Despite their convenience, USB rechargeable flashlights are still the exception, not the norm. Thankfully, Fenix is leading the charge to bring rechargeable lights to the mainstream flashlight market. And I was thrilled to test their small-but-mighty flashlight model, the TK20R V2.0.
You likely know that this flashlight is a powerful everyday carry flashlight that you can charge with a USB-C–but how does it perform? I used the Fenix TK20R V2.0 for over a month, through a power outage, and as my go-to flashlight as I worked in the woods.
Fenix sends us their flashlights barebone, simply because we usually receive them a couple of months before the official release so we can test them properly.
For end-consumers, the flashlight comes in a nicely designed box which includes:
It’s difficult not to find the Fenix TK20R V2.0 attractive. The entire body is black with light gray printing. And while I think an all-black flashlight makes for a timeless tool, this isn’t my favorite aesthetic feature of the flashlight. What makes this flashlight a looker? Its balance between being matte black and having a slight reflective quality.
It feels reliable, which is a good start. With seamless aluminum, the flashlight immediately feels solid and durable.
The Fenix TK20R V2.0 fits absolutely PERFECTLY in my hand. The weight and size make it feel just right. And the anti-slip grooves on the body of the light keep it secure even when it’s raining–which the TK20R V2.0. can handle thanks to its IP68 waterproof and dustproof rating.
The first feature to catch my eye was the cover for the USB port, which is a threaded collar just beneath the head of the light. Unscrewing the collar exposes the USB Type-C port. After charging, tightening the collar back to the head creates a waterproof and dustproof seal, ensuring the longevity of the charging port. This is a pretty innovative way to protect the charging port, which was not as protected in previous models. At the other end of the body, the endcap can be removed if the battery needs to be replaced.
The battery that comes with the flashlight is ARB-L21-5000 V2.0 Li-ion battery (21700), but the TK20R V2.0 is also compatible with Fenix ARB-L21-5000U (21700) and Fenix ARB-L21-4000P (21700) batteries.
On the tailcap, there are two buttons used to operate the light. The smaller button activates the strobe if the flashlight is turned off, and cycles output modes when it is turned on. The larger button is an on/off toggle – simple. I love it when a flashlight has simple buttons like this because it takes away the guesswork of how it will operate and how it will perform when you need it.
This truly is a flashy flashlight without a bulky body. It has all the power you need for a reliable, powerful, and lightweight flashlight. But if you’re a specs-nerd like so many of us at Durability Matters, you’ll want to check out these fantastic specs:
The TK20R V2.0 has 5 continuous output modes and a strobe.
Testing Usability, Durability, and More
For over a month, this flashlight was attached to my belt or clipped to my pocket. I used it through excursions in the woods and when my power when out after the mid-U.S. tornados. This trial period is one of the most thorough you will find–not only did I want to use this flashlight I had to rely on it. Note that all photos were taken after carrying it for weeks–there are basically no signs of wear at all.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t particularly like taking things apart unless they need to be cleaned or fixed. I really appreciate the simplicity and convenience of a USB-C charging port on this flashlight. USB-C is standard for a lot of electronics these days, so I have plenty of compatible charging cords. And I appreciate that I can cover it with a fully waterproof and dustproof seal so I don’t have to worry about corroding or damaging the charging port.
Fenix’s designers really knocked it out of the park with this flashlight. From the weight to the material, and the shape and size, this flashlight feels like it belongs in my hand. I was never a fan of the way that a Maglite “smash ‘em on the head” sized flashlight felt when carried. I also dislike tiny, flimsy feeling flashlights that are so light you forget you’re carrying them. The TK20R V2.0 lands on a comfortable middle ground between these.
Additionally, many of these everyday carry flashlights have oversized clips that can become uncomfortable when you grip the flashlight. The TK20R V2.0 is perfect. It holds tight without extending too far off the body of the flashlight. And you can remove it if you need to.
A lot of flashlights have a decent drop/impact rating, and this one is no exception. But when there’s a surface specifically for hitting things, I know the TK20R V2.0 will hold up to bumps and scrapes better than the average flashlight. I’ve never needed to use a flashlight’s strike bezel, but it is a good option for self-defense or if breaking a window is required in an emergency.
The batter indicator is hidden under the collar which also covers the USB Type-C port for charging. Its location is somewhat unusual, but it adds to the overall minimalistic design of the flashlight.
It will light up for 3 seconds whenever you turn on the flashlight so you can gauge the status of the battery.
This flashlight’s buttons are both on its tailcap. While this isn’t a problem for two-handed or overhand operation, I can see some users wishing for a thumb-operated button to change modes while carrying the light underhand.
I love this light. I’ve been using it regularly for over a month now, and it has yet to show any signs of wear–no scratches, no dings. The simple operation and charging score high marks for me. And simple usually equates to long-lasting. It also feels extremely durable and I love the security provided by the USB port cover. The TK20R V2.0 isn’t shabby when it comes to output levels, either, and it should easily meet the needs of most users.