This is my review of the Imalent MS18 flashlight, which I believe is the brightest flashlight commercially available…currently!! It nickname is “Ambassador or Light” but I just call it “WOOOOW”!!! :o
The flashlight was sent for review by Imalent, after being contacted by Imalent_official. My compromise was to make an unbiased review and that’s what intend to do here, with no obligation to make a positive or negative review. I had no other compensation than the light and its accessories, that I can keep for myself. Thanks Imalent for this opportunity:THUMBS-UP:
Currently the MS18 is at sale with a drop price [432,99€]. ^:)
And you can find more information about the flashlight here (non-affiliated):
As you may know, this is not a new flashlight, being released in 2019. So, you can find many reviews here on BLF and online in other sites or channels. I’ll just leave some of those links below:
And some other things about this flashlight:
ZozzV6 (mod): https://budgetlightforum.com/t/-/58301
whiteheat1963 (ergonomics and adaptation): https://budgetlightforum.com/t/-/59514
mikelights (beamshots) : https://budgetlightforum.com/t/-/58523
ChibiM (heat issues): https://budgetlightforum.com/t/-/68192
And Matt Smith’s (vestureofblood) review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdBor6vYeDQ&ab_channel=MattSmith
Body Colour: Black
Material: Aluminium (Type III hard-anodizing)
Emitters: 18 x Cree XHP70.2 (6500K)
Lens: AR Coated Glass Lens
Battery: Built-in rechargeable battery pack (8 x 21700 3.6V Li-Ion ) (1)
Switch: Side E-Switch
Max runtime: 14h52 minutes
Max beam distance: 1350meters
Max output: 100.000 lumens
Candela: 458.000 cd
Impact resistance: 1,5m
Low Voltage Warning: Yes
- Intelligent charging circuit
- Intelligent thermal control
- OLED display
FLASHLIGHT & ACCESSORIES
Well, let’s start from the beginning!
The Imalent MS18 arrives in a box, a big box made of a thick and tough material, although its’ coating seems leather or, at least, some smooth fabric. It is closed through 2 buckles and it also has a carrying handle. In the front there is information about the flashlight (including the mention to the 5 year warranty) and the back has only the “low-relief” inscription of “IMALENT” in the lower part.
Front & Back
Buckles & Handle
Inside, we find a 3 layer block of foam where the flashlight and accessories are stored. We find:
- Imalent MS18
- shoulder strap
- user manual
- 2 spare o-rings
- silica gel
There are also 2 stickers, one with a warning to remove the “battery insulator” (that prevents the contact between the battery tube and the spring/head contacts), and another with the Serial Number.
Between the top of the box and the flashlight, there is a thick black foam pad to prevent movement and eventual damage to the flashlight.
And here you can see the items that are carried inside!
Let’s start from the flashlight, and some general appreciation:
- It is big and heavy! The longest, the largest and the heaviest I’ve ever had or handled.
- I can’t close my hand when grabbing it by the tube… Small hands or large tube?
- Handling it, one feels “powerfull”, in the way that it feels like it will obliterate any darkness when lit up!
- The are no evident machining flaws, the anodizing is smooth and without chips or aggressive parts
Going more descriptive:
- the flashlight is composed by 2 main parts: head and battery tube
- there is one small detachable disc on the tail (tail cover), to allow access to the charging port
- all the flashlight is anodized in black, apart from the bezel, the shoulder strap “hoop” and the “tail cover” which are grey, and the switch (bare stainless steel)
- the AR Coated Glass Lens arrived covered by a plastic protection that must be removed before use; it prevents some fingerprints to land on the glass before using the light
- between the lens and the reflector there is a white/transparent o-ring to help on water/dust proofing
- above the 18 Cree XHP70.2 Cool White LEDs there is an Orange Peel (OP) reflector, eventually to avoid an even more pronounced tint shift that these LEDs produce (at least in the “somewhat” lower levels)
- in the head there are cooling fins and 2 fans (1 in, 1 out) to allow cooling down this massive beast of heat and light; it can be seen a copper structure inside, that acts like a radiator/heatsink
- in the “upper side” of the flashlight there is the e-switch, the OLED screen, the hoop for the shoulder strap and the HOT engraving
- the switch is responsive to the touch/clicks/press & hold, despite sometimes it seems like it gets inclined and some clicks sound like “in false” I tried it with work gloves and it worked well
- the OLED screen shows different type of information about the flashlight (see below) and it normally can be seen well (unless you turn the flashlight ON in turbo against a white wall less than 1m distance… then the brightness blinds you and the screen can’t be seen properly :FACEPALM: )
- the hoop for the shoulder strap is screwed in into the head structure, and I didn’t try to remove it
- the fans are held in place by hex screws and I also didn’t try to take it out
- as mentioned, between the battery tube and the head there is a thick plastic insulator that must be removed before use in order to turn the flashlight ON; it prevents accidental activations while storing/shipping the flashlight
- the battery tube needs to be screwed in REALLY REALLY TIGHT so that it makes contact with the head and spring I needed to put the head of the MS18 against a sofa cover in order to rotate it and make it REALLY REALLY TIGHT, by using some force
- the spring is “doubled”, which means that it has a thicker spring outside and a bit thinner one, on the inside
- around the spring there is a structural black plastic insulator (structural) and then there is a driver’s brass ring , that will make contact with the battery tube’s brass ring
- the battery tube has a similar structure, with a flat central part (brass), that will make contact with the spring on the head
- the “structural black plastic insulator” on the battery tube says…*DO NOT DISASSEMBLE THE BATTERY*
- the threads of the tube are square and abundantly lubricated
- there is a sealing o-ring below the threads
- the tube knurling is not deep not aggressive, its is “square-shapped” alternating with some flat “stripes” from the bottom to the top of the tube
- the grip is good, but maybe with some sweaty or oily hands it can slip a little bit [no issues with work gloves]
- the detachable disc on the tail (tail cover) has several functions:
a) protects the charging port
b) allows the MS18 to have a flat bottom to tailstand
c) acts as single or multiple hoop for the shoulder stap
- it also has engraved Battery Pack MRB217B 3.6V 92.2Wh and other information (model, RoHS…) [BTW, I guess it may be stainless steel, but I am not sure :x] [see above information about the battery pack]
- the charging port is on the bottom of the battery tube, and it has some transparent parts that allow seeing the RED colour (charging) or GREEN colour (charged) regarding the charging status
- the charging port works with the included AC/DC power adapter/charger, not with any type of USB charging
Let’s take a look at the Imalent MS18:
with the thick plastic insulator to prevent contact between the tube and head
BEZEL & SPRING
LEDs & REFLECTOR
4 VIEWS ON THE FLASHLIGHT
Some “protruding parts”: hoop, switch and fans’ plastic structure
Let’s check the information provided by the OLED Screen. Besides the output levels, it can show:
SWITCH INDICATOR LIGHT
This allows to see where the switch is placed. If left ON, this indicator light will turn itself OFF after 3 hours. due to this it will not act as “lighted switch” as other lights have
De/Activation: with the flashlight unlocked and OFF, press the switch for 2 seconds
To lock and unlock the flashlight we must click 5 times the switch while the flashlight is OFF.
If the flashlight is locked, the “padlock” will appear closed when pressing/clicking the switch.
When it gets unlocked, the “padlock” will appear open.
With the flashlight ON or OFF (always unlocked), we can see the battery status and level.
To check it we must click 3 times while ON or OFF.
It can also show when the battery needs to be charged, by showing an “empty battery”. According to specs, at 11.6V this symbol will blink 10 times per minute as a “YOU NEED TO CHARGE ME” reminder
However, it may appear before this battery level is reached, specially if the battery is already low and it is being used in middle or high levels (above 10.000 lumens)
The fans of the flashlight activate immediately when the flashlight is turned ON at the 22.000 lumens level or above (not below).
However, they can be also activated from OFF, which is a good way to cool the flashlight down after some use.
For that, we need to 4 clicks on the switch to activate them and 1 click to turn them OFF.
Last but not least, considering the massive amount of heat generated by this flashlight, there is a HOT symbol that will blink 8 times per 30 seconds when the flashlight reaches the internal temperature of 70ºC.
More on the thermal control bellow.
Now, lets take a look the battery tube.
The knurling pattern mentioned above and also how tall is the structure that fits the head of the flashlight.
As for the contacts part, see that there is a small “gap” between the brass and the aluminium (I guess that it acts as a safety distance) and also the part that makes contact with the driver.
And now the bottom, namely the tail cover, the charging port, the “flaps” on the tail and the threads on the charging port
Some details on the disc, given its importance when attaching the shoulder strap. See that it has different holes where the clasps can be attached to allow different “styles” as we’ll see below.
DIMMENSIONS & WEIGHT
I’ve said that the MS18 is big and heavy, but how much?
See that the head is really heavy, being more than half of the total weight :o
And because this is not an ordinary box, let’s just see how heavy it gets to carry the whole package
And now let’s check what comes in the box with the Imalent MS18!
Two of them, because one may not be enough and this light needs it to prevent water from entering the battery tube /driver. Well, at least from their junction…
I got the EU version of plug, of course. I won’t enter in details about it , just that it is an AC/DC power adapter/charger, capable of 19V-24V / 2A (OUTPUT) and 100-240V 50-60Hz 1.5A max (INPUT).
It is supposed to charge the MS18 battery pack in 4h25m. The battery pack is constituted by 8x21700 batteries.
The charger plugs have a plastic protection.
This is a great and very useful accessory - I must say - to carry this flashlight!
Given the size and weight of the MS18, the shoulder strap, that is adjustable, that has 2 clasps (1 on each tip) and a pad to give comfort in the shoulder, is a must-have accessory.
It can be attached to the hoop in head + disc on the tail, or only on the tail.
It allows different ways of carrying and holding the flashlight that I tried to show in the photos below.
Well, most of the people don’t pay attention to the User Manual. I do and I always recommend people to read them because, well, they have important information.
That is the case of the MS18 manual which is written in 7 languages (English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, German, Italian).
This manual has many and useful information about the specs and the functioning of the flashlight. Below you find some shots of it so that you can read. I will not talk about all the points, people must read and draw their conclusions
Click to see large images!
As mentioned above, charging the flashlight should take around 4h25minutes.
The flashlight should be charged when reaching the 11.6V (when the “empty battery” symbols starts blinking on the OLED screen) and it will stop around 16.5V (more of less)
When charging, the led indicator in the tail will be RED.
When charged, the led indicator in the tail will be GREEN.
The charging status/level can always be confirmed through the 3 clicks in the switch from OFF or ON.
If the plug is not connected correctly, the battery will stop charging
INTELLIGENT THERMAL CONTROL
1) As advanced above, when the MS18 reaches an internal temperature of 70ºC, the HOT symbol will blink in the OLED screen and it will – supposedly - activate the fans.
ChibiM has reported an issue with the flashlight getting too hot (scorching) and the fans didn’t activate. See more information in this thread: https://budgetlightforum.com/t/-/68192
I’ve tested the flashlight for around 25 minutes on 10.000 lumens level (battery was at around 12-13V, so it was not full) and it didn’t go above 44ºC, being more than OK to handle it and grab it by the head without burning skin. Maybe with full battery this could be different.
2) According to specs, if the MCPCB reaches 110ºC the output will decrease from a higher level to 25.000 lumens so that a safe use can be ensured and prevent extreme overheating.
I did not conduce a test on this. I can tell, though, that after using the flashlight outside (for beamshot purposes) on the higher levels for continued periods, it got REALLY REALLY HOT. I turned the flashlight OFF and turned the fans ON.
Also, after using it for a while on max, there is some “steam” below the lens that tends to disappear with time and cooling. I am not sure what is this steam, but maybe it is due to solder or thermal paste heating, I don’t know.
3) The fans will only activate automatically when the light I turned ON in 22.000 lumens or above.
If this is true, the test and overheating that ChibiM got on his MS18 may be a consequence of this “system” that only activates if the flashlight is purposedly activated in such higher levels, and not only when the body/components are already hot. This seems also to be contradictory to the 1) above. Further tests need to be done to ascertain these situations and give a veredict on the safety of the thermal control.
The Imalent MS18 has a simple UI with some nuances.
For me, unfortunately is not a perfect UI, specially given it is a high power flashlight. Why? Because we cannot force it to start on the lowest level if needed, so we can blast our face (or someone’s accidentally)!
The MS18 will memorize any of the last used regular modes (not Turbo nor Strobe).
How it works:
- Turn ON / OFF: single click [from any mode or level]
- Change modes: press & hold to advance in the levels from Low > Middle Low > Middle I > Middle II > High I > High II > High III > Low…
- Access Turbo: double click from ON or OFF
- Access Strobe: from Turbo, double click
- Check battery level: from On or OFF, 3 clicks
- Activate Fans: from OFF, 4 clicks
- Lock/Unlock: from OFF, 5 clicks
- Activate Switch Indicator: from OFF, press & hold 2 seconds
OUTPUT & RUNTIME
First thing to be said is: this is a high power flashlight. So, despit it produces a huge amount of lumens, it will not hang on at those levels for a long period of time, specially because it also creates a massive amount of heat.
In this way, the higher levels will attain the expected higher outputs for some minutes or seconds, and they will decrease after to protect the light and, hopefully, the users. Never leave this flashlight ON unattended!!!
|Low||Middle Low||Middle I||Middle II||High I||High II||High III||Turbo||*Strobe|
|Output||700 lm||2000 lm||5000 lm||10.000 lm||22.000 lm||30.000 lm > 25.000 lm||60.000 lm > 25.000 lm||100.000lm > 25.000 lm||100.000 lm|
|Runtime||14h52m||9h15m||6h50m||3h40m||67m||3.8m + 60m||70s+55m||60s+52m||NA|
Here’s the flashlight levels as show by the OLED Screen:
Well, and now…that ridiculous thing to do with the Imalent MS18 and many other flashlights (at leas those I have) :FACEPALM:
Imalent MS18 vs Wuben T70 > Amutorch AM30 > Fireflies ROT66 GEN2 > Emisar D4
BTW, these are the flashlights that I used in the beamshot comparisons below and in the video!
Vs Wuben T70
Vs Fireflies ROT66 GEN2
BOTH (Wuben T70 & Fireflies ROT66 GEN2)
They are still powerless
Vs Amutorch AM30
Vs Lumintop GT Nano (LOL)
And now the most interesting part of getting the Imalent MS18 flashlight and…well, trying to compare other lights to it
It is just absurd, honestly! The lights I chose are probably the most powerfull I have (stock lights) only missing here the Astrolux EC03.
Seeing the D4 or the ROT66, which are “hot rod” flashlights, being completely obliterated is something that impresses :o
But, check the photos below. The order is as follows (sorry, no identification on each one, but you’ll perceive which is which):
Emisar D4 > Fireflies ROT66 GEN2 > Amutorch AM30 > Wuben T70 > Imalent MS18
And now the “solos” of the MS18, ‘cause it deserves a place of its’ own. ( sorry, the photos, always lose some quality to make GIFs, but I guess you’ll know what I mean by the WOOOOW light )!!
Well, this is the part where I spill the beans! The goods and the not so good ones!
WHAT I LIKE:
- the overall quality, flawless machining, the good quality of the flashlight in general
- the WOW factor that this flashlight provokes, in enthusiasts an non-enthusiasts
- the real tremendous range that this flashlight allows to reach, with its’ floody but also long distance range beam
- the shortcut to Turbo (and no Strobe on the main cycle )
- the fact that the fans can be activated independently whenever the flashlight is OFF to provoke active cooling
- the locking function, as we don’t want an accidental activation of this light
- the battery indication from OFF, so that we know when to charge, because the flashlight levels couldn’t be checked in other ways
- tailstanding capability (even if the lowest level is 700lumens, it will certainly be useful to be used as “candle” in some situations :D)
- shoulder strap and multiple ways to carry the flashlight
- the information provided by the User Manual (despite some imprecisions)
- the 5 year warranty!!
- the carrying case! Just because
WHAT I SEE AS NOT SO POSITIVE ASPECTS:
- the price, because this is an extremely expensive flashlight, despite being the most powerful commercially available at the moment
- the size and weight, which are massive for continuous use, either with or without shoulder strap, and also for handling, etc;
- being a flashlight that can be used for search and rescue, I guess it could be suitable for a tripod mounting, by having a screw incorporated
- the impossibility to force it to start it on the lowest level (700Lumens) to avoid a blast of light on the eyes when turning it on after a 60.000 lumens use :FACEPALM:
- the massive amount of heat generated and the eventual fail in the fans to activate if the light is hot but not set at 22.000lumens or above (further info is needed to verify this)
- the CW option for the LEDs, but in the “Lumens War” the most powerful wins, not the most beautifull or nicest to the eyes
- the impossibility to change batteries by ourselves, having to buy a pack from the brand, if needed (in this case, I assume it would be good that they could be easily replaceable)
- the “not” waterproofness or “dustproofness”, given that the flashlight has those fins/holes and the fans for cooling and heatsinking; of course, it can be used in some environments, but not in heavy rain or dusty environments, which is somewhat limiting
- this is also a concern regarding the tail cover and charging port, which needs to be well tightened and secure (specially after using the shoulder strap attached to it)
- the switch sometimes assumes clicks differently from what we did, not always, but sometimes
All said and done, this is a unique flashlight, with some tradeoffs, but unique and it is still to be born the one that attains what this attained !!!
And this is it!
This is my review of the Imalent MS18. I want to thank again to Imalent for this opportunity to review this flashlight and I hope I could clarify and portray what this light does and what is it about.
If you have questions or comments leave them below.
I also did some videos too, to show the Imalent MS18 flashlight and to show what it does outdoor, with full power on! :o
This is video showing some beamshots. I compared it with Emisar D4 > Fireflies ROT66 Gen II > Amutorch AM30 > Wuben T70, which are some of my most powerful flashlights. You can see the “obvious” differences
This is the video review, much of the information was pointed out above. You can still watch it and let me know what you think of it, of course
If you want, subscribe to the channel and leave your comments there, too! Thanks in advance