Imalent MS03 Flashlight: The Palm-Sized Lumen Monster


The Imalent MS03 only measures 4.33 inches long but produces an astounding 13,000 lumens. That easily makes it the brightest EDC flashlight in the world for 2020. So, stick around for this Imalent MS03 review. I’ve got tons of pics, a video(even chasing a bear), plus beam shots of this amazing little beast.

The most compelling thing about the Imalent MS03 is its $130 price point. That is pretty insane value for the bragging rights of owning the brightest EDC flashlight for 2020.

Get 10%-off using exclusive Promo Code: WELLRIGGED850.

The MS03 beats out 2019’s champion, the Fireflies E07 which pushed 6900 lumens(See the review here).

You may also be interested in checking out my regularly updated list of the world’s brightest flashlights.

The Imalent MS03 only weighs 4 oz, fits easily in the palm or pocket yet can throw a beam over 350 yards. A high capacity 21700 lithium battery enables an impressive run time of up to 27 hours at a very usable 150 lumens. The included nylon belt holster can also be mounted to any backpack with molle webbing.

Imalent MS03 Review

Imalent MS03 Review

Pros

  • Brightest EDC flashlight of 2020
  • Excellent price for the output level
  • Good build quality
  • Simple operation
  • 27 hours runtime on low
  • Nifty USB-C rechargeable battery included

Cons

  • Battery must be removed for direct USB-C charging
  • Turbo output is only 45 seconds due to thermal safety.
  • Light intensity selection cycle is from low to high only but no high to low option.

Imalent MS03 Specs

  • Max Output: 13,000 lumens
  • Beam Throw: 354yds(324 m)
  • Beam Intensity: 26,320 candela
  • Output Levels: 6
  • Length: 4.33″ (11 cm)
  • Weight: 4 oz
  • Waterproof: 2 Meters (IPX-8)
  • Max Runtime: 27 hrs at 150 lumens
  • Battery: High-Drain 21700 (USB-C rechargeable)
  • Battery level Indicator

Beam Shots

The following beam shots reflect very closely what the naked eye actually sees when the MS03 is turned on. I use a manually-set SLR in order not to exaggerate nor under-represent the actual light output of the flashlights I review.

70 Foot Pine Tree @ 50 Yards

Imalent MS03 beamshot

The MS03 easily lit up this 70 foot pine tree from 50 yards out. The tallest tree in the furthest background is approximately 120 yards out. The beam width was approximately 30 yards wide from 50 yards out. I was actually unable to capture the full width of the beam in the image.

Imalent MS03 beamshot turbo

For a sense of the scale and distance of the first shot, I included this pic of me near the base of the same pine tree with the camera remaining in the same position as the first photo.

Beamshot Comparisons

As you can see, the MS03 absolutely obliterated my Honda Accord’s headlights(on high beams). The average pair of halogen headlights produce no more 3500 lumens.

The Fireflies E07, the brightest EDC flashlight of 2019, produces a warmer, yet impressive 6900 lumens. As you can see, The MS03’s 13000 lumens is a big step up in terms of light temperature and sheer power.

Imalent MS03 Beamshot turbo
Imalent MS03 @ 13,000 lumens
Fireflies e07 beamshot turbo
Fireflies E07 @ 6900 lumens
Honda Accord(~3500 lumens)

Beam Characteristics

As you’ll note from the pics above, the beam is very floody and has gentle spill off the edges. You can easily light up a very wide area with the MS03. There is a broad hotspot that is visible at closer ranges.

The MS03’s light temperature is a cool white which renders better true-to-eye colors and details at night.

$130 for 13,000 Lumens

Imalent MS03 Beam shot 70 yards
70 yards to the farthest tree line

2 years ago, 10,000 lumen flashlights were huge, bulky things that costed well over $300. Plenty of companies are still trying to charge those ridiculous prices, but you just need to know where to look.

Mercifully, LED lighting technology has become far brighter while prices have been dropping like crazy.

The MS03 is a perfect example of this.

Only the two brightest flashlights in the world in the large category can match the MS03 in value per lumen. For a small flashlight, the Imalent MS03 is easily the best value in this regard.

Below is a comparison from the current list of the world’s brightest flashlights across multiple size categories. As you can see the MS03 produces 100 lumens for every dollar it costs. That’s right up there with the big boys in terms of lumens-per-dollar value.

CategoryNamePrice
(MSRP)
LumensValue
(lumens/dollar)
Largeimalent ms18
Imalent MS18
$670100,000149 lumens/dollar
Large
ACEBEAM X70
See it on Amazon
$57560,000104 lumens/dollar
EDC
Imalent MS03
$13013,000100 lumens/dollar
Medium
ACEBEAM X80 GT
See it on Amazon
$37832,50086 lumens/dollar
Mini
Imalent LD70
$604,00066 lumens/dollar
Tactical
Nitecore TM9K
$1609,50059 lumens/ dollar

Actual Prices may vary depending on where you buy. Prices are quoted from manufacturer websites at the time of publishing.

Performance

Imalent MS03

13,000 lumens is approximately four times more light output than a pair of car headlights on high (3000 lumens). At close range, the Imalent MS03 absolutely washes out my Honda Accord’s high beams.

Even though the MS03 doesn’t have deep projector optics like a car, it can still throw a beam downrange a equal or greater distance. On paper, it can throw a beam 354 yards. In practice, the usable distance is quite a bit less.

As you might imagine 13,000 lumens also produce a lot of heat. The MS03 can only handle a few short bursts at turbo. When the flashlight reaches 55 degrees celsius the power management system will kick in and throttle output down to 2000 lumens in order to keep the flashlight running at a safe temperature.

Here are the published runtimes and output levels of the Imalent MS03


Imalent MS03
Output
(lumens)
Runtime
Turbo13,000-2000 lumens45s+70min
Tactical Strobe13,000 lumensNo Data
High8000-2000 lumens1+72min
Mid 13000 lumens1h5min
Mid 21300 lumens2h
Mid-Low800 lumens3h40min
Low150 lumens27h
*as published by Imalent

Operation

Imalent MS03 size

Operating the MS03 is dead simple. Flashaholics call this type of flashlight setup “Muggle Mode. ” In other words, it’s pretty much idiot-proof.

  • On/Off: Single click
  • Cycle Up: When on, press and hold then release when the desired output is reached
  • Memory: The flashlight will remember and return to the last power setting used when turning it back on.
  • Turbo: Double-click when on
  • Tactical Strobe: Double Click again while in Turbo
  • Safety Lock/Unlock: Triple-click when off
  • Battery Indicator light On/off: Press and hold for 2 seconds when off

It would have been nice if Imalent had included a way to step the power level down instead of being forced to go all the way up to high in order to get back to a lower setting.

IMPORTANT: Use the Safety Lockout! This flashlight is not a toy. Keep it away from children. It can literally light fires and can get very hot in the hand, especially on high or turbo.

The power button can accidentally be pressed while in your pocket. It happened several times to me. Trust me, setting your pants on fire is a very real possibility.

Low Mode

I won’t go over every mode here but I will mention a few..

150 Lumens is plenty of light for around-the-camp type tasks . 27 hours of low mode is really quite impressive.

I think that there would still be room for an even lower “moonlight mode” for when you want to preserve your night vision.

Tactical Strobe

Talk about disorientation! This is a very formidable defensive asset.

13,000 lumens strobing in my eyes is about enough to make me lose my balance and fall over..well almost. You access strobe first by entering Turbo mode then double-clicking again.

Turbo Mode

Imalent MS03 Turbo

If you were expecting the MS03 to produce 13,000 lumens for an extended time you’ll be disappointed. Even with aggressive heat sinks, temperature-wise, the MS03 can only run a 45 second burst at turbo.

The high-drain 21700 battery can sustain two 45 second turbo bursts before the capacity is diminished. After this, all other modes will remain available but turbo mode will be locked out (flashling red led indicator).

Quality

Imalent MS03 body

The MS03 is built from aircraft aluminum throughout- typical of most flashlights these days. The anodized coating is pretty good quality and I found no thin spots on any edges.

The threading is smooth but not silky smooth because it was somewhat under-lubricated before shipping- an easy fix.

During this Imalent MS03 review, my unit never suffered from any technical defects.

However, Imalent contact me to advise me that some early production MS03s had an issues that prevented turbo mode to function properly. Apparantly Imalent’s quality control mistakenly turbo-tested a number of units before some glue had fully set. Consequently, some glue might have seeped onto the contact reducing the current required for Turbo.

Thankfully, the fix is easy: just unscrew the flashlight’s head, scrape off any dried glue on the contact, and you’re good to go.

Many flashlights at this price-point come with rubberized buttons that can wear out. The MS03 has a stainless steel button and surrounding bezel. The button contrasts well enough against the anonidized black making it a lot easier to see in the dark.

LEDs

Imalent MS03 LEDs

The Imalent MS03 utilizes a set of three American-made, 2nd Gen CREE XHP 70 LEDs to produce its peak 13000 lumens.

The XHP 70s are lumen monsters and are found on virtually all of the brightest flashlights available today. They are also very thirsty which is why they are mated with a high drain 21700 battery.

Imalent’s full size MS18 utilizes 18 of the same LEDs to produce a whopping 100,000 lumens.

The LED’s themselves are seated well and perfectly centered in the reflector.

Lens & Reflector

The lens is made from a toughened mineral glass treated with an anti-reflective coated. The trident reflectors are made of an SMO (smooth) polished aluminum.

Battery & Charging

Imalent USB-C Rechargeable battery

21700 batteries are relatively new to the flashlight industry but they have quickly become the battery of choice for the new generation of super high-performance flashlights.

21700 batteries can deliver unprecedented discharge rates of up to 30 amps which allows them to drive very high-powered LEDs.

No need a separate battery charger. The Imalent MS03 comes with a high drain 21700 battery with a built-in USB-C charging port. Since the battery itself incorporates the charging circuitry it needs, all you need to do is remove the battery, connect it the supplied USB-C cable and plug it into a power supply.

An indicator light on the battery will turn from red to green when it’s all charged up. Simple.

Belt Holster

Imalent MS03 holster

The included Imalent-branded belt holster is adequate and functional but nothing remarkable. A velcro loop allows you to mount it to molle webbing or attach it without removing your belt.

Conclusion

During the course of this Imalent MS03 review, I used it for a week to spot and chase away a nuisance bear from my chicken coops every night.

The wide beam enabled me to light up a huge swath of the forest all at once. I found that the MS03 makes an excellent small security light, especially for broad property surveillance.

This thing punches way above its weight class. It’s no slouch in the long-range department either.

I think the USB-c rechargeable battery is a nifty feature too.

Would I pay $130 to own the brightest EDC flashlight in the world? Heck yeah! Shut up and take my money!

You can pick up the MS03 here. Imalent has also offered my audience an additional 10% off if you use the promo code: WELLRIGGED850.

PRETTY SWEET!

So, go have fun with it. It’s a blast. Heck! Chase bears! But whatever you do…just don’t accidentally light your pants on fire with it!

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