the tail switch.
Using the PD35 V2.0 is pretty much the same experience as using the earlier model, but with everything slightly improved and refined.
The metal side-switch lends the light an even more premium feel, the extra brightness and reach at the upper end, the reduced brightness in eco mode, the extended battery life and the battery level indicator are all welcome additions.
The PD35 was an exceptional torch in almost every way. The PD35 V2.0 is even better. It’s perfect for night-time wildlife watching excursions, any outdoor activity you care to mention… and for pretty much any other situation where you need a portable light source.
If you want a versatile all-round light you can slip in a pocket or handbag, take anywhere with you, and that delivers all the performance you could possibly want in a torch, the Fenix PD35 V2.0 will tick all the right boxes.
- Cree XP-L HI V3 LED with lifespan of 50,000 hours
- Powered by one 18650 rechargeable Li-ion battery or two 3V/CR123A Lithium batteries
- 138mm Length x 23mm Body diameter x 25.4mm Head diameter
- 88 grams/3.10oz (excluding battery)
- Boot-up battery level indication and low-voltage warning
- Digitally regulated output maintains constant brightness
- Reverse polarity protection, protects from improper battery insertion
- Anti-roll and anti-slip body design
- Tactical tail switch features instant activation
- Metal side switch for output selection
- Made of durable high-strength and oxidation-resistance 6061 aluminum
- Premium type HAIII hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish
- Toughened ultra-clear glass lens with an anti-reflective coating
I’d like to thank the folks at MyFenix for submitting the Fenix PD35 V2.0 for review on Ireland’s Wildlife.
NB. Ireland’s Wildlife has no specific affiliation to any optics or gear manufacturer and all reviews on the site are completely independent and objective. See our disclosure statement for more details. If you’re an optics or gear manufacturer and would like to submit your wildlife related product for review on the site please drop us a line using the contact form and we can take things from there.
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