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Inova X1 - New version

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by Lee1959, Jun 21, 2006.

  1. Lee1959

    Lee1959 Empty Pockets

    May 16, 2006
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    I wrote this up for another site that I moderate, but it fits here too. Remember review is strictly the experience and opinion of the reviewer and your mileage may vary accordingly.

    The Inova X1 is a single cell personal pocket flashlight which uses AA Alkaline or Lithium batteries. Price is normally around $20, can be picked up on Ebay sometimes cheaper, or they are carried in stock at Target chain stores. The light is 4” x 11/16” which is an inch shorter in length than the 2 AAA version Minimag, and the exact same size as it at the bezel. I will use the Minimag lights as comparison flashlights because almost everyone either has one, or has used one and they are the most likely encountered personal carry flashlights currently. The light is activated by twisting the butt cap of the light, or pressing on the rubber capped butt for momentary usage.

    The light has an aluminum body with stainless steel bezel. The body is coated with hard anodize III in either black or silver.

    This is the second incarnation of the smallest Inova light in their X series of flashlights. The new version is a flood type beam which most will recognize as the typical flashlight light pattern. This has been changed from the previous versions “spotlight” beam with the TIROS lens system which provided no side spill at all.

    This is currently the only version sold by Inova, sometimes you will find older versions sold by vendors that have not worked out their stock yet. The new version lights come with a lanyard, a few of the first new versions came with the old versions sheath but they are fast disappearing and the lanyard will be the only option.

    I drop tested it from 5 feet onto my wood deck half a dozen times and then dropped it in a pail of water and it was not effected by either test what so ever.

    Specifications: (some technical specs beyond my ability borrowed from Flashlight reviews.com I will use their output and throw specifications for review against other lights on their site which I highly recommend one peruse before buying any flashlight )

    Length: 4 “
    Light Source: 5MM LED
    Battery: 1 AA Alkaline or Lithium
    Diameter: 11/16”
    Output: 600
    Throw: 60
    Battery Life: 8 hours to 50%, Approx. 15 hours to dead (my test)
    Weight with battery : Unknown but slight heavier than a AAA Minimag with batteries lighter than AA version

    Minimag AA and AAA version Comparisons:

    Length: AAA 5 “
    Battery: 2 AAA Alkaline
    Light Source: Minimag Bulb
    Diameter: AAA 11/16 bezel 7/16 tail cap
    Output: 200
    Throw: 465
    Battery Life: 40 Min. to 50% , 2 hours to dead

    Length: 5.75 “
    Light Source: Minimag Bulb
    Battery: 2 AA Alkaline or Lithium
    Diameter: 15/16” at bezel 11/16” at tail cap
    Output: 580
    Throw: 884
    Battery Life: 40 minutes to 50%, 5 hours to dead

    Pluses: Decent brightness, water resistant, rugged, long battery life, uses common AA battery.

    Minuses: I liked the first versions sheath much better than the cheap lanyard included in the second version. There have been a few reports of flickering due to excess anodizing around the bottom rim of the butt cap or inside the body above the threads where it makes contact  causing loss of contact. Simple fix by sanding it off. There have been a few reports of the first lights in this version losing the outer lens, but I have not heard as much of this lately so this might be fixed. I have not encountered either in the newer versions I have. I did sand the bottom rim of the buttcap and the body on one older version and it took care of the flicker.


    The Inova is a very well built flashlight. It is a very good pocket light for most close range uses needed in a pocket light. It provides excellent close range light actually brighter than either the AA or AAA minimag. Battery life for the one battery is twice as long, than either the 2 AA or 2 AAA version Minimag lights, which are a bit over long for a pocket carry light. Hard anodize III makes it a very durable look that will last. Throw is not comparable with the Minimags which is to be completely expected, especially given the long battery life.

    I like it so much it is my current EDC pocket light that I carry with me everywhere. Flashlightreviews reports that reknowned world traveler Doug Dyment of Onebag.com recommends the X1 as the flashlight of choice for world travelers which is a pretty good testament to it.
  2. pipedreams

    pipedreams Loaded Pockets

    Apr 1, 2006
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    Nice review!

  3. quackPOT

    quackPOT Loaded Pockets

    Jun 12, 2006
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    Good review.

    I actually like the X1 "spotlight" version much more than the "flashlight" version and use one for EDC. Good thing I bought a bunch of them.
  4. Lee1959

    Lee1959 Empty Pockets

    May 16, 2006
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    I like them both actually and have a few of both. I carry one of the older versions in my GBH bag in case I have to travel overnight in "stealthmode". Actually the X1 was my first foray into LEDs, well the Photons were , but LEDs in a larger light. Here is a review I wrote up on it a couple years ago I think it was.

    I have been curious about the Inova X1 since I first saw it advertised. I was able to pick one up dirt cheap on the bay the other day, less than $10 including shipping.

    After messing with it a bit, it is slightly hard to catagorize, but I think I have a fair handle on it now. Sizewise it is similar to the Maglight Solitare, but bigger and more robust. It uses one AA battery instead of the one AAA. So carrywise I would have initially put it in the Solitare, Photon personal daily carry line, but it does not quite fit there either.

    They call the Inova a personal spotlight, and this is not just hype, it is fact. The beam of light thrown from the Inova is a perfect round "spot" projected out, with no light splash of normal flashlights. The best way to see this is to use it in a dark room. I compared it to a AAA minimag, the smallest version, and a Photon Microlight II.

    The inova lit up a single spot, very brightly, where the other two lights light up a spot, and the surrounding area also. With the Inova, anything outside of the spot is perfectly black, the effect is slightly disconcerting to a normal light user. The effect from the Inova is similar to the old hooded flashlights, like the tactical Photon II had, and a lot of older penlights came with for "spy" purposes.

    I think the Inova would be considered what I will term, a 3rd type Tactical light.

    Type 1 - The first tactical lights being Maglight types, a bright strong light, with a long barrel heavy enough to be used as a baton. This is still my favorite, I keep one in each vehicle and by the bedside, all 6 C Cell models, they are long, bright, and thinner than the D cell versions and make a more secure hold in my hand.

    Type 2 - Surefire type lights, and weapon mounted Xenon bulb types. Extremely bright, incapacitating lights that can stun and blind a combatant. Some so bright they will blind thru eyelids, like the strongest Surefires. I have several of these and one sits next to my bed and its 100 lumens will put purple spots in any eyes long enough for me to finish the task.

    Type 3 - This is for tactical in the stealth sense. A light that can be used in a stealthy situation with less chance of being spotted. Red lensed lights, the greens, the hooded photons and military lights are in this grouping, where they are less easily seen. The Inova fits in here very well. With no light splash, walking in the dark with this pointed to the ground would be hard to spot by someone.

    Having messed with this light for a bit, I think it will not take the place of my two photons in my pants pockets, the AAA Minimag in my leather jacket breast pocket, or the AA Minimag I carry out hunting. The reason for this is, I prefer to be able to see a bit more than the single spot when walking in the woods on early mornings looking for ankle breakers. Those are the size lights this could compete with. But, I think it has a very nice spot in my GHB, where I might need a light to travel at night with, but one that is more stealthy and less likely seen than a minimag or other light.

    As far as durability goes, this thing is a small tank!!