Imalent DN12 Stepless Dimming Flashlight Review

Preface

I received this light from GearBest for review. It’s certainly an interesting light, and one that I have played with quite a bit! Thanks to GearBest for sending it.

Coupon Code

The GearBest coupon for the Imalent DN12 coupon is DN12RD and that’ll bring the price from 49.95 all the way to $31.59!


Imalent DN12 Official Specs:

Features:

  • Utilizes latest CREE XP-L HI LED with the lifespan of 50000 hours, maximum output of 1000 lumens with internal USB charging function.
  • Size: 83mm (Length) * 32mm (Head diameter) * 25.4mm (Body diameter)
  • Designed for fast infinite brightness adjustment
  • Built-in multifunctional LCD display to observe various flashlight parameters and battery capacity.
  • Toughened ultra-clear mineral glass and anti-reflective coating.
  • Aerospace-grade aluminum alloy body
  • Military Specification Type III.-hard anodized
  • IPX-8 standard waterproof (2 meters submersible).
  • Working Voltage: 2.8-4.2V
  • Lens: Toughened Ultra-clear Mineral Glass Lens
  • Impact Resistance: 1.5M
  • Beam Distance: 300-400m
  • Body Material: Aluminium Alloy

The above section contains the manufacturer’s descriptions and claims, not my impressions or results.


Imalent DN12 Short Review:

A nice little flashlight with a deep reflector and an unusual shape (such a short body!). But hard for me to get behind without a better switch, and possibly a 18650 extender tube.

Imalent DN12 Long Review:

What’s Included

  • Imalent DN12
  • Lanyard
  • 650mAh cell
  • Manual
  • Micro-USB cord
  • Two spare o-rings
  • Nylon pouch holster

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Pictures

Here are a few pics of the Imalent DN12. And beamshots at random lumen settings I picked. (1000, 800, 600, 400, 200, 100, 1, I believe).

Build Quality, Durability, and Disassembly

This is not a poorly built light, but it has at least one flaw with build quality, and a few other problems generally. The main build problem is that the smooth reflector is not really smooth, and this causes some nasty artifacts in the beam. This may really only matter when whitewall hunting, but I’ve noticed it nearly every time I’ve picked this light up for use…. Otherwise the parts are generally fine. The micro-USB port is well sealed with a rubber boot. Things screw together nicely and are well lubed. The o-rings are nice and thick.

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The spring and contact

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said to be gold plated, and that’s probably not wrong.

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There’s room in there for a magnet and that spring comes out easily if you wanted to add one.

Package and Manual

Cardboard package, with a plastic tray insert. Back of box, not all that interesting.

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The manual is quite frankly, not all that useful. It covers the basics I think, but the light provides information that the manual doesn’t cover.

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Retention

Lanyard or pouch are your two options here. A clip wouldn’t really work. The lanyard on this one is much nicer than any I’ve seen. I has a quick detach option and also a clippy hanger on the other end. It’s very nice. I carry the light loose in my pocket though, and it’s…. quite big for that.

Power

A single 3.7V 650mAh rcr123a. It’s not proprietary, and as such the light will charge any rcr123a or 16340 you might have.

User Interface and Operation

The light operates with a capacitive switch. I have never seen that in a light before, and can’t even think of a light that’s had that. And let me be honest and say, I couldn’t even figure out how to turn the thing on for quite some time after I opened the package. I really really don’t care for this switch. Secondly, it’s a “seamless ramping” UI, which goes all the way down to “1 lumen”. It’ll ramp from 1 to 1000 in steps of 10. The result of this is that it takes quite a while to get from 1 to 1000 and I haven’t found a shortcut yet. This is extremely frustrating. Furthermore there is no feedback to know if you’ve turned the light on, or for that matter, even been mashing on the correct spot. You might say “ah, no big deal.” Sure but it’s something grossly different than from the last x number of years flashlighting…. And I wonder what question is being answered by having a capacitive switch instead of a traditional one?

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The switch area includes a LCD readout. Mainly used to display at what lumen setting is selected. It also reads out the cell voltage, but to what end I’m not sure. It reads all over the place from 3.4V to 4.0V with no change in cell (only change in mode).

While the light is on, a double click will get the strobe modes (3). Then a single click will cycle through the strobes and if you get into the strobes you have to cycle through all three to get the light turned off. That’s another extremely frustrating thing – sometimes I accidentally hit strobe (which is 1000 lumens too). Oh you were in 1 lumen mode and accidentally double hit the capacitive switch? Boom, 1000 lumens worth of fast strobe. Didn’t mean to do that? Well, click two more times to get the light back to 1 lumen, or three times to turn the light off. After cycling through two more strobe modes.

LED and Beam

The CREE XPL-HI

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is a great emitter for throw, and the smooth deep reflector

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pairs nicely with that. The light does have good throw, but all of this is on a 650 mAh RCR123a…. So you may throw 1000 lumens, but it will not be for long. That’s just a concession you have to make – there’s no extension tube for this light to the best of my knowledge. There is a different version with the same head, but to me the tailcap looks different. The head may be the same (DN11).

So the beam throws with an intense spot, and a fair amount of spill. Very typical of XPL-HI setups. Even on the 1 lumen

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mode, the XPL-HI does make a useful spot of light.

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(1 lumen mode also inexplicably shows “3.4V” on a fully charged cell).

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The 1000 lumen mode,

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however read 4.2V

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(same cell, seconds later). That has to mean something other than a cell readout – but the manual does not cover it, and I can’t guess.

The beam spills this way.

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Beamshots

Flashlight 0.3s, f/8, ISO 100, CWB 5000k
Imalent DN12
Skilhunt H03
Olight R50 Seeker
Convoy L6 (5000k)
Olight S1A Baton 14500AA
Convoy C8 XPL-HI
JETBeam JET-I MK
Klarus Mi7
BLF-348 AB
Manker E14 
Astrolux S41 
XintD C8 XP-G2 S4

Runtime

Sorry for not my best chart.

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1000 lumens for [negligible], then dropping relatively steadily for the next 30 minutes or so. It’s an XPL-HI on a 650 mAh cell, so…..

Size

83mm x 32mm (Head) * 25.4mm (Body). Chunky little thing! It holds ok but at this size basically requires holding the head. At 1000 lumens, that head’s going to get hot rather quickly, so be aware it might get uncomfortable. Also hey just wear gloves you say? Ah but remember that capacitive switch…. Good luck turning it on or off or changing modes.

A few other lights,

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and top down.

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Random Comparisons….

A CR123 thrower…. I certainly don’t have one. I’ll compare it to some other cr123 lights, like the Olight S1, with a pic.

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Conclusion

What I like

  • Comes with a battery
  • Throws quite well
  • Small
  • Onboard charging
  • It is bright!

 

 What I don’t like

  • Switch is not good
  • Reflector artifacts in beam
  • No 18650 extension tube
  • Battery rattle
  • Comfort in hand
  • Capacitive switch
  • LCD isn’t really all that useful
  • ZERO feedback from light via reasonable means

Competitive Options

Evaluate why you’d need a cr123 thrower, and then at the very least buy the 18650 version of this light (DN11), if the UI and the switch speak to you. I’d love to see if this head screws on to the DN11 body. I’m almost sure it would.

But there are some, like the Nitecore EC11 that might also suit your needs.

Final Thoughts

It’s unusual for me to just really not care for a light (it’s happened once before from my memory). I did not enjoy this light. I am sure there are circumstances where this light would be the perfect companion, and if you’re that person, then I hope this review was helpful!


Coupon Code

The GearBest coupon for the Imalent DN12 coupon is DN12RD and that’ll bring the price from 49.95 all the way to $31.59!

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