Five years after the original Lume Cube was launched back in 2014, the Lume Cube 2.0 has been released. The original Lume Cube's tiny stature and big lighting capabilities made it a kit-bag staple for videographers and photographers alike. Last year we witnessed the release of the smaller (and dare we say cuter) Lume Cube Air, but although it was a welcome addition to the diminutive LED family, it wasn’t a true successor.
Today, we’re finally able to put the Lume Cube 2.0 through its paces. This full-fat Cube boasts better lighting capabilities, and mod cons including a USB-C charging port. It’s also compatible with the original’s accessories and comes with a few of its own too.
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Lume Cube 2.0: Build and Handling
The old adage: ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ certainly applies here. At first glance the Lume Cube 2.0 is almost identical to its predecessor. However, a couple of key differences do set it apart. The eagle-eyed will have noticed that the light’s lens looks slightly different, and that’s because it’s a new and improved version.
Access to the charging port has changed too and is gained by simply flicking open a rubbery seal. The original Lume Cube sported a screw-in metal cover, which had to be unscrewed with a suitable implement. Another neat addition is the presence of a green LED, which indicates when the device is fully charged.
A simple, but hugely practical upgrade is the addition of plus, minus and power icons positioned around the device’s two buttons. The original Lume Cube featured no visual indication as to the function of its two buttons, which occasionally made operation confusing. Everything else appears to be standard fare: the body is aluminum and features the same 1/4"-20 tripod thread, it’s still 1.6 inches tall and it still weighs a paltry 99g.
Lume Cube 2.0: Performance
Like its predecessor, the Lume Cube 2.0’s two-button configuration couldn’t be simpler to use. Turn the light on and off by holding down the power (minus) button, and increase/decrease the brightness by pressing the plus/minus button. The brightness changes in 10% increments, which allows for 10 different intensities of brightness. Holding the power button down (for three seconds) does mean that on occasions you release it too quickly and it isn’t as responsive as it could be. As such, we can’t help but feel a simple click would have sufficed. That said, you’ve no danger of turning the 2.0 on or off accidentally.
Manual Low Light Mode is a new addition and can be activated when the 2.0 is on by holding both buttons down for three seconds. The light will then dim considerably and enables users to change the intensity in 1% increments, up to 10% brightness. This is a neat addition that only increases the little light’s versatility. The LED light also features a 360-degree optical sensor, which improves on the original’s directional sensor.
We tested the Lume Cube 2.0 when shooting a cinematic action figure still, as part of a four-light Lume Cube setup. Paired with an original Lume Cube, there’s definitely a difference in the quality of light. The 2.0’s larger beam angle is certainly noticeable and the higher CRI value certainly results in better light quality.
The diddy device also comes with a whole host of accessories including modification frame, warming gel, diffuser and a DSLR hot shoe mount. The modification frame appears identical to the original Lume Cube’s and is compatible with our existing accessories such as the barn doors and snoot. As you’d expect, the Lume Cube 2.0 is compatible with the company’s Lume-X app, which allows you to control multiple Lume Cubes using a smart device.
The app also tells you how much battery remains, and battery life is certainly an appealing attribute of the Lume Cube 2.0. The light is rated for up to 1.5 hours of use at 100% brightness. Without counting every minute, we can definitely confirm that the 2.0 lasts much longer than its predecessor.
Once the battery does run out though, the rubber charging port seal is a welcome improvement. While the original’s screw-in design is more secure, finding a suitable implement to open it could prove frustrating. We wonder if the seal change is the reason the 2.0 is only rated as waterproof down to 30ft, but considering that’ll be more than enough for most content creators, we regard the easier to use seal as a positive.
Lume Cube 2.0: Verdict
The Lume Cube 2.0 improves on its predecessor in almost every way, but doesn’t deliver much in the way of innovation either. And yet, it really didn’t need to. It builds on the original’s legacy with its improved lighting ability, increased battery life and USB-C compatibility.
Divers will be disappointed by the reduced waterproofing, but if that’s what it took to deliver the more practical charging port seal, many content creators will likely welcome the tradeoff. First-time Lume Cube users are treated to the many accessories shipped with the device (and weren’t included with the original).
If you’re a content creator who’s looking for a budget lighting solution, or something that’s small enough to occupy a permanent slot in your kitbag, consider the Lume Cube 2.0 a very bright idea indeed.
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