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Flashlight Review:

Fenix P3D Premium

with Cree Q5 LED

This compact LED flashlight incorporates a multi-level user interface with strobe and SOS functions

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Product Overview

The Fenix P3D LED Flashlight is an aluminum-bodied, single LED flashlight that uses a unique user control interface (UI) to control several intensity levels as well as S.O.S. and strobe functions. Small enough to be considered an 'every day carry' (EDC) flashlight, it is sleek in form and easy to use.

Cylindrical in design and measuring just 4 ½ in length (11.4 cm), this Fenix model is powered by two (2) CR123A lithium batteries. The batteries are installed in a conventional positive-tip first fashion, and provide 6 volts of power to the internal regulation circuit before being dropped down to the proper voltage for the Cree 7090 XR-E Q5 bin emitter. The flashlight is marketed as a 'Premium' version due to the bin rank and tint characteristics of the LED. The light is activated via a 'reverse-clickie' style button that is recessed into the tail of the light. After turning the light on with the tail switch, the other modes of operation are accessed either by softly pressing the tail switch or rotating the bezel of the light. There is no focusing feature on this particular flashlight, nor can the bezel be removed for use in the so-called 'candle mode', however the light does have extremely flat tail which makes it is easy to stand the light on end to illuminate a room.


The Chinese designed and manufactured Fenix line appeared in the United States just a couple of years ago, but has already developed a solid reputation and following, especially among flashlight hobbyists and collectors. Overall their products are well thought out, easy to use, and well-built, and this particular model is no exception. Attention to detail is outstanding, especially for a light in this price range. The machining of the aluminum body is of a high-quality, as is the HAIII coating that protects the body from corrosion and scratching. The HAIII coating used is far superior to the HAII finish used on some mass market lights and should protect the light from most cosmetic damage. Of course, the finish should not be expected to protect against significant dings and dents, but nevertheless will provide good protection from minor abrasions. The quality of the fit and finish is excellent, as is the quality of the threading and electrical connections. The light is also rated as waterproof per the IPX-8 international standard.

The Fenix P3D boasts a maximum light output of 215 lumens in 'Turbo' mode, as well as three 'general' output levels of 120 lumens (high), 53 lumens (medium), and 12 lumens (low). Additionally, all light levels are digitally-regulated for constant brightness. When the batteries are almost exhausted the light will blink slightly to warn you to replace the cells or shift to a lower output level.

Like many other Fenix lights, the P3D utilizes a patented two-stage system for controlling brightness and accessing the strobe and S.O.S. features. Control of the 'general' and 'turbo' modes is accomplished by a simple turn of the bezel, with the tail switch then controlling the features associated with each mode. In 'turbo' mode, softly pressing the tail switch cycles between maximum output and a fast strobe feature that is useful for signaling or locating purposes or, conceivably, for tactical applications. In 'general' mode there are three additional light levels available (low/medium/high), as well as an S.O.S. feature, all accessed by a soft press of the tail switch. One caution...for most people, turning the bezel to change modes will require two hands.

The switch on the Fenix P3D is a 'reverse-clickie', which means that the user must fully depress and release the switch to activate the light. Since further 'soft' presses of the switch change the light's output levels, momentary activation of the light for signaling or tactical use is impossible. The switch has a firm but dependable feel to it and elicits a clear clicking sound when used. And while the switch is recessed into the tail to permit tail stand use, it doesn't present any real difficulty for the average person to activate. It should be noted that switch configurations of this style may present problems for the elderly or those with arthritis or other conditions which might make pressing a recessed switch difficult. One advantage to the recessed switch is that it makes accidental activation of the light less likely, although not impossible.

By The Numbers

Output Ratings:

Hotspot Spill (15° off center) Overall
---------------- Maximum (Turbo Mode) ----------------
3610 lux 135 lux 1120
----------------- High (General Mode) -----------------
1996 lux 70 lux 601
---------------- Medium (General Mode) ----------------
886 lux 28 lux 261
------------------ Low (General Mode) ------------------
156 lux 5.6 lux 44
(at 1 meter) (at 1 meter) (Lightbox Units)

Note: The 'Overall' measurement is not in lux. It is taken by placing the light in a homemade 'lightbox' and then measuring the light's intensity indirectly. It should be considered a rough guide to the light's total output when used for indirect lighting tasks such as illuminating a room.

Facts & Features:

Construction: Aluminum
Bulb: Cree 7090 XR-E emitter (Q5 bin)
Batteries: 2 CR123A Cells (not included)
Length: 4 ½ inches (11.4 mm)
Maximum Diameter: .82 inches (2.1 cm)
Weight w/batteries: 2.9 ounces (82.2 grams) w/lanyard attached
Waterproof: to IPX-8 Standard
Switch Location: Tailcap (Press to activate/cycle through levels)
Mode control: Bezel (Clockwise for general mode, Counter-clockwise for turbo mode)
Switch Configuration: Reverse clickie (no momentary capability)
Lens: Toughened ultra clear glass lens with AR coating
Special Features: 4 Output levels and Strobe/S.O.S. functions
Included Accessories: Holster, lanyard, spare o-rings(2), rubber switch boot

Price: $59.95 -- sale price (

Output & Runtime

Flashlights that utilize LEDs have come a long way in the last several years as LED technology has matured. This is evidenced by the amazingly bright output of the Fenix P3D. In 'turbo' mode, the light provides a generous amount of illumination for outdoor or tactical use and may be considered too bright for indoor use. But the wide range of output levels available, as well as the relatively easy access to them, keeps this high output from being a disadvantage in any way. In 'turbo' mode the light produces an extremely bright 215 lumen output with an estimated run time of 1.8 hours, in addition to the previously mentioned strobe function. In 'general' mode, the tail switch cycles through the low (65 hour run time) / medium (13 hour run time) / high (4.8 hour run time) output levels, as well as the S.O.S. feature. The reflector has a slightly stippled quality that eliminates all rings and artifacts in the beam save for a slight dark halo surrounding the hotspot. This dark halo is common to some brands of LED and of no consequence in normal use. It will only be seen when the beam is projected against a flat, white surface at close range.


  • Sleek, compact and extremely bright
  • Multiple output levels
  • Regulated output for constant brightness
  • Tail stands extremely well
  • Waterproof


  • Uses more expensive CR123A batteries
  • No momentary ability
  • Two hands needed to change modes
  • No belt clip
  • S.O.S. and strobe modes may be rarely used


The Fenix P3D Premium Q5 is an excellent quality, medium-to-heavy duty flashlight suitable for a wide range lighting tasks. Sleek and compact, it is suitable for pocket or belt carry (with the included holster.) Multiple brightness levels mean this light can be used in a variety of lighting situations, including emergency room illumination due to its tail design. We can heartily recommend this light for use in most common lighting conditions and for most lighting uses, including moderate professional use.

Manufacturer's web site: Fenix

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