This year’s Shot Show had a dizzying array of flashlights and outdoor electronics as you would expect. But one item in particular caught my eye, the new RC 11 flashlight by Fenix. For me it checked a lot of boxes. It is relatively small, mil-spec tough, rechargeable, and at 1000 lumens on the high setting nearly blinding. But overall my favorite feature with their light was their ingenious charging setup. Many of the flashlights on the market currently have a USB charging port, which when I look for flashlights is almost a necessity. So many devices nowadays use a USB, even in foreign countries these are easy to come by. Fenix took this one step further – their charger retains the micro USB tip but also transmits it’s charging power through a magnet on the side of the charging plug. You just stick it to the light and you are charging. This makes perfect sense especially in the dark when you need to charge your flashlight. Anyone with an Android phone knows what a pain it is trying to identify which end is up or down in the dark with such a small plug.
The RC11 is a great balance between compact and powerful. At only 4.46” long and under 5 ounces, it isn’t too much for your pocket but can still do the job of bigger lights. Another feature I liked was the battery flexibility. There are two available options for rechargeable batteries, a 2600 MAH and a 3400 MAH, or you can substitute in two CR 123s. There are also two options of chargers, the separate wall charger that will charge two batteries or the included USB/magnetic cable.
Field testing is always the best part of any evaluation, and if I give something high marks it’s because it earns it. I am a little tough when judging equipment, partly due to the fact any cheap light will work ok in perfect conditions. Battery life being one of my main concerns, it’s the first thing I looked at. On a full charge running on medium (150 lumen) it lasted for four nights of full usage while on a camping trip. This included short blasts on “turbo” or 1000 lumen mode. Fenix claims it will last over 11 hrs. on medium and I believe it will do better if not constantly running. I also found the color temperature to be a very pleasing natural light and slightly less blue than other LED lights. The beam it projects is an evenly focused circle about 3′ in diameter at 10′ with an outer band of less intense but usable light about 3 times the size. Projection on the highest setting is good also, well past the 100′ mark. There are 7 modes which include 5 brightness settings and two strobe settings. One of the best features of this light is the lockout capability. Two quick pushes of the button and it won’t be turning on in your pack or pocket and killing the battery.
Overall I give the RC11 high marks. It’s compact size, usable beam and good battery life make it a good tool. Magnetic charging, battery compatibility and the nice array of accessories offered by Fenix (like a picatinny rail mount) make it even better. With a retail price of $75 and a 5 year warranty the RC11 is a great choice.