14 Jul Don’t Underestimate the Fenix PD25: Hands-On Review Of This Compact, Sturdy Taclight
The Fenix PD25 might be small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, but don’t let that fool you; it’s a super-bright tactical flashlight ready for virtually any situation you could ask of it, from tactical use to night fishing, to backpacking and camping. It throws a maximum 500 lumens of light from a compact, seemingly-bulletproof package. That’s almost as bright as Fenix’s HL40R headlamp, which was also surprisingly powerful for it’s compact size. Keep reading to learn more about what makes this flashlight such a worthy deal.
The Basics: Fenix PD25 Specs, Stats And Build
The Fenix PD25 is unassuming at first glance, at only 3.7” long and weighing a scant 1.65 ounces. As mentioned, that’s small enough to fit in the palm of your hand – if you have at least somewhat large hands. Fitting 550 lumens in something this small isn’t unheard of, but is still quite impressive.
The body is made of aircraft-grade aluminum, giving it that familiar durability you’ve come to expect from Fenix flashlights, and it feels solid in your hand – even with it’s small size. The handle has a knurled texture that helps make it easier to grip and hold onto, even when it gets soaked in a downpour or manages to somehow fall into a puddle or stream. It’s even designed not to roll, like most round flashlights do, thanks to the pocket clip location. The
It’s also coated with a Type III, hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish that cannot necessarily be detected on the surface but is supposed to add a layer of scratch-resistance to protect the metal over the lifespan of the light.
They’ve also coated the glass lens with an anti-reflective coating. And yes, while it is glass, the lens is tough and durable, and like all good flashlights, should not pose any threat of breaking or smashing.
Is it waterproof?
Yes. The Fenix PD25 has a body built to IPX-8 standards for waterproofness, meaning it can be submersed down to two meters for 30 minutes without leaking. We didn’t feel the urge to drop it into any streams – or the swimming pool – to test it out and potentially ruin a perfectly good flashlight. But, we did let it get a bit wet when rafting the Truckee river, and as expected, it still works like new. Based on past Fenix flashlight history, there’s no reason not to believe it will hold up to such accidental periods of swimming.
Fenix also says the PD25 includes over-heat protection, which keeps the flashlight from overheating from heavy, prolonged use, or from heat – such as sitting directly in the sun (Thankfully, opportunities to use your flashlight while in direct sunlight are usually quite limited.)
The stainless-steel pocket clip is convenient and easy to use. It simply snaps on to the flashlight, but is firmly and securely entrenched on there, allowing you to clip it to your pocket, belt, or backpack shoulder strap (our personal favorite). From your shoulder strap, it can be easily grabbed and deployed when needed, or could even be left on low as a guiding light when trekking at night. This is where it spent most of its time on our latest backpacking trek, ready and able to be called upon for quickly lighting up the path and providing some extra illumination when necessary.
Form and Function: How Does The Fenix PD25 Work?
Operating the PD25 is relatively simple, but like many Fenix lights, may take some figuring out in the beginning. Using it begins with two buttons: the main power button, located on the end cap, and the side switch that selects output mode, found on the flashlight head. To turn on the light, simply press the end cap as you would on any other flashlight. That simple. It also has Momentary-On, which lets you hold the light on for brief periods and quickly toggle it off, by holding the button down halfway.
To toggle lighting modes, you need to hit the output switch. Each press increases total brightness – from least bright to brightest – before looping back and starting over at the lowest setting. Hold the button down, however, and you’ll switch it into strobe – a very intense strobe that hurts your eyes without remorse.
For camping or hiking situations, the usefulness of strobe mode is limited; it works as a signal beacon and for grabbing attention. For tactical situations, however, it’s usefulness for disorienting and distracting may be more apparent. It’s also great for serving as a safety beacon when stuck on the side of the road or changing a tire; strobe lights capture drivers’ attention in a way that regular lights simply don’t.
The brightness levels of the PD25 are as follows, when using a 16340 battery:
- Turbo: 550 Lumens
- High: 150 Lumens
- Mid: 50 Lumens
- Low: 5 Lumens
- Strobe: 550 Lumen
These impressive numbers are achieved using a Cree XP-L V5 LED – standard for newer Fenix lights. Lifespan for the LED is about 50,000 hours – a number you will likely never actually exhaust with a single flashlight.
Fenix includes a charged, 700 MAH, 16340 batteries with the PD25 – so as soon as you open it and turn it on, it’s ready to go at full blast. 16340 Li-on batteries are essentially just rechargeable CR123A’s – known for their power, reliability and ease of use – and make operation super easy. Battery life is as little as 35 minutes for Turbo and long as 53 hours on low. Use it sparingly, and the PD25 will last quite some time in the field.
Perhaps the best part, however, is that the 16340 battery can actually be recharged by mini-USB, which plugs directly into the battery itself. No need for an external charger or extra pieces; just plug it in directly and let it get to work. Does anything really get more convenient than that? We’ve yet to see another flashlight in the same price range with such a feature (correct us if wrong), and it’s one of those awesome features we’ve come to expect from Fenix.
This flashlight also has “digitally regulated output,” which helps it maintain a smooth, constant brightness during use, eliminating flickers or uneven power from the battery. It also remembers the last mode you used it in before turning off, thanks to an “intelligent memory circuit.”
How Does It Stack Up In The Field?
As mentioned, this thing is bright. Fenix lists maximum throw (presumably on Turbo) as about 427 feet; measuring light distance can be inaccurate, but that estimate seems close. In this picture you can see exactly how far it goes on full blast, as well as how much area it covers:
Unlike other flashlights that can be focused in both spotlight and flood modes, the PD25 focus cannot be adjusted. Instead, it gives a straight solid beam that functions more as a throw/spot light, but still covers enough area to light up your backyard.
How Does the PD25 Stack Up To Other Flashlights?
Compared to other flashlights of similar sizes, the Fenix PD25 is significantly brighter; the similarly-sized SOG Dark Energy, for example, packs only 188 lumens, while the slightly-larger Coast PX1 has only 315 lumens.
It’s even brighter than the Fenix Hl40R, though the beam is more focused than the flood or spot on that headlamp. And side-by-side with its big brother, the Fenix PD35, it still stacks up quite well. Yes, it has only half the power, and only illuminates half the area. But it is only half the size, making it an overall better option.
The Final Word
All-in-all, this is another excellent flashlight from Fenix. It’s super bright, super-tough and compact, and straight-up simple and easy to use – all at once. With over 500 lumens in Turbo mode, it’s bright enough to hold its own against bigger flashlights from other brands, but often at half their physical size. Running off rechargeable 16340 batteries ensures it’s both powerful and economical. And the tough-as-nails body and convenient pocket clip ensure it both holds up to abuse and is easy to carry.