IMALENT is a relatively new manufacturer of flashlights, initially focused on a unique pressure-sensitive touch-screen interface (with continuously-variable output). They have recently introduced a new sensor control interface, as typified by the DDT40 that I have on hand for this review.
Like the earlier DD4R, the DDT40 features 4xXM-L2 for the main beam but also has two XP-L side emitters for flood. The DDT40 is also powered by 4x18650 or 8xCR123A, and features in-light charging for the 18650s. Oh, and the DDT40 also has a remote control, similar to the EMT-16 from IMALENT.
In this review, I will walk you through the distinctive aspects of the DDT40 build and interface, and compare its performance to other high-output lights out there. Once again, buckle up - this is going to be a long one ...
Manufacturer Reported Specifications:
(note: as always, these are simply what the manufacturer provides scroll down to see my actual testing results).
- Utilizes 4pcs CREE XM-L2 LED and two pcs XP-L LED
- Supports Li-ion 18650 3.7V (compatible and can be recharged), CR123A primary lithium battery (compatible but can NOT be recharged). Li-ion RCR123A 3.7V is NOT supported
- Backlit touch screen panel facilitates convenient and discreet infinite brightness adjustment
- Output/runtimes Spot light mode: 3800 lumens (Max), 1 hr 45 mins - 5 lumens (Min), 1000 hr
- Output/runtimes Flood light mode: 1180 lumens (Max), 3 hr 50 mins - 5 lumens (Min), 1000 hr
- Peak beam intensity 63,000cd
- Effective range up to 450m
- Remote control from 10 meters away
- Digitally regulated output maintains constant brightness
- Electronic reverse polarity protection
- Thermal control
- Battery capacity indicator
- Working voltage: 2.8-9V
- Optimized deep metal reflector maintains great throw distance and spread with an ideal beam pattern
- Ultra-clear tempered glass lens resist scratches and impacts
- Aerospace-grade aluminum alloy,
- Military grade Type III hard-anodized
- Impact resistant 1.5M
- IPX-8 waterproof ability (2m), waterproof and submersible
- Weight: 358g (battery excluded)
- Dimensions: 139mm length, 68mm width (head), 55mm width (tail)
- Accessories: o-rings, holster, screen protector, remote control
- MSRP: ~$250
Packaging is a hard cardboard case with cut-out packing foam. Included with the light are spare o-rings, spare display protective cover, AC charging cable, remote control with keychain clip, belt holster with Velcro closing flap, product inserts and manual.
From left to right: Keeppower protected 18650 3100mAh; IMALENT DDT40; Thrunite TN36; Fenix LD60; Nitecore TM06.
All dimensions directly measured, and given with no batteries installed:
IMALENT DDT40: Weight: 369.6g (524g with 4x18650), Length: 139.0mm, Width (bezel): 55.2mm (narrowest, on sides), 64.1mm (widest, on diagonal)
IMALENT DD4R: Weight: 339.0g (524g with 4x18650), Length: 145.6mm, Width (bezel): 54.5mm (narrowest, on sides), 63.7mm (widest, on diagonal)
Fenix LD60: Weight: 334.6g (476g with 3x18650), Length: 154.9mm, Width (bezel): 63.1mm
Fenix TK75: Weight: 516.0g (704g with 4x18650), Length: 184mm, Width (bezel): 87.5mm
Nitecore TM06: Weight: 276.4g (464g with 4x18650), Length 123.9mm, Width (bezel): 50.0mm
Nitecore TM15: Weight: 450.6g (639g with 4x18650). Length 158mm, Width (bezel): 59.5mm
Niwalker MM15: Weight: 333.7g (without handle), 355.9g (with handle), (539g with 4x18650 and handle), Length: 114.6mm, Weight (bezel): 63.7mm
Niwalker MM18: Weight: 510.g (without handle), 534.1g (with handle), Lenth: 135.3mm, Width (bezel): 73.9mm
Thrunite TN36: Weight: 390.4g (578g with 4x18650), Length: 125.4mm, Width (bezel): 64.0mm
Note that because of the square head, the max width (on the diagonal) is a little higher than most of the lights listed above.
As with the DD4R, overall impression is of a solidly built light, and relatively compact for a 4x18650, 4xXM-L2/2xXP-L light. Flashlight anodizing is a matte black, and seems to be good quality on my sample. Labels are bright white, clearly legible against the dark background. There is some knurling on the battery handle, but it is fairly mild. But with all the extra fins and other details in the head, I would say overall grip is pretty good.
There are anodized screw threads on the handle and the head, allowing for head lock-out. The all-parallel design for the 4x18650 reminds me of the Nitecore TM11/TM15, although the DDT40 comes with separate springs at the base of the handle. One comment here the o-ring broke on my sample fairly quickly, so you will likely need to go through replacements.
Light can tailstand stably.
Let's took a look at two opposing sides of the head, which feature the main interface control and display readout:
The light is controlled by an electronic control switch in the head (first pic above), along with an electronic touch sensor interface on the opposite face. Click the electronic switch to turn the main 4xXM-L2 emitters on. The display will illuminate, showing the current output level. The touch sensor LEDs (located above and below the readout) light up red, and can be used to adjust output up and down. Simply hold your finger over them for ramp output, or tap to adjust one level at a time (100 discrete levels). The lumen readout will adjust - (although it doesn't have as many lumen labels are there are actual discrete output levels (see discussion below).
Just above the main electronic switch are a tripod attachment point, and a barrel-plug charging port for the included AC charger. Scroll down for charging details.
Let's take a look at the "right side" of the head (relative to looking down at the display):
When you first turn the light on, the main readout will actually cycle one time through the current output level setting (in lumens), battery voltage (in V), compass display with current heading (degrees), and temperature display (in both Celsius and Fahrenheit). Afterwards, you can press the small silver electronic switch on the right-hand side of the DDT40 (looking down at the display) to manually switch between all these display modes.
When the light it on, you can press the small silver electronic switch on the left-hand side of the DDT40 to switch between the main 4xXM-L2 emitters and the side 2xXP-L flood emitters, as illustrated below.
Both XP-L emitters will come on when entering the secondary "flood" mode. You can control the output of the side emitters the same way as you did the main beam, using those red LED sensors above and below the readout display.
You'll also notice here on these two "sides" of the DDT40 that there are large discs near the main opening these are the IR sensor ports for the remote control.
Let's take a look at the charger:
The AC charger (rated 2A) connects to the head through a small barrel plug. Given the 1s4p design, the charging should be in parallel (which I recommend for safety). Please see my detailed charging results below.
Let's take a look at the head and emitters
The head of the DD4R shows four independent XM-L2 emitters, each in their own reflector compartment. Due to this design, there are separate bezel rings holding each lens/reflector in place. I can see an anti-reflective coating on the lenses. Individual XM-L2 emitters seemed well centered in all four compartments on my sample.
The side emitters are located under somewhat opaque covers, preventing a good view of the emitters.
Scroll down for some standardized beamshots.
IMALENT definitely innovates in terms of interface I don't think I've ever seen as many features packed into a light. Of course, that also means they are complex to use.
Using the light: main beam
Turn the light on by a click of the main electronic switch in the head. Press and hold the switch to turn the light off. Note that a single click of the switch once on simply turns off the display (after flashing "lockout" first).
When first activating the light, the touch screen panel will illuminate at the same time as the main 4xXM-L2 beam, on max output ("4000 lumens"). You can now set your constant output level by touching your finger over the two red LED sensors (above and below the display). You can either tap to move one level at a time, or press and hold to ramp up or down. The light adjusts the output in a nearly continuously variable way I counted exactly 100 discrete levels by tapping. It takes ~5 secs to fully ramp to min or max when holding your finger down.
Note that the display only reports 13 specific lumen readings for the main display. Typically ~2-10 discrete levels are incorporated within each "lumen" display value. See my output measures later in this review for the specific ranges of each label.
The output continuum does not appear to be "visually linear", but distributed around the actual output drive levels. In practice, this means that there will not be a lot of visual difference between the 2000+ lumen levels, and a lot of variation in the low levels (i.e., it is well known our perceptions of relative output are skewed in a non-linear way).
There is no mode memory for when you turn the light off/on at the electronic switch (i.e., the light always comes on at Max level from off).
The touch display will turn itself off if there is no activity at any of the switches/sensors for 30 secs. To toggle the touch display on or off at any time, simply click the main electronic switch.
You access the special blinking modes of the main beam by a press-and-hold of the small silver electronic switch on the left-hand side of the DDT40 (looking down at the light). Press-and-hold repeatedly to advance through high frequency strobe > beacon > SOS, and back to constant output. You can adjust the output of these mode the same way you would the constant output modes. Note that a click of this switch turns on the flood beam.
Using the light: side flood beam
To activate the side "flood" emitters, simply click the small silver electronic switch on the left-hand side of the DDT40. This switches between the main 4xXM-L2 emitters and the side 2xXP-L flood emitters. Note that you have to turn the light on first by the main beam. And a press-hold of this switch is used to activate the special strobe modes of the main beam.
The side emitters turn on by default at their max setting, "1180 lumens". As with the main beam, use the LED sensors above and below the display to change output levels.
When you first turn the light on, the main readout will actually cycle one time through output level (in lumens), battery voltage (in V), compass display with current heading (in degrees), and temperature display (in both Celsius and Fahrenheit). Afterwards, you can press the small silver electronic switch on the right-hand side of the DDT40 (looking down at the display) to manually switch between all these display modes.
The voltage reading seems a little low in my experience, but it presumably reflects voltage under load. The compass reading seemed fairly accurate in my testing, but is in very small print (i.e., hard to see with middle-aged and older eyes). Similarly, the temperature "thermometer" graph reading is extremely hard to make out although they do kindly give you a Celsius measure in digital readout.
Similar to EMT16, the DDT40 has a bundled remote control feature. However, the remote works differently now there seems to be a IR emitter (as opposed to the UHF emitter on the EMT16).
This results in improved distance use; previously I found the EMT16 remote wouldn't work reliably beyond ~2m. However, the DDT40 works perfectly up to 10m (which is as far as I've taken it). Note though that it helps if you are lined up with one of the side receivers on the head.
To use the remote, the light has to be turned on first at the main switch on the light. This is an important thing to keep in mind if you want to use the tripod base (i.e., it blocks access to the on/off switch, so turn the light on first, then control with the remote).
Press the Power button on the remote to the turn the light on or off (really, some sort of standby mode). The display on the light does not illuminate when it is being controlled by the remote.
The up and down arrow keys will adjust the output in the same way as the main sensors - although it takes about 20 secs to ramp through all the levels if you hold the remote key down.
The mode button on the remote cycles you through the following modes: Main (4xXM-L2) emitters on > side (2xXP-L) flood emitters on > Main strobe > Main beacon > Main SOS, in repeating sequence. One peculiarity is that the light remembers the preset output level when going through the main beam strobe modes the first time but then resets to max output on subsequent passes. However, you can adjust the output level of any of these modes at any time using the arrow keys.
An issue with the remote is the lifetime of the battery. Although not shown, there is a budget-brand alkaline 27A (12V) battery inside. This battery died during my testing, suggesting lifespan is not very long. These are relatively uncommon, and can be expensive to replace locally (although available online cheaply enough).
Charging the light
To charge 4x18650 (but NOT CR123A), simply plug the included AC charging cable into the port on the head. The display will readout the current voltage of the cells, and flash a battery indicator show you that it is charging.
In my testing, it took just over 7.5 hours to charge 4x3100mAh cells which is not unreasonable for a 500mA charger (i.e., the rated 2A would need to be divided in 4). Final resting voltage was ~4.20V on each cell.
Note that the initial sample that I was sent had a problem with the charger it wouldn't charge (even though the display said it was). IMALENT identified the issue, and sent me a replacement sample. All shipping samples should work as described above.
Since this is a complicated interface, I recommend you watch the video for more info.
For more information on the overall build and user interface, please see my video overview:
As with all my videos, I recommend you have annotations turned on. I commonly update the commentary with additional information or clarifications before publicly releasing the video.
As an aside, if you want to get an instant notification for every new review that I post here on CPF, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel (the vids go public at the same time). Just mouse over my logo watermark on the top right-hand corner of the video for the subscribe feature to open up. You may need to tap or click, depending on the platform you are using to watch.
The DDT40 appears to be current-controlled. I saw no sign of PWM in my testing, on any level. There was a circuit pattern detectable on my oscilloscope, but this was not visible to the eye.
Noise (lower levels):
And it was gone by max:
This reoccurring high frequency circuit noise was at ~15.7 kH, similar to what I observed on the DD4R. Consistent with my standard review policy, I report on any oscilloscope signals that I can detect in the output of a light. But I can assure you that the above patterns produce no visible effect even when shining on a fan. The DDT40 was "flicker-free" at all levels in my testing.
Strobe is a typical fast "tactical" strobe, of 15.7 Hz in my testing.
Beacon is a quick flash, every 2 secs or so.
SOS was a standard SOS mode.
Note that you can control the relative output level of the Strobe and SOS modes, just as you can for the constant output.
Due to the electronic nature of the main on/off switch in the head, there is a necessary standby drain when connected to the batteries. When first connecting the head, there is a brief flash of the side emitters, during which time I measure a drain ~1.4mA. After a couple of seconds, the display activates and I measure a fluctuating drain of ~30mA. This similarly only lasts for a few seconds, and then the drain drops down an ultra-low level that seems to settle at ~70uA (although still fluctuates a bit). This ~70uA level represents the final long-term standby current when waiting for a click to turn on the light.
Given the 1s4p arrangement, for 3100mAh cells that would translate into a little over two decades before the cells would be fully drained. Not a concern at all, since this is below the self-discharge level of Li-ions.
There is an undocumented electronic lock out of the main switch - hold the two silver side switches simultaneously for >1 sec. The main beam will flash rapidly, and the light will be locked out at the side switch. Repeat the procedure to unlock. Works from either on or off. Note that you can physically lock-out the light by a quarter turn loosen of the head.
And now, what you have all been waiting for. All lights are on protected 18650, about ~0.75 meter from a white wall (with the camera ~1.25 meters back from the wall). Automatic white balance on the camera, to minimize tint differences.
Main beam pattern is fairly similar to the DD4R that I reviewed previously, and about what you would expect for a 4xXM-L2. You do get reasonable throw (with a relatively narrow spillbeam)
Here is what the side emitters look like, in two orientations
Since we are still in winter here in Canada, below are some indoor shots in my basement. For your reference, the back of the couch is about 7 feet away (~2.3m) from the opening of the light, and the far wall is about 18 feet away (~5.9m). Below I am showing a couple of exposures, to allow you to better compare hotspot and spill. Sorry the centering is a little off with the DDT40.
The automatic white balance shows you that my DDT40 is relatively cool tinted, compared to my TM06 and TM36. But as you can again tell, the DDT40 is relatively throwy for the multi-emitter class. Scroll down to actual beam measures
All my output numbers are relative for my home-made light box setup, as described on my flashlightreviews.ca website. You can directly compare all my relative output values from different reviews - i.e. an output value of "10" in one graph is the same as "10" in another. All runtimes are done under a cooling fan, except for any extended run Lo/Min modes (i.e. >12 hours) which are done without cooling.
I have devised a method for converting my lightbox relative output values (ROV) to estimated Lumens. See my How to convert Selfbuilt's Lightbox values to Lumens thread for more info.
Throw/Output Summary Chart:
My summary tables are reported in a manner consistent with the ANSI FL-1 standard for flashlight testing. Please see http://www.flashlightreviews.ca/FL1.htm for a discussion, and a description of all the terms used in these tables. Effective July 2012, I have updated all my Peak Intensity/Beam Distance measures with a NIST-certified Extech EA31 lightmeter (orange highlights).
ANSI FL-1 Lumen estimation is a bit tricky with this light, given the rapid step-down on max on the main beam - and positioning of the side emitters.
Also, as previously mentioned, there are only so many "lumen" numbers that show up on the main display. Here is a table giving you a general breakdown of what I was able measure, for each of the various main beam indicator levels:
My lumen estimates are approximate, but they give you a general idea (note my measures here refer to initial activation, not ANSI FL-1 time periods).
As previously mentioned, the DDT40 actually has 100 discrete levels - but only 13 indicator lumen labels (there is a different set for the side lumens, not shown). At the high output end, there are typically only one or two discrete levels per display lumen indicator. But as you go down to the lower levels, you can easily find over a dozen discrete levels within each display label.
All my runtimes are now done on protected NCR18650A 3100mAh batteries (various brands, but all show good consistency among samples). All runtimes are done under a cooling fan, as always.
The initial DDT40 that IMALENT sent me showed only a partially-regulated pattern on the highest levels, and had a defective in-light charging feature. The replacement sample work correctly for charging, and has an improved regulation pattern (as shown above). As a comparison, the original DDT40 looked a lot like the DD4R that I reviewed (i.e., with a series "jagged" patterns).
For the main beam, any high output level automatically steps down to the top-end of the display "2000 lumens" level after 3 mins runtime (actually ~1750 lumens in my testing). As a result, continuous runtime on any 2000+ initial lumen level won't look any different.
At the lower levels, my sample showed a more direct-drive like appearance.
On the side flood emitters, lumen estimation is difficult. But my best estimate is shown above. As you can see, runtime is fairly well regulated on max.
Overall, the DDT40 seems reasonably efficient for this class.
As with earlier lights, the manufacturer specs appear to be "emitter lumens", as opposed to actual out-the-front ANSI FL-1 lumens.
The range of output levels is significant, although not truly "continuously variable" (i.e., you actually have 100 discrete steps). Note however that the display has no more than 13 lumen level indicators, which means multiple steps are covered by a single label. Spacing the discrete levels is not consistent among lumen display values (i.e., only one or two steps at the high outputs, over a dozen at the lower outputs).
There is no tactile feedback on the output control sensors. They respond to even a light press (although that may not be easy to tell, with the 100 discrete levels).
There is no mode memory, and light always defaults to the max level for the main and side emitters when first turning on.
The DDT40 has an automatic step-down to the max "2000 lumen" level after 3 mins runtime.
There are a lot of buttons to control modes and output levels, and it is not exactly intuitive as to which button controls which feature. Note that you need to turn the light on by the main switch before mounting on a tripod base (i.e., use the remote to control on/standby and modes).
The display labels for the temperature and compass readings are very small, and can be hard to read.
Early versions had an issue with the in-light charging, but this has been fixed on currently shipping versions.
Positioning of the flood emitters is unusual, on either side of the body.
Due to the electronic nature of the switch and interface, there is always a standby current when batteries are connected to the head. This was negligible in my testing, and the light can be easily locked out by a simple twist of the head. There is also an electronic lock-out of the main switch available.
The IR remote has a greater range than the previous model used on the EMT-16 but is more directionally sensitive now. Lifespan of the bundled 27A alkaline battery may be short.
The IMALENT DDT40 is a solid (and relatively compact) multi-emitter light, with a wealth of novel features. It would be an understatement to describe this as a distinctive light. While it builds on many of the innovative features that IMALENT pioneered on earlier models, there are many new features here as well including a revised control interface and display.
As with their earlier offerings, physical build quality seems good on the light, on par with some of the more established makers that I have seen. The display definitely shows some improvements over the earlier models, and the new control interface worked well in my testing. That said, it would take awhile to move through all the levels one press at a time (i.e., 100 discrete levels), and a press-and-hold ramps through outputs relatively quickly at 5 secs.
As I mentioned in my earlier review of the DD4R, with any truly novel interface or build, there are bound to be some growing pains. The main challenge with this latest control interface from IMALENT is its complexity. There is a lot going on in the head, and it isn't always intuitive what button will do what. That said, once you get used to it, you can easily get the light to move through any of its programmed features. Note that it always activates at max output, however. And of course, it's up to you if you want all the features (i.e., the compass and temperature sensors seem somewhat like novelties).
I like the revised remote on the DDT40, with its true 10+ meter range. Note that you will now need to make sure that you are lined up with one of the two IR sensors on the head for this to work reliably. The previous remote on the EMT16 used UHF communication (which, while omnidirectional, was really limited to only ~2 meters in my testing).
The max output and overall output/runtime efficiency across all output levels is reasonable on the DDT40, and in keeping with other current-controlled lights in this category. The regulation pattern has been improved from previous IMALENT models.
The main beam pattern was good for a 4xXM-L2 light. The fully individual emitter wells help prevent spillbeam artifacts (compared to lights with overlapping wells). The side emitters give full flood (thanks to their somewhat opaque diffuser covers). However, I found it hard to get used to the flood emitter positions on opposite sides of the light.
The DDT40 supports both rechargeable (4x18650 Li-ion) and primary (8xCR123A) batteries. It is convenient that IMALENT offers in-light charging for the 4x18650 cells the revised sample worked well in this regard. I am also glad to see the in-parallel cell arrangement, which is something I always recommend for in-light charging.
At the end of the day, the DDT40 is a versatile high-output light - although with perhaps a somewhat dizzying array of features and controls. You do get a very distinctive touch sensor interface and display here, with a very large number of discrete output levels. I personally am glad to see IMALENT continuing to innovative, although I think a somewhat more streamlined model with a simplified control set may be more popular with many of the members here. As always, interested to hear what everyone thinks!
DDT40 provided by IMALENT for review.