Fenix RC11 Rechargeable Flashlight

RC11 featured

For your consideration is another nice light from Fenix. The good folks at Fenix Lighting were kind enough to provide this light for review.

This light follows with a trend that was started, arguably, years ago with the old “magcharger”…only in this instance we benefit from more modern battery chemistry and charging options – and of course a MUCH brighter light. This is a nice, small pocketable light that is powered by an included 18650 lithium ion battery.

The light comes in a simple plastic package and includes the light, holster, 2600mAh Fenix 18650 battery, lanyard and USB magnetic charging cable.

RC11 boxed

RC11 with accessories

RC11 Battery

Specifications from the Fenix website:
Screenshot 2016-07-09 13.31.21

Screenshot 2016-07-09 13.32.37

Screenshot 2016-07-09 13.33.33

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My levels 1-4 match up fairly well to the factory specs – my turbo reading was significantly lower.

Level 1 – 8 Lumen
Level 2 – 50 Lumen
Level 3 – 135 Lumen
Level 4 – 430 Lumen
Level 5 – 550 Lumen

Take that as you will – regardless of numerical ratings, the light is plenty bright. Many appreciate a very low low – Fenix doesn’t seem to hear that wish and as usual, the lowest setting is more than you’d want to use in a dark room with dark adapted vision.

Operation is simple – there’s one button on the side. ¬†Also, the included nylon holster seems well made.
Light and holster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There have been spirited debates in TFB about the virtues of a side button. Those of you who like side buttons will probably like this one. It’s easy to find in the dark, made of metal, and has a solid feel. Activation is simple – press and hold for a half second or so and the light powers up at the last used level. Each subsequent press takes you to the next level, and it will cycle through all 5 levels repeatedly. From ‘off’, press and hold the button for 1.2 seconds and you active strobe. The light does feature an electronic lock out feature: with the light off simply double click the side switch (within .5 second) and the light will flash at medium level indicating that it is ‘locked.’ You can also loosen the head about half a turn and that will prevent the light from powering up. You unlock the same way – double click.

Based on this, those of you who aren’t fond of side button lights probably won’t rush to buy this one.

The Cree XM-L2 U2 emitter is behind a smooth reflector. The combination provides a nice sized focused spot with a decent about of spill. Note – this is NOT an area light, as it has minimal flood.
reflector

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tail is flat and will easily tail stand. A detachable clip comes on the light. It’s not very easy to remove, and I was pleased to see that after removing and replacing the clip there were no scratches in the light’s anodization.

Tail and clip
Clip removed

But the coolest thing about the light is the magnetic charging port. Fenix calls it “magnetic suction”…that cracks me up. Still, it’s easy and functional, although it does require their proprietary charging cable. For those of you who regularly use lights with 18650 cells, you can simply remove the battery and charge it on your own charger. That said, the charging set up on this light is convenient – as long as you don’t lose the cable! The cable also has a traditional micro USB plug on the end allowing said cable to be used to charge other devices.

RC11 w charger attached

RC11 w charger beside

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The verdict?

Pros:
Bright
Easy to charge with included charger and battery
Small and easy to pocket carry
Decent run times with included battery
Good value

Cons:
Some do not care for side switches
Some might wish for a lower ‘eco’ mode
Charging port is proprietary

List price of the light is $100 – it can readily be found for less than $80

Fenixlighting.com



Dan M

Love firearms and flashlights – and they go well together. I’ve been admiring and writing about quality flashlights for about 8 years…built my own integrating sphere….done a few mods. Proof positive that a 58 year old can still love toys!


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  • Sianmink

    Was there supposed to be a review attached?

    • Dan M

      Glitch in the software – review now loaded. Sorry!

  • c4v3man

    I was given a Fenix UC45 rechargeable flashlight last year as a birthday present, and it died after a few days when I handed the flashlight to a co-worker and it apparently “zapped” itself. This is in an office with concrete floors, no carpet, etc. I’m not saying Fenix makes crap, I was ecstatic to get one of their lights, just saying that not everything that glitters is gold.

    Replaced it with a similar but half-priced DE.Power rechargeable flashlight that’s been getting banged around for the last year, still working fine. Probably a fluke, but be aware.

    • Dan M

      That’s unfortunate. Did you contact them about a warranty claim?

      • c4v3man

        The reseller authorized a refund, so I just went that route. I’m in no way saying that Fenix wouldn’t have covered it, or that the replacement would have failed in a similar fashion, I’m just saying that just because you pick a premium brand doesn’t mean it’s going to be bulletproof.

        As far as I’m aware, all of these rechargeable lights use unique variations of 18650 cells to accomodate the recharging function. They can use a standard cell in power draw mode only, but for charging, they need both polarities on one side of the battery for connection to the charging circuit. I’d be interested in whether this flashlight with it’s proprietary magnetic interface will in fact charge a standard 18650 battery.

        Quite frankly I don’t think I’d buy a light with a proprietary charging port like that as I think it defeats the purpose of “charge it anywhere”. I prefer micro-usb or hopefully usb-c in the near future. USB-C would also solve the slow charging complaint that some make about micro-usb based rechargeable flashlights.

        • K-Gunner

          I agree that a proprietary charging port is not as good as a more standard Micro USB but I think that presents waterproofing issues. (I believe the RC11 is waterproof.) The nice thing is that this also takes CR123A batteries so a pair of those is always a good backup.
          I bought this light recently for about $80 on Amazon. It is a very bright little light! The size is great and the maximum light output is impressive. The side button takes some getting used to and toggling through the different modes takes some getting used to but at least it remembers the last mode you were in.
          There is probable no such thing as the perfect flashlight. That’s why some of us have small collections of them. One of my all time favorites is the Fenix PD20. Super small, super bright for it’s size and the perfect EDC light for emergencies. For those who conceal carry and don’t like to stuff a X300 down your pants, the PD20 is a great compliment to your pistol.

          • c4v3man

            Many micro usb flashlights employ a waterproof cover that blocks the port. While it may not be waterproof to 100m, it’s fine for any depth you’d expect to retrieve it from without a breathing apparatus.

  • Darryl

    What’s with the 2600mAh battery? 18650’s are over 3300mAh now.

    • c4v3man

      Probably due to being
      A. Protected cell. Unprotected cells have more space for additional capacity
      B. Possibly the dual polarity cap on one end to facilitate in body charging… Can’t find a good picture of the included battery with the rc11 so I’m assuming that it is a custom battery.

      • Dan M

        Good answers. Yes, it’s a protected cell. Incidentally, I tried other batteries in the light – any other protected button top cell that I own works fine, but it doesn’t seem to want to charge any other batteries. Not a problem for me as I typically use a couple of high quality chargers anyway. If you want to use the light to charge your battery(ies) you’ll need to stick with the supplied battery type.

    • raz-0

      You can buy regulated 18650 cells (which you want ina charges in the light setup) in 2400mah to 3400mah flavors. With the price going up realtive to the mah rating.

      They chose 2600. Likely for cost reasons, as those are not significantly more than 2400, but good 3200 and 3400 cost a decent chunk more.

  • rob in katy

    O-light has some nice stuff….but I keep misplacing them, I wish they would fix that.

  • Blake

    Can someone solve a problem for me please?

    I’m looking for a 18650-powered flashlight that fulfills the following characteristics:

    – waterproof
    – you can charge the flashlight directly with mini- or (preferably) micro-usb
    – the flashlight can also act as a USB powerpack so you can charge a phone with it

    The only thing I’ve been able to find is this junk, which only ships directly from China & I do not trust it further than I can spit:

    https://www.amazon.com/Genwiss-Flashlight-battery-Intelligent-flashlight/dp/B016WADOW2/

    Any suggestions?

    https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51Ov4d3Y1nL.jpg