(Review) Fitorch ER16

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(Review) Fitorch ER16

I received the Fitorch ER16 flashlight for evaluation purposes. I’d like to thank Fitorch for the opportunity and I’d like to thank those who read my reviews.

The ER16 is available through Banggood.com at a cost (currently) of $50.99. I am not affiliated with Banggood (or Fitorch) and do not know if the ER16 is available elsewhere.

Fitorch Website

ER16 Owner’s Manual

To be blunt, I’ve really struggled with this review. The problem isn’t that I can’t figure out what I wish to convey to potential owners; it’s that I’m torn between gushing endlessly about how great the ER16 is, and not wanting to come across like some teenager with his first crush.

I suppose I could just say the ER16 is as close to being the perfect EDC light that I’ve ever held, or that the people at Fitorch somehow burrowed their way deep into my mind and somehow brought to life the flashlight of flashlights: the one that stands above all other EDC flashlights. From my standpoint, neither statement would be untrue – but that would be the easy way out and I owe you (the reader) and Fitorch quite a bit more than “I love the ER16” and exiting the review.

If you’ve read my prior reviews on Fitorch products, you know that I was very impressed with the build quality and openly stated my belief that their (Fitorch’s) competition should be worried – very worried. After using the ER16 for several weeks I heartily stand by that statement and, if anything, believe it more-so now than I did previously.

It isn’t just the build quality that grabs my attention though; the ER16 gets everything right: from the size, to the way it feels in my hand, to the modes, the output of light, the beam itself, and more. For me there are no “I wish this would’ve been different” exceptions – no “if this was changed the ER16 would be even better” proclamations.

In the past year (or so) I’ve had 50+ flashlights in my hands; a combination of purchases and flashlights sent for evaluation, and in that number there have been but a handful of flashlights that really grabbed my attention. Many of those 50+ flashlights have been very good. Quite a few have been pretty good, and a small number have been just OK, but some – a very small number – have been spectacular in my mind.

Two of that elite club are flashlights from Fitorch – a rather amazing feat when one considers that Fitorch is a new company and that their competitors have (mostly) been from large, well established companies. Perhaps even more amazing is the fact that, in my estimation, Fitorch has two of my top four flashlights, and five out of my top ten flashlights. Now I do understand the fact that my list is subjective; it is after all a list comprised of my own likes and dislikes. Your list may well be different, but I still think Fitorch deserves a lot of credit for the quality of product that they have put out.

In the Box

ER16 Flashlight
USB charging cord
Spare O-ring
Holster
Clip
Lanyard
Owner’s Manual
Fitorch branded 16340 battery (650 mAh)

The packaging is what I’ve come to expect from Fitorch – a nicely done combination of orange and black main colors with excellent graphics and all of the pertinent information listed on the four sides of the box.

At 3.67 inches in length, the ER16 easily fits inside all but the smallest pockets. The body continues the design found on their other products; finely cut cylindrical grooves intersected with deeper horizontal grooves are found on the tail, while the head features deeper cylindrical grooves on a somewhat octagonal shape. The flattened areas give the ER16 very good stability (against rolling) when the flashlight is placed on a flat surface.

The bezel is crenelated and anodized in flat black; matching the rest of the flashlight. In carrying the ER16 I have found the finish to be very resistant to scratches, yet somehow soft and relaxing to hold. It’s almost as though the ER16 massages my palm (the other Fitorch models had the same soothing feel to my hand).

The polished, metal filmed, reflector is smooth and fairly deep (especially so considering the small size of the ER16) – giving the ER16 impressive throwing ability for its size. The lens is coated, impact resistant, mineral glass and nearly invisible to the eye (allowing fantastic light transmission).

The side switch is metal (one of my weaknesses) and features a surrounding stainless steel bezel. The response is excellent, with good feedback and a smoothness that speaks of the excellent craftsmanship that went into the ER16. Surrounding the switch itself are led lights that are used to discern battery status as well as low power warnings.

The switch is easily located by feel, even in complete darkness. It also helps that I fasten the clip directly opposite of the switch; helping me feel the switch without the aid of vision.

Opposite the switch is the rubber cap that covers the USB port for recharging. The cap fits in snugly and helps the ER16 achieve IPX-8 waterproofing standards.

Easily capable of tail-standing, the ER16 also features a strong magnet in the tail-cap; giving the ER16 excellent usability in a variety of situations (one of my favorite features). The lanyard is attached via a cut-out on the side of the tail-cap – a feature that I am especially fond of, as it gives the ER16 better tail-standing capabilities while also making it easier to attach the lanyard.

Only the tail is removable – leaving the head section and the tail-cap – it unscrews with just a whisper; speaking to the favor of well-cut, and lubed, threads. Inside the tail is a stout spring, while the head contains the positive terminal and the “brains” of the ER16.

The clip is stout – enough so that I wasn’t sure it was the correct clip and contacted Fitorch about it. Assured that the included clip was the correct one, I managed to attach it using some force. The clip is removable, but it will take some effort to do so. It is aligned for head-down carry and easily allows for attachment to the brim of a cap. The spring portion of the clip is stout as well, though not a nail-breaker. For me, the clip is perfect.

The holster is well made, and features a Velcro closure. The ER16 can be inserted in either direction. I found it more convenient to insert the flashlight head down in the holster, using the clip as an additional attachment. The belt loop allows a 2.5 inch wide belt – perhaps just a hair more – and has a loop (on the top) for attaching the holster to a clip. I would recommend engaging the switch lockout feature if you’re going to carry the ER16 in the holster, as I usually managed to turn the flashlight on while placing it in the holster.

Specs

Length – 3.67 inches
Head diameter – .97 inches
Body diameter – .97 inches
Weight – 2.59 ounces (excluding battery)

LED – Cree XP-L2
Input – DC 2.75v – 4.2v

Features

Max Output – 1,000 Lumens
Max distance – 150 meters

Military spec anodizing, for extreme durability
Coated, tempered, impact resistant, glass (high light transmission)
Polished, smooth, metal film reflector
Smart Temperature Control system
Mode Memory
Switch Lock-out
USB Recharging
Battery Status Indicator
Low Power Warning
Charging Status Indicator

IPX-8 Waterproof (2 meters)
Drop resistant to 2 meters

2 year Warranty
Limited Lifetime Warranty (owner pays cost of parts)

Modes/User Interface

There are four main modes – Turbo, High, Medium, Low.

Press/release the switch to turn the flashlight on. Press/hold the switch (about 1 second) to turn the flashlight off.

Once flashlight is on, press/release switch to cycle through the modes – Turbo, High, Medium, Low, Turbo, etc..

The ER16 will recall (mode memory) the last mode used. When turned back on, the flashlight returns to the last mode used (exception being strobe mode – in which case the flashlight goes to the mode used prior to strobe mode).

Strobe Mode – from either OFF or ON, double click (press/release) the switch to enter into strobe mode. Press/release the switch to go into the prior mode. If you turn the flashlight OFF – while in strobe mode – it will turn on in the last mode used before strobe mode was entered.

While the owner’s manual doesn’t mention it, there is a quick method for reaching low mode. From the OFF position, press/hold the switch for just a bit (less than half a second) then release the switch to turn the flashlight on in low mode. It doesn’t matter what mode was used last – you will go into low mode (I love that feature).

From there it is just a quick click to go into Turbo Mode – meaning you have fast access to both low mode and turbo mode.

Switch Lock-out – From the OFF position, press/hold switch (3 seconds or so) until light flickers, then release switch. To unlock – From OFF position, press/hold switch (3 seconds or so) until light comes on, then release switch.

Check Battery Status – click switch 3 times in a row – switch will light and flash green, then red. Count the color flashes: Green flashes equal 1 volt, and red flashes equal 1/10th volt. Example: 3 green flashes, followed by 4 red flashes equals 3.4 volts.

Low Battery Indicator – switch will slowly flash red when power is below 3.4 volts. Switch flashes red rapidly when power is below 3 volts (flashlight must be recharged asap).

Low Mode – 3 Lumens, and will run for up to 60 hours

Medium Mode – 130 Lumens, and will run for up to 6 hours

High Mode – 340 Lumens, and will run for up to 1.5 hours

Turbo Mode – 1,000 Lumens, and will run for up to 30 minutes

Beam

For some unexplained reason my emotions gravitate toward throwing ability, but my reasonable self understands the simple fact that flood ability is generally more useful for most tasks asked of a flashlight. I can’t say whether the Fitorch engineers peered into both the emotional aspect and the rational aspect, but it sure seems like they understand what makes me tick.

For its small size the ER16 has a rather amazing ability to throw light out for an impressive distance; all while also providing excellent spill light that enables very good peripheral vision. I suppose if pressed I’d call the ER16’s beam a very nice mix of flood/throw, with a bias toward throw. Whatever the actual mix is, I find the ER16 to be a great compromise between the two extremes. The ER16 has a definite hot-spot, which transitions smoothly into spill light – creating a very pleasant beam of light that does a superb job of illuminating the night.

The light color is very nice; leaning to the cooler side of neutral for my eyes.

Conclusions

With its amazing build quality, excellent usability, and host of features, the ER16 is the standard-bearer for EDC flashlights. I know some would like to see the low mode be just a bit lower than it is, but for my uses 3 Lumens is perfectly acceptable. I find the mode separation to be fantastic – each mode is actually right where it should be, without too large of a gap, or too narrow a gap. I love the magnetic tail – it turns a very useful flashlight into an extremely useful flashlight. I love the metal switch – it is classy while also being an excellent performer. The beam is superb for my use – bringing the best of both extremes together into one; satisfying both my rational side and my emotional desire for throw all at the same time.

I suppose I could ask for a magnetic charging port, but I’m not really sure that addition could make the ER16 better than it is already. Besides, most of us are well accustomed to plugging in our cell phones, and charging the ER16 is no more complicated than that.

For my tastes, the ER16 is the perfect EDC flashlight. It easily fits into all but the smallest pockets, it’s powerful, it has good run-times, it is rechargeable nearly everywhere, it feels great in the hand, it tail-stands, and it has a magnetic base. The user interface is simple and intuitive; making it friendly for new users, while being fully capable of performing well beyond most people’s expectations.

On a scale of 1 to 10 I’d give the ER16 a 10. If you’re in the market for a new flashlight, you should be considering the Fitorch ER16.