Fenix T6 | Expert Review by Koen van der Jagt
I remember how, as a small boy, I was very impressed when I ran into a pen with a built-in light. It was like magic, writing in the dark; that was something I wanted to have! Unfortunately, I no longer have my first penlight, but the concept is fortunately still very much alive and updated throughout the years. Let me introduce you to the Fenix T6, and tell you what I think about it!
The T6 is nicely wrapped in a blister and I decided I wanted to damage the packaging as little as possible. I think I did quite well. You receive a charging cable, user manual and spare o-rings and that's great, but I do miss a spare ink refill.
The fact that the T6 pen light with built-in light, including battery, is a little bigger than, for instance, a classic Parker pen is not that surprising. The materials used also contribute to this. I think the design is a successful mix of tactical elements and elegance. The T6 comes in two colours: black, and steel blue with black, I think the latter is most fancy.
The pointed tip gives you more insight into one of the T6' purposes: as a defensive weapon. The special structure behind the tip provides you with enough grip because the writing part of the pen works via a twist mechanism. The middle, black part has a fine structure that prevents slipping. The back compartment contains most parts: the LED light (it is not clear which type), a small switch, carrier clip and glass breaker on the back. The clip of my T6 is not tightly placed against the body, I prefer it to be a little tighter to make sure the light stays in place on your clothing or gear even better.
I immediately thought back to the good old days back at school when I tried to completely disassemble the T6. The light is comprised of five parts in total, including spring and refill. The refill is a lot smaller than that of a Parker pen and will therefore also have to be replaced sooner. You also immediately see where you have to charge the light: the charging port is located in a practical place and is properly protected against dust and water.
The T6 does not have any weak spots in terms of construction quality and finish. You do need to be a little more careful with the spring and the refill, but I do not expect anyone who owns the light to disassemble it on a daily basis.
When and how
The T6 can almost always accompany you! Thanks to the slim casing and the clip this penlight will easily fit in your pocket or even the jacket of your suit. But you can, of course, also attach it to your gear: law enforcement professionals can attach the light to their clothing to make sure they have both hands free when walking through the halls of a dark building. You can even keep the light in place while you use the writing part individually. The T6 will also come in handy outside, but do keep in mind that the range is up to 10 metres. The tip, glass breaker (valuable during emergency situations) and writing option ensure that the Fenix T6 is a great accessory for daily use.
Controls and comfort
The fact that both the size and weight of the T6 are higher than that of a standard pen is not surprising. You also notice that the back part is a little heavier because of the built-in battery and light. Despite this fact the T6 feels great in hand, and you often hardly notice it as part of your gear.
Compared to most pens the T6 is not enhanced with a clicky. By slightly turning the front part (while holding the back) you can bring out the tip of the refill. It takes some getting used to, but it works and the tip will never accidently slide back. The T6 works well, even on slightly uneven surfaces such as (rough) wood. As I was testing the T6 I noticed that I often used it to, for instance, make some notes on my hand during a hike or cycling trip. For longer texts you do notice that the T6 is slightly heavier and bigger than your average pen. It is, of course, very cool, that you can light up your work as you use the pen by removing the back and use it as an individual light!
As mentioned before the charging port is located at the back of the T6. Thanks to this find the penlight is waterproof according to the IP66 rating. Charging is easy. You control the light via a small button which you can easily find with your bare hands, but not as easily while wearing gloves. The light is easy to use and doesn't need getting used to. You turn the light on by holding the button and select the light modes by briefly pressing the same button. It doesn't get any easier than that. The T6 always starts in the lowest light mode and has three intensities. When you double-click you lock and unlock the light, this is not possible mechanically which makes sense because the light can function on its own when you remove it from the pen. You can check the battery status in the standby mode, as long as the T6 is not locked. Briefly press it once and you know how much power you have left.
The Fenix feels great in hand and you can easily control the light. The T6 scores well when it comes to these aspects.
This is what I love about the T6
The T6 writes really well, always starts in the moonlight mode and is very easy to use. The light output is surprisingly good.
Things that could be better
The control switch is quite small. I prefer the switch to be located on the back, but that is where you can find the glass breaker.
Value for money?
The T6 is, at the moment, one of the cheapest Fenix products. Granted, it is more expensive than a Parker pen or a mini light, but you do get a 2-in-1 tool, including charging cable and spare o-rings. Even though I would have preferred to receive an additional refill I don't think the T6 is overpriced.
A unique Fenix product, not something they have ever done before. The T6 looks great, is easy to use and also produces enough light. The interface is easy and the penlight will fit almost anywhere. Because the back is enhanced with a glass breaker the pen works a little differently, but you will quickly get used to that. The switch is very small but you can still easily find it. During the testing period I (fortunately) never had to defend myself or destroy a window, but many times the T6 provided me with light when I needed it or had to write something down. As such this penlight will be a valuable addition to your gear!
The T6 has a quite wide beam without clear spot with a cold white colour. Practical in most situations in and around the house where you will use the light most. The low mode is great for orientation and while writing in the dark. I took the beam shots in and around the house. Below you see a common situation in most houses: a dark stairwell.
Another dark staircase, now in the garden. Here you can clearly see that the lowest mode is not very effective and that the higher modes are great.
Another shot while carrying the T6 in the woods. You can see that the light (in the highest mode) can reach up to 10 metres.
Koen van der Jagt
Ever since he could walk Koen has been interested in lights, wires and batteries. As a child he was always working with dyno torches, bike lights and electrical boxes. The krypton and halogen lights were replaced by LED lights. A couple of years ago he discovered the ‘professional’ stuff. His first brands were Led Lenser and Fenix. Photography is also one of his hobbies. In addition to nature and meteorology Koen loves to show others what a light can do and what its beam looks like at night. Koen’s reviews can often be found on forums such as candlepowerforums.com and taschenlampen-forum.de. Throughout the years Koen has collected lights in practically any category: from small and compact to enormous powerhouses.