Hands-on Gear Review

Fenix HP25R Review

If you are looking for a big, bright, and wide light, the Fenix offers unmatched performance
By: RJ Spurrier ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 28, 2018
Price:  $80 List  |  $79.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Super bright spot shines 182 meters, regulated lighting, rechargeable
Cons:  Heavy, bright beam only lasts 2.8 hrs, expensive
Manufacturer:   Fenix
61
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 27
  • Trail Finding - 35% 9
  • Close Proximity - 20% 5
  • Battery Life - 15% 6
  • Weight - 15% 2
  • Ease of Use - 15% 5
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Top Pick Award

Our Verdict

Sometimes you just need a super bright light. For those times, little else matters. It doesn't matter if the headlamp is heavy, or bulky, or if the batteries don't last super-long. In those contexts, all you want is massive illumination. When an overabundance of light is what you want, the USB rechargeable Fenix HP25R should be on your short list with a beam throw of 182 meters. It is heavy and bulky, weighing in at 8.4 ounces or 238 grams. And, high mode battery life is 2.8 hours, which is not bad considering how bright it is, but below average. Close proximity performance is also only good, but not great. We can nitpick other details about this light's performance, but one thing clear is that the Fenix is an ultra bright product that delivers the light.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

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The Fenix HP25 is a specialized light-generating machine. It is the brightest in our test, but is otherwise only about average in performance, and significantly heavier and bulky.

Performance Comparison



Trail Finding


The big, bright and wide beam of the Fenix offers terrific performance for trail finding, tying for first place with the Zebralight H600w Mk IV and besting the other top contender Black Diamond Storm.


As you can see in the beam comparison photos below, the Fenix (left) is really about exactly the same as the Zebralight (right). Both offer a huge beam and lights up the path ahead, both wide and far.

Beam Distance Photos

Fenix HP25R
Zebralight H600w Mk IV

In the photos below you can see that the Storm (below right) can't see as far as the Fenix, and although excellent, isn't quite as good. They both earned 9 of 10 scores, and both offer amazing trail finding performance, but the Fenix is objectively better (just not good enough to go to a 10 of 10 score).

Beam Distance Photos

Fenix HP25R
Black Diamond Storm


Close Proximity


The Fenix sends out a perfectly functional flood light, in your choice of four brightness levels, but it has a somewhat hot center that is not as evenly lit as better floods like the BD Spot or BD Storm. While the Spot earned a perfect 10, the Fenix was really only about average when compared to the competition and earned a 5.



Battery Life


For such a bright light, it is appropriate to be somewhat forgiving when it comes to high mode battery run-time. The Fenix delivered pretty good performance, considering its brightness, at 2.8 hours


Comparing the Fenix versus the Zebralight in our graph below that looks at beam distance over time, you can see that the Zebralight (in H2 mode), delivers a longer, and quite well-regulated 120 meter beam, while the Fenix drops below to 113 meters after a strong initial 20 minute run from 182m to 166m.

Both the Zebralight and the Fenix offered amazing beam distances  and with much better than expected battery like considering the powerful lighting.
Both the Zebralight and the Fenix offered amazing beam distances, and with much better than expected battery like considering the powerful lighting.

Weight


Just as it is the brightest light in our review, it is also the heaviest at a half a pound. Just as it dominates the brightness of the next brightest product by 20%, it is 21% heavier than the next heaviest. While it sure seems as though the Fenix could be made lighter with no compromise in brightness, our testers didn't seem to care. One would not carry this light anywhere that weight matters. It is a pure light-throwing beast!



Ease of Use


Just like everything else about the Fenix, we overlook some quirks on account of the brightness. With two bulbs and two buttons, usage is even less intuitive than some of the other multiple moded products we reviewed. In an issue ubiquitous to all two-part lights (lights with battery pack at the back of the head and bulb unit on the front), and exaggerated by a somewhat floppy cord connecting the two, the HP25R is easy to be get tangled up in pocket or pack. Before putting it on, you must sort out the straps and cord in order for everything to line up correctly.


Finally, in terms of ease of use, there is some assembly required. Out of the package the Fenix arrives with straps and hardware all separate. You must put it all together in a 10-minute project.


Best Applications


When you need to see a long distance, the Fenix is a solid contender. But, be aware that it isn't the only one with this kind of performance.

Value


In terms of value, the HP25R is not a slam-dunk. It is quite expensive, and only worthwhile if you really need a very bright, long-distance beam. But, the Zebralight sells for about the same price, and we feel it offers a better value because it works better in a lot of ways, not just in terms of beam distance and brightness.

Many people will also want to consider a lower cost light, like the BD Storm, which sells for about half the price, and offers nearly as good beam distance performance. Plus, the BD is smaller, lighter, and offers better performance and features for use around camp.


Conclusion


We love specialized, no-holds-barred products. With such powerful lighting performance, it is easy to overlook the shortcomings. This is not a light for everyone. In fact, very few are apt to need this sort of performance, and even those who do may not find the Fenix's top beam performance enough to overlook similarly bright headlamps that offer better all-around performance like the Zebralight or Storm.

RJ Spurrier

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Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (4.0)
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