Fenix PD35 V3 - feature v9

Review: Fenix PD35 V3.0 Flashlight

Note: We received this product for free. No other compensation was provided, and as always, all opinions are our own. We may earn money from links on this page, but we only recommend products we back. Learn more.

Fenix PD35 V3.0 is, as the name implies, the upgraded model of the V2.0. The previous model was one of the most popular all-around tactical flashlights sold by Fenix, and as we’ll find out, V3.0 comes with some significant upgrades.

What’s in the Box?

For this review, the flashlight was sent to me barebones with battery and belt clip included. For end-consumers, the flashlight comes in a nicely designed box which includes:

  • Fenix PD35 V3.0 flashlight
  • ARB-L18-2600U (2,600 mAh) Li-ion battery
  • Micro USB charging cable
  • Holster
  • Lanyard
  • Spare O-ring
  • User manual
  • Warranty card

Fenix PD35 V3.0 vs. PD35 V2.0 – Notable Changes

Fenix PD35 V2 and V3
Fenix PD35 V2.0 vs. PD35 V3.0

There are a few important upgrades compared to the previous model. Here’s a quick overview.

LED: The old model used Cree XP-L HI V3 LED with a lifespan of 50,000 hours. The new model uses Luminus SFT40 LED, which also has a lifespan of 50,000 hours, but it’s more powerful.

Battery: The new model still uses one 18650 rechargeable Li-ion battery or two 3V CR123A Lithium batteries. However, as with all newer models, the rechargeable Li-ion battery is now included.

Output modes: Both models feature 5 output modes, but V3.0 now also has a strobe mode.

Max output lumens: The V2.0 had a max output of 1,000 lumens (820 ft / 250 m distance), while the V3 has a max output of 1,700 lumens (1,171 ft / 357 m). That’s an increase of 43%!

Materials: The outgoing model was made out of durable, high-strength, and oxidation-resistant 6061 aluminum, and the new model is made out of even stronger A6061-T6 aluminum (which also seems to be the standard for all new higher-end Fenix flashlights).

Dimensions and weight: The V2.0 was already an impressively light and compact flashlight, but V3.0 takes it another step forward with improvements in both size and weight.

Main Features and Technical Specifications

With each new upgrade, Fenix somehow manages to make the flashlight not only more powerful but smaller and lighter as well. Let’s see the specs of the V3.0.

  • 1700 lumens maximum output; 1,171 ft / 375 m maximum beam distance.
  • One Luminus SFT40 LED (cool white) with a lifespan of 50,000 hours.
  • 18650 rechargeable Li-ion battery (2,600 mAh), compatible with 2 CR123A Lithium batteries.
  • Boot-up battery level indication and low-voltage warning.
  • Instant activation with the tactical tail switch; output selection with the side switch.
  • Digitally regulated circuit for maintaining a stable output.
  • Intelligent Memory Circuit.1
  • Intelligent Overheat Protection.2
  • Toughened ultra-clear glass lens with an anti-reflective coating.
  • Made of durable A6061-T6 aluminum.
  • Toothed strike bezel.
  • IP68 waterproof rating (waterproof up to 2 meters for 30 minutes).
  • Impact resistance up to 3.28 ft / 1 meter.
  • Premium type HAIII hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish.
  • Size: 5.28” x 1.00” x 0.90” / 134 x 25.4 x 22.8 mm.
  • Weight: 3.00 oz / 85 g (excluding battery).
  1. Intelligent Memory Circuit allows the flashlight to remember which mode it was in when turned off and turned on again.
  2. When the flashlight reaches 60°C or above, it will lower the lumen output to reduce the temperature until it drops below 60°C. Once the flashlight has cooled down, it lets the user select the Turbo mode again.

Output, Runtime, and Throw Distance

The PD35 V3.0 not only produces impressive brightness and throw but also runs for an exceptionally long time.

  • Turbo: 1,700 lumens, burn time 1h 25min.*, throw distance 1,171 ft / 357 m
  • High: 600 lumens, burn time 2h 35min, throw distance 709 ft / 216 m
  • Medium: 150 lumens, burn time 8h 30min, throw distance 358 ft / 109 m
  • Low: 50 lumens, burn time 26h 25min, throw distance 207 ft / 63 m
  • Eco: 5 lumens, burn time 230h, throw distance 66 ft / 20 m
  • Strobe: 1,700 lumens
runtime
Credit: Fenix

*This measurement includes output at reduced levels which are activated when the flashlight reaches a temperature of 140 °F / 60 °C.

Check the video below to see the PD35 V3.0 in action.

Testing the brightness modes outdoors.

Body Design and Materials

The PD35 V3.0 is now made out of A6061-T6 aluminum, which is quite a bit stronger than the previously used 6061 aluminum. The A6061-T6 is stronger than many types of steel, yet it weighs considerably less. This is also part of the reason that makes the flashlight impact-resistant up to 3.28 ft / 1 meter on all 6 sides.

Fenix PD35 V3 in my hand
Fenix PD35 V3.0

The old V2.0 had a classic knurling pattern around the body, but V3.0 comes with grooves, which are finely machined. This particular pattern now also seems to be the new default across most of Fenix’s product range. It’s certainly grippy, and it feels nice as well.

Fenix PD35 V3 - knurling pattern
Grooves on the body of PD35 V3.0.

As usual with a Fenix flashlight, the machining is of the highest quality, and the HAIII hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish makes the flashlight not only durable but gives a premium feel to it as well.

The body features a subtle but effective anti-roll design which also incorporates heat dissipation fins. It’s a small but useful feature, especially if you use the flashlight without the removable (titanium) belt clip.

Fenix PD35 V3 - ant-roll design
Anti-roll design and heat dissipation fins.

The weight of the flashlight is 2.95 oz / 83.5 g (excluding battery) which is very light for such a powerful flashlight. Due to improved engineering, the V3.0 is 0.15 oz / 4.5 g lighter than its predecessor. It might not seem like much, but when you need to use the flashlight for an extended period, every ounce counts.

The head of the flashlight has a toothed strike bezel that is capable of breaking windows in an emergency. While not as prominent and toughened as their fully tactical line-up, it certainly looks like it can do the job.

Fenix PD35 V3 - strike bezel
Toothed strike bezel.

LED Emitter and the Beam

Fenix now uses a Luminus SFT40 LED (cool white) instead of the Cree XP-L HI V3 LED found in the previous model. Both LED’s boast a 50,000-hour lifespan (that’s enough for a lifetime, even if used in a professional setting), but the upgraded LED is much more powerful (1,700 lumens vs. 1,000 lumens at maximum output).

Fenix PD35 V3 LED emitter
Luminus SFT40 LED

Like the more expensive models found in the TK series, the PD35 V3.0 features a toughened ultra-clear glass lens with an anti-reflective coating. It also has a new reflector design with a de-convex lens. Everything combines to achieve the exceptionally long throw.

The LED emits a cool white light with a well-defined hotspot (an intensely bright circle) and very little spill. Since this is an EDC flashlight, I’d prefer a somewhat wider peripheral beam. Nevertheless, the upside of a highly focused beam is that it provides excellent illumination to wherever you point it at.

Fenix PD35 V3 hotspot
The hotspot of PD35 V3.0 at 1,700 lumens.

Operation

The PD35 V3.0 has a tail (tactical) switch and a side (functional) switch. While I love the dual tail switch on the Fenix TK16 V2.0 because it enables fast operation, the chosen configuration on the PD35 makes more sense for an EDC flashlight.

The tail switch, which is used to turn the flashlight on and off, is rubberized and has the same quality feel as the more expensive models.

Fenix PD35 V3 - tail switch
The tail (tactical) switch.

Press and hold the tail switch lightly, and the flashlight will momentarily turn on. Upon release, it will turn off. Fully pressing the tail switch will turn the light on and fully pressing it again will turn it off.

Once the flashlight is turned on, you can change its output with the side switch. Single-click the functional switch to cycle through Turbo, Eco, Low, Med, and High modes.

To access the strobe, press and hold the side switch for 0.5 seconds. To disable the strobe, press the side switch again.

fenix-pd35v3-flashlight-runtime-900x675
Credit: Fenix

Like the rest of the flashlight, the side switch is made out of metal and feels great to the touch. The tactile feedback is excellent, and the button is very sturdy.

Fenix PD35 V3 - functional switch
The side (functional) switch.

Like many other Fenix flashlights, the PD35 also features an “Intelligent Memory Circuit,” which means that the flashlight remembers the last selected output (excluding strobe). In other words, the flashlight will always turn on to the same output mode it was set to before being turned off.

Battery and Charging

The PD35 V3.0 comes with a Fenix ARB-L18-2600U (2,600 mAh) rechargeable 18650 battery. To charge it, you have to take it out of the flashlight. Sure, it’s a bit less convenient than having onboard charging circuitry (like on the Pelican 7600 Tactical Flashlight, for example), but the upside is that the flashlight can be built more compactly and with a higher waterproof & dustproof rating.

Fenix ARB-L18-2600U battery
Fenix ARB-L18-2600U (2,600 mAh) Rechargeable 18650 battery.

The battery has a built-in micro USB port. I’d prefer a USB Type-C port, like on the Fenix ARB-L21-5000U 21700 (5,000 mAh) rechargeable battery that is used in the TK16 flashlight.

Some of their smaller flashlights, like the Fenix E09R, also feature a USB Type-C port. Type-C can charge faster (it supports larger currents) and supports reverse insertion so that you can insert either end of the cable. While the Fenix ARB-L18-2600U comes with advanced safety features (3 sets of overheat protection, overcharge protection, over-discharge protection, and short circuit protection), it’s been on the market for 4 years now so the micro USB charging port is probably a legacy feature that will get upgraded sooner or later.

Fenix ARB-L18-2600U battery - micro USB port
Micro USB port on the Fenix ARB-L18-2600U battery.

On the top of the battery, there’s a LED charge status indicator which is red while the battery is charging and turns to blue when the charging is complete.

Fenix PD35 V3 - battery charging
The battery is charging.
Fenix PD35 V3 - battery charging complete
The battery charging is complete.

Battery charging, from almost empty to full, takes about 4 hours.

The battery level indicator is located on the functional side switch. It will light up for 3 seconds whenever you turn on the flashlight so you can gauge the status of the battery.

Fenix PD35 V3 charge indicator
Battery level indicator on the functional side switch.
  • Green light: battery level between 85 – 100% (good)
  • Flashing green light: battery level between 50% – 85% (sufficient)
  • Red light: battery level between 25% – 50% (poor)
  • Flashing red light: battery level between 0% – 25% (critical)

Note that the battery level indicator works only with the Fenix ARB-L18 series 18650 battery that comes with the flashlight.

When the battery voltage gets critically low, the brightness modes will automatically switch down until Eco mode. While in Eco mode, the battery level indicator will blink 3 times every 10 minutes to remind you that battery charging or battery replacement is needed.

While some of the more expensive tactical flashlights from Fenix feature a double spring design in the battery compartment (for better resistance upon impact), the PD35 V3.0 has a single spring mounted on the tail cap. Still, the flashlight withstands a drop test of 4.92 ft / 1.5 meters on all 6 sides.

Fenix PD35 V3 battery compartment
Battery compartment and the tail cap.

Compatible Accessories

There’s a wide range of accessories available for the PD35 V3.0 to expand its use cases, including a traffic wand and a diffusor tip. Since this is primarily an EDC flashlight, I’d like to see the Bike Mount (ALB-10) available as well. The Bike Mount is available for PD35 V2.0, so I guess it’s either compatible with the V3.0 or will be added later (at the time of this writing, the V3.0 is a newly released flashlight).

Warranty

Like all Fenix flashlights, the PD35 V3.0 comes with a Lifetime Limited Warranty against any defects in material and craft.

Conclusion

The PD35 V3.0 is a seriously capable EDC flashlight for all-around use. As typical for all Fenix flashlights, it is precision engineered, made of durable materials, and has a limited lifetime warranty. Its use cases are endless, and it will give you reliable illumination in all kinds of weather conditions.

At the time of this writing, you can buy the PD35 V3.0 for $79.95, which is a reasonable price to pay for a flashlight that can potentially last you a lifetime.