INOVA Microlight STS keychain flashlight review

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A few days ago I posted a news item about the INOVA Microlight STS keychain flashlight. We’ve all seen similar looking flashlights small enough to easily fit on a keychain, but the INOVA Microlight STS Swipe to Shine from Nite Ize has something I’ve never seen before with any flashlight… touch/gesture controls. That’s right, there are no buttons or switches. This light is controlled solely by touch.

Note: Images can be clicked to view a larger size.


This flashlight is available in 4 colors including the blue version you see here. Also available are smoke, orange and olive.


The light itself is 2.18 x 1.09 x 0.43 inches not including the S-biner clip.

It’s made of water-and-shock-resistant plastic that has a soft slightly rubberized feel. There’s also a rubber non-slip thumb grip pad on the top.


The Microlight STS is powered by 2 2032 lithium batteries which are already installed and can be replaced if desired. The LED has a max output of 16 lumens which will drain the batteries in 9hrs if left on at that setting. If you run the flashlight on the lowest setting (2 lumens) continuously, you can get up to 64hrs of light on a set of batteries.

If you check out the pictures above, you will notice the groove behind the LED. This is the touch area that features dual electrode capacitive sensing technology, which they call “Swipe-To-Shine”. Basically you just swipe the pad of your thumb right to left to turn on the light and right to left to turn it off. If you continue to swipe, you will toggle into each consecutive mode: high, variable dim, low, strobe and off. To use the dim feature, you have to continue to hold down at the end of the right to left swipe.

See it in action

As you can see from the video, the touch controls work (even with gloves on), but just not 100% of the time. So in my opinion, the INOVA Microlight STS “Swipe to Shine” keychain flashlight is more of a gimmick than a truly useful keychain flashlight. Yes it works, but if I can’t rely on one swipe to turn it on, it’s useless to me.


I’ll stick with my current favorite – the Photon X-Light Micro LED keychain flashlight. It is half the size of the INOVA and has a soft rubber clicky switch that works perfectly every time you squeeze it.

What is your favorite keychain flashlight?


Product Information

Manufacturer:Nite Ize
  • Unique touch interface
  • 4 functions
  • Small
  • Touch interface doesn't work consistantly

10 thoughts on “INOVA Microlight STS keychain flashlight review”

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  2. Great little review on the inova. I have seen these around in the store, they are way easier to find than the photon lights and I always wondered if it was worth checking out. I have 2 of the photon lights and I really like the way that they work and their basic indestructibility. Thanks, you saved me a few bucks.

  3. I have this flashlight on my key chain so I am never without it in the car. It really comes in handy when I try to put my housekey in the lock after dark and can’t see the lock. Also if the phone rings late at night I have one next to the phone so I can who is calling.

  4. Great review. I was searching for buying keychain flashlight. At first i thought you review INOVA Microlight keychain flashlight. But later i understand you are referring Photon flashlight.
    Thank you for your recommendation. I was searching very small like Photon flashlight. I will buy that.

  5. I was considering buying the photon but I ended up going with the Nitecore tube instead. It’s a bit bigger but it’s rechargeable and has adjustable brightness

  6. As a keychain light i am using thrunite. Although, i did not use Inova yet but i will place an onder because it looks like high lumen keychain light.

  7. Incredible little review on the inova. I have seen these around in the store, they are route simpler to discover than the photon lights and I generally thought about whether it was worth looking at. I have 2 of the photon lights and I truly like the way that they work and their fundamental indestructibility. Much obliged, you spared me a couple bucks.

  8. I really like this little Inova microlight and appreciate your thorough review of it. I like the durability and size but the light is also quite powerful! A trusty little flashlight for a guy or girl while being compact and tough. Something that can last forever compared to some of the cheaper models.

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