Review: Imalent SA04 (4*AA, 2*XM-L2 and RGB) with touch-screen

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ChibiM
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Review: Imalent SA04 (4*AA, 2*XM-L2 and RGB) with touch-screen

Imalent SA04

Many pictures have Mouse-Overs or links to bigger sized ones
Also hyperlinks link to pictures or websites

The most innovative 4AA flashlight on the market till today!
Featuring:

  • Dual XML
  • Full RGB: Red, Green and Blue leds
  • a LCD Touch screen
    Can you see the mistake with the colors?

 

Short history:

The Imalent SA04 is not the first flashlight that uses a touch screen to control the output and settings, but its the first that uses this in combination with 4 AA cells, dual XML and RGB colors. Imalent is a pretty new player on the flashlight market, but they jumped onto the market with flashlights and settings that have never been seen before.

The SA04 is part of the "Shark series" of Imalent.

I was pretty excited to review this light!!!

Let`s see if this light lives up to my excitement!

Specifications:

Brand/Model Imalent SA04
LED Dual XML and RGB 5mm

Working voltage

2.8-8V
Battery 4*AA
Switch 2 side switches
Modes Many
Blinkies Yes
Mode changing LCD screen and Side switch
Anodizing HAIII

Tailstand

Yes
Lock-out Yes (electronical)
Momentary On No
Lens ultra clear tempered glass lens
Reflector Smooth
Waterproof IPX-8   (see details in review)
Shop: banggood.com
 

(provided for review)

What you get:

  • SA04 flashlight
  • Holster
  • Spare O-rings
  • Documents, Warranty card, and User Manual

No lanyard, nor is there any lanyard attachment point on the SA04 anyway.
The box got a little smashed during its trip to Japan, but the light and accessories arrived safe and sound.
The User Manual is probably the most detailed of the ones I have seen so far.

Handling and close ups

The body is made out of 1 piece of Aluminum.
Bezel and Tail cap can be taken off, but that`s it..
The SA04 has 2 large buttons to work with. The M-button (mode button/Strobe button) and the Power button.
Both are equal in size, and the click feels good, no wobbly cheapy clicky. The buttons themselves can be rotated, as you can see in this video:

They are quite big, and are easier to use than the buttons on the D40A.
The M-button does Nothing, when the light is turned off. And on
I think it would have been nice if you could actually FEEL the difference between the buttons in darkness.
For example, having a little protruding button (or bump in the middle) for the Power button, and a littel depressed M-button, (or dip in the middle).

 

Touch screen

This is one of the most exciting features of the SA04.
It uses the Touch screen to change modes, brightness , tints and colors.
This is a very unique feature.
The screen feels more like a Resistive touch screen than a Capacitive one.
Unfortunately it doesnt work 100%  flawlessly. It sometimes takes a few tries before you can have it in the desired output or tint. It gives 17 levels of brightness 17 levels of Tints using the 2 XML leds.


See video above for my Touch screen sensitivity test.

Viewing angles are pretty good! Only from the front of the light it would be a little difficult to watch.. but that would mean you are looking into the light, which you wouldn`t in 99.9% of all situations.. so the viewing angles are very good!  well done!..
In daylight (who uses a flashlight in daylight) the display is a little hard to see.

The Screen will stay on for 30 seconds... before it automatically turns off.. Auto-turn-off is a MUST.. Although I would`ve preferred 10-15 seconds?

Finding all the settings in this light can be quite challenging at first without manual. But you will have it figured out pretty fast..
Real men don`t read manuals... (But I did).
It made it so much easier.

the M-button doesnt really change modes.. Its used to Turn off the touch screen,as well as a double click for the blinkies family.

Using a Touch screen does have a few cons..
1 major con is, that it let you change modes or settings by accident.
See THIS VIDEO of mine, to understand the problem.
Holding the SA04 in your hands just like any other flashlight, will let your index finger touch the screen.. whether you like it or not.. This will happen once in a while.

Solution?
You can turn the screen off, by a Single Click on the M-button.
so if you have selected the desired output/tint/mode, simply click the M-button to LOCK the setting.
LOCK THE SCREEN

 

LEDS

According to the Manual, and Package description, it comes with 2 XM-L2 leds..
But mine didnt come with 2 XML2s, but with 1 CW XM-L2, and with 1 WW XM-L.

For the RGB colors, the SA04 uses 2*5mm leds.

 

Knurling and Anodizing

Knurling is done well, but not very aggressive. Quite flat!!! Its therefore a little bit slippery.
The SWM D40A is in that respect better on the body part.. the head on the D40A and SA40 are both without knurling..
But the SA40 has fins on the head part, which helps for a better grip.. plus its a square-shaped.

Anodizing seem to be done as well, around the light. The only gripe is that mine has a few blemishes next to the touch screen, on the right.. near my index finger.
you can see some faint white spots... I don`t really have a close up.


Threads are squared, 1 O-ring in place and lubed.

Unfortunately the prints aren`t really clear and crisp. This is 1 of the things Imalent could improve on.
see the letters A and L.

I think it would be better to do the imalent letters upside down. Please look the the first picture in the thread to understand what I mean.

 

Lens and reflectors
The Manual states about the lens:"ultraclear tempered glass resists scratches and impacts"
After some use, and play, its hard to see any scratches, but when you turn the light on, it will reveal some scratches or scuffs on the lens.

The manual states about the reflectors: "Optimized deep metal reflector maintains great throw and spread with an ideal beam pattern"
The reflector is NOT made of metal, but plastic, and the beam pattern is something I will draw your attention to later. It has quite an artistic beam pattern so to say..

Also, the lens is touching the reflector, so they receive some little marks. see HERE

Dimensions and weight:

Length:      120 mm
Dia head:      43 mm
Weight:      211 grams
With AA:     314 grams

  Sunwayman F40A Sunwayman D40A Imalent SA04
Length 11 cm 12 cm 12 cm
Diameter head 42 mm 40 mm 43 mm
Reflector diameter 25 mm 34 mm 2x 21mm

Reflector depth

25 mm 34 mm 20 mm

Weight

182 grams 170 grams 211 grams
With 4*eneloop AA 286 grams 274 grams 314 grams

 

UI , modes and settings

It`s much harder to describe the amount of modes, and settings, so I will do my best, and try to not make it too overcomplicated.

ON:

  • click the Power button once ,for ON
  • Use the Touch Screen to select the desired output... up to 17 levels of brightness.

The camera automatically adjusts the brightness, so the steps in brightness may not be seen easily watching this vid.

When you turn put a few batteries in the light, and screw the tailcap, you can see that the light is "Activated"
See my following video.


OFF:

    • In any mode, just simply click the Power button once

Flashers? Wink

Yes

  • When the light is ON, PRESS AND HOLD the M-button to enter
    1. STROBE
    2. Flash (beacon)
    3. SOS

Switching between the different Blinky modes, is done by another PRESS and HOLD M-button.


The blinkies are Output-Adjustable , see the following vid, which is great! Most flashlight Can`t do that!!


RGB?

Red Blue and Green or red, blue and green HAVE YOU SEEN THE MISTAKE?

  • When the light is on, PRESS AND HOLD the MODE icon on the Touch Screen (not the M-button) to enter:
    1. RED
    2. GREEN
    3. BLUE
    4. DISCO

and back to normal-output the 5th press.

 
I forgot to delete the audio from this video      The second video shows that the output CAN NOT be changed for RGB

Tint switching

One of the very exciting features of this SA04 is the Tint mixing, using the 2 XML leds. 1 is CW and the other is WW. It will go from about 4000k to 6500k (can`t really tell the exact numbers)

how to enter?

  • When the light is ON. Press and Hold the POWER-button. (see video)
    This will give you another 17 levels of tints. Mixing the CW and WW led in incremental steps.



Mode memory ?

  • YES: Main Output Modes will be memorized instantly.
  • NO: RGB modes will NOT be memorized
  • NO: Strobe modes will NOT be memorized

    RGB and Blinkies will not be memorized after Turn OFF, the light will go back to last saved Main mode.

PWM

 No.. I couldn`t detect any PWM, except in SOS Wink

Lock OUT

The SA04 has a very easy way to enter the LOCK OUT position in which none of the buttons, nor the screen works.
Simply Press and Hold BOTH buttons, the Power and M-button for 1 second. You can enter the LOCK OUT from ON and OFF.
See my following 2 videos.

Performance:

The SA04 works on 4 AA batteries.. The same as with the SWM F40A, the light can not run on 2 batteries only!

It has a built in STEP DOWN at 3 minutes.

Ceiling bounce:

  • Max max ceiling bounce at startup is 111 lux,
    compared to my:
    SWM F40A (130lux)
    SWM D40A (127lux)

    These lux numbers can not be compared to somebody else`s LUX numbers, because they are using a different setup

Run-time

I did the test for 2XMLs twice, but the first time I had to leave so when I came back, the light was at 4 lux.... please use mouse over to see the first one for comparison in little spikes in output.


The tests didn`t come out equally.. I have no idea why not. I`m not sure how they maintain the brightness, but there are many bumps in the output (not very noticeable by eye) it's a 2 hours runtime on full power.. down.
A 2 hours runtime is 30 minutes longer than the F40A, and if you use only 1 CW led, you will gain 50 minutes over the F40A.

 

The next graph is the test done with only 1 xml, the xm-l 2, CW.

Now the runtime is 140 minutes, which equals to 2 hours and 20 minutes.


When the light runs Low on batteries.. it will give a Low Voltage warning on the screen..
See the next vid.


Throw

My measurements:

The SA04 isn`t a great thrower. I measured 284lux at 5m, which equals to 7125cd, using both leds. When using only 1 CW led, I came to 7150cd Silly
My SWM F40A has a throw of 13375cd, and my D40A has a throw of 23500cd.

 

  Sunwayman F40A Sunwayman D40A Imalent SA04
Reflector diameter 25 mm 34 mm 2x21mm

Reflector depth

25 mm 34 mm 20mm
Throw (manufacturer) 13200 cd 24800 cd 14800 cd
Throw (my measurement) 13375 cd 23500 cd 7150 cd

The manufacturer however claims a 14800cd , with a beam distance of 280 meters.
Those figures are Totally off!

Beamshots

The SA40 uses a dual reflector, probably to mix the CW and WW to different tints. The downside of this kind of reflector (just like in the SRK etc) is that the beam has some artifacts close up, and in White-Wall beam shots.

RGB first
as you can see, the RGB colors have some very funny artifacts. but this is to expect with the kind of 5mm leds it uses. I believe its 1x5mm led with all 3 colors in 1.. like a real RGB led.

The following are with the 2 main Leds..

Warm, Cold, Mixed. (colors werent picked up well by the camera!!!!)
This is Close Distance Only.

Control Shot first:

Mixed:

Cold:

Warm:

 

Now compared to the SWM F40A: (F40A beamshots from the F40A review thread)
mouse Out F40A, mouse Over SA04

Now compared to the SWM D40A: (F40A beamshots from the F40A review thread)

 

Conclusion:

The good:

  • Futuristic flashlight with many bells and whistles
  • Touch Screen: Ahead of competition
  • Variable tints..in 17 incremental steps for everyone his pick
  • Variable output in 17 incremental steps
  • Works on 4AA batteries
  • Bright
  • Great many choice of mixed output and tints
  • Red, Green and Blue light
  • Not very difficult to operate once you get used to it
  • Great for photography assistant light
  • Light returns to Main output modes after each turn off, be it from Strobe or RGB.
  • Buttons are very easy to use

 

The bad:

  • For simple people, all these bells and whistles could be a bit over the top
  • Mfg claimed 2 XM-L2s, but I only got 1 XML2 and 1 XML
  • Mfg claimed Waterproof till 2m, IPX8, and I had water in mine in less than 1 minute.
  • Mfg claimed Peak intensity of 14800cd, but I only got to 7150cd
  • My light arrived with 2 little blemishes next to the screen
  • No lanyard attachment
  • Output is not constant

THE END


 

Photo gallery:

waterproof?

 


condensation underneath the lens.

oops.. water inside.

in previous pics, you can see condensation underneath the lens.. it`s not so waterproof...

battery side just fine.. no leaking 

Edited by: ChibiM on 12/09/2017 - 07:30
zelee
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too late J)

Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness.
I am kind to everyone, but when someone is unkind to me, weak is not what you are going to remember about me.

strayz
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subscribing… This looks…. Innnntreeresting…

saypat
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sure would like to have one of these! Fun light! Thanks for the review!

ChibiM
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I think I've mentioned it in another thread, but it works well as a photography assistant light!!!

I had to take some pictures at a friend's restaurant, and the  warm white came in quite handy. I would imagine this to be a very nice piece of equipment for photographers.. 

The Imalent SA04 review can also be seen on 1lumen.com

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Dang…72.99

Kinda WAY out of my fundage range…awesome looking light, but just can’t afford it

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Thanks for the review. ^^ Strange graphs. Was there any lubrication at the bezel? Condensation could be from moisture already inside the light. I am still working on an Imalent review; I will test for water resistance now.

ChibiM
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Hey Chloe,

Not sure about lubrication, need to have a look for that.

Yes, it seems like it boosts the output every now and then.. at startup it starts at a certain brightness and you can see th light kicking it a little up, and then it goes down again. Not sure if that's just my copy.

mhanlen
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Nice review! Testing a light like this must have been exhausting. 4 LEDs? At least it only takes one kind of battery.

ChibiM
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That's .. it took me quite a few hours..

I've done 3 runtime tests with total of 6 hours, writing down the ceiling bounce lux numbers every 5 minutes. so yes  it's pretty time consuming.

Next time I should do a review on a 1-mode light.. twisty. Done in 2 hours Wink 

saypat
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mhanlen wrote:
Nice review! Testing a light like this must have been exhausting. 4 LEDs? At least it only takes one kind of battery.

wait until you get ahold of one of these! Talk about exhausting. I want this to happen.

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Thanks for the review of an interesting torch.

ChibiM wrote:

That’s .. it took me quite a few hours..

I’ve done 3 runtime tests with total of 6 hours, writing down the ceiling bounce lux numbers every 5 minutes. so yes  it’s pretty time consuming.

Next time I should do a review on a 1-mode light.. twisty. Done in 2 hours Wink 

I wanted to do runtime tests for the Armytek Tiara A1 using different NiMH cells. I ended up using my camera’s time lapse setting to capture readings from the meter— it saved a ton of time.

ChibiM
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Whahaha,

Yes, that's true, but with the ceiling bounce numbers you can actually really see the output and regulation.

I did the "5 minutes timer "manual pictures on earlier reviews, when I didn't have a light meter.

But you gave me the idea to run the light continually and take pictures of the light meter in time lapse!!?

Not sure if the light meter gets into trouble with exposing so much light all the time. But that might be a good option!!! Thanks for the tip.

I could even do double, take pic of meter and beam.

wolf359
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To many LED’s, to many useless modes, make a NW version and a CW version and stop screwing around with useless crap.

What retard thought making a red and blue flashing light that will get you arrested in most places in the world if you use it in public was a good sales idea.

unknown00101
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wolf359 wrote:
To many LED’s, to many useless modes, make a NW version and a CW version and stop screwing around with useless crap.

What retard thought making a red and blue flashing light that will get you arrested in most places in the world if you use it in public was a good sales idea.


Just as long as you don’t have to scroll through, can’t easily accidentally access them, and are not forced to use those extra modes then I’m perfectly fine with as many modes/mode groups you can fit in a light.
ChibiM
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wolf359 wrote:
To many LED's, to many useless modes, make a NW version and a CW version and stop screwing around with useless crap. What retard thought making a red and blue flashing light that will get you arrested in most places in the world if you use it in public was a good sales idea.

Wolf359, you don't have to buy all 4AA lights that come out Wink

Just get the ones you like, and don't buy the SA 04 or sunwayman F40A, and you'll be fine Silly 

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Wow ChibiM that is a most impressive review. nice toy…too bad that it’s not really water resistant.

ChibiM
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Yes, I also feel like that is a shame. But JohnnyMac that also did a review on this one didn`t have any leaking.. so it might be a little inconsistency. Or I didnt screw down all the threads enough.. who knows.

wolf359
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ChibiM wrote:

Yes, I also feel like that is a shame. But JohnnyMac that also did a review on this one didn`t have any leaking.. so it might be a little inconsistency. Or I didnt screw down all the threads enough.. who knows.

did you lube the threads and O-ring before reassembly ? I didn’t do that to one of my Fenix lights and it sprang leak.

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Thanks for the review. It appears that this brand in this style has a leakage problem.

 

djozz quotes, "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

                      "My man mousehole needs one too"

old4570 said "I'm not an expert , so don't suffer from any such technical restrictions".

Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.

 

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Nice Multi-Lights, but pricey with water-leakage problems.

That Canadian flashlight guy & Lantern Guru -Den / DBSARlight

ChibiM
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I honestly don`t know.
I`ve tried taking the light apart prior to the photo shoot.. so it might have caused the leaking.. but still it`s kinda strange, because I don`t feel like I didn`t screw it down properly.

anyway.. I didn`t lube the threads,as they were lubed as far as I remember.

next time I should double check to screw down everything tightly before I do another waterproof test.

(same with the Ultrafire M51 of which I am writing the review now)

wolf359
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Ultrafire M51 $116 from fasttech. Never thought i would see the day of an Ultrafire for over 100 dollars and no memory mode Flat Stare

ChibiM
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it has mode memory... (but it works differently)

review will be up soon.

I will try to cover as much as possible..if any questions, just reply to the review, that will be up before lunch (in 1 hour).

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After reading your review I did a water resistance test and my EU06 sample failed. Sad
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/33209

ChibiM
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Chloe wrote:
After reading your review I did a water resistance test and my EU06 sample failed. Sad http://budgetlightforum.com/node/33209[/quote]

Thanks Chloe for the review, and for the water resistance test..
Did you tighten everything well before the test?

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I only tightened the battery tube. None of the bezels were loose.

ChibiM
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After my trip last month, I noticed the screen has gotten some trouble.....

anybody else has had this happen as well?

 

There is something wrong at the bottom of the screen. When you press the screen it leaves some rings/marks that disappear slowly.. almost like when you push on an LCD computer/tv screen (not touch screen).

wolf359
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I came within a hairs breath of buying this light but now i’ll pass till i see if the screen issue is common.

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I would like one, but they were already expensive and now they have put the price up to $95! Has anyone seen them advertised for a good price?

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