Inova T4 (2011 Version) Review

Now in its fourth generation, the Inova T4 is an advanced lithium-ion powered flashlight that has gone through several updates and revisions, with the latest 2011 model (T4QM-HB, identifiable by a “D” in the serial number) introducing a new LED for increased brightness, as well as an additional 94-lumen medium mode. One of the smallest lights in the mid-sized rechargeable flashlight category, the T4 packs a lot of power and functionality for its size.

Key Specifications

  • Output: 227 lumens high, 94 lumens medium, 16 lumens low
  • Intensity: 10,000 candela
  • Runtime: 2h 15min high, 6h medium, 48h 30min low
  • Battery: 1 x Li-Ion Rechargeable Battery Pack
  • Length: 8″
  • Diameter: 1.4″ bezel, 1.1″ body
  • Weight with Batteries: 9.07 oz.
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • MSRP: $149.99
  • Actual Pricing: ~$110

Pricing & Ordering

MSRP for the Inova T4 is $149.99, and the light is only available in black. Many retailers sell the T4 for around $110.

In The Box

Included in the box are: Inova T4, Li-Ion rechargeable battery, charging cradle, 2 x mounting screws, AC adapter, cigarette lighter adapter, and user manual.

A nice touch here is that every component is neatly packaged in either a box or a bag, with a label indicating what is inside (not shown above).

Batteries

A proprietary rechargeable 2150mAh lithium-ion battery powers the Inova T4.

To charge the light, insert the light into the charger and pull down on the light to ensure alignment of the grooves on the light and charger. All of the charging circuitry is contained inside the flashlight, which has an LED indicator for charge status. A solid red LED indicates charging, and solid green indicates a full charge.

A fully discharged battery can be recharged in about 3 hours, and leaving the light in the charger won’t overcharge the battery.

The Light

Head
The head features an anti-reflective coated glass window and an aluminum reflector with a slightly textured “orange-peel” type surface. The uneven surface on the reflector removes artifacts from the beam, creating a wider, more uniform beam pattern.

Body
The light is type-III anodized (hard anodize) aluminum. Hard anodize is the most durable aluminum finish, nearing the hardness of diamond. The switch is located mid-body below the charging LED, and gives good audible and tactile feedback with a solid click. The switch was changed in the fourth version of the Inova T4 to a stiffer, more durable one, and due to the small diameter of the body, it tends to be more difficult to activate with an index finger.

Both the head and body feature a checkered knurling pattern, making it easy to maintain a good grip regardless of which way the light is held.

Tail Cap
The tail cap of the Inova T4 does not serve any electrical purpose, as it only contains a rubber bumper that pushes the battery firmly in place.

An easy way to spot the latest revision of the T4 is by the newly-added Inova logo on the back of the tail cap.

Modes

One Click: High
A single click activates maximum brightness of 227 lumens, for a runtime of 2h 15m.

Two Clicks: Medium
When high mode is activated and the switch is clicked within two seconds, the 94 lumen medium mode is activated (note that if clicks are too fast, strobe will be activated). The T4 has a runtime of six hours on medium.

Three Clicks: Low
When medium mode is activated and within two seconds from activating high mode, the 16 lumen low mode will be activated if the switch is clicked once more. The light has a runtime of 48h 30m on low.

Click and Hold: Momentary On
When the switch is held for more than half a second, the light will turn off when the switch is released. A slightly annoying bug that we found with the momentary on mode is that the next time high mode is activated, the light will flash once.

Two Fast Clicks: Strobe
Two fast clicks at any time will activate the strobe.

For all modes, a single click will turn the light off if the two second time limit has passed. Since the light use an electronic switch, there is a small standby current drain of less than 7.5μA.

Performance

The Inova T4’s performance is in line with the average mid-sized rechargeable flashlight, with slightly more output and runtime than the competition due to the more efficient Cree XP-G LED.

The beam is smooth and contains a larger hotspot in the middle due to the orange peel reflector. The wide hotspot allows for more peripheral illumination, which is particularly useful for close-up work. The aluminum body of the flashlight acts as a heat sink, and can get moderately warm during extended use.

The T4 maintains steady output, even as battery charge is getting low, so the light features a low battery warning in the form of rapid flashing. We barely noticed this flashing because it was very rapid and only lasted for around 15 seconds, so it would be recommended to keep the batteries “topped-off” to prevent unexpected battery exhaustion during use.

Runtime

If you haven’t read our article about runtime graphs and the ANSI FL1 Standard, please click here.

Accessories

A charging cradle, AC adapter, and cigarette lighter adapter is included with the Inova T4.

An innovative accessory available for the T4 is the “Reserve Battery Holder and Extension.”

This add-on, which can be purchased for $39.99 and includes a spare battery, replaces the tail cap on the T4 with a battery tube extension that houses a spare battery. The extension adds about 4″ to the T4’s length.

Additional charging cradles, AC or DC adapters, batteries, and traffic wands are also available for the T4.

Conclusion

Small size and good performance characterize the Inova T4 rechargeable flashlight, and the T4 has a smooth beam pattern and a durable type III anodized finish. However, it’s the unique and practical optional spare battery holder that makes the Inova T4 stand out!


Pros Cons
  • High, medium, low, and strobe modes
  • Type-III anodized aluminum
  • Anti-reflective coated glass window
  • Energy-dense lithium-ion battery
  • Small and lightweight
  • Reserve Battery Holder (optional)
  • Stiff head switch
  • Short low battery warning

Related Links

Inova T4 Rechargeable LED Flashlight Product Page (Nite Ize)

Inova T4 Rechargeable LED Flashlight Product Page (Inova)

Rechargeable Flashlight Comparison on LED-Resource

21 Responses

  1. zbig says:

    i’m wondering if you had a chance to check out the previous 3 generations of t4’s. owning one of each i find myself going nuts everytime it’s time to charge one of them. somehow the masterminds at inova managed to give each light a seperate docking system!!!unlike my streamlights where i can go on a trip and grab up to 6 different flashlights–they will all fit in the same charger.but with inova i’m 0 for 3, take 3 lights-take 3 chargers–shameful.
    question is—is this gen 4 version compatible with any previous model or is it going to be 0 for 4 ???
    thanks

  2. Shawn says:

    Dear Zbig,

    All 4 generations of T4s are identified by the leading letter in the serial number on the arm of the T4. There is the fist generation, the “A” series, then the “B” series, and so on. The new “D” series T4s are compatible with the “C” series charging cradle. The Inova line of flashlights was acquired by Nite Ize, Inc, in Feb 2010 and since that time the T4 charging cradles have remained the same. If you should have any problem with any of your charging cradles or any of your T4s, we can help. 303-962-0470.

    Shawn Powell

  3. Josiah says:

    I love my T4! It is my favorite light for camping, hiking, traveling – super bright and super convenient to charge it a number of ways (wall or car). They make fantastic gifts too, great for family and friends, one of those life time gifts. I still have the B version but it works great, won’t be upgrading until I have to! The only thing I don’t like is the low battery warning – wish it had more warning and didn’t strobe.

  4. John From Oz says:

    I also love the T4 however my newest one has stopped re-charging after only 1 month. Two of my friends who I also recommended the torch to have had the same problem. The light is so suited to my inspection work that I do I have now had to go back to another torch which I am very unhappy about.

  5. Brenda says:

    I’m sorry you are having a bad experience with the INOVA T4. Please contact us at 303-962-0470 and we can help you out!

  6. Darien says:

    The Inova brand had good quality when they were made in the US. Not so sure nowadays, I don’t own one.

  7. Scott Hatch says:

    Hello: I need two things. I need a cradle charger for the Inova T4 A series flashlight. I have the plug to go to the wall but I have lost the cradle and can not charge the battery. Where can I get one.

    I am also having problems with the switch charging my Inova T-4 D series light. Both of them that I have will not charge and I have to move the batteries from my two bad lights to my good light and charger. Is there availability of switches for these lights or do they have to be sent back for repair?

    Thanks

  8. Robin Wang says:

    Scott,

    Try tightening the charge contact screws (you’ll need a Torx bit, or a comparably sized flathead) and see if that helps.

    Otherwise, give Nite Ize a call at 303-962-0470 and they will take care of it. You will probably have to send the lights back.

    Robin

  9. Sean says:

    I am with Scott, I need an A series charger. I contacted Nite-Ize a while ago and asked about one and they said they found one laying around and would send it to me, when I got it in the mail it was just the cradle, no cord, and it was for the C and D series lights. I never got around to calling back and wasn’t really worried about it since the light was given to me, but I keep hearing more and more good things about the T4 and want to use this one before springing 150 bucks for the T4R.

  10. Israel says:

    I love my T4! It’s been very reliable, never has it gave out on me and I love the fact it doesn’t flicker and the light stays very bright! Also the charge time is fast! I have not had one issue with this light and love it!

  11. michael says:

    my Inova T4 charger is flashing blue do you know why?

  12. Robin Wang says:

    Michael,

    There are no LEDs on the charger, but the LED on the light should only be red or green. If something is indeed flashing blue, you’ll want to contact Nite Ize technical support at 303-962-0470.

    Robin

  13. Robert says:

    I worked in the Sierra Nevada’s for over 26 years as a line clearance tree climber for P.G.&E. Flashlights are a tool you have to able to count on,as they save lives.Having had many torches in all storm conditions 24/7(train wrecks),sometimes for up to 2 weeks.I will say hands down that the T4 D is the best torch i have ever come across(hand held). I recommended this torch to all my friends.

  14. Pete Graffeo says:

    I have your t4 series flashlight I believe it’s the 2011 the cradle stopped working I tried piecing together an old one do I just buy a new cradle and if so which one its kind of confusing. It has to be cop proof. Thanks Pete Graffeo 714-906-1363

  15. Robin Wang says:

    Pete,

    Have you contacted Nite Ize customer service? They should be able to take care of your cradle issue.

    Robin

  16. liem phan says:

    There is no red or green LED on when I charging my Inova T4 . The charging still have 9vdc out put . So please tell me what wrong with it ?
    Thank

  17. Roy Klostermeyer says:

    I love(d) my T4 until it developed the habit of just shutting off even when fully charged. You can not turn it back on until you at least momentarily place it in the cradle. Very random. Shows charged (green). Gently tightened screws with proper torx, but still surprises me with a shutoff about 50% of the time.

    Ideas?

  18. Robin Wang says:

    Roy,

    Shutoff is controlled by a circuit board in the battery, which could have gone bad (or the battery may not be able to hold charge anymore). You should be able to fix this with a new battery.

    Robin

  19. Robert V Mata says:

    I bought a T4 back 09 since then its has burned up 3 times and has been warranty each time I just had it repair this last April and it burn up again just this last week Soo back it goes I must say I really use the heck outta this light Am a auto tech The company has been really good about taking care of the T4 with no questions One thing about this light if left on it does get really hot >>>Robert

  20. ben says:

    Had my t4 from years ago with the TIROS lens. My first issue was the cradle not charging. Sent it and was bummed that I got a replacement without the tiros. I also had to pay out $120 out of pocket. It just recently started doing the same problems of not charging. Hopefully it is not serious.

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