INOVA X5, retail $49 (
Manufactured by Emissive Energy Corp. (5 Division St. Warwick RI 02818)
Last updated 02-06-08


The Inova X5 is a small and powerful LED flashlight, using a pair of lithium camera batteries to power an array of 5 blinding white LEDs. It is made of aluminum, and is pretty much indestructible.

The jet black Inova absolutely defies being photographed, and I've tried two dozen times on various backgrounds to get a decent picture of it.


They say good things come in hard-to-open packages. The plastic retail package which includes the Inova and a set of batteries was found to be incredibly difficult to open. I ended up using an old knife and the side of a fire axe to chop a slice down one side; the light & batteries could then be pulled from the opening. I don't have a decent knife, but if you do (and it's sharp enough to shave with), that might do the trick.
Install the batteries as directed below, and you're good to go.

Unlike most twist-on flashlights, the Inova works exactly the opposite of what you would expect. Turn the bezel counterclockwise (loosen) to turn the Inova on, and turn it clockwise (tighten) to shut it off. Even the battery installation is backwards from most other lights.

A hole is provided on the butt end for you to thread a thin lanyard through if you wish.

To change the Inova's batteries, unscrew the bezel until it comes off in your hand. Dump out and discard the old batteries, and install two new CR123A lithium cells, placing them in the barrel button end (+) first. This is opposite of how the batteries go in most other flashlights, so be wary of this when you change batteries.

Screw the bezel back on. The Inova will light up as you're tightening the bezel, and then go back out when you have it on all the way.

The Inova's batteries can easily be changed in total darkness, simply by feel.

Closeup of LEDs The Inova X5 is a very tough, and is made entirely of 2011 "aircraft grade" aluminum. It is said to withstand being run over by a car. According to the package, a stainless steel version is also available which is stronger yet. For most users however, the aluminum version is beefy enough to take whatever misfortune you may bestow upon it.

The LEDs are recessed into individual "compartments" on the business end of the Inova, and are fairly well protected from damage unless something gets in there. Standing the Inova on a flat surface with the LEDs facing down will do no harm, but since they're just barely recessed, it is possible for small rocks and sand to get to them and eventually lead to the possibility of scratching or marring them. The walls of each compartment are also a millimeter or so away from the sides of the LEDs, so after spending a lot of time in a pants pocket, you may find lint stuck in there. Should this become bothersome, it can be taken care of by turning off the Inova (screwing the bezel all the way down), running the light under the faucet and gouging the lint out with a toothpick; or blasting the lint out of the holes with one of those "water pick" type teeth cleaners.

The Inova is waterproof and submersible to 150 feet, provided you maintain the O-ring as directed on the instruction card. In this case, that means cleaning the threads & O-ring & lubricating with silicone grease at least every six months. The instruction card says to use petroleum jelly (Vaseline), but this can't be too good for the O-ring in the long term. It will work fine if nothing else is available, however.

The wheelchiar test
The Inova X5 being run over by one of those 400lb Rascalator electric scooter/wheelchair thingies.

The body of the X5 is textured with a series of deep vertical ribs. While this is nice, they are less useful than they could be because the bezel (the part you turn) is completely smooth. This could make the X5 harder to turn on & off with very cold or wet hands, and maybe even next to impossible with thick gloves on. They should add some kind of deep texturing to the bezel; as this would greatly extend the Inova's overall usefulness in harsher environments.

Beam photo, compared to an Arc-LS. It does fairly well,
considering the LS is usually as bright as 10-15 regular white LEDs.
Measures 57,500mcd on a Meterman LM631 light meter.

Shooting a wheelchair from about 5 feet.

ProMetric analysis
Cross sectional graph.

ProMetric analysis
Beam contour analysis.
Charts made with the ProMetric system, on loan from Radiant Imaging.


UPDATE: 02-04-02
The Inova is now available at

UPDATE: 07-29-02
The Inova also comes in an aluminum finish with blue LEDs, as shown here.

But check out the fixture on the tail end. Hand-made by one of the fine folks at Berkely Point, this Inova was outfitted with a ball-bearing swivel and one of Berkeley's high quality coil tethers with mini-clip.

Here's a close-up of the hand-made, but professionally done swivel attachment. This was affixed to the Inova without going through the base of the flashlight itself, so water resistance and structural integrity is maintained.

Here's a shot of it approximately 4' away from a wall.

Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the blue LEDs in this flashlight.
Ocean Optics USB2000 Spectrometer on loan from TWO-CUBED.

UPDATE: 10-24-03
I purchased the Inova X5T UV from a Candlepower Forums group buy aroound a week ago (10-17-03 if I remember right), and it came today!

It comes with a nylon belt holster and a pair of Duracell Ultra CR123A cells, already installed.

As you can see, the new X5T is pretty much the same size as the original Inova X5.

The primary differences are that instead of twisting the bezel (head) to turn the light on and off, the X5T comes with a two-stage tailcap switch. Press the rubber button on the end to get momentary light, or twist the tailcap clockwise (as if tightening it) to get continuous light. The other noticeable differences (besides the body color and LED type) are that the new X5T has flat spots moulded into the body, instead of recessed flutes like the original X5 has; the X5T is a couple of millimeters wider (larger in diameter) than the original X5; there's knurling (texturising) on the tailcap, and there's a "CAUTION" label on the front of the light where the LEDs are. This label only appears on the UV (actually, NUV or "Near Ultraviolet") version.

Beam on the target from ~12 inches away.
The color is not that bright magenta you see in the photo, but is instead a deep royal purple.
The LEDs appear to range in wavelength from 404nm to 406nm.

The new Inova draws 245mA from its batteries; that's 49mA per LED. The original Inova draws 190mA, or 38mA per LED.

The X5T does not stand on its tail, so if you bought one to use this way, you're going to be pissed off.

NOTE: Do not shine the near-UV version at your eyes, or use it near a reflective surface without proper eye protection. You only come with one set of eyes, and if you wreck them, you can't just go to the 7-11 and get some "Eyeballs in a Can" and pop them in your eye sockets. Don't work that way, folks!!! Once you ruin your eyes, you can't get new ones. Maybe in another 100 or 200 years, but not now anyway.

If you want to buy an X5T in this color, the item # is X5MT-UVT.
That's what the package says, anyway.

UPDATE: 04-08-06
Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the NUV LEDs in this flashlight.
Ocean Optics USB2000 Spectrometer on loan from TWO-CUBED.

According to this spectrographic chart, the peak wavenength of the LEDs is ~395nm, not ~404nm.

UPDATE: 02-11-08
ProMetric analysis
Beam cross-sectional analysis of the blue Inova X5.
Image made using the ProMetric System by Radiant Imaging.

Really bright for its size.
Compact size & shape
Durable, weatherproof, and submersible to 150'
Lithium batteries aid in cold weather operation.

Lanyard hole is a bit on the small side (original X5, not X5T).
No texturing or longitudinal ribbing on the bezel (applies to original X5 only).
Batteries aren't as easy to find as AA, C, or D sized ones would be in an emergency.
Batteries can be locally expensive, up to $14.00 apiece in some areas. If you have a credit card or a good friend :) with one, they can be found on the internet for less than $2.50 apiece if you shop around. Texas Tactical Supply is one such source.

        MANUFACTURER: Emissive Energy
        PRODUCT TYPE: Small tactical style LED torch
        LAMP TYPE: 5mm white LED
        No. OF LAMPS: 5
        BEAM TYPE: Circular with central hotspot
        SWITCH TYPE: Twist bezel on/off
        BEZEL: Solid metal, LEDs individually countersunk
        BATTERY: 2 CR123A lithium camera batteries
        CURRENT CONSUMPTION: 190mA (white) 245mA (NUV)
        SUBMERSIBLE: Yes, to 150 feet
        ACCESSORIES: Sanyo CR123A batteries
        WARRANTY: Limited Lifetime (10 yrs. in Germany)



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