Imalent MS03 Flashlight Review
Today I have the Imalent MS03 flashlight – one that claims a massive 13,000 lumens. That’s a big claim, so read on for thoughts and testing!
Imalent MS03 Flashlight Official Specs and Features
There’s just one version of the MS03.
These are selling for $129.95 right now.
There’s something about this light form that I love. You shouldn’t be surprised: it’s very “flashlighty.” It holds its cell well, too, in that it seems small for holding a 21700 cell. The output is pretty incredible (briefly) and the cell charging is good. I’m not pleased that the cell is proprietary, and at the end that adds unnecessary length to the light, too. Overall this is a nice light.
The Big Table
|Imalent MS03 Flashlight|
|Price in USD at publication time:||$129.95
Buy yours at imalentstore.com!
|Turbo Runtime||High Runtime|
|Quiescent Current (A):||?|
|Charge Port Type:||USB-C (On Cell)|
|Power off Charge Port with no Cell?||–|
|Claimed Lumens (lm)||13000|
|Measured Lumens (at 30s)||3835 (29.5% of claim)^|
|Candela per Lumen||1.7|
|Claimed Throw (m)||324|
|Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s)||299lux @ 4.355m = 5671cd|
|Throw (Calculated) (m)||150.6 (46.5% of claim)^|
|All my Imalent reviews!|
^Measurement disclaimer: I am an amateur flashlight reviewer. I don’t have $10,000 or even $1,000 worth of testing equipment. I test output and such in PVC tubes!! Please consider claims within 10% of what I measure to be perfectly reasonable (accurate, even). This was after a stepdown; measurements were taken at 30s.
- Imalent MS03 Flashlight
- Imalent 4000mAh 21700 with USB-C Charge port
- Charge cable (USB to USB-C)
- Nylon carry pouch
- Spare o-rings (2)
- Pocket clip (in this case but probably not all cases – see below)
- Manual and papers
Package and Manual
Build Quality and Disassembly
The build quality is good. It’s a little chonky light, and reminiscent of lights like the Nitecore MH23.
The body and tail have knurling, which is useful especially during cell swaps.
The threads on this tailcap are long. SOOOooo long. I count eight and a half turns before it releases. 8.5 turns is a lot!!
Tailcap has a big spring. You can’t tell it here but this spring is short – that’ll be relevant later.
The head has just a brass contact area.
The included cell sits flush in the body.
There’s an indicator just under the switch.
And the lights are laser serialized, too!
Size and Comps
Product size: 36 (head diameter) * 27 (body diameter) * 110 (length)mm
Net weight: 117g (battery excluded).
I measure 190g with cell.
If a light will headstand, I’ll show it here (usually the third photo). If a light will tailstand, I’ll show that here, too (usually the fourth photo).
Here’s the test light with the venerable Convoy S2+. Mine’s a custom “baked” edition Nichia 219b triple. A very nice 18650 light.
And here’s the light beside my custom engraved TorchLAB BOSS 35, an 18350 light. I reviewed the aluminum version of that light in both 35 and 70 formats.
Retention and Carry
A nylon pouch is included. The light will fit head up or down, but head up works best.
With my package, this pocket clip was included too, but Imalent says this is a “free gift” type thing – I am not sure if you should expect to get this in your package or not but I’d probably assume you won’t. It really only fits in this orientation anyway, which is not useful at all.
Power and Runtime
The MS03 runs on a single lithium-ion cell. The size is 21700, and an appropriate cell is included. It’s a 4000mAh 21700, and is proprietary. It seems proprietary in a couple of ways. The first is that it has a USB-C port. The second is that there’s a little plastic shroud around the positive, which is very slightly a button.
This button is important. As far as I can tell, it’s one of the two things that keep regular 21700 cells from working in the MS03. The other is length – regular (unprotected flat top) 21700 cells will be much too short for this light.
Here are a couple of runtimes. The stepdowns are quick, and throw off the measurements vs claim. It’s claimed as a 13000 light, and at start up that’s probably approximately right.
Skip down to the “Modes and Currents” section before going further. Note that on the highest two modes are very demanding on this single cell. Turbo of seventeen amps is unlikely to be maintained from one cell for very long regardless of the light itself. Or regardless of the light’s temperature settings. It’s just that 17A is a lot to ask of a cell.
Interestingly, High output measures higher at 30s than Turbo. The stepdowns are less aggressive.
Low voltage protection is evident in both tests. When the cell is below 3V, the indicating LED (green) should flash slowly.
The package also includes a charge cable, which is USB to USB-C. This is for on-cell charging, not on-light charging.
Charging looks pretty good but is probably slower than it really has to be. There’s no good reason to charge at 0.5C, when USB-C could handle so much more. Still, charging takes only 3 hours or so.
Modes and Currents
|Mode||Mode Claimed Output (lm)||Claimed Runtime||Measured Lumens||Tailcap Amps|
Pulse Width Modulation
All but Turbo has PWM. I don’t notice it specifically, but if you’d asked me I could have guessed it was there. The beam has that something that gives it away.
For reference, here’s a baseline shot, with all the room lights off and almost nothing hitting the sensor. Also, here’s the light with the worst PWM I could find. I’m adding multiple timescales, so it’ll be easier to compare to the test light. Unfortunately, the PWM on this light is so bad that it doesn’t even work with my normal scale, with is 50 microseconds (50us). 10ms. 5ms. 2ms. 1ms. 0.5ms. 0.2ms. In a display faster than 0.2ms or so, the on/off cycle is more than one screen, so it’d just (very incorrectly) look like a flat line. I wrote more about this Ultrafire WF-602C flashlight and explained a little about PWM too.
User Interface and Operation
There’s a single switch, and it’s on the head of the light. It’s an e-switch, with an indicator just under switch itself. The switch is very responsive, and pleasantly has a metal cover (something I’m extremely fond of). It’s not proud, and easy to find without looking.
Here’s a UI table!
|Off||Click||On (Mode Memory (excluding Turbo/Strobe)|
|On||Hold||Mode cycle (150/800/300/3000/8000 order)|
|Off||Hold||Iterate the indicator switch (on or off)|
|Off||Click 3x||Iterate Lock (indicated by 3x flashing of green indicating LED)|
LED and Beam
In the MS03 are three Cree XHP70.2 emitters. They each have a small reflector, making a beam that while floody, is still directed.
These beamshots are always with the following settings: f8, ISO100, 0.3s shutter, and manual 5000K exposure.
Tint vs BLF-348 (KillzoneFlashlights.com 219b version) (affiliate link)
I keep the test flashlight on the left, and the BLF-348 reference flashlight on the right. As you can see these modes… sort of go from “on” to “very extremely bright” very quickly.
I compare everything to the Killzone 219b BLF-348 because it’s inexpensive and has the best tint!
Conclusion on the Imalent MS03 Flashlight
What I like
- Great flashlighty light.
- Metal switch cover and responsive easy to use switch.
- UI is uncomplicated
- Massive 17A drain on turbo!
What I don’t like
- Hold from off really needs to have a low power moonlight
- Proprietary cell
- This light was provided by Imalent for review. I was not paid to write this review.
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