Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fenix E11 is a handful of surprisingly awesome Chinese innovation, & thoughts on "Buying American".

 Like most of us, I try to "buy American" whenever I can.  Doing so supports our local & national sagging economies, supports jobs at home in times of economic uncertainty, ensures we know where our products come from, ensures that fair labor practices were employed in said manufacturing situation, & almost always ensures superior quality.  As I've noted before, as a much younger guy, I thought that the flag-waving middle aged men I heard shouting "Buy American" were somehow biased, or influenced by racism or nationalism.  I know better as an adult of course, citing all of the previous examples, which are my own reasons for "buying American", most of the time.  Those things said, there are such things as quality foreign made products, though we don't always think of them as "foreign".  Victorinox/Wenger (the same entity in 2011) for example, they have an American HQ, but are still Swiss-based, in Ibach, & most certainly Swiss-made.  As of late, people are & have been, talking about how "everything" is made in China.  Certainly there's lots of stuff that's made in Asia, particularly China, that we sometimes cannot avoid.  Go to Target, I challenge you to count the number of American Made items you find.  Rambling opinions aside, Fenix Lights are out of China, & I gotta say, they're inexpensive (relatively) & superfucking high quality from a handful of examples that I own.
     I found a $20 & some ones in my "car" backpack, that I stash under the passenger seat, I was looking for a business card when I found the hidden cash.  I had time to kill & headed over to my local REI.  I really dislike REI for their targeted super-fit, "money is no object", yuppie elitist clientele, their high prices, and many of their employees in many of their stores, but they DO carry good stuff @ reasonable prices on occasion, & depending on the time of year.  Long story shortened, I dropped about $27 USD on a Fenix E11, & it's an impressive little piece of work.  I have no home-fried pics up, because it's so new, but I'll likely throw some performance data & night shots up here as time allows.  Fenix's site is great, because, while their Engrish...ahem "Eng-Lish" isn't always perfect, their big photos clearly detail all of their product specs...if only more American manufacturers would take this simple & effective approach!!

     Because they have ready-made photos of specs & data on the site, this spares me (and YOU) the monotony of naming features & listing specifications, (thankya Jeezus-sah!).  All you need to know if that the E11 is mega small, mega light, uses a single AA battery, comes with a lanyard, spare o-ring & spare tailcap, has a momentary/constant "tactical" style clicky tailcap, and goes from 32 lumens to 105 lumens with a short rotation of the bezel-head.  Oh, and it's waterproof, IPX8, which basically means it'll survive full-on immersion, as long as depths that create big pressure are avoided.  If I'm wrong & you're one of those forum-obsessed flashlight analysts, feel free to comment, but basically, you could drop your Fenix light in a shallow stream (under a meter deep?), come back for it in the morning, & while your battery may be exhausted, the internal chip & guts should be good & dry.  It's sealed tightly with an o-ring, & the fact that they've provided a spare, along with the spare rubber tailcap boot increases the value of this little guy tremendously.  I can't remember how many times I ran an incandescent Surefire bulb into the ground & had to wait for shipping on another, or get to a local Surefire dealer who was out.  As you know, LEDs, more or less, do not burn out...that is, if a light is used so frequently that an LED does burn out after tens of thousands of hours...the bulb is not replaceable.  Most good manufacturers SHOULD warrant the LED chip itself, if they do not, then they suck.  So, natural burnout-free LED technology, provided with a couple of heavy-wear spare parts in package is worth a lot to who?? To THIS guy...right here.

Take a look, aside from Streamlight (some US & some Chinese products), Fenix is the only company I know of that really delivers on fairly inexpensive LED lights that perform like much more expensive if only they were made here in the States!!
Images Courtesy of Fenix Light

Fenix Light Site in English


CTone said...

I love Fenix. I can't believe the quality they put out for the price, and that their lights are brighter, with more features, than Surefire.

You're right, also, about their website. You get a really good rundown of what you get with the light.

You've reminded me that I need to pick up some more of their lights.

Aaron said...

Well said C, I agree, I was hesitant until I got a pair of their tiny keychain lights, 1 for me & one as a gift about 3 years ago...I saw my buddy's GF recently, and while battered, her little (E01)? I believe was still working like clockwork, as is mine...good stuff, Chinese made or not!