MBA Product Test: Lume Cube Air

LUME CUBE AIR

Lume Cube started as a crowdsource-funded, tiny LED light with a tremendous number of potential uses. The original Lume Cube was a 1.5-inch cube. It offered a powerful light in a tiny package.

The Air version is somewhat smaller and lighter at 1.6 x 1.6 x 1.1 inches and 2 ounces. The light uses a COB LED light, which uses multiple LED chips packed tightly together to make one light. It offers more brightness and longer life, as well as high-energy efficiency.

For such a tiny light, the light output is amazing at 800 lumens. Its big brother, the original Lume Cube, puts out almost double the amount at 1500 lumens. Battery life is over an hour at the highest setting, and about 2.5 hours at 50 percent. You can use it while charging, but they recommend keeping it at 80-percent power or below; otherwise, the internal heat sensor will cut the power after about 30 minutes.

The outer shell is made of hard plastic with a rubber grip coating, which helps it stay put, makes it easy to hold and protects it in the inevitable case that you drop it.

APP CONTROL

Out of the box, you can charge the light up, turn it on with the button, and control light output from normal to brighter to brightest. It’s perfectly fine that way, but the Lume-X app opens up a whole new realm of possibilities. From the app you can control the light from 1–100 percent in 1-percent increments. You can also have it strobe in one of two patterns, which can be excellent on night rides. We like that you can also connect multiple Lume Cubes to your app, which is available for iOS and Android phones.

MOUNTING POSSIBILITIES

The square shape offers an easy way to set it on a table or shelf by itself, but it also has a magnet built into the back, so you can mount it on anything metal.

The cool thing about the Air is that there’s a 1/4-inch x 20-thread receiver that allows for it to mount to any standard photography grip equipment—from tripods to clamps to whatever you already have. The list of Lume Cube’s own mounting equipment includes handlebar and grip mounts, backpack clips, suction cups, phone mounts
and much more.

Though the company makes drone mounts for a variety of drones, they don’t recommend attaching the Air to a drone because of the magnet. The original Lume Cube is better for
that purpose.

We wound up setting it on tables mostly, or using the magnet to mount it to a wall, a pole or something else. We do wish the Bluetooth connectivity included a “find me” feature, because we misplaced the light more than once because it was so small.

The included dome-shaped diffusers are really useful for spreading the light over a much broader area, as the bare LED is fairly directional. It comes with two—one is white to keep the light more white, but there’s also a CTO (color temperature orange) to balance it with other, tungsten-based light sources if that’s your interest. The diffuser does take out quite a bit of light, but it offers a much less harsh quality.

WATERPROOF

If you’re using it as a bike or helmet light, you don’t have to worry if it rains. Actually, if you accidentally fall into a river, the light is more waterproof than your phone, as it is fine to a depth of up to 30 feet.

It’s so small and so versatile that we keep it in our bag (or sometimes in our pockets) and take it everywhere. It charges easily with an included micro-USB cable. We used it on bike rides, while camping (with the diffuser it’s really great for eating at night or as a handheld flashlight), to see to clean up after evening photo shoots, and for creative portraits. The possibilities are truly endless. One downside is that it can run a bit hot, though. Price is $69.95, or $134.95 for a two-pack.

www.lumecube.com


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