Imalent MS12 Mini

1lumen selects and reviews products personally. We may earn affiliate commissions through our links, which help support our testing.

Imalent MS12 MINI review: high power flashlight

Imalent MS12 MINI specifications

Brand/modelImalent MS12 Mini
LED12* CREE XHP70.2
Max. Lumens65,000 lm
Max. Beam intensity / distance286,600 cd
Battery config.Battery pack (4*21700)
Onboard chargingYes, proprietary 5.5mm power jack
Modes6
BlinkiesStrobe, SOS
ReflectorSmooth
WaterproofIP56
Review dateApril 2022

Introduction:

Hey, wait a minute. Didn’t we already review the Imalent MS12? Yep, but this is a newer version, the MS12 MINI, and is way, way, way smaller, and more powerful.

The MS12 Mini replaces the 12*XHP70 in the MS12 for 12*XHP70.2 LEDs. Plus, it replaces a huge battery pack (8*18650), for a short battery pack with only 4*21700 batteries.

At the time of writing, this is the most powerful compact flashlight in the world. It can even fit in some pockets.

Anyway, Imalent seems to be the only flashlight manufacturer that tries to keep extremely powerful flashlights. If you look at the page linked, Imalent fills a few spots in the list of the brightest flashlights.

In the past, Imalent used to be one of the most forward striving manufacturers, and one of the first manufacturers using OLED touch screens, and tint mixing. For all new members on r/flashlight (Reddit) welcome to the world of flashlights, but keep in mind that tint mixing isn’t anything new… Imalent did this back in 2014 or 2015.

Anyway, we’re now looking at the MS12 MINI with 65,000 lumens, 3 built-in fans, ran off a 4*21700 battery pack.

Package quality.

The MS12 Mini is shipped in a cardboard box, with a couple of accessories inside. This is what’s inside:

  • The flashlight: Imalent MS12 MINI (with 4*21700 battery pack built-in)
  • Holster
  • 19V power adapter
  • Lanyard
  • O-rings
  • Manual

Flashlight in use

After reviewing many Imalent flashlights, including the MS18, MS12, R90TS, etc.. I can see why Imalent called it the MS12 Mini .. But that doesn’t mean it’s really tiny. It just means that it’s based on the Imalent MS12 (with 12 LEDs) but then in a much smaller form factor.

Because this battery pack contains 4*21700 batteries, the diameter of the battery tube is noticeably larger than the ones with 4*18650 batteries. This makes it a bit harder to for people with small hands.

Imalent also included a lanyard that can be attached to the plate covering the charge port. I’m not convinced that this is a good way to carry it, because the plate can be unscrewed from the flashlight. So, if you’re not paying attention, the plate could unscrew, and drop the light if you just carried it with the lanyard. There is no lanyard attachment point anywhere else on the flashlight.

Another thing I miss is a tripod mount. Some of the bigger lights could really use one. Or maybe Imalent could produce a handle for these lights with a tripod mount. Just thinking aloud.

Also, if you have really large pockets, this light could possibly fit!

You could take it on your next camping trip, or use it as backup lighting at your local soccer field. lol.

There’s 1 thing that I don’t like so much about the Imalent MS series, and that’s the switch. It’s really hard to find in the dark because it’s flat and black. I’d like to have a larger switch, that’s either sticking out or have something to make it easy to find… Something along the lines of the switch used on the MicroFire Excalibur H20. Not exactly like that, but at least something physical to make it easier to find.

The battery tube looks a bit like MS08, but with deeper lines, and therefore looks much better in my opinion. It also gives more grip, so that’s a good thing.

Build Quality, and Warranty

The MS12 Mini is black, and I’m pretty sure it won’t be available in any other color. The anodization is referred to as Wear-resistant Type III hard-anodized and has a nice matte finish that looks much better than any shiny black coating seen on some other flashlights.

There’s only 2 parts you can separate: the body and head. The threads are anodized, so you can easily break any electric connection by unscrewing the body by just 1/10th of a turn. The threads are thick, and covered in plenty of lubrication. Then there’s a single o-ring below the threads to keep water out. And it seems to have 1 unused slot to add another o-ring for more waterproofness.

I’m not sure how much that would help though, because the things I worry about most, are the fans. There are 3 cooling fans to keep the temperature down, but I’m not sure how waterproof they are. The water resistance rating (IPX rating) for the MS12 Mini is just IP56, so I wouldn’t recommend using it in wet environments, or during rainstorms.

The fans make quite a bit of noise and reduce speeds when you shake the light. That probably means you shouldn’t be waving with the light too often, or use it on things that move/shake a lot.

Unlike the Imalent MS08 and RS50, the MS12 MINI doesn’t have a plastic shell with the fans built-in. They still don’t seem to be controlled by temperature, but turn on at 5,000 lumens or more (which means from Middle1 mode onward).

To test if they are now temperature controlled, I turned on Turbo mode till it reaches 70 degrees (I used a Uni-T thermal camera for checking) and then switched back to Low mode.. the fans didn’t turn on… So they aren’t temperature controlled, but mode-controlled. While the MS18 would still get immensely hot at 10,000 lumens (and not switch on the fans), the MS12 Mini turns on the fans at 5,000 lumens.

At the end of the runtime tests, the fans would turn off, and then the light soon afterward.

LED, Lens, Bezel, Beam, and Reflector

There’s a few physical differences between the MS12 and MS12 Mini, but the number of LEDs stayed the same. The old XHP70’s are now replaced with the newer XHP70.2. Soon, this light will also be available with the newest XHP70.3 for even more beam distance, but at the cost of output.

The 12 LEDs sit in reflectors with a light orange peel (LOP) finish that makes the beam a bit smoother than smooth reflectors. Specifications say the reflector is made of aluminum but I doubt that.

The bezel is not removable by hand and looks like normal aluminum. It does have a few grooves, so you can still see light when it’s placed with the head down on a flat surface. The lens has an anti-reflective coating.

I used the Opple Light Master 3, to measure beam color temperature, and CRI, in Low mode, and 1 of the Medium modes. I held the flashlight at a distance of about 80-90 centimeters and measured the center of the beam.

For low mode, I got the following measurements. Keep in mind that the Opple Light Master is not a laboratory-grade piece of equipment, and is only a guide.

  • CCT: 5620K
  • Ra (CRI): 67.7
  • DUV: 0.0049

And for a Medium mode:

CCT: 5772K
Ra (CRI): 68.7
DUV: 0.0031

5700K means that the beam is on the cool side.

Dimensions and size comparison

  • Length: 146.3 mm / 5.76 ”
  • Head diameter: 84.8 mm / 3.34 ”
  • Body diameter: 56.2 mm / 2.21 ”

Weight: 

  • With battery: 798.3 g / 28.16 oz

Flashlight comparison

Size compared to other high output flashlights

Group 1, from left to right: Imalent MS12, Imalent MS12 Mini

Front view with LEDs: Imalent R90TS, Imalent MS18, Imalent MS12, Imalent MS12 Mini

Last picture: 3 siblings: Imalent MS12 Mini, Imalent MS08, Imalent RS50

Last image: you figure it out :–)

Driver & User Interface:

Available modes:

  • Low, Middle Low, Middle 1, Middle 2, High, Turbo
  • Strobe

From OFF:

  • Single-click: to last used mode ( mode memory)
  • Double click: Turbo (and another double click for strobe)
  • Triple-click: Low mode
  • 4+ clicks: Lockout
  • Press and hold: turn on cooling fans (repeat to turn them off)

From ON:

  • Single-click: off
  • Double click: Turbo
  • Triple-click: Low mode
  • Press and hold: Cycle through the menu from Low to High

Shortcuts:

  • To Turbo: double click from Off or On
  • To Low: 3 clicks from Off or On
  • To Strobe: 2 times double click (it will first enter Turbo, before entering Strobe)

Mode memory:

  • Yes (single click from off returns ot last used mode)

Blinky modes menu:

  • Strobe: double click from Turbo (so if you are in any mode, double click for Turbo, and do another double-click for Strobe

Low battery warning:

  • The red indicator lights on the side will flash, and the output will drop before it turns off.

Lock-out mode:

  • 4+ clicks from off. The green indicator lights next to the switch blink 3 times to indicate the lockout mode is activated. Repeat 4 clicks to deactivate again. You can also do 5 clicks or 10 clicks.. works the same.

PWM:

  • Not visible

Batteries & Charging

Imalent chose to use a built-in battery pack rather than separate cells. This was the same on the MS12, and MS18. A battery pack has benefits and several drawbacks at the same time. Here’s a short list:

  • Need to stop using the light when batteries are empty (can’t replace batteries and continue)
  • Can’t replace batteries easily when they become really bad
  • Can’t use a normal battery charger to charge batteries
  • Have a set of batteries with the same use (so can’t accidentally mix discharged and charged batteries)

I’m not 100% sure if it’s a feature, but I could continue using the light when the power was plugged in.

The power adapter for charging has an output of 19V and 2Amps, and I measured an average of 18.8V and 1.8Amps (32watt). Charging takes about 2 hours and 10 minutes. During charging, there are red lights, which turn green when charging has finished.

2 tiny indicator LEDs next to the switch tell you when the battery goes empty.

Performance test

Lumen measurements:

All output numbers are relative to my homemade Integrating Sphere. It is set up with an Extech SDL400 Lux Meter for measurements including a Kenko PRO1D ND-16 filter. The base measurement is done with a Convoy S2+ that has been tested at 255 lumens.

For Amp readings, I use a Fluke 77III DMM. For higher amps I now use a Fluke 325 True RMS clamp meter. For microamps, I use a cheap DMM with an easy-to-use micro amp setting.

All of my readings were taken with a fully charged battery.

ModeSpecs@ start@ 30 sec@ 10 min
Low1,5002,0481,9551,850
Mid Low3,0003,2223,1683,047
Mid 15,0005,0304,9614,829
Mid 213,00011,27411,10410,566
High25,00026,65925,88610,487
Turbo65,000 lm68,773 lm46,750 lm10,454 lm

Tubo was able to reach over 65,000 lumens, but only for a very brief moment, it dropped to 46,750 lumens in 30 seconds.

Parasitic drain:

  • Unable to measure.

Runtime:

The runtime test was done with the 50cm integrating sphere, including the Kenko Pro1D ND-16 filter and Extech SDL400 data logging Lux Meter.

Turbo mode started over 65000 lumens and dropped to just above 10,000 lumens in 50 seconds. At 0h44min the light shuts off, soon.

High mode starts at over 26,000 lumens and slowly decreases to 24,000 lumens in exactly 3 minutes, and then drops to about 10,000 lumens as well. Total runtime: 0h42min

Med2 is quite stable at 10,000+ lumens and sustains this output till it turns off at 0h48min

Med1 runs at 5,000 lumens for 1h45min before it turns off.

Med Low runs at a little over 3,000 lumens for 3h08min.

Low runs at 1700-1800 lumens straight till it turns off at 4h44min

During the runtime test in Low, and Middle Low, the flashlight stayed below 50 degrees celsius, and didn’t activate the cooling fans.

The thing I would like Imalent to upgrade is the fans being controlled by temperature, and not just by mode. Fortunately, you can still turn the fans on manually by a long press from Off. That’s great, because it really helps to cool the light down. But temperature-controlled fans would have been even better… just in case.

Throw Measurement

Measurements were taken both indoors and outdoors with a Hagner E4-X Lux Meter. Outdoors I tested it at 20 meters, and indoors at 5 meters. I measured indoors at turn on (which we shouldn’t really look at) and after 30 seconds both indoors and outdoors.

ModeSpecscandelametersYards
Turbo (20 meters)268,600 cd116,000 cd681745
Turbo (5 meters turn on)268,600 cd152,750 cd782855
Turbo (5 meters 30 seconds)268,600 cd120,000 cd693758

Wow, that didn’t do well.. roughly 120,000 instead of 268,000 is not even 50%.

Performance comparison other brands and models

High power flashlight competitors

Hover your mouse over any particular line to see data points! Or select a flashlight at the bottom of the graph to highlight that particular graph. (Are you on a mobile phone? Hold your phone horizontally).

Here is the list with most of the high-power flashlights we reviewed in this category (Category: high-power soupcan sized flashlights).

Flashlight (and Link)Max. Output measured@ 30sec (lm)
Acebeam X45 II17,97217,116
Acebeam X5035,50730,383
Acebeam X80-GT27,765
Acebeam X80-GT231,89027,143
Astrolux EC0618,1118,352
Fenix LR50R11,69810,849
Imalent MS0620,479
Imalent MS0825,74519,615
Imalent MS12 Mini68,77346,750
Imalent RS5020,30216,939
Lumintop GT316,26715,168
Manker MK38 (SFT)16,01313,129
Olight Marauder 214,25113,964
Thrunite TN5018,20017,360
Name and modelLumensLumens

(Interactive line graphs below)

Hover your mouse over the lines in the graph to see more details.

Or click on a name at the bottom of the graph to highlight the specific runtime.

The Imalent MS12 performs extremely well.. even compared to the brightest flashlights in the world.. see below

Beamshots

For the following beamshots, I used a Canon EOS 5D Mk2 with a 50mm lens. Manual settings: ISO1600, 1/4sec , f4, 5000K

The shed is about 65 meters / 71 yards away. The second set of pictures: 200 meters to the reflective fence.

Comparison with other high power flashlights.

Having the flashlight close to the camera will make the picture reflect all the dirt/fog in the air, and make it like the picture above.

Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to me for review at no cost by Imalent. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.

Final Verdict

Pros

  1. Fans turn on from Middle mode 1 to keep the temperature in check (if you let a 5,000 lumen light run for a long time, it could possibly cook itself)
  2. Extremely bright!
  3. Can sustain 10,000+ lumens for the whole runtime
  4. Fast charging (within 2h 15min fully charged)

Cons

  1. Switch is hard to find, like on all Imalent MS series flashlights
  2. No tripod mount
  3. Not reaching claimed beam distance
  4. Fans are noisy
  5. Low mode is a bit high, at 1500 lumens
  6. It would be better to have the fans regulated by temperature and not just by mode

Explanation on star ratings:

1: Avoid: my phone flashlight would be a better choice – 2: Poor: significant defect or issues; almost unusable – 3: Average: some defects or issues; but still usable 4: Good: recommended (minor issues) – 5: Great: highly recommended

Reviewer Marco
Author: Marco

4 stars: ★★★★

For all the pros and cons, I refer you to the lists above. The thing I don’t like is the hard-to-find switch, and the fans not being temperature controlled. That would be a better safety feature IMHO.

The biggest differences between the MS12 and MS12 Mini are of course size and size-lumen ratio. The MS12 Mini can produce over 65,000 lumens at turn on, and a ridiculous high sustained output of over 10,000 lumens, but still, fit in a (large) pocket. That’s quite an achievement.

If you love the Imalent MS18, MS12, or Acebeam X70, but don’t like their size… get the MS12 Mini! It beats all the other soupcan-sized flashlights with ease.

Imalent MS12 Mini discount code

Get yourself an extra 10% off by using our unique 1Lumen discount code: 1Lumen

1lumen selects and reviews products personally. We may earn affiliate commissions through our links, which help support our testing.