Fenix HL18R-T | Expert Review by Koen van der Jagt
The Fenix HL18R-T is the baby brother of the HL18R with, as its most important difference, the special 'SPORT' headband you can quickly assemble and disassemble. How good is this lightweight?
My first impressions:
Especially the headband of this medium-sized head torch stands out; the fresh colour with the reflective letters looks great. Of course, it is almost all completely plastic/polycarbonate, but usually a head torch does not have to endure so much and it is also beneficial for comfort. The finish and construction look ok, everything is where it should be.
When and how:
Mostly useful during a workout or movements where you don't reach too high speeds: hiking, running or skating, for istance. If you love to go mountain biking I recommend using a light with a better beam distance and a more focused beam. Also a great light during DIY tasks, repairs or camping trips: I think the lowest mode is a little too bright when you go fishing.
How is the HL18R in terms of controls and comfort:
For most Fenix lights you either don't need the manual at all, or only need to read it once. This says enough about the ergonomics. Charging the battery is a piece of cake with the included (but slightly older) micro-usb cable; (rechargeable) AAA batteries can quickly be placed. Good AAA cells provide you with better run times. The large switches are easy to find and enhanced with a great pressure point. Other than that it is simple: hold it to turn it on or off, press it briefly to switch between the modes. You cannot turn the spot and floodlight mode on at the same time; this option does exist in Fenix head torches with a stronger battery. In the standby mode you can always check the battery status.
Throughout the years I have often found myself struggling with tangled and confusion headbands and am therefore always a little suspicious when I look at head torches. But what I see here is amazing! Strap around your head, secure it with the knob and you are good to go! Done? Loosen the knob and the HL18R-T is released again. This is very easy, anyone can do it.
This is what I love about the HL18R:
The great aspect of the HL18R-T is the headband. This system is very effective and simple! Fit it, secure it and the light won't go anywhere. And with only one click you can also remove it. The 'double' power supply is also great: with a pack of AAA batteries you know you can use it for days. The good light shade (with the most neutral / warm colour for the double LED lights for up close) is also a great feature of this light.
This could be better:
I think it is a shame the lowest 4 lumen mode is a flashing/ SOS mode. Fenix should have added this mode as a continuous mode. It would namely mean that the HL18R-T would also be a great option for night fishing or as a reading light for in your tent.
Value for money?
Yes! You receive a top-quality product that will last for years and it comes with a battery. It would have been better if this light came with a charger, only a cable is a little skimpy.
In terms of comfort the HL18R-T, thanks to the great headband and the overall weight, gets full marks. The same applies to user-friendliness. When it comes to light, I miss the low light mode.
Have you ever experienced your head torch sliding off during your run? This won't happen with the HL18R-T, it will stay in place. Amazing! How it will function after years of intensive use is something only time will tell. During the test period it looks solid and reliable.
Last, but not least. The beamshots:
The first location is a forest path common in many cities and villages. If there are no lamp posts in sight, you won't be able to see anything here at night, making a head torch a must. First the light modes with the HL18R-T on a tripod. With all light modes you notice the good colour rendering.
A couple shots while wearing the HL18R-T. You can clearly see the difference between the spot and flood mode here.
Koen van der Jagt
Ever since he could walk Koen has been interested in lights, wires and batteries. As a child he was always working with dyno torches, bike lights and electrical boxes. The krypton and halogen lights were replaced by LED lights. A couple of years ago he discovered the ‘professional’ stuff. His first brands were Led Lenser and Fenix. Photography is also one of his hobbies. In addition to nature and meteorology Koen loves to show others what a light can do and what its beam looks like at night. Koen’s reviews can often be found on forums such as candlepowerforums.com and taschenlampen-forum.de. Throughout the years Koen has collected lights in practically any category: from small and compact to enormous powerhouses.