Runtime \ Beamshots \ Review Fenix HM65R-T (dual light, 18650, type-C, SST-40 + XP-G2)

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Lumeniac's picture
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Runtime \ Beamshots \ Review Fenix HM65R-T (dual light, 18650, type-C, SST-40 + XP-G2)

Pic heavy review!

Most of headlamps have additional (usually flood one) light limited to 1 mode. There are just few models with several levels of additional light: YLP Panda, Fenix ​​HM65R and Wurkkos (Sofirn) HD20 21700.

A year and a half after the release of the HM65R, Fenix ​​decided to upgrade and make trailrunning headlamp. The initial version had a significant drawback in the instantaneous drop in brightness in almost any mode (few know that Fenix also relesed Super Raptor without this problem). So this new one shold get rid of them. Let’s check what happened in the end.

You can buy Fenix HM65R-T at:

FENIX HM65R-T official model page


The headlamp is packed in a plastic box, you can see HM65R-t through a small window. Package looks good. Everything is as it should be.

that’s how it was

and this is how it became

The kit includes: Fenix ​​HM65R-T headlamp itself with a head mount, 3500mah battery, type-C charging cable, manual and an O-ring

Well, this is not the first Fenix dual light ​​model. Experienced users remember HP25R and HP30R – their main difference was the separate battery pack.

There have been no design changes relative to the previous version. Not having both versions in my hands, I still did not understand how the height decreased from 55 to 47mm.

Fenix HM65R-T has the same funny steampunk appearance, reminiscent of either a narrowed gaze, or a face in a monocle. The appearance is frankly warm and cozy. No hi-tech at all, solid retro. It only lak some kind of brightness control vernier, but still that`s great thing to wear on your head for Fallout cosplay. Sip mutafruit juice and relax, dude!

I think that such a design is not for everybody (although who chooses a light source by design?), But I like it.

As for the dimensions, the forehead is quite compact. On the one hand, it is shorter than the usual L-shaped headbands, on the other hand, it is higher due to the protruding parts with optics.

The head strap of was gorgeous in the previous version. The new one has the same perforated fabric (now red). Now there is no top strip, which I personally see as a strange decision. It would be better to leave it as it is – whoever needs it, then he would take it off anyway.



For the first time in many years (guess, since they invented so damn cool CL09) Fenix ​​has probably done something completely new . Namely, they changed the head mount adjustment system. The only question is that you can actually tighten the elastic quickly and easily. But to loosen it, you need to lift the cover of this tension block and then the entire elastic band is loosened. In some situations, this can be inconvenient.

Such a specific mechanical unit seems to me a plus of doubtful reliability. For light jogging, camping and fishing, it should be comfortable. But if you wade through the dense, branchy undergrowth, then there are chances of catching a branch on the cable and breaking it or pulling it out of the mount. In general, this decision has both pros and cons, the time will only give final verdict.

It is also worth noting that the headlamp that came to my review was from the first batch tailored for a compact Asian head. In my case, even with a tiny cap, I had to completely loosen the mount. Having contacted the representative of Fenix, I found out that they know about it, so new batches will go with strap long enough for most of non-asian heads.

But I generally liked it. You can customize the mount for yourself quickly and with maximum accuracy.

Well, now in more detail about the appearance.

The battery cover is marked with a corresponding arrow. It curls easily, due to the wide notch. I think that there should be no problems to unscrew it even with gloves on.

To lighten the weight, Fenix used magnesium alloy. Compared to the previous version, the weight dropped from 97 to 91g, probably due to the reduced headband. For the target audience of this model, these grams may be critical. But I was not confused by the weight of the 21700 models in everyday use.

The spring is medium thick. But on the opposite side Fenix ​​installed a contact pad with a flathead battery limiter. I have been and remain an opponent of such decisions. However, no one bothers to use a magnet or a drop of solder.

The angle of inclination is regulated by a ratchet. This is clearly seen in the photo.

The Type-C charge connector is covered with a thick reliable plug. The charge current is excellent, reaching 1.3A.

Both types of light are controlled by a separate button laying in a small recess. There is the simplest 4 LEDs charge level indicator between them. Traditionally, there is also a practical “shelf” that half-covers the buttons, protecting them from accidental pressing.

And finally – optics. Previous version had behind the brass bezel: a textured reflector with XM-L2 U2 and TIR optics with XP-G2 R5. Now it is SST40 + XP-G2 S3, respectively.


I always underline that Fenix UI is too simple and lacks some useful features. But this headlamp has useful and conveniend adaptation of Fenix UI. That is really rare sitution when i like UI of Fenix model. There is no memory of modes and you always start with the minimum brightness. And this is good – you`ll not get blinded at night as you can start with just 5 lumens of diffused light. And any brighter mode is 1-2 clicks away.

+ any user can figure it out right away.
+ indication, albeit a primitive 4-segment indicator, but starts without problems, just lightly “click” on any of the buttons in OFF.

+ there is a lock-mode.

+ it is possible to combine flood and spot light in different modes

+ no memory of modes (I think this is a plus in this case)


Spot light is cold, somewhere around 6000K. Quite good sidelight, decent throw and brightness in turbo for a headlamp. Overall, light is quite normal for a modern headlamp, nothing new. I strongly suspect that the 100lum difference of SST40 vs XML2 is visible only in promo numbers and pics. If the SST40 has already been installed, it would be better to give up this hundred lumens for the sake of a good color temperature to make the same 5000K as for the flooded floo beam. However, I’m sure that the Fenix ​​audience doesn’t really care about the color temperature issue.

Besides the color temperature of the spot beam, I have zero complaints at all. Both the low and high beams are convenient for their purposes, and the ability to fully combine them further increases this convenience.

There is no visible PWM flicker in any of the modes.

And the most important thing. hell, yeah!

An obviousand not having any clear explanation disadvantage of the previous model was its inability to sustain any brightness level above Low. When they were turned on, the brightness immediately began to fall, stabilizing at an extremely low for the 18650 model brightness level (again, Super Raptor doesnt have this issue). For a headlamp of this size, one would expect stabilized 400-500 lumens, but not 150-200. Want more? Turn it on over and over again.

Reviews of the models that came out after the HM56R and had (hurray!) normal stabilization made it possible to judge that what happened to it became the bottom from which it was only possible to move up. It was logical to assume that the error will be fixed with the Fenix ​​HM65R-T as well. But, Chinese culture is famous for long-term strategic planning. I cannot explain the half-measure of the solution to the stabilization problem with nothing other than a wise start for the release of a third, finally flawless version of HM65R. Perhaps, even 21700 powered…

So. The brightness here does not drop immediately, which is good. 1300 lumens last 55 seconds, which is more than decent for a headlamp and descent smoothly, giving you some more time at a decent brightness, falls exactly to the average mode of 400 lumens. Quite good, by the way, the level of brightness, even excessive for many needs. Again, keep this in mind – headlamp can sustain this level if it slides there from a Turbo level above.

Above was the phrase “over and over again.” So, it also applies to maximum brightness. In a situation of urgent need or misunderstanding potential damage caused by overheating, you can run the maximum brightness over and over again. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage – based on the situation and the user’s ability to sensibly assess the risks

Why do I mention the danger of overheating, if overheating protection is declared in promo materials? Because the R&D guys did it in a very peculiar way. In the classic form of thermal cut-off, if a flashlight alrady heated to the level when it triggers cut-off is launched in a turbo, this mode last just for a few seconds and then the brightness rapidly drops to some acceptable level.

What do we have here? You can still run the turbo over and over again, the stepdown does not affect the maximum brightness and its runtime. It affects 400lum level to which it falls from turbo. Brightess starts to fall down from a level that has no risk of overheating…

I’ll put it bluntly, I can’t see there is some use from such overheating protection. If you can turn over and over again an almost minute maximum at least 5-6 times in a row (and I ran it for the near and far at the same time), then there is no difference for flashlight`s insides to what level the brightness will then fall affter, even to 0.5 lumens. They already are like well done steak.

But there is also an advantage, again. In a situation where you really need a lot of light from a headlamp for a long time, you will get it. So, that`s good for one sort of user, and not good for “oh my, diz thing iz brite!” sort.

Oh yes. Remember I asked you to remember that Fenix ​​HM65R-T is quite capable of delivering 400 lumens? So, if you turn this mode separately in spot or flood mode, it will again fall to the same 30%. Fenix ​​engineers generously donated about 10 minutes of runtime before stepdown starts and the same during it.

To be honest, this is not that horrible as it looks like. 10 minutes is long enough to let your eyes adapt and there is a chance that you will not notice at all that the brightness has dropped. I can confirm this, because my eyes didnt notice this stepdown. -)

And, well, if you notice – then 2-3 clicks on the button will restart this cycle. Be that as it may, this is a strange stepdown i cannot explain.


a) in the end, if you do not see this fall, then everything is cool, you also get extra hours of runtime, once you`re in lower mode. And if you see – well, press the button 2-3 times per hour to roll back the original brightness, your hands won’t break off.

b) believe me, the 400 lumen mode will be redundant for lots of needs. Ideal for movement (even fast) turned out to be a LOW spot + MID flood of far and near, 130 and 70 lumens of brightness.

But, nevertheless, I would prefer to do with the usual stabilization without these experiments.

It is worth clarifying LOW flood is too dim , so i excluded it from pics, you simply will not see it (though your eyes will do in real life). I can only say that this is quite a good mode for a night launch. Not an outright firefly mode, but it won’t blind you for sure. And for many needs, it will actually be useful.


For decades, my sport interests are withing 9-meter yellow-red circle of wresting mat. Running is both shameful and uncomfortable there. So, without running in general and on rough terrain in particular, I cannot soundly, from the point of view of the target audience of this model, assess how such a specialized update of the HM56R is suitable for this kind of activity.

All that comes to my mind is that this time the Fenix simplicity of UI (which I always criticize) should not interfere at least with the fact that it is already possible to turn flashlight on without of starting some kind of blinding higher mode.

Accordingly, I do not undertake to evaluate the convenience of this new headstrap adjustment system. I liked it, but I would prefer that Fenix ​​not decide for the customer whether he needs a vertical strap or not, so user could remove it himself if there was no need. Well, the question of the reliability of this new mechanical adjustment unit remains open. It needs some time to figure out how it will perform.

The light has remained the same, universal to such an extent that I have no reason to believe that it is not suitable for running. The light is really good here. Not a gourmet hiCRI, but quite pleasant in terms of light distribution. No more than acceptable in color temperature in the spot mode and 100% excellent in the flood mode.

With a good margin of brightness and runtime, it will be enough in the spot mode, as well as in the flood one. You should not underestimate the seemingly unimpressive 400 lumens. Perhaps, you`ll not need this level at all…

Appearance, fast charging, convenient light, finally no istant stepdown from the very first second and the most convenient for an ordinary user UI – I would say without doubt that the Fenix ​​HM65R-T has become a complete update of the previous version, if not for the same strange moment with a drop in brightness at 400 lumens and higher modes. And 400 lumens, let me remind you, is the brightness that the flashlight holds quite freely after falling from maximum. So if you need exactly this level in spot mode – just start High, wait a minute and use it. It will be fully stabilized. But why get to this brightness in such a roundabout and battery-consuming way? The answer (if there is any) is known only to Fenix.

However, again, I will repeat myself. In reality, you will most likely not need 400lum. 200 lumens combined and light will give you the brightness and range, which is enough for the overwhelming number of needs. Do not forget to turn it on again every 20 minutes after an inevitable fall. Because…you`ll get stepdown here as well. After the same 10 minutes.

In short, the flashlight was updated and undoubtedly works. But there still is groundwork for the final solution of this issue. Now, if in the third version there will be 21700 power (light magnesium alloy will allow you to stay within a comfortable weight range) with type-C and, most importantly, finally the usual stabilization, then I sincerely believe that such a version will also attract those who turned from Fenix ​​for various reasons.

Now the model will undoubtedly appeal to fans of the brand and simply to those who are looking for a bright and easy-to-use dual light headlamp.

Wurkkos HD20 may seem oversized (which doesn’t stop them from being just good flashlights per se). Fenix ​​HM65R-T will have everything that the average user needs.

Of course, if this user is not repelled by price tag which is collosal for headlamp. An advanced user is most likely to wait for a version without the author’s vision of stabilization.

Well, will this model be of interest to those for whom Fenix ​​created it – trail runners? I don’t know. if you`re one of them, please comment.

As a result, my Fenix HM65R-T review revealed some disadvatages of this model, I like this headlamp.

At the very least, I think that it will fit for the “house-camping-fishing”. Fenix ​​did start to move forward. I hope that the manufacturer will only pick up the set pace and Fenix models grow not only in lumens, but also in the logic.

Edited by: Lumeniac on 05/13/2021 - 08:26
Last seen: 21 hours 53 min ago
Joined: 12/13/2015 - 10:37
Posts: 944
Location: Canada

Great review. It’s still a shame that the high mode steps down to 30% output when it doesn’t have to. Overall looks like a nice upgrade.

Have you opened up the front bezels? Do you know if the mcpcb are standard sized or is it one large proprietary one?

Lumeniac's picture
Last seen: 8 hours 8 min ago
Joined: 12/19/2016 - 13:47
Posts: 788
Location: Russia

no, dont opened, was interested in mcpb sizeand also dont want my warranty to get burned




Last seen: 2 days 12 hours ago
Joined: 04/06/2020 - 14:29
Posts: 41
Location: PA, USA

I just wanted to share that I had left a review on the Fenix Lighting’s product page mentioning that the headstrap size was my only issue (really, it is a GREAT headlamp outside of that). Today, I received a replacement headlamp from them with a longer strap! I’m very impressed with how they proactively jumped on this and very happy with the updated, longer strap!

Lumeniac's picture
Last seen: 8 hours 8 min ago
Joined: 12/19/2016 - 13:47
Posts: 788
Location: Russia

wow, they literally sent u one more headlamp, did rhey?


if yes, that great service...and proof of great margin gap that enable flashlight manufacturer to easily send one more item