Inova T1, T2 and T3

Provided for review
by the kind folks at:

5 Stars

Light Type: Luxeon I and III LED
Light Class: Outdoor / Rough Use / Etc.

Short Description:

The Inova T1, T2, and T3 are Luxeon LED flashlights made by Emissive Energy Corp. They are available from

The bodies of the Inova T1, T2 and T3 are made of Type III anodized aluminum with square, flat checkering machined into the sides. The body finish is available only in black. The bezel has a stainless steel ring on the end with a recessed anti-reflective coated lens and a teflon seal. Behind the lens is a special optical system called the TIROS, or Total Internal Reflection Optical System, designed to collect over 90% of the light produced by the Luxeon LED and project it forward. The LED and lens combination produces a very round beam with a dim sidespill. The T1 and T2 use a Luxeon I LED, while the T3 uses the Luxeon III LED. Inside the lights is regulation circuit designed to give constant output over the working lifespan of the batteries. The switch is a clickie type switch. Press for momentary light, click once for constant on, click again for off, loosen the entire tailcap to disable the switch for travel and packing. The tailcap is also textured for grip, and has a hole for lanyard attachment.

Size vs. common aluminum 2-AA light (top)
Bezel pictures

Beam Profile - T1, T2, T3

Detailed Information:

The Inova T Series are exceptional little lights. They are very similar to the X series, except that they have texturing over the length of the body and have clickie talicaps instead of the "tactical style" tailcaps of the X series. This review covers the details common to all of the lights with differences stated where appropriate.

The body of the T series is Type III hard anodized aluminum (commonly known as HA-III) with grid-like grooves machined into its sides to help with grip. Type III anodize is much harder and tougher than the Type II anodize found on common aluminum flashlights in department stores. For reference, I have a small HA-III flashlight that I have carried in my pocket with my keys for the last 8 months and it has received no significant damage to the finish at all. Try that with a Solitaire!

The textured surface of the T series provides much better grip than that found with the X series of Inova lights. The tailcap has the same type of texturing pattern as found on the body. The inside of the light is also anodized for corrosion resistance. Machining is very good. The fit and finish are excellent.

The very front of the light contains a stainless steel ring with a beveled inner edge. This helps protect the recessed anti-reflective coated glass optics in front of the collimating lens from impact damage.

Hiding in the bezel behind the glass optic is the uniquely designed collimating lens. This is Inova's "TIROS" or Total Internal Reflection Optical System lens. Total internal reflection is not something new and is actually utilized by Lumileds (the maker of the Luxeon LED) in their current collimating lenses. This is also how fiber optic cables work and how many large water fountains are illuminated. Inova has reshaped the collimating lens to provide a very even and uniform spot unlike other lenses that are available. Transmission efficiency has also presumably been improved, although I do not know the efficiency of current Luxeon LED collimating lenses. Resting behind the lenses is the Luxeon LED and regulation circuit which provides very flat constant light output regulation during the useful life of the batteries.

The T1 and T2 use Luxeon I LEDs, while the T3 uses a Luxeon III LED. The Luxeon III, contrary to popular belief, is not a 3 Watt LED. It is actually a more robust Luxeon I which can handle greater currents and is capable of greater output. The Luxeon I, used in the T1 and T2, is designed to handle 350mA of current and produces around 25 Lumens at those current levels. The Luxeon III is designed to handle 1000mA and produces around 80 Lumens at that current level.

For reference, the Luxeon V Portable (commonly called the 5 watt Luxeon) which is NOT used by any of these lights but is the other high output LED made by Lumileds, is designed for 700mA current and produces around 120 Lumens at that current rate. However, the Luxeon V requires higher voltage than the Luxeon I and the Luxeon III.

Any of the LEDs mentioned above could be driven at higher current levels provided that heatsinking is adequate to prevent thermal damage to the LED. Likewise, any of them can be driven at lower levels to produce light more efficiently and give longer battery life.

The tailcap switch looks similar to the Inova X series. There is a rubber dot in the center of the switch which covers the mechanism inside. Pressing the switch reveals the difference between the T and the X series switches. The T series has a clickie switch instead of a momentary. Click on and off with your thumb. Press in gently (before the click) for momentary illumination. Turn back 1 full turn and the light is "locked out" - it cannot turn on. This setting is to prevent accidental operation which could wear down your battery in the bottom of your backpack or luggage.

Now I did have a slight problem with one of the switches. I clicked it and the light blinked on and then off again. It did this several times. I loosened and re-tightened the switch and the switch started functioning normally, but the light flickered a bit. After repeated clicks, the problem seems to have cleared up. I believe it may simply have been a dirty contact inside the switch.

For all of the lights, output is in the form of a round spot of light which has a bright center and tapers toward the edges. There are several slight rings of light and dark that appear around the periphery of the beam. The TIROS lens system takes the wide angle LED illumination pattern and focuses it into a very tight beam that allows for very good distance illumination. Of course the T3 is the brightest of the lights, giving greatest distance lighting, the T2 is next, and the T1 follows that.

As for runtimes, the T1 is expected to run for about 1.5 hours before dropping out of regulation. The T2 should run about 5 hours. The T3, being driven at higher current levels due to its more robust LED and producing more light, should run about 2 hours. Regulated output is followed by a drop-off in light production down to low levels which should last for several hours.

Runtime Plot: T1: Lasts longer than the advertised 1.5 hours.

Runtime completed with Powerizer batteries. More information on runtime plots is available HERE.

Runtime Plot: T2: Lasts a bit longer than the advertised 5 hours. Interesting to note that after this light reaches 25% or so it starts strobing on and off (not shown on graph).

Runtime completed with Energizer batteries. More information on runtime plots is available HERE.

Runtime Plot: T3 : Right in line with the manufacturer's statement of a 2 hour burn time - the light drops out of regulation after 2 hours. Interesting to note that after this light reaches 20% or so it starts strobing on and off (not shown on graph).

Runtime completed with Energizer batteries. More information on runtime plots is available HERE.

Ergonomics: The Inova T series is comfortable in the hand and easy to grip. They are easy to use in a "tactical" manner by holding the light in the palm and clicking the switch with the thumb. Depending on how hard the switch is depressed, momentary illumination is possible. The T1 is small but fits well in the palm. The T3 is balanced well despite the larger bezel.

The T series is water resistant and is protected at the tailcap by an o-ring which should be kept clean and lubricated with a silicone grease. The lens seal is Teflon and requires no maintenance.

The T1 is powered by a single 123A lithium battery, the T2 and T3 are powered by two 123A lithium batteries. These batteries are very expensive to buy in stores and we recommend purchasing them on-line. Simply unscrew the tailcap and drop in the new batteries, positive side facing you. There is a piston-based reverse polarity protection device built in to the far end of the light to protect the electronics.

The package includes batteries. Unlike the Inova X series, no belt sheath is included.

I have been informed by a third party that the Bianchi Accumold 7311 Compact Light Holder in size 2 (for SureFire 6R/9P and similar models) fits the T3 very well. The 7311 fits the Inova lights just about perfectly -- all it needs is a thin spacer to stop the clickie from activating when the light is inserted all the way. They used the thin nylon washer trick for the spacer. 1" diameter, .125" thick. They then drilled out the inside to about .65" to be sure that ANY clickie would not touch the spacer

They also mentioned that the Inova lights will fit the Pelican pouch - but to prevent the light from activating, it needs a modified 1" wide x 1/4" thick nylon spacer at the bottom -- they enlarged the hole in a standard Home Depot or Lowe's nylon washer using a drill-tree bit.

What I Liked: Well engineered, Tough light, HA-III finish, Good gripping surfaces, Smooth and uniform beam, Great throw. Lots of extras like the stainless steel bezel ring, coated optics and flat output regulation circuitry.

What I Didn't Like: Nothing really.

Other Things I Noticed: Slight switch problem with one of the units, but repeated use seems to have cleared it up.

Conclusions: A well engineered set of lights with top quality components, great regulation and delivers as promised. Have excellent throw for LED lights, and very good output for their sizes. The use of the Luxeon LED means never having to worry about the bulb failing like an incandescent bulb. The whole lot receives 5 Stars! T1 and T2 are great utility lights. The T3 should be able to serve as a tactical light for nighttime encounters of the less desirable kind.

Quick Facts Table:

Review Date ............................. October 2004
Case Material ........................... Anodized aluminum
Case Features .......................... Textured sides, lanyard hole in tailcap
Case Access Type .................... Unscrew tailcap for battery change
Switch Type ............................. Press for momentary, click for on/off, loosen for lockout
Reflector Type ......................... None
Lens Type ................................

Anti-Reflective coated precision glass convex lens

Bulb Type ................................. 1 x Luxeon I or Luxeon III LED
Beam Type ............................... Spot
Beam Characteristics ............... Bright spot, quick drop off, slight rings
Throw (Lux) at 1m (click for description) T1: ~ 600 at beam center. (24.49 Comparison Chart equivalent)
T2: ~ 725 at beam center. (26.93 Comparison Chart equivalent)
T3: ~ 2100 at beam center. (45.83 Comparison Chart equivalent)
Overall Output (click for description) T1: ~ 1400 (14.00 Comparison Chart equivalent)
T2: ~ 1720 (17.20 Comparison Chart equivalent)
T3: ~ 2800 (28.00 Comparison Chart equivalent)
Battery / Power Type................ 1 x 123A for T1, 2 x 123A for T2 and T3
Battery Life (advertised) ...........

T1: 1.5 hrs.
T2: 5 hrs.
T3: 2 hrs.

Environmental Protection ......... O-rings
Weight (oz.) with batteries ....... T1: 3.7oz.
T2: 5.1oz.
T3: 6.0oz.
Special Items of Note ...............  
Warranty .................................. Limited Lifetime
Retail Cost ................................

T1: 44.95 US$ at time of review at
T2: 53.95 US$ at time of review at
T3: 67.00 US$ at time of review at



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