Tuesday, 15 June 2021 09:06

Fenix HM65R-T tested and reviewed

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The Fenix HM65R-T is a lightweight version of the original HM65R that uses a magnesium alloy for the body to reduce weight without compromising on output or performance. 

Designed for trail runners it boasts a choice of spotlight and wide angle spread with power supplied from a rechargable 18650 li-ion battery. Waterproof and drop resistant the HM65R-T also features a BOA fit system that uses a rotatable wheel to tighten the headband.

Fenix headtorch 1

What Fenix say:

The Fenix HM65R-T headlamp is a dedicated trail running light, offering a maximum output of 1500 lumens from the Luminus SST40 and Cree XP-G2 S3 LEDs. It is powered by a single 18650 li-ion battery (included) which can be recharged inside the head torch via a USB-C port at the back of the lamp.

Based on the popular HM65R, the T version is made from magnesium alloy which is 30% lighter than the aluminium body of the original model. The HM65R-T has a newly designed headband which features a breathable, comfortable design and a wider strap at 36mm with reflective areas. To ensure the headband fits your head perfectly, it has a BOA fit system which can be rotated clockwise to shorten the headband.

As with the original HM65R, the Fenix HM65R-T has a combination of spotlight and floodlight LEDs which can be used simultaneously or independently. The spotlight LED offers a 15º hotspot and a 75º spill and the floodlight LED provides a 95º wide angle beam. The headlamp is operated using a dual switch interface which sits at the top of the light for quick and easy access to your desired output.

Features:

  • Dimensions: 80 mm x 47 mm x 39 mm
  • Weight: 91 g (excluding battery)
  • Reflector: Orange peel
  • Construction: Magnesium alloy
  • Finish: Premium type III hard anodised anti-abrasive finish
  • Reverse polarity protection
  • Patented rotary press/pull clasp to adjust headband with one hand

Fenix HM65R-T on test:

 The Fenix HM65R-T made an instant impression with its twin lights and innovative strap tightener. It's also noticeable that there's no front to back strap, just the single, round the head, strap. The other important feature is the weight; without the battery the magnesium alloy body has helped reduce the weight to 90g, saving around 30% compared to the Fenix HM65R.

The combination of the BOA adjustment system and the reduced weight obviously have an impact on the balance of a headtorch, but the adjustment level offered by the BOA and the reduced weight on the front of your head make for a good fit and a good balance.

Operation of the twin lights is by a twin buttoned swith on the top of the unit, with a plastic lip partially covering the switch in it's untilted position to help avoid accidental switching on.

Fenix headtorch 2

One click on either of the 2 buttons switches the 4 battery status lights that indicate the battery left – 25-50-75-100% respectively. A longclick turns the lights on, one or both, and ashort click changes the mode. Another  long click turns the lighhts off. It's important to note that both lights can be used simultaneously to give both spotlight and floodlight - although this will take a toll on battery life.

When it comes to battery life Fenix give the following information for brightness levels and duration:

Spotlight
High: 1300 lumens - 4 hrs runtime (the high output is measured in total of runtime including output at reduced levels due to temperature or protection mechanism in the design)
Med: 400 lumens - 12 hrs runtime
Low: 130 lumens - 24 hrs runtime

Floodlight
High: 400 lumens - 12 hrs runtime
Med: 70 lumens - 36 hrs runtime
Low: 5 lumens - 300 hrs runtime

Charging is via a USB outlet on the reverse side of the head unit and protected by a waterproof rubber cover. It's also possible, of course, to carry a spare battery for longer use.

Fenix headtorch 3

Maximum beam distance for the spotlight is 170 meters and 54 meters for the floodlight. In terms of colour balance there's a slight blueish tint to the spotlight output but the floodlight gives a very neutral light.

As mentioned at the start of the review the HM65R-T the headband uses the BOA system for size adjustment. It takes a few goes to get used to but once practised the degree of adjustment is far finer than traditional systems. To operate the adjuster simply pull the wheel outwards to release the tensioning cords, put the headtorch on your head and then press the wheel back inwards and rotate it clockwise to adjust the tension. 

Fenix headtorch 4

 The BOA system, whilst not at fault, does highlight the single issue we've had to date with the HM65R-T ; the reverse side of the main head unit has nothing between it and the headband. The result is that when tightened the cradle can push into your forehead. Some padding between the plastic of the cradle and the headband would solve this problem.

Fenix headtorch 5

With headband in place the light does sit firmly in place with no noticeable upwards migration and the tilt mechanism works very well with a solid ratchet that allows adjustment through a full 90 degrees - great for illuminating the trail under your feet.

The battery life tests returned figures in line with the manufacturers claims and the 12hrs runtime at 400 lumens, on either light, is up there with any of its main competitors.

Overall there's a lot to like about the Feniz HM65R-T. The adjustment system takes a bit of getting used to but it's a system that's now in use on trail running shoes and even mountaineering boots so it's going to become more familiar. The fine level of adjustment using the BOA wheel is certainly at a different level to traditional straps. The option to use both lights at the same time offers something most others don't and the weight reduction is welcome. The only downside is the lack of padding behind the main unit but this can be overcome with custom solutions (eg. small piece of neoprene). With a street price around £95 - £105 it's a specialist piece of kit but it's built with trail running in mind rather than as a more general use light and it justifies the price. 

The Fenix HM65R-T is available from the UK distributor here

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