REVIEW – Over the years, we here at The Gadgeteer have tested a bunch of flashlights, including several from Imalent. I’ve tested a few myself. But nothing I’ve tested compares to this Imalent MS08 flashlight that I have in my hand in the photo above. What makes this special? Its ability to produce light output that ranges from a utilitarian 300lm (lumen) basic flashlight beam to a blinding 10,000lm searchlight to an insane 34,000lm death ray! Let’s go through the specs and such and then light this puppy up!
What is it?
The Imalent MS08 is a flashlight! OK, that’s an understatement. It is a “holy moly is that thing bright!” flashlight. With six different lighting intensity levels, it is a versatile flashlight for everyday use as well as search and rescue operations. Unlike massive spotlights, the MS08 is small enough for practical everyday carry (EDC), as long as you don’t mind an extra pound-and-a-half or so in your EDC kit.
What’s in the box?
- Imalent MS08 flashlight
- 4000mAh 21700 Li-ion batteries (x3 – installed)
- USB charging cables (x2)
- Battery-powered, fan-cooled heat shield
- Extra O-rings (x2)
- Extra heat shield locking screw (x1)
- User manual
- Flashlight alone: 1.9″ handle width; 2.875″ head width; 4.875″ length
- Flashlight + heat shield: 2.125″ handle width; 3.125″ head width; 5.375″ length
- Weight: 23oz (batteries installed); 27.3oz with heat shield installed
- Shell: aerospace-grade aluminum alloy body, wear-resistant Type III hard-anodized surface treatment
- Lens: toughened ultra-clear mineral and anti-reflective coating glass
- Reflector: aluminum
- Heat shield sleeve: heat-disbursing plastic with integrated dual fans and battery
- LED type: 8 pieces of American CREE XHP70 2nd LEDs
- LED life expectancy: 50,000 hours minimum
- Battery type: Type 21700, 4000mAh (x3)
- Luminous flux: up To 34,000 lumens
- Intensity: 136,000cd (max)
- Beam distance: 750m (max)
- Operating modes: Turbo / High / Middle II / Middle I / Middle Low / Low / Strobe
- Output and runtime:
- Turbo output: 34,000 then stepdown to 10,000 lumens；run time: 45s+53min
- High output: 10,000 lumens; run time: 60min
- Middle II output: 5,000 lumens; run time: 1h30min
- Middle I output: 2,000 lumens; run time: 4h50min
- Middle low output: 700 lumens; run time: 19h
- Low output: 300 lumens; run time: 30h
- Heat shield fan runtime: 1h45min
- Recharge time:
- Flashlight: 7 hours from empty
- Heat shield: 2.5 hours from empty
- Impact resistance: 1m
- Water resistance: IPX-8 standard waterproof – 2m submersible
- Heat management: Dual heat-releasing fans in the heat shield
- Max shell temperature: 40C/104F at 10,000lm; 50C triggers stepdown to 10,000lm
First off, you peel off the protective sheet that covers the Imalent MS08 flashlight’s lens. I’m pretty sure this would melt!
Next, you unscrew the handle from the flashlight head.
You can see the three batteries inside the handle on the right. What’s that on the left?
Ahh! Imalent thoughtfully placed a protective plastic cover over the battery contacts to prevent any discharge during shipping. I popped that out and reassembled the flashlight. I like that they say “please remove”, even though it won’t work if you don’t. 🙂
Optionally, you can also slide on the fan-cooled heat shield. Here is the light mostly inserted. You can see the locking screw receptacle between the power button and the locking screw.
After pushing the light in fully, the screw lines up with the socket. I finger-tightened it. A screwdriver or coin can also be used.
The only thing left to do was charge it up! Here, I have both magnetic charging cords attached, juicing up both the flashlight and the battery-cooled heat shield.
Design and features
The Imalent MS08 flashlight is pretty beefy for a relatively small flashlight. In the photo above, I’m holding it in my hand bare (left) and with the heat shield installed (right). You can see the power button, and in the left photo, the screw receptacle for the heat shield’s mounting screw. Here’s a closer look.
Here’s a look at the heat shield’s mounting screw and the cutout for access to the flashlight’s charging contacts.
The heat shield has a cooling fan mounted on each side.
These fans suck air in and disburse that air onto the aluminum shell of the flashlight, helping to dissipate the heat that the MS08 generates in its higher output modes.
On the bottom of the heat shield, we find its power button and indicator LED.
The LED lights up green when the fans are running (left) and red when charging (right). The charging cable attaches magnetically and is the same as the charging cable for the flashlight.
One thing I found interesting is that there is no guidance in the user manual as to when to use the heat shield. Based on that, I guess it is more for user comfort than device protection.
Here is a look at the charging ports when the shield is installed. You can easily charge both the shield and the flashlight at the same time with the two included charging cables.
You can also easily access the Imalent MS08 flashlight’s power button with the heat shield installed.
You also get a good view of the indicator LEDs on both sides of the flashlight through the heat shield.
The LEDs glow red when charging and green when in use or when turned on manually. It flashes red when the battery is nearing exhaustion.
Here’s a look at one of the indicator LEDs.
On the opposite side of the power button, we see the magnetic charging contacts.
They do provide a subtle “HOT” warning – so subtle that I didn’t notice it until I was taking these photos. Still, with a peak continuous temperature of 104F, and peaking near 122F, I’m glad they include a heat shield.
During the setup below, I had to disassemble the grip.
It is tightly threaded and lubricated to improve water resistance. At the base of the threads, you can just make out the rubber O-ring that provides the seal. Two more O-rings are included.
The three included batteries pack a power punch at 4,000mAh each for a total of 12,000mAh. For reference, a Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra has a 5,000mAh battery. An Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max battery is 4,352 mAh.
The base of the MS08 is flat.
The included nylon holster can hold the flashlight securely with its hook-and-loop closure.
The light fits well with or without the heat shield installed.
The back of the holster has a ring for hanging and a hook-and-loop belt loop.
Here’s the part that everyone is interested in, the business end.
On the left, you can see the eight CREE XHP70 LEDs. On the right, I have the light on at 700lm, the only output level that didn’t blow my camera away.
OK – we’re put together, charged up, heat shielded up, and ready to light up the world!
Before we get into light output, let’s talk about the operation of the Imalent MS08 flashlight and heat shield. I’ll start with the heat shield as it is simple – press the button to turn on the fans, press it again to turn them off.
The Imalent MS08 flashlight is a little more complex. Imalent thoughtfully included a lock mode. That’s a necessity for a flashlight that turns on with just a press. To activate lock mode, when the flashlight is off, rapidly press the button four times. The LED indicator will flash to indicate you have enabled or disabled lock mode. When the flashlight is locked, pressing the button just causes the LED indicator to flash green.
Once the light is unlocked, the button makes things happen. If you hold the switch for three seconds, it turns what they call the switch indicator lights on/off. When on, the indicator LED glows green all the time. I guess this is so you can find the flashlight in the dark. But, since the LEDs are located 90-degrees on either side of the switch, I’m not sure why they chose that name.
The light has mode memory. This means that when you press the button, it will turn on to the last-used regular lighting mode. Pressing the button once turns the light on/off. When the light is on, holding the button will cycle through the available intensities: 300lm/700lm/2000lm/5000lm/10000lm. Releasing the button will lock that intensity in the mode memory. When the light is on or off, double-pressing the button kicks off turbo mode – 34,000lm. It will only last for about 45 seconds and will automatically step down to 10,000lm. When in turbo mode, another double press turns on strobe mode. Nothing in the documentation indicates the intensity of strobe mode nor runtime. It sure seems pretty darn bright.
Now we know how to run it on, off, and change intensities. On to the practical look at the light output.
Let’s start with a comparison. This comes from the question several people asked me when I told them I was testing the MS08: “How does it compare to car headlights?” After doing some online research, I deferred to the NADA guide published by J.D. Power. They state that headlight intensity varies as follows:
- Halogen: 700lm low beam; 1,200lm – 1,700lm high beams
- Xenon HID: 2,400lm – 5,000lm
- LED: 2,000lm – 4,000lm
So, for the Imalent MS08 flashlight, it sure sounds like it wouldn’t even be breaking a sweat to outperform headlights. Let’s see!
One thing to note is that the SUV’s headlights are directional – they are designed to throw light in a very specific forward pattern so that the road ahead will be illuminated. The flashlight’s light output is designed to be a more widely disbursed light pattern to illuminate a much broader area. It is akin to the difference between a spotlight and a floodlight.
All photos were taken with my Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra cell phone at the same exposure – ISO-400, f1.8, 1/50 second.
I started with just the low beams on my full-sized SUV with LED headlights. The SUV was in our garage and the headlights were shining on our neighbor’s house. I positioned my phone between the two headlights.
OK – looks pretty typical for LED headlights. Notice how the LEDs have a light pattern that forms a fairly flat line across the top of its output area, right across the middle of the garage door.
Let’s ramp it up with high beams!
OK, that’s a little brighter. The pattern went from a flat top to a more broad lighting pattern that reaches higher on the garage door.
Next, I flipped back to low beams and held the Imalent MS08 flashlight between and slightly above the headlights. Here’s a shot with the low beams and the flashlight throwing out 300 lumens.
If you look at the pavers on the driveway and into the street, you can pick up a little of the light. But barely. Next up, 700 lumens.
OK – there’s a little more light there, but the headlights are still the dominant light source. Time to bring more serious light to the party – 2,000 lumens.
OK – now we’re getting somewhere. Still, the headlights are lighting up the garage door across the street. Time to go to 5,000 lumens.
OK – now the flashlight is starting to take over. The area above the midpoint of the garage door is starting to light up. Let’s double down to 10,000 lumens.
Now, we’re talking! We can now see the roof and the driveway and street are fully illuminated. The Imalent MS08 flashlight is providing the bulk of the visible light with the headlights only creating the hot spots on the garage door. Time to bring on full power – 34,000 lumens!
It was seriously like daylight outside. I have a neighbor come over to see how big a light I was using. They couldn’t believe I was holding it in the palm of my hand. The whole house across the street was lit up, although you could still make out the top of the low beam pattern on the garage door. For comparison, I flipped on the high beams.
You can still see the high beam light pattern on the semi-reflective paint on the garage door, but the flashlight absolutely dominates everything else.
The fact that the Imalent MS08 flashlight was throwing so much light over such a wide area was very impressive. Even at 10,000 lumens, the amount of light you can command in the palm of your hand is more than enough to light just about any task. Of course, that only works if the light lasts a long time without charging.
Let’s test the Imalent MS08 flashlight’s runtime. I fully charged both the light and the heat shield. I turned on the heat shield’s fans and fired up the light on turbo intensity. It ran between 45-50 seconds before dropping back to 10,000lm. It should run for another 53 minutes or so, according to the specs. Now, we wait…
After about ten minutes, I took a non-contact forehead thermometer and took a reading on the handle – 106.5F. Toasty! I took another reading a few minutes later and for an out-of-range error. I don’t know the high-end of the thermometer, but we were above it. I tested again just above the lens and got an out-of-range error. OK, the infrared thermometer won’t work. Let’s try something else. I put a meat thermometer just above the lens.
Yes, that is indicating that the surface of the lens is over 200F! Needless to say, I won’t be touching the lens. Even with the heat shield fans running, it was a little uncomfortable to hold, peaking above 106F. If you’re going to run this for a long time at max output, I’d definitely recommend gloves.
At about 50 minutes, I noticed that the indicator LED was flashing red, indicating that the battery was getting low. At just about 54 minutes, it started to step down, ultimately only allowing me to get 300lm or 700lm of output. Still, it sat there, cranking out 10,000lm for nearly an hour after that 34,000lm burst for nearly a minute. Pretty impressive.
To get these runtimes, you must use the heat shield with its fans running. The Imalent MS08 flashlight is temperature-controlled for safety and if it gets too hot, it will step down its output. Given hot how the handle gets, I can’t imagine using it without the heat shield.
One other minor quibble – there is no real battery indicator. Sure, you get a red flashing LED when the battery is about to die. If it’s not flashing, is the battery fully charged or at 10%? There’s no way to know.
What I like
- A nice range of light output levels
- Incredible runtime of an hour at 10,000lm
- The 34,000lm turbo mode is amazing
- Overall good heat management
- Whisper quiet cooling fans
What I’d change
- Perhaps slightly stronger cooling fans would help
- Seven hours is a long time to charge
- Some sort of battery charge indicator would be helpful
All I can say is “wow”! The Imalent MS08 is one incredible flashlight. From a 30-hour 300lm utility light to a one-hour 10,000lm searchlight, and three intermediate steps in between, this light fits many different lighting needs. Add in the 34,000lm daylight-like monster beam, and you have an incredibly versatile light all in one relatively small EDC package. At high output levels, does it produce significant heat? Yes, but that’s expected. The thoughtful inclusion of the fan-cooled heat shield helps mitigate this, but you will still need gloves for long-term high-intensity use.
If you need a versatile flashlight that can produce a wide range of outputs, including that massive 34,000lm blast, the Imalent MS08 flashlight should be on your shortlist.